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March 23, 2012

Rabbi Ordination Fraud Uncovered

Haredi yeshiva studentsFive men are suspected for fraud and impersonation after attempting to take a rabbinic qualification exam in the name yeshiva students. The five men admitted they were paid thousands of shekels by yeshiva students to take the exam in their place, because the yeshiva students were not properly prepared to pass it themselves. Police suspect a larger network of fraudulent semicha test takers has been operating and that many more rabbis fraudulently obtained ordination this way.


Haredi yeshiva students
Photo for illustration purposes only

Fraud in rabbinic ordination tests
Five Yeshiva students paid impostors to take rabbinic qualification exam in their place. Rabbinate senior official: 'We expect mor from them'
Kobi Nahshoni • Ynet

Five men are suspected for fraud and impersonation after attempting to take a rabbinic qualification exam instead of their classmates on Wednesday. They admitted they were paid thousands of shekels by Yeshiva students to take the exam in their place, since they were not properly prepared. Following the complaint, the police suspects a larger network of fraudulent Yeshiva students is behind the scenes.

The fraud was discovered during a concentrated Halacha exam to 2,500 students. Test supervisors noticed suspected identification cards and after questioning the students they confessed to the fraud and signed affidavits declaring they were paid between 3,000-6,000 NIS for their service. One of the students said this is the second exam he is taking in place of the same Yeshiva student.

A senior official at the Chief Rabbinate said he never encountered such phenomenon, and expressed his disappointment. However he stressed that this is not a recurrent incident, and that the suspects that come from two different places, don’t necessarily represent a complete network.

"We filed a complaint with the police, to handle it with all necessary severity," said the official. "This is a criminal act, and can't be concluded with a disciplinary punishment."

Officials in the Chief Rabbinate said that all those involved in the affair will probably be refused to take the exam in the future. "It is unacceptable that an Israeli Rabbi will be ordained by fraud. We expect more from our rabbis. They must be excellent students but also god-fearing and men of truth. There must be confidence."

A second official in the rabbinate said that it is possible there is a network of fraud since the method was similar in all five suspects, and so was the payment. "It is important we are not handling this 'inside the family'," said the official, "this is why we immediately turned to the police. The reaction was immediate and strong in order to deter anyone who attempts to do the same".

The exams to ordinates to the rabbinate are done in three different tracks, each demand the student to successfully pass a series of exams. The National Authority for Religious Services recognizes the first two tracks as equivalent to bachelor's degree, and the third as equal to a doctorate degree.

The Rabbinute's semicha (ordination) exams are considered to be the hardest in the world. By comparison, Chabad's is riculously easy in most cases. Yeshiva University's is probably the closest to the Rabbinute's in terms of difficulty and thoroughness.Most haredi semichas are more difficult than Chabad but much easier than YU's.

I think the three "tracks" the article refers to are: basic semicha (yoreh yoreh), rav ha'ir (rabbi of a city), and dayanut.

While the article does not say it, it is likely the majority of the cheating yeshiva students are haredi. Many haredi yeshivas don't prepare their students to take the Rabbinute semicha tests, and a large number of haredi students panic when they realize how difficult the tests are.

On the other hand, Zionist Orthodox yeshivot are more likely to prepare students to take these tests, and they often have more resources available for those who choose to take them.

But time will tell.

Comments

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The five men admitted they were paid thousands of shekels by yeshiva students to take the exam in their place, because the yeshiva students were not properly prepared to pass it themselves.

Sounds like they could have saved themselves a few thousand shekels and simply get tested by Chabad.

I don't think the government cares where you got semicha to be supported by them when they learn in kollel. Who are they trying to impress? I am also sure that they don't need the other semicha because they can get a better job since, as we all know, haredim don't work!

They must be excellent students but also god-fearing and men of truth. There must be confidence."

Heh! Oh yeah!

well at least they did go to the police and did not hid behind mesera BS

why when the rabbinate get screwed they can go to the police but sorry the pun when they screw a student then mesira kicks in

By comparison, Chabad's is riculously easy in most cases.

This has been my impression. Apparently, they only have to know one tractate, if I understand correctly. My nephew tells me that doesn't take into account the years of preparation that come before.

Of course, that doesn't stop them from looking down upon MO and liberal rabbis, even though they have to learn much more AND have secular educations in the bargain.

