Moshe Morgenstern of New York, a retired accountant, was in
London this week in his worldwide quest for publicity.
Morgenstern has assumed a rabbinical role although it is not
known if he has a legitimate rabbinical ordination. The claim
that garners him the most publicity is that he annuls Jewish
marriages, thereby allowing women whose husbands refuse to
give them a get to remarry. In addition, there is
documented evidence of a bogus conversion that Morgenstern
performed together with a Conservative rabbi.
Rabbinical groups from all over the world have condemned
Morgenstern's activities, including the Moetzes Gedolei
HaTorah of America, the Vaad HaRabbonim Haolami LeInyonei
Giyur headed by HaRav Chaim Kreiswirth, the Agudas HaRabbonim
of the United States and Canada, and even the moderate Beis
Din of America that is associated with the Rabbinical Council
of America. Both Israeli Chief Rabbi Yisroel Lau and Chief
Rabbi Bakshi Doron issued strongly-worded protests against
Morgenstern, and recently the Beis Din of Paris headed by
Rabbi N. Rebibo also issued a severe proclamation in response
to a visit by Morgenstern to that city.
Morgenstern is reportedly visiting London to perform a second
marriage for a woman who did not receive a Jewish divorce. In
character, the event is to be televised.
The London rabbinical authorities, including the Beis Din of
the United Synagogue, the Federation and the Sephardic
community, issued a joint statement condemning the publicity
stunt and warning that children of such illegitimate
marriages will be fully illegitimate.
Rabbinical sources have expressed their astonishment at
England's Chief Rabbi Dr. Jonathan Sacks for agreeing to meet
with Morgenstern despite the fact that he and his methods
have been denounced by virtually all rabbinical organizations
including the Chief Rabbi's own beis din. Even though
it is said that Chief Rabbi Sacks does not support
Morgenstern's activities, his agreement to meet with him is a
grave mistake. Morgenstern is far worse than Reform and
Conservative clergy, and such a meeting gives him celebrity
and credibility. Morgenstern is quoted as welcoming the
meeting, noting that he has not managed to achieve any such
recognition in America.