Accusation of Sexual Harassment at University of Potsdam (Frankel College)
We want to make you aware of a situation that is unfolding with the Zacharias Frankel College in Berlin, one of our 5 Conservative/Masorti ordaining institutions, and accusations of sexual misconduct against Rabbi Dr. Walter Homolka.
The Frankel College is a program of the University of Potsdam, one of Germany’s major public universities, and it operates under the supervision of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at American Jewish University, with Brad Artson serving as Dean and Cheryl Peretz as Associate Dean. Day to day operations are overseen by Dr. Sandra Anusiewicz-Baer, COO. Through the University of Potsdam, the College is also related to the Abraham Geiger Kolleg (a rabbinical school affiliated with the Reform Movement) and the University of Potsdam’s non-sectarian School of Jewish Theology.
The central figure in those spaces, who is the Dean of the Geiger College and who also serves as the CEO of the Frankel College, is Walter Homolka, who has now been accused of sexual misconduct. Rabbi Dr. Homolka (not an RA member) has taken a leave of absence from all of his leadership posts as an investigation by the University of Potsdam proceeds. The RA joins the Frankel College and the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in making clear that these are serious charges, and we are very concerned for the well being of the students and faculty. All parties will cooperate fully with any outside investigation by the University or legal authorities.
Along with Brad and Cheryl, we have consulted closely with Sandra, and also with Gesa Ederberg, Our RA’s Treasurer who is based in Berlin. All are working to ensure the well being of Frankel’s students and the faculty, and to evaluate next steps needed to ensure the vibrant future of the Frankel College.
Our leadership is in close consultation and we will keep you informed.
Harold Kravitz, President
Jacob Blumenthal, CEO