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  • Sources: Rabbi Michael Broyde Resigns from RCA Rather Than Face Ethical Inquiry

    by Steven I. Weiss

    Rabbi Michael Broyde, who admitted to having created multiple online personae after an investigation by The Jewish Channel, has resigned from the largest Orthodox rabbinical group in the United States, rather than face an internal inquiry, according to multiple sources who spoke with TJC.

    The Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) had voted in December to establish a Vaad Hakavod, or ethical inquiry panel, in response to revelations from a TJC investigative series published in April 2013, according to TJC’s sources. Speaking on condition of anonymity lest they face professional consequences for revealing confidential RCA communications, multiple rabbis said that RCA leadership announced during a Wednesday conference call that Broyde had submitted a letter of resignation to the RCA to forestall an inquiry by the Vaad Hakavod. A vote to disband the Vaad Hakavod as a result of Broyde’s resignation passed with at most one vote dissenting, according to these rabbis.

    TJC reported last April that a fake rabbinical character named Rabbi Hershel Goldwasser had been used to praise Broyde’s work in scholarly journals and to gain access to internal correspondence of rival rabbinic groups, among other communications under false pretenses over nearly 20 years. Broyde initially denied to TJC that he had created Goldwasser, but then admitted he had done so in a letter less than an hour after TJC published its investigation. The next business day after TJC’s investigation was published, the RCA granted Broyde an “indefinite leave of absence” from his membership in the RCA and his decades-long role as a rabbinical court judge at the RCA-affiliated Beit Din of America, considered the largest rabbinical court in the country. The then-president of the RCA, Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, called Broyde’s conduct “extremely disturbing.” A subsequent investigation by TJC revealed another fake character, David Keter, whose testimony about historical events was used to buttress Broyde’s scholarly work.

    The one voice of dissent on Wednesday’s phone call, according to TJC’s sources, was protesting the fact that Broyde’s resignation is only from his membership in the RCA, and that he did not resign from the Beit Din of America, as well. Most members were satisfied with RCA leadership’s claim on the phone call that Broyde would never be reinstated to the rabbinical court, TJC’s sources said.

    Leaders within the RCA and Broyde did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

    February 6, 2014 | Read more Newsdesk posts. 4 Comments »

    Comments

    4 Comments »

    1. Still trying to figure out what is so terrible about using a fake name. No one is alleging any wrongdoing except the use of the fake name. What am I missing?

      Comment by Yaakov Watkins — February 7, 2014 @ 1:10 am

    2. [...] resignation was first reported Thursday by The Jewish Channel, which also uncovered Broyde’s online activities last [...]

      Pingback by Rabbi Michael Broyde resigns from RCA | The Chronicles — February 7, 2014 @ 10:07 pm

    3. This latest episode in the Michael Broyde smear campaign is a sad comment on the ignorance, lack of culture and priggishness of the RCA. Anyone who wants examples of this kind of pseudonymous conduct in Jewish history should first study the work by Shaul Chajes entitled Otzar Beduyey HaShem (Index of Pen-Names in Hebrew Literature) (Vienna, 1933). Rabbi Levi Brackman has commented that if Broyde “employed unorthodox literary strategies as a means to disseminate ideas that would otherwise not be accepted by [his] audience, [he is] standing on strong ground in doing so. Whilst I do not like it, if such a crime truly warranted [his] firing from [his] positions of prominence, there are bookshelves full of classical works we should be throwing out with [him].” Indeed, Jewish law permits this sort of conduct, as a someone pointed out in the comments under Rabbi Brackman’s statement, referring to Orech Chaim siman 156 si’if katan 2 [Eruvin daf 51, Pesachim daf 112]and a comment of Rashi on Pesachim 112a. Those who have engaged in this offensive campaign against Broyde should be ashamed of their conduct in this regard, and of their silence in the face of an obvious case of mesirah involving a similar matter, documented at:

      http://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

      Comment by Quixote — February 8, 2014 @ 1:10 am

    4. I mean really, has the RCA become so corrupt that a smear campaign of this sort is used to push out a controversial rabbinical authority, while not a word is said about a vicious effort, furthered by an orthodox Jewish academic, to have another Jew arrested and jailed for sending out accusations of misconduct and satirical “Gmail confessions” on the Internet? The Rabbinical Council of America has now lost all credibility; its “distinguished” members should be deeply ashamed of their actions and negligence, and should themselves be subjected to ridicule by all well-meaning Jews.

      Comment by Quixote — February 8, 2014 @ 4:19 pm

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