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  • The Rabbi Behind the Screen

    by Steven I. Weiss

    An investigation by The Jewish Channel reveals a fake rabbi’s connections to a leading rabbinical court judge.

    A leading Orthodox rabbi and esteemed law professor appears to have created a fake professional identity which he used to gain access to members-only correspondence of a rival rabbinic group and tout his own work. The fake identity may also have been used to submit letters to scholarly journals.

    Rabbi Michael Broyde is well-known in both the fields of Jewish scholarship and law, and according to veteran British Jewish news reporter Miriam Shaviv, he was also on the shortlist of candidates being considered for chief rabbi of England in recent months, in an article saying that the chancellor of Yeshiva University had called him “the finest mind of his generation.” He is a rabbinical court judge, or dayan, on the largest rabbinical court in the United States, the Beth Din of America. Broyde is also a law professor at the U.S. News & World Report 23rd-ranked law school in the country at Emory University, where he is also Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion. His Emory biography declares that he “has published more than 75 articles and book chapters on various aspects of law and religion and Jewish law,” including in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy and the Emory Law Journal. The author or editor of several books, he is a prominent figure in rabbinic circles, where his detailed arguments and strong opinions regarding matters of practice and communal standards have produced alliances and opposition. He was also the founding rabbi of the Young Israel of Toco Hills, in Atlanta, Georgia.

    Rabbi Hershel Goldwasser has been published in multiple scholarly journals and been a part of numerous online dialogues with other Orthodox rabbis. But Goldwasser does not appear to be a real person. In examining voter registration records, contacting rabbis in areas where he was said to have lived, and in research by yeshiva archivists, no record of his existence has been found over the course of The Jewish Channel’s investigation. Yet the Goldwasser character’s name and e-mail address have been used to publish correspondence that frequently touts Broyde’s work. The Goldwasser character has generated correspondence over nearly 20 years. Going back to the early 1990s, the Goldwasser character has published letters in such well-regarded journals of Jewish thought as Tradition and Conservative Judaism.

    The Goldwasser character also joined a professional rabbinic organization that rivals the one of which Broyde is a member, giving the Goldwasser character access to thousands of messages a year through its members-only listserv e-mail discussions and other members-only correspondence regarding its plans and positions. And while the Goldwasser character consistently claimed to be corresponding with that organization from a home in Israel, the Internet Protocol, or IP, addresses attached to those e-mails show they were sent from a Comcast subscriber in Atlanta and from Emory University facilities. Those IP addresses match precisely with IP addresses attached to other correspondence signed by Broyde from both locations. The Goldwasser character has also been used for other means, such as commenting on blogs and engaging in scholarly correspondence.

    An IP address is assigned to every computer that connects to the Internet, and is noted in metadata attached to every e-mail and web interaction. Internet search engines allow researchers to determine the approximate location and institution for any IP address and, by seeing if IP addresses match, to determine whether two e-mails or web comments were sent from the same computer.

    In an April 11th phone interview with The Jewish Channel, Broyde denied that he had created the Goldwasser character, or used the character’s name for professional correspondence. Broyde claimed that Goldwasser was “not my character,” and was in fact a real person who had moved to Israel “ten years ago, or something like that, maybe more, I don’t remember.” Asked how this person in Israel could have sent e-mails that had the same IP addresses as correspondence from Broyde showing the e-mails originated from a Comcast subscriber in Atlanta and at Emory University, Broyde claimed not to know what IP addresses are or what they mean, and that he was “not denying” that the IP addresses were identical for Goldwasser and Broyde, simply saying “I don’t know” what the technology is.

    [Update, 1:00 PM: Broyde has written a letter admitting to having created the character, and apologizing for it.]

    Joining A Group Where He Wasn’t A Member

    The Goldwasser character became a member of an upstart Orthodox rabbinical group, the International Rabbinical Fellowship, or IRF, which was founded in 2008 as a more-liberal rival to the group of which Broyde is a member, the 90-year-old Rabbinical Council of America, or RCA. With that membership, the Goldwasser character gained access to a members-only e-mail listserv with which he could remain apprised of members’ plans and ideological arguments. Broyde has often written or spoken publicly about the members of the IRF and the positions they’ve taken, sometimes expressing strong disagreement or condemnation, and sometimes expressing support for their positions.

    Multiple rabbis who would not speak on the record out of concern for their careers said Broyde would occasionally speak about the IRF’s plans and discussions as though he had direct knowledge of them, even though he was not a member. According to these rabbis, when Broyde was asked how he’d obtained the exclusive information, he’d say that he obtained it from anonymous sources.

    A Supportive Opinion

    The Goldwasser character would also engage in ideological arguments on the e-mail listserv — often using the seemingly fake identity to cite or tout Broyde’s own work.

    Indeed, in one of the earliest examples of the Goldwasser character uncovered by The Jewish Channel — a letter to Conservative Judaism from 1996 responding to an article by leading Conservative Rabbi Elliot Dorff — the Goldwasser character declares Broyde’s article in the 1988 National Jewish Law Review as “the classical article in the area” of parentage in Jewish law. In a letter to Tradition – which is the scholarly journal published by the RCA, of which Broyde is a member and which is affiliated with his rabbinical court, the Beth Din of America — the Goldwasser character wrote in a letter that he would be “stealing freely from the methodology of Rabbi Broyde’s reply to a prior piece,” referring to an exchange in Jewish Action where Goldberg and the real person of Broyde debated the same topic.

    The Goldwasser character was used to engage in public discourse with leading rabbis with whom Broyde already had professional relationships. He wrote to Jewish Action to criticize an article by Rabbi Emanuel Feldman, who had previously been rabbi of the Orthodox synagogue in Atlanta, Beth Jacob, to which Broyde’s Young Israel was an upstart competitor at the time. The Goldwasser character wrote to Tradition twice over a span of ten years: the argument with Goldberg, and an argument with Agudath Israel’s Rabbi Dovid Zwiebel, who is also seen as a major figure in the area of Judaism’s interaction with American law.

    In perhaps the most surprising example of the use of the Goldwasser character, a dialogue with the publisher of a new prayerbook was simultaneously held by both Broyde and Goldwasser. In a preface to the 2009 Koren Siddur — a prayerbook whose publishing was meant to provide a significant ideological shift from the standard Orthodox prayerbook published by Artscroll — publisher Matthew Miller writes that “A number of rabbis selflessly devoted considerable time in reviewing early drafts of the Siddur…We especially wish to thank Dayan Michael Broyde for his critical help.” Miller goes on to thank several other rabbis, including “Rabbi Hershel Goldwasser.” In a phone interview, Miller said he didn’t recall much about Goldwasser, and that “he must have been of the one thousand rabbis we sent the early proof of the siddur to” and who replied with comments that were eventually incorporated into the prayerbook. Broyde was singled out at the top of the acknowledgments paragraph because, Miller said in the interview, “Dayan Broyde wrote extensively” to the publishing house with comments. Miller said any records of the correspondence were lost years ago to a crash of the publisher’s Internet server.

