BREAKING- Yankie Yarmush Buys Seminaries From Meisels

Last night, the  seminaries owned by Elimelech Meisels emailed announcements that they were sold to Mr. Yankie Yarmush (see text at bottom of post). Yankie’s wife works for Meisels at one of his seminaries and Yankie and Eli are old buddies who live near each other in Har Nof, Jerusalem. A number of informed insiders believe this is a sham sale and Yarmush is fronting for Meisels who will maintain control and eventually return.

Speaking of miscreants in  Har Nof, Meisels, who lives on 42 Shaulson Street, got a new neighbor, disgraced former American rabbi, Dovid Weinberger whose mail address is lives at 12 Shaulson Street. I shudder at the thought of those two teaming up to conduct private classes for young women.

The objective of this “sale” is to overcome the Chicago Beis Din’s ban on attending these seminaries because of Meisel’s history of unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature with his students. Thus far, Chicago has not accepted this sale as sufficient proof that the seminary is now safe for students, probably because they believe the sale is a sham. They may also feel other steps need to be taken such as firing staff who enabled Meisels in his abuse by turning a blind eye or rebuffing student complaints. Finally, they are pushing for financial compensation to Meisels’ victims out of the proceeds of any sale. If Chicago lifted the ban, the letter would have included this fact.

Meanwhile, the Israeli Beis Din issued a new ruling, repeating its old positions and adding on

  • A ban on other seminaries trying to recruit away students from the Meisels/Yarmush seminaries. (but nothing prevents the normal competition among seminaries for students choosing to move on their own).
  • A prohibition on defaming and slandering these seminaries (though it does not ban speaking badly of Meisels himself). (Moreover, the definition of slander depends on one’s understanding of the truth and of the need to protect others from harm).
  • An advisory not to listen to those who were not authorized or failed to listen to the facts. (It is not clear whether this last point can be applied to the Chicago Beis Din which has US jurisdiction on ruling on attendance at the seminaries by US students and most certainly conducted a thorough investigation. I believe it was worded to mislead the public while still be being technically accurate).

I believe the war between Chicago and Israel has just escalated and it will be a contest of wills. Chicago will win as long as Hebrew Theological College (HTC) and Touro continue to suspend the accreditation needed for students to get US government financial aid and the rabbis in Chicago are not intimidated. However. some parents who plunked down unrefundable deposits may acquiesce, especially if they are not eligible for much US government financial aid. On the American side this pits two members of the Moetzes (Council of Torah Sages – Agudath Israel of America) against each other. R. Aaron Feldman (Ner Israel- Baltimore is supporting Israel and R. Chaim Levin of Telz-Chicago is a member of the Chicago Special Beis Din (though he did not sit on this case).

In the meantime, the actual terms of the sale have not been disclosed, something which leaves many of us skeptical. For example, it is not clear who will be the new board of directors and officers, the period over which the sale will be carried out, or whether the entitity(s) are incorporated as private organizations or not-for-profits. The latter makes sense for all sorts of tax advantages. If so, it would be illegal to sell their assets to benefit a private individual. (I will have more to say in a future post about how this arrangment may well be a blatant violation of civil law and dina dimalchusa dina and yet is a common practice in the Haredi world.)

Stay tuned.

——————-

From: pninim seminary american office <penseminary@gmail.com>
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Sent: Thu, Jul 24, 2014 11:47 pm
Subject: IMPORTANT UPDATE FROM PNINIM PRINCIPALS

​July 24, 2014

Dear Incoming Parents and Students,

We are pleased to inform you that Pninim Seminary is now under new ownership.  The Bais Din of  Ha Rav Mendel Shafran, shlita​, has just finalized the total transfer of the seminary.  Rabbi Elimelech Meisels is completely unaffiliated in any aspect to any of the seminaries.  This includes financial aspects.

Mr. Yankie Yarmush of Har Nof has assumed the mantle of ownership.  We will iyh send you a more detailed letter in the next few days.  In addition, an official letter from the Bais Din of Harav Shafran, Shlita, explaining and supporting the sale will be sent to you as well.

Parents are once again encouraged to call Rabbi Simon, Pninim’s new principal, with any questions.  In addition we are offering another option which may give you greater clarity.  Rabbi Burstyn, a veteran principal in Bais Yaakov of Los Angeles, was approached by the Chicago Bais Din regarding Pninim and the other seminaries.
He has been involved in the proceedings throughout and has detailed information regarding the matter.   Rabbi Burstyn has offered to be available to speak to parents who wish to call him.
His number is 323-653-4100 (home) and 323-938-3231 (school).

We look forward to a wonderful year together iyh .  We will keep you posted with both the Bais Din letter and a more detailed letter from our seminary very shortly.

Have a wonderful Shabbos.

Sincerely,

Rabbi Boruch D. Simon               Mrs Baila Lehman
Pninim Principals

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156 thoughts on “BREAKING- Yankie Yarmush Buys Seminaries From Meisels

  1. If everything was all kosher, they would have written, “The CBD has retracted their initial statement discouraging girls to attend the seminaries. They have now given their approval for all girls to attend.”

    Rabbi Simon was a teacher in Pninim – how do we know he wasn’t part of the cover up? I’m not accusing him, I’m just raising the issue that it will be very difficult to know which teachers enabled M. Getting rid of M is not enough. There are still people in the schools that shamed victims from coming forward and turned a blind eye when girls complained about M’s flirtatious comments.

    Btw….Does anyone know if the CBD actually got Burstyn involved? Other posts have alluded to the fact he’s friends with M. I don’t put it past the school to write blatant lies…

  2. “Rumor is he is back Meisels…”

    That’s what it is – a rumor. Unless you speak to R’ Levine personally and find out he is backing him, which I doubt, don’t post rumors. Now that, is loshon hara.

  3. “In addition we are offering another option which may give you greater clarity. Rabbi Burstyn, a veteran principal in Bais Yaakov of Los Angeles, was approached by the Chicago Bais Din regarding Pninim and the other seminaries. He has been involved in the proceedings throughout and has detailed information regarding the matter. Rabbi Burstyn has offered to be available to speak to parents who wish to call him. His number is…”

    1 – Does the Chicago Beis Din agree that Rabbi Burstyn represents their Beis Din and their findings?

    2 – If not, this is a VERY deceptive thing the Seminary is doing by giving out his phone number, saying “He has been involved in the proceedings.” Meisels was also “involved in the proceedings” and “was approached by the Chicago Beis Din”!! Obfuscating the truth is not something that is going to inspire confidence in the Seminaries or the change of ownership.

    3 – The Chicago Beis Din should set up and publicize a call-in phone number with a recording where all 3 rabbanim verbally endorse the recording, and where one of them (or each of them) say whatever it is that they would say to any parents who would call them privately. They should also say in the recording that unless the recording is changed or updated, it stands as their position on the matter.

    There is no reason people should have to say “I heard someone called Rabbi X and he said ZYXW.” Some people are more auditory, and hearing a chashuv Rov involved who was part of the Beis Din, unequivocally say what the position of the Beis Din is, and what they found, may carry more weight with them than reading a blog that keeps repeating, albeit correctly, that the Chicago Beis Din has not retracted their Psak Din.

    • Chicago Beis Din has not retracted their psak.

      You are right. The seminaries in Israel are deceptive!!!!!!!!

  4. R. Chaim Levin of Telz-Chicago is a member of the Chicago Special Beis Din (though he did not sit on this case).

    Should read —-(though he did not xxxx (deleted by Yerachmiel Lopin) on this case – YET!).

  5. What I am wondering is what rules, if any, were placed on Meisels to prevent him from re-offending. ie attend therapy, no contact with young women, apologize and restitution, etc. So they removed him from the seminaries (or not), but has he come to recognize the error of his ways and seek help so he does not harm any more young women? Has he done teshuva of some sort? Or is he in denial about what he did and the tremendous harm he has caused?
    I do believe that some sins are so great in magnitude as to be unredeemable and that what he did falls in this category but it is incumbent upon him to at least recognize the error of his ways and not repeat his past offenses.
    Or perhaps that is too much to expect from a megalomaniac, delusional, perverse person.

  6. So now parents like me are really messed up. Now the IBD ruled that other seminaries cannot accept our kids we are stuck either sending our kids with NO college credits and no guarantee of safety. They are taking the parents choice away from us – that I feel is despicable and unforgivable!!!. I am truly appalled by this. .

    • The beis din in israel is beyond corrupt. Just like the catholic church, covering up sex abuse. I pity their din v’ cheshban.

      Im gonna follow the chicago psak, they defend our jewish girls.

        • When did daas baalabatim atrophy to the point where they can no longer use the phrases used all the the time in the alter heim about din v’cheshbon? When did it happen that somone who actually saw evil things needs to defer to a doubting sevorah or pilpul from someone who does not claim to know any of the facts? I understand you choose not to believe her. But should she also need your permission for her choice of language.

          It is exactly your sort of mentality that Meisels probably used to intimidate girls who were led to ignore their seichel and give preference to pilpul in the service of perversion.

          I say we need less charismatic hashkafah and more of the fifth shulchan aruch of seichel.

    • I wonder if people can get their deposits back because the implicit contract in giving the deposit was the accredidation and availability of US govt financial assistance. Thus, irrespective of the opionion of the Israeli Beis din about the suitability of these seminaries, and who is to blame for the Touro and HTC suspension of accreditation, the contract is no longer being honored. I imagine the Chicago beis din could authorize both hearings of the case and a heter arcaos to pursue the matter in a civil court.

      Just to be clear, I do not think they are saying parents and students could not relocate. That is normal all the time for all sorts of reasons. They just blocked the competitor seminaries from openly pursuing those students. But, if a kid for other reasons should just happen to….

      • I would add on, that those who used credit cards should consider submitting claims to credit card companies alleging breach of contract/fraud to have the charges reversed. In particular note that accreditation was promised at the time you paid and it is no longer available. If someone could do the work, it would be helpful to scour the Internet wayback machine to establish that the promise of accreditation was on the websites of the seminaries. Also, those who have their physical literature should post images showing the same promises. It is important to have both for all four seminaries.

        Got to it people. Here is your chance to move from talk to action. If this tactic can succeed it would be a deal changer.

        • The credit card companies are going to probably hire lawyers for this, as it will be a LOT of money in claims – with thousands of dollars put down by each girl, and multiple girls for 4 schools. Even if it’s just 1/4 of the parents who put their deposit down by credit card, it’s still many thousands of dollars. The credit card companies and/or Meisels will get the best lawyers they can afford to fight this.

