Elimelech Meisels Still Listed as Pninim Staff

Meisels Seminaries letter to parents ~7-14-14 re Torah Umesorah

Letter to Parents by Meisels’ seminaries ~7/14/14 Click on image to enlarge and sharpen

According to a letter sent out this week by seminaries owned by the Meisels family (Pninim, Binas Bais Yaakov, Keser Chaya, & Chedvas Bais Yaakov):

Our Founder/Dean, Rabbi Elimelech Meisels, has chosen to resign from his position. This was done in accordance with the beit din of Rav Mendel Shafran Shlitah in Bnei Brak that was retained by Torah Umesorah. Rabbi Meisels resigned eight weeks ago and is no longer affiliated with the institutions in any capacity whatsoever…… The schools will be under new management and G-d willing, in the coming days, an announcement will be forthcoming about the addition of a new menahel who will oversee the running of all four institutions.

There are several problems with this declaration.

Pninim Staff Listing on website on 7-15-14 1 pm EST US1. They claim that “Elimelech [Eli] Meisels resigned eight weeks ago.” Nobody else in the Jewish world knew about that development. In fact the website for Pninim still listed Meisels at the top of their staff list as of 1:00 p.m. (EST) today (Tuesday, 7/15/14). (see screenshot on the side). Eight weeks would have been plenty of time to update their staff listing.
2. They say “Meisels is no longer affiliated with the institutions in any capacity whatsoever.” However it is widely known that his family continues to “own” the institution. I put own in quote marks because technically it is a not-for-profit which gives it all sorts of tax advantages. But in the eyes of a beit din they are accepted as the controlling agents and all the officers with legal control answer to them. As of yesterday the Meisels family continued to refuse to give up their control. Because the family insists on retaining control, the letter is not telling the truth when it claims “The schools will be under new management.” Perhaps that will happen but there is no reason to be certain about it.
3. The letter states “The beit din of Rav Mendel Shafran Shlitah in Bnei Brak … was retained by Torah Umesorah.” Regrettably, Torah Umesorah has a dismal record when it comes to confronting sexual misconduct of school faculty. For example, this is how Torah Umesorah responded to the notorious Yehuda Kolko, a teacher at Yeshiva Torah Temimah who eventually pled guilty to sexually abusing children. In 1984:

As instructed by Rabbi Avigdor Miller, an askan calls for a meeting which takes place at the home of Rabbi Yakov Perlow (the Novominsker) and is attended by Rabbi Avrohom Pam, Rabbi Elya Svei, Rabbi Chaim Dov Keller, Rabbi Aharon Schechter, Rabbi Moshe Scheinerman, Rabbi Shia Fishman and Rabbi Yankel Bender. At this meeting, chaired by Rabbi Perlow, the askan discusses what is transpiring to innocent boys at the hands of Rabbi pedophiles and requests that Torah Umesorah and the rabbonim issue a statement calling for their removal from chinuch. Rabbi Svei informs this askan that Torah Umesorah has consulted their attorneys who advised that for Torah Umesorah to admit knowledge of such abuse would subject Torah Umesorah, its staff, all its member schools and their staff to liability for not having reported their knowledge to the authorities earlier. Accordingly, Rabbi Elya Svei informs the askan, neither he nor Torah Umesorah will do anything about this problem.

To this day, Torah Umesorah is way more concerned with the threat of legal liability than with child safety, especially when it requires acting against the career interests of rabbis or the financial interests of institutions. They are all for educating kids to not get abused but not for coming down on the adult perpetrators. I am not aware of a single instance in which they acted against an adult perpetrator.

For all these reasons I say, caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) and suggest following the ruling of the Chicago Beit Din: “That students in these seminaries are at risk of harm and it does not recommend that students attend these seminaries at this time.” The Chicago Beis Din stands by its position notwithstanding a different recommendation by the Torah Mesorah commissioned beit din of Rav Shafran.

Click here for other Frum Follies articles about Elimelech Meisels.

