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PAGE 8A By Ben Harris HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, APRIL 26, 2013 Deception deals blow to reputation of prominent Orthodox rabbi, Michael Broyde to publish scores of letters in considering further mea- tweetingalewdphotoofhim- Prior to that, Goldwasser organization, an action for NEW YORK (JTA)--Until [two weeks ago], Michael Broyde was considered one of the most respected Orthodox rabbis in America. A professor of law at Emory University, the author of doz- ens of books and articles, and a leading authority on the intersection of religious and secular law, Broyde was sought after regularly to render opinions on matters of ritual practice and Jewish ethics. He was among the hand- ful of members of the Beth Din of America, the centrist Orthodox community's reli- gious court. He reportedly was shortlisted as a candidate to replace Jonathan Sacks as the chief rabbi of the United Kingdom. The chancellor of Yeshiva University, Rabbi Norman Lamm, said Broyde possessed "the finest mind of his generation." Now Broyde's reputation may be irrevocably tarnished amid revelations that for 20 years he used a fake identity scholarly journals and online correspondence. Broyde also admitted to using the false name "Rabbi Hershel Gold- wasser" to gain membership for a time in the International Rabbinic Fellowship, an as- sociation of liberal Orthodox rabbis. The revelations were first reported [two weeks ago] by The Jewish Channel's web- site. After initially denying the charges to The Jewish Channel's reporter, Broyde quickly owned up once the article was published, send- ing an apology about an hour afterward to the Rabbinic Fellowship. However, as the story was picked up by Jewish media around the world, Broyde downplayed the importance of the deception and told Haaretz he didn't understand why the issue was such a big deal. Now the Beth Din of America has placed Broyde on indefinite leave and the Rab- binical Council of America, the court's parent body, is sures. The Emory Law School has launched an "inquiry." Meanwhile, Broyde's repu- tation as a scholar and ethi- cist has taken a beating that could be irreparable. "The allegations regarding the conduct of Professor Mi- chael Broyde are concerning to the Law School," Emory said in a statement last Mon- day. "We are currently review- ing the matter and plan to issue a statement on our inquiry is complete." Broyde is the latest in a string of scholars and public figures to be undone by the conventions of the Internet age. [Recently], the chief rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim, resigned his post after blog- gers revealed that he had plagiarized parts of at least two books and lied about his academic credentials. Over the last [weeks], the New York media have been abuzz about the possible reentry into politics of former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, a New York Democrat who resigned after self and then lying about it. In Broyde's case, the rabbi appeared to lack the sophis- tication for a successful In- ternet ruse. Confronted with evidence that the man who posted online and wrote to journals as Goldwasser was a false persona that Broyde had concocted, Broyde initially denied the charges. Asked why his personal Internet Protocol addresses matched thoseofcorrespondence from Goldwasser, Broyde report- edly said he didn't know what IP addresses were. Using the fake name, Broy- de gained access to the Rab- binic Fellowship, a grouping of liberal-minded Orthodox rabbis founded in 2008 by Rabbi Avi Weiss, at a time when the organization was in its infancy and did not have rigorous membership stan- dards. After the formalization of membership procedures the following year, efforts were made to verify Goldwas- ser's identity. When the effort failed, Broyde's alter ego was booted from the organization. had engaged in several intel- lectual debates with other rabbis in Jewish publications. He was even mentioned in the preface to the 2009 Koren prayer book as one of the rabbis who had aided in its publication. Pressed about the Gold- wasser character by The Jew- ish Channel, Broyde initially offered several biographical details, including that Gold- wasser had been a friend of Broyde's father at a yeshiva in the 1950s and subsequently