Efrem Goldberg in Boca Doth Protest Too Much

The Boca Raton Synagogue fell into the spotlight of the Forward’s series of article about sex abuse at YU when BRS’s long-time member, Richard Andron, was named as a serial, child molester.

After 30 years of abiding Richard (Rick, Ricky) Andron, BRS turned on a shekel and forced his immediate resignation and agreement not to enter their premises or events. Nice PR work, but they never explained why, knowing of his history as they did, they allowed him to conduct activities with children until shortly beforehand including havdalah, singing, and until two years ago, the matzoh shop. This was the misconduct of both Rabbi Emeritus Kenneth (Kenny) Brandon and his hand-picked, protegé/successor, Rabbi Efrem Goldberg.

In September, BRS adopted a civility policy which it asks all its members to sign. It is not clear if they have changed the by-laws. But in any event Effi is pushing it, focusing especially on public criticism of leadership or even other rabbis in the community such as those who have embraced Andron now that he is out of BRS. I am all for civility but I find Rabbi Goldberg’s hypocrisy galling, both in how he explains this policy and how he actually conducts himself.

For starters, I hear he calls me a menuval in private discussions. I get it he does not like me. I have been critical of him and his predecessor and downright acerbic. But in Yiddish, a menuval is not just a nasty guy but he is a sexual miscreant of some sort. He has absolutely no grounds to believe that and if he does he should spit it out, rather than skulking behind closed doors to defame.

This brings me to the what he does behind closed doors. Unlike his mentor/predecessor and Rabbi Emeritus, Kenny Brander, Effi is a pleasant guy in public. But in private he lets loose screaming and shouting at those that choose to dissent. He doesn’t do it to everyone, and he doesn’t do if he can get his way with honeyed word,  just when he has to and just to those low on the income and status totem pole of the community. In this respect he is a worthy successor to Brander who was notorious for looking straight through or past the lower status members of the community.

These are rabbis, who in polite managerial jargon, “manage up.” However, in defending the civility policy, Rabbi Goldberg waxed piously with a well-known story about the Beis Halevi (the ancestor of the Rav, Yosef Dov Soloveitchik). The Beis Halevi is travelling in lay clothing and is treated shabbily by an inn keeper who is later embarassed when he recognizes the stature of the Beis Halevi and apologizes. The Beis Halevi refuses to accept the apology until he gets the inn keeper to understand that you cannot apologize for treating an esteemed person like a lay person. You have to treat everyone respectfully. He weaves in other stuff related to the parshah and an excruciating long soliloquy about tolerance for disagreement and mutual respect.

You can accept my characterization of his overly long essay or read it yourself. However be prepared to gag if you know the reality of his conduct and the hierarchical political culture of BRS. On the other hand you can entertain yourself with the thought that this long kvetch is a very telling clue that he is on defensive, or to paraphrase Shakespeare, ‘The Rabbi dost protest too much, methinks!’

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20 thoughts on “Efrem Goldberg in Boca Doth Protest Too Much

  1. Remember too the person who wrote up the civility statement also is responsible for investigating what abuse has occurred at BRS by Rick Andron. We haven’t heard any results of that investigation of course. (The only thing we are less likely to see is a detailed financial statement from either BRS or Young Israel.)

    We will see Goldberg’s smiling face soon at the White House Chanukah party. He will be quite civil their and won’t raise a word of protest over John Kerry threatening Israel with a third intifada. After all why ruing a good party with something that uncomfortable. And Pollard doesn’t have to worry that Goldberg will talk about him once at the party.

  2. Unfortunately you got the entire context of the civility statement dead wrong. And Boca Jew proves it.
    Over the past few years a group of people at the BRS have decided that unless you are right-wing and anti-Obama, you have no right to speak or have an opinion.
    I’ve watched Jews yell at other Jews and call them Nazi collaborators, Kapos, etc because they are democrats.
    The civility statement has nothing to do with criticizing the Rabbi or the board. It has to do with people being yelled at and screamed out for a difference of opinion.
    For the record, the only place I’ve ever heard that Rabbi Goldberg raises his voice is on this blog. He works 24/7 for the membership of the shul.
    Come to the BRS and watch people patrol the halls looking for someone to argue with, berate and insult. You’ll understand the civility statement in context.

