Monday, May 30, 2005

The Halachic and legal precedent for the RCA’s action against Rabbi Mordechai Tendler. How the chief rabbanut of England dealt with their Tendler.

3 Comments:

At 2:15 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

Postscript: After the events described below, Rabbi Ivan Wachmann left England and became the Spiritual Leader at Temple Shalom in Pompano Beach, Florida. He continues in that position to this day

1)
Note the numerous similarities to the Rabbi Mordechai Tendler situation:

A. Rabbi Ivan Wachmann was accused of sexual misconduct with women congregants.

B. A commission of inquiry NOT a Bais Din was set up by the Chief Rabbi, Lord Immanuel Jakobovits

C. Four women accused Wachmann of making romantic advances, but he claimed the charges against him were "crazy," and he insisted that he was "totally innocent."

D. Rabbi Wachmann accused the commission, which was appointed by British Chief Rabbi Lord Jakobovits, of ignoring the halachic requirement of having two independent witnesses to support allegations of misconduct.

E. Dayan Isaac Berger, who is heading the inquiry, vigorously denied charges of halachic impropriety. All the proceedings, he told The Jerusalem Post yesterday, were "in strict conformity with halacha."

F. The rabbi, who ministered to the synagogue's 750 members for 17 years, had previously banned one of the women from Monday evening lecturers after she had written him a letter displaying her infatuation for him. The rabbi relented, but shortly after he claims she said she was pregnant by him with a child that would be the Messiah.

G. Another woman alleged he had made sexual advances towards her. Two other women claimed he had sexual intercourse with yet another woman.

H. Rabbi Wachmann refused to appear before the hearing in London because he did not believe it was impartial. But it went ahead in his absence and he was suspended in late July. At an emergency general meeting two weeks ago the authorities at Holy Law synagogue voted 157 to 95 to sack him with three months' severance pay.

I. But Rabbi Wachmann said he was not told the full charges, nor was he allowed to challenge the women, or put his case. He has consulted Jewish legal authorities which believe the commission was acting illegally. ''According to the religious judge the evidence of the complainant witnesses was invalidated because they bore a grudge or were infatuated,'' he said.

J. He claimed the the commission was prepared to believe the ''absurd'' allegations of these ''infatuated'' women for that reason. ''They had a crush on me. They believe that I'm charismatic, I'm different, I'm attractive. I can't explain it. I suppose the same thing happens when a pop star gets up on stage.''

K. A supporters' group put out a pamphlet detailing his side of the case. As the synagogue committee decided the rabbi's fate, about 50 women from the congregation held a protest outside carrying banners urging ''Fair Trial for Wachmann''.

L. The commission ruled that he had ''acted in a manner unbecoming a rabbi''. This statement was made publicly,

M. Rabbi Wachmann ACTUALLY lost his position at South Broughton Synagogue in Prestwich, Greater Manchester as a result of the Chief Rabbanut of England’s statement.

2)
R v Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of Great Britain and the Commonwealth, ex parte Wachmann

QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION (CROWN OFFICE LIST)
[1993] 2 All ER 249, [1992] 1 WLR 1036

HEARING-DATES: 25 JANUARY, 6 FEBRUARY 1991

CATCHWORDS:
Judicial review - Availability of remedy - Chief Rabbi - Disciplinary proceedings against rabbi - Chief Rabbi deciding that rabbi morally and religiously unfit to hold rabbinical office - Rabbi dismissed from congregation - Whether Chief Rabbi's decisions susceptible to judicial review - Whether Chief Rabbi's decisions within sphere of public law.

HEADNOTE:
The applicant was an Orthodox rabbi appointed in 1972 to a synagogue by a congregation which belonged to the United Hebrew Congregations of Great Britain and the Commonwealth, the spiritual head of which was the Chief Rabbi. The constitution of the applicant's congregation provided that the congregation's religious guidance was under the supervision of the Chief Rabbi. Early in 1990 allegations were made against the applicant of adultery with members of his congregation. By letter dated 8 May 1990 the Chief Rabbi notified the applicant that he had appointed a commission of inquiry to investigate those allegations and that in the meantime he was suspended from rabbinical activities. The commission found the applicant guilty of serious conduct unbecoming of a rabbi and no longer religiously and morally fit to occupy his position as a rabbi. By a letter dated 1 August the Chief Rabbi wrote to the president of the applicant's congregation unreservedly accepting the commission's findings and stating that having regard to the extreme gravity of the applicant's conduct, which was incompatible with his rabbinical standing and activities, the Chief Rabbi would no longer regard the applicant as morally and religiously fit to hold his rabbinical office. On 24 August the executive and council of the applicant's congregation resolved that, in the light of the Chief Rabbi's decision, the applicant's employment with the congregation would be terminated by three months' notice. The applicant applied for judicial review of the Chief Rabbi's decision. The question arose whether the Chief Rabbi was subject to judicial review in respect of the discharge of his essential functions, including his disciplinary function, as the spiritual head of Hebrew congregations. The Chief Rabbi contended that his decisions were not amenable to judicial review because (i) the applicant had consensually submitted to the Chief Rabbi's jurisdiction and (ii) that there was no public law element in the Chief Rabbi's decisions and it would be against public policy for a secular court to regulate the religious functions of the Chief Rabbi.

