Seminary Staff made it Possible for Meisels to Abuse Students

Until now the Chicago Beis Din (CBD) did not discuss the role of staff in enabling Elimelech Meisels to sexually abuse student in his seminaries (Pninim, Binas Bais Yaakov, Chedvas Bais Yaakov, and Keser Chaya). This morning they sent a letter elaborating their concerns. They wrote:

We stand by our July 10 statement that we do not recommend prospective students attend these seminaries, and also note, based on evidence including testimony by victims and staff and admissions by Elimelech Meisels, our conclusion that certain senior staff members failed in their responsibilities toward students.

Chicago Beis Din 7-30-14 let re meisels and staff to HTC

click to enlarge and sharpen

Thus it is irrelevant whether Meisels actually sold his seminaries to Yankie Yarmush, or whether it was a sham sale with Yarmush fronting for Meisels. What matters is that staff turned a blind eye to his grooming and late night excursions and rebuffed or harangued the students who begged them to intervene. The culprits are still there and cannot be trusted to ensure student safety. Moreover, as we saw with the Kahane letter, the staff who enabled the abuse are now invested in protecting Meisels’ reputation. This makes it possible for him to return some day with a chorus of beholden employees proclaiming his righteousness.

In contrast, the Israeli Beis Din (IBD) of Rabbi Shafran went further off the deep end with a  letter last week declaring the seminaries were safe because they interviewed the administrators and a few staff. By their own admission, they did not interview any of the students. That’s like acquitting all the gangsters in the mob because they insist they are innocent, without ever talking to victims. While the CBD found staff complicity on the basis of Meisels’ admissions and interviews with staff, the IBD doesn’t even bother to reference these findings or conduct its own investigations.

I am baffled by the IBD’s stance. The best I can say is that they are ignorant about the dynamics of abuse and imagine dozens of students could be groomed and abused with no one noticing or hearing anything. I strongly suspect their mindset is biased toward protecting institutions and jobs rather than students. They may believe that revealing the abuse and staff complicity will taint any girl who went there during the Meisels years. Whatever their mindset, they lost all credibility as reliable sources  when they publicized a conclusion about staff without talking to students.

The IBD has promised to keep an eye on things. That promise is useless because the blind cannot monitor the deaf.

P. S. Their second psak does not even mention Meisels. Before his chorus chimes in; they did not acquit him of guilt. You have to name someone to acquit him.

68 thoughts on “Seminary Staff made it Possible for Meisels to Abuse Students

  1. Please explain how one “buys” or “sells” a 501c3 not for profit organization.

    Keep on digging yourselves in deeper and deeper. This is going to get very interesting.

    They just added fraud and likely tax fraud to the mix.

  2. Once again, kudos to the Chicago Beis Din for taking a stand here and sticking to in. What they are doing here, might be historical in terms of beis din’s dealing with abuse. If they are not the first beis din to deal with abuse head on in such a manner, they are certainly among a rare few.
    And shame on the Israeli Beit Din.
    So what happens when 2 beit din’s disagree like this?

    • Chicago retains jurisdiction in their area and others can choose to follow their psak. HTC in Chicago and Touro are abiding by their psak and continuing to suspend accreditation.

  3. “The IBD has promised to keep an eye on things. That promise is useless because the blind cannot monitor the deaf.”- very well said YL.

    “P. S. Their second psak does not even mention Meisels. Before his chorus chimes in; they did not acquit him of guilt. You have to name someone to acquit him.”- I had noticed this too.

    I’m sorry, but whoever is relying on the IBD…I have nothing to say. No one in their right mind would rely on them for the absurdities in handling this case.

    How are there even ppl out there who defend Meisles still? If he committed the acts right in front of you, you’d probably still excuse it…

  4. It is clear that the IBD released their letter without any thorough investigation, whereas the CBD spent several months on the case. That alone should make it clear which bais din to follow.

