Dear Temple Oheb Shalom Member,
It is with heavy hearts that we share with you that Temple Oheb Shalom has received an allegation of an improper incident of a sexual nature that may have occurred a number of years ago involving Rabbi Fink and a then teenager, who was a minor at the time. The allegation is troubling.
Promptly upon learning of the allegation, we reported this matter to the Maryland authorities as we are required to do, and to the Central Conference of American Rabbis (“CCAR”). The civil authorities have a process and Temple Oheb Shalom is cooperating fully with them. The CCAR, in accordance with its own ethical guidelines, has a mandate to consider a broader range of alleged misconduct and the Temple is cooperating with CCAR.
On Tuesday evening, CCAR provided Rabbi Fink with written notice. Therefore, we had to inform Rabbi Fink yesterday that he is suspended with pay.
While we are deeply saddened by this development, we will always take action that we believe is most protective of children. And, we want to help heal all victims of abuse. If you are aware of any possible inappropriate behaviors, please contact Mina Wender or the Temple’s attorney, Dave Kinkopf. We also encourage anyone to contact civil authorities if appropriate.
We of course care deeply about Rabbi Fink and his family and recognize the enormous personal toll the investigations may have on them. Out of respect for Rabbi Fink and the privacy of all involved, we will not be sharing additional information about the allegations or investigation at this time. All of the individuals involved deserve our compassion, consideration and prayers. And, as a spiritual community, we are very mindful of the Jewish value of avoiding lashon hara (gossip) and your role as a congregant in preventing lashon hara is critical to helping those involved find healing and resolution.
All Temple functions will continue uninterrupted and the spiritual needs of our congregation, including life cycle events, holidays and pastoral care, will be provided for as usual. Our Rabbi Emeritus, Donald Berlin, has generously offered to lead some services and officiate some B’nei Mitzvah, weddings and funerals. We will have continued participation by Rabbi Marion and Cantor Braun. And we are grateful for the assistance CCAR and URJ who will ensure that all of our clergy needs are taken care of in the interim.
We know that change is often challenging and the announcement of these interim changes now may be unsettling to many of you. We want you to know how much Temple Oheb Shalom values your commitment to our congregation and community. Our top priority will always be to provide a welcoming spiritual home for you and your families.
Thank you for your ongoing trust and support. We will share more information when we are able.
If you have questions or concerns, please contact me.