Rabbi Daniel Eidensohn is protective of the seminaries operated by Meisels particularly of their right to refuse parents refunds and of the job security of everyone who worked for Meisels. As criticism of the Israeli Beis Din mounted, he seized on a new source of authority for his postion. On Thursday he posted:
A letter signed by American gedolim – including Rav Levin from Telz of Chicago, Rav Aharon Feldman of Yeshiva Ner Yisroel, Rav Aharon Schecter of Yeshiva Chaim Berlin, Rav Malkiel Kotler or Lakewood and Rav Yaakov Perlow – praises the four seminaries which were acquired by Yaakov Yarmush from Meisels.
They express their clear approval of the new spiritual management that will be closely supervising these seminaries.
A comment on his posting by “Avraham” begs to differ
Let us first note that RAF [Rabbi Aharon Feldman] was unsuccessful in his attempt to get the full Moetzes to sign on to the decision (as he has tried for some time). Instead we are left with five rabbanim who either have negius [conflict of interest] – Rabbi Levine – or terrible track records dealing with abuse.
(Rav Perlow [Novominsker Rebbe] convened the first group of rabbanim that covered up for Yehuda Kolko. Rav Kotler vigerously defended Yosef Kolko and drove his victim and his family out of Lakewood. Rav Feldman continues protecting Moshe Eiseman, and Rav Schechter was responsible for the abuse of Issac Hersch [and suing the rescuers and those who reported on it]. [URLs added by Yerachmiel Lopin]
The Real Issue Is Safety
As far as I am concerned, after exhaustively covering the twists and turns of the saga, it all boils down to which group of rabbis can be counted on to tend to the safety of students. On one side we have the Chicago Beis Din (CBD) which has found sexual abuse, a climate of charisma and flirting, and staff who ignored it and rebuffed students who reported violations of din yichud which were perfectly obvious to many staff and students. The CBD advised against attending and supports the right of parents to have their tuition prepayments refunded acting through civil courts if necessary. On the basis of the CBD ruling, Touro and Hebrew Theological Colleges suspended accreditation.
The CBD will not back down until they are satisfied with proof of full transfer of control from Elimelech Meisels, a change in the culture of the problematic seminaries, a full investigation of all culpable staff, and the removal of some principals and staff as needed.
On the other side we have five Roshei Yeshiva with conflicts of interest, a history of protecting abusers, or a history of kidnapping. Their assurances of safety with no proper investigations or changes in staffing are meaningless. I doubt they even believe their own claims. They just want to protect the seminaries from losing too many students because parents are nervous. Most shocking is that in all this time they have not had a word of compassion for Meisels victims, not a word of apology, not any offer of help.
The [IBD] letter is clearly designed for damage control. It does not contradict the findings of the Chicago Beis Din but notes that Meisels has been removed from his position and therefore whatever he did is not relevant for the current running of the seminaries. It’s main focus is to deal with the fears and concerns of the present students and their parents and tell them there is nothing to be concerned of at present.
In his commenting section he wrote:
@Honesty – you are simply challenging the ruling of the Chicago Beis Din.They had access to both sides and they clearly indicated that at the present time it is problematic to attend these seminaries. If as is claimed he was removed from access to the seminaries 8 weeks ago than why does the Chicago Beis Din issue this strong warning? Why are letters being sent out to parents and principals regarding this matter. If all that is necessary is a surgical removal than what are they afraid of?
Aside from that there is also the question of Meisels future. It is unlikely that such a person suddenly changes and therefore is no longer a danger to anyone. If he is a rodef – then it is necessary to get the word out so that proper precautions get be done regarding his access and influence over young women.
Rabbi Eidensohn I agree with your initial reactions along with your concern about the charismatic culture of the seminaries you expressed in several of your posts (e.g., Sex and kiruv: Problem of the charismatic rabbi and Charisma: A Note on the Dangerous Outer Boundary of Spirituality).
Rabbi Eidensohn, I don’t know how you lost your way into screaming blood libel and McCarthyism, nor why you wrote an absurd ad hominem attack on me posing as satire, or entered conspiracy mode to claim the CBD controls when the Chicago Tribune runs an article.
All I know is I have been consistent in my positions about abuse for the last five years. You on the other hand have taken a U-turn backwards from your advocacy for child safety. Dr. Eidensohn I hope it is a malady you are professionally equipped to resolve because all other explanations implicate your integrity or social judgment.