    An Intricate Life Story

    The Goldwasser character had an intricate biography for a seemingly fictional rabbi, and one that variously intertwined with Broyde’s real life. In a letter to Jewish Action in 1995, the Goldwasser character is identified in the signature line as living in “Jerusalem, Israel,” but, “Formerly of Los Angeles, CA.” In a letter to Tradition in 1995, the Goldwasser character declares he is “a generation older than Rabbi [Hillel] Goldberg.” While Goldberg refused to comment about his age by phone, Goldberg’s official biography declares he has been writing professionally since 1967, when Broyde was three years old.

    It was in correspondence on the IRF rabbinical group’s members-only e-mail listserv where most of the work was done to enhance the Goldwasser character’s biography. In e-mails from Broyde’s IP addresses for both an Atlanta home and from the facilities at Emory University, embellishments of the story of Rabbi Hershel Goldwasser abound.

    The character is inserted into the history of one of the most famous rabbis of the 20th century in an e-mail to the listserv from August, 2009. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein is considered by many to be the most significant Orthodox Jewish legal mind for the past several hundred years. Many of his responsa are compiled in the work Iggrot Moshe, and one of those responsa speaks about the impermissibility of gazing at women.

    The Goldwasser character becomes part of that responsum in the e-mail, sent from Broyde’s Emory University IP address. The e-mail offers the back-story behind the responsum, “For those who are interested in some history.” The Goldwasser character says that the responsum came out of an episode in which “Rabbi Feinstein was walking with a group of young men on the boardwalk” of Long Beach, New York. The Goldwasser character declares, “I was one of them,” though the story took place in “the early 1960’s,” whereas Broyde was born in 1964. The Goldwasser character writes of how Feinstein “screamed at us all” when one of the young men in the group glanced at a woman in “a revealing bathing suit.” The Goldwasser character then describes Feinstein telling him and his fellows the core lesson that Feinstein would later publish, “which is that you can walk on the boardwalk only if you do not stare at the women.” Within the letter, the Goldwasser character also claims that his study partner at the time, who is “now a well known Rav,” declared in response “that they should just poke his eyes out now, as that was impossible.” The story from Goldwasser doesn’t relate how Feinstein reacted to that last comment.

    In an e-mail to the listserv from April 2010, also from the same Emory IP address, the Goldwasser character, addressing rabbis in their 30s, declares “I confess that I am much older than both of you and come from a different generation.” The Goldwasser character’s biography is further embellished in a way that distinguishes him from Broyde, by writing, “my life’s work is not mostly in torah, but in accounting and finance.” The Goldwasser character then uses accounting and finance examples to present an argument. Broyde’s biography lists no experience with accounting or finance, and at the time of the e-mail, he was a law professor.

    Where all of the Goldwasser character’s letters to scholarly journals had identified him as a resident of Jerusalem, by May of 2010, he had moved. In an e-mail from that time, also from the Emory IP address, Goldwasser announced, “I live in Beer Sheva,” a different city in Israel, which he then uses as occasion to explain knowing a lot about a rabbi there and that rabbi’s positions on certain rabbinic controversies.

    There is even outrage from the purported Israeli regarding protests against the Jewish State. After Israeli women were arrested at the Western Wall for wearing prayer shawls and reading from Torah scrolls, Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld of Washington, D.C.’s National Synagogue, protested at the Israeli embassy. The Golderg character responded on the e-mail listserv in July 2010, again from the Emory IP address, calling the protest “disgusting” and demanding, “Let him come and live here before he protests in the galut [diaspora] against policies of the Israeli government that offend him.” At the time, Broyde was still an Atlanta resident.

    The Teacher Is the Pupil

    Elsewhere, the Goldwasser character establishes a rationale for so frequently citing and touting Broyde: he declares that he was actually Broyde’s high school teacher.

    In an e-mail to the listserv from July 2009 sent from the same Comcast home IP address as other of Broyde’s correspondence, the Goldwasser character describes a long history with Broyde over multiple paragraphs. “Michael Broyde was a student of mine many years ago — more than twenty five — and he was a one-in-million [sic] high school student back then. He was diligent and smart and he tried harder than anyone I have ever met. I have kept up with him here and there in the last decade and since I retired he has reached out to me a few times (I assume as a form of hakarat havov [sic] [gratitude] as I grow older). He sends me drafts to read.” It was this claimed receiving of Broyde’s earlier drafts that the Goldwasser character used to explain why he was familiar with arguments Broyde had made in drafts that were edited out of his published articles.

    The Goldwasser character would frequently mention Broyde in ways that suggested the two were different people. An e-mail to the listserv from October 2009 concluded with the note, “I have more or less plagiarized this content from a series of emails Rabbi Michael Broyde wrote to me a few months ago [...] in the course of a back and forth exchange we had.” On another occasion, the Goldwasser character copies-and-pastes a long e-mail from Broyde (sent from Broyde’s e-mail address to that of the Goldwasser character, and then forwarded from the Goldwasser character to the listserv), telling the members of the listserv, “This email was sent to me by Michael Broyde and might interest others on this list.” In an e-mail to the listserv from October 2009, the Goldwasser character writes, “I have more or less plagiarized this content from a series of emails Rabbi Michael Broyde wrote to me a few months ago.”

    There is even an exchange between the Goldwasser character and a younger man whom Broyde is teaching to be a rabbinical court judge, Rabbi Zev Farber of Atlanta. The Goldwasser e-mail about being a young man in the 1960s is addressed to Farber, and is a detailed argument against an essay Farber had written about homosexuality in Jewish law. In a postscript to that e-mail, the Goldwasser character writes to Broyde’s student, “If you see Rabbi Broyde (you learn with him, don’t you?) tell him that I liked his article on women clergy and that he should write more frequently.”

    Broyde’s Response

    In the phone interview with The Jewish Channel, Broyde denied that he is the Goldwasser character. Told that a story was being reported on his Goldwasser character, Broyde responded that Goldwasser is “Not my character…He’s a rebbe [teacher] of mine from many years ago who’s deceased [and] made aliyah [moved to Israel] ten years ago, or something like that, maybe more, I don’t remember.”

    Asked at what institution Goldwasser was Broyde’s rebbe, Broyde responded that Goldwasser was actually “a friend of my father’s from [Yeshivas] Chaim Berlin,” and that he was “not really my rebbe,” but rather someone influential in Broyde’s life deserving of the title, rebbe. Asked when his father would have been at the yeshiva with Goldwasser, Broyde responded, “I think from ‘54 to ‘64.” An archivist at Chaim Berlin, Meir Yanofsky, told The Jewish Channel that he had no records of anyone with the last name Goldwasser being a student or teacher at the institution in those decades; however, Yanofsky said, despite a digitization of all records for the school’s centennial in 2005, it was possible that some records from that era could be missing.

    Asked why, given Broyde’s description of their relationship as informal, Goldwasser’s e-mails would refer to Broyde’s qualities as a “high school student” and a “student of mine,” Broyde responded that Goldwasser must have been referring to an informal relationship Broyde had with Goldwasser “as a teenager…in the sense that he knew me in high school,” and that Goldwasser, “Popped in and out of my life.”

    “I never really thought about him…he made aliyah,” Broyde explained, adding “I haven’t e-mailed or spoken to him in ages.”

