President of International Association of Conservative Rabbis Quits Post Citing 'Sexual Identity' Questions

In letter to his Dallas congregation, Rabbi William Gershon says his struggle with sexual identity questions led to 'inappropriate actions' outside his marriage.

Rabbi William Gershon at an AIPAC conference video.
AIPAC / YouTube

Rabbi William Gershon, the president of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly, quit his congregational post in Dallas, citing apparent marital infidelity and questions about his sexuality, and took a leave of absence from his position with the Assembly.

“I am very saddened to admit, both to you and to myself, that even as I strove to be present in the lives of so many people, I could not be truly present with myself,” Gershon wrote to his congregation, Shearith Israel, in a letter first posted by the Dallas Morning News.

“I have wrestled for many years with questions of my sexual identity but was unable to understand, accept and integrate this most personal and intimate aspect of myself,” he wrote. “I regret that this struggle led me to take inappropriate actions outside my marriage that caused great pain to my family.”

Gershon, who was installed as the president of the Conservative movement’s rabbinical arm in 2014, has one month left in his term and will take a leave of absence for that time, said Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, the RA’s executive vice president.

“Rabbi Gershon has made great contributions both on the public stage and in the lives of countless individuals,” she said in a statement emailed to JTA. “As we prepare for Passover, I will keep in mind the many inspiring insights that he has taught me.”