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

Friday, February 19, 2010


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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