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Rabbinical Court Drops Michael Broyde

Prominent rabbi who used pseudonym takes leave of absence from the Beth Din of America

Yair Rosenberg
April 15, 2013
Michael Broyde's purged bio from the Beth Din of America web site (Beth Din of America)
Michael Broyde's purged bio from the Beth Din of America web site (Beth Din of America)

The Rabbinical Council of America, the chief professional organization of Modern Orthodox rabbis, has granted Rabbi Dr. Michael Broyde, one of its most prominent scholars and a professor of law at Emory University, “an indefinite leave of absence” from its top rabbinical court, the Beth Din of America. Sources within the RCA confirmed the move, and Broyde’s biography has been deleted from the court’s web site, where he was previously listed as a member and judge.

“Rabbi Broyde has admitted to behavior that the Rabbinical Council finds extremely disturbing,” Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, president of the RCA, told Tablet. “We have determined and announced by the Beth Din of America, our affiliated rabbinical court, that he has ceased to serve as a dayan immediately and indefinitely.”

This action comes almost immediately following the revelation that Broyde crafted a fake alternate identity which he used to correspond with rabbinic journals, promote his own work, and most controversially, join a rival left-wing rabbinical organization. He was also shown to have employed various sock puppet accounts to defend his writing online.

While Broyde initially denied responsibility, he issued several public apologies hours after the conduct was reported on Friday morning by Steven Weiss at The Jewish Channel. The International Rabbinic Fellowship, the left-wing organization Broyde joined under the false pretenses of his pseudonym, dubbed his actions “saddening and shocking,” adding that “personal apologies are due to the specific individuals that he interacted with.”

Said Rabbi Goldin, “We are going to continue investigating the matter and proceedings will be underway to determine any further appropriate action.”

UPDATE: The RCA has issued a press release, which confirms the above, and adds that Broyde “has also requested a leave of absence from his membership in the RCA.”

Yair Rosenberg is a senior writer at Tablet. Subscribe to his newsletter, listen to his music, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.