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Yeshiva U. Chancellor Norman Lamm Steps Down

Cites failure to go to the police after sexual abuse allegations

Adam Chandler
July 01, 2013

Back in December, the Forward began publishing some explosive stories centered around a sexual abuse scandal at Yeshiva University. From the school’s failure to notify authorities of the problem to the firing of a rabbi who went reportedly went on to continue acting inappropriately elsewhere, the scandal has only grown more intricate.

Today Yeshiva University Chancellor, Rabbi Norman Lamm announced his retirement in a letter/sermon, which ran on the JTA site today, in which he admitted some wrongdoing. Here’s a small excerpt:

At the time that inappropriate actions by individuals at Yeshiva were brought to my attention, I acted in a way that I thought was correct, but which now seems ill conceived. I understand better today than I did then that sometimes, when you think you are doing good, your actions do not measure up. You think you are helping, but you are not. You submit to momentary compassion in according individuals the benefit of the doubt by not fully recognizing what is before you, and in the process you lose the Promised Land.

In his letter, Lamm, who is 85, noted his six decades of affiliation with the institution, including almost 30 years as the president. As FailedMessiah reports, several sources claim Lamm is suffering from dementia.

Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.