Addressing the Lashon Hara Campaign Against Rabbi Mordecai Griffin & 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 Rabbi Griffin 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 Rabbi Griffin is still the Rabbi (not having been incarcerated or otherwise deposed) these allegations are indeed false. These facts should be clear to the rational observer.
The Vetting of both the Rabbi Griffin and the Rebbetzin
Rabbi Mordecai Griffin of Saginaw TX, has never committed, nor been convicted of, any crime in Texas or any other State within the United States. Naturally, this applies to the rest of the world. In fact, it just so happens that Rabbi Griffin and the Rebbetzin have been through more legal scrutiny in their lifetime than most people will ever experience. Recently Rabbi Mordecai Griffin 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 (at their request) 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 Rabbi Griffin 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. Rabbi Mordecai Griffin was both completely vindicated and altogether exonerated. The charges were dismissed February 21, 2023.
Rabbi Griffin did NOT pled guilty to any of these charges. He was NOT found guilty of any of them and he was NOT convicted of any of them. The charges were dismissed, in their entirety, because they were false, period. The biggest and most obvious proof of this fact is that the Rabbi is STILL the Rabbi. Otherwise, both he and the ministry would not exist.
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. Certain people worked very hard to put an innocent man in prison, to destroy a wonderful family and to end a ministry / movement. They failed, Baruch HaShem.
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 Rabbi Griffin 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 before or after the accusations were submitted. Moreover, at no time had the Rabbi made any statement regarding the accuser. In fact, to attempt to manipulate or tamper with a witness would have been a felony level criminal offense. Thus, the reality of this falsehood is self evident.
Rabbi Molesting Teenagers
This baseless allegation is particularly egregious. There is no substance to this falsehood in any manner. Rabbi Griffin 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 Rabbi Mordecai Griffin 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 organizations.
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 Griffin 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 Rabbi Mordecai Griffin wearing a military uniform of antiquity. In actuality, this was the Rabbi wearing his Civil War reenacting uniform nearly 20 years ago. The woman who created most of these silly and fictitious accusations is not from the United States. She is likely simply ignorant of our history and hobbies related to it. 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 Lapid Judaism 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 agencies.
To further accentuate this point, in 2018 our 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 Mordecai Aaron 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 simply false. Indeed, the famed conservative commentary, Mark Levin, is Jewish.
Lapid Judaism is a Register Trademark of Rabbi Mordecai Griffin
In 2011, Rabbi and Rebbetzin started their 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 Griffin 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. The vision of Lapid Judaism is explained here: https://youtu.be/7PnpCWlTDMc