Rabbi Halpern: 'I am innocent'

The strictly London Orthodox rabbi accused of inappropriate behaviour with women has for the first time issued a public statement to protest his innocence.

In a letter to his congregants, Rabbi Chaim Halpern, who runs the Divrei Chaim synagogue in his home in Golders Green, said: “I proclaim I am innocent of all allegations. Furthermore, all investigations carried up until this point have been carried out in an incorrect manner.”

Rabbi Halpern resigned as a dayan of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations last month after a meeting where former London Beth Din Chanoch Ehrentreu and five other local rabbis challenged him over complaints about his counselling session for women.

At the end of last week, Dayan Ehrentreu and four of the rabbis issued a statement saying that Rabbi Halpern should stop operating as a rabbi.

In response, Rabbi Halpern stated: “I have been involved with rehabilitation of families and heartbroken individuals for the past 25 years. This was with no recompense at all.”

He went on: “With Heavenly assistance, I have been successful. All my actions have been according to Shulchan Aruch [Code of Jewish Law] and halachah.”

He said he was willing to answer any questions put to him by a special Beth Din the Union has said it is in the process of convening to address the complaints.

His father, Rabbi Elchonon Halpern, president of the Union, has also issued a letter in Hebrew in his son’s defence.

Rabbi Halpern senior said that the rabbinical declaration against his son was “constructed on weak foundations, exaggerations, lies and an absolute misunderstanding of his sacred work to rebuild broken homes and broken souls”, according to a translation of the letter posted by a Charedi blog.

It contended: “My son, the Gaon and Righteous, referred to above has since the beginning of this saga clarified that he has never transgressed a clause of the Shulchan Aruch and that he agrees to an adjudication in front of a Beis Din acceptable to both parties including examination by professionals.”

Last updated: 3:41pm, December 10 2012