My Experiences with Meisels and His Enablers — Guest Post by TruthSeeker

TruthSeeker is the pseudonym of a former student in Elimelech Meisels’ seminaries. She describes her initial enthusiasm, the charismatic, flirtatious nature of Meisels’ leadership, his crossing boundaries, her confronting him about it, her attempts to get staff to confront the problem, her futile attempt to share her knowledge with Rabbi Malinowitz of the Israeli Beis Din, and attempts to intimidate her by Meisels through the Daas Torah blog of R. Daniel Eidensohn Yerachmiel Lopin

Starting at Pninim

I walked off the plane not knowing what to expect for the upcoming year at Pninim Seminary. I was excited. I heard seminary was a year to focus on my ruchnius (spirituality) and growth. I came thirsting for the kedusha (holiness) of Torah and Yiddishkeit and quenching my thirst for self-improvement. Pninim was a place where people encouraged growth in every way and exposed girls to the sweetness of a true-Torah lifestyle in the most Kadosh (holy) of places-Yerushalayim (Jerusalem).

Jerusalem Stock PhotoI remember stepping into my very first class and being blown away by Mrs. Karp’s exalted interpretation of the words in “Eishes Chayil (“Woman of Valor”). Her passion and raw emotions almost brought me to tears and I felt my neshama (soul) lifted up by her class. Mrs. Kallus’ fiery lectures sent a stream of Yiddishkeit (Jewishness) adrenaline flowing through my veins. Rabbi Kahane taught his classes with passion you couldn’t find elsewhere and he had a good sense of humor. He taught me that I had the power to change the world and make a difference

Elimelech Meisels speaking poster brooklyn Jan 11 2014 cropped andwatermarked and captionedThen there was our principal, Rabbi Elimelech Meisels. I was attracted to his nerdy side which poured out textbook knowledge about any subject and to his intuitive understanding of the world. I enjoyed my private talks with him which I could not get from any other teacher. My mechanchim (educators) blew me away in each and every lesson.

Many of us adored Meisels from the first time we saw him on stage or we talked to him privately. To us students he was a pop star. He was a baal chesed (charitable man), a person who never thought twice about offering financial help to struggling girls or offering a few kind words to help a girl feel like a million bucks. His day consisted of speaking to students privately and he energetically worked his way through the girls lined up outside his office. Most girls called him “Rabbi Meisels” Some even referred to him as their “second Tatti (Daddy)”.

Something Bothered Me about Meisels

But I’d be lying if I said that everything was “just dandy”. I began questioning the behavior of our principal, Elimelech Meisels. At first it was hard to realize what bothered me. He was intelligent, charming, giving, and personal – a bit too personal. Yes, a bit too personal, a bit too charming, too giving, and intelligent enough to explain it all away.

I came to question some of his actions which did not seem to match what he preached in the classroom. He was the only man in the building at all hours besides the fix-it man and chef. He was this charming, “good-looking” rabbi who had girls surrounding him by the dozens. At times it was hard to remember that he was a married rabbi with a family and loving wife.

He made girls blush with teasing and playful comments. He would comment on girls’ looks, calling them gorgeous and pretty. He would get girls to open up about the most private of subjects such as past relationships, boyfriends, and life traumas. He would trade secrets, violating confidentiality in his one-on-one chats such as telling me about other girls’ financial problems and family issues.

Elimelech Meisels

Elimelech Meisels

Girls got themselves made-up before his class. Girls fought for his attention and for private time alone in his office. If he had to leave the building just before someone’s turn, they would eagerly ask when he’d be available next. At times he would come back late at night, sometimes staying as late as one in the morning.

It was no secret that students had crushes on this man in his forties, and I knew that he welcomed it. On one occasion he admitted to me that he was aware of girls’ feelings for him. He knew certain girls would put makeup on before coming into his office. One time he told me he “could understand why girls could feel this way” because he was “good looking.” It bothered me most that he knew exactly what he was doing and seemed to relish it.

It made my heart sink when I overheard rumors of him breaking tznius (modesty) boundaries with girls. These stories spread like wild-fire throughout the dorms. These are rumors I’d rather not repeat, because I am not sure of their validity. I will only repeat the things I saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears.

I saw him flirting with girls and with a particular female staff member. Other staff noticed it but said the two just had a “close connection like a father and a daughter”.

