Baltimore rabbi expelled by national Jewish conference after misconduct allegations

A former rabbi at Temple Oheb Shalom in Northwest Baltimore has been expelled by the Central Conference of American Rabbis, a Jewish leadership organization based in New York, over ethical violations.

Rabbi Steven M. Fink had been suspended in August by the conference. That same month, the temple’s board of trustees unanimously voted to terminate Fink’s employment.

The conference website indicated Fink was expelled due to “a failure to comply with the terms of the suspension, which is a violation of the Ethics Code.”

Reached at his Pikesville home, Fink said the expulsion was a “travesty of justice” and that the underlying allegations of sexual misconduct that led to the suspension and then expulsion were “manufactured.”

“The synagogue used the Central Conference of American Rabbis as a vehicle to remove me. It is based on a plethora of lies,” Fink said.

Fink said the allegations were a way to push him out after he voiced opposition to renewing the contract of Rabbi Sarah R. Marion.

“The allegations are completely false and were fabricated by supporters of [Marion] to remove me from my position,” Fink said.

He said the conference expelled him because he spoke out in his defense. He said he gathered in the house of a supporter with 70 people to present his defense, which he said was against the terms of the suspension.

Neither the conference nor the synagogue could be reached for comment.

Fink said he is in mediation with the synagogue and is considering legal action. He has not been charged with a crime, according to Maryland court records.

The conference website states that though it “does not have the power to ‘defrock’ a rabbi, its expulsion sends a signal that a person is ‘unfit’ to serve as a rabbi under its Ethics Code.”

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