          If there is any lawyer who can represent ALL parents to their respective credit card companies (Amex, Visa, MasterCard), who can gather all evidence of the school contracts or websites showing that they guarantee school accreditation with those accrediting institutions, and then showing breach of contract or fraud or widespread allegations of sexual abuse by the owner/dean/teacher of the school – I’m not a lawyer – but there is power in numbers and in joining forces and this sounds like it’s worth a shot.

          * A year of Seminary in Israel – $21,985.00
          * Plane ticket on group flight to Israel – $1,016.83
          * Sending a care package to your daughter in Seminary with your brother-in-law’s aunt who is going to Israel – FREE
          * Finding out 6 weeks before school starts that the Seminary your daughter is set to attend, where you put down a few thousand dollars deposit, has the owner and operator of the Seminary being found by a reliable Beis Din which conducted a 3 month investigation, to have been having “unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature” with the girls in his schools, while teachers and administrators in those schools both dismiss and make light of your concerns, with the Seminary not offering to return your deposit and your daughter stuck in a quandary which may ruin her entire life – PRICELESS

          For Everything Else… There’s MasterCard.

          • Hey – I am not sure where you got 1016.00 for a plane ticket – I paid $i875.00 for the ticket alone.

  7. A clarification: Dave Weinberger is not actually living at 12 shaulson. He is receiving mail there, but not living there. I know this through my har nof contacts. Where he is actually living is unknown to me and my contacts.

    • he’s been hanging around in imre shefer. saw him and meisles davening at the same minyan in the shtiebs. he is on boston’s shiur sched, giving a daf yomi shiur.

      • There is a Rabbi David Weinberger giving 7:30 daf yomi shiurim in English in the Bostoner Shul. However, the gabbai of the shul informs me it is a different D. Weinberger. He emailed in response to my inquiry and wrote:

        He [the Rabbi David Weinberger doing shiurim in their shul] is not [the Dovid Weinberger formerly rav of Shaaray Tefilla in Lawrence, NY]. [the one doing shiurim in their shul] is originally from Akron, Ohio. He has been giving daf yomi in English for many years
        He used to be my downstairs neighbor in Har Nof.

        All the best,
        ​Betzalel​
        Secretariat of the Bostoner Rebbe shlit”a
        Yerushalayim, 5774

  8. just read kahane’s letter again. I am in a state of shock. It is hard to believe that a sane man, let alone an educator responsible for educating so many girls can write such a sick letter. What a dishonest person. The great nisayon before Moshiach is that when Eli Meisels went to bed with innocent girls, we should all keep quiet so that it can happen agaon and again in all our institiutions! For this great act and for passing this “difficult” nisayon, Moshiach will come???? This delusional mind is a proof to the theory of evolution. It is clear that his seichel never developed past the Neanderthal stage. That is the only way I can be dan him L’kaf zechus.

    G-D, in his infinite wisdom, deemed it appropriate that rapist Meisels should abuse our precious bnos yisroel and that OUR challenge as good soldiers and automotons is V’Yidom Ahron. Let’s all keep quiet. No. You are wrong!!! Now is the time to act for the sake of the dignity of bnos yisroel. It is the time to act zealously like Pinchos, not to practice V’Yidom Ahron.

    We are constnatly lectured about tznius…and trust me it is a big problem here in Flatbush and deserves to be spoken about, but here we have the biggest breach in tznius imaginable and where are the asifas???? Where is the statement by the Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah stating that our girls are not hefker???? Are we reliving Pilegesh B’Givah? What has happened to our generation?

    Mr. Kahane – As I write I am growing more and more enraged. Who the hell do you think you are? Where is your modesty, the modesty that you preach to your wonderful army about skirt lengths? Where is your honesty or is it all just a game? Where is YOUR gevurah? Your student, under the name truth teller has shown gevurah. Where is yours??? How many people have you let down? How much will OUR emunas chachomim suffer because of you???

    It reminds me of Kolko who molested hundreds of kids at Torah Temimah and in camp. Aas terrible as Kolko is, many victims HATE MArgoliues with an enmity that can not be described because he mocked them, made them feel like dirt and stole their hopes and dreams. Meisels is an animal, but you Mr. Kahane are a lowlife for engaging in a coverup. There is absolutely zero justification.You are destroying your talmidos. You are scarring them for life and ultimately you will be responsible for their loss of innocence and diminished respect for yiddishkeit.

    It is not too late for you to recant. Issue an apology to all victims. Offer your support. Institute a game changer program where your schools will institute protocols to ensure this never happens again. Pay for therapy. Defend the Bnos Yisroel. Stand up for tznius and for Hashem’s glory.

    Your words are hollow. You have turned black into white, Your values are totally corrupt and you words are truly evil.

    Yesh Din V’Dayan. Chas Veshalom to say that Hashem is a Vatran.

    I truly hope that a spirity of empathy and yahrus enters your heart of stone. I truly hope that a flicker of humanity awakens you to do the right thing. I truly hope that you will still prove to be the exception to this sick cancer that is eating away at our society.

    .

    • Jack @ 1:29 7/25::
      superb superb comment. wouldst that every rabbi, every teacher, every mechanech, male and female, in the frum world would read your comment slowly, slowly and absorb it into their minds and souls , . Yasher Koach. One of the best comments ever on FF, norah chaval that this subject is so recurrent, ad ein sof…. kol hakavod.

  9. Im a bit confused. Yarmush (as far as i understand) is a business person. He owns businesses, and has a shul in his house. what does he have to do with owning/buying a seminary?
    Did he buy this as an investment? that would be quite strange?
    unless he bought it as a mitzvah? How would it sound if Mr. Reichman (obm) bought BMG?

    • Paull Reichman, ztz”l was a baal tzedakah. Yankie Yarmush is a businessman into asbestos removal and a close buddy of Meisels. I have to wonder if he wants to kasher the seminary by waving a wand over it or really cares about hauling out all the toxic waste. Nobody even knows how much more there is in those seminaries.

      Given all the problems at the seminaries it is not clear if it is even worth anything or whether it was bought for a prutah. I am not aware of anyone outside the Israeli beit din who has seen the actual terms of the sale.

      • I heard that yarmush has nothing to do with meisels and actually has a big cell phone business in Israel for rentals … Which btw meisels did not use in his sem which would make it seem that they are not connected

        • Meisels was real big on his IPhone and allowed pninim girls to use them. In fact Meisels would answer calls while giving classes. I happen to consider that very rude, especially for a teacher, but that is separate issue.

          Yarmush and Meisels are buddies.

          Yarmush’s big business is asbestos removal in Brooklyn and his father is a very capable owniner and operater of real estate. It is not clear how much Yarmush has ever done on his own. I cannot see how removing toxic waste is a qualification for owning a seminary. It might be different if he was committed to hauling off all the enabling toxic staff and faculty. But the Israeli beis din proclaimed everything is great about those seminaries, except one person who is gone.

          I have to wonder where you are getting your info. Is it from the Meisels camp or are you are part of it.

            • That is the substance of the problem. A bais din heard the case and wrote a letter stating we should not send our daughters to these schools. They are as aware as the rest of us that a sale has reportedly taken place. They have not issued another letter reversing their earlier decision based on this sale, which they will do if and when they are convinced the danger has been removed.

              Yet we have people posting all kinds of nonsense ‘proving’ that the decision of the CBS is no longer to be followed, all on the tail of hundreds of posts on this and other Orthodox oriented blogs claiming the CBS was wrong to begin with, that the letter was forgedd, that the CBS agrees with the Israeli ‘bais din’, nothing happened and it was the fault of the girls anyway and a few other twists of the same perverse claims in defense of an Uber Frum speak no loshon horah pervert and his very frum perversity.

              I’ve been down this road as a friend to a victim of another prolific perv in black. Clueless is actually the nicest excuse I can imagine for the pervert assisting, molestation enabling abuse inviting idiocy disguised as frumkeit.

              If it isn’t complete self imposed cluelesness that drive this pathological defense of the indefensible it must be pure evil.

              Not wanting to buck the trend of cluelesness, i have chosen to wrap myself in the flag of frumkeit too and have chosen to be dan lekaf zechus and fool myself into judging Clueless as takeh clueless. He/she should accept it as praise.

            • I am pretty confident that the Chicago Beis Din is convinced that the sale to Yarmush is a sham and Meisels will retain indirect control, and probably come back in a few years. Moreover, it is the Chicago position, when people approach them that the Israeli Beis Din has no standing. It was not handed jurisdiction by Chicago. Moreover it cannot rule on its own on the safety of the sems because it never spoke to a single one of the victims who spoke to Chicago. Not one. I can respect the integrity of a beis din while believing it made a seriously wrong decision. But a beis din that rules without hearing both sides is shamefully corrupt.

            • Lopin are you JOKING?

              They haven’t heard the girls side?

              Please confirm this is 100% true as far as your knowledge goes.

    • Mr. Reichmann was at one time very involved in chinuch. It would sound quite good.

  10. there are unconfirmed raid that David Weinberger son who is rov in inwood shul that they want to fire him cause of his fathers sexual assault.

  11. The Yarmish’s are an family. Both parents including all kids devote their his lives to chesed and charity. Monetary gains are only for the purpose of living. He is a very successful business man that’s as humble as can be. They shy away from “kovod” and live selfless lives. Their house is always filled with guests that don’t have meals for Shabbos as well as families that don’t have anywhere to go. Mrs yarmish is one of the biggest “tzadeikas’s” walking the face of this earth. If there was anyone that can turn this situation into somewhat of a success, it would be this family alone.

    • This sounds more like a huckster commercial than an honest statement of knowledge. I don’t know the truth of your relationship to Yarmush, Meisels or others involved in this story. But, just saying….

      Also, they are well know to live high on the hog in the lap of luxury. Yankie Yarmush is a businessman first. he is a close friend of Meisels and he is fronting for him and may very well sell it right back if the scandal dies down.

    • CJ- in no way am I assuming you are lying. In fact, you may be right on target with all the chessed etc that the Yarmush family has done and continues to do.

      However-

      It was a little scary reading your post…anyone who has ever been to the Meisles household can tell you that they were very much the same. Successful business-man Meisles with the perfect family who takes in countless of girls/ppl for their meals and does a tremendous amount with their physcial belongings to help others in need…

      Unfortunately, this kind of drive to help others does not constitute one eligible to own and run a seminary.

      The CBD does not want anyone affiliated with Meisles in the slightest. I will speak for only myself when I say that I think the IBD is certainly corrupt OR simply is not doing their job right (not investigating the teachers, and now allows Yarmush ownership).

