Help for Victims of Abuse by Elimelech Meisels

If you or someone you are close to was a victim of rabbinic abuse in Israel, or if the crimes took place outside Israel, but the perpetrator is now living in Israel, you may contact “Magen” for confidential, compassionate and expert consultation (in English).

Magen is an independent non-profit abuse victims’ advocacy and support organization in Israel.

Depending on when the abuse occurred it may be prosecutable in Israel, even if there was no force because of abuse of the position of a rabbi/teacher, just as American courts prosecute doctors and other licensed mental health professionals who harm their patients through sexual relationships which are unethical.

Tel: +972-2-9999.678

Email: hotline@MagenProtects.org

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16 thoughts on “Help for Victims of Abuse by Elimelech Meisels

  1. This is great information but how can we provide to bais yaakov high schools, rabbis, teachers and students who do not have access to the internet? Can schools and synagogues post print outs of this info on school bulletin boards etc.??

    • Until enough organizations act, you the readers have the power to be networks for distributing information by photocopying and distributing articles from Frum Follies and other sources that help educate the public. Consider using your own networks to distribute stuff, stuff mail boxes, use the us mail and give copies to individuals with influence.

  2. I seem to remember in the Rabbi Zeev Kopolovich case where Rabbi Haim Druckman failed to report to police that Rabbi Zeev Kopolovich had molested students that there was an issue of the failure of Rabbi Haim Druckman to report being a crime in Israel. My recollection is that Rabbi Haim Druckman was not charged in time.

    Given the position of Elimelech Meisels, the description by you and Rabbi Maryles of the abuse (which appears to be criminal in nature) and the apparent knowledge of staff of these allegations (based on comments in posts), can staff potentially be charged with the crime of failing to report the abuse? If so, I would strongly recommend anyone with information make the relevant reports to police about Elimelech Meisels and any staff that failed to report.

  3. There may also be potential crimes that have been committed by those who have protected Meiesls with their silence if any of the survivors are minors.

    1) http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/CICrimJust/1993/7.pdf
    266 Current Issues in Criminal Justice
    Volume 4 Number 3
    PREVENTING VIOLENCE IN THE FAMILY:
    AN OVERVIEW OF ISRAEL’S NEW LEGISLATION

    1 THE PROTECTION OF MINORS AND VULNERABLE PERSONS
    The Penal Law (Amendment No 26), 5749-1989
    (hereinafter referred to as Penal Law (Amendment No 26)) created special offences of battery, battery causing serious bodily harms and cruelty6 when these acts were perpetrated on minors or “helpless persons”.
    The law created an aggravated version of these offences when committed by a relative or
    by a person having authority over the victim. The penalties in these cases are seven or
    nine years of imprisonment instead of five or seven years, which are the penalties for
    the basic versions of the offences.

    An interesting feature of this new legislation is that it imposes upon the public an
    obligation to report to the police, or to a special social work officer, instances of violence
    or cruelty committed against minors, or vulnerable persons, by their relatives, or by persons in charge of them. A similar obligation is imposed upon certain professionals who
    treat, or work with, the victims or with the offenders in their professional capacity,
    for example doctors, nurses, teachers or other educational personnel, social workers,
    psychologists, criminologists or paramedical personnel.

    2) Conspiracy of Silence
    By Netty C. Gross
    The Jerusalem Report – May 24, 1999

    THE CHARGES AGAINST Kopolovitch are serious enough, but they’re only part of the story. There’s also the “conspiracy of silence,” as police call it. Investigators say Kopolovitch’s alleged behavior was known within the school for several years and tolerated by the governing hierarchy of the religious Zionist movement. Top rabbis were allegedly aware of what was going on, but didn’t stop it or report it to police or social workers – a criminal offense.

    Police believe Shapiro and Zuckerman knew about Kopolovitch’s alleged abuses for five years and did nothing; Druckman forced the rabbi to resign in 1997 after a Jerusalem weekly published the allegations – but failed to inform law enforcement authorities.
    ..
    In late April, Rubinstein said the rabbis would not be indicted for failing to notify authorities. But indictments for this failure are being prepared against former rosh yeshivah Eliyahu Grossberg and Haim Zvi Rosenberg, the vice-principal. The three rabbis were not, explained Justice Ministry spokeswoman Orit Shemesh, “educational employees,” and as such the requirement to report to the police under Section 368D/b did not apply. Shemesh declined comment when asked if the case didn’t also come under Section 368D/a, which requires any citizen who has “reasonable basis” to believe that an offense has been committed against a minor by those responsible for him to report the case to the police or a social worker. Tellingly, a senior NRP official told The Report that the Justice Ministry quietly informed the party a month ago, before Druckman was put on the Knesset ticket, that the trio would not be indicted. “We knew they were off the hook back then,” said the NRP official.

