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Rabbi Michael Broyde: Not the first to use fake online identity

By now I’m sure you’ve heard of Rabbi Michael Broyde, the disgraced Rabbi and professor who used fake identities online to bolster his clout, readership, support, audience, whatever people tend to do when they do that sort of thing. It happens every day on my blog, I’ll get 10 comment with 10 different names that support the first one made under a real name, they all come from the same IP address and are made at the same time. Shit, I myself have done it, though not in a long time. I remember back in the early years of Frum Satire, when I used to comment under many different aliases to support the post, add suspense, or just make it look like there were more comments so more people would get into the mix.

Why am I admitting to you that I pulled a Micheal Broyde?

Well, I think that plenty of people do this, in fact I think it’s a regular practice and doesn’t warrant such a shock of disbelief. Rabbis are people too, they have egos, they have desires, and they have a willingness just like everyone else to do things that folks may find provocative. Basically, Rabbi Broyde is the first to get caught, if he lived in Silicon Valley, he would have known that there’s no such thing as anonymity. In my shul, there are probably half a dozen coders with the skills to break most identities. In general, most anonymous folks don’t really matter enough to warrant hacking, I guess Broyde probably slipped up. If you looked at the hard drives of all the rabbis on the RCA, I’m sure you’d come up with far more provocative stuff.

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{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Dan April 16, 2013, 7:45 AM

    The facebook post that preceded this had me lolololing.

    But I can’t like or post on your stuff on facebook, or my friends would know.

    • A. Nuran April 16, 2013, 7:17 PM

      Are you really such a moral coward and so insecure that you can’t be honest with your friends?

      Maybe you need a better class of friend

      • Dan April 17, 2013, 6:01 AM

        Will you be my friend?

  • Shragi April 16, 2013, 7:46 AM

    The only thing is, he also joined a rabbinical organization under that pseudonym, an organization that would not have had him.
    And yet you’re right, of course we’d find juicier stuff on most rabbis’ hard drives, I’d love to know what some of their fetishes are. Wait! On second thought, I wouldn’t.

    • Dan April 16, 2013, 7:57 AM

      The bigger scandal there is that the rabbinical organization apparently accepts members that aren’t even real people. I signed up like 20 accounts as soon as I heard.

      • michaltastik April 18, 2013, 12:03 PM

        That’s what got me scratching my head. Unless it’s just an online discussion group.

  • Rabbi Talli Bahn April 16, 2013, 7:54 AM

    I am shocked shocked shocked that someone would impersonate a Rabbi on line. Oh, right.
    Yah, I do it too.
    Sucks to get caught.

  • Hershel Goldwasser April 16, 2013, 8:17 AM

    Heshy Fried is truly the king of Jewish satire.

    • Heshy Fried April 16, 2013, 5:18 PM

      Yes, you can all bow to me.

      • A. Nuran April 16, 2013, 7:18 PM

        Bend over and kiss me goodnight, O King 🙂

  • Reb Yudel April 16, 2013, 8:47 AM

    Halacha l’maaseh: Can you count sock puppets in a minyan?

  • Quixote April 16, 2013, 11:28 AM

    This “scandal” strikes me as a pile of baloney.

    One must hope that none of Broyde’s socks sent out any satirical emails, because that would really be a major crime with international repercussions. For some insight on exactly how the Internet cops go after these terrible crimes in New York, see the Raphael Golb trial website:


    Read the trial transcripts. See how we used taxpayer dollars to “get” Raphael Golb. See how his dangerous Dead Sea socks were exposed by Manhattan prosecutors, because he “knows how to use words to stir up controversy.”

    An odd detail, though: the prosecution was allowed to argue that Golb used his sock-puppets to make false accusations, but Golb was blocked from introducing any evidence that his accusations were true, because neither good faith nor truth is a defense to the crimes charged. Great stuff! Hopefully they will get Broyde on this too, and every other sock out there.

    And in fact, since there is actually a Herschel Goldwasser who lives in New York, maybe the authorities should have Rabbi Broyde arrested and charged with identity theft? After all, he used the name of another to influence a debate, thereby obtaining a benefit.

    No, but seriously, have we all lost our minds? To remove someone from a rabbinical court for such nonsense? This says a good deal more about the court than about Michael Broyde.

  • Rabbi Izzy April 16, 2013, 12:13 PM

    Some of the real Rabbis are fake enough even when they use their real names.

    “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”

    • Anonymous April 16, 2013, 12:51 PM

      Or as sour

    • Rabbi Talli Bahn April 16, 2013, 5:03 PM

      When our community started a kollel, we got some guys from a well known yeshiva to move to the community and teach classes. They did not actually have smicha, yet. But they adopted the title Rabbi.

      At a cross-community event, their ruv back in that yeshiva (I won’t say the yeshiva’s name, but it was in Baltimore, hint hint), told them not to address the local Conservative or Reform Rabbis as “rabbi” since it would show legitimacy to their fake smicha from their fake left-wing seminaries.

      • Anon April 16, 2013, 5:47 PM

        Now that’s funny!! Unfortunately, my son wants to go to that Yeshiva!

  • Beefalie April 16, 2013, 8:00 PM

    Being a good human being is a difficult practice. It is hard not to trample on the toes of others in the process of our daily walk.

    I am guessing that this rabbinical court leaves very little room for error. WOW!

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