Held - For a decision of a given body to be a public law decision with public law consequences which attracted the court's supervisory jurisdiction the effect of the decision had to be more than merely of great interest or concern to the public or to have consequences for the public. Instead, there had to be not merely a public but potentially a governmental interest in the decision-making power in question. The Chief Rabbi's functions were essentially intimate, spiritual and religious functions which the government could not and would not seek to discharge in his place were he to abdicate his regulatory responsibility and Parliament would never contemplate legislating to regulate the discharge of his functions. It followed that his decisions contained no public law element. Furthermore, although an Orthodox rabbi pursuing his vocation had no choice but to accept the Chief Rabbi's disciplinary decisions and therefore could not be said to submit to the Chief Rabbi's jurisdiction consensually, the court was not in a position to regulate what was essentially a religious function, namely the determination of whether someone was morally and religiously fit to carry out the spiritual and pastoral duties of his office and the court would inevitably be wary of entering so self-evidently sensitive an area and straying across the well-recognised divide between church and state. The application would therefore be dismissed (see p 253 j, p 254 c d j, p 255 g to j and p 256 a to c, post).

R v Panel on Take-overs and Mergers, ex p Datafin plc (Norton Opax plc intervening) [1987] 1 All ER 564 applied.

NOTES:
Notes

For the scope of judicial review, see 1(1) Halsbury's Laws (4th edn reissue) para 64 and for cases on the subject, see 16 Digest (Reissue) 321-435, 3362-4797.

CASES-REF-TO:
Cases referred to in judgment

Law v National Greyhound Racing Club Ltd [1983] 3 All ER 300, [1983] 1 WLR 1302, CA.

Leech v Parkhurst Deputy Prison Governor [1988] 1 All ER 485, [1988] AC 533, [1988] 2 WLR 290, HL.

R v Advertising Standards Authority, ex p Insurance Service plc (1989) 9 Tr LR 169, DC.

R v Code of Practice Committee of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, ex p Professional Counselling Aids Ltd (1990) 10 BMLR 21.

R v Jockey Club, ex p RAM Racecourses Ltd [1993] 2 All ER 225, DC.

R v Panel on Take-overs and Mergers, ex p Datafin plc (Norton Opax plc intervening) [1987] 1 All ER 564, [1987] QB 815, [1987] 2 WLR 699, CA.

R v Rabbinical Commission for the Licensing of Shochetim, ex p Cohen (1987) Times, 22 December, [1987] CA Transcript 1259.

INTRODUCTION:
Application for leave to apply for judicial review

Ivan Wachmann, a rabbi appointed to the Broughton Synagogue, Manchester, applied for leave to apply for judicial review of the decision of the Chief Rabbi of the United Hewbrew Congregations of the British Commonwealth in a letter dated 1 August 1990 to the president of the Broughton congregation declaring that the applicant was no longer morally and religiously fit to hold his rabbinical office, which decision caused the congregation to dismiss him from the congregation's employment. The relief sought was a declaration that the Chief Rabbi's decision was void and of no effect and a declaration that the factual findings on which the decision was based were void and had been reached in breach of the rules of natural justice. The facts are set out in the judgment.

COUNSEL:
Roderick Carus QC and M J Booth (instructed by Read Roper & Read, Manchester) for the applicant.; Michael Beloff QC and David Pannick (instructed by Beachcroft Stanleys) for the Chief Rabbi.

JUDGMENT-READ:
Cur adv vult

6 February 1991. The following judgment was delivered.

6 February 1991

PANEL: SIMON BROWN J

JUDGMENTBY-1: SIMON BROWN J.

JUDGMENT-1:
SIMON BROWN J.

The issue before the court is whether the Chief Rabbi is subject to judicial review in respect of the discharge of his essential functions asthe spiritual head of the United Hebrew Congregations of Great Britain and the Commonwealth. More particularly, as to whether he is subject to judicial review in respect of what may broadly although inexactly be called his disciplinary function. More precisely still, as to whether it is properly arguable that he is amenable to such review.

The issue arises upon an adjourned application for leave to move for judicial review, the application having been adjourned by Kennedy J on 16 November 1990 so that the Chief Rabbi might assist the court upon the matter of jurisdiction. At the outset of this adjourned hearing I suggested to counsel that it might be preferable to reach a final decision one way or the other (subject to appeal) upon the jurisdictional issue, essentially as a preliminary point. That course the applicant declined. Although, however, it follows that leave would fall to be given if I regard the point as properly arguable, that is a decision I am entitled to take in light of the full and helpful arguments already advanced before me. Let me say at once that with counsel's assistance I have indeed been able to form a clear view upon the issue.

Before turning to the principles of law applying to this application, it is convenient first to relate something of the nature of the Chief Rabbi's role in Jewish life and law and then to indicate something of how this proposed judicial review application arises.

