Here is the note I sent to the congregation earlier today.
Yes, it makes for interesting reading next to my comments at Mayor Cammarano's inauguration (see below).
You may have seen the news reports this morning about the arrest of Hoboken's Mayor Peter Cammarano, as well as various other political leaders and religious leaders in New Jersey, by the FBI in a wide-ranging corruption and money laundering probe. (Linkhttp://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/07/nj_officials_ny_rabbis_caught.html).
Many of us find these arrests shocking. If the allegations are true, these political and religious leaders have violated the public trust in a major and unacceptable way and need to suffer the consequences of their actions. The situation is a reminder to us of the high degree of ethical behavior we demand from our public officials and institutional leaders. I hope that the judicial system will yield just verdicts in their cases. In the meantime, I think of them and their families and empathize with what they are going through right now. They are innocent until proven guilty, and if any of them are innocent, I hope that this can be discovered swiftly with minimum further disruption to their lives.
You may also have seen that among those arrested were some rabbis, and some Jewish institutions in Brooklyn NY and Deal NJ are under investigation. That the headlines include the words "Hoboken" and "rabbis" and "arrested" has already led several people to contact the synagogue with concern about whether our synagogue is involved, or whether I am involved. The answer, as you certainly guessed, is categorically "no." I learned about this situation for the first time at about 9am this morning. It goes without saying that our synagogue's financial management is a model of ethical propriety. Our community has absolutely no ties to the Jewish institutions which are being investigated.
As we pray each Shabbat morning:
"Our God and God of our ancestors, we ask your blessings upon our city, and our country,
and its leaders and advisors, and all who exercise just and rightful authority.
Teach them insights of your Torah, so they may administer all affairs of state fairly,
so that peace and security, happiness and prosperity, justice and freedom, may forever abide in our midst."
Rabbi Robert Scheinberg
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