Monday, September 15, 2014

Rabbi Fred Todd - co-defendant with convicted fraudster Eliyahu Weinstein - confesses to Facebook & other fraud

update: 9/15/14 - Guest Post-  Yeshivat Pirchei Shoshanim owes its students some honest answers. 

Thirteen years ago, Rabbi Fishel Todd started an ambitious program through the auspices of the Pirchei Shoshanim organization.  Namely a smicha program for those that did not grow up in Torah centers, as well a curriculum to learn for the Israeli Rabbinut exams for those with a more normal learning background.  

To do this he brought together an impressive group of Rabbanim.  Rav Don Channan, musmach of Rav Azran of the Eidah, Rabbinut, Rav Deri, Rav Messas, and Rav Ovadia Yosef.  Rav Dovid Ostroff, musmach of Rav S.Z. Auerbach, Rav Halberstam, Rabbanut, Rav Goldberg, Rav Meir Shtern and Rav Shternbuch.  There was Rav Ezra Bloch musmach of Rav S.Z Auerbach, Rav Shach and Rav Kotler.  Rav Shalom Gold of Jerusalem, Rav Yitzchak Tzvi Oshinski ect... and the list of impressive Chareidi Rabbanim continues to go on.  The program quickly received endorsement of some prominent Rabbinic figures such as Rav Ezriel Auerbach, Rav Ovadia Yosef, and Rav Lau.

Under this umbrella the program grew, expanded, spawned Kollelim in Brooklyn, Lakewood, Philadelphia, Toronto, Dallas, Las Vegas, LA, Beit Shemesh and Jerusalem.  They have taught thousands of students, awarded hundreds of smichas, and sponsored dozens of chaplains to the US military.  A kashrut organization was started, serving odd places in Eastern Europe that even provided chassidishe shechitah.  That was all in the first ten years.
Then two years ago the first rumblings of trouble began.  Accusations of fraud arose against Rabbi Fishel Todd.  Moral turpitude that simply does not belong in a Rosh Yeshiva.  As the accusations proved more substantial the Vaad HaRabbanim of the Yeshiva asked Rav Fishel Todd to step down.  He did not.  As a result many of the great Rabbanim that started with the Pirchei Shoshanim program were quietly "laid off".  Now their Rabbinic staff is a shadow of its formal self.

Then last week Rav Fishel Todd plead guilty in US Federal court, as part of a plea deal that would keep him from further prosecution surrounding that particular fraud.  Meanwhile accusations have arisen of another alleged fraud against Ball State University, as there are accusations arising of him allegedly giving out fake smichas.

In the midst of this there are many questions that need to be answered.  What is the future of Yeshivat Pirchei Shoshanim, if any?  What about the various alumni, now serving as Rabbanim around the world based on their YPS Smicha?  What of the various chaplains that they have endorsed?

Unfortunately the students of Yeshivat Pirchei Shoshanim have been left in the dark.  Not a single message has gone out explaining what has happened, what is happening, or what the future holds.  For those who have Smicha from them this is obviously a great fear.  With the accusations arising of allegedly giving fake smicha's will their own continue to have any worth?  For those who are simply using their materials to augment their normal Kollel learning to prepare for the Rabbanut exams, considering the price of their progams, the question remains will they continue or has their monetary investment been lost?

It seems clear that Pirchei owes its students some answers.  The Rabbinical staff, including, perhaps even especially, those that left, owe their students some answers.  Leaving them in the lurch is simply not Derech Eretz, it is not the way Rabbanim with stacks of Smichas from prominent Chareidi Gedolim should act.  The splash damage from this could very well be incredible.

Asbury Park Press An Ocean County attorney Tuesday admitted his role in a scheme that defrauded investors in connection with a Facebook IPO and several real estate deals, according to Paul J. Fishman, the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey.

Fred Todd, 61, of Lakewood, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joel A. Pisano in federal court to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of transacting in criminal proceeds.

