Michael Broyde, a leading Orthodox rabbi, admits to identity deception

NEW YORK (JTA) — Rabbi Michael Broyde, a leading Modern Orthodox figure, confessed to using a fake persona to infiltrate a rival rabbinic organization and herald his own work in scholarly journals.

A lengthy expose on The Jewish Channel on Friday detailed how Broyde, a member of the Rabbinical Council of America who once was said to be on the short list of candidates to become the next chief rabbi of the United Kingdon, used the fake persona "Rabbi Herschel Goldwasser." As Goldwasser, Broyde joined the International Rabbinic Fellowship, a rival to the RCA, heralded his own scholarship and corresponded with other rabbis.

Broyde at first denied the allegations, but then confessed on Friday shortly after The Jewish Channel piece was published.

“I realize that being an IRF member through a pseudonym was inappropriate,” Broyde wrote in an email to the IRF posted on The Jewish Channel’s website. “I am sorry. Please understand that no malice was intended and my participation was not intended to interfere with the growth or success of the IRF.”

In his apology letter, Brodye claimed that the fakery ended three or four years ago and that recent posts under the Goldwasser pseudonym were authored by someone else.

Broyde first claimed that Goldwasser was a high school teacher of his who had immigrated to Israel about a decade ago. In his confession email, Broyde said he and a friend, whom Broyde does not name, used the pseudonym Goldwasser. Broyde even used the fake persona to argue with himself on discussion boards.

A professor of law at Emory University, Broyde also is a rabbinical court judge for the Beth Din of America.

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