Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Another One Bites the Dust

I am sickened by this man. By now so should everyone else be - as news about him has spread all over the Internet and other media. How many more rabbis will be exposed like this?! Yes, Unfortunately we too have our Jimmy Swaggarts.

Yesterday in a press release founder and director of the Eternal Jewish family (EJF) abruptly resigned from his post to “pursue a variety of other interests”. Rabbi Ela Ber Wachtfogel will assume EJF Leadership. He joins Rabbi Reuven Feinstein, chairman of EJF's Halachic committee - a man for whom I have nothing but great admiration and respect. EJF member Rabbi Chaim Blum took pains to praise Tropper for his “vision, expertise and leadership” regretting with sadness his resignation. No mention of why he resigned at all. Only praise. How they could do that is beyond me. I can understand that they wanted to minimize the smut. But - to praise this man?!

I find it hard to believe they didn’t know the circumstances of his resignation. I can only conclude that the old penchant for cover-ups still exist in this community. But what was once standard operating procedure is now destroyed in today’s world of instant communications.

One can oppose the Interent all they want. It’s still going to be there. News like this travels literally at lightening speed. Instead of avoiding embarrassment and shame - covering it up just makes them look bad – as though they don’t think what he did was all that bad compared to all the good he’s done.

I listened to the recordings by one of his victims in sheer disbelief and disgust on Monday. So shocking were they that I thought they might just be an elaborate hoax. I therefore refrained from writing about it. But then yesterday came Tropper’s abrupt resignation from EJF. And now others are coming forward with verification about his highly distinctive voice and speaking patterns.

If one hears the recordings made by this woman as she was being urged to have sex or at least phone sex with other men - one can see that Leib Tropper is anything but praiseworthy. Like many others before him ascendancy to power probably made him feel invincible and that he could literally do whatever he wanted with impunity. Including satisfying his lust in ways that make President Clinton look saintly by comparisson.

There is nothing on this earth that justifies praising this man. It doesn’t matter that he created this organization. No matter how noble its goal (which was far from achieved) it is so badly tainted – it ought to be shut down. EJF will always harken the name of its founder who was so closely identified with it. I would therefore respectfully ask that Rabbis Wachtfogel and Feinstein resign from it immediately and let this organization die a just, ignominious, and quick death - lest they be tainted themselves by association.

If one reads accounts of what this man has wrought since his rise to prominence one can be sickened just from that – even without the lurid sex. Conversions denied after promises were made… conversions reversed for frivolous reasons. Questions about where millions of dollars in donations to his organization went…

That this man has gained the respect of some of the most prominent rabbinic leaders is a testament to his con artistry. They completely believed that he was who he represented himself to be. Even now they can’t seem to face the truth - so good was his con. But he is exactly the opposite of what he pretended to be. He is a pimp who had sexual affairs with women by holding a conversion gun to their heads. He involved his own wife in those sexual exploits! He pressured potential converts to prostitute for him… - urging them to have sex or at least phone sex with other men using extortion as his means.

This guy almost makes Tiger Woods look like a saint!

But I knew what this con man was about 20 years ago when I first met him. He was responsible then for ruining the life of one young man I am very close with - making life miserable for his parents.

His mother went to the grave suffering an estrangement from her son for which Leib Tropper was responsible. His father suffers to this day from it. He took advantage of this young man’s misfortune and conned him into doing something no decent man would ever do. And he made it seem like he was doing him a favor. This young man is now 20 years older and still suffering the consequences of it. Consequences that after 20 years have little chance of being reversed! I cannot get into details because confidences would be broken. But suffice it to say his only concern at that time was not to help this young man but to help himself by gaining the support of a wealthy friend in doing this con.

I repeat my request to the two distinguished Rabbanim who yesterday took up the leadership of EJF: Please resign. Whatever benefits this organization has achieved – if any – can be transferred elsewhere. Any good works it has done – if any – can be continued elsewhere too. It isn’t worth tainting your own illustrious names or your rich heritage by perpetuating an organization whose founder’s name is now synonymous with smut.