Shah Shtil in Meisels’ Shtetl

Stop abuse iconMiriam Isserow questions the shah sthil (be quiet) mentality of Elimelech Meisels‘ seminaries. Commenting on “A Father’s Complaint about the Priorities of Seminaries” where it originally appeared in the blog, A Mother in Israel, she writes:

I know nothing about these seminaries but it is typical–if there is even a suspicion–for schools to send a letter to parents. The fact that they haven’t is at the very least unfortunate and reflects a desire to cover things up.

I completely agree with Miriam. Right now, Meisels is in middle of selling his seminaries while also trying to minimize the reports about his misconduct.

I fear nothing will get better after the sale. After all, the Israeli Beit Din headed by Rav Mendel Shafran sings the praises of the seminaries and avoids mentioning any of Meisels’ misdeeds.

From what I hear, even those remaining staff who are upset about the abuse are still working overtime to discourage any further dissemination of the story, all under the cloak of the loshon harah prohibition. They are not even committed to reaching out to other victims of Meisels, apologizing, and facilitating their recovery.

They are certainly not committed to supporting those of his victims who can and wish to pursue criminal charges. Because most of his offenses occurred in Israel he can be charged with abuse of authority in his role as a rabbi and educator.


12 thoughts on “Shah Shtil in Meisels’ Shtetl

  1. A fund should be created from the proceeds of the seminary sales to provide therapy for Meisels’ victims. As has been mentioned previously, seeing the right therapist can be the difference between life and death for a victim of abuse (or the difference between living a successful life or the opposite). However, therapy is very expensive, and is rarely covered by insurance or paid for by the abuser.

    $1 million would provide $10,000 worth of therapy for 100 victims, which is a good start. Perhaps an additional few million dollars should be put in escrow, until it is determined how many claims are being made.

    • Joe @6:02,
      A few important points.
      1) most insurance plans until now have covered therapy (perhaps needing pre-certification) for some specified number of visits. e.g. some of Oxford Health plans covered up to 30 visits per year, (and that would include also an MD psychopharmacologist if needed to write prescriptions, but that would probably be only every month or two or less). Copays typically for a specialist on oxford, for example, depending on the plan, could be anywhere from $30 to $50. per visit for a specialist.. Some plans include out of network doctors and some are limited to in network. Finding a competent therapist is very difficult and when searching for a trauma/abuse specialist even more so, , and finding one “in network” is like finding a needle in a haystack (actually same for out of network). Most therapists worth their salt, do not accept any insurance, but if one has out of network coverage, things can be arranged…I don’t really know how that aspect works.
      2) NOW, MORE IMPORTANT, and I do not know much about this, and until obamacare, this varied from state to state, but there is something called the “PARITY LAW” which forbids insurance companies from limiting number of allowed psychotherapy visits, vs. normal medical visits. if the condition is biologically based. Since many people in therapy are given anxiety meds, or depression meds, that is, a clear assumption of “biologically based”, IMHO. I am no expert.

      3) I think, stress, “think” that obamacare which is anathema to me, in general extends the parity law for psychotherapy to include everyone. i.e. not dependent on state.

      4) so, if one has out of network coverage, or can find a competent “abuse/trauma” specialized therapist in network, (usually a PHD but perhaps an LCSW) one could have unlimited therapy visits, probably requiring precertification, which is not an issue, paid for before the copay, which varies from plan to plan. I realize that this may sound confusing, but anyone investigating this, should be aware of the “parity law” which may force all insurance companies to pay for visits, unlimited, just as if they were medically based. i.e. GI, cardiologist., general internist.

      5) If one is in NY metro area, and does not require specifically a frum therapist, Payne Whitney, connected to Weill Medical College (Cornell??) has a clinic, not sure who is eligible, does studies, and if you are persistent, and find the right person by phone, they can recommend some specialists in dealing with abuse. Private practitioners who have in the past, or currently , still associated with them in some capacity.

      In the greater NY metro area, a typical therapy session is 45 minutes and averages about $200. less is hard to find $225 is reasonable for a highly skilled specialist, IF, you can find one, and IF they have any openings in their schedule.

      Caveat emptor: I am neither a therapist nor an insurance person. But am quite certain of what I write, except for not being certain re the “parity law”. I think, e.g. that Oxford health, which used to limit visits for psychotherapy to 30 a year, cannot limit them due to parity law. But the reader or any other activist advising victims, should be aware that this is something to be verified….
      WITHOUT INSURANCE, 10K would cover only one visit per week, which, for a newly traumatized person, is barely sufficient, but far better than nothing.
      I think I have written everything I know, but if anyone has questions, i will attempt to answer them.

  2. I know alot of girls who had a close connection to rabbi meisels in seminary…theyre all mostly married by now… and they are literally distraught over the allegations,and they will be even more so if hes found guilty…what will the seminary do for them?

    • Found guilty? He already admitted his guilt to the Chicago Bais Din. What are you talking about, criminal charges?

      • “Alum” is alluding to the fact that the Meisels camp, including most of the staff of the seminaries, are still claiming that the Israeli Beit Din does not accept the Chicago Beis Din conclusion about Meisels. They also believe the Israeli Beit Din may yet exonerate Meisels. In any event, they interpret the silence of the Israeli Beit Din as proof that he may be innocent.

        • I guess it’s worth reviewing: the victims are in America (at least the ones that I’ve heard about, maybe there were European girls but I haven’t heard that), so how is the Israeli Bais Din going to investigate the claims of these girls? The Chicago Bais Din interviewed the girls (as well as, l’havdil Meisels) in person and already determined that he did what was alleged, and then he admitted it anyway. What’s left?

          The way I understand, the Israeli Bais Din general is simply overseeing Meisels’ de-coupling from the sems, and that’s it. Nothing more. Their silence is merely because Meisels is in the process of selling the sems, so there is no need for further comment. Well, as long as one accepts that the existing staff, some of whom heard the allegations and did nothing (see recent postings here) don’t also need to be fired forthwith. The Israeli Bais Din seems to have a rosier perception of the sems than most.

          Anyway, I’m sure you agree with the above, but some newcomers here may believe otherwise.

          • I agree with all of the above but with a caution. The Israeli Beit Din could have indicated it was relying on the privately communicated factual conclusions of the Chicago Beis Din. Or they could have unequivocally stated they were concerned with future arrangements for the seminaries and was not evaluating the conduct of a previous director. Either statement would have eliminated the misconception repeated on Frum Follies by many students and alumni, that the Israeli Beit Din has or would exonerate Meisels. I fault the Shafran Beit Din for leaving itself open to that misunderstanding. This leaves the field open for Meisels to rehabilitate his reputation.

            • Well, that’s why you’re doing what you do. Chicago couldn’t dictate how the Israeli Bais Din would frame their own letter, but I would suggest that if this blog is known even to the Israeli Bais Din, then there are a lot of people who, after reading posts here, would hopefully understand that major flaw in the Israeli letter.

  3. Just wait. Even if the Israeli beis din says Meisels sinned with 100 girls, Margulies will just snap his fingers and Belsky will insist Meisels is still innocent. They all run in the same circles. Meisels likely had Yudi Kolko both as a rebbe in an early grade of Torah Temimah, and later as an assistant principal. How many times can the public stand the hemming & hawing from the OU about how they don’t agree with Belsky’s “opinions”?

    Meisels’s uncle is a rebbe in Yeshiva of Brooklyn which was employing Yudi Kolko as a proctor even after he was forced out of Torah Temimah. There was a separate fight to oust Kolko from there as well.

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