Congregations of Shaare Shamayim Rabbi Daniel Wolpe was terminated last week for an ethical violation, Executive Director Jacques Lurie said Nov. 6.
Lurie said the synagogue’s staff learned of the violation three weeks ago, then conducted its due diligence. The synagogue’s executive board terminated Wolpe, then informed the congregation board.
“Our board was deeply saddened but took swift and appropriate action,” Lurie said.
Lurie declined to elaborate on the specifics.
A letter about Wolpe’s dismissal was mailed to congregation members on Nov. 3, Lurie said. Wolpe had worked at Shaare Shamayim for about eight years.
“We are all dismayed by Rabbi Wolpe’s actions, and we know that many of our members will be equally disappointed to learn of his inappropriate contact. While it may be hard to reconcile his egregious actions with those of a man who also did much good in our congregation community, the facts are undeniable,” the letter from congregation President Fran Gabriel reads.
“Rabbi Wolpe’s recent actions represent a consistent pattern of disregard for the high standards that our Congregation expects and deserves from its clergy, and puts our good reputation at risk. Thus, his immediate termination was warranted,” the letter continues.
Wolpe could not be immediately reached for comment.
Wolpe previously worked at Temple Israel in Albany, N.Y., but resigned after 18 months on the job, according to a 2009 article in the Times Union. A synagogue official said the resignation was an internal personnel matter.
Wolpe grew up in Philadelphia and previously led congregations in Michigan and Florida. His father, Gerald, was also a rabbi and headed Har Zion Temple for many years. He died in 2013.
Lurie said the synagogue’s board will meet to discuss future plans, but noted that Shaare Shamayim has a “deep bench” of clergy.
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