  5. Yerachmiel,
    Awesome job as usual. One question. You write:
    “The Israeli Beis Din (IBD) of Rabbi Shafran went further off the deep end with a letter last week declaring the seminaries were safe…….I am baffled by the IBD’s stance.”
    What about it is confusing about this? After:
    Torah Temima and the Sheinberg Bais Din regarding Kolko,
    Yeshiva University regarding Finkelstien and Gordon,
    Ner Yisroel and Rabbi Hopfer in Baltimore regarding Moshe Eisemann,
    the Sqverrer Rebbe regarding all the molesters in New Squer,
    the Vatican regarding all the Bishops that covered for priests,
    the Agudah’s misrepresentation of Rav Elyashiv’s psak to go to the police,
    Lakewood Yeshiva and Rabbi Belsky’s covering for the other Kolko,
    the Rabbis who tried to allow Yisroel Tropper to keep his Yeshiva,
    the Mir Yeshiva protecting Colmer,
    Torah Umesorah and the Miami Rabbis clearing Yisroel Bodkins with no investigation,
    Yeshiva University of Los Angeles regarding Ahron Tendler,
    Satmar’s covering for Weberman and Reichman,
    all the rabbis who covered for David Kaye, Baruch Lanner, Stanley Levitt, and of course Mondrowitz, etc.
    the Bnei Akiva rabbis who rehired Motti Elon,
    and so on and so on and so on……
    have we not seen that communal leaders protect institutions over women and children? The Moetzes even enshrined this into public policy in opposing the Markey Bill (Child Victims Act) because the moysdos are the more important than child safety.
    Would you now expect any Bais Din in the world to hold these individual and institutional enablers of abuse accountable and declare them unsafe?
    I am pleasantly baffled by the Chicago Bais Din choosing to finally change directions. Together with the rabbis from the Five Towns publicizing Dovid Weinberger’s crimes, the recent article you posted from Cross Currents, and Yankie Horowitz’s new proposed policiesof exposing abusers to protect children, perhaps the powers that be are starting to wake up to the need to hold abusers and their accomplices accountable.

    And perhaps this is a sign that Moshiach is coming….

    • These are not the powers that be.
      These are rabbis who are beginning to speak truth to power, spiritual leaders who were willing to become educated by professionals about grooming, etc, and who are not afraid of consequences for taking the action they took. They are leaders, and their actions harken back to a time when rabbonim led their communities, rather than being led by their baalei batim and vested interests.
      Lets hope this marks a turning point.

        • Rabbi Rosenberg,

          Thank you so much for all that YOU do, and for your tremendous courage in the face of strong opposition by those who enable sexual predators. HKB”H should grant you all the Brachos reserved for those who are Osek b’Tzorchei Tzibbur b’Emunah.

  6. I think that the solution is that only Females run, operate and Seminaries! If only it was that easy. Just my two cents!!!!

    • To just assume that if women ran seminaries these issues would not exist, is naive. A seminary needs to be a safe home away from home for young girls of an impressionable age. I have personally experienced my own story and witnessed other stories that either involved improper behavior OUTSIDE a seminary that was then brought to the attention of seminary administration, only to either be completely ignored or to actually result in the removal of a girl because that was easier than dealing with the outside issue, AND seminaries that put girls in precarious situations, ie .. sending a girl looking for a Doctor to a known predatory doctor because that simply was the Doctor they knew. Seminaries, whether run and staffed by men or women need to have some rating system and accountability for how they handle ANY given situation that results over the year, requiring care and attention paid to that student. A rating system would require people to be forthcoming and honest with their experiences at a seminary instead of hiding the information under the auspices of “loshon hara”

