Addressing the Lashon Hara Campaign Against Rabbi & Lapid Judaism
Lashon hara is a Hebrew phrase that means "evil speech". It includes such things as slander,
libel, gossip, and tale-bearing. In recent years there has been a relentless campaign, led by a
small group, intending to defame the Rabbi and to dissuade people from connecting with Lapid
Judaism. It seems that their ultimate purpose is to prevent people from believing in Messiah
Yeshua and following the Torah in a legitimately Jewish manner. Their fight appears to be
against Lapid Judaism itself as it says in Psalm 38:20: "They are my adversaries, because I
follow what is good". The purpose of this page is to answer the various points of lashon hara in
order to set people free from the ill effects of these baseless allegations.
It should be obvious to the reader that since the ministry still exists (and thrives) after all these
many years and since the Rabbi is still the Rabbi (not having been incarcerated or otherwise
deposed) these allegations are indeed false.
The Vetting of both the Rabbi and the Rebbetzin
It just so happens that the Rabbi and the Rebbetzin have been through more legal scrutiny in their
lifetime than most people will ever experience. Recently the Rabbi has had to endure months
of criminal litigation for a crime he never committed. Naturally, his life, personal affairs, ministry
work and background were intensely examined in a way that few will ever experience. In
addition, the Griffin's adopted a child internationally in 2016. This required a particular
thorough background check. These background checks were conducted, independently, by
several agencies to include the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, The State
Department, and the Fort Worth Police Department. Two separate home studies were also
conducted by independent private agencies and child protective service.
Rabbi Griffin also volunteered as the Jewish Chaplain for the Tarrant County Sheriff's office for
three years. He was given direct access to the jails, the courts, and the Sheriff patrol stations.
All of that came after a thorough background check.
It should be self-evident that, given this unique history, if there were any secret criminal activity
or hidden misconduct, it would have been discovered long ago. This should give the reader a
great deal of comfort and confidence.
Addressing the Criminal Case
Allegation of Sexual Assault
There is nothing more devastating than being falsely accused of a crime, especially one so
heinous as sexual assault. Regrettably, this is precisely what happened to the Rabbi in
September of 2020. Understandably, these allegations have been a cause of great concern to
many people. Those involved in the lashon hara campaign made it their mission to spread the
news of the allegations and they generated numerous other falsehoods.
In the end, all the original charges of sexual assault were dismissed. This occurred after
the case was thoroughly investigated by the district attorney's office, after all of the vast amounts
of exculpatory evidence was examined, the actual facts were considered, and after both parties
were assiduously interviewed. The Rabbi was both vindicated and exonerated.
As a ministry, we are grateful for the vindication and even more grateful for the opportunity to
put this behind us and move forward with our work.
Addressing Baseless Allegations by the Lashon Hara Campaigners
Harassing, Intimidating, Defaming the Alleged "Victim"
Related to the false allegations of sexual assault addressed above, the lashon hara campaigners
have stated that the Rabbi proceeded to attempt to harassing, intimidating, or otherwise
defaming the alleged "victim" who made the allegation. This is manifestly untrue. The Rabbi
had no contact, directly or indirectly, with the accuser even before the accusations were
submitted. Moreover, at no time had the Rabbi made any statement regarding the accuser.
In fact, to do so would have been a criminal offense. Thus, the reality of this falsehood is self-
Rabbi Molesting Teenagers
This baseless allegation is particularly egregious. There is no substance to this falsehood in any
manner. The Rabbi has never had any such "relationship" or offense with a minor at any point
in his history, God forbid.
Charging People for Conversions and / or Otherwise Defrauding Converts
This is another baseless allegation. At no time has the Rabbi or the ministry ever charged
anyone for conversion. No one has ever paid a dime for a conversion. It is absolutely false.
Rabbi Embezzling Money from the Ministry
This is also a baseless allegation and completely false. At no time has the Rabbi embezzled
funds from the ministry nor has he used ministry funds to pay for personal expenses. Of course,
there is no evidence to the contrary. The allegations are simply baseless slander / libel. Since
2009, oversight and management of the synagogue's financial accounting has been handled
professionally by the CPA firm John E Baines PC in Denton, TX. Our CPA specializes in non-profit
Rabbi has Abused / Mistreated Members in the Past
Naturally this is not true. We are not aware of anyone who has ever claimed to be "abused" or
otherwise mistreated by the Rabbi. Clearly, we welcome anyone who would care to enlighten
us, with specifics, as to the abuses or mistreatments they believe that they have received. We
wish to address them should they exist, even if only via one's perception.
Rabbi was a Paid Actor
This one is more comical than anything else. The inference is that the Rabbi is a professional at
pretending. We saw this allegation, posted by the campaigners, using a Picture of the Rabbi
wearing a military uniform of antiquity. In actuality, this was the Rabbi wearing his Civil War
reenacting uniform nearly 20 years ago. From 1995-2005 the Rabbi and Rebbetzin enjoyed
the hobby of reenacting Civil War history. They were historical reen-actors. They were not
actors and certainly not paid, lol. All participants were volunteers.
