Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It's Over for Rabbi Chaim Halpern

I don’t believe I ever heard of him. But in London, Rabbi Chaim Halpern is apparently a very prominent Charedi Rav. One of those who has tremendous power and influence in the Charedi world there. He was involved in many community projects and organizations.

Among them:  Kedassia, a Charedi rabbinic organization that rivals the more mainstream Orthodox United Synagogue, the Beis Yaacov Primary School, the Hatzolah emergency medical service, and Or Chana - an infertility charity. But according to an article in Times of Israel he has just resigned from all of them. Although he still heads his own Shul, Kehilla Divrei Chaim.

Why did he do this? Well he still maintains his innocence, but he was forced to resign by rabbinic colleagues. This resulted from a meeting at the home of the highly respected former head of the London Beis Din, Dayan Chanoch Ehrentreu. He resigned upon the threat of being publicly condemned by all of them. 

He may say he is innocent. But I doubt that his colleagues would have made demands using that kind of threat if they did not believe the allegations against him. Allegations of about 30 women that he sexually abused or assaulted them. Or tired to have affairs with them. Most of them in his role as a marriage counselor.

Well his colleagues may not have condemned him publicly - but I have no problem doing so. This fellow is the British equivalent of Rabbi Nechemya Weberman, currently awaiting trial for similar accusations here in America. The only difference is that this fellow seems to have been a more prominent Rav in his religious circles… a leader of sorts.

I must give credit to the rabbis of Golders Green, the main Jewish section of London. They ‘took care of business’ and got this guy out of any possible situation where he could ever again take advantage of troubled young women seeing him for professional help.

The question remains whether he will be indicted. The police are investigating. If he is guilty, as seems likely, I hope he pays for his crimes by doing some serious jail time. His victims deserve no less.


I can't verify the accuracy of this comment taken from a blog that is apparently written by one of Rabbi  Halpern's Shul members. But if it's true, the female clients he assaulted are not his only victims. There is collateral damage. Here in part is what one member said:
The kehilla Divrei Chaim is in crisis. Our rov has been our mentor, our rock, our guide, our problem solver, for so many years, and we are reeling from these revelations. None of us can accept it, and yet deep down we know it's true. We have felt it even if we haven't articulated it. Even as the rumours grew stronger, no rov would publicly defend our rov, or even offer us some mitigating statement. While we said to each other that this is because everyone else is jealous of him, we knew that this could not explain such a mass desertion. Surely the other rabbonim are not such kalei daas.
This conclusion is nothing short of devastating. Our kehilla has been destroyed. The Rov was our life, he was why we all joined, and why we all stayed. We have prided ourselves on being a cut above the rest, belonging to a special shul and being loyal to a rov who demanded that we set the bar higher than the average GG baalebos -shiurim, tznius, tefillah. Now the whole thing has come tumbling down.