    • This may be a good topic for another post. Is this the answer to ban men from seminaries? I don’t think so, the same reason you shouldn’t ban women from seminaries. We aren’t looking for asexual beings to teach our children. We are looking for healthy individuals who are devoted to our children’s education and not looking for self gratification. I am not disturbed if my daughter’s Rebbi notices that she is an attractive girl. I would be terribly angry if he didn’t adhere to the boundaries that are expected of him by the Torah, by society, by the responsibilities of his position. I want my daughter’s Rebbi to have healthy sexual desires but I want him to find repulsive the mere thought of a middle aged man pursuing an impressionable eighteen year old student.
      I don’t think a segregated society is the answer. To the contrary I want men in my daughters’ seminary. Do I want their first exposure to men who have a position of power to be their boss or professor in college? I want it to be to a Rebbi, a Talmid chochom. I just want that Rebbi to be a mench!

      • This is an important point, and I agree that it should possibly be a topic of discussion for another post with people weighing in on how they see it.

        What I do agree with is the fact that these young girls will soon after high school/seminary be exposed to men in positions of power, be it a boss, college professor, or rabbi for counseling or other halachic issue that comes up (as we saw with Dovid Weinberger counseling young women).

        These are girls and young women who have not had ANY exposure to dealing with boys or men, outside of their father, grandfathers or brothers. If they are “caught” talking to a male cousin on the street, they are warned not to do so again. The first time they have any social interaction with boys or men who are not an immediate relative is when they date. I have heard from a friend who is a Kallah Teacher that many girls are shocked when they hear about what is involved in married life. A Yeshivish education is structured this way.

        But perhaps it would help those many girls who are not “street saavy” to have some controlled and tzniyusdik education on the nature of men and how to say “No” and that they have a right to say “No” to anything that makes them uncomfortable or seems out of place. Not every girl has a solid and family which they feel comfortable turning to for help and advice in this kind of situation. Predators and men looking to take advantage can smell this a mile away, be it a boss, a college teacher, or as we saw with Dovid Weinberger, a Rov. And most girls do not even know that a situation could exist where they are receiving unwanted attention, let alone how to go about dealing with it. (On the opposite extreme, public school girls are well trained and well educated in this by the time they enter high school!!). There has to be a way in which we can give these young girls/women the tools to deal with the realities of the world that they will face, and from which we have to a large degree successfully sheltered them from.

        • A fabulous point, thank you. Education can indeed go a very long way in preventing sexual abuse of children and teenagers. I heard recently in a presentation by a professional that molesters are actually terrified to target children with strong self-esteem, healthy boundaries, knowledge of what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable behavior, and open relationships with their parents. These are the things we need to cultivate in order to protect our children. Sheltering our children and protecting them from harm have unfortunately become mutually exclusive in our world of today.

          • Thank you Yael. But it’s not just children and teenagers. Sheltered Yeshivish girls in their early 20’s who are not yet knowledgeable in the ways of the world are also susceptible to men in positions of authority, especially a well respected man with the title of Rabbi, a teacher, or even a boss.

            • True, naive young adults in their 20’s are also at risk of harm. Unfortunately, I know that firsthand. While we’re at it, people in their 30’s, 40’s, and beyond can also be victims of sexual abuse. I emphasized education of children and teenagers because the earlier the education the better. No one should be waiting until their child is 20 to educate them about this. Hopefully if we provide our children with ongoing, age-appropriate education starting when they are young, they will grow up to be teenagers and young adults who can detect when something is “off” and protect themselves accordingly.

            • Yael – In response to your comment at 08/01/2014 at 12:49 am (the thread does not allow me to leave a comment in reply):

              I didn’t realize what you meant. I completely agree. Start their education young so that it is part of their foundation of knowledge and can serve them in their young adult and even later years.

        • Seriously, another good post. Thank you.

          I want to plug s/t in tho…yes, we should be educating girls on the signs and how to say “no”…but in the case of Meisles, girls (even some very frum ones) invited and even craved his attention.

          His manipulation and tactics were so on-target, it was scary to watch. Meisles (not including the school cook, and handy fix-it man of the school) was basically the only male who was constantly there all the time. Everyone else was female.