As stated, the Chief Rabbi is the spiritual head of the United Hebrew Congregations of Great Britain and the Commonwealth. Those congregations embrace the entire Orthodox Jewish community save only for certain splinter groups of an ultra orthodox character. Those splinter groups, together with reform and liberal Jewish communities, are not subject to the Chief Rabbi's spiritual guidance. In respect, however, of all those within the mainstream of Orthodox Judaism in the British Commonwealth-and that includes the South Broughton congregation of Manchester where the applicant rabbi officiated-the Chief Rabbi is for all purposes the spiritual head. His essential functions are to advise and rule on matters of Jewish law, ritual and doctrine, to officiate at special functions and ceremonies, and, importantly to this application, to certify religious officiants as religiously and morally fit (or unfit) to hold their respective offices within their congregations. In certain congregations a clause in the constitution specifically stipulates that only a rabbi approved by the Chief Rabbi may be appointed. In others-including the applicant's-the constitution provides rather that the congregation's religious guidance is under the supervision of the Chief Rabbi.

The applicant is an Orthodox rabbi appointed in 1972 to the Broughton synagogue in Manchester. Early in 1990 grave allegations were raised against him, essentially of adultery with members of his congregation. By letter dated 8 May 1990 the Chief Rabbi notified the applicant that he had appointed a commission to investigate these allegations; meantime, however, he thought it right to suspend the applicant from rabbinical activities. He therefore directed 'that as of today until further notice you do not officiate at weddings, funerals or preach, or in any other way discharge rabbinic duties'. On 16 July 1990, following a number of hearings, the commission of inquiry reported to the Chief Rabbi. Essentially the commission found the applicant 'guilty of serious conduct unbecoming of a rabbi and ... no longer religiously and morally fit to occupy his position as Rabbi'. By letter dated 1 August 1990-the decision sought to be challenged-the Chief Rabbi wrote to the president of the applicant's congregation unreservedly accepting the commission's findings and stating:

'Accordingly, having regard to the extreme gravity of Rabbi Wachmann's conduct, which I considered to be incompatible with his rabbinical standingand activities, I am most painfully and reluctantly forced to declare that I no longer regard him as morally and religiously fit to hold his rabbinical office. I want to emphasise that this declaration is not intended as a punishment, which I am not called upon to impose, but simply as my conclusion on his fitness. This is required and expected of me by any congregation under my jurisdiction. The prime objective is to assure members of such congregations and the community at large that those entrusted with high spiritual office, can and will justify the trust reposed in them. Congregations must be able to feel confident that they will be neither exploited nor misguided in matters of moral delicacy and intimacy. This applies particularly in matters of personal counselling.'

On 24 August 1990 the executive and council of the Broughton congregation passed the following resolution:

'It is regretfully resolved that, in the light of the decision of the Chief Rabbi ... the Executive and Council have no alternative but to terminate Rabbi Wachmann's employment with the Congregation by three months' notice ...'

That same day they wrote to each member of the congregation setting out the history of the matter, enclosing a notice convening a general meeting, and concluding thus:

'We cannot emphasise too strongly the consequences of your not confirming that resolution. Not only would the Congregation be left with a Minister who would not be authorised by the Chief Rabbi to perform marriages or any other rabbinical duties but, by its refusal to accept the decision of the Chief Rabbi, the Congregation would be removing itself from his jurisdiction and authority and would almost certainly be ostracised by the Rabbis of all other Congregations recognising his authority.'

At the meeting of members on 11 September 1990 the resolution was duly passed.

It is unnecessary, indeed inappropriate, to set out the detailed nature of this proposed challenge. Suffice to say that the applicant contends that the Chief Rabbi's decision was flawed by both the conduct and the make-up of the commission of inquiry. This commission was set up to hold what was tantamount to a judicial (or at least quasi-judicial) inquiry. Charges were framed. Principles as to the burden and standard of proof were established. Rules of evidence were recognised. The three tribunal members acted in effect as judges. The Chief Rabbi clearly recognised his duty to set up such an inquiry as would ensure that justice was both done and seen to be done. The submission is, however, that whilst that is what he intended to achieve, in the event he failed.

For the purposes of the application presently before the court, such challenge must be regarded as one properly arguable assuming only that the court would have jurisdiction to entertain it. I shall further assume for present purposes: (1) that the respondent's 'declaration' constituted such a decision as is potentially subject to review; (2) that the practical consequence of that decision was the applicant's dismissal from his appointment to the office of rabbi of the Broughton congregation; (3) that the consequence of that dismissal was in turn that the applicant is now unemployable as a rabbi and is stripped of all religious status; (4) that this challenge is not outwith the court's review jurisdiction on the grounds that it concerns a dispute as to employment; (5) that the applicant has no contractual remedies open to him; indeed, no contractual relationship whatever with the Chief Rabbi.

