18 thoughts on “Elimelech Meisels Notice by Chicago Beit Din

    • I make it a practice not to leave people vulnerable to spamming by listing contact information online. But I have provided institutional affiliations and full names for each of the rabbis. It shouldn’t be too hard to Google the contact information.

    • Rabbi Fuerst, one of The rabbis who wrote the letter, is one of the most well respected rabbis in Chicagoland. Someone that I know asked him this morning (Fri, July 11) about the psak. He said that as of now, it is asur to send girls there.

      • Assuming he wrote it….
        just a few question for those with brains:
        1) What Bais Din is taking responsibility for this matters? Israel, Chicago, neither, take your pick silly?
        2) Is Mr Meisels in Israel or Chicago? If he is in Israel he can’t testify, and if he is in Chicago why does the letter say he is in Israel?
        3) Why is this a ‘special’ Beis Din? Does it make it a ‘better’ one?
        4) Why does the letter tell us WHO the Israel Bais Din is? Is that one also special?
        5) ‘The Beis Din Believes’ – ‘Believes’ is a VERY POOR Choice of words when you’re passing Judgement of this magnitude.

        • On a side note – a Jewish Beis Din that uses the Gregorian date system. – there is a psak about that…

        • 1. The Chicago Bais Din is taking responsibility for investigating the abuse charges. The Israeli Bais Din is involved in restructuring and administration. Israeli Bais Din never even tried to talk to the victims.

          2. Mr. Eli Meisels normally lives in Israel but his father lives in Brooklyn and he has relatives in Chicago. Since the seminaries are off during the summer that is when those with relatives in the US tend to travel back. They have this fantastic thing called airplanes bizman hazeh. If you rich like a stuffed goose from four seminaries, paying for tickets between NYC and Chicago is a few hundred dollars and a few hours. They also have this thing called Skype and many battei dinim rely on it in certain situations.

          3. The “Special Beis Din” was set up with that name in 2000 to deal with sex abuse cases because most rabbonim lacked the necessary skills to understand such cases. It is a standing bais din but only meets sporadicly as cases arise. To the best of my knowledge they have met as a group at least a dozen times. But since they usually don’t issue rulings which reach the public they may have had many more cases.

          4. The Israeli beit din was assembled just for this case, not a standing beit din. Thus they could not use a name to reference it so they had to name the three dayanim.

          5. Believes is a synonym for concluded, determined, etc. You are quibbling. To the credit of the Chicago “Special Beis Din” their language is clear. If you want to poke holes at vague language look at the Israeli psak. It isn’t the normal loshon kodesh of a yeshivish beis din. It is full of the modern Hebrew of bureaucrats. You can plotz following long sentences trying to figure out what they are saying and what they are trying to avoid saying. They avoid saying the word Meisels. They avoid saying anything about they know or don’t care to know about the sexual abuse. They avoid saying who owns the seminary. They avoid saying what they will do If Meisels misbehaves in other arenas. This is not a beit din for victims. It is a beit din for preserving the mosdos. Thus they are only clear that these are good seminaries and people should conytinue to enroll their daughters in them. The only thing of substance they accomplished is to contradict Chicago. As things now stand, Chicago says, do not send your kids to those seminaries, and the Shafran beit din says, go ahead, send them, and trust us to fix everthing down the line. So people now have to choose between “trust us” (Israel) or “don’t trust Meisels” (Chicago)? In a safek of danger, I say, be machmir and don’t trust Meisels until he no longer owns those seminaries.

        • Being that I can’t reply to Mr Lopin’s comments, I’ll place my final reply here:

          1) The Letter clearly says: ‘has assumed responsibility for these matters’. Seems clear – Chicago Beis Din has not.
          2) Why would Chicago Beis Din transfer responsibility? – Quote: ”are located in Israel”. Seems like Chicago would be overreaching in its jurisdiction. – see (1).
          3) No source? – Yada yada yada….
          4) Interesting. So it is another ‘special’ Beis Din right?
          5) Now you outdid yourself Mr. Lopin – the Posek, the interpreter, the know it all.

          At least you ALMOST came clean that the Israel Beis Din is not in agreement with the Chicago Beis Din’s findings. Period.
          And you blame them for not speaking to any of the victims, since you know who they are, as you seem to know every thing else.

          So much for Blogging today.

  1. It isn’t hard to find their phone numbers. I know Rabbi Fuerst’s number by heart. He is easily the most respected posek between the Delaware river and Sierra Nevadas. (I dunno much about LA)

  2. Pingback: A wolf in sheep’s clothing | Kol B'Isha Erva

  3. I heard before this ( I now assume it is related) that Rabbi Meisels is stepping down as active principal of Pninim, and will not be actively involved in running the seminaries for the coming year. This should be kept in mind by parents when deciding what to do with their daughters. Other than that, as a former Chicagoan, I have the utmost respect for the above rabbanim and would assume they have concrete reasons for their psak.

  4. Outside of girls involved in the seminary is there a psak for shuls and community members of those that live near him? It seems to me that anyone who is in contact with him should be careful not to allow him near potential victims, inside or outside of seminary. Can a concerned community member call the rabbis listed above for advice?

  5. The supposed Beis Din letter makes no sense. Make up your mind should we ‘wait’ and rely on the ‘findings’ of a ‘distinguished’ Israel Beis Din – or accept this one – that obvously lacks on all accounts?

    • They noted its existence. In no way did they subordinate themselves to it. They did not want to seem like they were unaware of it or to claim authority outside their domain in the US. But as a US beis din they have the power to issue a psak about whether those who rely on them should send their daughters to any of those seminaries. Also be aware that these are among the most respected rabbonim in the Chicago orthodox community. Gedalia Dov Schwartz is considered one of the most important dayanim in the US and in another role heads the beit din of the Chicago Rabbinical Council (CRC). The CRC’s hashgachah is widely and highly respected.

      • Let me be clear, I question the authenticity of the letter. Not the individuals whose names it uses.
        Please note the unequivacy of the statement : The Israel Beis Din ‘has assumed responsibility for these matters’. ie the Chicago Beis Din has not. There lies the contradiction. As well as the point of subordination.

        The letter is written poorly, can’t properly represent the names on the document not to mention the subject matter.

        • If you question the authenticity of the letter, why are you quibbling about its wording? If it is a forgery, it doesn’t matter what it says.
          Is it so hard to write one or more of the signatories to find out if indeed the letter is genuine or not?

          • Besides, the seminary letter I posted yesterday clearly makes a point of rejecting the decision and authority of Chicago’s beis din. Why would they repudiate a forgery instead of just ignoring it or saying it was a forgery.

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