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Disgraced and Exiled Rabbi Is Back in Business

Leib Tropper is teaching and lecturing in Staten Island

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The last time we heard from Rabbi Leib Tropper, the ultra-Orthodox rabbi and conversion specialist, he was caught up in both a sex scandal and a multi-million-dollar court battle between the billionaire Thomas Kaplan, chair of the 92nd Street Y board, and his nephew, Guma Aguiar, the former owner of the controversial Beitar Jerusalem soccer team who disappeared off his yacht last year in Florida. Tropper, accused of trading Jewish conversion papers for sexual favors, was forced to leave the Rockland County enclave of Monsey in disgrace.

But that was 2010. Now, Tropper is back, apparently lecturing and teaching at a Staten Island yeshiva headed by Reuven Feinstein, who declined to condemn Tropper at the height of the controversy and who, perhaps not coincidentally, was the beneficiary of a $3 million donation from Tropper’s sponsors Kaplan and Aguiar. (Tropper’s father, Yehuda Tropper, also taught at the school for three decades.)

He’s also been busy building a robust online presence: Tropper now has a Twitter account, a Tumblr, a Flickr feed, a Vimeo page, a Google+ page, and both his own .org and .net domains. He also has a blog, where he advertises his latest appearances and writes about his travels, including a trip to Paris, where he visited an exhibit on Algerian Jews as well as the “must-see” galleries at the Louvre, the Musee d’Orsay and the Grand Palais.

In January, Tropper also blogged about a lecture he gave on the pursuit of happiness. “Happiness is not the ecstacy [sic] expected by the feel Good culture in America,” he wrote. “It is a more Benign feeling of inner gratification by doing the Right thing.” Indeed.

Related: Sex, Lies and Audiotape [Tablet]
Among Friends [Tablet]

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A real politician…

9Athena says:

A guiding light unto the world. A true representative of Judaic values and spirituality and a mentor for all who follow in his steps.

It is a Busha that anyone would hire him to influence children of any age!

DSarna says:

Harav Reuven Feinstein is a great talmid chacham and a wonderful person. He is not a politician. It is not at all surprising that he would not opine on matters where he lacks personal knowledge.

    Parshaguy says:

    Sorry but Reuven Feinstein is as dubious a figure as Tropper, We all know what an embarrassment he is in regards to the Weiss case, where his grandson is refusing to give his wife a get for more than 3 years.

      an your evidence for this slander is…?

        Eliezer Pennywhistler says:

        Well, the Weiss case, for one.

          and the evidence of HaRav Feinstein’s involvement is?
          Or do you deem your unsupported opinion your evidence enough to slander a learned, gentle, and non-political scholar?

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Baba_Metzia says:

The mistake which observers make is the assumption that every Judaic scholar practices what he preaches–and Tropper, like it or not, is a scholar, albeit an unethical one.

Off the top of my head, Tractate CHAGIGAH from Talmud Bavli has a few examples of scholars who fall off of the beaten path. And for a more recent setting (well, at least within the last 100 years or so–which is recent enough for the purpose of this scenario), I am reminded of Issac Bashevis Singer’s, IN MY FATHER’S COURT. In it, there is a story concerning a Judaic scholar who comes to discuss intricate details of Halachah with Singer’s father, the town Rabbi. After a short time, the Rabbi becomes very upset. In a frenzy, he gets all the money in the house and gives it to the scholar, just to get rid of him. What happened? As the Rabbi recounts, the scholar was brilliant. But he was in fact an atheist who offered to sell his share in the “World to Come” to any and all takers. The Rabbi was so enraged, he gave everything that he had just to get the bum out of the house as quickly as possible!

I find it unconscionable that the author didn’t contact the school and check. It’s simply not true. And I can’t help to note the irony of both noting the evils Leib Tropper has perpetrated and taking him at his his word in the same piece.

Dr Marvin Schick’s email address is on his blog, so it took no work to contact him and ask. Here was his reply:
Leib Tropper does not teach at the Rabbi Jacob Joseph School on Staten Island and to my knowledge has never taught there. Nor does he hold any other position at the school. I hope that this makes the matter clear.

hersh heber says:

Although Leib Tropper is a disgrace and Rabbi Reuven Feinstein was wrong for not condemning him, this article gets some basic facts wrong. Rabbi Feinstein has nothing to do with the Rabbi Jacob Joseph Yeshiva where Tropper is currently teaching. Rabbi Feinstein’s yeshiva is Mesivta Tifereth Jerusalem. They are not synonomous.

