The IBD Changes the Rules So They Still Won’t Find Fault

judicial railroadingThe 3 Israeli Rabbis (3IRs) of the Israeli Beis Din (IBD) have now changed the rules to duck the criticism that they stacked their earlier sessions. At one of those sessions they exonerated all the staff in the Meisels seminaries of any complicity in his sexual abuse of students. Yet they accepted Chicago’s finding that Meisels was guilty of multiple instances of “unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature.” Like Yankie Yarmush, the asbestos abatement businessman, they were trying to enclose and contain the damage.

They were hell-bent on protecting the good name of the seminaries so they interrogated the alleged culprits without any testimony of victims or others. Instead they relied on a guardian/representative (apitropos), Rabbi Aharon Feldman (RAF), even though no one has ever offered written proof that any witnesses delegated him. RAF, by his own admission, never spoke to any complaining students from the seminaries. RAF was even excused from attending a good part of the session. Back then they had no trouble relying on loosey-goosey procedures for “representing” witnesses.

Thanks to all the leaks, especially by Rabbi Daniel Eidensohn, their bizarre misconduct has been exposed. The IBD is now sending a totally different message to potential witnesses. We will hear you if you show up in Israel. No agents, no phone calls, no letters, no signed affidavits, no submitted videos, no Skype, no independent investigators, no preliminary work. Nothing will satisfy us unless you shlep to Israel on our terms to face a line-up of three hostile dayanim (judges) and the multiple toanim (jewish law representatives) chosen by each of the accused. This is the ultimate set-up. Continue reading

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My Rabbis are Bigger than Yours!

judges fighting I wrote a post challenging the Israeli Beis Din (IBD) as not comprising a beis din because they lacked a plaintiff. I pointed out that Rabbi Aharon Feldman (RAF) never secured the authorization of victims to represent them. Yet the “beis din” proceeded to behave as if they had accusers (who just happened not to be there) but were represented by RAF. Within that technically contrived form they accepted the testimony of seminary principals & staff and ruled that none of them were in any way complicit in Meisels’ misconduct. This was absurd. There was a ritual of a hearing of both sides but it was devoid of substantive justice.

Rabbi Aharon Feldman later complained bitterly that he had been misled by Rabbi Malinowitz into believing the victims has been actively sought for their testimony and had merely failed to show or share with him. I concluded that the Israeli “beis din,” on technical and substantive grounds, had to be understood as a seminary protection game — not as a real court of justice. I derided them as “3 Israeli Rabbis (3IRs),” not a Beis Din.

This outraged Rabbi Daniel Eidensohn and he shot back in his Daas Torah blog:

This a gross and disgusting misrepresentation of the halachic status of the Israeli beis din as well as a deliberate slur against great talmidei chachomim who are recognized as having greater competence and integrity than the CBD. Continue reading

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Can Seminaries Be Run by a Toxic Waste Hauler?

'Sure it's safe to haul toxic waste. I've been doing it for five years.'Mr. Yaakov (Yankie) Yarmush hails from Brooklyn where he built a business of asbestos abatement. He admits to not knowing anything about education. Still, he must realize that once there is a toxic substance it has to be dealt with.

We are told he now controls four seminaries once operated by Elimelech Meisels. They are bedeviled with allegations of the serial sexual abuse of students by Meisels and the complicity of staff that ignored the clues, rebuffed the reports, and discouraged reporting. What is worse, more than six of them lied about their complicity. I say that because Rabbis Shafran, Gartner and Malinowitz say they interviewed the heads of the seminaries ( and other staff) and concluded that no one else in the seminaries was implicated. It is on that basis that the three rabbis of the IBD concluded that the seminaries were safe and there was no reason for parents to withdraw students. Continue reading

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R. Yosef Blau on the Role of Rabbis in Confronting Abuse

I thank Harry Maryles for letting me put up this post which first appeared on his blog, Emes Ve-Emunah. Rabbi Yosef Blau is mashgiach ruchani (spiritual adviser) at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) of Yeshiva University (YU). He is an experienced administrator who was a principal for the schools of Rav Pinchas Teitz (Elizabeth, NJ), Rav Aaron Soloveitchik (Chicago), and Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik (Boston) and he is a former Vice President of Torah Umesorah.

