Rabbi And Emory Law Professor Accused of Deception

b0cb5f707dEmory University law professor and Orthodox rabbi Michael Broyde is being accused of assuming a false identity and joining a rabbinic group under false pretenses. Broyde allegedly assumed the identify of a Rabbi Hershel Goldwasser, who claimed to live in Israel, and gained access for 20 years to the International Rabbinic Fellowship, an association of liberal Orthodox rabbis. Broyde is accused of then lying when confronted about the deception and denying that he was in fact Goldwasser who penned a variety of letters and directed people to Broyde’s own scholarship.

In addition to being a law professor and Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion, Broyde is a member of the Rabbinical Council of America and a judge Beth Din of America, the largest Jewish law court in America.

Broyde was confronted by a reporter for the Jewish Channel and denied that he was the same person. He was asked why his personal Internet Protocol addresses matched those of correspondence from Goldwasser, Broyde simply said that he didn’t know what IP addresses were. That is now obvious. When evidence was presented linking him to the deception, he later owned up to being Goldwasser.

The question is how Emory should handle such deception and denials from a law professor and ethicist. While this could be viewed as something occurring in his private life, Broyde reportedly used the false identity to push his own scholarship. However, there remains the question whether  such conduct should lead to his loss of tenure as opposed to his reparation from the Jewish court.

What do you think?

Source:

40 thoughts on “Rabbi And Emory Law Professor Accused of Deception

  1. Dredd: I prefer not to simplify people to one dimension, which would be necessary to venerate them. Mathematical genius was not Einstein’s only trait, business genius is not Warren Buffett’s only trait, rhetorical performance is not Obama’s only trait, political genius was not Jefferson’s only trait.

    I am not awed by pettiness, back-stabbing, adultery, explosive anger, irrational egoism, double standard elitism or the many other failings of people that were famous. I do not give them a pass on every wrong they committed just because they happened to spend some small portion of their working life making something outstanding.

    The work is what counts, not the person.

    Nor do I consider myself any better (or worse) than any of them, unlike you, I am not in awe of myself.

  2. The first sentence of the article needs some structure.
    Goldwater in English, GoldVasser in German.
    Phony baloney on both counts.

  3. I’m not sure what to make of this story. If the gentleman was posing for the purpose of hyping his own work for personal gain, he should be asked to resign his position and move on.

  4. When I was four years old, my dad volunteered to be a camp staff member, and the camp allowed my mom, my brother, and me to be at the camp also, without any fee being charged. The camp was at Deception Pass, in Washington state.

    On the way there, the four of us had a conversation about deception, what it was, possible reasons for it, and what effects it has.

    Because I have never learned to believe that any event that actually happened, having happened, could have happened other than as it did actually happen, i have experienced almost all of a lifetime of nearly 74 years understanding that the commonplace notion that a person who actually did something could actually have done the something differently than the person did actually did it, to be a profound example of deception.

    Perhaps my inability to believe that any actually avoidable mistake or accident has ever happened is a result of the way I am autistic; perhaps I am biologically incapable of learning the social conventions of the effective telling of lies.

    Finding only one profession the Code of Ethics (see http://www.nspe.org/Ethics/CodeofEthics/index.html ) for which has what I find to be an absolute prohibition of deception in professional practice, I found it wise and proper to become a registered professional engineer, with bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in bioengineering.

    What better way to work at understanding deception as a problem of human biology?

    While I have a plausibly decent imagination, I can quite effortlessly concoct a plethora of hypothetical notions, none of which, methinks, can ever become actually tangible realities.

    That plethora includes the hypothetical, methinks-actually-impossible, notion of the legal fiction reasonable person who can foresee what no actual person ever actually foresees.

    Perhaps I can restate the above observation: The belief in a hypothetical legal-fiction person as the standard of behavior for actual living people is pure deception when actual people are held to account by a biologically impossible legal fiction.

    So, it does not surprise me to learn of a law professor who is accused of deception.

    To me, there are three core aspects of the NSPE Code of Ethics that apply to my work in professional engineering, to wit: 1) I am to hold paramount the public safety. 2) I am to work in, and only in, areas of my professional competence. 3) I am to accomplish both (1) and (2) without deception.

    From time to time, I do a little research, sometimes using the Internet, sometimes using an Internet search engine, such as Google.

    I did a Google search for the exact phrase, “deceptive practice of law” and Google came back with:
    No results found for “deceptive practice of law”

    I surmise that it is a fact of law that deceptive practice of law is, by law, impossible.

    What, if anything, have I learned about deception?

    If the practice of law is, to some extent, deceptive by its core structure, methinks that the only extant profession that has standing to question such deception would have to be professional bioengineering, and, even then, only under Daubert and not under Frye.

    Deception, as I have been able to observe it, is self-referential; any person who has been deceived is necessarily consciously oblivious to being deceived, this being the necessary consequence of the fact that being consciously aware of being deceived is indistinguishable from being not-deceived.