Elimelech Meisels

Elimelech Meisels

I witnessed careless behavior at shabbos meals and one specific incident late at night in the school between him and another female worker. There was no touching but there was loose behavior by both of them that made my heart sink. It was hard not to think about what would his wife say if she were there witnessing it.

But I wasn’t yet sure enough. I wondered if might have it all wrong. Maybe I was being too extreme, too negative. So when other girls described the flirting, I’d brush them off exclaiming “lashon harah (gossip)!” I fervently stood up for our principal when girls ridiculed him. I even embarrassed myself for him when a girl exclaimed “he’s not a real rabbi”. I fought her viciously in public for his kavod (honor) and I made her feel ashamed for the audacity of her comment.

Girls and teachers had openly told me that they considered me a role model. I criticized myself; how could a girl like me have the chutzpah to open her mouth and go against the school she loved most? Then I would worry about ruining my reputation. How could I open up to my friends without having them reject my claims? I was afraid and I felt guilty. So I kept my growing suspicions to myself.

Confronting Meisels

But when the rumors and stories began coming from the people I trusted the most and became more frequent, this became more difficult to do. As time went on and I entered into my second year in Chedvas, his inappropriate behavior became increasingly apparent. I spent three consecutive days without any sleep. I could not handle having a role model I did not respect. I wondered. Is my role model a faker, a liar, a manipulator, a flirt, or even a pervert?

I wrote Meisels a letter expressing my conflicted feelings. In part, it said,

Dear Rabbi Meisels,

I’m writing this letter because I feel like there is no way I can physically speak some of the words it contains to you without crying…the kind of crying resulting from such great agony because I respect you so much. Likewise, I think it would embarrass the both of us much more if I would say it in person…

Envelop IconBack in January, just a few days after you arrived back from America, you were (once again) spending a late night in school speaking to girls, staff, etc. But by this time there was practically no one downstairs anymore but me and another girl. I was right outside your office chatting with another girl, until you came out of your office with a certain individual… You were both sharing some very friendly laughs together, shutting off the lights in your office and locking it, preparing to leave (or so I thought)…

Then you and that certain individual exited through the side door together. I was continuing my conversation with that … girl right outside your office… In the middle of our conversation we both looked through the glass doors and onto the mirpeset (balcony). We saw the shadowy figures of you and that individual unlock the door to the mirpeset. You carried along with your easy-going conversation to the side of the building……

Without saying a word to each other, the … girl and I exchanged glances. It was a confusing situation for us both. Some time passed until the two of you finally walked into the building through the glass doors right next to me and the … girl. I just can’t refrain from saying this, but the way you two walked in the building with your laughing seemed so loud and careless that it really shook me and the … girl up.

The interruption was so disturbing that I actually stopped the conversation with the girl to maybe give you two a hint, to maybe have one of you realize that, yeah, there are two students here in front of us so maybe we shouldn’t act as loud and loose with each other as you [would] not be doing if it were in the middle of the day with the school filled with people…

I turned to the girl without saying a word. She said a comment under her breath, expressing her confusion in a more upset manner, I guess. But I was just utterly confused. The two of us just stood there staring (very obviously, in fact) at you two, until your conversation ended and you both went your separate ways…

This is, by the way, only one example… It just happened to be one that struck me so hard, that I remember it in vivid detail…

This makes me look at you and that certain individual in a different way…

Envelop IconConfused… because I cannot imagine someone as great as you, Rabbi Meisels, ever doing anything wrong intentionally.

Angry, very angry. Angry because you have such great perception and you are so cognizant in just so many areas…yet at times you lose them both. Not realizing that two students were watching even from the shadows of the mirpeset and into the building with your loud interruption…

Sadness this most of all, more than anger and confusion… Every time I pass by your office… I think about what an incredible person Rabbi Meisels is… Every time I pass by your office I think about all the hours of work you put into this school and the people in it and it actually makes me want to cry… I never want to be a bother and ask you to take time off of your busy schedule just to talk to me. … And most of all, everything you’ve done for me and still continue to do until today. I’m close to tears right now typing this… How do you describe the respect you have for a person who has given you everything? It simply cannot be done. And so that is why I feel sadness-

Because I see things that are being done by such a great person that I cannot make sense of… This has been bothering me for months now… It’s because of the amount of respect I still have for Rabbi Meisels and because you’re always there when I need advice on things.

