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  • Broyde Circulated Times of Israel Article, Wrote “Do Not Believe Everything You Read”

    by Steven I. Weiss

    The Jewish Channel has learned that Rabbi Michael Broyde sent e-mails to the Atlanta Jewish community about an article that touted him as a leading candidate for the search for a new chief rabbi of England in 2012, an article that The Times of Israel now says was sourced, at least in part, to an alias connected to Broyde by a previous investigation by The Jewish Channel.

    A new story at The Times of Israel reports that an alias that The Jewish Channel revealed as belonging to Rabbi Michael Broyde was used as a source to report on the goings-on in the search for a new chief rabbi of England.

    The Times of Israel’s Miriam Shaviv reports the publication received 15 e-mails from someone identifying himself as “David Weissman.” The Jewish Channel previously reported that same name was used to comment positively on Broyde’s posts on the blog Hirhurim in April and July of 2012, with both Weissman comments coming from a Comcast subscriber IP address in Atlanta that The Jewish Channel confirmed matched with one used many times in Broyde’s signed correspondence, as well as on e-mails of an alias Broyde has admitting using, Rabbi Hershel Goldwasser. The Times of Israel piece does not contain any IP address information for the e-mails it received from the Weissman character, as those e-mails were sent from an account at Gmail, which does not include a sender’s IP address in e-mail metadata.

    The Times of Israel repeatedly used the Weissman character as a source on articles regarding the search for England’s chief rabbi and quoted the e-mails for months, before becoming suspicious of the Weissman character and ceasing to cite his correspondence.

    On August 9, 2012, Broyde sent one such article to the Atlanta Jewish community, warning “Stories like this come and go, and contain only some version of the truth — do not believe everything you read.”

    The full text of the e-mail follows, with contact information redacted.

    From: Michael J. Broyde
    To: Michael Broyde
    Sent: Thu, Aug 9, 2012 11:01 am
    Subject: Life

    Folks,

    A few of you have emailed me to tell me that I am the subject of a story in the Times of Israel (http://www.timesofisrael.com/top-us-law-prof-and-dayan-emerges-as-frontrunner-for-british-chief-rabbi-broyde-soloveichik-sacks/ which is being widely shared on facebook (I do not yet have a facebook account). Thank you for alerting me.

    Some have asked me how to respond even to media requests for comments, as you are almost without exception well known friends of mine. I can not tell you what to say or do, but I am not commenting at all, and I think that is the best approach for me now.

    Stories like this come and go, and contain only some version of the truth — do not believe everything you read. In law school we say “average people believe all that they read, smart people believe only half, and brilliant people know which half to believe.” In this issue, I am at best only in the group of smart people.

    All the best, and email me with thoughts as you think they can help.

    MJB
    Michael J. Broyde
    Professor of Law
    Emory University School of Law
    Atlanta, GA 30322
    V: XXXXX ; F: XXXXX; C: XXXX; E: XXXX@emory.edu .
    Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

    April 25, 2013 | Read more Newsdesk posts. 9 Comments »

    Comments

    9 Comments »

    1. What a disingenuous manipulator.

      Comment by Yerachmiel Lopin — April 25, 2013 @ 6:13 pm

    2. Don’t rush to judgement. Hubris and Scholarship are strange bedfellows. Recognize poor judgement for what it is without it infecting a sound body of legal and halachic scholarship.

      Comment by Thoughtful Professional — April 25, 2013 @ 6:23 pm

    3. One of the leading figures in modern Orthodoxy in America has been exposed as compulsive, brazen liar, and you counsel withholding judgment? Is the integrity of the posek of no importance at all? Seems like parts of the community worship learning so much they’re willing to give people a pass on morality and integrity. The best you can say is that Rabbi Broyde is obviously mentally ill and needs help. Those who are his true friends will try to help him understand that he needs help. It’s rachmanus at this point.

      Comment by Chayyim Schwartz — April 25, 2013 @ 8:36 pm

    4. I disagree with the comment above: “Rabbi Broyde is obviously mentally ill.” In my sole opinion, to which I am solely entitled, Rabbi Broyde has difficulty with the concepts of right versus wrong.

      He thinks “halachically”, that is to say, if something isn’t expressly forbidden, its open season to do it. Does he follow the concept that the “civil law” should be obeyed? We live in the United States of America. We do not live a society where Jews are required to break the law daily to save their lives.

