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Chicago rabbi is out months after hostile office investigation

(RNS) — Three months after his return to the Chicago Sinai Congregation after a go away of absence throughout which he was investigated for making a hostile office tradition, Rabbi Seth Limmer is leaving the Reform synagogue.

In a letter to congregants of the distinguished synagogue on Wednesday (Could 11), the president of the board of trustees wrote: “Sadly, typically relationships are broken in methods that can’t be repaired. We honor the legacy of his tenure, and wish to give attention to all the great he has finished throughout these a few years.”

An unbiased agency investigated Limmer final yr after complaints arose that in his eight years as senior rabbi he had fostered a office tradition that was discriminatory and disrespectful. 

It discovered no felony conduct, ethical turpitude or sexual misconduct however reported that “there have been instances when the Rabbi’s actions didn’t reside as much as our highest values.”

Limmer was allowed to return to the pulpit in February.

RELATED: After #MeToo, hostile workplace complaints prompt synagogues to investigate rabbis

A minimum of three distinguished Reform synagogues undertook comparable investigations of their rabbis over the previous two years, representing a brand new stage of moral accountability within the Reform motion, the most important Jewish group in the US.

Rodef Shalom Rabbi Aaron Bisno, middle, delivers his sermon with soloist Molly Could, left, throughout a service that was streamed reside, Friday, March 20, 2020. (AP Photograph/Gene J. Puskar)

In Pennsylvania, the board of Pittsburgh’s Rodef Shalom Congregation positioned Rabbi Aaron Bisno on administrative go away final yr after workers complained about his conduct. In March, the board determined to not renew his contract. He had led the venerable 166-year-old congregation, Pittsburgh’s largest Reform synagogue, since 2004.

And in Minneapolis, Rabbi Michael Adam Latz of Shir Tikvah Congregation resigned within the wake of an investigation into “long-standing, vital points along with his interactions with employees.”

Underneath federal legislation, a hostile office is one with discriminatory and unwelcome conduct directed at a person or a bunch due to his, her or their protected standing, be it race, age, sexual orientation, gender, incapacity, faith or marital standing.

Rabbi Seth Limmer. Photo via Chicago Sinai Congregation

Rabbi Seth Limmer. Photograph by way of Chicago Sinai Congregation

Limmer’s tenure has been marked by excessive turnover among the many synagogue’s employees, a few of whom resigned or have been dismissed. Within the wake of his return, an affiliate rabbi on the synagogue took a 12-week sabbatical; one other affiliate rabbi introduced he was taking one other job on the finish of June.

It was unclear Wednesday what led to Limmer’s departure. Out of concern for respect and confidentiality, the board of Chicago Sinai wrote: “We hope you’ll perceive this implies we might not be capable of reply your questions.”

Limmer additionally serves on the board of the Reform motion’s rabbinical affiliation, the Central Convention of American Rabbis.

The Chicago Sinai board management didn’t reply to a request for remark.

RELATED: Pittsburgh rabbi is out following hostile workplace investigation

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