Thanks again,

trash in waste basketI nervously handed it to him, but he tossed it away like a piece of trash. I waited for him to approach me and resolve the issue with care and concern. But it never happened. He behaved as if nothing had occurred. I then spoke my mind straight to him when I saw no effort on his side. When I made him aware that girls “liked” him, he smiled and asked me how many. Did they like Rabbi Simon too? When I asked him how he could call my friends “pretty”, he said it planted self-esteem in them. He tried lessening my concern. “They have feelings for me, but then they go off, get married, and forget all about me. No big deal,” he told me.

I told him straight out that I saw through his purposeful manipulation. He surprisingly agreed he was able to do this, but claimed to do it for good purposes. He then called me “extreme”, “obsessed”, and an “ingrate.” He took out his phone and said “I just recorded you. Would you like me to replay it for you to show you how ridiculous you sound?” I was shocked and mortally embarrassed. But he left me with kind words in order to keep positive feelings between us.

Other Staff Refused to Act

Not Listening claymationI was brushed under the rug and I was not satisfied with our meeting. I went to two different teachers and complained about charismatic rabbis getting too friendly with girls. The supposed flirting and crushes the girls developed for their loving rabbis in general bothered me. When Meisels was brought up, they had a line: “Well, he just does things differently.” As far as they were concerned, that made the problem disappear. I questioned the late-night car rides to my friends. They would say “He’s doing girls a favor by giving them rides. Come on, it’s not weird. It’s Rabbi Meisels!”

Big Bad BossThen I went to another Rabbi in the seminary to complain specifically about Meisels. With my face in my hands, I struggled to get out my guilty thoughts. By the end of the meeting, the teacher seemed bothered, but could only promise me a minimum amount of assistance to lessen his contact with girls.

Not satisfied with the lack of concrete action by this teacher, I moved on to another teacher. “There is someone in the school that is trouble and I suspect has underlying motives. I feel they are causing more damage than good.”

“Okay. Why don’t you go to the principal of the school if you feel like someone might be doing harm?” The sound of the principal’s footsteps outside the room and my dead silence suddenly made him nervous. When the footsteps were gone, he proceeded. “You can’t tell the principal of the school…because the person you are talking about is the principal of the school.” Unable to speak, I nodded my head. But even then, I saw no change.

After I Graduated

graduation cap iconI kept a relationship with Rabbi Meisels after seminary, emailing here and there, because he was a great source of knowledge and insight. Yet I told close friends that I did not trust his honesty and integrity in the slightest. I refused to see him again in person during his frequent trips to America, including seminary reunions. I was still torn by not being able to trust the man who helped me so much in life.

Contacting the Chicago Beis Din

After the scandal broke out this July, I called Rabbi Shmuel Feurst, a member of the Chicago Beis Din (rabbinical court) (CBD) to see if the rumor was true. I was devastated when I heard the answer. I also spoke to Rabbi Zev Cohen about my experiences. I was far from the first to call and report inappropriate behavior by our principal. Now I got more resentful towards the staff who didn’t listen to me. They were supposed to protect the girls but did not.

Trying to Talk to Rabbi Kahane

Rabbi Meir Kahane, Principal Chedvas Bais Yaakov

Rabbi Meir Kahane, Principal Chedvas Bais Yaakov

As soon as got off the phone with Rabbi Feurst, I emailed Rabbi Meir Kahane, principal of Chedvas to set up a time to talk by phone. Within a day or two we spoke and I started off by asking him if he knew of anything and if girls ever complained. He froze in his responses and never answered me outright. I asked him whether he called the CBD to see if it was true. He never did, and when I wanted to expand our conversation, he refused to speak to me. He said “listen, we all do aveiros (sins) that we don’t want publicized. Why do we need to talk and publicize his?” I was appalled by his statement. He told me Meisels would not see the light of day again. But I don’t believe it.

He ended our conversation by saying that if I talk about the incident, “The malachim (angels) in shamayim (heaven) will speak badly about you to HaShem (G-d). You can’t afford that; you need a shidduch (marriage match)!”