    Asked how he could not have spoken to Goldwasser in “ages” when Goldwasser repeatedly cites ongoing correspondence with Broyde in 2009 and 2010, Broyde said it was “definitely true” that they’d had a correspondence “in the late ’90s and 2000s.”

    Broyde said the fact that Goldwasser claims to have received early drafts of Broyde’s articles prior to their publication was not unusual, and that Broyde sends drafts of articles to “many” people, saying “Please send me comments on this, sure.”

    Asked why the Goldwasser character would, in many communications, have precisely the same IP addresses as two common locations for Broyde’s signed correspondence, indicating they were drafted on the same computers in the same locations in Atlanta while Goldwasser claims to be writing from Israel, Broyde said he did not understand what IP addresses are or how they work. “I’m not denying” the IP addresses are the same, Broyde said, adding, “I don’t know.”

    Arguing on Two Fronts

    The ordaining of the first female Orthodox rabbi in 2009 was an opportunity for Broyde and the Goldwasser character to tackle the Orthodox argument over her ordaining on two fronts. Sara Hurwitz was ordained as a rabbi-like authority in June 2009, given a newly-created title of “Maharat” by Rabbi Avi Weiss, who oversaw Hurwitz’s training and is a leading figure in a strain of liberal Orthodox Judaism he describes as “Open Orthodoxy.” Weiss explicitly avoided giving her the title “rabbi” at that time, saying that doing so would avoid controversy. Broyde took that opportunity to author an article for The Jewish Press under his real name soon after, defending the general idea of women serving as clergy in Orthodox Judaism, while also asserting that women should not be given the specific title of “rabbi.”

    But in response to complaints from advocates for female Orthodox rabbis, Weiss changed his tune in January 2010, conferring the title of “rabba” on Hurwitz, a female form of the word “rabbi.” This decision generated an abundance of protest from those to Weiss’s right, including from groups and individuals that had been mostly silent or supportive of the move when Hurwitz was still referred to by her made-up title of “maharat.” Among these was Broyde, who was quoted in the Forward saying of the conferring of the title of “rabba” to Hurwitz, “Contemporary Orthodoxy has decided that this is not appropriate…It is outside the bounds of normative Orthodox Jewish practice.” The Forward and other publications cited Broyde on the controversy while also citing his expressed support of women clergy in the Jewish Press article from 2009, contrasting that with his condemnation of the title of “rabba.”

    As a member of the IRF, which was co-founded by Weiss and which included Hurwitz as a member, the Goldwasser character was utilized as an opportunity to suggest that members of Weiss’s own organization were breaking ranks with him on the issue of Hurwitz’s title, and to urge Hurwitz and Weiss to change their minds and revert to the title that many, including Broyde, had previously endorsed.

    Again, the Goldwasser character cited Broyde’s authority in an April 2010 e-mail to the listserv, sent from the Emory IP address, writing to Hurwitz and a colleague: “Rabbi Broyde’s essay in the Jewish Press about Clergy [sic] was widely accepted and you could have gotten all of the valuable accomplishments you want by just using the [sic] some other title. The title has brought the community nothing but trouble [...] It did not need to happen and the harmful effects can still be undone by backing away from the title by you.”

    The Goldwasser character was then used to suggest that genuine members of the IRF community and their families were distressed over her new title, and that the new title was actually harming the effort of advancing women as clergy: “The fact is that normal people think that a terrible breach of tradition was created by the decision to give you the title rabba. [...]Our community was completely unprepared for it and the backlash is terrible. My children’s shul is right now reconsidering their hiring of a woman as an intern because of this. This is not progress at all.”

    A suggestion that IRF members could face professional harm as a result of the decision to confer the title of rabba came in a January 2010 e-mail to the listserv, from the Emory IP address, in which the Goldwasser character declared, “It is a terrible political mistake that Rabbi Weiss is making giving women the title of rabbi and I think it will do him, YCT and perhaps even us in the IRF a lot of harm.” He went on, saying that “IRF members will be stigmatized by their membership in the IRF as if we are agreeing with this decision, one that we had nothing to do with and one which some of us agree with and some of us do not.”

    The Goldwasser character then urged collective action by the IRF to address the actions of Weiss and Hurwitz, asserting “We ought to make it clear that this decision was not one that the IRF was consulted with or agreed to. (Not that we do not agree with it, but that we are not part of it).”

    The Goldwasser character concluded by citing his authority as an Israeli, and thus someone more knowledgeable about the Israeli Orthodox scene than the average IRF member, as most are American, saying: “Rabbi Weiss will further slip to the margins of Orthodoxy, certainly in Israel where this is really just outside the pale.”

    Famous on the Internet

    Searching around on blogs, occasional comments from Hershel Goldwasser pop up. As part of President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009, a leading Orthodox rabbi offered an invocation at the National Prayer Service. Rabbi Haskel Lookstein was subsequently criticized by many in the Orthodox world — including by the RCA — for having offered his words in a church and among members of other faiths.

    When Lookstein pushed back against his critics, he did so in part with a letter to all RCA members that cited various precedents and authorities. One the stories he told was about Broyde, writing that the rabbinical court judge had “told me that he was once asked by the Israeli government to represent the government of Israel ON A VERY SERIOUS MATTER at an event in a church during a time of worship. He spoke to the Tzitz Eliezer about this issue, and the Tzitz Eliezer told him directly that if it was a matter of significant importance to the Israeli government, then he should go wearing his kipa and looking as rabbinic as he could.”

    Lookstein’s letter was published in several locations, including on the Jewish watchdog blog FailedMessiah. In comments to that blog post, an anonymous commenter going by the pseudonym “Archie Bunker” characterized Broyde as “from the extreme left-wing YCT crowd.” The acronym there refers to Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, a rabbinical seminary founded by Weiss, who also co-founded the IRF; many, and perhaps all, graduates of YCT are IRF members, and some graduates have had difficulty gaining membership to the RCA.

    Coming to Broyde’s defense in the comments section was Hershel Goldwasser. In one comment, the Goldwasser character wrote, “Connecting Rabbi Broyde to YCT is just stupid. Everyone knows that Broyde published this vicious criticism of YCT. YCT hates him.” The Goldwasser character then shared a link to an essay Broyde had written at the popular Orthodox blog Hirhurim.

    Archie Bunker didn’t find that explanation sufficient, replying “I connected Broyde to YCT because of the kollel [professional study group] he runs in connection with them.”

    The Goldwasser character responded to Archie Bunker again: “There is no connection between Rabbi Broyde’s Kollel in Atlanta and YCT except that there is a YCT member learning in it.” That YCT member is Farber, the recipient of the Goldwasser e-mail about being a young man in the 1960s, and whom Broyde is teaching to be a rabbinical court judge.

    According to information provided to The Jewish Channel by the publisher of the FailedMessiah site, Shmarya Rosenberg, the IP addresses of both Goldwasser comments match the Broyde Comcast IP that The Jewish Channel has found on many other of Broyde’s signed correspondences, and on some of the Goldwasser e-mails to the IRF listserv.

    Into the Ether

    The Goldwasser character’s legacy comprises much of two decades. It started with letters to scholarly journals in the early 1990s that would often cite Broyde as a respected authority, though Broyde was still in his late 20s and early 30s.