Posted by: Linda | March 23, 2012 at 09:10 AM

1. STOP TROLLING.

2. Use only ONE screen name --OR-- your legal name.

3. Misbehave again and I will delete all your comments and ban you.

4. As the article clearly notes, official ordination is equivalent to various college degrees. All salaries in Israel are tied to the educational level the job holder has. Fake semicha from the rabbinute is worth thousands of dollars a year to people who work in various kashrut jobs, teaching in many schools, in private industry and in government, and haredi cabinet ministers hand out patronage jobs just like other cabinet ministers do.

There is a level below Yorae Yorae
it is almost a fake smecha
"""
1) Rav u'manhig
Really just permission to use the title Rabbi. Just a community leader/teacher. No permission to give wide psak and likely no right to give smicha to others.
"""

In your community and I mean in the USA
There are any number of 'rabbis' that have no ordination at all or that fake thing as above
ask! demand to see the credentials!

One conseradox synagogue in the Minneapolis area asked their rabbi to bring proof-found out he was just some Hebrew teacher

Why am I not surprised? I have met plenty fake Rabbi's.

"We filed a complaint with the police, to handle it with all necessary severity," said the official. "This is a criminal act, and can't be concluded with a disciplinary punishment."

Officials in the Chief Rabbinate said that all those involved in the affair will probably be refused to take the exam in the future.

Good for them! This is what any secular academic institution would do, and it's good to see that at least in this situation the rabbinut is doing the right thing.

so let's see chabad has a easy semicha and you know this because you took the test? And the Rabbanut has the best semicha but cheaters in the ranks. So an easy semicha rabbi or a farudulent rabbi. Love this guys hate-fused logic. it always falls flat.

Shmarya, if you have trollers repeatedly abusing the site, would you be so kind as to let us know their other pseudonyms? It would help prevent disurption of the thread. Thanks.

Isa: I am certain that the rabanut is not handing out rav u'manhig "semichot".

as far as chabad semicha, i have it so i can tell you that they require:

1. treifot
2. taaruvot
3. basar v'chalav
4. shabbat or brachot

the reason it is easy is because unlike other semicha programs which offer a comprehensive study of the laws as they develop from gemarra through rishonim, acharonim, and current poskim - i.e. how the halacha actually works - chabad semichot focus on the shulchan aruch itself on a fairly superficial level.

the reasoning is that they are primarily about outreach and need to ordain people to know enough to do that. it is an unspoken given that most chabad "rabbis" will not pasken at all and will, instead, turn to the few qualified rabanim in larger communities for anything beyond the most basic questions. In principle i dont have a problem with this, but what i think is wrong is that certificates for yoreh yoreh are offered instead of rav u'manhig. if the main aim is outreach, then let it be that, but yoreh yoreh is supposed to indicate a certain level of mastery in particular texts, a mastery which run-of-the-mill chabad semicha does not entail.

then, if you have students with moe aptitude they can work towards a more demanding semicha which will mean something

Treifos with shabbos or brachot?

Bullshit mate. i doubt you actually got smicha even from chabad.

Treifos is primarily done in 770 and melicha will make up the quartet there. No shabbos or brochos..

Melicha is core elsewhere and they substitute shabbos for treifos.

Even rabbanut is crashingly unfit for purpose. Some of the mo and progressive smichas approach qualifications for the jobs their graduates actually do but they are still wanting.

The advantage chabad has is alot of on the job training both before and during yeshiva. Some chabad rabbis are very good.

mchorny. you are right, it was melicha. i mis-wrote. you can call bullshit all you want, but i took the tests. i dont go around claiming to be a rabbi precisely because i know how inadequate they were.

you are wront as to shabbat or brachot. that was, indeed included.

as far as job training goes, i agree with you insofar as chabad gets bochrim involved in a lot of outreach work before actually making them responsible for running the show. however, there is a lot to be done in terms of more sensitive topics such as how to deal with abuse, molestation etc. in which pastoral training, so far as i know, is absent (but done in yeshivas like chovevei)

well at least they did go to the police and did not hid behind mesera BS

why when the rabbinate get screwed they can go to the police but sorry the pun when they screw a student then mesira kicks in

Posted by: seymour |

seymour you make a good point and have answered your own question. its NOT a good thing that they go to police with this, its another sign of their hypocrisy and selfishness.

when fraud is perpetrated involving someone elses money, degree ,taxes, property, zoning laws etc.., the rebbeim are unconcerned and claim its mesira.
and they know that they have no ability to conduct their own investigations nor to effectuate proper punishment. but that doesnt stop them from using 'mesira' to prevent kids and parents from going to police, even as that sacrifices many innocents well being. however when its THEIR smicha degree, which calls into question their OWN integrity and that of their entire system, mesira is no issue at all. they want all the help they can get to save their own reputations and that of their institutions. they dont want the gravy train of govt. paid jobs called into question. so the self serving rabbis use the govts. fact finding and investigative abilities when it serves their own interest.