    • Come to BRS and see convicted child molester Boruch Lanner be honored with a party on Shavuos. Your synagogue has been doing crazy stuff since Marc Gafni was running the joint (your rabbi in the 80s who threw himself in front of the PopeMobile and who’s been accused of multiple lewd acts with minors). Keep up the great work.

      I’m pro-Israel and can’t stand how your synagogue gives Israel, and Jews, a bad name. Your posts seem to prove it.

      • Party for Boruch Lanner in shul? Never happened.
        Gafni – fired by the board for incompetence, failure to perform his rabbinic duties, and on and on. Incidentally, Gafni is accused of one lewd act with a minor. He favors older women.
        None of your facts are correct.
        Just throw mud – something will stick.

        • It is also my information that Gafni primarily prefers adult relationships though as a younger man there are several underage teen girls he sexually abused (not just one, as you claim)

        • Kiddush for Lanner on Shavuos? Didn’t happen? Please confirm this, Rabbi Goldberg.

          Gafni, hired as the BRS Rabbi for years. Was too nuts for even your crew, but he was your leader for years. Followed by Brander, the Cover-Up King. Followed by Efrem Goldberg, who openly admits Lanner as an honored congregant. At least no cover-up there. Oh wait, I almost forgot about Ricky Andron.

          When will the City of Boca demand that parents sign a signed advisory that BRS has operated as a haven for molesters for decades before allowing kids to enter the building?

          I’ll be fair. Goldberg doesn’t like all molesters. They need to have money to be accepted (and I guess be willing to donate). It’s the least they can do.

    • The only people who get problems at BRS are pro Israel activists. Goldberg banned the local leadership of the ZOA from BRS for not supporting Obama.

      He has had a member speak as seudah shlishit about how he owns the largest Muslim food company and how BRS should ally itself with the terrorist Islamic Center of Boca Raton and theatened to expel anyone who publicly opposed the speaker who also has promised Muslim groups he is anti Israel.

  3. Efrem Goldberg is the same creep who went on a jihad against a husband who was trying to save his marriage. He had offered to have a get written to be held by a rabbi, offered another when that fell through, and was only insisting on a postpartum evaluation and marriage counseling. Goldberg was duped but also refused to hear anything about the case, deciding instead to go for glory at the wife’s and the husband’s expense.

    But because he was a Republican and Goldberg wanted to score brownie points with Ted Deutch and Obama (he’s been invited to the White House a few times), Goldberg went on a wild and crazy social media campaign and then

    Even the wife was appalled by his actions and she blames him for casting them in a negative light. Of course, his actions produced no results other than almost causing a man who was perfectly willing to give a get after counseling to almost not do so at all.

    Here’s a letter on the case from the head of the South Florida Bais Din, Rabbi Mendel Senderovic. If you want more info on Goldberg’s despicable actions, email me.

    Toward the beginning of their divorce ordeal, the then husband, Yomin Postelnik, contacted me in my
    capacity as head of the rabbinical court in Miami Beach. Shortly thereafter, both he and Leah Postelnik
    (Fern Postelnik/Leah Karp) agreed to seek resolution through our rabbinical court with regard to a valid
    Jewish divorce.
    On July 3,2011, Yomin Postelnik ordered a get (religious bill of divorce) written in the presence of
    our court. He contended that though he did not wish for a divorce, nonetheless, he was willing to proceed
    with the Get in order to alleviate the then wife’s stated fears that she would not receive one.
    According to Jewish law a religious divorce can only be valid if both parties participate willingly.
    Executing a get against one’s will, would compromise its validity.
    In the end, due to noncompliance with conditions, the get was not delivered and executed. Yomin
    Postelnik stated then that he was willing to have another get written as long as the original conditions
    would be met.
    In October of 20l2,the then husband again contacted me and asked that a new get be written should
    the then wife wish to receive it. Upon the mutual request of both parties I flew out to Denver on
    November 12,2012 and a valid get was executed according the stated desires of both parties.
    Throughout the process, in our conversations, Yomin Postelnik’s stated desire had been to proceed
    with the Get when assured that all possibilities to save the marriage had been exhausted. At no point did
    he indicate to me a malicious or spiteful refusal to grant a Get.
    Rabbi Mendel Senderovic