    There was a revival in the mid-aughts to engage in a tussle with another major figure in the discussion of Judaism and American law, Agudath Israel’s Rabbi Dovid Zwiebel, in the pages of Tradition. The Goldwasser character appeared as a commenter on blogs later in the decade.

    And then the Goldwasser character joined the IRF, frequently citing Broyde and sharing Broyde’s IP addresses for a Comcast subscription and Emory University, despite ostensibly writing from Israel.

    Sometime after mid-2010, around the time that the IRF was sending messages through regular mail asking members to renew, the Goldwasser character disappeared, never to be heard from again.

    New Characters Rising

    But the end of Goldwasser wasn’t the end of suspicious Internet characters citing Broyde’s work.

    In August 2011, Broyde wrote an essay for the Hirhurim blog about eating oats on Passover. A 179-word comment from someone going by the name Kevin Gold opened with the sentence, “Rabbi Broyde’s basic point seems correct to me.” The second paragraph opened with a similar sentence: “I think Rabbi Broyde has it right.”

    Broyde wrote another piece for Hirhurim in April 2012 regarding issues of Jewish divorce. A commenter going by the name David Weissman addressed the site’s publisher in a comment, saying “Thank you for posting this.” The commenter went on, “Rabbi Broyde remains one of the best writers in our community, I think. His posts are clear, his thought process impressive and the range of the sources he quotes is very broad. One gets the sense that he is really a first class mind.”

    The David Weissman character returned in July 2012 to comment on another Broyde essay in Hirhurim, about issues of conversion, with the brief note, “Excellent article.”

    And in January of 2013, a new character named David Gold arrived to comment on a Broyde Hirhurim essay about reporting cases of abuse to police. He wrote: “What a thoughtful and interesting piece by Rabbi Broyde. I think he gives the right rule as a matter of halacha [Jewish law]. In truth, I was involved in a case in my. Community [sic] where Rabbi Broyde wrote a very clear and direct letter to our shul board directing them to report a suspected abuser in our shul to the police. It was both very brave and controversial. He remains one of my favorite M.O. [modern Orthodox] poskim [Jewish legal decisors]. Wow.”

    For all three of these blog commenters who arose between 2011 and 2013, these were their only comments on Hirhurim, and all were comments to articles written by Broyde.

    All of their comments came from the same Comcast IP address used previously by Goldwasser and Broyde.

    April 12, 2013 | Read more Newsdesk posts. 72 Comments »



    1. Funny, I was reading Rabbi Broyde’s most recent article on Hirhurim regarding the Cardozo-Carter controversy yesterday, and I thought this comment seemed a bit out of place/extravagant:

      “As usual an excellent piece from the greatest posek and rabbi who ever graced America with his presence, HaRav HaDayan Michael J. Broyde, shlit”a.

      The greatest achievement of my life is that I am his rebbe.”

      Hershel Goldwasser on April 10, 2013 at 12:13 am

      Comment by Anonymous — April 12, 2013 @ 9:28 am

    2. This has to be the most impressive display of journalistic investigative skill I have ever seen… if only it went towards something of some consequence.

      Comment by Noam — April 12, 2013 @ 9:31 am

    3. wow so rabbi broyde sock puppeted himself, seems very pathetic to me, also to state that he doesn’t understand what an ip address and is the only one connected to his computer seems as facetious at best. this is fraud in no uncertain terms, and to use it to spy and spread loshen harah just makes it worse. very sad indeed to see.

      Comment by dina ruchelle — April 12, 2013 @ 9:46 am

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

      Pingback by Thoughts on the Rabbi Michael Broyde Situation — April 12, 2013 @ 9:51 am

    5. So can you explain what an IP address is again?

      Comment by Hershel Goldwasser — April 12, 2013 @ 9:55 am

    6. I was literally going to point out the same thing- the comment from Hershel Goldwasser on on R’ Broyde’s latest article. I thought it sounded a bit strange. But this is crazy. Wow.

      Comment by Anonymous — April 12, 2013 @ 10:11 am

    7. As usual an excellent piece from the greatest journalist who ever graced America with his presence, HaGaon Steven I Weiss, shlit”a.

      The greatest achievement of my life is that I am his reader.

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

    8. This is all a misunderstanding. My secular name is Harold Goldwasser, but I go by Hershel.

      Comment by Hershel Goldwasser — April 12, 2013 @ 10:45 am

    9. There is broyde, There is Goldwasser.

      But who is Goldberg? is he real or is he Goldwasser?

      Comment by menachmp — April 12, 2013 @ 11:07 am

    10. You guys are making WAY too big a deal out of this.

      Comment by Kevin Gold — April 12, 2013 @ 11:54 am

    11. You tell ‘em, Kevin.

      Comment by David Gold — April 12, 2013 @ 11:55 am

    12. And one of the strangest coincidences is that the Broyde online self-adulation expose, and the Chief Rabbi Bernheim plagiarism expose, both hit the net in the same week. Rabbi Broyde is a talent, and he is a law professor at a major university, and is a genuinely kowledgeable Torah scholar BUT he must have some major insecurities, perhaps that is why he has chosen to spend his Torah career in a small backwater. Perhaps concerned that, like Noach (according to Rashi’s commentary), in a town of scholars he might not be considered as highly. Now that we know of his technological naivete, not realising that IP addresses identify the computer of origin, perhaps we should check whether the scholarly articles are based on google searches of rabbinic literature rather than real Torah knowledge. Poor man, so accomplished, and yet needed more adulation than was lavished on him by an admiring modern orthodoxy.

      Comment by Sincere reflections — April 12, 2013 @ 12:10 pm

    13. That comment on Hirhurim has proven to be a fake. It did not stem from Broyde’s IP address.

      Comment by Jacob — April 12, 2013 @ 12:40 pm

    14. Everyone makes mistakes. They are what make us human. Hopefully we learn from them. Rabbi Broyde is an honorable, caring, and very learned man. He has called me from Tokyo to answer my halachic questions. This is not a man deserving of a character assassination over a lapse of judgement. I hope that we all will not make lapses in judgement in response to this situation.

      Comment by Rachelle Freedman — April 12, 2013 @ 1:27 pm

    15. A lapse of judgment? The guy did this for 15 years!?

      Comment by proudjew — April 12, 2013 @ 1:56 pm

    16. Ms. Freedman – with all due respect, not only, as said in the article, did he “lapse” in judgment for TWENTY YEARS to tout his own pseudo-accomplishments, when confronted with the lie he LIED MORE, and quite elaborately, I might add. And, his apology letter does not even address the first attempts to deny. He is sorry only that he was exposed. The lying to cover up is worse than even the pathetic decades-long charade. This man is a professor at a law school, a rabbi, and high-ranking rabbi with the RCA and involved with their Bet Din. Do you want him instructing law students? Do you want him deciding Halachic issues? Have you considered now that he might not have been in Tokyo when he called you …. How pathetic.

      Comment by Disbelief — April 12, 2013 @ 2:03 pm

    17. [...] day I contacted the Hirhurim blog to arrange for a statement on the matter to appear next week. The published story on Friday preempted that. It was both silly and a mistake for me to lie to the reporter, and I hope [...]

