May 6, 2021: A CCAR Ethics Update from Rabbis Lewis Kamrass and Hara Person

There is no place in society for sexual abuse. It is heartbreaking to hear of these painful experiences that nobody should ever go through. At the CCAR, we are listening, learning, and using this as an opportunity to create real change.

CCAR takes seriously the elevated role that faith-based organizations hold in peoples’ lives. We recognize our responsibility to uphold the sacred relationships and trust that our community places on CCAR rabbis, and we are committed to transparency and accountability.

The allegations surrounding Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman’s actions more than 20 years ago are deeply troubling, as are questions that have been raised about CCAR’s investigation of those circumstances. While the members of CCAR’s current senior staff were not part of the organization at that time, we embrace the responsibility of critically examining our past and responding constructively to what we learn.

We are pleased that Alcalaw, a trauma-informed, women-led law firm experienced in handling matters involving sexual misconduct, has agreed to conduct a neutral, third-party investigation into the CCAR’s ethics process. Investigations like this take time in order to be done thoroughly and accurately. Their team has already established a reporting hotline, and we encourage people to bring forth information about the CCAR’s handling of any previously filed ethics complaints. CCAR is eager to learn the results of the investigation and will use that to inform our next steps.

This is a galvanizing moment that will enable CCAR to create meaningful change. While our hearts ache to hear of the pain being expressed at this time, we welcome the challenges of this moment because the important learning that will result will help shape the future of our ethics process. The information that will emerge from this investigation will enable us to build a strong and healthy future for the Reform rabbinate and the communities we serve.

If you would like to report information about the CCAR’s handling of a previously filed ethics complaint, contact Alcalaw LLP at If you would like to file a new ethics complaint, contact the CCAR Ethics Committee at




Rabbi Lewis Kamrass, President
Rabbi Hara Person, Chief Executive
Central Conference of American Rabbis