This Is Why the Seminaries Controlled by Meisels Are Not Safe

David Morris

David Morris

David Morris cuts to the heart of the issue in his post Seminaries: Blessing-Dispensers & Diplomats. He summarizes the state of affairs and goes on to astutely dissect the latest statement signed by five prominent American rabbis. Words matter, even the words of those involved in cover-ups. In our best Jewish tradition, Morris captures all the evasive nuances in the latest proclamation. I am copying over his summary of the big picture,but you will have to go to his site for the detailed analysis of the statement.

1. Rabbi Elimelech Meisels is alleged to have had “unwanted touch of a sexual nature” with students at his seminaries.

2. This was investigated by the Chicago Beit Din (CBD) and the charges were substantiated to the Beit Din’s satisfaction.

3. This is not disputed by the ad hoc private Israeli Beit Din (IBD), nor anyone else of standing.

4. Meisels was instructed to depart from the seminaries by the CBD, subsequently reinforced by the IBD.

5. The CBD also investigated and found sufficient basis to allegations that senior members of the staff were informed by victims of the alleged offenses by Meisels, that they had failed to act to protect the girls, and the CBD therefore declared the seminaries themselves, even in Meisels absence, to be still unsafe. There are more bad apples in the cart.

6. This was accepted by Touro and TI who withdrew their accreditation from the seminaries.

7. The IBD, apparently with no knowledge of the nature of the allegations themselves, interviewed some staff members,  and then publicly declared the staff to be all wonderful and therefore the seminaries entirely safe in Meisels absence.

8. The IBD effectively closed the emergency exits of the seminaries, by banning other seminaries from seeking out these students, and by seizing and refusing to refund the $8000 deposits.
In spite of the numerous leaked documents, thousands of lines of blogging, and zillions of commentators… nothing substantive has changed since then.

On 2nd September, a new letter was published signed by 5 highly respected rabbonim from the USA. This was reportedly the result of heavy lobbying by Rabbi Shafran in the USA, the head of the IBD. Click here to see the rest of Seminaries: Blessing-Dispensers & Diplomats……….


29 thoughts on “This Is Why the Seminaries Controlled by Meisels Are Not Safe

  1. Excellent article by DM. We may need to destroy, wipe out, all of the old guard, and start from scratch. Which implies that the M seminaries are worthless. and their names will go on to haunt future attendees. I would hate to think that all past students are stigmatized, that is not the case at the various schools associated with Yeshiva University and their huge SKANDAL. Boys who studied there, do not have to worry, that any future shidduchim or future employers will be suspicious that they were amongst the “toys” of the handful of “educators” who abused their power. Hopefully, the stigma of M seminaries will not spread to any and all past attendees. Future attendees. are suspect, as are their parents. who must be brain dead, if they send their daughters, there, still, lamrot hakol. Your daughters’ souls are worth way more than 8k or whatever you “MAY” have lost. and the possibility still exists through various class action lawsuits, that you will, in the future, recover said funds. and if not, so what. You make your choice, and you then have to live with it. Please make the right one, for your daughters’ sakes, Please. I do not want to read in a year or two or three, how, i elu additional b’not yisrael were abused at M sems. due to negligence of staff.

      • Triangle,
        Of course, the girls were innocent. Young and innocent, afilu afilu if violent force was not used. The girls are totally innocent. I hope that nothing that I wrote caused you to comment such. The girls, no matter their ages, were abused, as any female taken advantage of by an authority in power, be it teacher, therapist, Rabbi, or whoever. Those with the power, the authorities, are always the guilty party, per the ethics of their professional organization.s

  2. They need to change the name of these seminaries…as well as those senior staff’s who were not named. The letter from the 5 gedolim has no letterhead and does not even mention who the new ‘leadership’ is.

  3. I dont understand what do you want mr. lopin, are you here to kill the Jewish nation who asked u to take care of us Jews, all u busy about is killing peoples life making fun of Gedolim and making fun of any thing what has to do with Yidishkiet by speaking לשון הרע ריכלות & ליצנות what any rabbi will say u will say some thing else, how can some one even think to take u advice about the all story, Rabbi Miesels is out even he should have stayed inside after we all know about that girl who came out with this story & who was the 1 who was not behaving….. (and has we see that she cant even take him to court because there is no case) and we have our גדולים who we listen to them always on even worse things than that and they said Rabbi miesels to back out and thats what he did and they tell us that the sem, are under new good control and we happy to listen to them and not to you and for sure we dont want yot should be leading any thing i כלל ישראל so just SHUT UP yes SHUT UP and dont even respond to what i wrote.