  12. That is the substance of the problem. A bais din heard the case and wrote a letter stating we should not send our daughters to these schools. They are as aware as the rest of us that a sale has reportedly taken place. They have not issued another letter reversing their earlier decision based on this sale, which they will do if and when they are convinced the danger has been removed.

    Yet we have people posting all kinds of nonsense ‘proving’ that the decision of the CBS is no longer to be followed, all on the tail of hundreds of posts on this and other Orthodox oriented blogs claiming the CBS was wrong to begin with, that the letter was forgedd, that the CBS agrees with the Israeli ‘bais din’, nothing happened and it was the fault of the girls anyway and a few other twists of the same perverse claims in defense of an Uber Frum speak no loshon horah pervert and his very frum perversity.

    I’ve been down this road as a friend to a victim of another prolific perv in black. Clueless is actually the nicest excuse I can imagine for the pervert assisting, molestation enabling abuse inviting idiocy disguised as frumkeit.

    If it isn’t complete self imposed cluelesness that drive this pathological defense of the indefensible it must be pure evil.

    Not wanting to buck the trend of cluelesness, i have chosen to wrap myself in the flag of frumkeit too and have chosen to be dan lekaf zechus and fool myself into judging Clueless as takeh clueless. He/she should accept it as praise.

    • I am pretty confident that the Chicago Beis Din is convinced that the sale to Yarmush is a sham and Meisels will retain indirect control, and probably come back in a few years. Moreover, it is the Chicago position, when people approach them that the Israeli Beis Din has no standing. It was not handed jurisdiction by Chicago. Moreover it cannot rule on its own on the safety of the sems because it never spoke to a single one of the victims who spoke to Chicago. Not one. I can respect the integrity of a beis din while believing it made a seriously wrong decision. But a beis din that rules without hearing both sides is shamefully corrupt.

      • I cannot stress this point enough. The Meisels defenders still out there gloss over the inconvenient truth that the IBD has not interviewed a single victim. This whole thing stinks. On top of that, The IBD is being overly generous in their assessment of the existing staff at the sems, as well as the sham sale. Taken together, the CBD is not changing their original decision.

        Yet, if people want to pervert the truth, or call the CBD ignorant or agenda-driven or (most laughable) paid off, then people can make themselves believe anything they want in their little fantasy worlds.

        The truth is that not one of the members of the CBD have retracted. Not one. Doubt me? Contact R’ Zev Cohen or R’ Fuerst and you will hear the truth from them.

        Interested in rumors or fantasy? Then continue playing make-believe if you like, but the rest of us are here in the real world.

  13. For all those who claim to have spoken to Kahane-

    Listen, it may be that much of the faculty is innocent. It may be that they are great teachers. It may be that they have changed thousands of lives and promise to do the same for your daughter.

    BUT.

    The head faculty of these schools refuse to apologize or feel the pain of the girls.

    I truly have nothing more to say. I hope Touro does not re-connect it’s ties with the school and I hope the schools will close. I understand that so many people’s parnassah is at stake..but-

    Otherwise- the entire orthodox community will simply say an event like this is “no big deal” and it will pass by.

    For all the mothers out there who are choosing to send their daughters to the schools (I will say something bold)- SHAME on you.

    This is not just about your daughters. This is about the girls who were taken advantage of, about certain staff who are acting atrociously.

    Stand up for the girls who were taken advantage of. Stand up for them and do what is right. These seminaries should close and should stand as a heavy example of just how serious sexual abuse should be taken. Stand with the Bais Din of Chicago, who are the true heroes in this situation. Be bold like them and stand your ground.

    Don’t send your daughters. For the sake of the victims. Don’t send your daughters.

    • Anyone who would knowingly send his / her daughter to a seminary whose principal is at best terribly ignorant (“loshon ha’ra l’toeles is assur”) and in complete denial, against the urging of distinguished rabbonim who have no vested interest other than the safety and tahara of our young ladies is at best delusional and a complete fool.

      As a professional, I can tell you that they are risking their daughters’ psychological well-being, innocence, and a whole lot more.

      Read my lips: THE SAFETY OF OUR CHILDREN COMES FIRST.

      What word in the previous sentence does anyone not understand?

  14. Where does “Jack” get his info that “Eli Meisels went to bed with innocent girls”?

    • You’re late, or willfully ignorant. The CBD paskened that there was “unwanted sexual contact”. One cannot be more explicit than that.

      • Triangle: I don’t know who is being willfully ignorant, but: 1: “sexual contact” is not the same as “went to bed with.” 2: The CBD did not pasken that there was unwanted sexual contact. They write that they investigated allegations of unwanted sexual contact , and determined that he is a danger to the students. Considering what we have heard here from TruthSeeker and others about his grossly inappropriate behavior and emotional manipulation, that could very well be what the Beis Din was referring to, or at least we don’t have a right to assume more than that until they state so.

        • Absolutely, the CBD paskened that there WAS unwanted sexual contact. Absolutley. I heard it from them myself. Want to keep your head in the sand? Go for it. Want to know the truth? Just call R’ Zev Cohen or R’ Fuerst. Their words make it clear that Meisels is a monster who doesn’t belong near young women, and who has used a position of authority to take advantage of them. Monstrous behavior.

          Now, I don’t understand how you parse the difference between “unwanted sexual contact” and “went to bed with.” It’s a distinction without a difference, as far as I’m concerned. The only difference would be some kind of silly parse the way Bill Clinton tried. And we know how well that went for him.

          But if you like, you can just stick your head back in the sand and believing things that aren’t true because you’re too lazy to make one phone call. It’s much easier to present your own version of the “facts” here.

        • It breaks my heart to tell you…that when they said “sexual contact”, they meant exactly that. It was not simply flirty and inappropriate behavior. If you’re curiosity wants more info then that, please call Bais Din.

          What he did was horrific beyond anyone’s imagination…I unfortunately know the details..

          • TruthSeeker, you say you know the details. Would you please let us in on them? Many of us have been asking for just that and no one has really come out with it. What are the details?! I really do need something to wrap my brains around and so do many others whose comments I have read.

            • Rational Thinker-

              I’d love to help. Trust me, I want to expose every disgusting inch of him…

              Unfortunately, for some details I have told the person that I will not repeat it over. And others…I asked very detailed questions to the right people and got the shock of my life..this doesn’t answer your question.

              I truly apologize. I always want to help and give over info to ppl on this blog but…I don’t know if this is something I have the emotional enegery/ the right to do…perhaps I will change my mind later, but as of now, I don’t think I’m the right one to share with you his disgusting acts (I almost gaged once thinking about it).

              Again, apologies that I am of no help this time… 😦

            • He took sexual advantage of young, impressionable women that were weak and under his spell. Does it really matter how many women? There were several. What else do you need to know? I mean, really, do you need to know which positions, or what acts he had the girls do? Respectfully, that’s not going to be revealed here. But it WAS revealed to the CBD.

            • I just want to know which years, and during what parts of the year…beginning, middle, end?

          • It all sounds like the Jonathan Pollard controversy. “He did such terrible things…He irreparably harmed the United States….” and on and on. Nobody has yet to explain what exactly Mr. Pollard did that was so harmful to our country. Indeed, those who did see the classified file on him say he did absolutely nothing!

            There are so many people commenting about the terrible things Rabbi Meisels did. But, they are not at liberty to tell us what exactly he did that was so awful. I for one am tired of it. Perhaps he did nothing terrible at all.

            • Rest assured that Mr. Meisels is guilty of unwanted physical sexual contact with at least dozens of his students. New reports are pouring into me all the time. I see no need to satisfy voyeurism and specify the details. These facts alone are enough to make Meisels unfit to hold the title rabbi and make his seminary a demonstrably dangerous place for students because the other staff utterly failed to respond to all the obvious clues of abuse.

              Pollard is a poor analogy for your argument. Up to point there are parallels. Meisels like Pollard confessed his guilt. The dispute re Pollard is the length of the sentence. In Meisels’ case, the question of the amount of compensation owed to specific individuals for damages is not the subject of the present ruling by the Chicago Beit Din. Obviously, if a beis din or court takes up assessing damages, the specifics become very relevant. But for now the question is whether the Meisels seminaries are safe for students. Chicago believes they are dangerous because there are staff who enabled the abuse and continue to deny it happened and the sale is believed to be a sham with Meisels retaining control.

            • Rational Thinker:
              “There are so many people commenting about the terrible things Rabbi Meisels did. But, they are not at liberty to tell us what exactly he did that was so awful. I for one am tired of it. Perhaps he did nothing terrible at all.”

              This is for the protection of the privacy of the victims, who have been violated enough already. But would you agree that sex by definition involves genitals? It would stand to follow then that “unwanted contact of a sexual nature” would have involved genitals. Why would you need to know anything more than that?

  15. I heard that the Chicago beis din now says that it is okay to go to these schools. Can anyone confirm that?

    • Who cares what anyone “heard”? And I’m not counting the voices in your head. GO AND CALL RABBI COHEN OR RABBI FUERST. They will tell you everything you need to know. But putting out false information and causing just enough doubt, especially after parents plunked down many thousands of dollars….just might be enough to push them to send their girls, right?

      That’s why every time a false post like yours comes up, it needs to be refuted.

  16. I think the problem is bigger than removing Meisels. The entire system of parents spending $20K plus to ship their sheltered daughters to a hefker environment has to be reviewed. Perhaps it’s not a good idea & the herd mentality overtakes thoughtful conversations.

  17. One thing is very clear. All the people here that respond with all sorts of incoherent insults to anybody suggesting that he may not be as guilty as alleged. You are the ones that have your head in the sand. All of a sudden you “trust” a Bais din while at the same time distrust most other batei din. So let’s leave the Bais din out of it.

    Simply believing every allegation is stupidity to the utmost degree. I don’t claim to know what happened in this case but reading your comments makes me think of Joseph McCarthy and the red scare.

    • False equivalency. And nice try. Only one bais din actually spoke to the victims. Care to guess which one that was? And if you either don’t know or are unfamiliar with R’ Fuerst, R’Schwartz and R’ Cohen, then there’s no point in going further. They are among the leaders and the brightest lights that Chicago has. They each have stature far beyond the city. But you try to equate to batei din that had very different roles. Believe what you want, and then go back and tell Meisels to pay you for another post.

      • Did you contact the IBD? If no, how do you know who they spoke to. Because they may not have believed the victim doesn’t mean that they didn’t speak with them.

