Rabbi Michael Broyde, the prominent Modern Orthodox rabbi, rabbinic judge and law professor, created a fake identity to sockpuppet online and in academic journals. Broyde used his Rabbi Hershel Goldwasser character to promote Broyde's own work and to attack opponents. He also used it to infiltrate an opposing rabbinic organization's private listserve. Now ii has been discovered that Broyde invented a fake smicha, ordination, for his Goldwasser character and used the name of the late rabbinic sage who 'granted' it to validate the Goldwasser character's legitimacy.
Steven I. Weiss reports for the Jewish Channel:
…According to a copy of Goldwasser’s [i.e., Rabbi Michael Broyde's fake identity Rabbi Hershel Goldwasser's] application [for membership in the International Rabbinic Fellowship] obtained by The Jewish Channel, Goldwasser’s application asserted that he had received rabbinic ordination, or semicha, from Rabbi Yehuda Gershuni at Yeshiva Eretz Yisrael in Brooklyn, in 1957.
Gershuni is a significant Orthodox sage who had lived in Israel and the United States, and died in 2000.
The Goldwasser character made repeated reference to learning under Gershuni in e-mails to the IRF’s members-only e-mail listserv. In a November 2009 e-mail from an Emory University IP address Broyde has used, the Goldwasser character declared, “I learned in Yeshiva for many years many years ago, got semicha from Rav Yehuda Gershuni zt”l decades ago, dabbled in rabbanus for many years, but always earned by [sic] living as an accountant. I am now retired, living in Beer Sheva and my neighbors think of me as a retired accountant.”…
Broyde has taken an indefinite leave of absence (other reports have Broyde being forced out) from the Rabbinical Council of America and its affiliated beit din (Orthodox rabbinical court) the Beit Din of America.
Emory University – where Broyde teaches law and ethics at its affiliated law school – is still "investigating" Broyde's conduct, which it says it finds disturbing.
Broyde used his fake persona a number of places. One of those places was FailedMessiah.com.