Monday, December 24, 2012

Chaim Halpern's shul expelled from Orthodox Union

Update: Apparently the cancelation of expulstion has been cancelled

Update: Apparently the expulsion has been cancelled.

Times of Israel   In an unprecedented and potentially explosive move, the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, the umbrella organization for Britain’s Orthodox institutions, has expelled a synagogue led by a rabbi accused of sexual misconduct.

Beth Hamedrash Divrei Chaim, in the London neighborhood of Golders Green, is headed by Rabbi Chaim Halpern, a former religious judge in the Union and one of the city’s most senior Haredi rabbis. He was forced to resign all of his public positions in November following allegations that he had engaged in “inappropriate” conduct with about 30 women coming to him for counseling, but retained leadership of his shul, which is located in his house.

Since then, a group of local rabbis and religious judges have called on him to resign from his pulpit as well, to no avail. In response to intense pressure from the Haredi public, the Union agreed to set up a beth din, or religious court, to try the case, but it has yet to convene.

According to one source, the expulsion of Divrei Chaim means that the beth din is now unlikely to go ahead, as Halpern is no longer affiliated with the Union.

It will also remove the issue of Halpern’s conduct from the agenda of the local rabbis, as he has effectively become a private individual.


  1. Recipients and PublicityDecember 25, 2012 at 1:13 AM

    This guy was running a harem and not a shull...

  2. Your behind the times. It looks like he's back in. Follow if you tickle me for the latest.

    1. Keep following the Tickle blog. Divrei Chaim looks like it's out again. The retraction has been retracted. Who knows what will happen tomorrow?

  3. The cancellation of the expulsion was withdrawn...

    Apparently, Rav Padva was forced to sign the "cancellation", and today yehuda weiss confirmed there was no misunderstanding...

  4. Apparently there is now another letter saying the first letter was good. I hope someone is keeping track of all this stuff.
    Check out if you tickle us for more.

  5. apparently, the londoners did the right thing: they started boykotting the kedassia hechsher for which the uohc is responsible. They are right: if the rabbis there are not able to deal with unkosher rabbis kosher, how should tell treife meat from kosher.

    I suppose it is time we boykotted the badatz hechsher lead by a person like r. Tuvia Weiss who incites hatred and protects pedophiles and killers.

  6. Dr Rabbi Schonfeld established the Union some 80 years ago at a time when Judaism in London was in a very bad shape.

    Judaism has have since moved on and the Union is no longer relevant.

    Judaism in London is blay”h flourishing. Each beth hamidrash and kehilla is generally being led by their own competent Rav and kehilla leaders, who invest tremendous effort and money to build and run their kehillos and mosdos in accordance with their respective derech and nusach.

    In many instances these kehillos are being led by Rebbe’s of certain chasidus or other gedolei Yisroel.

    Being a member of the Union means that the kehilla or beth hamidrash is bound legally and al pi torah under the authority of the Rabbinate of the Union.

    At a time when the Union’s financial contribution to the establishment and running of London’s Botai midroshim and mosdos hachinuch is virtually nil, why should any kehilla or mosod wish to be bound by its rabbinical authority?

    Apart from kashrus, what pertinent benefit does any kehilla or mosed derive from the Union?

    Kedassia is a kashrus authority that is no different from any other hechsher. Anyone who decides to eat food, which is sanctioned by any of those hechsherim, isn’t necessarily bound under their absolute authority.

    In this day and age when Kedassia has become the supreme kashrus authority for the Heimishe yidden in London, why should we tear it apart? Let Kedassia carry on with their supervision of hechsherim.

    However, anything else, apart of the hechsherim; at a time when we are all under the authority of one or another rav or rebbe, why should we have the supreme authority of the Union Rabbinate forced upon us??

    Hence, if and when there is a problem with a certain shul in GG, it should be dealt with by the respective local rav or rabbonim and no SH rav should mix into this matter. They should rather concentrate in running their own shuls and kehillos – vesholom al yisroel.


please use either your real name or a pseudonym.