          When girls who have been sheltered from men their whole lives were exposed to him, they fell fast and hard. A male? A cool and friendly male? Giving ME attention? Someone who makes me feel like the center of the universe? Who cares if he’s over 40…

          Theyve been deprived of that for so long and here comes this guy who knows exactly what to give them to make them blush in his midst.

          My point- I feel we do need to educate them, but (in my opinion), the main issue are rabbis who do not know boundaries with girls and are too friendly. I know other rabbis who had the same friendly/open nature as Meisles in the seminaries, but everyone respected them to the top of the sky. Why? Bc they kept their boundaries.

          Just food for thought.

          • Thank you so much for this important post, Truth Seeker. I am so glad you pointed out this complex problem that many are not aware of. While many people think all abusers are scary, mean, and violent, they are frequently warm, inviting, and experts on sweet-talking. Herein lies the danger: a child being groomed for abuse likely feels privileged and special, not suspicious and scared. A vulnerable teenage girl being “chased” by a chashuv man in the community probably feels proud and craves more of his attention. Perhaps the only solution is to be as detailed as possible when we educate our children. Acknowledge that the attention might feel nice, yet explain what the molester really wants. Using stories with made-up characters, illustrate the strategies that are used by abusers, and the what can happen if the child doesn’t tell a parent or trusted adult.

          • TruthSeeker, this is a very good point. And it is a complicated problem that is intensified by how we separate men and women, boys and girls. Although I’m sure it happens in the outside world as well, we may be more susceptible to it because of our lifestyle. Yael proposed a possible solution to pre-empt these scenarios. If girls are taught in 12th grade that excessive attention from a “Chashuv” man may feel nice, but that when it leads to him taking advantage of her, it’s dangerous, then maybe the education can prevent abuse. Knowledge is indeed power. And TruthSeeker, you are right that it’s all about the degree to which boundaries are respected. A girl can have a crush on a male teacher, as happens in secular colleges all the time. But when the teacher or Rov maintains proper boundaries, there is nothing dangerous that results. Meisels obviously took full advantage of the situation. And teachers were obviously not willing to risk their jobs by standing up to him and speaking out.

            It doesn’t help that these seminaries are privately owned, and that there is no responsible “board” to speak of that is not made up of people who are friends and relatives. Teachers had nobody to go to if they saw improper behavior by Meisels. If they would have spoken to anyone they would have promptly lost their jobs. I am not defending their choices. They each made choices to stay quiet and allow girls to get abused. I am saying that this is a BIG problem with our system. This discussion came up on another post. Our Frum institutions have become family owned and family operated businesses. They should be community owned, and boards should be democratically elected by the community which is serviced by the institution. Boards should be held accountable and should be working to protect the interests of the community. And the heads of these institutions, principals, deans, roshei yeshiva, mashgichim, should be paid executives who can get fired by the board for incompetence or indiscretion. The whole system needs revamping from the ground up.

  7. The principal of the schools just couldn’t risk loosing their jobs and reputations by speaking out. They were wimps next to this powerful perverted individual who would do anything to cover his tracks.They knew GOOD AND WELL that students were coming back into the dorms at the wee hours of the morning. They were aware that girls slept by his house on a regular occasion. They were aware he acted inappropriate with his students in public and private. They were aware that something was fishy with him. Should i tell you how i know? I was a student a couple of years ago in one of Meisels seminary. Once when he was in America doing interviews they gathered the whole seminary together and spoke to us regarding his inappropriate behaviors. They didn’t say his name outright but from the content of their speech it was crystal clear who the predator is.

    • Been There- thank you for posting. I saw your response to Kahane’s letter on a diff site (I think it was you). It resembled mine a lot (I’m also an alumni from past years).

      I’m glad another student is speaking out besides me. Oh, all the stories there is to share with everyone about Meisles…you and I know all too well…we witnessed them.