In a most able argument Mr Carus QC for the applicant takes as his starting point the landmark decision of the Court of Appeal in R v Panel on Take-overs and Mergers, ex p Datafin plc (Norton Opax plc intervening) [1987] 1 All ER 564, [1987] QB 815, in particular the oft-cited passage from Donaldson MR's judgment ([1987] 1 All ER 564 at 577, [1987] QB 815 at 838):

'Possibly the only essential elements [required to attract the High Court's supervisory jurisdiction] are what can be described as a public element, which can take many different forms, and the exclusion from the jurisdiction of bodies whose sole source of power is a consensual submission to its jurisdiction.'

He then refers to a number of subsequent cases in which the court has applied this review jurisdiction to bodies which in earlier days would surely have been thought beyond its reach, including the Divisional Court decision in R v Jockey Club, ex p RAM Racecourses Ltd [1993] 2 All ER 225 at 248, where, as Mr Carus reminds me, I said: 'We are here in a dynamic area of law, well able to embrace new situations as justice requires.' Mr Carus urges that justice does here require the court's jurisdiction to extend to this case. Were it otherwise, he submits, a minister of religion such as his client, holding important office, entitling him, inter alia, to solemnise marriages and officiate at burials, could be disqualified and dismissed from office and unable to pursue his vocation by a decision which might conceivably have been wholly unfairly arrived at and yet be without redress from any quarter. It could be, for instance, that the tribunal consisted of a minister's sworn enemies, displaying rampant bias towards him, refusing even to hear his answer to the charges.

Returning to the cited passage from Donaldson MR's judgment in the Datafin case, Mr Carus submits: (a) that the applicant cannot be said to have consensually submitted to the Chief Rabbi's jurisdiction: rather he is pursuing his vocation as an Orthodox rabbi and has no choice but to accept the respondent's disciplinary decisions; and (b) that there is a clear 'public element' to this decision: as, indeed, the Chief Rabbi himself said: 'The prime objective [of the Chief Rabbi declaring his conclusion upon fitness for rabbinical office] is to assure members of such congregations and the community at large that those entrusted with high spiritual office, can and will justify the trust reposed in them' (my emphasis). Mr Beloff QC suggests, I think rightly, that 'the community at large' there refers to the Jewish community, but that scarcely diminishes the weight of Mr Carus's point, assuming the point to be otherwise good. To that I shall return.

In response to these arguments, Mr Beloff takes essentially three points. First, he contends that this is indeed a case of consensual submission to the respondent's jurisdiction. Second, he urges that there is no public law element to this case, certainly nothing coming within measurable distance of any of the precedents nor within the Datafin concept of 'public law functions' or 'public law consequences' as properly understood. Third, he relies on considerations of public policy militating against the secular courts arrogating to themselves the regulation of religious functions by the Chief Rabbi (or, indeed, other religious bodies). Let me consider these in turn.

Consensual submission

Mr Beloff submits that the Chief Rabbi's role and authority is exercised only in respect of those persons and communities who choose to belong to the United Hebrew Congregations. No one is compelled to be a Jew, or Orthodox Jew, still less a rabbi. This argument I reject. I prefer Mr Carus's submission that an Orthodox rabbi is pursuing a vocation and has no choice but to accept the Chief Rabbi's disciplinary decisions. I can see no distinction in this regard betweenrabbis and, for instance, members of the Bar or members of a university. So far as the Bar and universities are concerned, once the exclusive visitorial jurisdiction has been invoked and exhausted, the court can review the visitor's decision; it does not decline such review on the footing that those aggrieved chose rather than were compelled to go to the Bar or university.

As it seems to me, the exclusion from judicial review of those who consensually submit to some subordinate jurisdiction properly applies only to arbitrators or 'private or domestic tribunals': see Law v National Greyhound Racing Club Ltd [1983] 3 All ER 300, [1983] 1 WLR 1302. Certainly I know of no other bodies held exempt from judicial review on this particular ground. Perhaps, however, it is artificial to regard this as a wholly distinct ground; perhaps rather it shades into consideration of whether the body in question is fulfilling an essentially public duty and its decision is one having public law consequences.

The public element

Mr Beloff invites my attention to certain passages in the judgments of the Court of Appeal both in the Law and Datafin cases. I need not recite them. Their effect is clear enough. To say of decisions of a given body that they are public law decisions with public law consequences means something more than that they are decisions which may be of great interest or concern to the public or, indeed, which may have consequences for the public. To attract the court's supervisory jurisdiction there must be not merely a public but potentially a governmental interest in the decision-making power in question. And, indeed, generally speaking the exercise of the power in question involves not merely the voluntary regulation of some important area of public life but also what Mr Beloff calls a 'twin-track system of control'. In other words, where non-governmental bodies have hitherto been held reviewable, they have generally been operating as an integral part of a regulatory system which, although itself non-statutory, is nevertheless supported by statutory powers and penalties clearly indicative of government concern.