      • Really, he must have been a BRS member then. But no, he wasn’t. Neither he nor her never set foot in BRS. He paid most of the kids’ education costs and is a good father. I’ve seen what professionals said about Goldberg’s involvement too. Seems like BRS is sick, sick, sick – a haven for child molesters, but a place that goes to war against decent parents. PS I think a lawsuit is in the works against Goldberg and BRS, hence the Rabbi Senderovic letter. Yerachmiel, I have tons more info on this case, including statements from the wife who thinks that Goldberg hurt her and the kids for his own glory. Email me if you want. It’s shocking.

        • Lawsuit? The husband has been threatening this for years. But it was hard for him to launch his political career while he was holding his wife hostage for a get. Forgot about that part, didn’t you?

        • Holding his wife hostage? Lol, you guys really do need some shirks. I have names and numbers of therapists who told him that it’s amoral to give a get without a postpartum eval and that his demand for marriage counseling sessions was reasonable. Looks to me like he shot his political career in the toilet in order to try to save his marriage. Also looks to me that Goldberg tried to advance his own political connections by ripping at a man who did nothing, dragging his wife’s name through the mud and going to the press in a way that would only harm her shidduch prospects.

          He asked for no money, nothing, just counseling. Definitely the kind of guy you would go after while honoring Lanner and covering up for Rick Andron. You should hear what the good rabbis at the JEC had to say about your publicity stunt.

          I’ll believe Rabbi Mendel Senderovic, who claims that he wrote a get months before you, er, Goldberg, got involved. So all you were doing was grandstanding.

          Btw, why don’t you post under your real name, BRS Rabbi?

          But I agree that this is a stupid case and that your covering up for Lanner and Andron is the real issue. Do you advertise? Molesters with money always welcome has a nice ring to it, for your shul.

      • and abuser. Leah is a very close friend of the family. This might be the one good thing that Efrem Goldberg has done.

        • Yep, more BRS Bunk from the BRS Defamation Squad against anyone who Goldberg wants to trample on for fame. Lol – You really don’t know the case. FYI He’s an extremely decent guy, ask Leah what she thinks of Goldberg’s crazy tactics and what harm it caused her. I saw the files. Even the allegations were less than in many divorces, they were laughed out of court and what Goldberg did would cost someone a get ever in many cases.

          But you do have a point. Going to the media against a guy who’d already had a get written on condition of counseling and was willing to have another written with no additional requests is definitely a positive and constructive thing. Maybe he should start a practice as a marriage mediator. His tactics are definitely productive and unique.

          FYI after Goldberg’s insane actions a Bais Din in Monsey all but offered a heter meah rabbonim. The husband had the decency to refuse. I do understand that some people in BRS who didn’t know him or her before the case were telling her to do all kinds of things to him, Mendel Epstein style things, and that she, to her credit, didn’t do that. I also heard that a crazy lawyer at your shul, Sara Shulevitz, referred her to a disbarred attorney to start trouble but she knew better.

          So you took two people who seem to be far more decent than anything coming out of BRS and made a media circus out of them. Shame on you is all I can say.

  4. the reality is tyhat the rabbi from brs has had molesters in his shul for years and had knowledge

    he allowed lanner to get aliyos and that is not disputable and is disgraceful

    it is time that he admits what he knew and when about andron

    ]enough stop defending a rabbi who doesnt protect children just his job

  5. It seems to me that any discussion of this point ends up being a breakout of internal conflicts in BRS. I have my own disagreements with Effie, but he and I have communicated amicably about them. I hope someone can get a more objective read on the situation down there.

