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Code of Ethics

Approved by the Congregation at the Annual Meeting June 2022

Who we are
Congregation Kol Ami is a progressive, Reform congregation rooted in a rich Jewish tradition, with a commitment to social justice, diversity, and a world in which all individuals are honored and connected. Our congregation celebrates an LGBTQ+ core at the center of a profoundly diverse community, Queer and Straight people; single, coupled, and families; Jews by Choice and Birth, Jews of Color; Interfaith couples and families; And those in 12 steps programs and those differently abled.
 
Congregation Kol Ami is a Reform Jewish community that exists in the context of our people’s covenantal relationship with God. Ours is a vibrant, multi-generational congregation, guided by tradition, grounded in the contemporary world, and infused with the sacred values of our faith.
 
Congregation Kol Ami is an inclusive Reform Jewish congregation that demonstrates respect for the needs of all. Through worship, learning, and a concern for social justice, we strive to better ourselves, our community, and the world at large.
 
Our Values
Our Jewish values embody the teaching that every human being is created in the image of God (b’tzelem Elohim). We, therefore, strive to hold ourselves to the highest standards of personal integrity, social responsibility, and human decency. When we behave ethically and hold ourselves accountable, Congregation Kol Ami is a safe, welcoming, and sacred environment.
 
This values-based code of ethics sets forth the principles and expectations for adherence to standards of conduct for our clergy, congregants, staff, visitors, and guests, whether participating in a Congregation Kol Ami activity that is in the building, online, or offsite.
 
Celebration of Diversity
Congregation Kol Ami welcomes all who wish to engage with our sacred community. If someone isn’t Jewish, there may be limitations on certain ritual participation that are limited to those who are formally Jewish.
 
We embrace everyone without regard to religious background, age, ability, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, or socioeconomic status.
 
We strive to make all who participate in our community feel a sense of belonging with the expectation that their ideas and concerns can be openly stated and responded to with respect.
 
Honesty (Kenut)
Congregation Kol Ami expects all who engage in our community to conduct themselves in an honest manner.
 
We promote open and honest communication that allows for addressing differences constructively.
 
We protect the confidentiality of privileged information, either about an individual or the synagogue and do not disclose it without permission. For example, this includes personnel information such as employment status, compensation, and performance review, as well as personal information about an individual’s health, financial status, or family matters.
 
We respect the efforts of others and do not take credit for their work.
 
We recognize, respect, and protect the intellectual property rights of our synagogue and others.
 
We obey copyright laws governing the use and distribution of published materials.
 
We make decisions regarding synagogue-related matters with transparency, openness, and accountability unless confidentiality dictates otherwise. For example, it is especially important that we protect the inadvertent and premature release of names of candidates for employment. This includes adhering to placement guidelines of the CCAR (Central Conference of American Rabbis), ACC (American Conference of Cantors), National Association of Temple Administration (NATA), ARJE (Association of Reform Jewish Educators,) and other Reform professional groups when hiring clergy or senior team members.
 
Integrity (Yosherah)
Congregation Kol Ami values acting with integrity.
 
We act solely according to the synagogue’s best interest when acting on its behalf.
 
We refrain from using one’s synagogue position for personal advantage or benefit. For example, we refrain from hiring or firing, rewarding or punishing staff or volunteers, and awarding or denying contracts based solely on personal considerations such as favoritism, nepotism, or bribery.
 
We conduct financial matters related to synagogue involvement with complete honesty. For example, we refrain from financial impropriety in decisions regarding restricted, committed, and discretionary funds.
 
We are bound by a sacred obligation to uphold financial agreements made with the synagogue. If a change in personal circumstances occurs, we will inform those charged with managing synagogue finances and make appropriate arrangements.
 
We conduct employment practices and related decision-making in an ethical and legal manner. We establish and enforce the appropriate policies and procedures to protect the employees of the congregation, such as fair employment policies, grievance reporting, and conflict resolution procedures.
 
Compassion (Rachamim)
Congregation Kol Ami embraces the fundamental value of performing acts of lovingkindness (g’milut chasadim).
 
We treat others with respect, dignity, fairness, and compassion.
We refrain from derogatory speech, negative talk, gossip, and slander, whether in person or on social media. We include racist, homophobic/transphobic, or misogynistic language as forms of speech or behavior that are unacceptable at Congregation Kol Ami.
 