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37 thoughts on “Elimelech Meisels Still Listed as Pninim Staff

  1. Just FYI – there are *many* teachers listed there that don’t teach there anymore. The site is VERY out dated. I don’t think its been updated in years! Mrs. Soloff left years ago to open her own seminaries, Rabbi Flam left a while ago too…there are a few others that I suspect left also, but I don’t know for a fact so I’m scared to say. They moved a year ago and the wrong address is still there…Basically, don’t trust the website. Its at least 5 years old if not more.

  2. Do you realize how old that website is and hasn’t been changed? I went to Pninim five years ago and some of those teachers left years before I got there, it looks like you also only looked at one part of the sight, if you look at the contact us, Pninim is still listed as being at 30 farbstein even though it moved last year, it’s just an old site

  3. Hi Yerachmiel,
    Firstly, I can’t thank you enough for single handedly bringing this to the general public. It absolutely would not have gotten this far if not for you. Ashrechah! Regarding this situation all that can possibly be said has already been said. I want to bring to your attention a connected matter, which I wish would get resolved by our leadership and rabbonim.

    Looking at the letterhead from Meisel’s seminary, I could not help but notice a glaring observation. Although my daughter went to seminary in Israel, because 95% of her classmates were going, and because of the shidduch crisis, we want to provide our daughters with every ‘advantage’ (I know it’s crazy), I am a big opponent of the idea to send your daughter to Israel at the cost of $22K-$30K (depending on how many grants you get), a year before you hopefully have the zchus to marry them off. It’s insane to send for many reasons which I won’t go into here. Be that as it may, one of the main issues is off course the excessive costs and we are told that seminaries hardly make money; they are in it to educate future mothers, teachers, and wives. Well, I don’t know any yeshiva or bais yaakov that has the logo of 4 schools on their letterhead. Meisel’s owns 4 seminaries! This is a business like any other, which is fine, but don’t overcharge by such a crazy excessive amount! They are charging upwards of $22K just for tuition! Are they crazy? “But we’re just covering costs”, we are told. That’s bologna! You keep on raking in enough money to buy 3 more seminaries on top of the one you started with! This is sick! Middle class people are struggling to make ends meet!
    I suspect that the reason we don’t hear a “geshray” is because most of the rabbonim qualify for generous Federal and State grants, so it does not affect them as it does the average middle income family. They are also related to the owners or teachers at the seminaries.

    Bottom line is seminaries are disgustedly overcharging. Meisels proves this to be true.

  4. Thank you for publicizing this story to allow parents to be aware that this is going on; and safeguard the young women.
    What is the source for the R. Avigdor Miller story?

    • http://rabbimatisyahusalomon.blogspot.com/ While the author is anonymous, I know the author and the entire account is the most accurate full chronology of the Yehuda Kolko affair up to 2006. (not to be confused with the Yosef Kolko, his nephew who is now serving a 12-year sentence for sodomizing a Lakewood boy. The Yehuda Kolko affair continues with lawsuits against Yeshiva Torah Temimah.

  5. Forgive me, I can’t help it. An opportunity for satire served on a silver platter:
    “Rabbi Svei informs this askan that Torah Umesorah has consulted their attorneys, and on their attorneys’ advice will not follow the instruction of the Torah and Mesorah to pursue tzedek, mishpat and shalom, but will instead protect the assets of the institution.”

    In other words, “We can’t stop abuse now because it would imply we could have stopped it earlier, so we will approve a de facto ‘horaat shaah’ acquiescing in the teaching of Torah ve-toevah? And these are gedolim? What am I missing here?

    • You are not missing anything from the sounds of it. I just wondering why anyone should trust Rabonim (or “Gedolim” so called) outside of strictly halachic matters and why anyone should trust a bais din or anyone associated when they have a track record of corruption?

  6. There are some important details omitted from the Rav Salamon blog which Rabbi Mendlowitz has written about on his UOJ blog.

    Rav Pam ztl was arguing & pleading at the meeting with Rabbi Svei until he was blue in the face, arguing that such legal cover up advice goes against every principal in the Torah. Rav Pam was later backed by the previous Tenker Rov and Rav Avigdor Miller who instructed his followers to keep fighting Margulies no matter how many big names like Scheinberg that he brings on board.