    • With this much drama in one Shul you are all forgetting the reason you go to Shul and do these rituals we call Judaism. This is a clear example why the Beit hamikdash was destroyed. Shul is not supposed to be a country club.

  6. Efrem Goldberg insults the members of the Boca Raton synagogue who disagree with his civility policy in a recent article in the Sun Sentinel. The people who don’t like his policy don’t have any legitimate concerns that he is trying to censor him he argues, rather he insults and belittles them claiming “the people who are resistant are the people for whom it was written”.

    Just as he called all the shul members who complained of his protecting a sexual pervert in the shul as ignorant for complaining about a convicted felon walking around in a dress, Efrem Goldberg continues to show his disdain for those members of the Boca Raton Synagogue who are committed to Torah observant Judaism.

    He is doing everything he can to turn the shul away from Torah Judaism and into a branch of the local democratic party, promoting Obama, supportive of the PLO and the homosexual agenda. And of course covering up for Rick Andron is just par for the course.

  7. Not sure how a private divorce matter made it into the discussion or members of his synagogue (not including Mr. Lopin, who is not a member) feel free to trash their rabbi on the internet and feel that that’s the way to effect any change in their shul.

    While I’ve held off on posting in return for all the smut sent out from Boca in a private matter, when people start hurting others with it, some response is needed. Let me just say that Efrem Goldberg not only backed off immediately when he found out the true nature of what was going on (although only after the shameful media campaign started by “religion” reporter Lois Solomon of the Sun-Sentinel – which was also not his idea). There’s more I’d say in his defense, except that it is a private matter. One thing I will say is that he was egged on by the same people who are now posting against him.

    As to the poster who claims to be a friend of hers, I never heard of you or met you in my life. If you are one of the people who was busy egging on the media and peddling laughable smut, then shame on you for telling her not to accept offers of counseling (as rabbonim and especially counselors had suggested btw) and to allow you guys to make a media circus instead. Your posts against your own rabbi are true to form. I do want to thank you, though, for the ludicrous allegations, as they gave the judge in the case a good laugh.

    I’ve never been to the Boca Raton Synagogue (just as well, if it has members who have nothing better to do than to trash their rabbi in comments sections), but Efrem Goldberg is far better than the malcontents taking to these boards. Again, I understand people like Yerachmiel Lopin, who is not a member of his synagogue and who’s an activist in a certain area (but I do disagree with him on this). What I don’t understand are posters who claim to be members of a shul and see fit to trash their shul and rabbi while continuing to be members. Some people have no self respect.

    Yerachmiel, while you’re entitled to your opinion and you do try hard for a noble cause, I do think the attacks on Efrem Goldberg are out of place and that he deserves better than to be mentioned in conjunction with the likes of Rick Andron – and this is coming from someone who’s obviously not a fan of his. Many would like to think that their shul rabbi is some tzaddik or a sorcerer with a magic wand who can solve anything. In truth, he’s just a regular person trying to run a shul, a shul that contains some pretty vicious and quarrelsome members. I’m not sure what he honestly could have done that would have been effective and not caused a backlash or even sympathy for Andron. But he is better than being mentioned in this kind of context.

    Wolf, you’re a good friend and as much as I’d like more of the truth of this to come out, I’m loathe to do so and in any case, Goldberg was dragged in with nonsense mostly egged on by people who I hadn’t seen in 20 years and who I’d also largely never spoken to (thankfully) and extricated himself as soon as he found out the truth.

    One last thing, I’ve had many conversations with R’ Efrem Goldberg since, some of them quite contentious (including blasting him for not pushing for counseling and other stuff that’s private, in a marriage and when 3 kids were at stake), but I can say with certainty that BRS Member is not him and that he doesn’t talk like that.

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