How Could the Meisels Staff Not Know

Elimelech Meisels

Elimelech Meisels

See this comment to an earlier post byBeen There (07/30/2014 at 9:39 pm):

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’ seminaries. 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.




26 thoughts on “How Could the Meisels Staff Not Know

  1. Which seminary were you in? This is not just mere curiosity, but as the IBD claims that there are real differences in what went on in the different seminaries, it is important for prospective parenys/students to know. From what I understand, his involvement in Kesser Chaya was minimal.

    • I do not see any statements by IBD distinguishing among the seminaries. They are all, according to IBD, fastastic, glatt kosher to haredi standards, etc. In fact, there is not a single word from IBD in any way, shape or form acknowledging that anything ever happened. Not a word. If nothing happened how can any one of them be better than perfect? #ExtremeSarcasm

  2. Don’t know if Hebrew is allowed here, but I will translate as well. Maybe you missed this line.

    ד. איך רבני שיקאגו השמיצו וממשיכים להשמיץ מבלי להבחין בין אלו מהסמינרים שלגביהם יש ויש תלונות ובין אלו שלגביהם אין ומייזלס כמעט ולא הי’ דורך שם אם בכלל.
    4: How the Rabbis from Chicago denigrated and continue to denigrate, without differentiating, between those seminaries with regard to which there have been (many) complaints and those in which Meisels barely, if at all, stepped foot.”

    • I stand corrected. It is my understanding from sources close to the Chicago Beis Din that at least one of the victims came from a seminary other than pninim. Meisels was principal of Pninim and that is where he spent most of his time. However, he lectured in the others. He was a charismatic draw across the board.

      I find it strange for the Israel Beit Din, having sworn they are all great to complain that Chicago did not differentiate among them. Moreover, the unheeded complaints by concerned students in Pninim, according to sources I spoke to who attended Pninim, were sometimes directed to staff in other seminaries precisely because they could not very well go to the director of Pninim who was Meisels.

      Barely stepped foot, is far fetched. He had keys to all the buildings, went to all of them periodically, taught in all of them. and was clearly able to reach girls in the other sems.

  3. what does that mean, “. . .and spoke to us regarding his inappropriate behaviors.”?
    They spoke to you about suspicion? about it not being true? about wanting you all to be careful? What did they say? If any girls were being abused and the seminary brought the girls together an spoke about it, I have a very hard time believing none of them took advantage of that opening. Unless that was the gist of the speech.
    I don’t believe for a second that Meisels is innocent, but I do think that every anonymous post is just another anonymous post. It is getting very difficult to discern fact from fantasy at this point.
    Bottom line? If it is nogeia you in any way, research it like crazy from real people using thier real names. otherwise, its all just anonymous posts.

    • Not having been there but knowing the flavor of the culture, I can guess at something like this.


      Tznius is very important. so I just want to remind you girls that you should never make exceptions, not for anyone about things like yichud. If there is a safek, better not to do it. Sometimes you will be told that something is OK because of this or that halachic reason. Naturally, we are dan l’kaf zchus and we would never chas v’cholilah accuse anyone who is a kosher yid, let alone a frum rav of being wrong about halacha. But it is always better to be mehadrin just as we are on all other aspects of tznius. But I also want to emphasize this is a general speech, not about anyone in particular. to even suggest otherwise would be not just loshon horah but even motzi shem rah. As the chofetz chaim reminds us you can burn in gehennim for just one statement that is oiver x number of lavim.

      As the girls file out some know whereof they speak but most are even afraid to discuss with other girls because of loshon horah. The frum world is most talented at conveying unmistakeably while never being explicit and not allowing explicit elaboration or questioning.

      Nevertheless, Meisels probably found out, chastised or even fired the staff and no one else tried to do it again.

      • I think it would be advisable to allow the one who posted the comment, or someone else who was there, to respond with a factual report, as opposed to inventing a scenario, including the termination of staff members, out of whole cloth. Shifting from accurate reporting to baseless nonsense lowers your credibility.

        • I would certainly welcome more information and details. My comments sections are pretty open to differing viewpoints and reports. I draw the line on vulgarity, sockpuppeting, trolling, or off-topic distractions. But we have to start somewhere. It is not like Meisels will give us an honest account as a point of departure.

          Don’t you think calling it baseless nonsense is over the top. Might you better say, I cannot confirm. How can you know it is “baseless?”

