Two Million Views on Frum Follies

scales of justice and childSince I started blogging in October 2009, my pages were called up two million times as of yesterday evening. I only reached the one million mark nine months ago; the volume of readership has increased dramatically, driven mostly by my coverage of the Yosef Kolko trial in Lakewood, the 5T defrocking of Dovid Weinberger over his sexual abuse of young women and most recently, the unfolding revelations about Elimelech Meisels and his seminaries in Israel. I also covered many other topics. I encourage my newer readers to dig into my archives by using my search box or my month-by-month archives. Both can be accessed on the upper right of each page.

From my first post, I focused on abuse in the orthodox community with a mixture of satire, reporting and analysis-commentary. I also found myself getting into corruption in both leadership and the ex-District Attorney of Brooklyn, Charles Hynes. He mattered because he was colluding with the orthodox leadership to go easy on Haredi child molesters. I feel vindicated now that he is being investigated by the US Department of Justice, the New York State Attorney General, and the Brooklyn District Attorney. Hynes will probably be indicted in the coming weeks on charges of abusing the monies and other resources of the office for his own campaign. This is no surprise. He also sold the safety of our children for the orthodox block vote.

I thank my growing readership for your confidence in my reporting and analysis. I hope I will continue to justify your confidence, interest, interaction, and confidential sharing of information.

I am optimistic that together we will make progress in the fight against abuse in the orthodox world. It won’t happen quickly enough but it will happen.

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Agudas Yisroel Public Service Announcement on Safe Milah (Satire)

J. Encyclopedia, 1906

J. Encyclopedia, 1906

This satirical post first appeared on Frum Follies  in 2012. Just this week, two more infants were hospitalized for Herpes caused by MBP. Agudath Israel of America goes on defending MBP, knowing fully well that it is dangerous and thus banned by many ultra orthodox rabbis. This absurdity earned them the mocking  satire that follows. —  Yerachmiel Lopin

Nothing is more important than the safety of our children and protecting bris milah from government interference. Consult your posek on the best method of milah. Some say you may not do metzitzah b’peh (MBP) because it is dangerous. Others say you have to do MBP. But all of them agree the government has no business saying MBP is risky. If the NYC Health Department passes the evil gazeirah requiring you to sign a consent form saying MBP is risky, you must refuse. That is because everyone agrees that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has no business agreeing with those of our gedolim Continue reading

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When a Leader Sins

From my 2010 archives

When a  nasi (cheftain of a tribe of Israel, i.e., a political leader) sins by doing anything unintentionally which according to G-d’s command should not be done, and he realizes his guilt, or the sin of which he is guilty is brought to his attention, he shall bring  . . . a sin offering (Leviticus/Vayikra 4:22-24).

Notice that the, the torah says when, not if. Also notice that a leader is responsible for paying attention when he is told [or reminded] of misdeeds.

The mishnah deals with these issues at length in Horayot. Continue reading

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Help for Victims of Abuse by Elimelech Meisels

If you or someone you are close to was a victim of rabbinic abuse in Israel, or if the crimes took place outside Israel, but the perpetrator is now living in Israel, you may contact Continue reading

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BREAKING- Yankie Yarmush Buys Seminaries From Meisels

Last night, the  seminaries owned by Elimelech Meisels emailed announcements that they were sold to Mr. Yankie Yarmush (see text at bottom of post). Yankie’s wife works for Meisels at one of his seminaries and Yankie and Eli are old buddies who live near each other in Har Nof, Jerusalem. A number of informed insiders believe this is a sham sale and Yarmush is fronting for Meisels who will maintain control and eventually return.

Speaking of miscreants in  Har Nof, Meisels, who lives on 42 Shaulson Street, got a new neighbor, disgraced former American rabbi, Dovid Weinberger whose mail address is lives at 12 Shaulson Street. I shudder at the thought of those two teaming up to conduct private classes for young women.