        Are we going to start comparing rabbonim now?

        Suffice it to say that a big player in pushing these charges (Gottesman) has been reported to have a major connection with zvi bloom who (surprise surprise) was trying to buy the seminaries for pennies and when that didn’t work out he openly tried recruiting them.

        Once again I don’t know what happened here. But you need to take your head out of the sand and stop treating every allegation as a fact.

        Making unfounded and silly accusations at anybody that disagrees with you is petty and doesn’t add credence to your arguments.

        • Since there are answers to these questions, why not just answer them?

          First, the CBD conducted a months’-long investigation and reached a conclusion. The “allegations” have been proven true in BD and have been publicized by the CBD. They are beyond allegations now.

          Second, with respect to trusting the CBD vs the IBD, excellent point. The reasons the CBD is trustworthy have to do with procedure, procedural transparency and track record of trustworthiness with regard to sexual abuse/misconduct cases.

          The CBD have followed a thorough investigative procedure, which included but was not limited to interviewing the victims (multiple) as well as Meisels himself. Based on their extensive investigations, they have concluded that there is enough evidence to indicate that Meisels is guilty of “unwanted sexual contact” and represents a danger to young women. The individual dayanim of the CBD have also made themselves available to take phone calls from concerned parents and community members about their procedure and their findings and are providing transparency as to the information and procedure upon which their conclusion was based.

          The IBD, by contrast, has followed no recognized procedure — there hasn’t even been time so it would have been impossible for them to have spoken to the relevant parties before they issued their letter regarding the safety of the schools — and is providing no transparency as to the methods used to reach their conclusion and the information upon which it is based, leaving it pretty much to “trust me” without having earned that trust.

          Also, the CBD has already ruled on this matter which makes it odd at the least, if not completely inappropriate for another BD to claim the case and issue their own contradictory ruling.

          In addition, the CBD has years of experience in hearing and ruling on sexual abuse and misconduct cases through which they have already proven to conduct themselves professionally and b’emunah. In contrast, at least one of the IBD dayanim has a years’-long track record of covering up and quieting abuse/misconduct cases and putting children at risk.

          Not all batei din are created equal.

          • first of all i would like to agree with you that not all batei dinim are created equal i would just like to argue on which one is right and which one is wrong first of all you say how could the IBD come out and say something in a case that is the CBD case but the CBD themselves in their first announcement said that they are giving it the IBD also you say the CBD has years of dealing with such cases and the IBD has no such experience then dont you find it a little odd that this same CBD would give the case to a BD that has no experience and last point i would like to know if you called up the IBD to know what checking and investigations they performed

            • I would just like to add one more point if you are bringing in which BD has a track record i would think that R Nissim Karelitz’s BD which is the IBD you are talking about is a little more chashuv and has a little better of a track record than the CBD

            • 1. Nissim Karelitz’s BD is not in this case. They have letterhead. The ad hoc IBD does not use their letterhead. So your reference to them is misleading.

              2. Jurisdiction is not a matter of prestige. A traffic court judge of a village in Rhode Island has more jurisdiction over a local speeding violation by a California tourist than the Chief Justice of the US Supreme court. Halachah is also like that. I do not know where and when Yeshivish education substituted competitive status shtick of who is more choshuv for the shulchan aruch’s position that jurisdiction is ordinarily local and one beis din cannot unilaterally usurp the jurisdiction of another. That is how halacha works.

            • The only way to really have jurisdiction in a BD is by signing borirus.The CBD does NOT have such a letter which means they don’t have any right to decide anything (other then the COURT of public opinion).On the other hand the IBD has a signed Shtar Borirus ,which makes them the only real BD!!!!

            • You’re right. And that “real beit din” forced Meisles to sell his seminaries and have no part in them.

              Take a wild guess why..

              How are ppl still so blind still?

              It’s denial…

            • You’re making a big mistake. The victims came to the CBD, and the CBD, after extensive investigation (drisha v’chakira) determined that Meisels is a monster and a threat. Regarding the choshen mishpat issues, the IBD may be the proper venue, but only vis a vis the choshen misphat issues.

              We are discussing something much bigger and more important, which is whether or not people should send their holy girls to these sems next year. As of this writing, the CBD continues to tell people not to attend.

              In other words, Chicago’s issue has been and continues to be the safety of the students. IBD needs to take care of the financial issues. It’s not that hard.

            • Actually, I believe you have your facts mixed up. I am quite sure IBD has no such shtarei berurin (binding arbitration agreements between parties). In fact I have been informed that Mr. Shlomo Gottesman has sent them a letter challenging their jurisdiction backed by his clients, at least two of the victims who brought their cases to the CBD. In the letter he asserts that neither they nor anyone else ever asked the IBD to assume jurisdiction.

            • Presumably when parents sent in their deposits they signed written contracts with the seminaries. Didn’t the contracts designate a specific beit din for resolution of disputes? I’m surprised that jurisdiction (for monetary disputes) is an issue here.

            • The beit din system is broken. Jurisdiction used to be fairly clear under the old model with coherent unified communities and a single designated beit din. Moreover, local jurisdiction is quite established in halacha. An outside beit din cannot overrule a local beit din on matters in its area. But now, residential areas include multiple communities and battei din. Moreover, the globalization of orthodox life further complicates multi-locale disputes.

              This is what makes the Chicago case unusual. The Chicago “Special Beis Din” has existed as a formal entity at least since 2000. It is recognized across the entire orthodox community with key members from all factions. While formally separate from the Chicago Rabbinical Council (CRC) it is lead by the av beis din of the CRC. The CRC is all-but universally accepted locally for kashruth. the Chicago BD asserts jurisdiction because at least one of the complainants is Chicago area resident. CBD has national figures to legitimate it. R. Gedalia Dov Schwartz is Av Beit Din emeritus of the RCA. R. Chaim Levin (on the BD but not this panel) is Rosh Yeshiva of Telz and a member of the Moetzes (Council of Torah Sages of Agudath Israel of America). For all these reasons, no American rabbi of any stature is willing to publicly deny their jurisdiction re the power of their psak to not send kids to those seminaries. That is why Touro College and Hebrew Theological College have suspended accreditation of the Meisels seminaries.

              I don’t know the text of the deposit agreements. If anyone has one it would be helpful to us if you could share it. I will post them if I get them after I redact names and other identifying information.

              Parents wishing to get their deposits back should be able to claim breach of contract. Enrollment was premised on the stated claim that the seminaries are accredited by HTC and Touro which is no longer true.

              I am not sure about recourse for reversing charges on credit card bills by writing to the bank and pointing out the accrediation problem. Copies of the literature promising accreditation would also be helpful and I will post them as I get them.

            • Yerachmiel: Please explain how this comment meets the standards of you moderation policy.

            • I take strong exception to these unfounded and scurrilous comments. The point of this blog, i hope, is for a reasoned discussion of facts. Such attacks are simply out of place and I trust the moderator will delete the above comment.

            • Please stop repeating the claim that Chicago handed over jurisdiction. If that is true, Israel can and should show us the written proof. SHOW ME THE WRITTEN PROOF OR STOP MAKING THE CLAIM.

            • I would add that if anything was “handed over” it was limited to the choshen mishpat issues, as the IBD letter states. That seems pretty reasonable, since the IBD could, in theory, have a better ability to monitor the financial goings on at the sems. But there is no controversy whatsoever that Meisels did what he has been accused of doing. The IBD wasted no time in ensuring that (at least according to their understanding) that Meisels was gone.

              Now, the CBD argues on what constitutes “gone” and how much Meisels has infected the schools and the staff. But in essence, both Batei Din agree that there was abuse.

              Any claims to the contrary are simply excuses designed to paint Meisels in a positive light. Of course, attempting to excuse evil is evil, as well.

            • lost cause:

              The letter from the CBD dated July 10, 2014 says, “A[n] … Israeli Beis Din … has assumed responsibility” which is VERY different than had it said, “we have transferred responsibility to…” It is clear that CBD did NOT transfer the case to the IBD, as YL has repeatedly confirmed.

            • There is no need to call up the IBD to know what checking and investigations they performed before issuing their decision that the seminaries are safe because it clearly states in the IBD letter dated July 13, 2014: “Od kodem l’birur hateviot v’hataanot atzman, ra’inu tzorech l’hotzi mispar hachlatot beinayim she’mataratan haamadat nihul haseminarim al tzad hayoter tov m’bechina ruchanit” which means ‘even before any investigation of the claims and complaints we saw a need to publish a number of interim decisions for the purpose of the standing of the administration of the seminaries as being on the superior side from a spiritual perspective.” Again, the IBD itself acknowledges that this declaration of safety was made BEFORE ANY investigation was begun by them.

        • Pull your own head out.

          The guy is a pervert who sexually abused teenage students in his schiols.

          I promise you that if anyone made that allegation against me I’d have them in court quicker than you can say ‘Meisels is a pervert’. Interesting that he hasn’t sued or summoned any of his accusers to bais din. Simple reason for that: The girls aren’t his accusers. They are his victims and he knows it.

          Wait, here it comes. He hasn’t sued because he is a tzaddik and doesn’t want to embarrass his accusers who he knows are problem girls from problem families and he doesn’t want them to c”v go OTD. And he cares for his talmidos so much that even after they made such accusations against him, the tzaddik yesod olam, he doesn’t want to ruin their chances of getting a good shidduch. Also altz kavod hatorah, he doesn’t want to expose the corruption of the CBD by showing the world secret evidence he is holding.

          Did i leave out any other fantasies of the defenders of the indefensible?

          Like I said, time to pull your head out. The fresh air might do wonders for you defenders of the indefensible.

        • Chaim, Truthseeker says she spoke with R’ Fuerst in Chicago and he confirmed to her, with details she says she was told not to disclose further, that Meisels engaged in “unwanted sexual contact” with seminary girls. You accuse her of “making unfounded and silly accusations,” yet you do not claim to have spoken to any member of either BD or any accusing victim. If that in itself is not an “unfounded accusation” — you say yourself you don’t know what happened — I don’t know what would be. Whether or not someone tried to profit from this situation is irrelevant to what took place, and is irrelevant to the ruling of the Chicago Special Beit Din.

    • *rolls eyes*

      Apologies to everyone. I’m usually the one running away for any ‘bashing’ on the blog, but today is just not my day.

      Chaim, I have ZERO patience for ppl like you and “AmYisroel” who have posted today simply out of sheer IGNORANCE.