    • Thank you “USA” or is it REM for this marvelous specimen of why people should be afraid, very afraid of trusting the safety of the seminaries. The argument here is that Meisels never did anything wrong, was slandered, and quit at the advice of gedolim for the sake of the seminaries. If that is the insider thinking then what is to prevent him from returning? To date, none of the sem defenders has unequivocally even acknowledged Meisels misconduct. Or they proffer the absurd theory that he “hugged a girl in distress and was misunderstood.”

      USA, you are a vile, hostile, obnoxious specimen of a Meisels-defender. Still, thank you for revealing the agenda of the Meisels camp.

      BTW, the reason the IBD is so bent on denying any staff enabled the Meisels abuse is that how can they penalize enabling when they are still not admitting there was anything to enable.

      • But, YL, they did call him “hatakalah.” They wrote that the “takalah” was removed. Now a defender might just claim that they only meant to say “obstacle”. or “stumbling block”. That is the usage of the word. Interestingly some online site translates takalah as “mishap”. I think that might be a bit off, but he certainly was the makor of major “mishap”penings at the seminaries. And the IBD did specify what certainly seemed to read as cause and effect, that “now” that the takalah was removed, ain ma lid’og, (nothing to fear).. Sems are safe, fear not. B’not Yisrael,. go with our blessings, g’zai gezunt? (full disclosure, I have never used this phrase, not in speech and not in print, in my entire multi decade lifetime, but it seems appropriate here.)

        What, indeed would cause the IBD to remove a stam obstacle from the seminaries that he owns and operates?

    • Eventually they will claim he heard the screams of a drowning girl, jumped in the water to save her. When hr got her out she was shivering in shock and he hugged her to warm her up because of hypothermia and there were no blankets. He will claim he resigned because others might not realize it was pikuach nefesh and he did not want people to think it was OK to hug a girl whose life was not in danger. Get ready for the sequel: I Hugged a Girl II!

      • LOL!! Sounds like good spin! A wasted talent you’ve got there. Too bad for the IBD, the Agudah, or apologists for frum sexual abusers, that you are not THEIR spokesperson. You know just the spin to make it look good.

        • Seriously? seriously,
          I think you plagiarized my comment that was not posted, or is, still under moderation. hey, l’daavoni harav, re this particular scenario, great minds think alike, re YL’s comment being a lawyer’s ‘justification” for the hypothetical scenario. posed. here. yeah, just comforting a hypothermal drowing Jewihs bat yisrael. Aizeh tsadik hu, aizeh gibor. the M guy. yet, we have yet to see what creative spin, his soon to be lawyers will put on this case. It will be fascinating. and creative, and don’t have an expletive chance in the world of vindicating him, nevertheless, sooner rather than later, i pray this will play out in secular courts, and not just the money back issue, but the criminal sexual crimes issue. Let us wait patiently and see. I pray that enough of our daughters have the fortitude to step forward. the YU guys were not worried about stigma, , why should there be a stigma on our precious daughters, violated by this tat-adam. meisels by name. if not at YU, where there were banim, why a stigma on banot? asur to differentiate, but the ortho world is mysogenistic. as any cognitive orthodox female should know.

          kol tuv.

      • The Talmud condemns as a “chasid shoteh” (pious fool) one who would not touch a woman to save her from drowning in a river. But what if she had been drowning in loneliness and sexual frustration, and he feared she might commit suicide? There was no one else to help because they happened to be alone together, so being neither pious nor a fool, he consoled her as best he could ….

        • sarcasm-

          Plus, if he didn’t rape the girls, then surely they would question their attractiveness and suffer tremendous anguish, insecurity, and depression as a result. (“What?! The rabbi didn’t touch me?! If the rabbi could control himself in my presence then it can ONLY mean I am ugly, undesirable, and worthless. No one will ever want to marry me! I should never have been born. I will never, ever heal from this traumatic blow.”) Wow. I’m in awe of his selflessness in empowering girls to believe in themselves despite the fact that he was forced to sacrifice what can only be his deepest values in the process. What mesiras nefesh! Truly inspiring.


  4. sarcasm-

    Plus, if he didn’t rape the girls, then surely they would question their attractiveness and suffer tremendous anguish, insecurity, and depression as a result. (“What?! The rabbi didn’t touch me?! If the rabbi could control himself in my presence then it can ONLY mean I am ugly, undesirable, and worthless. No one will ever want to marry me! I should never have been born. I will never, ever heal from this traumatic blow.”) Wow. I’m in awe of his selflessness in empowering girls to believe in themselves despite the fact that he was forced to sacrifice what can only be his deepest values in the process. What mesiras nefesh! Truly inspiring.