Perfectly evidently it was just such considerations which led Popplewell J (and even then with obvious reluctance) recently to conclude in R v Code of Practice Committee of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, ex p Professional Counselling Aids Ltd (1990) 10 BMLR 21 that the Code of Practice Committee of the British pharmaceutical industry is reviewable. And certainly it is a feature of all these cases that, were there no self-regulatory body in existence, Parliament would almost inevitably intervene to control the activity in question. There is much emphasis on this consideration in Datafin itself. That was also the position in R v Advertising Standards Authority, ex p Insurance Service plc (1989) 9 Tr LR 169. Even, moreover, in the RAM Racecourses case, where the respondent body operated entirely outside any relevant statutory context (albeit under royal charter)-and which is thus a decision which arguably carries the review jurisdiction to its widest limits thus far-I described the Jockey Club's discharge of its 'functions of regulating racecourses and allocating fixtures [as] strikingly akin to the exercise of a statutory licensing power', and its position 'holding as it does monopolistic powers in this important field of public life [as] a position which could as well have been enshrined in legislation' (see [1993] 2 All ER 225 at 247).

It cannot be suggested, Mr Beloff submits and I accept, that the Chief Rabbi performs public functions in the sense that he is regulating a field of public life and but for his offices the government would impose a statutory regime. On the contrary, his functions are essentially intimate, spiritual and religious functions which the government could not and would not seek to discharge in his place were he to abdicate his regulatory responsibility. It is no answer to all this to say, as Mr Carus does, that the effect on those such as this applicant of the exercise of the respondent's disciplinary function is far graver than that of adverse decisions in such cases as Ex p Insurance Service plc and Ex p Professional Counselling Aids Ltd. There exclusively commercial concerns were affected and even then not perhaps to any great extent. But that distinction is nothing to the point: whether or not a decision has public law consequences must be determined otherwise than by reference to the seriousness of its impact upon those affected.

Before leaving this point, I must briefly mention two statutes. First the Jewish United Synagogues Act 1870 (33-34 Vict C cxvi), an Act whose relevance Mr Carus had little opportunity to consider but which he tentatively suggested could be regarded as one of the sources of the Chief Rabbi's authority in the exercise of his disciplinary functions. That argument seems to me impossible. Rather, Mr Beloff is clearly right in submitting that, as its title states, it is no more than an Act to confirm a scheme of the Charity Commissioners to enable the synagogues encompassed within it to enjoy charitable status, assuming always they organise their affairs in accordance with its provisions. The subsequent deed of foundation and trust is merely an instrument amending the scheme. In short, the Act operates in the discrete area of the law of charities. Unsurprisingly, it recognises the existence and essential role of the Chief Rabbi. It cannot, however, be construed either as conferring upon him disciplinary powers that he would not otherwise have had or as indicating Parliament's interest in and concern to underpin such powers.

Similarly irrelevant to the point at issue is the Slaughterhouses Act 1974, which by Sch 1 provides for the Chief Rabbi to chair the Rabbinical Commission itself for the licensing of Shochetim. True, as shown by R v Rabbinical Commissioner for the Licensing of Shochetim, ex p Cohen (1987) Times, 22 December, the Rabbinical Commission is in this regard judicially reviewable. That, however, cannot assist the applicant in respect of the Chief Rabbi's non-statutory functions here in question. Indeed, Mr Carus does not submit to the contrary.

Public policy

As Mr Beloff points out, the court would never be prepared to rule on questions of Jewish law. Mr Carus, recognising this prospective difficulty, says that in advancing his challenge here the applicant would be prepared to rely solely upon the common law concept of natural justice. But it would not always be easy to separate out procedural complaints from consideration of substantive principles of Jewish law which may underlie them. In this very case, for instance, the applicant seeks to contend that the only procedure recognised by Jewish law for investigating the allegations facing him is a Beth Din-three qualified Dayanim judges.

That consideration apart, the court is hardly in a position to regulate what is essentially a religious function-the determination whether someone is morally and religiously fit to carry out the spiritual and pastoral duties of his office. The court must inevitably be wary of entering so self-evidently sensitive an area, straying across the well-recognised divide between church and state.

One cannot, therefore, escape the conclusion that, if judicial review lies here then one way or another this secular court must inevitably be drawn into adjudicating upon matters intimate to a religious community.

Although the speeches of the House of Lords in Leech v Parkhurst Deputy Prison Governor [1988] 1 All ER 485, [1988] AC 533 appear to lend some support to Mr Beloff's submission that a court may decline to recognise a review jurisdiction for reasons of public policy, I prefer to regard these considerations as going instead to the earlier question raised-the question whether the Chief Rabbi's discharge of his religious functions has about it a truly public law character such as alonewould attract the court's supervisory jurisdiction. I do not think it has. Rather, the selfsame considerations of policy that prompt the court's reluctance to regulate this area of decision-making demonstrate also its lack of real public law character and consequences in the sense established by the authorities. Not merely is the Chief Rabbi without any statutory support for his decision-making but, by the same token that the court would be loath to intervene, so too Parliament, as already suggested, would never contemplate legislating in this field.

