Judge Martyn Zeidman accepts offer to lead Rabbi Chaim Halpern probe

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Judge Martyn Zeidman accepts offer to lead Rabbi Chaim Halpern probe

The Orthodox Hebrew Congregations announced an inquiry into allegations of improper sexual behaviour by Golders Green rabbi, which he strongly denies

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Golders Green Rabbi Chaim Halpern
Golders Green Rabbi Chaim Halpern

The former Recorder of Redbridge, Judge Martyn Zeidman KC, has accepted an offer from the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations (UOHC) to lead an inquiry into allegations of improper sexual behaviour by Golders Green rabbi Chaim Halpern.

The move comes after a controversial TV programme in Israel in November in which a 21-year-old London woman accused Rabbi Halpern of inappropriate physical and mental conduct towards her. The rabbi has denied the woman’s claims.

This week Judge Zeidman, who has overseen numerous cases relating to sexual misconduct, confirmed to Jewish News that he had accepted the UOHC request to conduct an investigation into claims made against Rabbi Halpern.

But he made it clear that he would not speak or interview anyone until a previously announced police inquiry – by the Metropolitan Police – had concluded, as he did not want to prejudice any potential outcome.

Judge Zeidman, a member of Edgware Yeshurun – which comes under the umbrella of the Federation of Synagogues – retired as a senior circuit judge in May 2022, but is still sitting part-time, mainly trying murder cases.

In a statement, the UOHC said that its investigation “which is being led independently of the UOHC, is currently underway. To protect its integrity, it would be inappropriate to comment further until the investigation has concluded”.

Ten years ago there were other allegations of sexual impropriety made against Rabbi Halpern and a police inquiry opened. Nine months later the inquiry was closed and no charges were brought.

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