Michael Broyde Quits Modern Orthodox Rabbi Group Over 'Sock Puppet' Scandal

Concedes 'Wrongdoing' by Creating Fake Online Praise-Singers

menachem wecker

By JTA

Published February 07, 2014.
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Rabbi Michael Broyde, a prominent Modern Orthodox figure, resigned from the Rabbinical Council of America as a result of the scandal over his use of an online pseudonym.

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

“I deeply regret my wrongdoing and understand how disappointing it has been,” Broyde wrote in his resignation letter, which was obtained by JTA. Broyde declined to comment to JTA.

The Jewish Channel’s April 2013 report on Broyde’s online activities revealed that he had posted online using the pseudonym “Rabbi Herschel Goldwasser” for years. The alter-ego commented favorably on Broyde’s scholarly works. The Jewish Channel also found that Broyde had used the pseudonym to gain access to the members-only online communications of the International Rabbinic Fellowship, an RCA rival.

Following The Jewish Channel’s report, Broyde admitted to the use of the “Goldwasser” pseudonym and his infiltration of the rabbinic fellowship’s online communications.

In a follow-up report, The Jewish Channel reported on the existence of a second mysterious identity. A letter was sent to an academic journal under this second name that praised Broyde’s work. Broyde later cited this letter in support of his own academic work. Broyde, however, has denied being behind the second identity.

Following The Jewish Channel’s investigations, Broyde had been placed on an indefinite leave of absence from the RCA. The RCA created an inquiry board to look into the issue.

In his resignation letter, Broyde thanked the RCA for waiting to initiate its investigation into the matter until Emory University, where Broyde works as a law professor, had completed its own, separate investigation into the matter. “Emory reported that there is no evidence to support the allegations that I had denied, and the only allegations that are supported are the ones that I promptly admitted,” Broyde wrote in his resignation letter.

Broyde remains on an indefinite leave of absence from his role as a judge for the Beth Din of America, Rabbi Shlomo Weissman, the Beth Din’s director, told JTA.

Read more: http://www.jta.org/2014/02/07/news-opinion/united-states/rabbi-michael-broyde-resigns-from-rca#ixzz2sfPFDxPt


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