had moved to Israel. Ultimately, Broyde con- fessed and issued several apologies--sort of. In a letter to the past presi- dent of the Rabbinic Fellow- ship, Rabbi Barry Gelman, and in a posting to the blog Hirhurim-Musings, Broyde apologized and noted several times that his behavior was "inappropriate." But he also downplayed his actions. In the Hirhurim post, Broyde admitted that he had erred in using the fake name to join a professional which he said he was "truly and genuinely sorry." But on the wider use of a pseudonym, Broyde wrote that he did not find this particularly harm- ful, noting that writing under an assumed name has a long history in Jewish discourse. The wider rabbinic commu- nity has seen the matter quite differently. RCA President Rabbi Shmuel Goldin told JTAthat he found the charges against Broyde "disturbing." The Rabbinic Fellowship said Broyde had violated the group's "sacred" space. "As a prominent dayan of the BDA, rabbi and posek, Rabbi Broyde's actions are all the more saddening and shocking," the fellowship said in a statement, using the Hebrew terms for reli- gious judge and decisor of Jewish law. "Honesty and yashrut [integrity] must be the hallmarks of all Jews and especially all who occupy positions of leadership in the community." Broyde declined to be in- terviewed for this story. Rabbi David Lazar, too brash for Stockholm? By Cnaan Liphshiz (JTA)--Having grown up in a devoutly Christian home, Irene Lopez would probably not be raising her daughter Jewish if not for David Lazar, the charismatic rabbi of the Great Synagogue of Stock- holm. Lopez and her Jewish hus- band, Samuel Sjoblom, are among the Swedes who were drawn to the Great Synagogue in recent years by the mag- netic, if occasionally prickly, personality of Lazar, the energetic Israeli-American who has held the position since 2010. "My decision to convert my daughter was very much inspired by David, who showed me with his outreach to gays and other minorities that being Jewish isn't instead of anything else you are," said Lopez, 33, a filmmaker and mother to Saskia Sjoblom Lopez, who recently turned 1. Yet despite the pull that Regeringskansliet, The government of Sweden Rabbi David Lazar, left, showing a Torah scroll in 2011 to Swedish government minister Stefan Attefall at the Great Synagogue of Stockholm. Lazar, 55, exerts on Jews and non-Jews in ultra-liberal Sweden--he was named het- Bar Mitzvah Elijah Ben Goldberg, son of Russell and Amy Goldberg of Lake Mary, Fla., will be called to the Torah as a bar mitzvah Saturday, May 4, 2013 at Congregation Beth Am in Longwood. Eli is an "A" student in the seventh grade at San- ford Middle School. He has his black belt in Tae Kwon Do, enjoys hanging out with friends and plays a tuba in the school band. Sharing in the family's simcha will be his brothers, Jonah and Noah; his grandparents, Dr. Alan and Anita Guy of Maitland; grandmother, Ingrid Goldberg of Long- wood; grandfather, Norman Goldberg of Lake Mary; aunt and uncle, Allyson and Steve Krause of Atlanta; aunt and uncle Heidi and Steven Goldberg of Philadelphia; cousins from Atlanta and Philadelphia as well as many great aunts, uncles and cousins from Miami, Venice and North Carolina. erosexual of the year in 2012 by a local gay magazine--the Jewish Community of Stock- holm announced last week that it would replace Lazar fol- lowing the failure of contract renewal talks. Community officials said they offered Lazar a three- year extension but refused his demand for tenure, citing complaints about his "confron- tational" style. Lazar told JTA hewill leave inAugustbecause he needs "job security." What began as mundane negotiations between a color- ful rabbi and his employers has escalated into a full-scale media row, with stories in Sweden's major media and petitions on Lazar's behalf signed by hundreds of Jews and non-Jews, some of whom believe Lazar's departure is a result of his liberalism. Com- munity leaders deny this, cit- ing instead his behavior and "unwillingness to listen"--an issue they say is crucial to the consensus-driven model of Stockholm's centralized Jew- ish community. "A rabbi without enemies is not a rabbi," Lazar told Sweden Radio in an interview April 18 in which he portrayed his falling-out with the com- munity as a Euro-American culture clash. In an earlier