      Pingback by My Nom De Plume Exposed | Hirhurim – Torah Musings — April 12, 2013 @ 2:30 pm

    18. [...] elderly Jewish scholar and rabbinical authority by the name of Herschel Goldwasser frequently cited the work of Michael Broyde. Michael Broyde was a student of mine many years [...]

      Pingback by Rabbi Creates Fake Elder to Boost His Career ← Moral Compass — April 12, 2013 @ 8:32 pm

    19. This entire article smells of sour grapes to me. If it represented decent journalistic practices, it would

      1. identify its own position vis-a-vis this situation


      2. note any ways in which its authorship or publisher is connected to any of the parties mentioned in the article itself (including groups Goldwasser allegedly duped)

      Comment by Golda Herschwasser — April 13, 2013 @ 2:36 am

    20. What s sloppy journalism!
      Emory is ranked 20th not 23th !

      Rabbi Broyde is not a real rabbi coz he does not have a real beard.

      The best (and most kinky sex) was with a girl from Emory.

      It is a sad ending to a brilliant career.

      Comment by Gimple the Gimp — April 13, 2013 @ 10:40 am

    21. מבני בניו של אהרון הכהן – אוהב שלום ורודף שלום.
      Anyone familiar with YCT knows that Rabbi Weiss and many of his rabbinic staff are learned and good Jews doing what they feel is right. Yet they seemed to have slipped beyond the pale in some of their liberal zeal. To engage them head on would lead to a non-productive clash. How beautiful of Broyde/Goldwasser to devote so much time and effort to writing as one of them to gently remind them of the Torah sources and keep them within the bounnds of halachic Judaism. Similarly, he obviously respects their student Rabbi Farber and is teaching him to be a dayan despite Rabbi Farber’s obtaining his Yoreh Yoreh from YCT and despite some of R Farber’s liberal opinions. To chastise him directy would compromise their relationship so he lets ‘Rabbi Goldwasser’ provide guidance. How many Rabbis over the generations do we know by their pen names or titles of the books they authored and not by their actual name. In some cases we know the author by his multiple works and don’t realize they are from the same author. It is the content and not the biography that are most important. I laud Rabbi Broyde (and think it is a shame this was expose).

      Comment by Roland — April 13, 2013 @ 12:56 pm

    22. @Disbelief: who cares? Maybe it is just a small lapse in judgement about a particular issue. This argument is ad hominem at best towards his arguments involving halakha. This whole situation is being taken too seriously and is lashon hora towards a huge talmud chochom. At least R’ Broyde has the ability to do teshuvah, where the people who published this news does not. The Torah would not support either of their actions, but I stand by someone attempting to further the Torah vs. someone trying to destroy it.

      Comment by Let's be Candid — April 13, 2013 @ 2:39 pm

    23. I would like to point out the following:

      1) NO ONE WAS HURT OR HARMED BY THIS. Let’s just keep that fact in mind.

      2) “Self-promotion” is a term appropriately used for activity that helps one advance oneself professionally or gain financially. I.e., had Hershel Goldwasser someone been on the editorial staff of a peer reviewed journal, that would be real “self promotion.” This is not.

      3) The idea that sock-puppeting is some sort of ethical violation is a very far fetched accusation, and this article by Steven Weiss on demonstrates this when it details the supposedly damning exchange between Hershel Goldwasser and Archie Bunker. Poor Archie Bunker was blogging in good faith against Hershel Goldwasser because he thought he was a real person?

      4) It the I.R.F. lets anyone with a hotmail or yahoo address join their organization then they cannot complain that they have been infiltrated. I am very active on the private list-serve of a professional organization, and attaining membership in that organization is a serious process, requiring actual credentials, and professional and rabbinic references. If the I.R.F. allows people to join who don’t even exist, then obviously they don’t care who joins.

      5) I know for a fact that there are many public figures and well known Orthodox rabbis who sock-puppet so that they can participate in debates without facing the social consequences of the absurdly critical Orthodox world. That’s the point of allowing people to leave comments with the name Ploni Almoni.

      This is embarrassing but from an ethical standpoint just not a very serious matter in my opinion.

      Comment by Nachum Klafter — April 13, 2013 @ 9:42 pm

    24. A leopard doesn’t change its spots. Any apology he issued was a quick attempt at damage control.

      His greatest puffery is the Chief Rabbi thingy. Did he honestly expect that a man who is not a British citizen or Commonwealth citizen was in the running for that gig? It would be interesting now to check his much too prodigious academic output for plagiarism. AND his numerous rental properties (he moonlights as an Atlanta slum landlord) for violations. And have the IRS check his tax returns for the high fees paid to him in such places as Hong Kong’s Ohel Leah for speaking there. AND check the tax exempt returns of the several 501 (k) organizations that he and Farber are named in. I am not saying that he’s a big time ganiff, but its worth checking. And what about the standards of the New York State bar, where he is licensed as an attorney? The real offense is in his personal actions as a so-called congregational rabbi at Young Israel to people who asked him for poskim on issues in their lives. There is a word for such people. Its disgraceful.

      Comment by Toco Hills / Emory Yid. — April 13, 2013 @ 11:04 pm

    25. One has to wish Broyde only that he should live until 60, because that really means 120. And when a shul invites him to speak, the shul will receive two speakers for the price of one. Maybe the 2 identities can debate each other. Uh, oh, will his defense be a multiple personalities disorder?

      Comment by Miriam Leah — April 14, 2013 @ 12:21 am

    26. I’m glad Steven I. Weiss is trying to build his (as of yet, insignificant) career on Rabbi Broyde’s back.

      If someone had the vast amounts of down time that Weiss does I’m sure they would discover that he wrote his own Wikipedia pg.

      Thankfully most of us have decent and honest careers and dont need to knock someone down to climb up.

      Comment by Busy — April 14, 2013 @ 3:50 am

    27. @Toco Hills/Emory Yid: “The real offense is in his personal actions as a so-called congregational rabbi at Young Israel to people who asked him for poskim on issues in their lives.”

      Why is there any such offense here? How does this affect any of his Halachic works or logical arguments? I’ve sat at his Shabbos table many times, share Kiddush with him at Shul weekly, his children have baby-sat mine – I did and still do trust him with my life.

      It’s been obvious for years that he has made many friends and many enemies over his career. I’m happy and still plenty comfortable to be in the “friend” column.

      Comment by Daniel W — April 14, 2013 @ 4:42 am

    28. It is gratifying to see that neither the author nor the respondents have wasted their time watching “National Treasure”. If they had, they would know that this is Ben Franklin’s pseudonym, used for similar purposes as R. Broyde’s creation of Hershel Goldwasser. (sadly, they are not erudite enough to have read “The Papers of Benjamin Franklin” either).
      They probably aren’t Stephen King fans. Otherwise they would know that he ran several novels under the name of Richard Bachman in order to compete with himself, motivated by profit (creating an entire biography of Bachman in the process).
      They may root for the NY Knicks, but are ignorant of the fact that the name stems from the pseudonym Deidrich Knickerbocker (again complete with false bio)created by Washington Irving – also to build book sales.
      The list goes on.
      But what of the Halachacists?
      Most prominent, of course, is the 13th century luminary Rav Shlomo Ben Aderet (Rashba) who wrote the Mishmeret HaBayit – his scathing work attacking his contemporary, Rav Aharon HaLevi for having had the audacity to critique the former’s work. He did not at first accept responsibility for writing it.