      • Right. He fired the staff members who spoke about it, and they were STILL scared to bring it out into the open!!
        That makes a lot of sense.
        Why would they be scared if he already fired them?

        And all 70-80 girls were also scared stiff to talk.
        Really, this is getting plain silly.

        • We are now hypothesizing about a hypothetical aftermath of a hypothetical aftermath. We are not discussing a situation where we have all the details. Reality can and does so many different paths. But since you are asking for speculation, here goes.

          Teacher is told,

          “you can resign and you can get a job elsewhere. but if I ever hear you are repeating anything about me I will spread the word you were fired for some kind of serious misconduct. forget about getting another job in the seminary world. I know all the owners. Even forget about getting a decent shidduch for your kids. Who are they gonna believe: me or you?”

          • Its funny that u say that the staff were afraid. This whole situation seems a bit bizarre to me (not that im doubting that it could have happened) I went to Pninim in one of the first years of its existence, I guess its safe to say that Rabbi Meisles was still “new” in the whole seminary game, so he didnt really go so far as to making any moves on anyone..however, we obviously see from rabbi kahane’s letter, and I know for a fact that other staff members are in complete denial over it…but i dont think it has anything to do with fear of losing their jobs (rabbi meisels is out-he cant really do much to them at this point) but I think its because they are all really good people who are there to help the girls out and they (like so many alumni now) cant really face the fact that someone of such high authority and respect can do something like this

        • Yes, KD, they were terrified. of being scandalized by a man who even threatened prospective students that he could ruin their chances at shidduchim. You state this as an absurdity. it is not absurd, They were all scared stiff. And amongst the girls, probably, those who had been “abused” were never positive which other had been, hence the fear “to open up”. But, to which other girls to talk about this???? Ch’V’ to bring it up with someone who was not a victim….. ch’v’. and re the teachers, do you think that he did not tell them, fired or not, that he had the power to wreck their future careers and lives. Husbands probably in kollel, the wife the only source of parnassah, perhaps kids.

        • “Probably” and “maybe” express doubt, possibilities, and as such, are not Motzi Shem Ra, rather, by definition, speculations. In free open discourse, speculation is one of our freedoms. if you want to lose your freedom, go to some Skver site, oops, they do not allow internet, oops they do not allow congregants to visit sick friends in hospitals near other shuls. chas v’shalom. punishable by death by fire. I understand that there are some houses there, badly damaged by fire, and you might be able to get a great deal. Pounce on it, before real estate takes off. I suspect that you may fit in really well in that community. All the best.

  4. That’s a lot of speculating and with your talent with words there will definitely be some readers who think that that was actually how the speech went.
    My problem is NOT that Meisels is being treated unfairly. My problem is that I believe these molesters AND their protecters are evil in their own right. The REAL story is bad enough. When we jump in with speculation, embellishments and skewed (or sometimes false) testimonies we are failing to support truth.

    • When I have facts I present them as such. I presented a report by someone else. i have no reason to believe it false based on my overall knowledge of this case including many facts I have not presented. It is reasonable to speculate, as long as it is plausible and labelled as speculation. Part of how we figure out things when others are concealing is by envisioning potential scenarios, using that to guide further inquiry, and then reporting that. This actually makes the sem staff look slightly better to the extent of someone doing something, albeit, not enough.

      Let’s not exagerate my power of words. I used my words at the very top to be clear it was speculation.

    • You just added the above post. My reply above was to your 11:40 post. It looks like it belongs here but that changes what I was saying. I will assume it was a coincidence.

  5. Lately he has almost no involvement with Chedvas. This year there wasn’t even going to be money support.

  6. I hope there will be full criminal investigations and charges against all the principals and administrators so that anyone who covered up in any way will be exposed, ousted and possibly have to spend time in jail. This would be midda kineged midda as they tried to protect the reputation of their schools and now their personal reputation would get destroyed. More importantly the message has to be sent that there will be no tolerance for this, that covering up for abuse can and hopefully will result in your life being ruined, and that deterrant may help compel people to instead do the right thing in the future if God forbid this situation arises, for those who are morally confused. If people will learn the lesson from this story, this added motivation can help influence people to take proper action against abusers and thereby aid the victims and protect the would-be future victims of the abuser, unlike what was done in the Meisels case.

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