    Michael says:

    Tropper is not teaching at the Rabbi Jacob Joseph School either according to Micha Berger’s comment above.

      Someone pointed out to me the blog has been changed. “Educated at the Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yaakov Yosef Elementary School.” And the pages linked to in the article were taken down. The spurious claim of teaching there has disappeared. says:

The worst R. Tropper is accused of is talking dirty to Shannon Orand, a thirty-plus divorced mother of two children and a single episode of immodest, but consensual, conduct with this same woman, as to which actual physical contact is NOT alleged.

Orand herself happened to have electronic telephone taping equipment on hand to record the alleged call.

Similarly, it appears that Orand happened to have secretly installed a video camera in the hotel room prior to bringing R. Tropper there.

Certainly, reasonable people can disagree as to whether R. Tropper was set up by the woman, at the behest of the late, deranged multimillionaire Guma Aguiar.

Aguiar happened to be the one who disseminated the tapes on the Internet..

When Orand was asked why she did not just distance herself from R. Tropper, she explained that continued her relationship with him because she was getting substantial financial benefits from him.

Women who have a relationship with a man for money are typically not paragons of morality.

It is really inescapable that R. Tropper was targeted and toppled, by Orand, for money paid her by Aguiar.

That said, even if he was betrayed, it understandable why R. Tropper can no longer serve as any Jewish role model.

Nonetheless, most of the crazed invective against R. Tropper stems from the glee many feel at the downfall of someone who was supposed to be holier than Thou.

“These rabbis claim to be so frum but they are totally fake! Look at RT!”

“All these so called religious types are hypocrites and phonies! Look at RT!”

R. Tropper has certainly suffered from his alleged single telephone call Shannon Orand recorded and his alleged immodest, but not adulterous conduct that Orand surreptitiously videod.

In his life of dedication to spreading Torah, it appears R. Tropper was beguiled on two occassions by a temptress who was taking him for whatever money she could get from the Rabbi and who sold him for whatever money she could get from Guma.

    There is a video on YouTube, professionally verified for the court to be real, of Tropper getting out of bed with his wife and Ormand. There are also multiple people who independently reported his offering them Ormand’s “services”.

    He lied to numerous noted rabbis and the Orthodox community at large about students of his who allegedly left Orthodoxy after reading Natan Slifkin’s books. However, one student left his yeshiva and Orthodoxy before any of them were published, and the other left for JSS school of YU (their more remedial Judaic program).

    He harassed a man into giving his wife a gett, even though they were until then happily married.

    He similarly harassed judges who refused to adopt his minority-view position on proper conversion.

    The guy is immoral and an abuser of power. We can’t give him any authority whatsoever, any more than an AA member should be given even the slightest alcohol.

      the guy is immoral, but so are all the people who make up lies about others (like Rav Feinstein) when they have a vendetta against him because in the past he did not condemn tropper. It is unconscionable how many times this magazine devotes itself to malign so many people who have some slight connections to tropper in the past. these people are equally immoral when they hailed the woman who knowingly took down this immoral man for money and so all who condemn the man but praise this equally despicable woman.

      Guy who didn't go off derech says:

      Micha I didn’t go to jss. I was in bmp for one year and then R Baruch Simon for 2

this has to be a Purim story

Nola Baar says:

Thank Hashem for the rabbi’s visit to places where paintings of naked ladies abound. Only fair that someone who trades conversion papers for sexual favors should enjoy (according to his blog) those art palaces.
Busha ve’cherpa!

altershmalter says:

A shmuck is a schmuck, a jerk is a jerk, an SOB is an SOB and a immoral person is immoral no matter what his (or her) title might be. For once, the defenders of the cloth ought to face reality and stop hiding behind tzitzis, da’as torah and borsalinos. Acknowledge that smicha and rabbinic carriage do not automatically qualify any of the aforementioned arbah bonim for sainthood and condemn then as you any so-called am ha’aretz. There are too many wolves in sheep’s clothing (and their followers) running around claiming immunity and sanctity because of their (supposed) scholarliness. Enough!


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Disgraced and Exiled Rabbi Is Back in Business

Leib Tropper is teaching and lecturing in Staten Island

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