      Alas for R. Broyde – none of his illustrious predecessors were caught using the same IP address.
      So Please – Silence! Dogood!

      Comment by Silence Dogood — April 14, 2013 @ 5:02 am

    29. So all these commenters have no problem spewing hatred as ‘anonymous’ or ‘toco hills yid’ or ‘gimpel the gimp’ , but rabbi Broyde isn’t allowed to voice his opinions on Halacha under a fake name?

      Seems odd.

      Write about actual news Steven.

      Comment by Please Trace my IP, then expose me. — April 14, 2013 @ 5:12 am

    30. My exclusive interview for Haaretz with Rabbi Broyde:

      Comment by Debra Nussbaum Cohen — April 14, 2013 @ 5:27 am

    31. I remember, twenty or more years ago, that Mr. Broyde attended my shul, before he went to Atlanta, He would stand during the torah reading and pick his nose….even then. I know you will not publish this, but, so what.

      Comment by Bert Zackim — April 14, 2013 @ 5:46 am

    32. There is a huge difference between the standards of the public and private domains, the personal and the professional ones.

      Broyde has aspirations to be a national, public figure, for example, his mention two weeks ago as one of Newsweek’s top 100 influential American rabbis and the puffery in the press in which he named himself as candidate for Chief Rabbi of the Britain and the Commonwealth a position for which he is not qualified by virtue of lack of citizenship in a commonwealth country or the United Kingdom. I, too, Daniel W., have watched his table manners. The prospect of Broyde drinking tea and eating London Bet Din approved biscuits in H.M. the Queen’s personal living room at Buck House is worthy of the best of Monty Python comedy sketches.

      He holds himself out as a national public figure. Let him be judged as one. He wanted to play ball in the Majors. Now he’s doing it. Just remember: a leopard doesn’t change its spots.

      Comment by Toco Hills / Emory Yid — April 14, 2013 @ 6:49 am

    33. [...] orthodox rabbi named Broyde Has created an internet droid. The job of ‘Goldwasser’ Is to kiss Broyde’s asser [...]

      Pingback by University Diaries » Kiss the Broyde — April 14, 2013 @ 7:19 am

    34. Bert: I was going to mention the picking the nose thing in front of the Aron Kodesh (which I have seen him do) but it seemed too far fetched, the sort of thing that one would make up for a comedy but would NEVER be seen in reality.

      But since you mentioned it first……

      I am laughing so hard I can’t stand up. Broyde, as the official rabbi in chief of Britain and the Commonwealth, picking his nose in front of the Queen and all the assembled British notables, while giving the benediction at the ceremonial opening of Parliament.

      And this, folks, is why any self respecting Brit anti-semitic blue blood will claim that a Jew AND an American can never be a gentleman.

      If the shoe fits….

      Comment by Toco Hills / Emory Yid — April 14, 2013 @ 8:46 am

    35. [...] has been extensively (though I’m not sure accurately) reported, Rabbi Michael Broyde has been using a pseudonym,  Hershel Goldwasser, to engage in various [...]

      Pingback by Some Thoughts on The Broyde-Goldwasser Controversy | Machshavos — April 14, 2013 @ 8:56 am

    36. The whole Chief Rabbi thing is such a side point. It’s no secret that R’ Broyde delivers speeches in an often blunt presentation with little regard to political correctness. We were all wondering if the bid was even a serious one given that we all know that about him. That has zero bearing on the issue of the day.

      Comment by Daniel W — April 14, 2013 @ 9:28 am

    37. Sincere Reflections, I invite you to spend a couple of weeks in Atlanta, learning with the various rabbis and laypeople, and then you can tell everyone what a “backwater” this great Jewish place to live is.

      Comment by Phil S. — April 14, 2013 @ 10:19 am

    38. Unfortunately, there are very learned poskim who are dishonest when issuing psak. See e.g. R Herschel Schachter’s claims about the history of conversion. This is one very good reason that when such a person is caught in a lie (and fails to acknowledge it until the noose is so tight he can’t escape) his public statements including psak must be viewed with suspicion until one is convinced that he is trustworthy. It is unfortunate that Rabbi Broyde has put himself in this position, as his erudition is beyond question, but such erudition is of no use to the community in the hands of a dishonest person.

      Comment by cyberdov — April 14, 2013 @ 11:36 am

    39. In retribution for transgression, souls suffer a return to this world, known as ‘Gilgul’, (i.e. transmigration / metempsychosis).
      Reshoim, evil doers, return as cattle that require for shchita, the severing of two ’simanin’: the windpipe and foodpipe.
      Plain sinners, return as birds that require the cutting of only one siman.
      RABBIS, return as FISH, that do not require shchita at wall.
      And what do fake Rabbis return as?

      (Adapted from an anecdote ascribed to the Satmar Rebbe, Reb Yoilish, zt”l).

      Comment by Steve Weiss — April 14, 2013 @ 1:29 pm

    40. All humans are imperfect. Some mistakes are bigger than others, and some people are more well known than others. Unfortunately, in recent times, many stories have emerged about Rabbinic leaders who have been involved with startling sexual impropriety and theft. This situation is not comparable to those. Rabbi Broyde did something wrong; he has apologized in a public manner and in his own way. Rabbi Broyde has offered my family sound rabbinic advise and counsel on many occasions. I will continue to support him and depend on him. He remains a brilliant posek.

      Toco Hills/Emory Yid- We now know Rabbi Broyde’s pseudonym’s true identity. I am truly glad that I do not know yours. Senseless hatred harms many, but mostly the person who harbors it. Rabbi Broyde will get through this, and emerge a better person. You should be ashamed for treating anyone in the manner that you have today. There is a word for it. “Disgraceful” indeed.

      Comment by Davida Merlis Graber — April 14, 2013 @ 3:03 pm

    41. From an episode of Toco Hills “Five-O”:

      Get a grip, Danno.

      Its indicative of your hero’s conceitedness. Here’s the meaning of the word:

      Now is this a man you really want as your Rav?

      Game, set, match.

      Book ‘em Steve.

      Comment by Toco Hills / Emory Yid — April 14, 2013 @ 3:23 pm

    42. Since Broyde lives in the U.S., and Goldwasser lives in Israel, does he/do they celebrate one day of a chag, or two?

      Comment by Miriam Leah — April 14, 2013 @ 4:58 pm

    43. Wow, TH/EY – someone actually writes a passionate reply and you respond with snark, hiding behind *gasp* a pseudonym! You’re right. Game, set, match: you win.
      And since we’re doing definitions, I know you’ll enjoy this one: It’s a title you revel in, I’m sure.
      Indeed it wouldn’t surprise me if your animosity towards R’ Broyde stemmed from some time he called you out on some silliness.

      Comment by Daniel W — April 14, 2013 @ 6:03 pm

    44. Anyone who knows Rabbi Broyde, knows what he is truly about. He is not manipulative or power hungry. Considering his great wisdom and accomplishments he is truly simple and humble. He could have used a pen name for many reasons. Perhaps he wanted to take part in conversation without being in the public eye. Who knows? It is not upon us to judge. Though it seems that people who are judging him, do so through their own way of looking at the world. People comments are sickening- how can we trust a dayan who is manipulative? Do you know Rabbi Broyde that you are accusing him of doing so as manipulation?
      It is our job to give another Jew the benefit of the doubt. Especially someone with the greatness of Rabbi Michael Broyde.

