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.