  4. Deleted for violation of commenting policy-trolling. Do not repeat yourself endlessly as if there are no preceding comments or details. Respect the group’s time and discussion quality, by reading thoughtfully, and moving a conversation forward instead of behaving as if you can hock others into submission by repetition and disruption.

    Yerachmiel Lopin

  5. Potential crimes may have been committed by those who have protected Meiesls with their silence, if any of the survivors are minors.

    1) http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/CICrimJust/1993/7.pdf
    266 Current Issues in Criminal Justice
    Volume 4 Number 3
    PREVENTING VIOLENCE IN THE FAMILY:
    AN OVERVIEW OF ISRAEL’S NEW LEGISLATION

    1 THE PROTECTION OF MINORS AND VULNERABLE PERSONS
    The Penal Law (Amendment No 26), 5749-1989
    (hereinafter referred to as Penal Law (Amendment No 26)) created special offences of battery, battery causing serious bodily harms and cruelty6 when these acts were perpetrated on minors or “helpless persons”.
    The law created an aggravated version of these offences when committed by a relative or
    by a person having authority over the victim. The penalties in these cases are seven or
    nine years of imprisonment instead of five or seven years, which are the penalties for
    the basic versions of the offences.

    An interesting feature of this new legislation is that it imposes upon the public an
    obligation to report to the police, or to a special social work officer, instances of violence
    or cruelty committed against minors, or vulnerable persons, by their relatives, or by persons in charge of them. A similar obligation is imposed upon certain professionals who
    treat, or work with, the victims or with the offenders in their professional capacity,
    for example doctors, nurses, teachers or other educational personnel, social workers,
    psychologists, criminologists or paramedical personnel.

  6. This information is correct, Jewishwhistleblower, however, the law was modified in 2010 so that rabbonim are now explicitly included as people who have a privileged professional relationship with their congregant or student. Furthermore, as a teacher, they are also forbidden to enter into any sexual relationship with a student, which is viewed as unequal by nature and therefore assumed non-consensual.

      • To clarify, regarding the possible criminality, each case needs to be evaluated. Some cases may be criminal due to the age of the victim at the time; some because a measure of force or intimidation was used; or it was an unequal relationship, specifically in the context of teacher/pupil; or more recently simply due to the rabbi/congregant/client relationship (from 2010). In addition there is the possibility of civil recourse, Batei Din, etc..
        In short, it is a complicated area, emotionally, socially, and legally, and so there is no one-size fits all.
        Anyone who wishes to discuss a specific case, is warmly invited to contact Magen for confidential, compassionate and professional consultation.
        Callers can chose not to identify themselves.
        Magen does not charge for its victim advocacy services.
        We are an independent organization and our sole ‘client’ is the victim and supporting those who support them.

        • I concur with David Morris. Individuals need to consult with experts about the particulars of their case to determine whether they have recourse, and which options are available. I would encourage victims and their supporters to consult with Magen to get informed assessments and trustworthy referrals. It is free, confidential and professional.

  7. It is high time that every school have a published protocol regarding sexual abuse. A go to person and an alternative if the complaint is about the 1st person. I think most bais yakovs to some degree are affiliates of the local federations, it should be relatively easy to implement.

    More importantly but harder would be to impose standards on seminaries…

    • I completely agree with the need for strong policies to guide and regulate staff, detect problems, provide channels for complaints, and procedures for handling them. Of course, the most important thing would be seriously implementing them. Parents will get that when they start organizing to demand it and not before then. It is shameful that most of the orthodox community has not yet dealt properly with this problem apart from a few modern orthodox schools. Given the atrocious failures of community leadership, I believe the market and civil lawsuits are the only remedies. When enough schools go bankrupt from dis-enrollments or civil judgments, the leadership will finally attend. It is a shame that nothing else will do. But as we say in our tradition, mitoch shelo lishmah, ba lishmah (roughly translated: even if they start out behaving correctly for the wrong motives, they will eventually acquire the right motivation).

  8. Most important – parents have to rethink the whole Seminary concept. Why do it? Why can’t 18 year old girls stay home and go to seminary/school here? Why ship them off? Who thought the predatory men were the figures of authority in school? Isolated and alone in Israel with a deviant school leadership.

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