Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Stop The Hugging! California Jewish Lawmaker Warned.

(JTA) — The California Senate reprimanded Sen. Bob Hertzberg over his habit of hugging people following complaints by two female legislators and a male sergeant-at-arms.

Hertzberg, who is Jewish, received a reprimand for his trademark hugs in a letter sent to him by the Senate Rules Committee, the Sacramento Bee reported Thursday.

“Any further similar behavior will result in the Rules Committee recommending more severe discipline,” the letter read.

The Senate launched an investigation into Hertzberg, a Los Angeles Democrat, after former Assemblywoman Linda Halderman alleged in mid-December that he pinned her in his arms and thrust his groin at her. She described the encounter in a Capitol hallway shortly after she was elected in 2010 as an assault, the Bee reported.

A probe concluded that Hertzberg likely hugged Halderman on one occasion but did not substantiate complaints that he hugged her multiple times in an unwanted manner, the report said. It found evidence of similar encounters with other people in 2014 and 2016.

The letter is the third time that the Senate has counseled Hertzberg about unwanted touching, according to the investigation.

In a statement, Hertzberg said he understands that he “cannot control how a hug is received, and that not everyone has the ability to speak up about unwelcome behavior.”

Hertzberg, who served as Assembly speaker from 2000 to 2002, previously apologized to “anyone who may have ever felt uncomfortable” and pledged to alter his greetings. He said he did not specifically remember any encounters with Halderman.

According to a profile in the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, Hertzberg’s grandparents were all immigrants from the Russian Pale of Settlement. His father, a lawyer, was fluent in Yiddish, and in 2016 Hertzberg wrote a booklet, “Yiddish for Legislators,” which he shared with colleagues.

The post No more hugging, California Senate tells Jewish lawmaker appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.