    • If you haven’t yet called rabbi fuerst/Cohen, I would highly recommend you doing so and telling them this.

      I myself have spoken to them a number of times and told them many of my experiences…it is very important to give over this information to them…

      • HE who saves a life. saves the world, and is vice versa nachon? bwdik
        this could not have gone on for years without complicity of other personnel. whose parnassah was more impt to them than literally saving the souls of b’not yisroel. shame on them. and chas v’chalilah they should remain at these schools in some subsequent resurrection of such schools under a new “owner”. afilu afilu, in a real non sham sale. The original staff will always remain suspect. As i wrote elsewhere, if it was accepted for print, the old must be totally destroyed, and the new must start from scratch. anew. no one of the old corrupt dor (administration) teachers et al, can be trusted at this point. even if, afilu, some were brain dead, even worse. girls returning at 3am? multiple students over multiple years, undoubtedly anxious and depressed, and no one noticed????? no teacher, was concerned enough to sit and talk with one of these traumatized 18 years olds, not children, but from frum backgrounds, still, highly sheltered and naive. Not one teacher ever was brave enough to say dai, maspik, enough, and do everythink in her power to stop this abuse. everything, even if it meant losing her parnassah. not even one…. ok, i get carried away….. apologies…..and i have no skin or dog in this game, nor did i ever…..

    • Thanks for bravely reporting you first hand knowledge!! It’s amazing meisels still has so many followers that are in complete denial. The more true accounts that come out the better the girls will be protected!!

    • Thank you for posting this. It was courageous of you and it is important for past students to come out with what they witnessed and what they experienced.

      Please, as TruthSeeker has asked, contact the Chicago Beis Din or even Yerachmiel (who may be willing to speak to the CBD for you, his contact info is on the top right corner of this blog) with the details of this speech that was given to the whole school – specifically the Name of the Seminary, the Year, the Teacher(s) who spoke to the whole seminary regarding the inappropriate behaviors, and other teachers present for this speech. It is important for the Chicago Beis Din to have as much information as possible so that they can continue to stand strong. Thank you.

    • Can you tell us which sem you went to?
      This is unbelievable!!
      What did you think as a student hearing this?
      Please share more information this is essential to the BDC case!

      • To anyone commenting on “Been There”‘s post:

        Yes, I also encouraged her to speak to the CBD like I did. B”H numerous students have spoken to rabbi Cohen and the like and told him of their experiences. I know they did.

        But please realize that this “meeting” they had about Meisles for the students is no shocker.

        This week I just remembered that I complained to TWO MORE teachers about Meisles’ inappropriateness (it was also speaking more generally about charasmatic male rabbis). I went with a friend and we spoke about it with Kahane and another female teacher (that was NOT INCLUDING the other 2 rabbis I went to when I was dead-serious about Meisles being trouble.)

        The non-kosher behavior was known and many girls can tell you that they have complained in private to teachers.

        But yes, the fact that they had a public meeting should very much be told to the CBD ASAP.

    • Been There, can you tell us more about this meeting while Meisels was away? What was the goal? What was the content? How many staff members were involved?

  8. stop talking rubbish the israel bis din spoke to all the sem stuff for over 6 hours and said its ok to send girls there and bies din of chicago did not talk to any one beside rabbi gottesman who spoke to one girl,,,,,,

    • 1. If IBD spoke to all staff why does their letter say some?

      2. I know with certainty that Chicago spoke directly to victims, in fact, definitely more than one or two. It is of course possible that Gottesman relayed complaints on others as well.

      I am curious, Toronto, how you got your obviously wrong information.

      Also, as you live in Toronto, what is the head of the Toronto Kollel, Rabbi Shlomo Miller, advising people about applying this fall for the 2015-2016 year to these seminaries. I have heard, but not confirmed that he is allowing people to attend who cannot retrieve their deposits, but otherwise says not to go or to apply.