I was shocked by his complete lack of empathy and the phone call did not end well. A few hours later, I became one of the few original recipients of Rabbi Meir Kahane’s infamous “Lashon Horah” email. I wrote back a powerful response, letting him know that I was completely disinterested in helping him “save the world” this time around.

I Became TruthSeeker

Shortly after, I began sharing my thoughts and feelings by commenting on the posts in the Internet blog, Frum Follies. I used the pseudonym TruthSeeker. The username came instantly to mind. I wanted to help and give people clarity from the perspective of someone who experienced life in the seminaries.

I gained clarity about my own thoughts on the blog. I did not want to accuse my seminary teachers of “covering up”. I stood up for them and the school fervently. But as things unraveled, I broke free of my protective thinking. I had to come to terms with the fact that some of my role models were not acting in respectable ways. They did not apologize to victims. They lied when they said that they knew nothing when there were complaints.

The Israeli Beis Din Won’t Take My Testimony

Rabbi Chaim Malinowitz

Rabbi Chaim Malinowitz

During that time the Israeli Beis Din (rabbinical court) (IBD) insisted the seminaries were safe as long as Meisels was gone, but I was concerned about other staff who knew what was going on with Meisels and ignored it.

In order to inform the IBD on August 3, 2014, I called Rabbi Chaim Malinowitz, one of its dayanim (judges). When I spoke to Rabbi Chaim Malinowitz on the phone, I asked him how he determined the seminaries were safe. He said, “We asked the teachers and they said they knew of nothing.” When I attempted to share my experience, I was cut off. “We are a real Beis Din”, I was told. Nothing could be heard unless there was an official meeting. He took my name and number and said he’d give me a call when such a meeting would occur. I asked for a heads-up for when they would call so I could be available to answer.  He wouldn’t give me an answer. He said that if I happened to be available at the time of the meeting, then they would listen to what I had to say. This was over a month ago. I still haven’t gotten a call.

Meisels and Eidensohn Attack Me

Rabbi Daniel Edensohn Daas Torah blog

Rabbi Daniel Edensohn
Daas Torah blog

I commented about my experience with Rabbi Malinowitz on FrumFollies.wordpress.com. That may be why I woke up one morning finding myself a part of a main post on the Daas Torah blog of Rabbi Daniel Eidensohn with a campaign against “TruthSeeker.”

People called me a liar and claimed I was a “troubled and lonely girl” and that Meisels paid for my therapy. I have never been in therapy and certainly not one which Meisels paid for. I suspect Meisels is the one behind this attack to punish me for revealing information and to intimidate me into stopping. I am not saying he did it himself. He was always good at getting other people to do what he wanted.

Meisels, your therapy claim was silly. But what really bothered me, Meisels, was that you exposed that I was on a special scholarship, as well as other personal information. Nobody but you was supposed to know those things.

You were a fake baal chesed (charitable man). You used your giving as a way to gain power and to control other people. That scholarship was one of the main reasons I kept my mouth closed about you for so long. I felt so much guilt about attacking someone to whom I owed so much. I spoke to a friend you once offered financial help. When I asked her why she refused your offer she said, “I don’t want to feel I ever owe him anything.” Most other people did not know enough to push away the strings attached to all the chesed (kindness) you showered on them. You used those strings to control us like puppets that would follow and praise your every move.

Betrayal

Elimelech Meisels

Elimelech Meisels

On the Daas Torah blog under the username “Y Cohen” which I am confident was you, or your shliach (agent), “Cohen” claimed that I betrayed you.

Elimelech Meisels, you betrayed hundreds (if not thousands) including mechanchim (educators), alumni, and parents the moment you could not keep your hands to yourself. Your betrayal goes far beyond the destruction of our personal kesher (bond).

I have lost my Pninim family. And for that, I cry. The people I trusted the most and looked up to have acted in unspeakable ways. Pninim’s magic will never be the same for me anymore. But I would rather face this unpleasant truth and become an outcast to some other alumni than participate in a cover-up for your sick actions.

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You can see other posts on Frum Follies about the Meisels seminaries scandal. They will appear in reverse chronological order (most recent first). You will get several pages of titles, so when you get to the bottom make sure to click on “<– older posts.” If your prefer reading in chronological order, keep going back and read from the bottom up.

