August 4, 2021: A CCAR Ethics Update from Rabbi Hara Person

As I shared last week, our investigation into the history and application of the CCAR’s ethics process, as well as into matters that took place before that process was in place, is moving toward the conclusion of the listening phase of the work. Our legal team at Alcalaw has asked anyone who would like to speak with them to do so by August 27, 2021. You can contact Alcalaw here.

Before that date arrives, I want to once again share some thoughts about this process and, specifically, its scope and anticipated outcomes.

In the fall of 2020, I asked the CCAR Board to invest in a deep and rigorous assessment and review of our ethics process. In becoming CCAR’s Chief Executive, it became clear to me that it was time to do this work, as difficult as it might be, because we had an obligation to our members and the communities they serve. Much has changed since our current ethics process was established, and though I am proud that continual updates are built into our system and happen almost annually, I had come to understand it was time to take a step back and engage in an even deeper reflective process with the goal of creating a fully upgraded system for the 21st century. The CCAR Board enthusiastically supported this process and voted to commit significant resources to it.

The investigation by Alcalaw will now form one part of that assessment and review process. The investigation has two primary areas of focus:

First, we have asked Alcalaw to focus on our ethics process—where and how it has worked and, as importantly, where and how it has been flawed, and why some have been reluctant to come forward at all. We did this because the CCAR is committed to making practical, systemic, and meaningful changes to this system moving forward. Once Alcalaw has completed its work, we will commence a process to rebuild and strengthen the ethics system based upon the information learned.

Second, we are deeply focused on the need for the institutional reckoning and t’shuvah that we know must be part of this process in order to help bring about healing. Therefore, we strongly encourage anyone to share their story with the Alcalaw team, regardless of whether or not it was reported to the Ethics Committee. Over the coming months, as we move into the next steps of this process, having the fullest possible picture of our own past will be critical to guiding our repentance. We also continue to encourage people to be in touch with the Ethics Committee to report new cases.

I know that many of you have already participated in this investigation process, and we are very grateful for that. I want to again encourage anyone who may have a story to share to reach out to the Alcalaw team before August 27, 2021. As I said last week, we understand these can be painful and even triggering conversations but, for those who feel comfortable sharing, these stories are so important in creating a record that will enable us to do the work of repair for the future.


Rabbi Hara E. Person, Chief Executive
Central Conference of American Rabbis