Temple Sholom Ethics Code
Approved July 9th, 2023
PART 1: INTRODUCTION
Temple Sholom is a strong, self-reliant Jewish congregation in Galesburg, Illinois, welcoming all who identify as Jewish and their families in an inclusive and accepting community. We are proud of our centuries-old Jewish presence in Galesburg and dedicated to continuing a positive, engaged Jewish presence in the larger community. We are affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism and committed to the intellectual openness, dedication to social justice, and respect for individual difference central to the Reform tradition. We are committed to maintaining regular worship services, active Jewish learning, and passing on Jewish identity and values to our children. Our purpose is to nurture meaningful Jewish lives in keeping with the religious practices and ideals of Reform Judaism.
Together with our Statement of Values and Priorities (adopted March 7, 2018), this code of ethics sets forth the principles and expectations for adherence to standards of conduct for our clergy, congregants, staff, visitors, and guests, whether participating in a Temple Sholom activity that is in the building, online, or offsite.
PART 2: CODE OF ETHICS
EXEMPLIFY HOLINESS (K’DUSHAH)
Temple Sholom welcomes all who wish to engage with our sacred community.
✡ We embrace everyone without regard to religious background, age, ability, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, or socioeconomic status.
✡ We strive to make all who participate in our community feel a sense of belonging with the expectation that their ideas and concerns can be openly stated and responded to with respect.
Temple Sholom expects all who engage in our community to conduct themselves in an honest manner.
✡ We promote open and honest communication that allows for addressing differences constructively.
✡ We protect the confidentiality of privileged information, either about an individual or the synagogue, and do not disclose it
without permission. For example, this includes personnel information such as employment status, compensation, and performance review, as well as personal information about an individual’s health, financial status, or family matters.
✡ We respect the efforts of others and do not take credit for their work.
✡ We recognize, respect, and protect the intellectual property rights of our synagogue and others. We obey copyright laws governing the use and distribution of published materials.
Temple Sholom values acting with integrity.
✡ We act solely according to the synagogue’s best interest and that reflects our core values when acting on its behalf.
✡ We refrain from using one’s synagogue position for personal advantage or benefit. For example, we refrain from hiring or firing, rewarding or punishing staff, members, or volunteers, and awarding or denying contracts based solely on personal considerations.
✡ We conduct financial matters related to synagogue involvement with complete honesty.
✡ We are bound by sacred obligation to uphold financial agreements made with the synagogue. If a change in personal circumstances occurs, we will inform those charged with managing synagogue finances and make appropriate arrangements.
✡ We conduct employment practices and related decision-making in an ethical and legal manner. We establish and enforce the appropriate policies and procedures to protect the employees of the congregation, such as fair employment policies, grievance reporting, and conflict resolution procedures.
✡ We foster an environment and policies that promote respect for every individual in our congregation and our community, regardless of: ancestry, age, disability (mental, physical or emotional), genetic information, gender, gender identity or expression, marital status, medical condition, military or veteran status, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, financial means, or political affiliation.
Temple Sholom embraces the fundamental value of performing acts of lovingkindness (g’milut chasadim). ✡ We treat others with respect, dignity, fairness, and compassion.
✡ We refrain from derogatory speech and slander, whether in person or on social media.
✡ We oppose bullying, including any unwanted behavior that degrades, humiliates, or oppresses another. Verbal, physical, or written bullying, whether in person or online, is never acceptable.
✡ We do not tolerate sexual harassment, including unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, physical, written, or visual conduct of a sexual nature.
✡ We do not tolerate acts or behaviors that exploit the vulnerability of another, take advantage of a power imbalance, compromise one’s moral integrity, or create an intimidating, offensive, abusive, or hostile environment.
✡ We strive to protect those who appear to be the victims of abuse or neglect, including spousal abuse, child abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse, and other types of domestic violence.
Temple Sholom believes everyone entering our sacred space has the right to feel safe and respected, and that we are morally and ethically responsible for one another. Our methods for doing so will be detailed in the “allegations of unethical procedure” section below.
PART 3: SHORT VERSION ADDRESSING ALLEGATIONS OF UNETHICAL BEHAVIOR
Temple Sholom Ethics Code will be made available to all congregants, staff, and clergy. The Code will also be published on the Temple Sholom website. The Code, and Addressing Allegations of Unethical Behavior document, will be updated as appropriate. Examples contained in the Code are not all-inclusive.
THE FOLLOWING PROCEDURES DELINEATE HOW ALLEGATIONS OF UNETHICAL BEHAVIOR BASED ON THE TEMPLE SHOLOM ETHICS CODE WILL BE ADDRESSED.
✡ The synagogue president will also serve as the chair of the ad hoc Ethics Committee for receiving and addressing allegations of unethical behavior. The president will also select a minimum of two additional committee members drawn from members of the congregation based on the following qualities: integrity, leadership, independence, and ability to handle challenging situations. The synagogue president, if unable to serve, shall appoint a member of the Executive Committee to serve in that capacity. Members of the Ethics Committee must recuse themselves if an allegation pertains to them in any way.
✡ An allegation of unethical behavior, oral or in writing, should be directed to the synagogue president or rabbi. In order to initiate an Ethics Committee process, the person who received the allegation will share the information with the president. If the complaint is received verbally, the rabbi or president will be responsible for writing up a summary of the complaint as a precursor to constituting the Ethics Committee. If the allegation pertains to the president or rabbi, that person must recuse themselves.
✡ If an allegation of unethical behavior pertains to a member of a professional organization with its own code of ethics such as the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), American Conference of Cantors (ACC), Association of Reform Jewish Educators (ARJE), National Association for Temple Administration (NATA), or Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), the Ethics Committee will determine whether to handle the allegation or refer it to the appropriate organization.
✡ Where an allegation raises the possibility of imminent and substantial harm to the person(s) of concern, legal obligations will take precedence and supersede any procedures otherwise delineated by this Code. The synagogue president or rabbi may take such action as deemed appropriate.
✡ The Ethics Committee will decide on a process that includes information gathering, deliberation, and resolution based on the particularities of each allegation that is received. All efforts will be made to resolve matters as promptly as possible.
✡ Everyone involved in an Ethics Committee process is expected to comply with all Ethics Committee requests to assist in information gathering. All steps, from an initial allegation of unethical conduct to ultimate resolution, will be documented in writing by the Ethics Committee.
✡ Confidentiality will be maintained throughout any Ethics Committee process to the extent practicable and consistent with thorough assessment and restoration of the matter.
✡ All attempts will be made to protect those who make an allegation of unethical behavior from retaliation.
✡ Ethics Committee processes will balance the Jewish principles of judgment (din) and compassion (rachamim). All allegations will be responded to with sensitivity and compassion. Judgment will be withheld pending completion of a full evaluation. During information gathering and/or consideration of a resolution for an ethics violation, the committee shall bear in mind that, as a sacred community, healing and reconciliation are important goals to achieve.