also, if the original guy who called the police hadnt done so but had instead called a rav, and there was no chance of the public becoming aware of this, no doubt it would have been swept under the rug.

what will happen to the rabbis who TOOK the money and lied about their identities?
will they face charges and have their smicha revoked?

i can just imagine how many other rabbis have smicha acquired via the same means and who were too stupid or uneducated to pass on their own. add that to the dishonest scammer rabbis who have taken tests for others to become unqualified rabbis. and then think of all the well-intentioned people who run their lives based on these mens moral and halachic teachings. it would all be really funny if there werent so many suckers buying into this BS.
but whats the difference really? the entire set of rules known as halacha is all based on myths, lies, honest mistakes, distortions and ultimately self perpetuation. so who cares if the local rabbi who is the final step in the transmission process is a scammer? i'd at least want to know if my rabbi is a 'wise' scammer who was paid to take the test , or one of the dumb lazy liars who could never have passed it. so maybe after a thorough investigation the police can provide such a list.

@ Jeff:

Yeah, I scoffed at the "God-fearing" part too. Reminds me of the SAT scandal a few months back. But it frightens me to know that yeshiva students would resort to cheating to become Rabbis.

What these Haredim don't understand is that Rabbeim are not only supposed to "know halacha." They have to be kind people, people that will go out of their way to listen to others problems and help them through it. They need to provide "spiritual guidance" whatever that may be, rather than just being mouthpieces for the next chumra of the month.

I guess it's not really much of a surprise seeing as how all these Rabbis don't understand basic concepts of Judaism, but it is still depressing.

"a large number of haredi students panic when they realize how difficult the tests are"

Really?
Haredim, who spend all day learning in yeshiva/kollel (and therefore don't contribute to society or the economy) are finding their tests difficult? So, they aren't even any good at the 'learning' that they're spending all day doing...so what are they playing at? They aren't working, they aren't learning...

Posted by: Brian | March 23, 2012 at 02:47 PM

some just learn with no real purpose or goal or end

so they could be learning yet not know how to be a posuk

Brian, do you really need it spelled out for you?

I guess it's not really much of a surprise seeing as how all these Rabbis don't understand basic concepts of Judaism, but it is still depressing.

Yes.

Haredim, who spend all day learning in yeshiva/kollel (and therefore don't contribute to society or the economy) are finding their tests difficult? So, they aren't even any good at the 'learning' that they're spending all day doing...so what are they playing at? They aren't working, they aren't learning...

Posted by: Brian


many study rock throwing, though they arent particularly good at that either. then theres bookstore vandalism, loaded diaper tossing, spitting on little girls, and choreography for the 'police are nazis' parade. time must also be devoted to anti-construction protests, learning the best methods to extract the most money from the evil zionist govt., with a special class in registering as a student in a kollel youve never seen. add that to how to write a good pashkevil, and how to burn down movie theaters which show treife stuff, and info on how to best demand to have your seat changed on an el-al flight.
they must learn the proper droning technique when yelling 'prutza' on a bus towards any woman who dares sit in an open seat near the front. courses in knesset coalition blackmail arent mandatory for all, but still. throw in 13 breaks per day for cigarette smoking, 5 for coffee, 7 for kibbitzing and there just isnt any time left for tzitzit washing, let alone LEARNING. so please cut them some slack. they are very busy.

The fraud was discovered during a concentrated Halacha exam to 2,500 students.

with 2500 new rabbis to be at this one location i assume the gedolim are hard at work thinking up new chumras which can provide employment for them all.
maybe cholov yisroel isnt enough and many mashgiachs must be paid to have their hands on every single milk cows udders 24 hours a day to ensure they dont come in contact with treife.
all fruit juice must be strained by hand to ensure no bugs reside therein. better yet, rabbis will stand guard by every fruit tree from the time theyre planted and scare off any bugs.
theres really no employment problem anywhere. the problem is that rabbis arent running the economy. they can create new jobs with the stroke of a pen.

rabbis: the REAL job-creators.

In principle i dont have a problem with this, but what i think is wrong is that certificates for yoreh yoreh are offered instead of rav u'manhig.