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190 thoughts on “My Experiences with Meisels and His Enablers — Guest Post by TruthSeeker

  1. Excellent job, TruthSeeker. We need many more like you. The truth will come out. It always does. And all of the people who turned and looked the other way are going to be exposed.

    I wonder how many people actually ended up sending to the sems?

  2. Kol Hakavod to you for speaking out!!! I am sorry that it hurts so much now. May Hashem bless you with every possible bracha.

  3. TruthSeeker,
    Yasher Koach for your your very brave and articulate article. Those of us who have followed your comments already know much, but not all of your story. Thank you for clearly having undertaken the painful task of reliving that entire episode in your life. I would imagine, that telling it as an integral story is highly distressing, and, the nightmare probably has not really ended yet for you. I imagine it must still be very raw, and exacerbated by the vile treatment you have endured from DT Eidensohn.

    Sometimes, telling the story of a trauma is cathartic, sometimes it re-awakens all of the emotional distress. And each time may be different, flip-flopping, as it were. Despite the fact that you were not one of the abused students, the pain and distress, and the IMPOTENCE to do anything about it seems unbearable. For someone with your perceptiveness, spirituality, high integrity and moral standards, it must have been unbearable.
    In my opinion, it would be valuable, if you could actually have a trauma therapist to help you come to grips with this. I know that some insurance companies do cover in-network mental health visits. I am truly wishing you the best. Also, wondering how you are feeling emotionally now, having written your entire story in chronological sequence, including the chronology of both your changing cognitive reactions to this major abuse by a trusted mentor, and of your evolving emotional distress over time. .
    All the best TS, you are an exemplary role model for many many other young ladies who have been in circumstances similar to yours. both those who witnessed sinful, criminal behavior, and those who were victims of it..

  4. “Truthseeker”, what exactly did you witness on that balcony? Two people in pleasant and perhaps too friendly conversation? Wow! I thought you saw them in a passionate embrace and much more….! The Meisels family are most charitable. They have a long history of giving in the most kind manner — never expecting anything in return! Rabbi Meisels was merely continuing the legacy of his parents. I am sorry Truthseeker, but you saw absolutely nothing! A man was too friendly and probably didn’t belong in chinuch habonos, but you accused him of the worst and seek nothing but his complete destruction! Really, Truthseeker, what is your beef? What are you really after? I have read so many of your comments and there is nothing that you have offered that would ever hold up in a court of law. So, don’t be so surprised if the beis din have not dropped everything to listen to your “testimony”. I wouldn’t either.

    • Wow, You admit he does not belong in chinuch habonos:

      Do you remember saying in early July:

      As for Elimelech Meisels, I personally attest to the awesome family from which he emanates. The testimonies on this site do not surprise me. This family is malchus and one in a hundred million. I too benefited from the abundant caring and kindness of his parents and watched Eli grow up. If Elimelech has stepped down from his seminaries it is only to the detriment of our girls who need good people to educate them for there is a lack of good people out there. Elimelech seems to possess great talent and I have no doubt will find another avenue to success. It is we who have lost out.

      so which is it: have we lost out or does he not belong in chinuch but you want to defend him anyways as innocent. If he is innocent, why doesn’t he belong in girls’ education?

      • Mr. Lopin, I posted many times. In one post, back in July, I did say that he probably did not belong in chinuch habonos. Why don’t you look for it. Being, perhaps inappropriately friendly with his students does not make his a sex offender. I said this back in July and I will continue to say it until more definitive details emerge, if ever.

        • You have said many different things ever since this scandal broke. You are consistent in shifting your argument but always trying to minimize his guilt, adjusting your spiel with each successive revelation. What is Meisels to you that you are so protective of him and his family? You did describe knowing him and his family well. It is time for you to fully disclose your negius.

    • Learn Hilchos Yichud and you will see that what truthseeker described is a transgression of the Issur yichud. If a person doesn’t know that it’s Assur than they are putting themselves in danger of succumbing to temptation without knowing that this in and of itself is a sin. But someone who does know and is knowingly crossing the boundaries, the chances are much greater that more than that went on, because they are not refraining from doing what is Assur. But in any event, if all that went on is the Yichud, that’s a serious enough offense.

      • Meisels had a good head for learning. Running a girls sem, he knew, or should have known, the fine points of din yichud. Being a Haredi, promising a mehadrin torah education he should have been mehadrin about yichud, especially knowing that many of the students were charmed by him and given all the hours he spent in the building.

