Sunday, January 23, 2005

Background and update: Rabbi Ivan Wachmann sacked in England for alleged sexual misconduct with 2 women, crossed the ocean and found pulpit in FL


At 7:34 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...


April 17, 1994
by LANE KELLEY Staff Writer

Ivan Wachmann is an Irish rabbi who often sounds like a fundamentalist preacher.

Wachmann, 58, bounces all over the room in his weekly lecture at Temple Sholom, full of gestures and vocal tricks. He's fond of the Socratic method, asking people direct questions. And they usually give him answers.

Sometimes, they just want to agree with him, saying, "Sure enough," or "That's right, very true."Wachmann's audience responds to him the same way church audiences respond to black preachers and Pentecostal evangelists.

"To get to the soul, you've got to speak to the soul," Wachmann says. "You've got to cut the shenanigans and get down to it."

Wachmann gets down to some serious topics in his hour-long lectures, every Tuesday at 3:45 p.m. at the temple, 132 SE 11th Ave., Pompano Beach.

Some of them sound like themes from a college sophomore philosophy class: the ethics of keeping people alive by life support whether terminally ill patients should be told they're about to die whether the Bible says it is permissible for Israel to trade territory with the Palestinians.

Wachmann attacks his topic from many directions he loves to digress. This Tuesday, he strays from the subject at one point and spends a few minutes talking about the violence reported on TV and in the newspapers.

Wachmann says the world has always been full of violence.

"You know, man hasn't changed since Cain killed Abel, he's just found more sophisticated ways of doing it," Wachmann tells them.

He gets many of the topics from his listeners, most of whom are senior citizens.

"That's why it's my challenge to make them young," Wachmann says. "And remember, these are people who have to be kept awake as well."

Kurt Levi, 83, says he has no problem staying awake during Wachmann's lectures. "I like him because he brings a new spirit into the world," Levi said. "He's a person with a heart."

Born and raised in Dublin, Wachmann comes from a long line of Irish rabbis. He is the 23rd generation in his family to become a rabbi, and his son in Lakewood, N.J. is the 24th.

Wachmann says his mother taught him to appreciate the rhythm of speech and how to hold an audience by telling him nursery rhymes. But they weren't the usual nursery rhymes about Humpty Dumpty or Goldilocks.

Wachmann says his mother always told him nursery rhymes about a character named Ivan - himself.

"To me, it was, `Ivan stood on a chair,' `Ivan did this,' or `Ivan did that.' This was what a nursery rhyme was to me. It was about me."

Wachmann also is a trained psychologist. After spending most of his career as a rabbi at synagogues in England and Scotland, he followed a friend's call to become a psychologist and rabbi in California last year.

That fell through after he encountered obstacles with educational requirements and bureaucratic red tape.

Wachmann eventually found the synagogue in Pompano Beach, where he serves both as cantor and rabbi. He began his weekly lectures after he arrived, in August.

"I believe in the flowing of inspiration," he said. "Not only that I get it but that the audience gets it as well."


Cantor Ivan Wachmann speaks to a group gathered at Temple Sholom.

July 8, 1994
by James D. Davis

South Florida Jews will gather next week at the Castle Hotel on Miami Beach for a Shloshim or 30th day memorial for Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, head of the Lubavitch Hasidic group. Schneerson died June 12 in New York at the age of 92.

The program will begin at 8 p.m. at the hotel, 5445 Collins Ave. Keynote speaker will be Rabbi Moshe Solovechik, dean of the Chicago-based Yeshivah of Brisk.

For information, call South Broward Chai Center at 458-1877.


Temple Sholom will host a conference on Schneerson's death, starting at 3:45 p.m. at the synagogue, 132 SE 11th Ave., Pompano Beach.

Rabbi Ivan Wachmann, assistant spiritual leader at the temple, will present "With the death of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Where is Messiah Now?" Wachmann, born in Ireland, corresponded with Schneerson for more than 36 years. The speech is based on the belief of many in the 250,000-member Lubavitch movement that Schneerson was the prophesied leader who would return the Jewish people to the Holy Land.

After a short recess, the conference will resume with a 5:30 p.m. dinner speech by Rabbi Yossi Y. Biston, the leader of Lubavitch of northern Broward and southern Palm Beach counties. Also speaking will be James D. Davis, Sun-Sentinel religion editor, who has written several stories on Schneerson and Lubavitch.

For information, call the temple at 942-6410.

Heritage trip to Italy

Hebrew University of Jerusalem will sponsor a Jewish heritage study trip to Italy from Aug. 14 to 24. The trip will cover the Piedmont and Lombardy regions of Italy, including synagogues and Jewish districts of Turin and Milan.

Led by Professor Yom Tov Assis of the school's department of the history of the Jewish people, the program will be conducted in English. Kosher meals will be included during Sabbath.