    The cover up also flies in the face of every written teshuva on the subject from the major Israeli poskim who are bigger than the poskim in America. Ben Hirsch’s Survivors for Justice has many of these halacha teshuvos scanned on it’s website.

    There was a 3rd beis din at the time of the Mechon & BDA that also summoned Kolko & Margulies. Margulies told that beis din that he could not appear until he “consulted with Rav Elyashev”. Margulies of course never bothered to contact Rav Elyashev.

    According to a friend of Rabbi Mendlowitz, Mr. Gross, there was one final meeting before the Kolko story went viral in the media. The Agudah requested an emergency meeting with Margulies where Zweibel practically got on his hands & knees to beg Margulies to remove Kolko from the classroom before they all get crucified in the press. Margulies in his infinite arrogance would not budge.

    • If true, thank G-d for His being מחזק לב פרעה in this case. That initial article really broke the dam.

  7. http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2014/07/dovid-weinbergers-pledge-not-to-serve.html

    Dovid Weinberger is now living at 12 Rechov Shaulson – Har Nof, Jerusalem.

    For additional information see Frum Follies

    I had not posted this information previously because I had thought that it was widely known. However I have heard from a number of people in Har Nof that it is clear that this information is not common knowledge.

    Rav Moshe Sternbuch should be consulted if there are any further questions.

      • The comment was written by Rabbi Daniel Eidensohn. He most probably informed Rav Sternbuch of Weinberger’s presence in Israel and is directing people with questions to him as Rav Sternbuch has zero tolerance for perverts in the rabbinate.

  8. Rabbi Meisels is 100% innocent. I’ve known him for many years and my mother is a teacher at his school. He’s an amazing person who puts his heart and soul into his students. The beis din in Israel looked over every detail of the claim and said that Rabbi Meisels is completely innocent. I pity the din v’cheshbon of those who are spreading or believing these disgusting allegations against him.

    • I read the Israeli Beit Din psak. I see not a word attesting to his innocence. The only time they reference him is to say that he(without using his name), the source of the problems is gone. I understand that they don’t declare his guilt. But they never “SAID” he was “innocent.”

      • Love the comment, Ben. However, I must say that extrasensory abilities are unnecessary in this case. Since there is no video evidence, it obviously never happened. Besides, I once saw him give tzedaka, so he is obviously not capable of committing the acts he is accused of doing (note my sarcasm).

        On a serious note, the “business as usual” attitude conveyed by the seminary letters is appalling. WHAT ABOUT THE LIVES DESTROYED???

    • I got a nice little chuckle when Pninim student posited, “He put his heart and soul into his students.” I bet that’s not the only thing he put into his students!

    • Pninim student:
      What is wrong with you former students/Meisels worshippers. Is there something about the words “he admitted it” that you cannot understand or parse? Sorry that your mother might lose her parnassah, very sorry, but only if she was never cognizant of the lifestyle of Mr, Meisels. NO BEIS DIN has said he is innocent. He admitted guilt to the special Chicago Beis Din.
      If, and only if, your mother was aware of even one case of a student being abused by him, and she failed to act, she is COMPLICIT and you should start worrying about her soul, olam habah. Try to figure it out.

  9. I honestly do not understand the point of you (author of this ridiculous blog) posting articles abt this incident every chance you get. Why do u insist on updating the world abt the situation every day? What purpose does it serve?! If someone wants to send they’re daughter to pninim and is currently unsure if they still want to they’ll do what they have to do to figure they’re situation out. As for the rest if the world there is NO point of reading these articles. Haven’t u ever heard of lashon hara? Do u have any idea what kind of harm, sadness, and heartbreak his family is already going through? Ppl get the point now! Rav Meisels was accused of doing something yet no one rlly knows the facts because the story changes every day. So please do the world a favor and stop posting these pointless articles.

    • Sounds like you have heard of loshon horra but just don’t know the halachos involved. Learn some so you know when it needs to be said.