    • C’mon. You never called R’ Furerst of R’ Cohen and you know it. Is this what the meisels defenders have left? Sheker from beginning to end. A pure lie. CBD interviewed many victims over a period of months. There’s no shaila whatsoever, and it has been confirmed the the CBD. So why are you coming here to tell a bunch of lies?

      Unless meisels the rat paid you to do it. Even then, find another dope to pay you.

  9. I appreciate your publicizing this whole matter, but still don’t understand why you want to keep the details so vague regarding what he did. How many students over how many years and what was the nature of the unwanted sexual contact ?(no need to be explicit) And further, what was other staff witness to toward which they turned a blind eye? It’s been two weeks and the intentional vagueness of the CBD has allowed this to fester and we therefore still get comments like from ‘toronto’ claiming that the CBD base everything on hearsay.

    It’s also important to describe the larger pattern of behavior so that staff of seminaries in similar situations can be aware of where things cross a line and how to ensure that others are kept far away from it and to identify other perpetrators.

    Yes, one can get a bit of the gist by reading through hundreds of comments, but how many people bother to? Put it out there and put a stop to these ongoing denials and diminutions of the magnitude of what he did.

    • There is unseemly voyeurism in your request. Unwanted sexual contact is enough to disqualify anyone, religious or secular, as a teacher. ignoring complaints and obvious signs calls the school’s staff into question.

      If you don’t trust the BD, what difference would it make if they reported groping or first degree rape with force and other physical violence? If you do trust them, at a minimum they are describing groping.

      Some rapists’ defense lawyers cultivate a reputation for brutal cross-examination to intimidate victims out of being “raped again in court.” There is an orthodox version of demanding too much detail as a condition for belief. It is unseemly and needless.

      • its not unseemly at all, there is huge difference something’s can be misconstrued and therefore the staff would be able to say it was accidental touching ect.. while other acts would be black and white with no explanation but to call the staff guilty as charged

  10. I think there will be a lifetime stigma for any teacher with a Meisels seminary. For comparison – think how helpful having Bernie Madoff on a resume would look when applying for a job in the finance industry.

    • Penelope, LOL! and an interesting comparison. bernie had lots of admirers also – another charming and deceptive criminal who ruined many lives. At least Bernie is in jail where he belongs.

  11. This scandal in a way affects more people than any of the others. Obviously the victims are always affected. Here you have about 250 girls that won’t get their money back (in a typical yeshiva, bais yaakov no one pays this much in advance), these same girls their reputation if they go and about 1500 to 2000 alumni who will either be disillusioned because he did this, disillusioned because he is being “accused falsely” (many still in that camp) and will have a stigma as well. Frankly I am surprised that it didn’t hit the “goyish media”.

  12. Unfortunately, most of the frum world does not care. They will go on with their business.

    It is quite sick that we have had so many stories of molesters and coverups and our organizations/daas torah has failed us. We are told both implicitly and explicitly never to shame the family of the abuser. That is more important than anything else. We do not want to cause innocent victims to suffer…

    The only time all caution was thrown to the wind and the “bad guy’s” family, etc. was not a concern was when the rasha finkel was caught selling tarfus to the Monsey oilam. Suddenly, every single Rabbi spoke out about it and named him by NAME…no hints…they called him straight out with zero concern for his family. Why? Because rightfully so, the man deserved to be publicly shamed and any collateral damage was his fault, not those who spoke out about it. Did Rabbonim in Flatbush have to talk about it? What was their toeles? Of course, they understood that UBearta Hara. We must talk about it everywhere in klal yisroel. It was not a “local” issue.

    This is hypocrisy at its worst. Why the difference between FInkel and all others? It is because with Finkel EVERYONE in Monsey ate Treif because of him.And those who didn’t felt personally appalled that a monster was living in their midst who could have done the same to them. they felt violated. When you are screwed over, you do not really give a d__n about the innocent victims…loshon horah concerns are out the door (rightfully so). And you want to scream and yell about the terrible thing that he did. you want his name to be mentioned for evil. you are not in a mood to worry about his poor family.

