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Founder of the Abraham Geiger College: Walter Homolka renounces his candidacy for the Union of Progressive Jews


The Union of Progressive Jews must elect a new chairman. Rabbi Walter Homolka will no longer stand for election – and is thus giving up another office in the run-up to new investigation results into the abuse of power.

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Walter Homolka in August 2021 in Potsdam: On Wednesday, the Central Council of Jews wants to publish the results of its investigation into the cause


Varvara Smirnova / IMAGO

The controversial rabbi Walter Homolka is retiring from another leadership role: In an internal letter to the executives of the Union of Progressive Jews in Germany, which is available to SPIEGEL, the founder of the rabbinical school Abraham Geiger Kolleg announced that he would run for office again waive.

He justified this by saying that the Central Council of Jews wanted to "massively influence" the elections with the early publication of an investigation against him.

On Monday evening, Homolka had already announced that he would hand over the management of rabbi training.

According to a statement from the institute, the college is to be restructured and become a foundation.

Homolka has been chairman of the Union of Progressive Jews, which brings together liberal Jewish communities, since 2017.

However, he let this and other offices rest: in May allegations of abuse of power and sexualized harassment at the Abraham Geiger College became known.

The SPIEGEL also reported on the apparently toxic system in the training, at the center of which was Managing Director Homolka.

Criticism of the time of publication

Since then, the allegations have been investigated by various parties.

The University of Potsdam, to which the Abraham Geiger College is affiliated, came to the conclusion in a review published in October that the allegation of abuse of power had been partially confirmed - but not the allegation of toleration of sexualized harassment.

more on the subject

  • "Climate of fear" at rabbinical school: University of Potsdam sees allegations of abuse of power partially confirmed by Armin Himmelrath

  • Scandal surrounding the Abraham Geiger College in Potsdam: allegations of harassment at the center for rabbi training by Juliane Löffler

  • Allegations against lecturers at the Abraham Geiger College: Central Council of Jews expands investigation

This Wednesday, the Central Council of Jews wants to publish the results of its investigation into the cause - and has received criticism from Homolka in advance.

He described the planned publication through his lawyer as premature because he only submitted a statement on Sunday.

The Central Council, in turn, accused Homolka of delaying tactics and a lack of cooperation.

"Not aware of any guilt"

Homolka's renunciation of the candidacy for the Union of Progressive Jews is related to the investigative report of the Central Council.

In his letter, Homolka informed the board of the Union that at the time of publication he saw "an attempt by the Central Council to exert massive political influence on the Union of Progressive Jews as an independent religious body".

He described the Central Council's allegations as "largely identical" to the points made by the university commission.

He was "not aware of any guilt" - "neither legally nor morally".

He no longer assumes a “neutral investigation based on constitutional standards”.

Since "an unencumbered decision-making by the Union about its future leadership is important to him," he decided not to run.


Source: spiegel

All life articles on 2022-12-07

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