Seidler-Feller Apologizes for Assaulting Right-Wing Journalist

The Daily Bruin reports,

Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller, director of Hillel at UCLA, has sent a written statement to freelance journalist Rachel Neuwirth apologizing for attacking her on campus in 2003.
The apology is part of a settlement in the lawsuit Neuwirth brought against Seidler-Feller in 2003 in response to the incident, said Neuwirth’s attorney, Charles Fonorow. The case was recently settled after three years of litigation.
The incident took place more than three years ago in front of Royce Hall after a presentation by Harvard Law professor and author Alan Dershowitz.
Seidler-Feller attempted to apologize in 2003, but Neuwirth wanted a formal apology that would be released to the public, according Daily Bruin archives.

More in the LA Jewish Journal.
See previously: Rabbi Faces Assault Charges Against Jewish Nationalist, Rachel Neuwirth Sues Chaim Seidler-Feller over UCLA Incident, Seidler-Feller to Take Anger Managment Course

6 thoughts on “Seidler-Feller Apologizes for Assaulting Right-Wing Journalist

  1. The “incident” was a physical attack by the husky rabbi on averagae sized Rachel. He also agreed to pay an undisclosed sum of money in settlement. He also plea bargained his way out of an assault and battery conviction by agreeing to dozen of hours of anger management classes. Chaim first crossed my path at High Holiday Services at UCLA/Hillel, where he spent a good portion of time attacking the frum for their views. He saw the last of me when he invited a group to join his Torah Study Class, and after the first session sent an actual invoice for several hundred dollars for the “series”. I have attended Torah Study Classes from a rabbis on a regular basis, and made contributions to them, but that was the only time there was no initial mention of fee, followed up by a billing invoice. The man should stick to his Peace Now activities and leave decent Jews alone.

  2. eh…
    i totally understand why he’d lose his shit — righty nutters can be infuriating. but i believe that’s part of their strategy: they punch every button possible to drive you over the edge, and then destroy your rep for losing your cool. in that, the assault is completely and totally unjustified on two counts:
    1) as a rabbi, seidler-feller should know that it is expressly prohibited by halakha to so much as raise your hand to your fellow jew, let alone strike them. furthermore, to shame your fellow jew — for, by example, beating them — is akin to murder under rabbinic law. in this regard, seidler-feller fails as a rabbi. rabbi = master, like zen master: one who has mastered the law in knowledge and application. a true master is a living example of the law. seidler-feller is of course human and imperfect — and that’s why i believe rather than stepping down, he should take a sabbatical and spend some time working on himself.
    2) seidler-feller fell for oldest trick in the book. he allowed himself to be gotten the best of. he thus doubly fails as a political advocate for israeli-palestinian justice and conflict resolution and tarnishes the entire cause with his actions. on this count, again, he is human. i too lose sense of my faculties from time to time. taking a hiatus immediately after the incident would have been the responsible thing to do. writing an apology nearly four years later — it’s open to interpretation. the apology was either written with the distance and consciousness of a man who has learned the err of his ways, or is simply a formality exacted under court order.
    sadly we won’t know until the next headline or a lurker presently exposed to seidler-feller speaks up on this thread…
    what i don’t think is appropriate is talking about getting invoiced for a shiur. it’s kind of off-topic and just lashon harah. i don’t want to negate the legitimacy of your experience of the situation, but there are two sides to every story. while i personally abhor the idea of exchanging money for torah — especially from someone salaried to be a teacher — i don’t think it’s helpful to toss that kind of material into the discussion. i don’t know, i’m just not comfortable with these wikiesque public builds of character profiles written by jaded people.

  3. I am a grad student at UCLA now (was at Berkeley hence the “Bears” in the name). Having met Rabbi Seidler-Feller, you can tell that the man is decent, he’s just made a mistake. To the first commenter, I don’t know what to say, and to those you say he hates (or doesn’t hate) Israel, you’re out of your mind. SF, unlike most Hillel directors, seems to have gotten himself into the thick of Israel debate which I personally think is a mistake; on the other hand, many of his comments are quite nuanced (yes yes, you can certainly find some comments that aren’t). The problem with blogging about him is that he is neither left nor right; he’s Orthodox, and he’s not. So rather than blogging about him like you know him, please refrain, because the situation is complicated.
    I would also say that if you have never been in the middle or a counterprotest, particularly involving LA Israel-related rallies, you should understand that things can get frustrating in an instant. I have never even considered being violent in any way… but I can see how someone could make a spur of the moment mistake. SF, as a Rabbi, should NEVER have made such a mistake… but he’s apologized, and there we are.
    Oh, and to those who think he will resign: it’s unlikely, as word on the street he is a fundraising mayven. Go figure.

  4. This was not just a mistake by this savage/rabbi as BearsForIsrael claims. Perhaps he should have experienced what one eyewitness chronicled about what he saw:
    “This was no brief moment of insanity. It was a long and deliberate attack. He was aware of his surroundings. Seidler-Feller was belligerently trying to find any means to strike Neuwirth.” says David Hakimfar who helped restrained this wild animal..
    Read more here “Eyewitness to Rabbi’s Crime by David Hakimfar”:^l921&enZone=Opinions&enVersion=0&

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