        Of course the simpler explanation is that he was cultivating public rule breaking to encourage laxity and to discourage others from complaining about him.

        • With the focus on “PUBLIC”. I believe that he got the whole seminary used to things being conducted in public, and that it was very much on purpose. If you piece together the various stories, a shocking picture emerges. And the deniers have less and less room to minimize what Meisels did. If this is what he did in public, imagine what happened when nobody was looking at 3AM in the car, in the Ya’ar Yerushalayim.

  5. So I understand correctly, you see him talking to someone in what you felt was an inappropriate way. You saw him alone with someone. You saw him flirting. But you do not have firsthand knowledge of any physical contact whatsoever. Is that correct? Just want to see if I am missing something.

    • TruthSeeker is too kind an polite. She is saying she did not see them in the act. But TruthSeeker understands enough to suggest they were either also doing that or engaging in the kind of behavior that is often a prelude to that. You have a deep desire to get the dirty details. Well that woman and Meisels know what they did. The Chicago Beis Din knows what he did with some 40 students. Do you need naked pictures of Meisels in the act? Sorry this is not a porn site. Suffice it to say, it was the kind of behavior that would get any frum person kicked out of a yeshiva.

      Is it your position that unless they had sex on the couch in the lobby they are innocent. Do you not believe in the gadarim and all thenorms of tznius including demeanor in interacting with women to whom you are not married. A haredi rav would not have even behaved that way publicly with his wife.

      We have a whole masechta Sotah about grounds for suspicion even if nothing can be proved. There were very good grounds for challenging his conduct and being concerned about suspicions.

      • Pen Yir’u, even. Oh, and yeah, it was so hot in the office, that they needed a bit of solitary fresh air on the mirpeset. So besotted, evidently was the young lady, that even knowing that two classmates were edim, did not deter her. The charisma of a narcissist. above all laws, both criminal and religious.

      • Yerachmiel,

        I don’t know about this post, I’m a little unsure of a few things. First of all, Truthseeker, Hashem should bless you and help you get through all these difficult times. It is clear to all except the blind zombies and reshaim that defend him that he is guilty without a doubt, as proved by the CBD. And it is also clear that the CBD was “goveh eidus” as Rav Shmuel Feurst told me personally, and the CBD has personally spoken to numerous victims, YL claims 40 and that’s horrifying if it’s true. Also, to be clear, no Rav, bochur, or anyone should be publicly commenting on a woman’s looks, especially to their faces. That is inappropriate, degrading, and misogynistic. But I wonder if Truthseeker understands the sexual energy inherent in the seminary lifestyle which when not contained can run rampant like this. Look, I understand Bais Yaakov girls don’t get much at all about sexuality, their bodies, flirting, or anything of the sort, but I wonder, I know tremendous Rabbeim who work in frum seminaries such as MMY, Shaalavim for Women, Machon Gold, and Sharfman’s and they say the sexual energy is the same. The girls are attracted to their Rabbis and will flirt with them, partially because they don’t get it, and partially because they have repressed sexual energy. They said it is common that their female students are attracted to them. This may shock a lot of you but Yerachmiel I assume none of what I’m saying surprises you. I would shock you all with one more: go to many frum shuls where the Rav is a charismatic and dynamic speaker/person in his 40s and produces excellent shiurim, MARRIED women also put on a sheitel and a “face full of make-up.” And if you think I’m wrong, then I apologize, but you’re delusional and not interested in facing the strange social reality of frum women getting dressed up fancy to go to a shiur or hear a Rabbi they like.