For decades he has been one of the most articulate and active voices in the effort to confront and root out sexual abuse in the orthodox world. Though this post does not use his name, it is clearly written in the context of and with some reference to the Meisels’ seminaries scandal.

The Role of Rabbis in Confronting Abuse in the Orthodox Community
by Rabbi Yosef Blau

Rabbi Yosef Blau

Rabbi Yosef Blau

Sexual abuse is criminal behavior and the police should be contacted. This does not imply that there is no role for the rabbinate and the community leaders in confronting abuse. In many cases the victims are unwilling to cooperate with the police often because of community pressures. Even when they do there is a need to remove an accused offender from a position where he is a potential danger before the slow process of a police investigation and prosecution is completed.

The recent case of the head of a seminary in Israel accused of sexual misconduct with students is an example of the need for rabbinic action. While according to Israeli law the behavior is illegal it is unlikely that American students, who have returned home and know little Hebrew, will go to the Israeli police. Only pressure from an external בית דין  (religious court) will cause the offender to resign his position.

Since he created the school and chose its staff a thorough investigation of the circumstances is necessary to determine if others were negligent and guilty of enabling the abuse or covering it up. This would require speaking first to all the students who were abused or witnessed any questionable behavior and to ascertain if they informed anyone on staff of their concerns. Continue reading

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Monsey Rabbis Declare: Bodenheimer Is Not Zimri – SATIRE

The Zeal of Phineas, 1430 artworkMany people are chas v’cholilah believing that Rav Gavriel Bodenheimer shlita, menahel of Bais Mikroh is guilty of sexually abusing a young boy for over a year just because a grand jury took testimony and indicted him. But the Torah shows us that Zimri openly consorted with a Midianite and that is why Pinchas killed both of them with a spear.

It is forbidden for anyone to say they believe the allegations by the Rockland DA Thomas Zugibe who persecutes us.

It is ossur to believe that a respected rav would molest a child in private behind closed doors. After all, he made no secret of the fact that he beat the hell out of kids. If he were to molest kids, he would also do it in public. Continue reading

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Did Bobov Cover Up Molesting at Shalvah, Its Boys Camp?

From my archives of 8/27/12, two years ago

Reporter Mary Murphy

Reporter Mary Murphy

I say there was a cover up based on earlier reports which were confirmed by Mary Murphy’s report on WPIX 11.

Rabbi Daniel Eidensohn used his blog Daas Torah to disparage her report as,

A fluff piece on alleged abuse at Camp Shalva. . .   An embarrassingly poor job of reporting which serves primarily to convey rumors and hearsay.

WPIX 11 reporter Mary Murphy said she interviewed the father of one camper, who spoke to his son who was in the camp. The father shared this communication from a camper.

Boys are saying they were tickled on their legs and you know what that means. . . . . . The kids were warned that morning that they should not be talking to each other about the incident.

Police Investigating Oberlander @ Bobov Camp Shalva

Police Investigating Oberlander @ Bobov Camp Shalva

This is shocking. If true, there was a cover up. If true, the reason the police had no allegations of molesting is because the boys were intimidated into lying to the police. If true, the police may have been quite competent but they were stymied by the same forces that routinely protect ultra orthodox molesters. If true, Jewish children are being endangered because a molester is not being prosecuted.  If true, this news report is not a fluff piece. If true, the only fluff is the Shalvah party line that tranquility reigns and the kids were safe that night.

I keep saying, “If true,” because Rabbi Eidensohn bases his dismissal of the story on the premise that Mary Murphy is a dumb, sloppy or dishonest reporter. He doesn’t explicitly say it but why else would he dismiss a report that documents molesting and a cover-up.

I am inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt. She is a professional with 30 years experience in NYC who has won 18 Emmy awards for reporting. Someone in her position does not take the risk of fabricating a story. In fact we can safely assume Continue reading

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Dovid Weinberger Is Back as a Rabbi — On the Web

Rabbi Dovid Weinberger blog 7-23-14Even though he promised to stop functioning as a rabbi or educator and was roundly denounced by rabbis in the Five Towns, Dovid Weinberger is back at it, this time, through his blog,

His July 23 post, Positive Perspectives on a Lonely Shabbos in Yerushalayim, refers to a recent motzoi shabbos speaking engagement.

It is a sad post about being alone at a hotel for sabbath. He writes: Continue reading

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