4/13/13

Jewish Channel's Steven I. Weiss Reveals that Rabbi Hershel Goldwasser is the Sock Puppet identity of Rabbi Michael Broyde

The tireless journalist and spirited blogger at the the Jewish Channel, Steven I. Weiss, revealed yesterday that Rabbi Hershel Goldwasser has been the sock-puppet identity of Rabbi Michael Broyde for twenty years, "An investigation by The Jewish Channel reveals a fake rabbi’s connections to a leading rabbinical court judge."

Weiss is a thorough reporter who has no sympathy for supposedly good rabbis who hide their identities to do bad things. In 2005 for example, he reported with care on goings on connected to a rabbi in Teaneck who hid behind a fake identity to rant about the State of Israel in ways that went far beyond the norms of acceptable communal discourse.

There's probably nothing criminal in making up a fake identity and having "him" praise your real identity or having "him" express opinions that you are afraid to express yourself, as Broyde did. It is creepy behavior, that's for sure. And there will be those who make the case that it is unprofessional behavior for a rabbi with a leadership position on a Jewish tribunal to engage in this level of deception for this many years.

Weiss' report is long and detailed and conveys to this blogger a clear sense that Broyde is rightfully embarrassed to have been exposed.

Late yesterday Broyde admitted his charade and tried to apologize for his actions in a strange way on a quirky Orthodox web site, including this final awful attempt at justification, "Basically we were told that given the level of unpleasant discourse in our Orthodox Jewish community, some things just need to be said pseudonymously." 

Our continued admiration goes to Steven I. Weiss for writing stories such as this one.

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