By: Commentator Staff  | 

Rabbi Soloveitchik Wins Out Against Slander, Lies And Infamy In Boston (Vol. 9, Issue 4)

After an exhaustive investigation lasting fourteen months, during which time witnesses, accusers and accused gave their testimony, Judge A. K. Cohen, prominent Boston jurist and a leader of the city’s Jewish community, announced the complete vindication of Rabbi Dr. Joseph B. Soloveitchik from all charges. The Judge further declared that the Rabbi’s accusers knew that the charges were utterly untrue and made them in malice with the intent to harm his reputation. 

Judge Cohen was appointed by Attorney General Bushnell to investigate charges made against Rabbi Soloveitchik in connection with the Kashruth situation. The judge presented the results of his investigation in a report to the Attorney General and later summarized his findings before the

Rabbinical Association, an organization of Conservative and Reform rabbis of the Boston metropolitan area. 

The Judge praised Rabbi Soloveitchik highly for his conduct and supervision of the slaughtering of kosher poultry in the city. He pointed out that before the Rabbi assumed this task the shochtim were “definitely exploited.” Under the Rabbi's direction the, living condition of the shochtim were considerably improved and the standard of Kashruth raised. They to receive a decent wage and began to work decent hours.

Rabbi Soloveitchik insisted on the use of kosher bands or rings to insure the Kashruth of the fowl. The expense of the bands (one cent per fowl) was borne by the proprietors and not the consumers. It is believed in some quarters that the proprietors themselves had a hand in the instigation of these monstrous charges. The hurt of their pocketbooks overcame their sense of decency with respect to their employees and consumers alike. 

Integrity of Rabbi “Irreproachable”

Emphasizing that Rabbi Soloveitchik had not received even one cent from the monies obtained from the sale of these bands, Judge Cohen pointed out the irreproachable integrity of the Rabbi. The money was spent on the purchase of the bands, mashgichim, on aiding Orthodox rabbis who were in need, sick benefits, etc. 

The campaign against Rabbi Soloveitchik was of a most vicious nature. It assumed the proportions of an organized effort, maliciously enough, on the night of the death of Rabbi Moses Soloveitchik, of blessed memory. Circulars were distributed containing the vilest accusations imaginable. Not even the most personal affairs of the renowned scholar were left unsullied.

Here in New York, the slanderous cry was also taken up. Certain groups found it expedient for their own selfish reasons to take advantage of the commotion in Boston and added a tale or two of their own. These fictions also received a certain amount of credence at Yeshiva College. We, too, are among those to be blamed.

We Erred, Too 

“With a vigilant eye towards viewing matters in their objective totality, it is unfortunate that information now being collated — much of which awaits publication — regarding the record and attachments of Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik conclusively points to the inability of that individual to fit into the Yeshiva scene on any basis except that of scholarship — which we reiterate, is not enough. The fact that the Agudath HoRabonim has chosen him as its candidate sorrowfully corroborates this fact to all but the willfully blind. And to top it all, any candidate who is willing to go to lengths of ruining an institution in order to sate his own ambitions, no matter what his qualifications may be, automatically eliminates himself.” - The Commentator (March, 1941)

“The Judge, with a sense of deep indignation, stated that the charges against Rabbi Soloveitchik were thus utterly untrue and that those who originated them, he feels, knew that they were unfounded. *** Judge Cohen felt that evil rumors were being spread in malice, so that even though he had previously never met Rabbi Soloveitchik, he now was definitely convinced that the Rabbi was dreadfully abused and baselessly accused. *** Not only is the name of a great sage and scholar, Rabbi Soloveitchik, known to Jews of Europe and Palestine as well as America, saved from the grasping and polluting clutches of conspirators, but possibly the entire problem of Kosher meat will be taken out of the hands of irredeemable racketeers when rabbis and laymen of courage and character become roused and take the necessary action.” 

Judge Cohen’s Report, 

November, 1943