      I’ll repeat myself- get educated or please do everyone here a favor and do not waste space by posting. You know nothing of this topic and I happen to know A HECK OF A LOT. Educate yourself or do not waste our time with ignorant comments.

      (I feel bad it has come to this point where I need to speak so strongly against people. I only want to post when I can give over info/outlooks, but the comments today are just too much for me to stand by and keep quiet…)

    • Let me say this loud and clear: we are going based off of what we hear…so far no one from meisels side has come out with any explanation…that kind of quiet is a sign of guilt. If he wants to clear his name, and his reputation (which by the way, is pretty much down the toilet by now) he will man up, and release some sort of statement. I am sure he knows that he is being ridiculed all over the internet. So until he says something, I, and everyone else so far is going with GUILTY! I used to be close with meisels, and i havent been able to stop thinking about this since i found out because I and so many other people feel utterly betrayed by his disgusting actions!!!

      • Just told someone today- “If Meisles and his supporters would have substantial proof that he is innocent, ppl would be on the blog posting things to claim his innocence and the backings…but you wanna know why they havnt? Bc to put it bluntly: they’ve got nothin’.”

  18. I have never commented on one of these blogs. However, since I am a concerned father and have a daughter that is supposed to be attending one of these sems next year I feel that I must ask a few questions. Also as a BT I have to say that I am quite shocked at some of the arguments and logic being used here.

    1) Didn’t the CBD ask the IBD to take this case (as is clearly stated in their first letter)? The IBD did not volunteer for this case they were asked by the CBD and R’ Aharon Feldman to take it on. (R’ Cohen confirmed this).
    2) Why is everyone so happy about the approach that the CBD has taken? They are essentially agreeing that this perp should be protected by a rabbinical court (granted they might disagree with their fellow rabbis about the proper way to handle this situation) and that these allegations should not be handled by the proper authorities!? Why is everyone OK with that? Don’t tell me its because he’s in Israel. There is something called the Cohen law there and it is pretty strong. The CBD could have easily made a few phone calls and it could have happened, unless they are also protecting Meisels.
    3) If there has been real criminal activity why haven’t the victims pressed charges against the perp and the CBD for negligence by allowing another BD in another country handle it? GO TO THE POLICE OR THE FBI!
    4) Who empowered the CBD to handle accusations about sexual misconduct? Do they have any real power or do they just refer and advise victims on why course of action to take? And if they don’t have any legal authority then how is their “psak” even a psak? It sounds like some rabbis giving “more good advice”.
    5) Not to harp/beat on the CBD because I know that these rabbinic leaders are all huge poskim, but how could a BD even include R’ AC Levin? (Granted he didn’t sit on this case, but it is my understanding that he has in the past) HE IS NOT A POSEK OR A DAYAN! A good holy Jew and well respected Rosh Yeshivah, but posek he is not! I called many friends in Chicago and asked them to name me 10 Rabbis they would ask a Halachic question to and NOT ONE of them mentioned R’ AC Levin! Talk about a Sham BD!
    6) How does R’ Aharon Feldman tie into all of this? I feel that he is the missing link. I spoke to CBD and they said that he was “representing the girls side in the IBD” and he had a signed document to prove that (a shtar borerin) . If that is the case, then shouldn’t he be the person that I need to talk to! Why hasn’t he said anything? And why can’t I get a hold of him!
    7) CBD never interviewed ANY staff members of the sems? They spoke to some of them but never any formal or comprehensive interviews. When pressed why not, they (CBD) told me that they have no jurisdiction here….even more confusing!
    8) I wanted to know if the allegations were in all 4 seminaries and I could not get a straight answer from the CBD! 2 for sure, the other 2…..not so sure. Maybe. Most likely. Could be. Again, not very helpful.
    9) So let me recap: A, sham/shaky, BD in Chicago heard some allegations about “sexual misconduct” and “investigated” these horrible crimes (at least they care). And due to the fact that have no real power or authority and instead of actually doing something about it, what did they do? They sent it to another BD, the IBD, to look into it and issue a “psak”. Which. they. did. The CBD wanted Meisels out and he’s out. The CBD, that had no power to issue a psak, now disagrees with the IBD psak that was empowered by the CBD in the first place! And both BD’s AGREE that Meisels should be out and HE IS OUT! And BOTH BD’s AGREE that the sale is a good sale, no argument from CBD on that. But the CBD still wants me (and TI and TOURO) to listen to them and not send my daughter to one of his schools (which they could never definitively tell me was ever a problem in the first place), because of ONE teacher? Call me a BT but it logically makes NO sense for me to listen to a BD that never had any power! And if they do have power then I am listening to them…..because they gave the power to IBD to pasken……and the perp is OUT of the schools!
    10) Why should I care if Meisels sold it to his Buddy? As long as the sale is a good sale and he’s out and there is new management and this Yarmish guy isn’t a perv, then I don’t care……unless what you are saying is that the sale is not a good sale because the IBD are a bunch of foolish, inexperienced Rabbis who were duped by these guys. Which in essence, is saying that the CBD are also a bunch of idiots because they “picked” the IBD! So either way, I will be listening to a bunch of idiots.
    Smells like politics from a 1000 miles away….and sounds like these BD’s are fighting over a lot less than it seems.
    Which brings me to my point: Maybe being a BT its easier for me to say, “I just don’t know”. I don’t know the extant of the allegations or if they are true. I don’t know if the CBD had any real halachic power to stand on. I don’t know if the IBD is the one to really listen to. I don’t know what, or whom, each BD spoke to or even how many times they spoke to them. I don’t know if there was a cover up or not. I don’t know if the sale was a real sale. I don’t know if they are buddies or not. I don’t why the CBD won’t tell TI and Touro to honor the college credits agreement if the “threat has been removed”, even if it was not handled exactly they way they would have done things. I don’t know why Nachlas sent out a letter signed by Tzvi Bloom who is the Executive Director of Torah Umesorah (R’ Aharon Feldman was representing some of the victims allegations via Torah Umesorah, to the IBD) to try and recruit my daughter during this difficult period. I can assume and deduce and interpret anything I want but that does not mean that I KNOW. Most BT’s have gone through these feelings before. And I am not afraid to say that I just don’t know a lot of things. But in this case I will say that I bet R’ Aharon Feldman knows and I plan on finding out how I can get to him before sending my daughter there.

    • 1. No, Rabbi Cohen from Chicago met with Rabbi Shafran to share the facts and to get the help of Israeli’s in convincing Meisels to step down, to transparently sell the seminary, to properly do a housecleaning of the enablers and to facilitate compensation to the many victims of Meisels. The request was not for beit din to be comprised and certainly not to transfer jurisdiction. It was merely in the manner of persuasion. There are two critical pieces of evidence that Israel must provide to justify its jurisdiction. They must show a written document from Chicago transferring jurisdiction. If Israel wants to claim jurisdiction over the issue of abuse they must show evidence that they listened to the victims of abuse who reported to Chicago. In fact they must also provide evidence that at least one of the victims accepted or was at last invited to accept their jurisdiction. Such documents will never appear (unless fabricated and forged) because such documents do not exist. The Israeli Beit Din was never granted the power to respond to the victims by either the victims themselves or by Chicago. CHICAGO DID NOT TRANFER JURISDICTION TO ISRAEL.

      2. When a victim is unwilling to pursue criminal charges a beis din can be the only alternative. As in the secular world, most victims of sexual abuse or harassment are too embarassed to go through a public criminal proceeding. This is even more true in the orthodox world. Alas, in this and many other cases, battei din are often willing to settle for a perpetrator to resign, quit the rabbinate, and remove self from activities and roles putting them in proximity with potential victims. Perhaps that would have been the outcome if Meisels went quietly into the night. But he didn’t and so the ante was upped.

      Rabbi Schwartz, the av beis din (presiding first dayan) clearly and openly advocates victims pursuing prosecution through the criminal justice system, without any obligation to first ask rabbis and without any veto power for rabbis. I am guessing that Rabbis Cohen and Feurst, given their Agudath Israel allignment believe rabbis should be consulted before proceeding to the criminal justice system. I have no idea how they would have ruled if their was no recourse through the beis din system. I think they are wrong. however, the plaintiff/victims made that choice. The choice was admittedly for most of them in the context of Yeshivish culture which can stigmatize and intimidate those who go to the criminal justice system on their own.

      4. On financial matters and some related matters, the parties can empower a beis din by signing shtarei berurin (binding arbitration agreements). When properly drafted, they are also recognized and enforcable in the civil court system. I do not know how that was handled in this case on either the Chicago or Israeli side.

      5. Rabbi Levin, while a member of the standing Chicago, “Special Beis Din” was not a member of the panel that handled this case. The panel consisted of Rabbis Schwartz, Cohen and Feurst. However, being a rosh yeshiva is qualification for the role of dayan. Orthodox rabbinical ordination is all about Jewish law. That is the overwhelming bulk of the activity of a rosh yeshiva. Many roshei yeshiva cannot hold their own on theology, philosophy or in-depth bible studies. But the rosh yeshiva of Telz-Chicago, a heavy-weight institution, can be assumed to be competent to function as a dayan if he applied himself in a modest way to those particulars.

      6. I am not aware of any signed documents delegating any power to R. Aaron Feldman (Rosh Yeshiva/Dean of Ner Israel Rabbinical College (NIRC) in Baltimore). He became aware of the case through a closed door meeting of Torah Umesora where this case was discussed, according to the CBD, and offered to help find Israeli rabbis to assist in getting pressure in Israel for some action. Rabbi Feldman spent many years in Israel before returning to the US to become Dean of NIRC. He connected the CBD to Rabbi Shafran. At this point, Feldman and Torah Umesora are insisting they are not parties to the case. Some informed insiders doubt that Rabbi Feldman was acting as a neutral in good faith but was in fact steering the case to the advantage of Meisels interest. Early on, one veteran of these matters privately predicted to me that if Feldman was involved the outcome would be a sham sale and no decisive action against Meisels. In the past, Torah Umesora has had a dismal record at confronting abuse. It has usually favored the interests of school owners over victims, most notoriously in the Yehuda Kolko case in Yeshiva Torah Temimah in Brooklyn. According to what I hear, the CBD is adamant that R. Feldman has no authorization, signed or unsigned. Instead, they insist he merely was a broker who connected them to a supposedly helpful and influential rabbi in Israel. If any parties claim to have written documents, let them show them. There is no specific confidential information in them that cannot be redacted. In the absence of documents, I am inclined to believe the CBD claims. Neither side has been overly shy about putting out documents in public.