interview, Lazar was less cavalier. "There are people for whom I don't represent their ideal in a rabbi," he said. "Some of them have told me, most of them have not. But I can see in people's reactions and in their eyes." A portly man who sports a graying ponytail, Lazar is well versed in controversy. In 2001, shortly before he became rabbi of Tel Aviv's Tiferet Shalom synagogue, he became the first Israeli clergyman to officiate at a gay wedding. It would be more than a decade before the Conservative movement, which ordained Lazar in 1983, would formally sanction gay unions. Asked by a reporterwhether he still qualified as a Con- servative rabbi, Lazar grew testy and began listing his movement credentials before mockingly asking, "Now you tell me, am I?" Lazar, a Los Angeles na- tive, has limited interest in guidelines. "Religion for the sake of religion is not interesting," he once told an interviewer. "I don't think God cares. God cares that we treat each other in the most lovingway possible to create a better world." Such sentiments struck a chord in Sweden, one of the world's most secular cultures and one in which some Jews feel it's "important to show they're not extremists or fanatics," according to Stock- holm's Orthodox chief rabbi, Meir Horden, who also is an American-Israeli. Swedish Jews had their first taste of Lazar in 2009 when he delivered a lecture at the annual Limmud Stockholm learning event. Alf Levy, a former community president, recommended hiring Lazar after hearing him speak. But Levy has since stopped coming to the Great Syna- gogue because of Lazar's "arrogance." "Theweekly Jewish learning sessions, which used to be dia- logue based, became a mono- logue under David," he said. "When someone mentioned this, David got furious, sneered at him and ignored him." While Lazar does not lack for defenders---The David Lazar Unofficial Fanclub, a Facebook group, has 255 members--no one contests that his style is unorthodox. He has invited a gospel choir to perform at Friday night services and made liturgical changes, like replac- ing the line in the mourner's prayer to mention "all of hu- manity" instead of only the "people of Israel." What Lazar lacks in dip- lomatic skills, he makes up for in warmth, openness and availability, says Lopez, who is making a documentary about the rabbi. A recent interview was conducted over a glass of brandy at his study at 1 a.m., at the end of one of Lazar's frequent 15-hour workdays. He spent one of those work- days last year at Stockholm's Pride Park, a gay pride event, where he casually sat down on the wooden floor of the speaker's pavilion for a dis- cussion about "Archetypical Queers in Torah." Lazar also led the first official Jewish delegation to Sweden's gay pride parade. This summer he will officiate at Sweden's first gay Jewish marriage. Lazar has integrated music into services in the Stockholm synagogue, sometimes bang- ing on an African drum. Last year he started a sermon to a Christian group by inviting them "to get out of your Swed- ish bodies and into your souls" and sing along to a hasidic melody. But sometimes with Lazar, politics eclipse the music. In January, he invited Behrang Miri, a rapper of Iranian descent, to attend a musical Sabbath service. Miri was a supporter of the May 2010 at- tempt to break Israel's naval blockade of the Gaza Strip-- a clash between a Turkish ship, the Mavi Marmara, and Israeli commandos resulted in nine deaths--and his in- vitation ruffled some Jewish feathers. Itwas emblematic of the way Lazar, with his outspokenness and occasional heedlessness, has run afoul of some Swedish Jews, united in a communal umbrella known as an "ein- heitsgemeinde," or unified community. As the com- munity's only non-Orthodox rabbi, critics say Lazar must be broadly acceptable if he is to effect change in a harmoni- ous way. "People here have nowhere else to go," said Thomas Bab, the Stockholm Jewish community's administrative director. But to his defenders, some of whom have publicly signed petitions urging the board to yield to Lazar's terms, such outspokenness is necessary in a country where only a fraction of the population regularly at- tends religious services. "People were leaving before he came," said Bernt Hermele, a synagogue caretaker. "We needaperson like Davidforour community to stay relevant."