    Why wouldn’t a law professor be deceived if the foundational principle of the adversarial system is actually deception itself?

  5. Tony C. 1, April 18, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Dredd: …

    The work is what counts, not the person.

    Nor do I consider myself any better (or worse) than any of them, unlike you, I am not in awe of myself.
    ============================================
    I am not in awe of myself except that I like myself.

    You sound like you have a findamentalist, self-righteous belief system encased in “sh*t happens” science.

    The person matters more than the work.

    Since you have it backwards, you need a joke book.

    So write one already.

    It will do you more good than work.

    I hope you end up being awesome and liking yourself more than work.

  6. J. Brian Harris, Ph.D., P.E. 1, April 18, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    On the way there, the four of us had a conversation about deception, what it was, possible reasons for it, and what effects it has.

    Because I have never learned to believe that any event that actually happened, having happened, could have happened other than as it did actually happen, i have experienced almost all of a lifetime of nearly 74 years understanding that the commonplace notion that a person who actually did something could actually have done the something differently than the person did actually did it, to be a profound example of deception.

    Perhaps my inability to believe that any actually avoidable mistake or accident has ever happened is a result of the way I am autistic; perhaps I am biologically incapable of learning the social conventions of the effective telling of lies.

    Finding only one profession the Code of Ethics … for which has what I find to be an absolute prohibition of deception in professional practice, I found it wise and proper to become a registered professional engineer, with bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in bioengineering.
    ==========================================
    Interesting indeed.

    Deception is very ancient in the biological realm, much older than human deception:

    When a female Sacculina is implanted in a male crab it will interfere with the crab’s hormonal balance. This sterilizes it and changes the bodily layout of the crab to resemble that of a female crab … The female Sacculina has even been known to cause the male crabs to perform mating gestures typical of female crabs … The natural ability of regrowing a severed claw that is commonly used for defense purposes is lost after the infestation of Sacculina. Although all energy otherwise expended on reproduction is directed to the Sacculina, the crab develops a nurturing behavior typical of a female crab… The male Sacculina looks for a female Sacculina adult on the underside … then implants himself … and starts fertilizing … The crab … then cares for the eggs as if they were its own, having been rendered infertile by the parasite.

    If you take a lab rat who is 5,000 generations into being a lab rat, since the ancestor actually ran around in the real world, and you put some cat urine in one corner of their cage, they’re going to move to the other side. Completely innate, hard-wired reaction to the smell of cats, the cat pheromones. But take a Toxo-infected rodent, and they’re no longer afraid of the smell of cats. In fact they become attracted to it. The most damn amazing thing you can ever see, Toxo knows how to make cat urine smell attractive to rats. And rats go and check it out and that rat is now much more likely to wind up in the cat’s stomach.

    Phytopathogens can manipulate plant hormone signaling to access nutrients and counteract defense responses. Pseudomonas syringae produces coronatine, a toxin that mimics the plant hormone jasmonic acid isoleucine and promotes opening of stomata for bacterial entry, bacterial growth in the apoplast, systemic susceptibility, and disease symptoms.

    (On The Origin of Propaganda). For you and Tony C who have scientific, rather than religious training, you know that microbes originated billions of years ago.

    Your colleagues have discovered their powerful deceptive abilities, in both plants and animals.

    But those tiny ones have behavior that is no different than intentional human deception, on a massive scale:

    One of the most important comments on deceit, I think, was made by Adam Smith. He pointed out that a major goal of business is to deceive and oppress the public.

    And one of the striking features of the modern period is the institutionalization of that process, so that we now have huge industries deceiving the public — and they’re very conscious about it, the public relations industry. Interestingly, this developed in the freest countries—in Britain and the US — roughly around time of WWI, when it was recognized that enough freedom had been won that people could no longer be controlled by force. So modes of deception and manipulation had to be developed in order to keep them under control” …

    (The Deceit Business). I can’t see where Internet handles are deception per se, however, I do realize that they can be and are used in deception.

  7. I like the comment of J. Brian above. Some of us are coherent and are too explicit when trying to explain something that is complicated. I personally complain, mostly about womens’ issues here on this blog. This blog is a great place to learn things.

  8. Take an emory board to this schmuck and fire him for christ sake. Or if not Christ sake then GoldVassers. Question: In Deutsch is Goldvasser with a “v” or a “w”? Or is at a “w” that is pronounced like we pronounce a “v” in English? Things like this troubled Barry Goldwater in his lifetime. He said it was a choice his family made when they hit Ellis Island, not an echo.

  9. Dredd: You sound like you have a findamentalist, self-righteous belief system encased in “sh*t happens” science.

    What is a “findamentalist?” Somebody that finds things mentally? You are so right, I do that.

    Righteousness is being free from sin or guilt; I am neither; even if I define “sin” in my own non-supernatural way, I am not free of it, and I have certainly done and said things that I regret. Since I am not righteous, I am not self-righteous.