      Consider this: He is a licensed attorney in the New York State bar. He is a professor of law at an accredited United States law school. Aside from his specialty areas (family law and Jewish law), he teaches a core course entitled “Legal Methods.” Here is a link to a 2009 summary for the course.

      http://www.law.emory.edu/uploads/media/legal_methods_fall_09.pdf

      So a man who, in my sole opinion to which I am solely entitled, has exceeded merely poor judgment and has displayed a systematic, long standing tactic to enhance his reputation by ways that Emory Law in its wisdom may or may not rule as unethical, is not “obviously mentally ill”. His scheme was rationally planned and executed over a long period of time. He attempted and was partially successful with a confidence game over some of Britain’s top rabbis: evidence the acknowledgements in the Koren Siddur and the present Chief Rabbi’s trip several years ago to visit his new Atlanta pal.

      Unlike all of us who may experience a second or two of stupid thinking which we dismiss as irrational either immediately or after a good night’s sleep, his actions required forethought, deliberation, and execution of a plan to reach a long term goal. This is NOT the behavior of someone mentally ill. It is the behavior of someone who believes (wrongly as it turned out) that he will get away with it.

      Whether he has any concept of the consequences of his actions on the lives of his students, his former congregants at Young Israel of Toco Hills (with whom he davens regularly) and all those who have relied on his integrity as a religious judge, including numerous converts, remains to be seen. His rush to explain himself in the Ha’artez interview granted within 36 hours (there was an intervening sabbath) of the publication of the initial story has in my sole opinion, all the elements resembling an animal caught in the glare of oncoming headlights and frozen in place.

      Since that interview, his friends have persuaded him to hold his tongue. Too bad. For those of you who have never heard him speak, Broyde in “runoff at the mouth” mode is very entertaining. Not profound. But amusing.

      The tragedy of Shakespearean proportions is that Broyde’s talent and work ethic could have been employed completely legitimately to great acclimation without resort to cheap chicanery. Does he have hubris? Yes. Does he deserve our empathy or sympathy? No. Not at all. He brought this on himself. Give some thought instead those whose lives he has played with under the name of “halacha”, & “dayan” debasing its meaning and intent.

      Comment by Toco Hills Zydnik — April 25, 2013 @ 11:20 pm

    5. Did I mention that he has also brought shame upon the Jewish People and the Torah by making himself an object of ridicule by the non-Jews?

      Check the blog links and see for yourself.

      Comment by Toco Hills Zydnik — April 25, 2013 @ 11:24 pm

    6. [...] Michael Broyde might be the first catfish rabbi.  For those unfamiliar, the term “catfish” was coined by a young man named Yaniv [...]

      Pingback by Catfish – The Rabbi Episode | Kol B'Isha Erva — April 26, 2013 @ 7:49 am

    7. Publishing personal emails… not really sure why this is news worthy and appropriate for TJC “news desk”. TJC coverage of this has gone from meticulously researched investigative journalism to a speculative witch hunt. There are real ethical issues at question here which deserve contemplation and respectful debate. The TJC coverage unfortunately is not in this vain; at times it appears at best sensational and at worst mean spirited.

      Comment by Eric Amster — April 29, 2013 @ 9:31 pm

    8. Eric, we are discussing a man’s behavior and the effects that behavior has had on the lives of people.

      This is not an abstract issue of contemplation. Its a real issue of fraud and deceit from someone who held himself out as possessing a high standard of integrity above that of other people.

      His behavior is deceitful. Do you agree? The sooner his acolytes start from that premise the sooner we can engage in your tone of respectful debate.

      Comment by Toco Hills Zydnik — April 30, 2013 @ 6:38 pm

    9. [...] I. Weiss von THE JEWISH CHANNEL, der zuerst über Broydes Mehrfachnamen und Täuschung berichtete, fügt hinzu: THE JEWISH CHANNEL hat erfahren, daß Rabbi Michael Broyde der jüdischen Gemeinschaft Atlanta [...]

      Pingback by Rabbi Michael Broyde benutzte falschen Namen, um für seine Kandidatur als Oberrabbiner von England zu werben | Criticomblog — May 4, 2013 @ 10:01 am

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