    Molesting is different. It happens behind closed doors. It is a few people who are effected. The same people who would scream about FINKEL or people like him….sudden turn QUIET and become frum with silly shealos about loshon horah and worried about the reputation of the abuser’s family.

    In short, the reason for the lack of empathy and for the disproportionate concern for the abuser and family over the victims is a SELFISH one cloaked in HALACHIC pilpul. People do not feel that they are affected. The second they are personally effected, all their lomdisha sevaros are upshlugged by the obvious answer which is: “It is time to speak out about the evil. It is not the time to learn hilchos loshon hora!

    Rabbosai – It is time to care! If we would care about this issue like we care when someone feeds us treif or steals money (yes, there was a guy in the community who was borrowing money and stealing it and guess what? signs were hung around the whole Flatbush with his name and picture…no loshon hora concerns…no concerns about his family), we would rise up and shout from the rooftops…every Rov would talk about it in shul.

    Show some empathy for the victims…people whose lives are destroyed…shed a few tears for the thought of the innocents who have been brought up their whole lives on the premise of tzinius and kedusha and then have it all stolen away from them by the very figure who preached to them about the importance of these issues. Think for a second about the innocence stolen, about the lives changed, about the hours and hours of therapy, about the life-long struggles these people will face to heal…and think about what could have been had the monster meisels and others like him not been allowed to operate freely and prey on innocents. Please wake up from your sleep! Awaken, and recognize the terrible ills that our very frum society is permitting to happen under our very eyes.

    How can we in good faith look the other way? Is this what we believe Hashem wants us to do? We say every day Yasom V’Almana Yodeid. Hashem tends to those who might be taken advantage of. We learn how we should emulate Hashem. Instead, we do the exact opposite. We look at those crying out for help, we tell them that we would love to help them but we can’t because Hashem doesn’t allow us for fear we may shame the abuser’s family. What a letdown for those seeking our help or at least an empathetic pat on the shoulder or caring nod. What a turnoff from our religion. What a corruption of true ethical, moral an religious values. What a chillul hashem!

    I am out of words…it is too difficult to express in words the feeling of seeing countless times the same reaction from the apathetic members of our community and leadership.

    A word to the victims: some of us do care and more importantly, Hashem knows what happened and is with you as you struggle to move forward and live fully again. Please do not sever your relationships with Hashem and with his True Torah.

  13. Truth,
    Your welcome. Keep talking….and please do not allow your letdown with former role models to turn you off from the proper path. you said in a comment that you will attain new role models. I hope you will, but the damage caused when role models let us down and when they are supported by other role models or Batei dinim is that our psyche is damaged, our ability to trust is weakened. We become cautious about trusting again and, by doing so, we end up missing the opportunity to develop important relationships. we do not want to be let down again. it is too painful.
    Please keep this in mind…and persevere despite the difficult and trying times that you are going through.

  14. Has it occurred to anyone that meisles would only hire those who seemed likely not to stop his abuses also anyone who tried over the years would no longer be working there so obviously the only staff he had are not able to protect the girls

  15. Good point about Finkel. It could be like I said before because of the huge amount of people affected here, it will have the same impact eventually.

  16. Peninim is listed by the IRS as a church??? That is outright falsehood. Churchs and Shuls are exempt from 501c3 reporting due to their unique status as a house of prayer, period. It is possible there is financial malfeasance here too, as Peninim and the rest of Meisels sems should have been subject to 990 reporting which is required of al 501c3s.

  17. Must have set times and publicized scheduled of times for prayers in order to be a church. However they may then also have educational aspects too. If however it is basically an education facility even if they may pray there at times – it may be a 5013c but NOT a church.

    • I have a nonprofit client that is a mikvah, and we successfully argued before the IRS that they were exempt from filing 990s because they were a church.

