When Fan Wiener read in her local daily newspaper that the nation's Reform rabbis had voted to push for more Jewish tradition (including eating kosher) the 79-year-old Dallas grandmother thought of bolting Reform Judaism.
"She called me and threatened to quit the two major Reform temples she belongs to," says her son Thomas, a Philadelphia attorney. "She said she didn't intend to become a Conservative or Orthodox Jew."
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."
Experts in sexual ethics violations among clergy are criticizing Temple Emanu-El for the way it has handled the arrest of its cantor, Howard Nevison, on charges that he sexually abused his young nephew.
“It’s a huge mistake that they kept him on” after Nevison brought the issue to the attention of synagogue leaders, said Dr. Samuel Klagsbrun, director of the pastoral psychiatry program at the Jewish Theological Seminary, which ordains rabbis and cantors.