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……….