In the result it is my firm conclusion that to entertain this challenge would involve a clear departure from and extension of the principles established by the Datafin case and the subsequent cases and that such an extension would be wholly inappropriate. This application I accordingly regard as doomed to inevitable failure upon the issue of jurisdiction. I therefore dismiss it.

DISPOSITION:
Application dismissed.

Mary Rose Plummer Barrister.

3) More information:
http://jewishwhistleblower.blogspot.com/2005/01/background-and-update-rabbi-ivan.html
http://jewishwhistleblower.blogspot.com/2004/12/rabbi-sacked-in-england-for-alleged.html#comments
http://www.theawarenesscenter.org/Wachmann_Ivan.html

4)
The Independent (London)
February 7, 1991
Sacked rabbi's legal action fails

A RABBI who was sacked from a synagogue for alleged sexual misconduct with women congregants yesterday lost a High Court action challenging the Chief Rabbi's declaration that he was unfit to keep his post.

Ivan Wachmann, an Orthodox rabbi, was dismissed by the Holy Law and South Broughton Synagogue in Prestwich, Greater Manchester, last September, after a commission of inquiry set up by the Chief Rabbi, Lord Immanuel Jakobovits, ruled that he had ''acted in a manner unbecoming a rabbi''.

Rabbi Wachmann had asked for leave to seek a judicial review of the decision, which he said had made him unemployable as a rabbi. But Mr Justice Simon Brown said the courts had no jurisdiction over the Chief Rabbi's disciplinary powers, which were ''essentially religious''.

5)
The Jerusalem Post
July 13, 1990
RABBI ACCUSED OF SEXUAL IMMORALITY
by DOUGLAS DAVIS

LONDON - A 54-year-old British rabbi, accused of having sexual relations with a woman who attends his weekly Tora reading classes, is boycotting a rabbinical commission of inquiry into his conduct because he claims it is "biased and unfair."

Rabbi Ivan Wachsmann was suspended from the Holy Law South Broughton Synagogue in Prestwich, near Manchester, last May and could be struck off the register of rabbis if he is found guilty of serious misconduct.

At a two-day hearing of the commission in Manchester, four women accused Wachsmann of making romantic advances, but he claimed the charges against him were "crazy," and he insisted that he was "totally innocent."

He also denied rumours that he had participated in black magic rituals, faith healing, and spoon-bending tricks to seduce women.

In addition to complaints of bias, Wachmann has accused the commission, which was appointed by British Chief Rabbi Lord Jakobovits, of ignoring the halachic requirement of having two independent witnesses to support allegations of misconduct.

Dayan Isaac Berger, who is heading the inquiry, vigorously denied charges of halachic impropriety. All the proceedings, he told The Jerusalem Post yesterday, were "in strict conformity with halacha."

6)
The Independent (London)
September 24, 1990
Rabbi in sex case plans to challenge dismissal
by IAN MACKINNON

A RABBI sacked for alleged sexual misconduct with women congregants has set up a breakaway synagogue backed by supporters who believe his case was unfairly handled.

Rabbi Ivan Wachmann intends to challenge his dismissal by the Holy Law and South Broughton Synagogue, Prestwich, Greater Manchester, one of the country's largest, at an industrial tribunal.

The affair has opened deep divisions in the Jewish community in Manchester and provoked a row between supporters, said to number up to 200, and opponents.

His dismissal followed a commission of inquiry set up by the Chief Rabbi, Lord Immanuel Jakobovitz, which ruled that Rabbi Wachmann, 54, had "acted in a manner unbecoming a rabbi". He is seeking a judical review of the decision. The three-man commission examined allegations made by four women who were in the rabbi's religious classes.

The rabbi, who ministered to the synagogue's 750 members for 17 years, had previously banned one of the women from Monday evening lecturers after she had written him a letter displaying her infatuation for him. The rabbi relented, but shortly after he claims she said she was pregnant by him with a child that would be the Messiah.

Another woman alleged he had made sexual advances towards her. Two other women claimed he had sexual intercourse with yet another woman.

Rabbi Wachmann was suspended by his synagogue's committee in May despite denials about the alleged affairs which surfaced in the News of the World. Allegations that he took part in black magic rituals, faith healing and used spoon-bending tricks to seduce women were also denied.

Rabbi Wachmann refused to appear before the hearing in London because he did not believe it was impartial. But it went ahead in his absence and he was suspended in late July. At an emergency general meeting two weeks ago the authorities at Holy Law synagogue voted 157 to 95 to sack him with three months' severance pay.

But Rabbi Wachmann said he was not told the full charges, nor was he allowed to challenge the women, or put his case. He has consulted Jewish legal authorities which believe the commission was acting illegally. "According to the religious judge the evidence of the complainant witnesses was invalidated because they bore a grudge or were infatuated," he said.

He also said the synagogue committee had acted unfairly and improperly. "The ecclesiastical authorities just wanted me out of the way because I am a thorn in their flesh," he said. "I knew too much about the establishment."