  5. Same issues in Christian patriarchal churches.

    There is always the charismatic male leader who prepares young women for marriage and proper family life by obsessing over issues such as modesty, personality flaws, etc in his victims and helping them to correct their faults and to grow in their “faith” which is really self doubt and dependency upon him.

    As soon as the girls admit their own flaws, fears and self doubts, the subjugation and control begins.

    Survivors of church based sexual abuse speak of a culture that treats women’s bodies as inherently problematic and seductive, that blames victims of sexual abuse for inviting the abuse or tempting the abuser, and that effectively silences victims of abuse by telling women and children that reporting the crime would reflect poorly on the church and thus damage the reputation of their god.

    These women describe an environment of fear in which they learned to distrust their own instincts and desires, which made it hard to report, or even acknowledge, the abuse.

    I am reading about the sexual abuse of Bill Gothard and the parallels in our communities are amazing.

    Seminaries were never a traditional part of Jewish life, like Haredi Harvard they were invented to mirror the non Jewish institutions (ie. finishing schools).

  6. I sent my daughter to the seminary this week. I am delighted with it. They will be the safest school in Israel this year. very few girls backed out. Mainly the Chicago ones. Wishing every one a great year.

    • As I reported before, Pninim year two (shana bet) was cancelled (thus down 15-30 students) and Pninim is according to one source down to about 60 from previous years of a little over ninety. I would guess they are down about 20%.

      Kalman, So are they making believe that Meisels just fulfilled a long-term desire to retire from seminary work to learn full-time? Are they propagating the just-a-hug theory?

    • Faulty logic – in fact if there was another case to occur this year at the same places the staff would be so scared that it might get exposed that they would go to even greater lengths to cover it up. Because if anything else happened now at those sems, it would really be the end.

  7. Believe me it will be the best seminary this year. They are putting their all into it and as reported they have a lady that will be overseeing the seminary to check that everything is above board. Meisels is not being mentioned at all. We are ready to move forward and accept the advice of our Rabbonim who have said that they would send their own daughters to these seminaries. I do want to mention that he was not really involved very much with the sem our daughter is attending, he taught one lesson a week.However that is totally irrelevant as he is no longer associated with it. If we look into our family or our past each one of us will find a skeleton in the past, no matter who you are or what yichus you have. I am in no way justifying anything that might have gone on, if true it is really terrible, and even if only a hug it is not appropriate in our circles. However it is time to move on.

    • Good to see that there are still people drinking the “Elimelech wasn’t really involved/and he is no longer there/No one is perfect, anyway” Kool-Aid!
      The fact is there was a rapist roaming the seminary dorms late at night and many staff members knews & did zip!
      You defending Kahane, too,?

      • Penelope – this is not a “Kool-Aid drinker,” this is a man who erroneously believes that if he asks his Rov if he can go to the bathroom and wipe himself on a Wednesday afternoon in September, and the Rov says “No,” that the Rov has spoken magical words otherwise known as “Daas Torah” and that those magical “Daas Torah” words about something completely outside of halachic discourse are a direct reflection of God’s will. And he will blindly follow that supposed “Daas Torah” no matter what the Rov says about any subject, relating to halacha or not. It is a fear of taking responsibility for making VERY DIFFICULT REAL LIFE decisions, and instead believing that by throwing that responsibility onto someone who supposedly has magic powers, magic answers, or a direct line to God, it is somehow blessed by Hashem and everything will all turn out okay, because “Daas Torah Has Spoken.” The problem is, Hashem never said that he was giving modern day rabbonim ru’ach hakodesh to make decisions for people about life choices. We don’t have an “Urim V’tumim” anymore. We don’t have Nevu’ah anymore, and rabbanim know as much about what you should do with your teenage daughter as you could know if you read a few psychology books about teenagers and thought long and hard about how the buck stops with you and it is you and only you who are responsible for your children and that like everyone else, you need to do the best you can while owning the choices you make.

        When hundreds of rabbonim told people not to flee war-torn Europe from advancing Nazi occupation, it didn’t work out well for hundreds of thousands of those people. But there was no money back guarantee. Many rabbonim stayed with their flocks and perished, and others ran away at the last minute. Either way, the rabbonim knew nothing more about what to do than anyone else. They still don’t. They know about milichigs and fleishigs and monetary beis din halachos and pesach dishes and if a chicken is treif and lots of other halachic issues. But 99% of the questions asked to rabbonim are about things which they know nothing more than you or I. Instead of humbly saying that they are as clueless as we are, they stroke their beards, assume a position of authority, and ride on their wave of Kovod HaTorah, advising people in things that are not only beyond their expertise, but have nothing to do with halacha and which they could be grossly misinformed about. But no worries. As long as you’ve checked off the “Asked Daas Torah” box on your “Responsibility as a Parent” form, then Hashem will have no gripes with you at the end of the day and will make sure things go right for you, exactly as “Daas Torah” advised you. NOT!!! This is one of the biggest mistakes of our generation, and it is destroying Frum society – trusting rabbanim above trusting our common sense, our guts, and our own moral and ethical compasses.