      7. The CBD proceeded with Meisels as the defendent and the accusers as the plaintiffs. If they could not get other staff to appear before the court, they had enough information from hearing both sides and conducting other investigations to determine Meisels guilt which was enough to issue their ruling about his culpability and thus the unsafe conditions at the seminary. I would add from my experience in many such cases that a widespread pattern of abuse with obvious grooming on premises cannot go on for years without other staff being either enablers or incompetently oblivious.

      8. I do not know if it involved all 4 seminaries but definitely involved more than pninim, the seminary where Meisels was principal and spent the largest share of his time. He did periodically lecture in all of the seminaries and all four are close to each other in Jerusalem.

      9. I reiterate my previous point that Chicago insists it never handed over jurisdiction and Israel has never proved otherwise with any written document. The sale to Yankie Yarmush is a sham. Meisels favored Yarmush and rebuffed others who might have offered more. I and many others, including the CBD strongly suspect that Yarmush, a personal buddy of Meisels, is fronting for him and will pass control back to Meisels if/when the scandal dies down.

      10. The conduct of the Israeli beis din baffles me. My guess is that they are of the school that considers the preservation of an institution a paramount interest. Still more scary is that they may have been corrupted, not I think by cash bribes, but by personal attachments to key actors in the Meisels camp. They still adhere to the view that sex abuse is an abberation of select individuals, not a problem of policy and organizational culture. Hence their willingness to settle for Meisels leaving without examining the enabling.

      I hear Rabbi Feldman, like torah umesora, has gone silent. Sadly I fear they maneuvered a disastrous underminding of the Chicago Beis Din, which for all its shortcomings, stepped up to the plate. Now they are busy wiping away the fingerprints.

      BT or FFB, nobody should park their commonsense at the door of institutions, Jewish or secular. A teacher, rabbi, or school director has no business being sexually involved with students. A pattern that went on for years affecting many students is not just an individual crime; it is an institutional crime. The problem cannot be alleviated without admitting the problem and seriously revamping personnel, policies and management. Cosmetic change is not enough. Moreover, justice in this case requires financial compensation to the victims.

      Finally, good luck trying to get answers from R. Feldman. I hope I am wrong, but I strongly suspect he will dodge transparency.

  19. I’ve been following and reading Yerachmiel Lopin’s posts for a couple of years – and this is the first time I decided to comment. The evidence and new information that has emerged almost daily, is common and familiar – it is nauseating. I am referring to the increasingly horrific and heartbreaking reality of the abuse and damage Maisel’s caused to innocent souls within (and outside) the walls of his personally owned seminary’s.
    The Catholic Church scandals of child abuse by priests – and worse – the atrocities by those who knew of the abuse and covered it up; hushed it and brushed it under the carpet were the constant headlines plastered in the press over a decade ago. Many in the frum community knew that we were up at bat; we would be next, and they were right. The difference, besides the obvious religious belief system, is the speed by which we are able to hear about this disgraceful news. However, the pattern of human cognition (whether Catholic or Jewish, insular or non-insular communities) is the same.
    There is the BRAVE team of “first responder believers”; they know it’s true because sorrowfully, it is their truth as well. Or they are on this team because the pattern of events is unfortunately all too familiar. There is the HERO team of “second responder believers”; they are shocked and relieved knowing that whatever they might have witnessed or just felt inside was in fact authentic. And then, there is the SHAMEFUL team of “negative naysayers”; they are the loudest of all. They are blind-to reality; as their comments are overly dramatic, apathetic and vocal within their ignoramus unbridled, rage of anger mixed with a manic type of moonstruck passion and belief.
    One can almost see the tears streaming down their faces, or the seizing foam bubbling around their mouths that come along with their comments of, “this is false, you are a liar, it’s lashon hara, it’s motzi shem rah, the (victims) are messed up, you know they are drug addicts, they come from horrible families, they were always bad kids, they are known to lie, they were trouble makers since middle school, they should thank HaShem that this tzaddik, accepted them, how can you say this about this great man? He saved my life, he was always there for me, he’s a Gadol HaDur, I know him all my life! He’s a gomel chesed, just wait till Yom Kippur, how could you live with yourself, HaShem knows the truth…..” Do I need to go on?
    The damage done to the innocent souls by a sick and incurable perpetrator is horrendous. However, in my humble and yet unwavering opinion, the CONTEMPTUOUS ENABLERS, who usually never bother to ask the victims’ side of the event and instead, they cover it up, are far more dangerous. They hear the cries for help, or SEE the disgusting behavior of the pied piper; and yet for delusional reasons of protecting their institution and/or their community, profession, their parnassa etc., turn a blind eye. Yet worse, these enablers make it a 24 hour – full time job, using their own funds, to do what it takes to vilify, accuse, create scenarios of fault to the victim, thereby re-victimizing an already broken soul.
    For those who have B”H never been a re-victimized victim and/or been a part of the trusted loved ones of the victim, perhaps it can be better understood if compared to the pain of being swiftly CUT BY A RAZOR-SHARP KNIFE while cooking, baking, fixing a power tool, building a table that requires assembly, etc. The cut can be deep; however there is an initial moment of painless shock. This reaction is almost immediately followed by excruciating and agonizing suffering, torment and agony. Depending on the depth of the cut, the pain will last for a while and then heal. The scar that remains will carry the memory of the event, regardless of the strength of the stitches applied.
    If you are one, or if you come in contact with loud, ignorant people, who cover up the crimes of these deranged “tzaddikim” or worse convince the victim, family members and everyone around to remain silent for their own sake; for shidduch purposes, etc., by drowning the victim in character assassination, of the victim and the family. Yet at the same time protect the gadlus of the perpetrator; please do not jump on the bandwagon; regardless of who the “shameful team” is comprised of. Please take a moment and think for yourself; reflect on the mashal of the sharp knife description. Please be cognizant that re-victimization very often causes increased guilt, burden, distress and worry for the innocent victims, and at times can be more difficult to overcome then the abuse itself. Do you want to be part of that, or would you rather be part of helping a victim move on with his or her life and achieve goals? All it takes to be part of the latter is empathy, validation and belief. Additionally, do not comment on the internet or in real life if you do not know the entire story. After all, who in their right mind would intentionally put themselves into a whirlwind of this hell, and report a “gadol” if it were not the emes?
    People like Yerachmiel Lopin who make it their duty to get down to the truth of the matter, are to be praised because he along with others who publicly advocate for the victims, many times are fighting an uphill battle. May HaShem continue to give you the strength to step up and do what it takes to expose the likes of Meisel’s and his human smokescreens.

  20. I JUST GOT OFF THE PHONE WITH RABBI FUERST-

    He seemed pretty upset on the phone- he confirmed with me that they DO NOT accept the sale bc Yarmish and Meisles are friends.

    He confirmed that the Israeli Bais Din has NOT done the proper procedures of firing staff members and looking into the faculty.

    And he confirmed that the IBD has NOT EVER spoken to Meisles’ victims.

    Rabbi Fuerst refuses to abide by the IDB and their take on all this. Like I said before, the IBD is certainly corrupt.

    NONE OF THIS MAKES ANY SENSE.

  21. Just Wondering…I can speak for myself and others when I say that your posts are draining the emotional-physical energy from ppl.

    It sounds to me (perhaps I am wrong tho) that you are simply uncertain YOURSELF of the allegations against Meisles.

    Start reading the posts here more clearly/ call the CBD/ read what I’ve been writing/ read what I just WROTE the comment before:

    I KNOW DETAILS OF WHAT HE DID AND THERE IS HORRIFYING EVIDENCE AND I JUST GOT OFF THE PHONE WITH RABBI FUERST CONCERNING THE IBD.

    Whatever BD does not do any proper research like the CBD has done, you are NO Bais din. You are a bunch of rabbis who claim Emes like Krazy Kahane.

    Please stop. Your comments are equivalent to trolling by now. You are not presenting ANY facts or anything to help ANYONE.

    For the sake of everyone on here, only post when you have a question that makes legit sense and are valid.

    If you are plagued by uncertainty, go figure it out on your own.

    (Apologies but enough is enough. I will not hold back from harsh comments anymore.)

    • I agree. However unpleasant and unsavory a disagreement it deserves consideration and rebuttal. But mindless repetition is hectoring and heckling — not discussion. Accordingly, in deference to the time of others and the quality of thee discussion, I will simply delete a lot more of this disruptive “Internet Trolling.”

    • TruthSeeker, you cant get so upset that people are not believing the situation exactly the way you do, nobody knows who you are or your experiences with Rabbi Meisels. I think that there will always be alot of grey areas in this case considering that there are two different Batei Din in two different countries with two different opinions that are involved, and we are only hearing one side of the story, considering that Meisels side hasnt said anything (Im not defending him!). Unfortunately there are people that refuse to believe it, not only because they think hes this amazing person, but if they didnt see it, they have no reason to believe it. Also, if it was true, the emotional damage that it would do to the girls that were close to him and his family would be too much to handle.

    • I dont understand the discussion regarding “evidence” etc. Obviously no bais din or individual will or should release these details, first and foremost for the sensitivity towards the victims. I am sure the victims are following all this with great trepidation. This is not “fun” for anyone involved. Also, this is not a “gossip site”, this is a site with a mission. To educate the people and to stand up against abuse/s.
      I think all can agree to one thing:
      CBD holds Meisels guilty for something bad enough to want to inform the public not to send girls there.
      IBD has never disagreed with the Meisels part. They made sure to tell everyone that he has “resigned” etc.
      The only dispute right now seems to be whether the seminaries are “safe” in light of the fact that Meisels is “gone”.
      Let the debate/comments focus on that, rather than on Meisels. He is guilty as charged.
      As for all Meisels supporters: You just have to come to terms with the fact that he was exposed and try to be happy and proud that “his girls” brought him down. Think of this garbage going on for the next ten years, and shudder.
      For all those who want “details”; surf the web, there is plenty you can find

      • Exactly and thank you.

        This is not about gossip- it is to inform.

        And if you want something like a shmutz video/pictures of Meisles to “convince you” and say it is enough evidence, that is lowly and shallow of you.

        And you do not respect the privacy/ have sensitivity to these girls if you NEED such evidence mailed right to your door. Please understand that what you ask for is NOT something to be asked for.

        Call the bias din.