For information, call Jo-Anne Greenblat at the university, 011-972-2-342079, or write to her at the Department of Summer Courses and Special Academic Programs, Rothberg School for Overseas Students, The Hebrew University, Mount Scopus, Jerusalem, Israel 91905.

To ensure better coverage of your synagogue's activities, information for Religion in Brief must be received two weeks in advance of the event. Please type and send notices to James D. Davis, Religion Editor, Sun-Sentinel, 200 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 33301. Photos are welcome but cannot be returned.

December 29, 2001
by James D. Davis

Position: Spiritual leader of Temple Sholom, a synagogue of 500 members in Pompano Beach.

Born: Dublin, Ireland. South Florida resident for 81/2 years.

Education: Doctorate in divinity, with a conferred status of Dayan, or religious judge, at Yeshiva Etz Chayim in London.

Age: 66.

Family: Wife, Cindy, co-president of the temple Sisterhood and vice president of New Membership in Brandeis, a women's Jewish group. No children.

Q. How did you become a rabbi?

A. My father was a 10th-generation rabbi; he died when I was 1 year old. When I was 2, my mother told me that my father's wish was for me to be the 11th generation. I gave my first sermon at 3 at a synagogue in Dublin. I led youth group in a Bible class at 6.

Q. Did you ever wish to be anything else?

A. A soccer player. When I was 13, I scored two goals per game. I was spotted by a scout for Manchester United, one of the great soccer clubs. I didn't go, because it would mean playing on a Saturday. I realized that being a rabbi is more important. But if there could be an exception, I would do it.

Q. Favorite part of your work?

A. When someone comes into the office and says, "I need you, rabbi." Then I know what I'm here for.

Q. Hardest part?

A. When my body tells me that I have to go to bed. There is so much to read, to do, I feel guilty taking time out to go to sleep.

Q. Sounds like a classic Type-A personality.

A. But what had a calming effect on me was when I discovered a teaching from Ethics of the Fathers: "The work is not yours to finish; neither are you free to take no part in it." It also got rid of my ego.

Q. What do you do to relax?

A. Meditation. I do 10 minutes every few hours. I also swim 18 laps every day. It reconnects me to God.

Q. What book have you been recommending lately?

A. Herman Wouk's This is My God. It's about the remarkable survival of the Jews. It can be read from now to time immemorial.

Q. Written any books?

A. I'm writing a book called God Goes Public. I don't think I'll finish it till I retire. But I think it's important to finish it, in order to leave a legacy.

Q. Favorite pastime?

A. Music. Any kind. Soul, classic, rock, jazz. It soothes the soul, and it's a great connector with God.

Q. Favorite vacation spot?

A. Key West. That's where I took my wife for our honeymoon. It's one of the most beautiful places you could have a honeymoon.

Q. Do you have a hero?

A. My latest hero is George Bush. A hero is somebody you don't expect. That gives hope to everyone that he can be a hero.

Q. If your house were burning, what would you take out first, after your family?

A. My Bible. I've had it since I was a child.

Q. Favorite TV shows?

A. Ice-skating shows, for their majesty, and because they show how to keep your balance. I also love to watch soccer. Put a match on TV and I'm there.

Q. Your worst moment in the pulpit?

A. When someone shouted out, "Don't trust him! He belongs to the IRA!" There was a pregnant pause. I said, "Shut the doors! It's true!" After a long silence, I said, "The Irish Rabbinical Association!" The audience was relieved.

Q. What one thing would you change about yourself?

A. I'd be less sensitive. I've toughened up, but I still get hurt very easily.

Q. Is there one thing you can't stand?

A. Noise. It drowns out communication with God.

Q. Have you ever doubted your faith?

A. No. Someone once asked me a question about that: "Which is better, to have doubt in faith, or faith in doubt?" I said, "The latter. If you didn't have doubt, the faith couldn't emerge. Where there is emptiness, there is potential for learning."

Q. Motto, or favorite Scripture verse?

A. From the Psalms: "He who sows in tears shall reap in joy."

This is one in a continuing series profiling area religious leaders. Do you know someone we should profile? Tell Religion Editor James D. Davis at 954-356-4730, or via e-mail (

Staff photo/Robert Duyos

Family tradition: Rabbi Ivan Wachmann, spiritual leader of Temple Sholom and a native of Dublin, Ireland, is an 11th-generation rabbi in his family.

At 10:01 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

Just in case my loyal readers miss it, in the 7 years from the 1st to the 3rd article, Rabbi Ivan Wachmann has forgotten about his son the Rabbi in Lakewood. Hmmm.....

Also, instead of being the 23rd generation in his family to become a rabbi, he's now only an 11th-generation rabbi.

So what happened during those years to his son and 12 generations of rabbis from his family? Hillarious.

At 12:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What was meant apparently is that this is a second marriage and there are no kids from it


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