Rabbi Ronald Sobel, who has led Manhattan’s majestic Temple Emanu-El — thought to be the largest synagogue in the world — for 28 years and became a leading figure in New York City religious life, will retire this summer.
“I wanted to take my departure at a time when my congregants would say they are so sad and that’s exactly what I’m hearing,” a laughing Rabbi Sobel told the Jewish Week Wednesday. “If they said they were not sad, I would be profoundly sad.
Temple Emanu-El has granted its cantor, who is awaiting trial on charges that he sexually abused his young nephew, a paid leave of absence, The Jewish Week has learned.
A letter sent to members last week from Robert Bernhard, the temple's president, said Cantor Howard Nevison has been on leave since Feb. 20, the day of his arrest, when he was "relieved of all duties."
A source connected with the synagogue said it is a paid leave "because this is not punitive."
After pleading guilty this week to five counts of sexually abusing his young nephew over a four-year period, Cantor Howard Nevison continues to maintain that he did nothing wrong.
In an exclusive interview with The Jewish Week Tuesday (the first time he has spoken publicly about the case that made sensational headlines in 2002) Cantor Nevison said that his deal with prosecutors was akin to a "no contest" plea: "when you don't admit to anything."