He claimed the the commission was prepared to believe the "absurd" allegations of these "infatuated" women for that reason. "They had a crush on me. They believe that I'm charismatic, I'm different, I'm attractive. I can't explain it. I suppose the same thing happens when a pop star gets up on stage."

A supporters' group put out a pamphlet detailing his side of the case. As the synagogue committee decided the rabbi's fate, about 50 women from the congregation held a protest outside carrying banners urging "Fair Trial for Wachmann".

One of the most vociferous was Dorienne Feldman, who said: "There had been a great deal of bitterness and rancour within the synagogue for years. Many people in the executive did not like the rabbi because he has charisma and presence. So they seized on this reason to get rid of him. The whole thing has been extremely divisive. The whole women's guild has resigned at the synagogue."

On Thursday and Friday last week, the Jewish new year, Rabbi Wachmann held services for his supporters at the hall of another synagogue. On the first day about 100 turned up with 150 the next, all supporters from the Holy Law congregation, according to the rabbi and Mrs Feldman.

Morley Wolfson, synagogue president, disputes the figures, saying only about 10 dissidents from Holy Law went to the service. But as far as he was concerned the matter was closed and he refused to comment further.

Mrs Feldman was outraged by Mr Wolfson's version. "I knew very well they would have egg on their faces, but to deny what actually happened is ludicrous. It's a blatant lie. We knew everybody who came through the door."

Rabbi Wachmann is delighted by the level of support. Mrs Feldman said: "I thought for sometime we were seeing the death of a synagogue, but in fact I think we are seeing the birth of a new one."

 
At 7:14 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

The Independent (London)
February 14, 1991
Law Report: Chief Rabbi's decision not subject to judicial review; Regina v Chief Rabbi, Ex parte Wachman - Queen's Bench Division (Mr Justice Simon Brown), 6 February 1991.

By YING HUI TAN, Barrister

The functions of the Chief Rabbi are essentially religious and spiritual ones in which Parliament would not intervene. Accordingly, his discharge of religious functions do not have a public law character which would attract the court's supervisory jurisdiction.

Mr Justice Simon Brown refused Rabbi Ivan Wachman leave to move for judicial review of a decision of the Chief Rabbi, the spiritual head of the United Hebrew Congregations, that Rabbi Wachman was no longer morally and religiously fit to hold his rabbinical office. Rabbi Wachman, an orthodox rabbi, was appointed in 1972 to the Broughton Synagogue in Manchester, whose congregation embraced the Chief Rabbi as its spiritual head. The congregation's constitution provided that the congregation's religious guidance was under the supervision of the Chief Rabbi.

In 1990, the Chief Rabbi appointed a commission to investigate allegations against Rabbi Wachman of adultery with members of his congregation. The Chief Rabbi accepted the commission's finding that Rabbi Wachman was guilty of serious conduct unbecoming of a rabbi and no longer religiously and morally fit to occupy his position as rabbi. Rabbi Wachman's employment with the congregation was terminated by his congregation.

Rabbi Wachman applied for leave to challenge the Chief Rabbi's decision on the grounds that it was flawed by the conduct and the make-up of the commission.

Roderick Carus QC, and Michael J Booth (Read Roper & Read, Manchester) for Rabbi Wachman; Michael Beloff QC, and David Pannick (Beachcroft Stanley) for the Chief Rabbi.

MR JUSTICE SIMON BROWN said that the issue was whether the Chief Rabbi was subject to judicial review in respect of the discharge of his essential functions, more particularly his disciplinary functions, as spiritual head of the United Hebrew Congregations. Mr Carus, taking R v Panel on Take-overs and Mergers, Ex parte Datafin plc 1987 QB 815 as his starting point, urged that justice did here require the court's jurisdiction, as otherwise a minister of religion, holding important office, entitling him to solemnise marriages and officiate at burials, could be disqualified and dismissed from office and unable to pursue his vocation by a decision which might have been wholly unfairly arrived at, and yet be without redress. He submitted that the applicant could not be said to have consensually submitted to the Chief Rabbi's jurisdiction and that there was a clear public element to the decision.

An Orthodox rabbi was pursuing a vocation and had no choice but to accept the Chief Rabbi's disciplinary decisions. There was no distinction between rabbis and members of the Bar or members of a university. So far as the Bar and universities were concerned, the court did not decline review of the visitor's decision on the footing that those aggrieved chose, rather than were compelled, to go to the Bar or university.

The exclusion from judicial review of those who consensually submitted to a subordinate jurisdiction applied only to arbitrators or private or domestic tribunals.

To say of decisions of a given body that they were public law decisions with public law consequences meant something more than that they were decisions which might be of great interest or concern to the public, or which might have consequences for the public. To attract the court's supervisory jurisdiction there must be not merely a public but potentially a governmental interest in the decision-making power.

Where non-governmental bodies had hitherto been held reviewable, they had generally been operating as an integral part of a regulatory system which, although itself non-statutory, was nevertheless supported by statutory powers and penalties clearly indicative of government concern.