We oppose bullying, including any unwanted behavior that degrades, humiliates, or oppresses another. Verbal, physical, or cyberbullying is never acceptable.
 
Justice (Tzedek)
Congregation Kol Ami believes everyone entering our sacred space has the right to feel safe and respected, and that we are morally and ethically responsible for one another (kol yisrael areivim zeh bazeh).
 
We do not tolerate sexual harassment, including unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, physical, written, or visual conduct of a sexual nature.
 
We do not tolerate acts or behaviors that exploit the vulnerability of another, take advantage of a power imbalance, compromise one’s moral integrity, or create an intimidating, offensive, abusive, or hostile environment.
 
We strive to protect those who appear to be the victims of abuse or neglect, including spousal abuse, child abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse, and other types of domestic violence.
 
Procedures for addressing allegations of unethical behavior are available on request from Congregation Kol Ami’s office.
 
Addressing Allegations of Unethical Behavior
The following procedures delineate how allegations of unethical behavior based on the Congregation Kol Ami Ethics Code will be addressed.
 
The Congregation Kol Ami Ethics Code will be made available to all congregants, staff, and clergy. Visitors and guests will be able to see the Code on request from the Congregation Kol Ami main office. The Code will also be published on the Congregation Kol Ami website. The Code, and Addressing Allegations of Unethical Behavior document, will be updated as appropriate. Examples contained in the Code are not all-inclusive.
 
The Synagogue president will appoint a congregant to chair an ad-hoc Ethics Committee for receiving and addressing allegations of unethical behavior. They will also select a minimum of three committee members based on the following qualities: integrity, leadership, independence, and ability to handle challenging situations. The synagogue president shall be an ex-officio member of the Ethics Committee. Synagogue president, if unable to serve, shall appoint a member of the Oversight Committee to serve in that capacity. Members of the Ethics Committee must recuse themselves if an allegation pertains to them in any way.
 
An allegation of unethical behavior should be directed to the synagogue president, rabbi, or Ethics Committee chair. To initiate an Ethics Committee process, the person who received the allegation will share the information with the other two. If the allegation pertains to any one of the three, that person must recuse themself.
 
If an allegation of unethical behavior pertains to a member of a professional organization with its own code of ethics such as the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), American College of Cantors (ACC), Association of Reform Jewish Educators (ARJE), National Association for Temple Administration (NATA), or Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), the Ethics Committee will determine whether to handle the allegation or refer it to the appropriate organization.
 
When an allegation of unethical behavior is made to the Ethics Committee chair, the chair will decide with the synagogue president whether they should consult independent legal counsel representing the synagogue. Where an allegation raises the possibility of imminent and substantial harm to the person(s) of concern, legal obligations will take precedence and supersede any procedures otherwise delineated by this Code. The synagogue president, in consultation with the Ethics Committee chair, may take such action as deemed appropriate.
 
The Ethics Committee will decide on a process that includes information gathering, deliberation, and resolution based on the particularities of each allegation that is received. All efforts will be made to resolve matters as promptly as possible.
 
Everyone involved in an Ethics Committee process is expected to comply with all Ethics Committee requests to assist in information gathering. All steps, from an initial allegation of unethical conduct to ultimate resolution, will be documented in writing by the Ethics Committee.
 
Confidentiality will be maintained throughout any Ethics Committee process to the extent practicable and consistent with thorough assessment and restoration of the matter.
 
All attempts will be made to protect those who make an allegation of unethical behavior from retaliation. Ethics Committee processes will balance the Jewish principles of judgment (din) and compassion (rachamim). All allegations will be responded to with sensitivity and compassion. Judgment will be withheld pending the completion of a full evaluation. During information gathering and/or consideration of a resolution for an ethics violation, the committee shall bear in mind that, as a sacred community, healing and reconciliation are important goals to achieve.
 
While there is no time limit to making an allegation of unethical behavior, the time that has elapsed since the alleged violation will be one of many factors in the totality of circumstances considered by the Ethics Committee.
 
Ethics inquiries for Kol Ami may be made to ethics@kol-ami.org
Fri, December 9 2022 15 Kislev 5783