    I don’t know what “sh*t happens” science might be, so my belief system is not based on it. My belief system is based on naturalism. Which excludes supernaturalism.

    Dredd says: The person matters more than the work.

    While alive, sure. Once they are dead, all that is left is their work.

  10. Tony C.,

    Self righteousness: A good book to read would be one written by the pseudo name (handle) “Rita” entitled “Good Mrs. Hypocrite: A Study in Self-Righteousness” (1899). Dr. Dawkins is an example of a self-righteous individual.

    Study the history of science just in the past 150 years and note that it has changed so radically that it boils down to “sh*t happens science.” (e.g. read a science textbook of 1963 — 50 years ago, one from 1913 — 100 years ago — then read one from 1863 –150 years ago).

    It would be laughable, yet everything around us is fundamentally the same (planets, Sun, Earth), except the environmental system with its climate system.

    What has changed radically is the science textbooks and the civilization produced by technology.

    Not for the better in some serious ways.

    Religion has been much more consistent over that 150 years (people believe 4,000 different doctrines that conflict radically).

    That science has provided the devices that endanger all life (The Most Dangerous Moment in Recorded History) as it has radically changed is an interesting phenomenon.

    The consistency of religion over that time is also strangely interesting.

    The Rabbi in question in JT’s post is part of the religious consistency, as opposed to the scientific inconsistency.

    Neither one has prevented the increasing likelihood of the catastrophe civilization faces, and in fact some argue that those two (science, religion) have made civilization more insecure.

    It is time to realize that people and other living things are more important than anything else you would call “their work.”

    “The common good” trumps works of science and religion.

  11. Dredd: It is time to realize that people and other living things are more important than anything else you would call “their work.”

    LIVING people. Not people that have been dead so long nobody alive can remember them alive. In a hundred and fifty years, you and I will not be remembered as alive by any living person, we will be history, and then the only thing that will matter is what we accomplished and left behind to posterity. Our feelings won’t matter, we won’t have any. The feelings of those that knew us won’t matter, they won’t be alive and won’t have any feelings either. For things to “matter” they have to matter to the living, and the only thing that will matter to those living 150 years from now is how what we did is affecting them, positively or negatively.

    Perhaps it is time for you to realize that. If you did, you would actually do what I do, which is to explicitly work for the common good, because science delivers the most reliable understanding of future consequences, which is far and away the number one ingredient in any action that actually results in improving the common good.

    Instead of doing what you do, which is apparently seeking some sort of self-centered fame or ego-boost as a pundit or blogger.

  12. Tony C. 1, April 19, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Dredd: It is time to realize that people and other living things are more important than anything else you would call “their work.”

    LIVING people. Not people that have been dead so long nobody alive can remember them alive …
    ==================================
    I understand that sentiment, but that is not the way it is working.

    The best way to think of “people” is “the common good” …

    Focusing on “things” named “work” or named anything else puts non-life above life.

    The nuclear bombs that threaten life exist because we allow things to live on rather than people.

    The humanity of people is the common good, and is all we should allow “to live on or continue in our minds.”

    So we all continue to live on … not just a set of footprints in the dust of time.

  13. Tony C. 1, April 19, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Dredd:
    Perhaps it is time for you to realize that. If you did, you would actually do what I do, which is to explicitly work for the common good, because science delivers the most reliable understanding of future consequences, which is far and away the number one ingredient in any action that actually results in improving the common good.
    ================================================
    WMD is science at its most powerful, the only way humanity can destroy itself … except perhaps by fossil fuel techonogy … the slow form.

    Establishment science is at war with the common good.

  14. Tony C 1, April 19, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Dredd:

    Instead of doing what you do, which is apparently seeking some sort of self-centered fame or ego-boost as a pundit or blogger.
    ===============================================
    Yep, every one knows who the handle Dredd is.

    You are quite lame, envious, arrogant, petulant, and utterly wrong.

    Stop fighting your imagination … it is weak so that makes you a bully.

    Pick on something your own size, like your ego and Id.

    Then you may be able to stick to the subject and explain why the Rabbi should have his circumcision revoked.

  15. Dredd: WMD is not science at its most powerful at all; there are many ways to kill people. Hitler managed to kill millions without using WMD.

    The power of science is feeding the world, preventing disease, increasing lifespans, increasing life quality, educating the world, entertaining the world, and preventing lethal disasters every day.

    If you want mass death, deprivation, slavery, and absolutely nothing to relieve the anguish of disease and injury except wishing it weren’t so, turn to religion and politics.

  16. Tony C. 1, April 19, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    Dredd: So now a little anti-semitism? I guess I am not surprised at that in the least.
    ========================================
    Ah ha!

    The great scientist Tony C does not understand Jewish jokes.

    It figures.

  17. Tony C. 1, April 19, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Dredd: WMD is not science at its most powerful at all; there are many ways to kill people …
    =====================================
    He says in the third inning.

    Horny for war?

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