QOTD about Broyde’s Anemic Apology

The International Rabbinic Fellowship (IRF) expresses its deep disappointment and dismay at the actions of Rabbi Michael Broyde, who acted deceptively in order to join our organization and its confidential listserv, which is a sacred and safe space in which our members can share ideas and thoughts. These actions included submitting a fictitious written application, as well as repeatedly lying in response to inquiries made by IRF leadership and individual members. (See full response at IRF site).

It is frightening to realize that Broyde was at one point the leading candidate for Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom. British Jewry is lucky to have dodged that fiasco. Otherwise we might have had the Chief Rabbis of both France and the UK resigning in the same week because of ethical lapses.

As is so typical of hypocrites caught in the act (in this case, by Steven I Weiss), Broyde offered up a pale imitation of an apology which conveniently obscured the extent of his actions and minimized their significance. He was caught sockpuppeting, fabricating stories, and trying to bolster his reputation by inventing others who thought he was the greatest. It is pathetic. He is an accomplished man with many impressive writings. But alas, integrity is not his strong suit.

He should resign his position as dayan (rabbinical court judge) on the BDA. Smarts are not the only qualifications for dayanus. It also demands integrity. But the orthodox establishment is busy minimizing the significance of his deceptions. Most of the establishment has been silent and some its rabbinical bloggers have minimized the significance of his acts and let him off with a slap on the wrist. (For example, see comments by Gil Student on his blog, Torah Musings. Rabbi Gil Student is another guy who trashes abuse victims who resort to assumed names on the internet.

Broyde pointedly denied Mordechai Twersky’s claim that Twersky reported his abuse by George Finkelstein. At this point reasonable observers have to give the benefit of the doubt to Twersky and not Broyde.

Incidentally, Broyde has also attacked others who used acknowledged assumed names in writing about abuse. One of my colleagues insists that the problem in the orthodox community of cover-ups of sex abuse is really a problem of rabbinical corruption. This time around I am once again convinced he is right.


2 thoughts on “QOTD about Broyde’s Anemic Apology

  1. I think that the critique of Broyde is strongly overdone. A forum of discussion is not “a sacred space”, and the use of aliases, pseudonyms and personas is as old as literary expression itself.

    • Of course it is not a sacred space. I did not accuse him of sacrilege. Pseudonyms can be used with integrity. He lied to the forum on several occasions. He used deception to be included in what would otherwise have been a discussion to which he was not welcome. He used a phony character who told false stories about R. Moshe and others, he was a petty self promoter and as I expect to show at more length he is a hypocrite who denounced others who used pseudonyms with no pretense that they were their real names. Broyde showed egoism, pettiness, dishonesty and deception. I still respect his scholarship. I am not arguing that his articles are not worth reading. But he is not honest enough to be trusted to be a dayan.

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