Rabbi Michael Broyde Booted From Religious Court Over Fake Name Scandal

Beth Din Cites Orthodox Leader's 'Disturbing' Admissions

Michael Broyde
youtube
Michael Broyde

By JTA

Published April 15, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Rabbi Michael Broyde, a prominent Orthodox rabbi who admitted to creating a fake alternate identity, was relieved of his duties with the Beth Din of America.

Broyde, who admitted last week that he had used a false name to gain access to a rabbinic email list and to write letters to various journals, was placed on “an indefinite leave of absence” from the rabbinic court, Tablet magazine reported.

“Rabbi Broyde has admitted to behavior that the Rabbinical Council finds extremely disturbing,” said Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, the president of the Rabbinical Council of America, the court’s parent body. “We have determined and announced by the Beth Din of America, our affiliated rabbinical court, that he has ceased to serve as a dayan [judge] immediately and indefinitely.”

A law professor at Emory University and a senior fellow at the Atlanta school’s Center for Law and Religion, Broyde is considered one of the Orthodox world’s leading judicial authorities and an expert on the intersection of religious and secular law.

On Friday, an investigation by The Jewish Channel revealed that Broyde had used a pseudonym to gain access to an email list maintained by the liberal International Rabbinic Fellowship and to tout his own work in various forums. Under the name Rabbi Hershel Goldwasser, Broyde published letters in journals and engaged in online debates with other rabbis. He also gained access to private deliberations among IRF rabbis.

After initially denying the charges against him, Broyde quickly changed direction and issued several apologies.

“I realize that being an IRF member through a pseudonym was inappropriate,” Broyde wrote in a letter to a past IRF president, Rabbi Barry Gelman. “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.

But in a subsequent interview with Haaretz, Broyde seemed to downplay the seriousness of his misdeeds.

“I don’t understand the issue,” Broyde said. “That’s the truth.”

In a separate apology posted on the website Hirhurim-Musings, Broyde again acknowledged the “error in judgment” and said “it does strike me as somewhat inappropriate for me, and I particularly regret joining any professional organization pseudonymously.”

He also noted that writing on Torah issues using a pseudonym is an “old practice” and has support from religious sources.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.