Saturday, October 23, 2021

Park East President Writes Letter Explaining the Dismissal of Rabbi Goldschmidt

 Dear Park East Community,

As President of Park East Synagogue, I am writing to you  today about the recent events that have transpired over the last two weeks.
On Sunday October 10th, a meeting was held in the Synagogue with Assistant Rabbi Goldschmidt, Rabbi Arthur Schneier, myself and a respected leader of the congregation. At this meeting, Assistant Rabbi Goldschmidt unequivocally admitted to taking and disseminating, the full, non-public contact list of all synagogue members as well as parents of the Day School to two individuals that he has aligned himself with.  Assistant Rabbi Goldschmidt did this without first discussing it with and getting the approval from Rabbi Schneier or myself.  Moreover, he did this without asking the permission of the individuals and families who were contacted – an obligation that the Synagogue takes seriously.  After his admission, Assistant Rabbi Goldschmidt refused to apologize for his rogue actions.  In fact, he further enflamed the concerns of Rabbi Schneier and myself by additionally stating that he would continue to use and disseminate the list at his discretion. 

Divulging the personal information in this manner likely carries significant concerns for those involved. To date, and though he has been asked to do so, Assistant Rabbi Goldschmidt has also refused to return this confidential information and instead, has hired an attorney to threaten our institution in connection to his dismissal.Rather than discussing his concerns with Rabbi Arthur Schneier and myself, Assistant Rabbi Goldschmidt deliberately circumvented us, and permitted two other members, Brad Colman and Brian Kaufman, to communicate with the entire congregation.  Messrs. Colman and Kaufman are neither trustees, nor actively involved in the Synagogue or the Rabbi Arthur Schneier Park East Day School.  It is therefore not clear what led them to take such drastic action now, without first raising their concerns with Rabbi Schneier or myself.
All of us have come to love Rabbi Schneier – a Holocaust survivor and beacon for humanity- and we are fortunate to have been guided by his wisdom for the past 60 years.  For all these years, Rabbi Schneier has always conducted himself strictly and solely with the best intentions of each and every member of this congregation.  Please be assured that the termination of Assistant Rabbi Goldschmidt was done with much thought and consideration for all involved.  As such, the professional relationship between Assistant Rabbi Benjamin Goldschmidt and Park East Synagogue has been permanently severed.   

The motto of our Synagogue, L’dor V’dor, from generation to generation, is not challenged, compromised or stymied as a result of recent events.  I am pleased to inform you that an executive search committee has been established to find prospective leading rabbis with a view toward choosing one who has the intellectual heft, dynamism, and experience in leading a congregation, someone with wisdom and a demonstrated ability to inspire Jews of all ages and levels of observance. Our motto speaks as loudly today as ever before, and we will continue to strengthen our Synagogue for future generations.
Herman Hochberg

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Motto, Shmotto.
There is much more to the firing of the much loved and respected Rabbi Goldschmidt then using the membership list.
And doesn't Rabbi Schneier, a 91 year old Holocaust survivor, think it's appropriate to take a back seat and let the younger generation lead the congregation?
This boardmember Hochberg wrote a lousy letter, and should retire too.