We are disturbed that Rabbi Shalman has been able to escape his sordid past and once again be in active ministry. At the same time, we are proud of the response from community members, most notably Rabbi Keith Karnofsky, who have openly spoken out against Shalman returning to the pulpit and done his part to warn church goers of Shalman’s crimes.
In order for real change to happen, efforts like those of Rabbi Karnofsky must become commonplace, not rare. We are glad to see that he has taken the lead in this situation, and hope that the rest of the members of the Buffalo Board of Rabbis will follow his example.
At the same time, we are dismayed that people – such as Hillel Board Chairman Dan Lenard – are excusing Shalman’s sexual impropriety due to his knowledge of the Torah. Rather, we think that those who practice the morals taught in Torah rather than know its contents are better fit to lead temple services.
We hope that everyone involved in the Buffalo Jewish community will choose to emulate Rabbi Karnofsky instead of Lenard. And we hope that anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered misdeeds by Rabbi Shalman will come forward, get help, call police, expose wrongdoing, protect others and start healing.