On Sunday (7/20/14), Rabbi Meir Kahane, menahel (principal) of one of Meisels’ seminaries, Chedvas Bais Yaakov, sent the email which is below this posting. In it he:
- Ignored the allegations that Elimelech Meisels, the owner, sexually abused seminary students. However noted that Meisels at “At the hadracha of daas Torah (guidance of rabbinical authority), Rabbi Meisels retired six weeks ago.”
- Made sure to say that Meisels would sell the seminary real soon, but this was part of a long-standing plan.
- Chicago is not the presiding beis din (rabbinical court). “The Bnei Brak beis din is the most updated and informed and their guidance is being followed every step of the way. The case is still in its beginning stages. No conclusions or decisions have been made.” However, they ruled: “that there is no risk of harm to any student who attends.”
- “Call us with questions or the independent source… Rabbi Yoel Burstyn, the principal of Bais Yaakov Los Angeles.”
Rabbi Kahane is also conducting a campaign against loshon horah (gossip) about Meisels’ sexual misconduct, according to sources who have been in touch with me.
This letter screams whitewash. There should have been a different letter which it standard at other schools with episodes of alleged abuse. Such letters, acknowledge the incident, describe the scope of the alleged problem and describe the status of investigation and suspensions or firings, offer help to any other victims, assist in locating other victims, and urge all victims to contact the police to further their investigations.
From: Chedvas Bais Yaakov <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, Jul 20, 2014 at 5:30 PM
Subject: Regarding the Current Situation
L’chvod Esteemed Chedvas Parents amus”h,
As I am sure you are aware, the school is presently going through a difficult situation. I am certain that you have questions and concerns. I wanted to be in touch to clarify a few specific details so that you will have a better handle on the situation, and clarity with regards to the upcoming year:
1) Firstly, Chedvas (and all of the schools) will definitely be opening in September. We are looking forward to a wonderful and inspiring new school year.
2) At the hadracha of daas Torah, Rabbi Meisels retired six weeks ago, and will have no further involvement in any of the schools (- a process he began a number of years ago). With respect to Chedvas, Rabbi Meisels’s involvement has been extremely limited the past few years, particularly this past year where he had no educational involvement or interaction at all.
3) Rabbi Meisels will have no financial involvement in Chedvas, or any of the schools, whatsoever. The entire institution will be sold to a new owner. The process of finding the appropriate buyer is taking some time, however it is imminent. We will inform you immediately when the sale has been finalized.
4) The beis din in Chicago who wrote the letter you may have seen, is not the presiding beis din for the case. The case is being handled by a choshuv beis din in Bnei Brak made up of Rabbi Mendel Shafran (of Rav Nisim Karelitz’s beis din), Rabbi Chaim Melinowitz (of Ramat Beit Shemesh), and Rabbi Tzvi Gartner, as the letter from the Chicago beis din states. The Bnei Brak beis din is the most updated and informed and their guidance is being followed every step of the way. The case is still in its beginning stages. No conclusions or decisions have been made.
5) The Bnei Brak beis din has put out a public letter stating that the seminaries are under their hashgacha and that there is no risk of harm to any student who attends them and that they do not do not hesitate to recommend any student to attend them. Their letter (in Hebrew and English) is attached to this email.
6) Any students or parents who would like more clarification, may call me (052-604-2933) or Mrs. Lorch, the assistant principal (052-534-7390). If you would like to speak to an independent source not affiliated with Chedvas or the institution at large, you may call may call Rabbi Yoel Burstyn, the principal of Bais Yaakov Los Angeles, he has all of the details (323-938-3231,323-930-6970).
Hashem should give us siyata dishmaya to continue to be marbitz Torah and mikadesh shem shamayim.
Once again, please feel free to be in touch with myself or Mrs. Lorch.
Rabbi Meir Kahane
Chedvas Bais Yaakov
28 Sheshet HaYamim, Givat HaMivtar, Jerusalem
Phone: 02.625.0991 Fax: 02.625.0991
Mrs. Aviva Fischer- Office Director/Registrar
Mrs. Henna G. Eisenman- Tuition
Miss Michal Shaw- Transcripts and Credits
315 Squankum Rd., Lakewood, N.J. 08701
Phone: 732.363.9456 Fax: 732.363.9459
Mrs. Rochel Slanger- Office Manager