        But YL I wonder why you ran this post, it describes a wonderful frum neshamah named truthseeker who felt “uncomfortable” at seeing flirting and people laughing like hyenas. So, I’m certainly not asking for details or “porn” as you mention, but this would not hold up in a court of law as a predator or manipulating young women. This is not highly appropriate behavior (except for commenting on their looks, as stated, that was too much), and certainly not for a rabbi, but if you’re going to write a post, I would have at least documented a story where a victim is claiming she actually witnessed, you know, real abuse and real sexual contact. Yerachmiel, you don’t need to use graphic words, just “plonis almonis is a victim who witnessed or (G-d forbid experienced) sexual contact firsthand.” So, truthseeker describing how “uncomfortable” she felt when what she witnessed was basically flirting, I just don’t think it makes your case very well with such a large post. Meisels is a rasha, he is guilty, and you don’t need to prove that to me, but if you’re writing the post to disseminate facts or tell people the truth, then I would have picked something much more proof oriented. The parts about confronting staff members and Kahana the creep and all his fear-mongering is important, but I don’t see how this post “proves” much of the CBD’s case. He’s guilty but I don’t see how this helps as opposed to it just being a story about how one nice girl felt “uncomfortable” because of some Rabbi hanging around girls too much. Again creepy, but wouldn’t hold up in law or beis din. So Yerachmiel, with great respect, could you please explain your thought process in this one?

        • Judaism is not based on the assumption that frum people are free of sexual desires. It assumes people can contain it. Nor is Judaism based on requiring separation of the sexes in all areas, Skver nonsense about separate sidewalks, notwithstanding. R. Moshe Feinstein had no trouble with mixed seating at the weddings of his children. It does have some gedarim (boundaries/fences) like din yichud. For most people in most settings that works. The problem is not male teachers, it is the nature of conduct and relationships.

          TruthSeeker is not saying that male teachers are inherently prone to sexually relate to students. She is saying this one particular teacher was obviously violating boundaries and was openly creating a culture where anyone with half a brain could see it. In fact loads of other staff saw it and refused to do anything because it was their boss. Sexual desire will always exist, but it won’t get stoked in some setting. In others it gets stoked and people collude in breaking down the boundaries and it becomes obvious to everyone. Not every seminary has the obvious culture and the leader leading the charge to break the boundaries.

          The core of TruthSeeker’s article is not abuse she witnessed but a story of 1. Meisels as a super-manipulator/intimidator/boundary-breaker. 2. Staff who collueded in ignoring it and (Kahane) who tried to invoke shidduch threats to keep the lid on the story. 3. Most shocking, a lying, piece-of-dirt dayan, Malinowitz who rigged things so his IBD would not hear any negative reports about the staff his Beis Din seems to exist to protect.

          I urge you to reread this story and stop reading it as being about whether TruthSeeker actually witnessed actual sexual acts. It is about whether this seminary staff is lying through its teeth when it denies having anything wrong. It is about whether Malinowitz is shockingly dishonest in claiming the have not found any staff guilty because they have no witnesses. Who ever heard of a dayan making sure that witnesses are never heard. Does this not bother you.

        • I’ll repeat what I said to someone else.

          My post was NOT to have an account to accuse sexual abuse. I’m not sure why ppl cannot understand that.

          The CBD has already found him guilty. You do not need me or my experiences to prove his guilt in sexual misconduct.

          I am telling everyone how he behaved and it was obvious something was wrong and that teachers knew but ignored.

          Pls confirm that u understand this. I don’t know why I need to spell this out for ppl. Sorry. I’m frustrated. This post was abt enabling and to let the reader get a glance at what the seminary was like.

    • Seeking Clarity, let’s talk about what was open and in public. Meisels openly talked about how girls looked in front of them and their peers. Also, it was known but never dealt with that the girls put on makeup in an effort to get Meisels’s attention.

      These are mere symptoms of a sick school, rotten to the core. Look at the examples of leaders like Rabbi Chaim Schloss (zt”l) of Detroit, who, when the girls wore shorter skirts in the 60’s sat on top of his desk so as not to see anything. These are the people we want to see emulated, not some creepy guy in his 40’s flirting with girls. You are so far away from the emes, you can’t even see it for yourself.

      All you do is minimize, not realizing that Meisels created an entire culture that permeated with sexuality, and you want to say that it’s “not harmful.” What an idiot you are. The atmosphere should be one of kedushah. One where people live out a life of holiness, not where their lives are merely “not harmful.”

      Get a clue.

        • This needs to be emphasized. Public school teachers, unlike rabbis and priests teaching in religious schools, are not presumed to be closer to God, morally superior to other men, and above suspicion. That presumption — and the institutional defense of it– made the Meisels mess possible, as it made possible the sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church. If “ayn apitropos l’arayos [there is no safeguard against lust],” it should also be the case that “ayn apitropos l’chashad [there is no safeguard against suspicion].” Unfortunately, ordination/semicha was allowed to become such an apitropos.