      • Halacha says tht if so one may be guilty of something it’s ok to drag everyone who close with him down to? I rlly don’t think so. Does Mr Lopin ask a Rav what he shld post or follow the halachos of lashon hara? Probably not! And even if u don’t consider this lashon hara put yourself in Rabbi Meisels shoes for a second: Imagine if you were accused of something negative and ur family had to go thru it with u? Lashon hara has very negative ripple effects. I went to pninim. Regardless of what Rabbi Meisels was accused of and whether it’s true or not he has done amazing things for ppl. So go ahead and keep reading it’s your aveira not mine. And as for ur other post I don’t sit at home reading these articles I saw the title of this article and that’s it I have no longer have interest in this story. I’m merely pointing out to Mr Lopin that lashon hara does not only affect the person it’s abt but everyone surrounding him. Maybe he should make a blog abt positive things rather than rip ppl down and destroy their family’s future

        • You seem to think having the title “Rabbi” before your name gives you gadlus in hilchos loshon hora. It is not a requirement for getting the title “Rabbi”. All you need to know is the laws relating to the kitchen and you can have that wonderful title which they have borrowed the term “semicha” for.
          I would recommend that you also cover the laws of being dan l’chaf zchus as you seem to be lacking in it in the case of Mr. Lopin.

        • Ummm, he already admitted it. They’re not accusations. He’s an animal who had unwanted sexual contact with MANY young and impressionable girls, particularly the weaker ones. I could never put myself in Mr. Meisels’ shoes because I don’t lust after girls that are just north of high school, nor do I take them for van rides at 3:00AM looking for sex.

          This doesn’t interest you? What’s it like down there with your head in the sand.

          As for destroying the Meisels’ family futures, what about the futures of his victims and their families? Typical to not care about the victims but to only worry about the ADMITTED abuser. By the way, subsequent developments have shown that the Chicago Beis Din wanted the information made public. And HTC suspended their agreement with them. Still think he’s innocent? Worry about the victims instead of the monster.

            • I never said he’s innocent. And can I ask how the person who wrote abt the 3am incident knows it’s true. I heard a lot of things like “a friend of a friend told me abt her friends who’s friend was abused by Rabbi Meisels. I never said what he did was on. I just see no point in dwelling on it because it’s a disgusting thing to do to his innocent family who I’m sure have gone thru enough

            • The Chicago Beis Din did not do this to his family. Nor are the victims or this blog. Not a one of us has attacked his wife and children. Eli did it to his family. Are you also going to say exposing bank robbers is a disgusting thing to do to their families. I feel for his family but how can the problem be addressed if we are silent about it not to hurt someone’s family. Why is the blood of his family redder than the blood of his victims, past and future?

            • I wasn’t being serious when I asked if the bais din asked a rabbi. I was just making the point that there is no requirement of having the title rabbi to be part of one.

          • I never once said that what he’s being accused of his fault. I merely pointed out tht it’s useless to continue pointing out things like “Meisels name still on pninim website” what exactly is the point of tht. Ik there is such a thing as freedom of speech but there’s the law and then there’s the letter of the law. Ppl knw very well abt what Rabbi Meisels has done. But y do ppl have to sit out and update the world every few days on this ridiculous blog?! If one is so concerned abt abuse then they shld go put and help the victims rather than dwell on the abuser because its serves no purpose at this pt!

            • Right. The best thing to do in these circumstances is to hide what has been done because it is not relevant anymore to any more girls. Not now and none that he might meet in the future. The whole idea of a sex offender list amongst the goyim is also wrong because it is useless to continue to point these things out. What more harm can they do?

            • Many of us do both. I directly assist victims. But they also gain healing from the knowledge that the world is being informed and educated. Many of them feel strongly that there is terrible ignorance in the community and it hard for them to heal when people refuse to acknowledge their pain and let their abusers go on. For many of them, however much they heal, the hurt persists or recurs. They know the past cannot be undone. But they gain some consolation and healing from knowing they and others are doing things to avert future victims.

              My greatest goal is to have beneficiaries of my work who will not even comprehend this exchange because they will pass through life innocent of any abuse.

              In five years of blogging I can only think of one victim who insisted things would be better for the world if I stopped this sort of publicizing of the problem.

          • Ben @3:53.
            Agreed. Another additional explanation might be misplaced euphoria by those who were luckily not abused. Just throwing that out there, hypothetically. Don’t really believe it myself.

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