September 20, 2021
In June, Chicago Sinai Congregation joined others in the Reform Jewish World in affirming our shared responsibility for those who had suffered abuse and harassment from clergy and other authority figures within our religious institutions. Our goal is to address what the Women’s Rabbinic Network described as the “systemic lack of safety and accountability that has existed for far too long within the Reform Movement and the Jewish World at large.”
Building on that effort, Chicago Sinai is continuing to make changes by strengthening our internal policies and mirroring best practices being implemented within the broader Reform Movement, including instituting an updated employment policies manual, conducting annual anti-harassment training, and fostering more open means of communication.
We recognize and appreciate the courage of those who may be suffering in silence. We are committed to creating and maintaining brave spaces for such individuals to come forward to voice concerns and report issues involving perceived abuse of spiritual authority. It is imperative that we acknowledge all perspectives and experiences and respect the feelings of those who have been mistreated in any way.
At Chicago Sinai, we will listen with empathy and understanding. That’s why we not only encourage you to continue to report misconduct but to also share thoughts and highlight opportunities where we can make positive, long-lasting changes that will strengthen Chicago Sinai’s core foundation moving forward.
Responsibility matters. Actions matter. Accountability matters. Truth matters.
Chicago Sinai is committed to creating a safe space, serving as a true House of Prayer for all people, and promoting an inclusive and respectful environment among our staff, congregation, and community.
We will do everything possible to ensure that – together – we build trust and ensure the kind of safe, compassionate, and inclusive environment that further inspires our faith and continues to build upon our foundational elements of prayer, learning, engagement, and action.
To encourage more communication and sharing of experiences, we established in June an email address that allows you to contribute feedback, provide suggestions, or report any instances that made you uncomfortable. This email address remains available to our community. We want open two-way communication tools like this one to remain part of the fabric of our community. Your messages will go directly to an independent, outside team of professionals established for this purpose at email@example.com.
This email address will remain active while we continue to streamline and modernize our feedback processes. Your information, identity, and outreach will remain confidential unless you explicitly give the review team permission otherwise. You may also reach out directly to me or to any other member of the Chicago Sinai Board of Trustees Officers Committee at any time.
Dr. Alison Tothy
Chicago Sinai Board of Trustees