Friday 15 January 2010

Tale of the Tapes

More on the Con Game (How a New York rabbi tried to remake the rules on converting to Judaism)

It’s not clear when Shannon Orand—a mother of two from Houston—began having an alleged sexual relationship with Leib Tropper, the ultra-Orthodox rabbi from the upstate New York enclave of Monsey who was helping her work toward her conversion to Judaism. But last year, when the rabbi encouraged her to engage in phone sex with other men in exchange for money, she says, she began recording their conversations. In an interview last month with Failed Messiah blogger Shmarya Rosenberg, Orand said she made the recordings for her own protection, to ensure that other rabbis would believe her allegations against Tropper. But the audio files, perhaps inevitably, began circulating around ultra-Orthodox samizdat networks and eventually surfaced on blogs and on YouTube, where the audio was set to a photograph of the rabbi. (Tropper’s lawyer, Howard Karasik, told Tablet Magazine his client would have no further comment on the tapes beyond a statement issued in December, in which Tropper expressed his regret “for what has appeared to be conduct not within our significant laws of modesty” without denying their legitimacy.)

Tablet Magazine obtained several of these recordings. Two of the conversations feature negotiations between Orand and the man she says is Tropper about the circumstances under which she might agree to meet with other men he knew. Another involves explicit phone sex between the two—smut that prompted Tropper’s incensed enemies to paste handbills around Jerusalem and in the Israeli ultra-Orthodox town of Bnei Brak, calling on the rabbi to “cease from this filth.” They were signed, anonymously, “Shocked sons of Torah.”

Here are transcripts of four telephone conversations. They are explicit. We offer them not as an exercise in prurience but rather to reveal—in their entirety—the nature of these very serious charges. The first is between Orand and the man she says is Tropper, in which they appear to negotiate a deal for sex. In the second, the male caller complains to Orand that she is sending mixed messages about whether she is interested in sex with him or only doing it for money. In the third, the man has phone sex with Orand. And in the final call, a woman who identifies herself as Leba, which is the name of Tropper’s wife, has a discussion with Orand about a secretly recorded video she has seen.

But first, some clips from the recordings.

In a clip from the first conversation, a man is attempting to coerce Orand into trying phone sex with other men, wheedling with her to “try this one thing”—the sex. She demurs, asking whether everything can “remain the same” in her relationship with the rabbi and his wife:

In another conversation, the man and Orand engaged in phone sex:

In that same phone-sex conversation, as the man approaches climax, he asks Orand to describe a specific sexual encounter:



MORE: Tablet Magazine’s Allison Hoffman outlined the entire Tropper scandal here.
Tablet Magazine’s Marissa Brostoff profiled Shannon Orand here.
Read transcripts of the phone calls, plus hear some audio clips, here.
MORE: Allison Hoffman profiled Guma Aguiar here.