        • It is ironic that the girls are denied smartphones and contact with the outside world through social media because it may lead to interaction with boys. So these vulnerable 18 year old girls – alone in a foreign county – for nearly a year are vulnerable to Eli Meisels types.
          Everyone – & I mean everyone – believes the abuse occurred. The deniers have their own agenda – perpetuating this culture with no questions asked.
          I say – shine a light on the Seminary system in Israel. Is it worthwhile? To what goal? Are the dangers inherent when sending young, innocent girls to be preyed on by their superiors worth it?
          I think not.
          Just waiting for the courageous CBD to outlaw going to Israel for Seminary ENTIRELY!
          Then I will feel that the issue was properly addressed.

          • Penelope, please don’t sidetrack. Just because a few seminaries are bad places for girls doesn’t mean that the entire system is corrupt. Wonderful things can and do happen during a good year of seminary. There is no doubt that this whole thing will have ramifications on the whole system, as some people will undoubtedly question the value of a year in seminary. But until shown otherwise, I believe that Meisels is an aberration and that the vast majority of sems are good (albeit expensive) places for post-high school girls.

            • There are other issues with the Sem in Israel Business Model besides ‘unwanted sexual contact’ – there is the dirty little secret of rampant eating disorders throughout the Seminaries.

            • Shneur Nathan, a partner at Hale Law LLC, a law firm with offices in NY, Chicago, and Israel has offered to represent any parents looking to get a refund from the Meisels seminaries. They already have a few lead plaintiffs and are looking to take on as many as possible.

              If you are interested in having them represent you, here is the contact info:
              Shneur Nathan
              Partner
              Hale Law LLC
              53 W. Jackson Blvd., Suite 330 | Chicago IL 60604
              1000 Woodbury Road, Suite 106 | Woodbury NY 11797
              Direct: 312.870.6927/516.918.4923 | Main:312.341.9646 | Fax: 312.341.9656
              snathan@ahalelaw.com | http://www.ahalelaw.com

            • I have seen this offer. I am in no position to evaluate the competence, integrity, or fees of this firm. They claim to be able to pursue refunds in both beit din and civil courts. It is my impression that the legal address of the American entities to be sued are in the NY metro area. Their mailing addresses are in Lakewood. Thus, I am not sure if one would be better off with an attorney in the metro NY area if the case should ever have to end up in the courts. If however, the cases end up with a Chicago Beis Din, it makes sense to have a Chicago area attorney.

            • [I am re-posting this comment because for some reason my original posting of it was placed at the top of the comments section, and I think this is an important conversation to be had.]

              Triangle 7/29/14 9:31am: “Just because a few seminaries are bad places for girls doesn’t mean that the entire system is corrupt. Wonderful things can and do happen during a good year of seminary.”

              I’m not sure that those “Wonderful things” can’t be accomplished in a 2-month summer in Israel “Seminary” setup. Seminary in Israel started out as a luxury that only a few girls whose parents had money were able to afford. It became a necessity. Rumor had it that Meisels made $250k in salary from each of his 4 seminaries. What a great business. People figured out how to get the government to pay for some of it with college grants going towards Seminary tuition. But the cost is exorbitant, the social pressure for a girl to go to Seminary in Israel is extreme to the point of necessity (as opposed to optional) and the cost is unsubstantiated, even by “Wonderful things.”

              Not only can those “Wonderful things” be accomplished in a 9-week summer in Israel in a Seminary type of environment, but those “Wonderful things” are otherwise known as “Growing up,” which naturally happens with time, and can be accomplished in other ways.

              The entire system may not be corrupt, but it is also not necessary. It is expensive and WAY beyond the means of most families. Most people struggle to pay yeshiva tuition for boys and girls. And here is a post-high-school dessert which Frum society has made into a necessity, the cost of which is equal to the wedding that the parents will hopefully soon have to make for their daughters, and takes away from the NECESSARY yeshiva tuition that parents have to pay for their other kids.

              What started out as an expensive extra, a luxury, has become an out-of-control necessity, all based on social pressure. Come to think of it, so much of our social values in Frum circles are based on social pressure – supporting boys in Kollel, Seminary in Israel, Beis Medrash in Israel, families having many more children than in years past, lavish Aufrufs, lavish Sheva Brachos, lavish Bar and now BAS mitzvahs, lavish weddings where everyone and their uncle is invited. We keep upping the bar from optional to NECESSITY, from simple to lavish, and social pressure dictates that everyone must comply. And everyone is looking over their shoulder, afraid to be different, afraid to buck the trend. Mi k’amcha Yisrael. We are a nation of followers. We follow the guy next door.

            • One other point. One of the things that High School and Seminary teachers try to impress upon girls is that growing and learning is a lifetime of work, and that it shouldn’t end with Seminary.

              This is true, both in Frumkeit and in middos and character development. Which is why I’m not sure I understand why 13th grade, at an exorbitant luxury expense, is needed. If there is material that is for some reason only taught in Seminary, why not teach it a year earlier in 12th grade? There is no NYS Regents curriculum in Hebrew which needs to be adhered to or state regulated testing. Schools are free to structure their curriculum for Hebrew subjects as they please. So all those “Amazing” things that girls learn in 13th grade, otherwise known as “Seminary in Israel,” can be taught to them in 12th grade.

            • Very interesting how frum follies is promoting nachlas. ” the highly regarded”…..
              Did we ever hear Yerachmiel talk so positively about anything? Especially seminaries. (What a waste of money)…
              I’m starting to suspect that Yerachmiel is quite close to zvi bloom and might be the aforementioned “gottesman”. This would be quite a amazing revelation.

            • Wrong. I am not promoting Nachlas. Their move to recruit students is newsworthy. I also chided them for their high pressure sales tactics. I support student safety by escaping the clutches of Meisels and his puppet frontman, Yarmush. I oppose trusting a seminary full of staff who are reshaim for having played tam or sheano yodeah lishol.

              Suspect to your heart’s content. I have operated this blog for almost 5 years taking on one powerful actor after another because of my concern about sexual abuse. I make no money and give my time for free. The few ads you see are what WordPress requires to use their free blogging platform. Full disclosure: Over these years I got one free CD, one free sefer, and a few cups of coffee and pieces of cake. If I were to discover that Bloom, Gottesman, or the Chicago Beit Din did something wrong is this story I would report it. I have criticized Torah Umesorah in other contexts and I stand by those statement. But right now, I just don’t have any evidence pertaining to the seminary scandals.

              If you have proof share it. If you don’t, please stop shilling for Meisels/Yarmush and don’t try to bludgeon people by repeating the same claims over and over.

              Hamotzi meichaveiro olov haraya!

            • You write: “I’m starting to suspect that Yerachmiel … might be the aforementioned “gottesman”. This would be quite a amazing revelation.”

              It would be as amazing if I turned out to be Elvis Presley, Anastasia the last Princess of Russia, Donald Katchke’s mechutan, or Mickey Meisels. It would be amazing that I ran a blog since 2009 which periodically attacked Torah Umesora just to set the stage for an unanticipated Meisels scandal in 2014. It would make me a diabolical navi.

              Incidentally, you are in the good company of the convicted child molester, Baruch (Mordechai) Lebovits. His shamosim on the Internet claimed I was Samuel Kellner because I supported this brave father who fought to bring victims of Lebovits to the police to make their complaints.

              This would all be very amusing if there weren’t serious issues at stake. In the future save Purim Torah for Adar. We are now in the 9 days of Av and we also have a contemporary tragedy.

              PS- PROPAGANDA DETECTION TIP- the Satan regularly throws out distracting accusations, faster than modern military jets scatter chaff to fool radar and deflect incoming missles. Beware of too much outrageous chaff. Focus on the essentials.

            • You are delusional, paranoid, or paid poster. i have my own very real issues with Yerachmiel. re what he accepts for publication and what not, but Yerachmiel’s integrity is pristine. Chaim, you are barking up the wrong tree, and/or being paid. emes is emes. Your creative speculative mind is indeed praiseworthy, but you are most likely a paid poster, since there is no evidence ever, over many years, to doubt YL’s integrity. This is my last comment here, evidently, nevertheless, i cannot just let your absurd speculation “stand out there” bli teguvah. Go dream up another theory, ok?
              .

            • “you are most likely a paid poster…”

              What is that? There are people who actually think for themselves and because they see things differently than you, does not make them paid posters! Better yet, why not just continue to delete comments that don’t fit with the viewpoint of this blog.

            • If you review the comments above, you will notice that Chaim has been asking the same questions/comments over and over and has completely (and perhaps purposely- idk) reduced the quality of the discussions here. He, as well as a few others who are doing the same, have been asked to stop posting comments which majorly stagnates the informative discussions on this blog.

              Certainly everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But if you go back and review his comments, some suspicion can arise from the “off” posts he has written.

              To all: let’s try to keep up the quality of the blog 🙂

            • When one makes outrageous claims that defy logic and reason the only rational conclusion is that the poster is a shill for Meisels. It is possible you are not a paid poster – rather you just aren’t thinking clearly.

          • 1. Peninim allowed smart phones but your point stands about hyper-tznius standards while the ultimate broaches of tznius were being perpetrated by the owner/principal.

            2. I know that many of those fighting Meisels are motivated by concerns about other seminaries and cases. I suspect we will see this issue surface over the next few months since the seminary recruitment season starts at the beginning of the school year.

  22. Truth Seeker,

    You are a bit young, so I can appreciate your shock that the IBD did not interview the victims…you would not be shocked if you knew about the many other cases that unfortunately were handled terriibly…

    Most recently, Yona Weinberg who was accused and convicted of molesting 2 boys. During his trial, the courtroom was packed with frum followers of the molester. They flooded the judge with letters testifying to Weinberg’s great character. The Judge in his sentencing reprimanded the frum community for sending so many letters in support of Weinberg but not once ounce of sympathy for the victims. Well Weinberg was convicted and did sit (I guess because he was not a Rebbi in a Yeshiva, the machers did not use their influence to have DA Hynes go easy on him). All the while, word on the street was that he was innocent.

    Well, guess what happened. Weinberg took an apartment in Flatbush…was very upset when the shul he started to daven in made him feel uncomfortable…AND RIGHT NOW….another boy who lived in his building came forward that had been molested by Weinberg. No problem for Weinberg this time…he took off for ISrael just before the police cam knocking on his door.

    Or Kolko who was employed in the very chasuva Yeshiva Torah Temimah. Approximately 30 years ago, you head right…30 years ago,..boys came forward and testified in front of a bais din as to what Kolko had done to them. Instead of firing Kolko, MArgulies, the Chief Enabler, owner, Rosh Yeshiva, got involved with the Dayanim and made sure that they did not issue a psak against Kolko. One of the victims was acting out against Kolko’s property along with another victim/friend and MArgulies called his father and said that he would throw his other children out of the school. Then about 9 years ago, the blogs went wild and more and more victims came forward….It ended up with an article in a national magazine and an arrest…..All the while, the leaders in our community condemned those who spoke out…and publicly condemned the blogs….but never once condemned Kolko or MArgulies.

