Did Rabbi Michael Broyde Have Second 'Sockpuppet' Persona?

Praise Came From Person Who Doesn't Exist: Report

menachem wecker

By JTA

Published April 24, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A new report claims that professor and rabbi Michael Broyde may have created a second fake persona to engage in online discourse.

Broyde, who admitted earlier this month to publishing letters in journals and gaining access to a rabbinic association under a fake name, may also have used a second fake persona, according to a report by The Jewish Channel.

In 2009, Broyde wrote an article in the Orthodox journal Tradition about the need for women to cover their hair according to Jewish law. Editors of the journal subsequently received a letter from a man named David Keter praising Broyde and endorsing his opinion, according to The Jewish Channel. Tradition declined to publish the letter, which was eventually published on the blog Hirhurim.

Based on Keter’s biography, the Jewish Channel investigated university, directory and phone records in the United States for evidence that Keter actually exists but found nothing.

Earlier this month, Broyde, a professor of law at Emory University and an internationally recognized rabbi and religious judge, acknowledged that he had used an invented persona, Rabbi Hershel Goldwasser, that he used to publicly defend his own work. Broyde’s ruse was first reported by The Jewish Channel.

Broyde initially denied the report but quickly acknowledged wrongdoing and apologized after it was published along with evidence that correspondence from Goldwasser and Broyde originated at the same computer.

The Beth Din of America, where Broyde served as a judge, and the Rabbinical Council of America, both placed Broyde on a leave of absence in the wake of the revelations. Emory said it was conducting its own investigation.

Broyde could not be reached for comment for this story.


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!
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • 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.