      There are so many people doing truly bad and inappropriate things in the world. Things that cause serious harm to others. Those are things that need to be exposed.

      If you want to judge character- perhaps you should look to the one spent hours stalking Rabbi Broyde’s computer and IP information for the sole reason of ruining his character in a public forum.

      Comment by S Meyer — April 14, 2013 @ 8:55 pm

    45. Danno & Mrs. Graber:
      SNARK — origin, Lewis Carroll. I’m complimented. I don’t have half his wit.

      I think commentator #38 got it right. Doesn’t matter what a savant he may be at Torah if there aren’t any ethics behind it. Remember when one of his local rental houses was raided over the pot thingy? That’s a matter of Dekalb police records.

      And, yes, I do have some video of that incident tucked away for the forgetful among us.

      Famous people called Mick: Mick Jagger. Mick Foley. Mick Mars. Mick Fleetwood. Mick Jones. Mick Fanning. Mick Taylor, Mick Malloy and now Mick Broyde.

      Since when does someone with an Irish name get to be a candidate for Chief Rabbi of anything? Unless your last name is Herzog. Then you get Prez of Israel, Ambassador to Canada and a chief rabbinate thrown into one family. Unfortunately, our boy & his offspring aren’t in that league.

      Sounds to me like the title should be “His Eminence.” I sure wish he’d stop that boogaloo too when he davens. I feel like bringing a supply of Darvon for the men’s side of YITH.

      I am told that one of his great rabbinic teachers stood stock still during the repetition in the shemonah esrai. Clearly our man didn’t learn too much about etiquette from him.

      Comment by Toco Hills / Emory Yid — April 14, 2013 @ 9:56 pm

    46. If any of you Toco Hillybillies want to help your man, go and figure out who ratted on him to the author of this piece, the good Mr. Weiss.

      Comment by Toco Hills / Emory Yid — April 14, 2013 @ 10:46 pm

    47. [...] days ago, Broyde found himself on the wrong end of such journalistic lashon hara. In a punctilious piece of investigative reporting, the Jewish Channel’s Steven I. Weiss made out a case that Broyde had invented an elderly [...]

      Pingback by What's wrong with a Jewish law judge's sock puppetry? | Spiritual Politics — April 15, 2013 @ 3:13 am

    48. Delta is ready when you are, Sugarpie. Bless your heart.

      Comment by Proud Toco HillBilly — April 15, 2013 @ 4:03 am

    49. I learned a lesson a long time ago that if one can’t win on facts/logic etc. the next resort is to insult/degrade etc.

      Many (on both sides) have stayed clear away from that and stuck to the facts as we know them and to whatever logical argument is out there. I applaud those and I enjoy engaging in those debates.

      However, the ones out there like TH/EY have devolved into an ethics quagmire of rabid hatred, lashon hara etc. that rivals any other action like writing in a pen name or getting onto a list-serv that you shouldn’t be on.

      It’s the hallmark of someone who is – for some reason – so blinded by hate/jealousy to devolve to this level that unfitting for anyone here in Atlanta.

      I hope we can keep the substantive part of the debate alive and well.

      Comment by Jonathan Graber — April 15, 2013 @ 5:03 am

    50. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to be sure which contemporary authorities in any sphere have truly earned that authority. Good press or acclaim from colleagues means nothing when the press or colleagues themselves are biased or easily swayed. People can rationalize and really smart people can rationalize even better. This confusion may be a hint that our redemption is at hand. For now, let’s hang in there and check credentials as best we can.

      Comment by RAM — April 15, 2013 @ 6:48 am

    51. #49: “rabid hatred”??? shouldn’t that be “rabbi hatred”?

      #49 & #48 “unfitting for anyone here in Atlanta” Have the goyim set up the umschlag platz on the TDSA playground? Such a Jewish solution you recommend for your fellow Yid. Transportation. What where you in a previous life? Kapos?

      Better to give thanks to Hashem that you live in the US of A, where opinions belong to the writer alone, are one person’s opinion only, and are protected speech.

      Comment by Just saying. — April 15, 2013 @ 10:31 am

    52. #50–”People can rationalize and really smart people can rationalize even better.”

      I agree. As an unsophisticated gentile colleague of mine once expounded to me: “BS baffles brains.”

      That’s been a tag line that I have often remembered.

      And there are a lot of big time BS artists among our community. Especially the rabbenute, IMHO.

      Comment by BS Baffles Brains — April 15, 2013 @ 10:40 am

    53. I hope none of these “socks” sent out any satirical emails, because that would be a major crime with international repercussions. At any rate, since there is actually a Herschel Goldwasser who lives in New York, maybe the American authorities should have Rabbi Broyde arrested and charged with “identity theft”? After all, he used the name of another to influence a debate, thereby obtaining a “benefit.” For details on exactly how the Internet cops get these cyber-socks in New York, see the Raphael Golb trial website:

      Read the trial transcripts. See how Raphael Golb’s socks were exposed by the prosecutor, they got him to admit that he used pseudonyms to blog about the Dead Sea Scrolls! Strange detail, though: the prosecution was allowed to argue that Golb made “false accusations,” but Golb was blocked from introducing any evidence that his accusations were true, because “neither good faith nor truth is a defense to the crimes charged.” Great stuff! Hopefully they will get Broyde on this too.

      Comment by Quixote — April 15, 2013 @ 10:43 am

    54. #14: “Everyone makes mistakes. They are what make us human. Hopefully we learn from them.”

      Watch the video of Eichmann on trial in Jerusalem and tell me if your attitude changes. What was his mistake? Not killing the Jews fast enough? Getting caught?

      What is Broyde’s mistake? Getting caught? Not knowing enough about IP addresses to use a vpn with a proxy server?

      Which school of relativistic morality did you go to, Ms. Freedman? Temima?

      Comment by Temima grad speaks. — April 15, 2013 @ 10:56 am

    55. The saddest thing is that Mr. Broyde has enough natural talent and good work ethic to reach the highest levels of the professions of academic law and Jewish learning without resorting to trickery.

      He didn’t take that path 20 years ago. The reasons are a matter between him, Hashem, and any personal advisors in whom he confides.

      Sad. Very sad.

      Comment by Toco Hill / Emory Yid — April 15, 2013 @ 11:20 am

    56. Commenter #52 wrote, “And there are a lot of big time BS artists among our community. Especially the rabbenute, IMHO.”

      Maybe this is what he/she believes, but this comment is basically a hit-and-run, especially the unsupported “especially”.

      Comment by RAM — April 15, 2013 @ 12:54 pm

    57. Temima grad speaks, is an idiot. Eichmann was a Nazi and therefore it is totally ridiculous to draw a parallel between a war criminal who killed innocent people and someone who posted online under a fake name.

      As you all know–I, Toco Hill/ Emory Yid, am a complete coward otherwise I would write under my real name. Of course, I won’t..I’ll just continue to say terrible things about someone for doing the same thing. Not that I can be compared to Rabbi Broyde, after all–he was doing it to argue Jewish Law, whereas I am doing it just to be a schmuck.