    Strange world we live in…

    • Jack- yes, I am young.

      But unfortunately not young enough to know the corrupt business of the IBD from the past in personal ways.

      Thanks for sharing your post.

      ThruthSeeker

  23. Everyone, Please keep your comments short and to the point. I will be moderating with a heavier hand to make this a more worthwhile exchange that others can read profitably and efficiently. Avoid repeating yourself. You do not have to get the last word in. Please trust the readers.

    If you have multiple points, submit them as separate comments so those replying can hone in one point and the threads can make more sense.

    I have great faith in reasoned discussion but upping volume and words is not the same as improving deliberation. In fact it often degrades it.

    thank you for your consideration.

    PS- please read the commenting policy whose URL is http://wp.me/pFbfD-Kk. At my discretion I will block comments violating the policy. I do not have the time to explain such decisions each time. If your comments are regularly blocked, re-read the policy.

    thank you
    Yerachmiel Lopin

  24. Anon says:
    07/27/2014 at 2:19 pm
    Where does “Jack” get his info that “Eli Meisels went to bed with innocent girls”?

    I put together what Truth is saying, what the psak says and the fact that even Rabbi Burstyn is quoted as saying that Rabbi Cohen of CBD told him that Meisels did 99% of KOL DAVAR ASSUR

  25. I will ask again

    Have those commenting especially those who are for mer students….called Rabbi Burstyn?

    It would be interesting to hear his take as a supposed independent source

  26. Would someone else – recent sem. graduate – like to comment on the other issues that are swept under the rug in the seminary dorms? I.e. rampant eating disorders?

  27. Triangle 7/29/14 9:31am: “Just because a few seminaries are bad places for girls doesn’t mean that the entire system is corrupt. Wonderful things can and do happen during a good year of seminary.”

    I’m not sure that those “Wonderful things” can’t be accomplished in a 2-month summer in Israel “Seminary” setup. Seminary in Israel started out as a luxury that only a few girls whose parents had money were able to afford. It became a necessity. Rumor had it that Meisels made $250k in salary from each of his 4 seminaries. What a great business. People figured out how to get the government to pay for some of it with college grants going towards Seminary tuition. But the cost is exorbitant, the social pressure for a girl to go to Seminary in Israel is extreme to the point of necessity (as opposed to optional) and the cost is unsubstantiated, even by “Wonderful things.”

    Not only can those “Wonderful things” be accomplished in a 9-week summer in Israel in a Seminary type of environment, but those “Wonderful things” are otherwise known as “Growing up,” which naturally happens with time, and can be accomplished in other ways.

    The entire system may not be corrupt, but it is also not necessary. It is expensive and WAY beyond the means of most families. Most people struggle to pay yeshiva tuition for boys and girls. And here is a post-high-school dessert which Frum society has made into a necessity, the cost of which is equal to the wedding that the parents will hopefully soon have to make for their daughters, and takes away from the NECESSARY yeshiva tuition that parents have to pay for their other kids.

    What started out as an expensive extra, a luxury, has become an out-of-control necessity, all based on social pressure. Come to think of it, so much of our social values in Frum circles are based on social pressure – supporting boys in Kollel, Seminary in Israel, Beis Medrash in Israel, families having many more children than in years past, lavish Aufrufs, lavish Sheva Brachos, lavish Bar and now BAS mitzvahs, lavish weddings where everyone and their uncle is invited. We keep upping the bar from optional to NECESSITY, from simple to lavish, and social pressure dictates that everyone must comply. And everyone is looking over their shoulder, afraid to be different, afraid to buck the trend. Mi k’amcha Yisrael. We are a nation of followers. We follow the guy next door.

    • I agree. The conversion of luxuries into “necessities” is driving families to financial ruin, needlessly stressing some who manage to keep up by working longer hours than is healthy for families, and getting too many people to rationalize fraud and other criminal activities.

    • In addition, a post high school can get a decent job and work for 2 years before getting married and have 30-40k in savings as opposed to the parents being -25k with a wedding and related expenses coming up. Multiply that by 3-4 girls per family. It has to stop, it is almost to the point of insanity.

      • “Seriously” humbly bows in gratitude to “ThruthSeeker” for benevolent approval of her post.

    • However, keep in mind that if one comes away with a full year of college credit, which can be put towards a four year degree, the cost factor changes greatly.

      • A girl can get that full year of college credit while working full time and living at home if she weren’t in Israel. Many girls do that the year AFTER seminary. Figuring that in, the difference is the loss of a year of income, on top of the exorbitant cost of Seminary outside of what college would cost in the USA. It is tens of thousands of dollars, and very few Frum families can afford it.

  28. A year of study in Eretz Yisrael offers tremendous benefits in ruchnius to a huge number of young men and women. Some squander the opportunity, and some get abused or neglected.
    That should not detract in any way from the transformative potential of a year in Eretz HaKodesh. I speak from experience.
    Let me also add that this is really not a good time to be saying anything negative about Eretz Yisrael or Toras Eretz Yisrael.
    (I dont consider anything ‘taught’ by a predator to be Torah, by the way.)

    • Thank you for that, Professional.

      Without having a year/two years away from home, I would never have achieved the level of growth that I have succeeded in doing so far.

      There is something so Kadosh about E”Y. All the lemudei kodesh classes you learned in high school just comes to life there. At least for me it did…

      • TruthSeeker,
        Could the same not have been achieved by attending University in US, such as Stern College of Yeshiva University?. Please excuse me, if the state of my understanding of the differing communities makes Stern’s MO lite midai, for the population which attends the Meisels or other seminaries. As i have said, i am not frum, although my daughter is BT (happened during college in US), and one of her majors was Judaic studies.. I totally agree that being away from home, for girls mature enough to cope without supervision, is an important part of development.

        • Leah, thanks for your question.

          I can only speak for myself when I say the answer is “no”. The same could not have been achieved in a place like Stern/any other seminary located in America. Eretz Yisroel played a big big role in my ruchnius growth-that mixed along with the truly amazing classes I had at my seminaries.

    • No one is asking soldiers to abandon their posts, nor was the comment an attack on Eretz Yisroel. It recognizes the value of some time in EY. It just questions the expense of a full year.

    • I did NOT say anything negative about Eretz Yisrael or Toras Eretz Yisrael.

      I am questioning the length of time spent in Seminary and Beis Medrash in Eretz Yisrael. And I am questioning the fact that it has become a “Necessity” in Frum life, as opposed to the “Luxury” that it is.

      If there were unlimited funds then ALL boys and girls and married men and women would spend their ENTIRE lives ONLY learning in Eretz Yisrael (with household staff to take care of mundane things like cooking, cleaning, parenting, etc). Unfortunately, there aren’t sufficient funds for unlimited “tremendous benefits in ruchnius.” Therefore, where the funds are put to best use should be evaluated. And the scandal of this month brings to focus a luxury which is questionable in its priority in the span of Frum life and the needs of the greater Frum communities. There are limited funds, and there is much need.

      Ruchnius is also a need. And in pre-WW2 Europe many families had to chose which SON went to learn in Yeshiva past the age of their Bar Mitzvah because there weren’t enough funds to send more than one boy in the family to Yeshiva past the age of 13. Other families had to put their boys to work at age 11. Fortunately, we are not dealing with that. But let us look at the big picture and realize that we are putting Frum families in jeopardy with requirements of “Necessity” for that which is Luxury. Frum parents are working extremely late hours (and NOT being home for their children who need them in primary years!) in order to pay for Ruchnius that may have tremendous benefits – but at what cost? Not only is there no end in sight, but it keeps expanding. One year in Seminary and Beis Medrash in Israel became two years. Why not 2 months?

      And why is it a necessity for the “hamon am” (general Frum public)? Frum boys and girls get 12 full years of solid Frum education. As it should be with the Kollel system, only a very small percentage – the best and the brightest – should be invested in for long term learning, and for the luxury of learning in Eretz Yisrael for over 2 months time. There simply isn’t enough money to do more and the “Yeshiva tuition crisis” is growing because of it. We are compromising on the NECESSARY education of grades 1-12 in order to send kids to the OPTIONAL grades 13 & 14 which has now become a “Necessity.”

      • Seriously, thank you for adressing this major major issue in the frum world nowadays. I have spoken about this topic quite a number of times in RL.

        I’d add onto your list, but you’ve got the general idea down pat. It’s up to the ones who aren’t afraid to “go against the tide” and stop following the social norms of society to RECREATE a healthy social norm within the frum world.

        Thanks again for brining up this paramount issue.

  29. Yerachmiel – I am new to your blog. – since the Meisels kerfuffle – where I was desperate for information and the mainstream jewish media ignored the story. I want to commend you for your straight reporting and sharp focus. Perhaps with the intense scrutiny of blogs like yours where people can congregate to share information coupled with the powerful psak of world respected rabbinic authorities something meaningful can be accomplished.

  30. Unfortunately, when someone has another opinion on this forum and legitimately questions something that are called a shill or a paid promoter of Rabbi Meisels. I for one, am a concerned parent whose daughter is registered to attend one of his schools. I am glad that if he is inappropriate with the girls, he is gone BUT I do not believe that the whole school is treif because he was a part of it. As many have said here, what happened was behind closed doors. It happened in private and not with the knowledge of the staff there.
    I believe that the staff would not have worked there knowing that these things were happening with the girls.
    I do not believe that their accrediatation should have pulled since Rabbi Meisels is now out of the picture.

    Because I believe these things, i have been called a paid Meisels fan or s shill which I am not!

    All viewpoints should be allowed here. Also, name calling and abusive language degrades the message.

    • Anon, I believe you are only here to gain perspective and knowledge for the safety of your daughter 🙂

      I must say tho- your approach is certainly not the correct way to go about ensuring her safety. Have you called the CBD and asked if the victims told the teachers? If not, I suggest you do so instead of simply ‘assuming’ the teachers didn’t know anything (which could be true, but could also not).

      Assuming does no good and any parents who simply ‘assumes that no one knew’ is not protecting their daughter.

      Call rabbi fuerst.

      And btw- there were many MANY complaints about Meisles’ inappropriate personality over the years and no teachers listened to the complaints of the girls.

      Protect your daughter and call rabbi fuerst if you truly want to ensure her safety.

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