Not surprising. The RY at my nephew's yeshiva in Detroit has a drawerful of "diplomas"; if you need one - for "parnassa" or whatever - all you need to do is ask. My impression, though, is that most of the boys don't - they don't want to run the risk of having people misunderstand and think they actually went to college, chos v'sholem!

"The RY at my nephew's yeshiva in Detroit has a drawerful of "diplomas"; if you need one - for "parnassa" or whatever..."

Yes, it's common. I know of one case where someone wanted one for a job, got yoreh yoreh even though he never even studied for it, then turned it around and became rabbi of a congregation.

It's problematic because this person is a convert to Judaism. He is allowed be have the other kind of ordination (rav umanhig?), but the orthodox do not allow a convert to be have dominion over other Jews (including other converts) in religious rulings. This person became a bigwig in his local Rabbinic Council (Vaad) and dispenses charity, expressly forbidden by orthodox law.

The poor Rabbi who gave him his ordination is afraid to speak up because he wasn't supposed to do what he did, even though he though he was just getting this guy a teaching job.

Posted by: fed up | March 23, 2012 at 04:05 PM

Converts can become rabbis. There is no bar in halakha to this at all.

They can also distribute tzedaka funds.

A ger toshav – a non-Jew who follows the 7 Mitzvot of the Children of Noach and who lives in Israel – cannot have dominion over Jews.

Whoever taught you halakha is a fool.

He is allowed be have the other kind of ordination (rav umanhig?), but the orthodox do not allow a convert to be have dominion over other Jews (including other converts) in religious rulings. This person became a bigwig in his local Rabbinic Council (Vaad) and dispenses charity, expressly forbidden by orthodox law.

I wasn't aware of any of this - "No one can stand in the place of a ger", and all that. I thought the only restriction was that a female convert can't marry a cohen.

"Converts can become rabbis. There is no bar in halakha to this at all.

They can also distribute tzedaka funds."

Ramban Hilchos Milochim Perek alef halacha dalet, see the commentaries.

Yoreh Deah, I'll need to find the location. A whole discussion on what is considered Gabbai T'zdaka, that he is not allowed to be. P'sak that he is allowed to give out t'zdaka if someone else determines who gets it and he is only a sh'licach, since he is not suspected of stealing, only not allowed to have shroruh over ani'im.

T'shuvos of R'Eliyashiv that came out this past year, the whole area on gerus goes into this in detail, and he brings down that R' Moshe was more stringent and did held that a ger is not allowed to be a gabbai in a shul giving out aliya's.

A lot of people won't like it. There is a law that you must welcome a ger into your midst. But as you'll find in the Rambam commentaries, some things can only be done by men who had mothers who were Jewish when the men were born. It's interesting that it has nothing to do with whether they were raised orthodox.

You have an interesting way of replying. But neither R' Moshe nor R' Elyashiv were fools. People here who have access to a bais medrash can look it up for themselves.

I personally know someone who is poor and stopped taking charity from someone who distributed it when he discovered the person was a convert. This guy is a black hat, so your mileage may vary.

Posted by: fed up | March 23, 2012 at 05:44 PM

It is not the din.

A ger can become a rav.

A ger can distribute tzedaka.

You misrepresent Rav Moshe, as well.

As for Rabbi Elyashiv, suffice to to say that he did everything he could do to attack the Rabbinuts, and I think there were some gerim there. Hamyvin yavin.

My view is that they are all imbeciles to be occupied with obsessing over bronze age palestinian babblings.

But this is true of all theology.

Elyashiv is a fool for other reasons as any sane review of his recent record of decisions will irrefutibly demonstrate.

@fed up as far as i recall the only restriction on a ger is in being a dayan. The beardies are prejudiced (albeit less so in the shulchan aruch than those you cite without the precision that allows for easy looking up) and the reasoning, that a stranger cannot understand the natives, is both infantile and laughable.

Well, as long as the people taking the test aren't women I don't see why they should have a problem with it.

Circa 1989
At one yeshiva...
""""""
Poneviz as an institution does not grant Smecha. Only the individual heads of the Yeshiva do and they are allowed to use Poneviz stationary.

Poneviz does not keep records who is granted Smecha unless the individual heads of the Yeshiva keeps a list.

Trying to confirm Smecha may be impossible as each head of the Yeshiva must be asked and in the case the rabbi is no longer around, then it is impossible.
""""""

This I got from the USA fundraising head of Poneviz Yeshiva.

BTW what is the proper form in Hebrew [in Roman letters] for Heads of the Yeshiva??

Is it Roshem Yeshivot???