Former Leaders, Partners, or Financiers
The woman who is the leader of this lashon hara campaign has made many false claims about
her (and her husbands) involvement with our synagogue. It appears that this was done in order
to give her a particular level of credibility and believability. After all, if she was so heavily
involved and on such an intimate level she must know some "hidden" things. Whatever the
motivation and purpose, she is being very deceptive. We will address the lies specifically.
1.) She and her family were a part of our synagogue? Yes, for almost a year and a half.
During 2015 - 2016 she and her family attended our synagogue. They left, without
incident, so that she could start her own congregation in her home. She has led this
home fellowship since 2016 and they still meet in her house. We have had no contact or
involvement with her after they left.
2.) She and or her husband were leaders at Sar Shalom Synagogue? No. At no time, in their
very brief attendance, were she or her husband in ANY leadership role.
3.) She was a ministry partner or had significant financial involvement in the ministry? This
is also false. This lady and her husband had no significant "financial investment" in our
synagogue nor were they "partners" in ANY manner.
4.) Her husband was a guarantor on the synagogue's mortgage loan? Yes, from February
2016 to October 2020. Her husband, along with three other men, volunteered to be
guarantors on the mortgage. This mortgage was for Sar Shalom synagogue. Being a
guarantor means that the person "guarantees" to repay the debt if the corporation fails
to be able to pay the loan. In this case, his risk was 25%. Being a guarantor grants no
other rights or privileges to the loan, the ministry, corporate operations, direction or
management. *In October 2020, this gentleman was promptly removed from being a
guarantor and was subsequently replaced by another.
The bottom line is that this woman and her family were members of our synagogue for roughly
18 months. They were not leaders and had no intimate involvement in our operations
in any way
Not a legitimate Ministry
Even the legality of the ministry itself had been slandered. It has been suggested that Sar
Shalom Synagogue is somehow not a 501 (c)(3) organization or otherwise not properly
founded, incorporated or "filed". It has been implied or suggested that, as a result, there was or
is a danger of this ministry being "shut down" by the IRS. All of this is absolutely absurd,
patently false, and utterly ridiculous.
In the United States, all houses of worship (churches, synagogues, temples and mosques) are
automatically designated as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation. Our synagogue has held this
designation for well over a decade. Our legitimacy has been verified by local, State, and Federal
To further accentuate this point, in 2018 Sar Shalom Synagogue was awarded a special security
grant from the Department of Homeland Security / FEMA which was administered by the
Governor's Office of the State of Texas. This grant was only offered to legitimate non-profit
organizations. It's award and implementation (over the course of three years) came with a
great deal of oversight which required the Rabbi to submit reports and interface directly with
officials from the Governor's office.
Clearing up Confusion
What is the Rabbi's name?
Rabbi Griffin was born Mark Aaron Griffin. For years he has gone by the Hebrew version of his
name, Mordecai Griffin. Mordecai is a direct Hebrew translation of the name "Mark". This was
simply a preference. The name "Mark" is very common among Jewish Rabbis. In fact, if one
Googles the phrase "Rabbi Mark", they will find several dozen Rabbis with the first name
"Mark". The reason for this discussion is that those involved in the lashon hara campaign imply
that the given name "Mark" insinuates that the person in not really Jewish. This insinuation is
Rabbi Griffin is also known as Rabbi Aaron ben Ellis. It has been inferred that both names,
Mordecai Griffin and Rabbi Aaron ben Ellis, are attempts of concealing an identity for some
undisclosed reason. However, this is also not true.
In Judaism, when one has traversed through a significant life event, it is not uncommon to take
upon oneself a new name. This is particularly true when one has gone through a significant
season of teshuvah. The new name reflects a new path, new priorities, a realignment of life
purpose. Moreover, it is very common to find characters in the Bible who are known by various
names. There are many examples but perhaps the most obvious is Jacob who was also call
Israel. These names are often used interchangeably. The Rabbi became known as Rabbi Aaron
ben Ellis to reflect this significant life event. It is a name (which is his middle name) that focused
on the "priestly" service. The name "Ellis" is that of his father. Therefore "ben Ellis" simply
means "son of Ellis".
Lapid Judaism and Sar Shalom Synagogue
In 2011, Rabbi and Rebbetzin started Sar Shalom Synagogue. Initially, it was a messianic
congregation. However, as their Jewish life blossomed in discovering Jewish sources, the shul
became more and more orthodox eventually leaving the messianic denomination. Ardent faith
in the Divine Messiah remained but the expression of that faith was aesthetically Jewish in all
respects. As a result, Rabbi founded "Lapid Judaism" in 2014. Later Lapid Judaism would
become an incorporated legal entity and the name (and logo) would become a registered
trademark with the USTPO. Sar Shalom Synagogue would be the flagship shul of Lapid with the
hopes of planting other Lapid synagogues and Lapid houses throughout the world in the years to
As time has passed, we have decided to begin to let the sun set on Sar Shalom Synagogue.
Why? Because we want to clear up any confusion that might occur with the existence of two
entities. More importantly, we want to promote Lapid Judaism worldwide; drawing people to
an authentic Jewish life centered on Messiah Yeshua!