Bethesda synagogue grapples …

Washington Post

Bethesda synagogue grapples with presence of rabbi convicted of sex crime

By Michelle Boorstein,

Published: October 26

The early months of 2012 at Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Synagogue were busy with the things typical for a liberal congregation: a phone bank for gay marriage, a silent retreat, a weekend study session on unorthodox ideas such as observing Sabbath through dance and movement.

Then in February, David Kaye, a longtime Montgomery County rabbi and registered sex offender, started attending Saturday services.

Adat Shalom’s three clergy had quickly agreed to a request from Kaye to pray at the synagogue, believing his presence to be in keeping with Adat Shalom’s identity as an open, diverse spiritual community where all are welcome.

Through the spring and early summer, Kaye was a part of the congregation. He came for Sabbath and oneg, the post-service lunch. He stood with other mourners to say the communal prayer for the dead, for his parents. He went to the silent retreat.

But over the months, discomfort with Kaye’s presence in some quarters of the 500-family congregation grew. Finally, he was asked to leave.

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