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  • Investigation Update: Rabbinical Court Judge Apologizes for “Error of Judgment”

    by Steven I. Weiss

    Rabbi Michael Broyde, the subject of an investigation published less than an hour ago by The Jewish Channel, who denied creating a pseudonym with which to join a rival professional rabbinic group and to correspond with scholarly journals citing his own work, has admitted his creation of the character and apologized in an e-mail to a past president of the International Rabbinic Fellowship, Rabbi Barry Gelman:

    Dear Barry,

    I am writing to apologize to you as the former president of the IRF for an error of judgment on my part.

    About twenty years ago, I and a friend began jointly occasionally using a pseudonym to write about matters of halacha and Jewish public policy. The views expressed were not reflective of an overall joint ideology, but we wished to write together on some matters to see if we could form a common opinion, albeit one not each of us agreed with completely. This pen name had a literary career for about 15 years, and included letters to the editor to various Torah publications as well as other comments, publications and emails.

    At one point when we were both interested in the IRF and considering joining, this pseudonym joined the IRF and participated vigorously in the debates on its internal email list, which we found full of wise and interesting comments. All of this stopped about three or four years ago and I have no access to those emails any more.

    I realize that being an IRF member through a pseudonym was inappropriate. I am sorry. Please understand that no malice was intended and my participation was not intended to interfere with the growth or success of the IRF.

    I said and did nothing after I stopped using this name as I thought that silence was simply better for all of us. But it is clear to me that my conduct was inappropriate and I have regretted it for a while. I hope you and the other members of the IRF will forgive me for this error on my part.

    Recently, someone else who I don’t know has started posting using this pen name which has encouraged a journalist to investigate my pseudonymous activity. While I had hoped to put this all behind me, I realize now that I cannot do this without first apologizing to the people I deceived.

    So I share this with you as the president of the IRF at that time and I really and sincerely do apologize.

    I express my apologies to those IRF members who were deceived by the device, if I have not already done so in private. This was an error in judgment on my part and I hope that you and the IRF will forgive me.

    I intend to apologize publicly as well but I reach out to you first now as a friend and a colleague. Please share this with other members of the IRF, to whom I also send my apologies.

    Shabbat Shalom,

    MJB

    April 12, 2013 | Read more Newsdesk posts. 9 Comments »

    Comments

    9 Comments »

    1. [...] The Jewish Channel 1 and 2. Tweet reddit_url = [...]

      Pingback by Thoughts on the Rabbi Michael Broyde Situation — April 12, 2013 @ 10:07 am

    2. This is all a misunderstanding. My secular name is Harold and I am a lifelong resident of Atlanta, where I still reside part-time. I send my e-mail through Atlanta and Emory-based addresses.

      Comment by Hershel Goldwasser — April 12, 2013 @ 10:32 am

    3. If this was a private email to Gelman, how did TJC get it?

      Comment by Wondering — April 12, 2013 @ 11:46 am

    4. The torah teaches us that a king (and I read anyone in power) has to be limited on possessions. A king can’t have too many wives, horses etc. Someone like Broyde who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth just keeps pushing for more and more power and no one ever said “no” to him.

      Comment by Debbie — April 12, 2013 @ 1:08 pm

    5. Who cares? What did he do that was wrong? He posted under a fake name to debate torah? I doubt there was any wrong intention. People hated on rabbeinu tam as well, I guess.

      Comment by John — April 13, 2013 @ 2:03 pm

    6. [...] remember.”) But shortly after Weiss’ story appeared, he admitted responsibility in an email of apology to one of the rabbis on the invaded listserv. About twenty years ago, I and a friend [...]

      Pingback by What's wrong with a Jewish law judge's sock puppetry? | Spiritual Politics — April 15, 2013 @ 3:18 am

    7. [...] and traced the character’s online footprint back to Rabbi Broyde, who at first denied but later admitted to creating the fake [...]

      Pingback by Emory Law Professor Is Accused of Creating a Fake Identity to Tout His Work - The Ticker - The Chronicle of Higher Education — April 15, 2013 @ 5:39 pm

    8. I say ‘what is the big deal’. Maybe a minor transgression at worst.

      There’s been a mass media attack on Judaism for millenia, seems to be ramped up lately (see the article in NYT blaming circumcision for a handful of herpes cases in babies, this article about Broyde).

      It’s amazing that ultra reform, Israel-hating, Jewish leaders are never attacked in the mass media. Gosh, I wonder why?

      Comment by jim — April 16, 2013 @ 4:48 am

    9. [...] Religion at Emory University and last year reportedly a contender for next UK Chief Rabbi – writes to a past president of the International Rabbinic Fellowship: About twenty years ago, I and a friend [...]

      Pingback by » Sockpuppeting Rabbi Claims He Used a “Pseudonym” Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion — April 20, 2013 @ 4:43 am

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