Is this letter to Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky from British haredi rabbis authentic? Is the response from Rabbi Kanievsky genuine? Is this really his handwriting? Why does the top fax date read "14 November 2012" but the fax date in the body of the letter read "9/06 2008"? Is this letter real?
Originally published at 8:30 pm CST 11-28-2012
A source in London sent me the letter posted below and his brief summary of its supposed import:
This letter shows that the rabbis of the London Beit Din asked Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky of Bnei Brak for advice about what to do regarding the allegations of sexual misconduct against Rabbi Chaim Halpern. It shows that Rabbi Kanievsky considered the testimony by victims and over [sic] evidence against him to be very credible and he advised them to help take Rabbi Halpern down.Is this letter real? Or is it a forgery meant in part to protect haredi these haredi rabbis from possible obstruction of justice and witness tampering charges?
Update 10:12 pm CST – The same London source just sent me a full translation of the letter and Rabbi Kanievsky's response:
To the honorable, great sage, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky:
The Rabbis of Golder’s Green (a London neighborhood) are currently suffering a dilemma. There is a rabbi, who is one of the rabbinic Judges of a Rabbinical Court in London, about whom there are many allegations which have continued over a significant period of time that he has become involved inappropriately women. There is first-hand testimony about this by many of the women [victims] themselves, and this [testimony] appears to be extremely credible.
The [accused] rabbi himself denies everything, and states that the women who have testified against him are crazy, and that it is all false. The local rabbis [of Golder's Green] are all of the opinion that they most remove him from his standing [as a rabbinic leader and judge]. However, the chief rabbi of his [the accused rabbi's] rabbinic court insists strongly that he not be removed because it is unfair to make his [the accused rabbi's] family suffer. And also, he has an elderly father who is one of the local senior rabbis, and the chief rabbi of the [accused rabbi's] rabbinical court is concerned for his [the accused rabbi's father's] health. Because of these reasons, the [accused] rabbi still maintains his rabbinic post.
In the meantime, the local police are investigating the situation, and think that there are also violations of the laws of the state.
They have already requested to speak with the rabbis in order to ascertain the details of these events.
They have asked the Master [Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky], may he live long, whether they should endeavor to remain silent and avoid assisting them [i.e., the police] or whether to the contrary since the above mentioned [accused] rabbi maintains his standing as a rabbinical authority, he is still in a situation that enables him to harm additional women, may the Merciful One spare us.
I shall conclude with a blessing that the Holy One should prolong the days of our master, may he live long, in goodness and tranquility
Signed, the local rabbis [of Golder’s Green, London].
[Handwritten response by Rabbi Kanievsky:]
Certainly, [the Rabbis of Golder’s Green must] partner their activity with the police. It is necessary to banish him [the accused rabbi] from [his rabbinic position] there.