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Chicago — He was tight lipped, however, when asked about the news stories, Broyde’s teaching style, and even academic culture in general. “I’m going to refrain from saying anything at all connected to recent events,” he said.
Conference co-organizer Mark D. Rosen, a law professor at Chicago-Kent, also refused to comment at all on Broyde or on the reason the conference program identified Broyde as being affiliated with the Beth Din.
The 60 or 70 people who registered for the conference were more than Rosen had anticipated, he said, and the conference had to be removed to a different room to accommodate the larger crowd.
“That’s unusual for academic conferences,” he said. “Frankly, we were pleasantly surprised by the number that registered.”
Abdul-Karim Khan, professor of history at University of Hawaii’s Leeward Community College, was one of the people who braved a gloomy Chicago day to attend Broyde’s talk. Unaware of the news stories about Broyde, Khan found the professor’s talk “enlightening.”
“In the 25 years that I’ve been living in the United States, I’ve never seen something like this,” he said of the conference panels which brought Jewish and Islamic experts together.
Khan wouldn’t comment on the stories about Broyde, citing his lack of familiarity with the developments. But someone of Broyde’s caliber who uses a pseudonym must have had a reason to do so, according to Khan, who can imagine wanting, in certain circumstances, to get the truth out without revealing his identity.
“I might go behind a certain name,” he said.