Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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25 Sivan 5759 - June 9, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Jewish Charlatan Takes his Show to England

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

Moshe Morgenstern of New York, a retired accountant, was in London this week in his worldwide quest for publicity. Morgenstern has assumed a rabbinical role although it is not known if he has a legitimate rabbinical ordination. The claim that garners him the most publicity is that he annuls Jewish marriages, thereby allowing women whose husbands refuse to give them a get to remarry. In addition, there is documented evidence of a bogus conversion that Morgenstern performed together with a Conservative rabbi.

Rabbinical groups from all over the world have condemned Morgenstern's activities, including the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of America, the Vaad HaRabbonim Haolami LeInyonei Giyur headed by HaRav Chaim Kreiswirth, the Agudas HaRabbonim of the United States and Canada, and even the moderate Beis Din of America that is associated with the Rabbinical Council of America. Both Israeli Chief Rabbi Yisroel Lau and Chief Rabbi Bakshi Doron issued strongly-worded protests against Morgenstern, and recently the Beis Din of Paris headed by Rabbi N. Rebibo also issued a severe proclamation in response to a visit by Morgenstern to that city.

Morgenstern is reportedly visiting London to perform a second marriage for a woman who did not receive a Jewish divorce. In character, the event is to be televised.

The London rabbinical authorities, including the Beis Din of the United Synagogue, the Federation and the Sephardic community, issued a joint statement condemning the publicity stunt and warning that children of such illegitimate marriages will be fully illegitimate.

Rabbinical sources have expressed their astonishment at England's Chief Rabbi Dr. Jonathan Sacks for agreeing to meet with Morgenstern despite the fact that he and his methods have been denounced by virtually all rabbinical organizations including the Chief Rabbi's own beis din. Even though it is said that Chief Rabbi Sacks does not support Morgenstern's activities, his agreement to meet with him is a grave mistake. Morgenstern is far worse than Reform and Conservative clergy, and such a meeting gives him celebrity and credibility. Morgenstern is quoted as welcoming the meeting, noting that he has not managed to achieve any such recognition in America.

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