It could not be suggested that the Chief Rabbi performed public functions in the sense that he was regulating a field of public life and, but for his offices, the Government would impose a statutory regime. On the contrary, his functions were essentially intimate, spiritual and religious functions, which the Government could not and would not seek to discharge in his place were he to abdicate his regulatory responsibility. Whether a decision had public law consequences must be determined otherwise than by reference to the seriousness of its impact on those affected.

The court would never be prepared to rule on questions of Jewish law. Although Rabbi Wachman would be prepared to rely solely on the common law concept of natural justice, it would not always be easy to separate procedural complaints from consideration of substantive principles of Jewish law such as might underlie them. The court was hardly in a position to regulate what was essentially a religious function - the determination whether someone was morally and religiously fit to carry out the spiritual and pastoral duties of his office. The court must inevitably be wary of entering so self-evidently sensitive an area, straying across the well- recognised divide between church and state.

One could not, therefore, escape the conclusion that, if judicial review lay here, then this secular court must inevitably be drawn into adjudicating on matters intimate to a religious community. The Chief Rabbi's discharge of his religious functions did not have about it a truly public law character such as alone would attract the court's supervisory jurisdiction. Not merely was the Chief Rabbi without any statutory support for his decision-making, but by the same token that the court would be loath to intervene, so too Parliament would never contemplate legislating in this field.

The application was doomed to inevitable failure on the issue of jurisdiction and was dismissed.

 
At 6:08 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

Last year Rabbi Wachmann was honored by the Moonies.

>The keynote speaker at the
>ceremony was the founder of the
>Interreligious and International
>Peace Council, the Rev. Sun
>Myung Moon.

INTERFAITH EFFORTS BRING RECOGNITION TO RABBI
PEACE COUNCIL BESTOWS HONORS
Sun-Sentinel
April 23, 2004
By Peter Hawkins Special Correspondent

A Pompano Beach rabbi has been presented a special award in recognition of his efforts toward international peace.

The Interreligious and International Peace Council presented the Ambassador For Peace Award last month to Rabbi Ivan Wachmann of Temple Sholom in a ceremony at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C.

Wachmann, who is 67 with four children and 11 grandchildren, is in his 49th year in the ministry.

"I was one of the honorees because I've dedicated 48 years to promoting deeper understanding between Christians, Jews and Muslims," he said. "I've spoken in churches of all faiths, including a mosque, and I've been president, vice president and secretary of the Council of Christians and Jews."

Wachmann told members of the peace council that the global community should focus on issues that unite people rather than those that divide.

"Each of us as religious leaders should go back to our respective communities and get sponsors to help build houses for our poor Palestinian brothers because we are direct descendants from Abraham," he said.

Gunter Freystatter, who serves as president of the American Family Coalition of Florida, sits on the peace council's Advisory Board. Freystatter said Wachmann has drawn notice because his interfaith endeavors have gone against tradition.

"Rabbi Wachmann has been doing interfaith work for many years and he has been involved in trying to bring reconciliation in the Middle East," said Freystatter, of Weston.

"Traditionally, Christians work among Christians and Jews among Jews, but Rabbi Wachmann has worked continually with people of other faiths."

A few days after the outbreak of the war in Iraq, Wachmann organized an interfaith service at Temple Sholom, attended by about 150 people. Shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, he spoke at St. Coleman's Roman Catholic Church in Pompano Beach.

He also has conducted an interfaith service with St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church in Pompano Beach.

Wachmann was among 80 people, including Rabbi Leonid Feldman of Temple Emanu-El in Miami Beach, who received the peace award in March. The keynote speaker at the ceremony was the founder of the Interreligious and International Peace Council, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Since 2001, the peace council has appointed 25,000 Ambassadors for Peace in 185 nations.

Last month, Wachmann, who hails from Dublin, Ireland, emphasized the similarities between the Irish saint and Moses during a St. Patrick's Day service at Temple Sholom. A meal that included green bagels concluded the evening.

Wachmann maintains strong links with another Irish cleric, Father Thomas Foudy of St. Coleman's. They are both on the board of Holy Cross Hospital, and they participate every year in the graduation ceremony at Pine Crest School.


"We share a table of discussion," Foudy said. "I find him a wonderful man and a wonderful communicator who transcends all national boundaries. He's deeply admired by everyone. I see him as a brother in religion and I'm very proud to be his friend. His tradition is mine and I feel very honored to know him."

Wachmann, the 10th generation of rabbis in his family, said he thinks the way to forge a path of peace in the Middle East is to help build the community there.

"If I was told my home had been stolen and I was given guns instead of toys, I'd be the No. 1 to die for Allah," he said. "The reason why Hamas can influence these people is because they have nothing to live for and everything to die for. We'll never get peace in the Middle East if they live in squalor."

Caption:
PHOTO Caption:
DIFFERENCE MAKER:Rabbi Ivan Wachmann, right, of Temple Sholom in Pompano Beach, Rabbi Mordehi Waldman, center, and Rabbi Leonid Feldman, of Temple Emanu-El in Miami Beach. Photo courtesy of Gunter Freystatter

 

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