        • Seriously, seriously?. I could not have written a better comment with all of my too many years with only a couple of kids, lol i am not ortho.

          Wisdom, something missing from all of the sheeple. blind, deaf and dumb. Thank you for your comment, albeit i am a month late in reading/acknowledging it.

          In the final analysis, at the end of the day, Hashem (if he is still around) does not get involved in our petty affairs. It is a parent’s responsibility to think, to weigh various parameters, and to make their best guess estimate of what, b’sofo shel davar, will be most advantageous for their child. Yichus of the chatan, should be low on the list, l’fi da’ati. Yichus is meaningless. Simu lev, how many “g’dolim are menuvalim me’al u’me’ever. Forget yichus. when i was growing up, in a non-ortho family, where all were college graduates. i was told that yichus, omg, things like if the parent was a schneider, a tailor, chas v’sh, that was pasul. this was earlier generations, my grandparents all arrived in very very early 1900’s or perhaps on one side a bit earlier. but yichus, as if yichus could convey ethics, integrity, mortality, no, but a schneider was a lower class Jew. “We” were all college educated, at least those born or nearly born in US. lots and lots of teachers. so what. Did that prevent any bad behavior. NO. Did marrying another immigrant who succeeded in getting a degree, or even an advanced degree guarantee happiness. I will answer with a resounding, NO.
          The parents have full responsibility. No one else, And if they are immoral or amoral, then the children will suffer, perhaps for multiple generations, afilu.

    • Moving on for purposes of teshuva and other things requires admitting the truth, expressing regret, apologizing to victims, and paying compensation for damage. The seminary has never expressed a single word of admission, apology, sympathy or offered compensation.

      When I was a kid, there was a jerk in our class who used to poke other kids, immediately say “excuse me,” ask for mechilah, and “you are a rasha if you are not moichel me.”

      Never trust anyone who cannot admit they made a mistake. If someone else in the seminary misbehaves, they now have a chazakah for covering up crimes.

  8. you are all idiots because just because he needs to apologize it won help for all of you to sit around and talk about him and speak lashon hara because now guess what you need to go and apologize to him! and his children and any members of his extended family because it wasn’t them that did it and the more you sit around and talk the more aveiros you are piling on yourself and the worse the situation is getting if you don’t want to send your daughter to those seminaries then don’t noone will stop you but there is no reason for all this senseless lashon hara it is not getting anyone anywhere!

    • Really, you are down to name-calling? He still controls the seminaries and those who enabled the abuse still work there. So there is an obligation to warn people off just as decent people don’t ignore a downed power line. BTW, no one is attacking his family. Yes this is embarassing for them but that is Eli’s doing, not ours.

    • M. is such a narcissist, that he didn’t give a ” ” (fill in the blanks, secular), for his family when he embarked on his sexual perversions. Soul killing of uncountable numbers of b’not Yisrael. and violations of his marriage, and he probably has some older kids the age of some of the younger sem girls. If the older daughters are not disgusted to the point of upchucking, at the thought of their father, doing the sem girls. then nothing written here can be more abhorrent.
      He committed crimes against humanity, against b’not Yisrael, pure orthodox Jewish girls, whose only sin was wanting to improve the yichus of a potential chatan.
      Perverts are, among other things, narcissists, caring not one iota for anyone else, but their own insatiable lust, which, evidently can never be satisfied. Never. Ultimately leading to their destruction, and violation of dozens or even hundreds of children/young adults, and permanent permanent stigma, violation of the feelings of their own wives and children. EVERYONE IS DISPENSABLE FOR A SEXUAL DEVIANT. INCLUDING HIS OWN CHILDREN. Sorry about that “stop hating” really sorry, if you are an older daughter of M, or relative of any sort, He did not give a flying, object about any of you. Think about that.
      Does he deserve any sympathy from you? How can you even look at him…….knowing what he has done, or are you still in denial?? Sooner or later, I believe, real lawsuits (criminal or civil, perhaps depending on whether in US or in E”Y will ensue) and if you think that what you read on this blog is disturbing,, well, the testimony in court will remove the last tiny bit of any rachmonas that you might have, say, based on belief, that he is mentally ill?

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