Rashei Yeshivot
(not rish'ei yeshivot which means 'the wicked of the yeshivot')

BTW what is the proper form in Hebrew [in Roman letters] for Heads of the Yeshiva??

Is it Roshem Yeshivot???

Roshei Yeshiva [yeshiva heads]
Roshei HaYeshiva [heads of the yeshiva]
HaRoshei HaYeshiva [the heads of the yeshiva]

HTH

Having spent 2 years in YU semikha before moving to Israel and earning Rabbanut semikha, I can tell you that the Rabbanut is much much harder. There has also always been rampant cheating - at one of my exams, I saw a guy consulting his notes in the bathroom - since semikha is the equivalent of a Master's degree as far as public sector pay scale is concerned.
The part that's missing is that there's no pastoral training. It's a battery of tests, like becoming a CPA. YU, YCT, and pretty much any other semikha recognizes that there are human and "shimush" components. Knowing halakha is not all that goes into being a rabbi.

What would Moses make of this ?

Seems to be that people these days are so lost and in need of guidance they will turn to anyone with the right "qualifications". Doesn't matter if it came from the back of a cornflake packet. Interestingly G-d appointed Moses and then Moses appointed his seventy one helpers and the other leaders. Wasn't really democratic but it worked. The issue of the semicha process is very interesting.

""""
BTW what is the proper form in Hebrew [in Roman letters] for Heads of the Yeshiva??

Is it Roshem Yeshivot???

Roshei Yeshiva [yeshiva heads]
Roshei HaYeshiva [heads of the yeshiva]
HaRoshei HaYeshiva [the heads of the yeshiva]

HTH

Posted by: Nigritude Ultramarine | March 24, 2012 at 10:04 PM
"""""
THANK YOU!

I however have another questions:

Heads of the Yeshivas
plural in both
example:
The was a meeting of all the heads of the yeshivas.

Israeli Army rabbi:

Not to be confused with a kosher kitchen supervisor

A REAL Israeli Army rabbi is an officer

"It is not the din.

A ger can become a rav."

You may be right. I don't know. I have heard some people say that a ger can be a pulpit rabbi but not have shroruh. I also saw the T'shuvos of R'Elyashiv where he says a ger is not allowed to become one, but if he became one he can't be fired, but the congregation is not allowed to pay him. So maybe different people feel differently about a pulpit rabbi. I don't know.

"A ger can distribute tzedaka."

Absolutely not. See Yoreh Deah daf raish nun vuv. Read the Maharshah. He very clearly explains that a ger may not be a gabbai tzedakah. Also see the above Rambam, and the explanation by the Kesef Mishnah. There is no argument among rishonim on this.

"You misrepresent Rav Moshe, as well."

The T'shuvos of R'Elyashiv says "some people feel..." what I wrote above, and the footnote gives the source in the Igros Moshe.

"As for Rabbi Elyashiv, suffice to to say that he did everything he could do to attack the Rabbinuts, and I think there were some gerim there. Hamyvin yavin."

I'm not sure what you are saying here, but gerim are allowed to do most things and are welcomed by the Torah. But there are some things not allowed (some not allowed even for their daughters), and they are sensitive topics. Since they are often not discussed publicly, people make assumptions. But the halachot are there.

I see attacks above to R'Elyashiv and against the misogyny of orthodox judaism, so I see I inadvertently commented in the wrong place due to web search. But I suggest that nobody reading any of this believe me or the other commenters. Instead, I suggest you look up the sources yourself.

Have a happy Passover.

Please.

You misrepresent Rav Moshe.

You misrepresent the entire issue.

Just because the Maharsha says something does NOT make that something the din.

As for Rabbi Elyashiva, you are being extremely disingenuous.

Hard to have a conversation if I give specifics and you speak vaguely. The Kesef Mishna says it on the Rambam, the Maharsha explains why the shulcan uruch says a ger can't be a gabbai tzedaka, nobody disagrees, but it's not the halacha?

And I'm being disingenuous about R'Elyashiv by quoting the T'shuvos?

People, look it up yourselves.

Please.

Again, you said a ger cannot be a rabbi.

I said that is false, that what you wrote is not the din.

And then you equivocated.

You did the same when I pointed out that gerim can distribute tzedaka.

So do try to process:

The kesef mishna is not halakha l'ma'se. Neither is the Maharsha.

And Elkyashiv is exactly what I said he is – a disingenuous, evil man who spent the past 40 years doing everything in his power to hurt the Rabbinute.

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