June 8, 2012
Letter to the Editor: The Curious Case of Rabbi Alan Abrams
Letter to the Editor
Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles
June 8, 2012
As the volunteer and professional leaders of The Board of Rabbis of Southern California, we were profoundly disturbed to read “The Curious Case of Rabbi Alan Abrams.” We thank Jonah Lowenfeld and the Jewish Journal for your thorough and incisive investigative reporting. We are two rabbis who have cared for our own elderly parents and other relatives in recent months, and know firsthand the fragile and vulnerable nature of many senior citizens in our community. Anyone who commits elder abuse and fraud under the guise of the title “rabbi” should be sanctioned and prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.
We reiterate that “Rabbi” Alan Abrams is not nor ever will be a member of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California. Our organization maintains high standards of rabbinic education and professional conduct for candidates for membership and for colleagues who are admitted as members of the Board of Rabbis. We work closely with the leaders of recognized international rabbinic organizations to ensure that our members adhere to these standards, and, when necessary, to investigate and censure them when they fail to do so.
Sadly, individuals can and do falsify credentials and assume titles they did not earn. We urge members of the community and communal institutions to be vigilant when interviewing rabbis and conducting background checks on anyone who offers to provide rabbinic services. We especially encourage health care institutions to contact the office of the Board of Rabbis for chaplaincy services, since we have many skilled and certified rabbi chaplains in our membership roster.
Rabbi Judith HaLevy, President
Rabbi Mark S. Diamond, Executive Vice President
The Board of Rabbis of Southern California
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles