MOChassid

The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @ aol.com

Friday, February 19, 2010

Trouble

As if they didn't have enough to worry about, HAFTR just lost an appeal by Nachum Brisman, a tenured teacher whom they had whacked, to the Appellate Division of the New York State court. Under an arbitration clause in his contract, Rabbi Brisman took HAFTR to a beis din and was reinstated (at $100,000 per year). HAFTR was also required to pay $50,000 into his pension plan.

Brisman went to court to have the arbitration award confirmed but, in December of 2008, Judge Balter vacated it in a controvertial decision. Brisman appealed (and was supported by the OU, Agudah and Torah U'Mesorah who, while avoiding the merits of the HAFTR/Brisman situation, argued that the court unconstitutionally ignored the ruling of the beis din).

Unsurprisingly, in a brief decision, the Appellate Division reinstated the award.

On one level, I feel HAFTR's pain. It is exceedingly difficult to get rid of even horrible teachers (not that I'm saying Rabbi Brisman was horrible; I have absolutely no knowledge of the underlying situation. For all I know, he could have been a superstar and they didn't like his beard). When I was co-chairman of HAFTR (in a previous gilgul before they decided to self-destruct), it took us years to get rid of a couple of truly terrible teachers who were truly terrible (and in one case, sadistic) when I was a student at HILI 25 years earlier.

On the other, the decision appears to be correct.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Hat Tip: Hirhurim

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17 Comments:

  • At 4:48 PM, Blogger Yanky Z said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

     
  • At 4:50 PM, Blogger Yanky Z said…

    The lesson to be learned is that when arbitrating, even before a beis din, bring a lawyer. At the least, a competent attorney can help draft the arbitration agreement, or shtar berurim, to limit your exposure.

     
  • At 8:10 PM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    I think the other lesson is that before you terminate someone, document it. You can't terminate a tenured teacher with no evidence of incompetence.

     
  • At 11:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Re: documenting it - would a credible defense require a history of performance reviews over time as opposed to documentation of a single incident?

     
  • At 11:25 AM, Blogger SuperRaizy said…

    I know Rabbi Brisman, I have worked with him. He is not incompetent. He is a mensch, well meaning and truly interested in teaching Torah. I am not taking sides here, I have no idea if Haftr was justified in trying to fire him or not. I just feel uncomfortable with people who don't even know Rabbi Brisman calling him names.

     
  • At 10:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was a student of Rabbi Brisman at HAFTR during the mid-90's and he had the tendency to include his racist and misogynistic opinions in his shiurim.

     
  • At 9:59 AM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    I would prefer that people not comment on the merits. It's not relevant.

     
  • At 2:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Am I the only one that's shocked that there are teachers making over $100,000 a year (as stated in the link)?

    No wonder the tuitions at these schools are so high

     
  • At 3:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Rabbi Brisman's teaching ability is not at issue here.

    The real issue is how a Yeshiva can take its case to a secular court after first agreeing to abide by the ruling of a Beis Din.

    Once they agreed to let Beit Din of America arbitrate, they should have been prepared to live with the result.

     
  • At 4:12 PM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    Anon 3:33

    HAFTR did not take the case to secular court; Rabbi Brisman did in order to certify the beis din's award.

     
  • At 4:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I stand corrected.

    What was R' Brisman's objective in having the court certify the award?

    Was he concerned that without said certification he would not have been able to realize the award?

     
  • At 6:16 PM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    I don't know, sorry

     
  • At 7:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    His rebbe told him to take it to secular court to have it verified

     
  • At 6:17 AM, Anonymous Jeremy said…

    It's a routine matter to have an arbitrator's decision certified, but without it, the decision is not legally (secular) binding.

     
  • At 12:55 AM, Blogger nike said…

  • At 1:01 AM, Blogger nike said…

  • At 2:13 AM, Blogger Lion of Zion said…

    why in the world would a school give a rebbe tenure? if it's a matter of keeping a top teacher, then give him more money or perks, but how myopic could a yeshivah be to give a rebbe tenure?

     

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