Todd is an attorney with offices in Seaside Heights and Los Angeles. His two co-defendants, Eliyahu Weinstein, 39, of Lakewood, and Aaron Glucksman, 41, of Brooklyn, New York, already pleaded guilty to charges related to their roles in the scheme.

Weinstein, already convicted and sentenced to 22 years in prison in a separate Ponzi scheme, pleaded guilty on Sept. 3 to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of committing wire fraud while on pretrial release, and one count of money laundering. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 15. [...]
For more background on Rabbi Todd's role in selecting military chaplains see Lakewood Scoop    and as coordinator of a major semicha program see Lakewood Scoop 

Additional information is found on   Zoominfo
Rabbi Fishel Todd Esq. is a well renown international Tax Attorney a member of the California Bar and Senior Partner of Todd, Ferentz, Edelstein and Hugo with offices in California, Boston, New York, Baltimore and Florida. He is the founder and International Executive Director of Yeshiva Pirchei Shoshanim and the owner of, one of the most popular jewish websites in the world.
Rabbi Todd as well is the founder of the Shulchan Aruch Project which encompasses thousands of students from around the world. Many of these students have gone on to achieve Smicha with Yeshiva Pirchei Shoshanim. These now Rabbanim have earned positions throughout the entire planet. Encompassed in these milestone projects is the commentary on Shulchan Aruch which provides the engine that powers the Pirchei Shoshanim and the Shema Yisrael Torah Network. The commentary includes the areas of Issur V'Heter, Shabbos, Eruvin, Choshen Mishpat, Kiddushin and many more other areas too numerous to mention.
Rabbi Todd whose parents were holocaust survivors and saw to it that despite the horrors that they lived through they were insistent on sending him to a Jewish school in the then small town of Lakewood, NJ where there was one such school. From there Rabbi Todd learned and graduated from the honors program at Boston College which armed him with a formal secular learning that disciplined him to not only prepare for the hardest Bar Exam in the country but gave him the English skills to become the senior English Editor of Yeshiva Pirchei Shoshanim. That same structure provided the basis of the skeleton by which Yeshiva Pirchei Shoshanim rests today.
In 2006, the United States Department of Defense appointed Rabbi Todd an endorser of Jewish Chaplains to the United States Military. In an amazingly short span of time Rabbi Todd along with his Yeshiva Pirchei Shoshanim staff have endorsed over 25 Chaplains to all branches of the Military including the Army, Navy and Air Force. As Director of Chaplaincy services Pirchei Shoshanim's entrance to the military scene has caused a virtual revolution in how the entire Military views and treats Torah observant Chaplains today. The founding rabbinical leader of the project was HaRav HaGaon Leibel Berenbaum ZT"L. Prior to his untimely passing in 1995, R' Leibel ZT"L was able to take his prize Talmid, R' Fishel and mold him into perhaps one of the greatest of those who spread the Torah throughout the world. Rabbi Todd who divides his time between the Israel based headquarters of Pirchei Shoshanim, California and Lakewood is married to the former Einat Feld, whose father the late Shlomo Feld a''h also a holocaust survivor was of the greatest architect's in Israel. Included was his greatest project Boys Town in Jerusalem which he designed under the watchful eye of its founder HaRav Lenchner who himself was a student of the Chofetz Chaim and son in law of Shraga Feivel Mendelovitz. Rabbi Todd along with Rabbi Lankry have set their sights and creativity on spreading Shulchan Aruch to all the High School and College students in the Country.
Rabbi Fishel Todd ..., 10 Dec 2012 [cached]
Rabbi Fishel Todd
Legal Credits Course, 21 Sept 2006 [cached]
The senior editor of the program is Rabbi Fishel Todd who is an Ordained Rabbi and a member of the California Bar with over 20 years of legal experience.


  1. Did his semicha program include Choshen Mishpat?

  2. Rabbi Michael TzadokSeptember 14, 2014 at 10:36 AM

    Yes it did. A business ethics course as well. He had/has Kollelim in Lakewood, Brooklyn, Toronto, Las Vegas, LA, Dallas, Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh that I know of in addition to the distance learning program.