      Exemption granted.

  18. ummm, mr. busy, I am well-versed in 501c3’s and 990 reporting, and there are likely hundreds if not thousands of “mosdos” abusing this to avoid both transparency and engender fraud. For example, by not reporting 990’s, you do not have to list the CEO salary. You can basically pay a “church” leader anything u want and no one has to know. There are many charities who do file 990’s but still fudge the reporting by making most of the salary under the table. I could right now out a number of famous frum charities, but I see no point if they are not abusing anyone and are only stealing from the govt. It wouldnt be blog fodder b/c “everybody does it”.

    • Mr. Wolf, I am a CPA who works extensively in nonprofits. You are simply wrong in your assertion that “Churchs and Shuls are exempt from 501c3 reporting due to their unique status as a house of prayer, period.” Mosdos that do not file 990s and thereby hide executive pay have, unfortunately, have a lot of legal leg to stand on..In brief, churches,denominations, and “auxiliaries” are not required to file 990s under the church exemption. Exactly what constitutes an auxiliary is subject to legal debate. I personally believe we should end the church exemption altogether and force mosdos to file 990s. However that does not make Peninim wrong for relying on a legal loophole that probably millions of other organizations rely on as well.

  19. Clarification-I do not condone the practice. It takes widespread fraud like Rapfogel, Hiller, Balkany etc to make the papers.

  20. First of all, thank you to Yerachmeil for breaking the story and keeping us updated and thank you to the Chicago Bais Din for standing up for our kids!!!

    What are the parents doing now?
    Are they withdrawing their daughters from the different sems?
    I am sure the other seminaries would accommodate them.
    Binas girls could try
    BYA (their enrollment went down its a stable long time seminary with a woman menhalet, don’t know too much about anything else there)
    Bnos Sara, Machon Raya, if they are on the more “heimish” side, Be’eros (Me’ohr’s new sem), Maybe Chemdas (not to be confused with Chedvas) or Nachalas- (there $10,000 pay now or else scheme didn’t work)
    Kesser Chaya girls could try Ateres, ( I assume Seminar Yerushalyim runned by Meisels brother and sister wouldn’t take girls from Meisles “former” schools) Me’ohr,
    Pninim is a hard one, it was a unique place- maybe other readers have suggestions
    The ikar is that a Bais Din is finally standing up for whats right- but if the parents send their daughters anyways- it didn’t help too much.
    Of course the girls could stay home!
    but seminary is an amazing experience for most girls- of course they need to be in a safe, responsible environment where everyone from the cleaner to the owner is a responsible person. Maybe this is for another post but there should be and independent Vaad who can establish credibility for people in chinuch in the seminaries. Students going to seminary are not living at home they are totally under the “influence” of the seminary. This Vaad would also be an address for students to file complaints. Almost all the seminaries get funding from Masa and have to pass masa inspection including an anonymous survey of all participating students, something similar could be done. Any seminary that doesn’t allow the Vaad in to their seminary, the vaad can than inform the high schools that this seminary is not under supervision and we can’t recommend it. There already is a high school vaad which makes demands from the seminaries in terms of in-shabbosim and deadlines for applications, let them expand it. Maybe they could even use this as an opportunity to put a cap on tuition and fees etc. . . .

    • There is no sale per se. That would be illegal and they aren’t stupid enough to do that. Yarmish has many other businesses and is going to pay Meisels through an existing business, perhaps as a consultant. Or something like that. That is completely legal. There was simply a transfer of control, which involves switching board members. It has the same power as a sale, but is the legal way to do it.

      • Medwed, you wrote, “completely legal.” Actually not, but harder for the government to detect or prosecute. The very idea of a state chartered not-for-profit (with a different tax status) is that it does not belong to some individual who can profit by selling it.

        Such laundering is a fraudulent transaction and very prosecutable, IF provable.

See Commenting policy ( )

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s