Email from Temple Isaiah tells parents of investigation

Lafayette police are investigating an allegation of “inappropriate conduct of a temple employee toward a student” in the Temple Isaiah preschool, the Lafayette synagogue wrote in an email to parents and members last week. The subject of the email was “Serious Temple Issue.”

The alleged incident occurred at Gan Ilan Preschool, which serves 76 children ages 2 to 6. The nature of the conduct has not been disclosed, according to synagogue officials, but no charges had been filed as of March 10.

Temple Isaiah

In the March 4 letter, signed by Rabbis Roberto Graetz and Judy Shanks and synagogue president David Douglas, congregation members were told that the employee in question was placed on leave. The letter added: “We take this allegation very seriously … As parents ourselves, we are committed to doing what you would do under the circumstances: finding out what has — or has not — happened, acting quickly and appropriately, and communicating with our entire temple community.”

Contacted by J., Graetz said that since the allegation has been made public, school life has gone on, with Gan Ilan attendance remaining at normal levels.

“Nothing has been impacted,” Graetz said. “We have a sense that the community is very cohesive and very supportive. The teachers and parents all know something is going on and they are moving on as usual.”

KGO-Channel 7 reported the incident in an article on its website last week, but initially incorrectly identified the school as Contra Costa Jewish Day School, which is located on the Temple Isaiah campus. The ABC affiliate later corrected that mistake, also writing that “one mother told ABC7 News she is very concerned but she wants to remain anonymous.”

Another community member told J., “To tell you the truth, it seems that nobody knows anything, and if anyone does, they aren’t saying anything.”

Lafayette police would not comment on the nature of the allegation while the investigation is ongoing, and the Temple Isaiah letter summed up, “We ask that all of you respect the ongoing process and refrain from speculation or spreading unfounded rumors.  We will send out additional information as it becomes available.” — j. staff