CHABAD - Comment - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
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    • C.H.B.D
    • 06.11.12 | 16:51 (IST)

    Smear Campaign against Chabad Shliach Uncovered in Damaging Turf War A report relating to Rabbi Chaim Herzog of Chabad of Melbourne CBD. This misleading and fact-flawed coverage appears to have been fed as part of an ongoing smear campaign to discredit Rabbi Chaim Herzog and seek to change the balance of power of the Jewish outreach efforts in Melbourne’s downtown central business district (the CBD), an area that is now thriving after 15 years of leadership under Rabbi Chaim Herzog. Herzog was appointed as a Chabad Shliach by the late Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Groner. According to the official website at he has operated successfully in the region since 1998, holding major events in the Parliament, City Square and Town Hall and hosting a wide array of guests including many senior Chabad Rabbis and other distinguished Jewish figures. According to a senior Chabad official and advocate who has taken up Herzog’s cause, Herzog is the subject of “Rabbinical overreaching” by an overzealous Rabbi Chaim Tzvi Groner, himself fighting to carve out his own standing in the major void left following the death of his revered father in 2008. In 2009, the younger Groner, along with Rabbi Aharon Serebryanski and Rabbi Yossel Gutnick, were jointly appointed by Chabad headquarters in Brooklyn as the three Head Shluchim (emissaries) to take over certain responsibilities of the late Rabbi Groner. According to the senior official and many others, the younger Groner has overstepped his authority, seeking to act unilaterally after failing to obtain the requisite support he needs of the other two leaders. The younger Groner sought to remove his endorsement of Herzog in favor of David Werdiger and his organization, Jews of the CBD, a non-Chabad sanctioned mirror organization of Herzog’s Chabad House, commonly known in Chabad circles as a “mushroom” organization. This is where the rabbinical court in New York stepped in and issued an injunction against the conduct of Rabbi Chaim Tzvi Groner. In what has been referred to as a “turf war”, Werdiger, has been competing with Rabbi Herzog to attract the same constituents to his events and holiday programs. This has only intensified in recent years with a targeted campaign of online character assassination against the Rabbi, which according to Herzog supporters, has been orchestrated by David Werdiger and his colleagues. Werdiger is no stranger to the blogging world; indeed, on June 15th this year, one of his blogs, David Knows, described to readers how to be a victim and “win a PR war”. Werdiger’s online activities have become the subject of a criminal investigation into computer hacking by Victoria Police, and earlier on this year, Police were called to question Ari Werdiger, the 18 year old son of David Werdiger, following an assault incident involving physical abuse directed at Rabbi Herzog. More recently, Werdiger had issued his own proceedings in a rabbinical “beth-din” (Court) in Melbourne, only to withdraw such proceedings and litigate the matter through the secular court system in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.

    from the article: Case against Melbourne rabbi to be heard in N.Y. rabbinical court
    First published 10:56 05.11.12 | Last updated 10:56 05.11.12
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