      I’m sure my mother is proud of me! I am clearly doing great things!

      Comment by Toco Hill / Emory Yid — April 15, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

    58. @#51: Great! Bring in the Holocaust…….because that’s what this conversation was about. Pathetic.

      @ Temima Grad: Ditto.

      Seriously? Eichmann?

      Clearly the school you went to suffers from much worse.

      Comment by Neteuri The Sane Mind — April 15, 2013 @ 2:21 pm

    59. what a tragedy. what a Chilul H’. Rbi Brody seems to be a nice person. Nice, however isn’t a enough. as a Dayan, yes – we have a right to hold him to a higher standard. in US law which Rabbi Broyde knows well, anytime you have someone who is discovered to have a conflict (be it witness tampering, evidence tampering, connection to the parties to a case or investigation, ulterior motives etc.) it places into question EVERY case or trial they ever participated in and every attorney on the losing side will and SHOULD ask for judicial review and and in many cases justifiable appeal. criminal convictions are overturned for no better reason than being unable to prove bad motivations were not involved in their decisions. and that is in US law. wouldn’t we like to believe Jewish Courts are held to a higher standard?

      Comment by aprpeh — April 15, 2013 @ 2:30 pm

    60. [...] a cable-television channel that is distributed throughout the United States. According to a report the channel posted online last week, the investigation accused Michael J. Broyde, an Orthodox rabbi [...]

      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 @ 4:53 pm

    61. Does it get worse? Please look deeper into this SIW.

      Tablet magazine appears to allege that Rabbi Broyde may have commented on the YU child abuse scandal (that also has implicated Rabbi Broyde) using the fake identity of David Weissman in a Jewish Week article (Needed: Independent Investigation On YU High School Scandal, Mon, 12/24/2012, by Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld who wrote “The investigation should not only be limited to Yeshiva University. One former student claims in the Forward that he shared his accusations with Rabbi Michael Broyde of the Beth Din of America who dismissed his charges without giving him a proper hearing. We need to know whether or not this accusation is accurate.”:

      A cursory look at the Jewish Week comments raises suspicions regarding several of the other comments:

      Harry Weissberger

      Hillel Gold

      Miriam Goldstein

      It is a very serious matter if a leading dayan in the modern Orthodox world is “sockpuppeting” on a major abuse scandal in an effort to sway public opinion by attacking a critic who wants a fully independent investigation (I do not want another Richard Joel report that whitewashes the scandal by protecting the names of people at YU who protected the child abusers at the expense of children as was done at the OU/NCSY with the Lanner report). Why would a powerful dayan with ties to his powerful friend Rabbi Lamm be allegedly commenting that Richard Joel should be conducting the investigation? This smells. Particularly in light of the allegations against Rabbi Broyde in the recent Forward article:

      In 2000, former student Twersky said he approached Michael Broyde, a Modern Orthodox rabbi who had just left a position at Beth Din of America, the official religious court of the RCA. Twersky asked if he should bring charges against Finkelstein in the beit din, and said that Broyde advised him that the allegations were “not flagrant enough.”

      Broyde said he does not recall the exchange with Twersky “in any way, shape or form.”

      “I don’t even know who Mordechai Twersky is,” Broyde said. “If he said he was sexually assaulted, I would have said to call the police.”

      Twersky said Broyde ought to remember him; they were in the same constitutional law class at Yeshiva College in 1983. During the late 1990s, Beth Din of America retained Twersky for public relations work that involved “working closely with Broyde on the marketing materials for their newly established rabbinic court,” Twersky said.

      Although he denied knowing about Twersky’s allegations, Broyde, a member of the RCA’s executive committee, said he had heard rumors about Finkelstein. “There had always been a rumor out there that there were kids who said this going back I don’t know how long,” Broyde said.

      Comment by jewishwhistleblower — April 16, 2013 @ 8:10 am

    62. [...] story came to light Friday when The Jewish Channel, a cable network, released online an in-depth investigation. The lengthy piece revealed, among other things, how a search to find Goldwasser, who allegedly [...]

      Pingback by With fake name revealed, top rabbi faces heat – CNN Belief Blog - Blogs — April 16, 2013 @ 8:12 am

    63. After getting a good night’s sleep, I’d like to apologize for my inappropriate comments above. I realize that I have benefitted from his numerous contributions to the Atlanta Jewish community. Rabbi Broyde is a talmid chacham and a baal chesed, and I wish him only the best.

      Comment by Toco Hill / Emory Yid — April 17, 2013 @ 3:34 am

    64. Rabbi Broyde did what?
      Engaged in intellectual discussions using a pseudonym, which has a long history in Judaism? Yawn.
      Engaged in surreptitious dialogue with others who held more liberal or conservative opinions than him, focusing on issues and without engaging in ad hominim attacks. Yawn.
      Occassionally complimented his own opinions? Big Yawn.
      Wake me up when something important to the Jewish people happens.

      Comment by Tired in Toco Hills — April 17, 2013 @ 4:02 am

    65. There might be another motivation for this charade other than self aggrandizement. By having an alter ego who is unaccountable to anyone he can voice opinions on religious topics which if they came from him might hurt his standing as a dayan. In an environment where what you say defines you, it is handy to be able to speak your mind without fear of a witch hunt

      Comment by D Deemyon — April 18, 2013 @ 11:12 am

    66. Winter is coming

      Comment by Jon Snow — April 19, 2013 @ 1:04 am

    67. Yon know nothin Jon Snow

      Comment by Ygritte — April 19, 2013 @ 6:00 pm

    68. Steven I. Weiss, Know this
      The South Remembers…

      Comment by The GreatJon — April 19, 2013 @ 6:26 pm

    69. At least it’s not as bad as what Moshe de Leon did.

      Comment by And Sarah Laughed — April 25, 2013 @ 1:46 am

    70. [...] Rabbi Michael Broyde might be the first catfish rabbi.  For those unfamiliar, the term “catfish” was coined by a young man named Yaniv “Nev” Schulman, who made a 2010 documentary about his experience falling in love on Facebook with a fictitious young lady named, Megan.  Nev was so taken in by the girl that wanted to meet her in real life.  However, every time they came close to meeting, she had an excuse as to why she couldn’t.  As his doubts compiled, Nev decided to film his journey to find Megan.  When they finally met, Megan turned out to be Angela – a middle aged married woman with multiple online identities. [...]

      Pingback by Catfish – The Rabbi Episode | Kol B'Isha Erva — April 26, 2013 @ 7:48 am

    71. I just went back to look over the irrelevance of Broydes self congratulatory avatars…and I wonder if the avatar has been programmed not to pick it’s or his nose….I wonder. Some of what occurs in this life is most interesting and cannot be made up. God is a great commentator as revealed in the foibles of his creations
      as well as the creator.

      Comment by Bert Zackim — June 7, 2013 @ 10:59 am

    72. [...] to a rival professional rabbinic group and tout his own scholarly endeavors, according to an April 12 article in The Jewish [...]

      Pingback by Law Prof. Michael Broyde Admits to Fake Online Identity : The Emory Wheel — October 13, 2013 @ 4:10 pm

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