The objective of this “sale” is to overcome the Chicago Beis Din’s ban on attending these seminaries because of Meisel’s history of unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature with his students. Thus far, Chicago has not accepted this sale as sufficient proof that the seminary is now safe for students, probably because they believe the sale is a sham. They may also feel other steps need to be taken such as firing staff who enabled Meisels in his abuse by turning a blind eye or rebuffing student complaints. Finally, they are pushing for financial compensation to Meisels’ victims out of the proceeds of any sale. If Chicago lifted the ban, the letter would have included this fact.
Continue reading

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Cross-Currents Implicitly Endorses Chicago Beis Din

Rabbi Shaya Karlinsky

Rabbi Shaya Karlinsky

Cross-Currents, a Haredi site, just published (7/23/14) an article, How Not To Deal With Allegations of Impropriety by Rabbi Shaya Karlinsky. He presents the case for accepting allegations of sexual abuse competently investigated by rabbis, regardless of how many other people swear up and down the alleged perpetrator did so many wonderful things. I do not believe the timing is an accident.  I believe they are implicitly endorsing the findings of the Chicago Special Beis Din. They issued a ruling against attending any of the women’s seminaries owned and operated by Elimelech Meisels because of allegations of  unwanted sexual contact.

Cross-Currents’ postions are vetted by daas torah. this confirms the claim by Rabbi Yair Hoffman that the Chicago Beis Din “acted with the haskamah (approval) of leading gedolim (Torah sages).”

Below is the entire article as allowed by their Creative Commons License.

We have been witness to an increasing number of depressing revelations about Rabbis acting inappropriately towards women they have been counseling or educating. I have no intention of discussing any specific case. I would like to discuss a pattern that is all too common in these cases.

In response to accusations of improper behavior by Rabbis with female students or congregants, lots of well-meaning people come to the defense of the accused. These people will vouch for his tremendous integrity, meticulous observance of all appropriate boundaries in every interaction they ever experienced or witnessed, and the life-changing advice and counseling they or their friends received from the accused. Since, if and when breaches of ethical and Halachic behavior happen, they happen “behind closed doors,” the only way to verify the accusations is for victims Continue reading

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Kahane’s Folly

Shimon bar Kohba silver shekel

Shimon bar Kohba silver shekel “To the freedom of Yerushalayim”

Even the great Rabbi Akiva with the best of intentions and lomdus (rabbinical acumen) made the mistake of believing Bar Kochba was the moshiach (messiah) when he backed his rebellion against the Romans. The principal of Elimelech Meisel’s seminary, Chedvas, is dangerously delusional. With the worst of lomdus and the most self-serving of intentions he distorts the halacha (Jewish law) of loshon horah (defamatory facts which are true) and makes grandiose claims about moshiach. In a letter to his recent students he wrote:

Hakadosh Baruch is telling us that Klal Yisroel needs major zchuyos (merits), gigantic zchuyos

All of us know that loshon hara without toeless (protective purposes) is assur (forbidden). At this stage of the very unfortunate situation our school finds itself in, there is no toeles in discussing the situation and its details. And even l’toeles the halacha is that it’s asur to believe it…

Much of the world is talking about it and much of the world believes it… Hashem (G-d) is saying Chedvas you be the ones to stay quiet… My students, if we stay strong we can and will change the world…

Hashem believes in us, so let’s believe in ourselves. Let’s make chizuk projects to be michazek each other, let’s make buddy systems to see if we’re staying in check… I have a sinking feeling we’re going to bring Mashiach.

Sources tell us that before Mashiach there will be a big nisayon (test)that will be very hard to pass. Those who do will merit Mashiach. Those who don’t…

Rabbi Kahane insists his students should not talk about the Chicago beis din ruling that students avoid Meisel’s seminaries because of the danger of unwanted sexual contact. Kahane is trying to prevent information of abuse from getting to a beis din (rabbinical court) or authorities, therby endangering potential victims and further traumatizing those who have been abused.

The Chofetz Chaim must be crying to see his work being distorted by a man who knows better. Kahane claims that even l’toeles (for a purpose such as protecting others) one may not believe allegations. However, the position of the Chofetz Chaim was that l’toeles, one may act on loshon horah (truthful derogatory information) to protect oneself and others. The rules of loshon horah are not unilateral disarmament against predators bent on money and monkey business.

In his desperate attempt to keep the enterprise afloat, Kahane marries this distortion of halachah to grandiose promises about bringing the messiah, as if that can be accomplished by protecting a predator.

Not for a second am I accusing Kahane of personal sexual impropriety. But he Continue reading

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