  3. It makes me ask – what makes a brilliant and successful person in both
    worlds – Torah and the professional world
    act in this way. My theory is that people like this are carrying the burden of
    others , maybe their children are in learning and you need to marry them off
    and provide for them housing and the rest and maybe there are institutions also
    …… So according to Rabbeinu Ye'ruchum , the negiah of Tzidkus puts up a good
    argument why - for the sake of Torah and Talmidei Chachamim one can take short
    cuts, cut corners and worse . There is a ' heter' for all of this

  4. The simple answer to your question is, as the Mesilas Yesharim says, that the only thing that really matters is Yiras Shomayim, and there is unfortunately a major dearth of that commodity in these days. And unfortunately, as well, the title of Rosh Yeshiva is no longer synonymous with the title Yarei Shomayim.

  5. How about their revocation of simcha frischslings' semicha, by informing him through the media when his "call of the shofar" was condemned in chabad circles.

  6. This may not be a very good line of defense, but if he has a valid defense to offer, why shouldn't he feel the need?

  7. 1. Fishel Todd was "founder and president", not Rosh Yeshiva. That was Rav Don Channen from Ramat Bet Shemesh.

    2. Fishel Todd did not co-sign the Semicha certificate. It was signed only by the Rav responsible for the shiur, in Issur veHetter it was Rav Channen.

    3. Fishel Todd did not teach any of the shiurim and did not issue any semicha. He was in charge of the administration and PR.

    3. Rav Don Channen started a new yeshiva called Keter HaTorah.

    4.Most Rabbonim and administration stated a new program under the name Yeshivas Iyun Halacha.

  8. Rabbi Michael TzadokSeptember 17, 2014 at 4:59 PM

    1. Fishel Todd was "founder and president", not Rosh Yeshiva. That was Rav Don Channen from Ramat Bet Shemesh.

    As is evident from their website, and can be checked through the internet archive Rav Fishel Todd has been the "Rosh Yeshiva" for some years. Rav Channen only left a few months ago.

    2. Fishel Todd did not co-sign the Semicha certificate. It was signed only by the Rav responsible for the shiur, in Issur veHetter it was Rav Channen.

    3. Fishel Todd did not teach any of the shiurim and did not issue any semicha. He was in charge of the administration and PR.

    True he did not teach. However, there has been accusation of him allegedly issuing smichas.

    3. Rav Don Channen started a new yeshiva called Keter
    Actually Pirchei Shoshanim started that. From an email from them dated July 2 2012:


    Obviously Pirchei was claiming both the Kollel and the program until Rav Channen left.

    4.Most Rabbonim and administration stated a new program under the name Yeshivas Iyun Halacha.

    Your point?

  9. My point is that Rav Channen and the other Rabbonim continue teaching, stand behind their previous work, and there is no reason to put the smicha they issued into question.

  10. Thank you so much for posting this. I am sorry to hear about accusations against people and it is important to remember that a plea bargain does not necessarily mean guilt. It simply means that the person believes that the government has a body of evidence that a jury is likely to construe as being a proof to guilt.

    I have wondered over the last year what the issue was with YPS and if I was the only person who was having communication difficulties. This explains everything.

  11. Rabbi Michael TzadokSeptember 17, 2014 at 7:51 PM

    Well I have to agree with the OP and the blogowner on this one. They should issue a statement to that effect.

  12. Rabbi Michael TzadokSeptember 17, 2014 at 8:43 PM

    I for one would like to believe that Rabbi Todd is innocent. He helped me through a very difficult time in my life with no thought to himself, or desire for reward of any sort.

  13. Have you read the criminal information? How do you get "duped" into committing a massive, ongoing fraud, opening fraudulent accounts, washing money through escrow accounts, etc. Experienced lawyers should have sensitive BS detectors which should smell this thing coming a mile away. Forgetting even the criminal or the halachic foul involved here, there are a dozen disbarrable offenses if nothing else. If your influential Rosh Yeshiva tells you to commit fraud on this level, perhaps it's time for a different Rosh Yeshiva.


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