        • Kevin, I just wanted to let you know that I’ve been enjoying your comments a lot, and often find myself agreeing with what you write (including this comment). You add a lot to the conversations here on FF.

  6. Dear TruthSeeker,

    First, I want to thank you for writing this post. This was extremely brave of you, given all that you have been though, and all the power and muscle that is being used to silence and discredit you. What you are doing for the sake of truth and justice is a service to Klal Yisrael, at your own expense. It is my hope that you see justice served, your “TruthSeeker”, albeit an anonymous name, publically cleared, and that you do not suffer any longer for the misdeeds of others.

    I also want to point out that your initial struggles with Meisels, seeing him act inappropriately, feeling torn about how to view it and how to view him because he was so good to you and did so much for you, is all part of his manipulation. He set you up for this, and was very good to you in lots of ways because HE KNEW it would then keep you loyal to him, feeling like you owe him so much, which would then cause you to want to protect him. You can see this now, but I’m not sure if you see that this was very calculated on his part – he used you. He knew that you and others like you would feel extremely loyal and would scream “loshon hara” or try to protect him and defend him in other ways. See the Cross Currents article:
    http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2014/07/23/how-not-to-deal-with-allegations-of-impropriety/

    You, and others like you whose trust he won, to whom he was so generous and to whom represented Torah, were his “honest weights” which would protect him and give him cover for his “dishonest weights” – his ugly sins. He used you. But you should not feel any guilt at all for his manipulating you in these ways. There is no way you could have known what he was doing and that you were being used, manipulated and trapped. The guilt is all his.

    I am sorry for all the pain that you have gone through in this ordeal. You have been very courageous.

    I want to point out to everyone else out there, that the Torah and inspiration that Meisels gave over and represented to these girls is now their worst enemy. If any of those girls who were attached, looked up to, or were inspired by Meisels, remain Frum throughout their lives, it will be quite extraordinary. EVERY single girl that Meisels inspired in Torah and Frumkeit is now an indirect victim of his sins. One need only read TruthSeeker’s tortured experience with coming to terms with what he did, to see why.

    TruthSeeker, wishing you strength, healing from this ordeal, and that you see some measure of truth and justice prevailing in the long life ahead of you.

  7. Lopin, you are correct. I have said many things while trying to keep an open mind. Why don’t you post everything I have said? I will highlight again what I have consistently said: I can be persuaded, if details are provided. You have a l of nerve destroying another person based on the nonsense of “Truthseeker”. Many of us out here, do not believe Meisels is guilty of anything more than being too friendly. And, that is our right!

    • It is also your right to jummp off cliffs. But like they say, “Friends don’t let friends drive while they’re drunk.”

      Suit yourself, but if you come back here, be honest about where you are coming from, AND have something new to say. Otherwise, you are repeating yourself and wasting all our time.

    • So, 40 girls went to the CBD and you don’t believe anything. Ok. You have a right to delude yourself. But here’s what I wrote to Seeking Clarity. It applies just as much to you.

      First, let’s talk about what was open and in public. Meisels openly talked about how girls looked in front of them and their peers. Also, it was known but never dealt with that the girls put on makeup in an effort to get Meisels’s attention.

      These are mere symptoms of a sick school, rotten to the core. Look at the examples of leaders like Rabbi Chaim Schloss (zt”l) of Detroit, who, when the girls wore shorter skirts in the 60’s sat on top of his desk so as not to see anything. These are the people we want to see emulated, not some creepy guy in his 40’s flirting with girls. You are so far away from the emes, you can’t even see it for yourself.

      All you do is minimize, not realizing that Meisels created an entire culture that permeated with sexuality, and you want to say that it’s “not harmful.” What an idiot you are. The atmosphere should be one of kedushah. One where people live out a life of holiness, not where their lives are merely “not harmful.”

      Get a clue.

      • Eidensohn, Malinowitz, and the rest of the IBD, are Rabbis outside the seminaries and therefore not under Meisels employment power. (This is NOT in any way to excuse those who did work for Meisels!!!). Therefore, Eidensohn, Malinowitz, and the rest of the IBD’s involvement in this case is only justified by what should be their uncompromising commitment to factually establishing and exposing any behaviors on the part of seminary staff involving sexual abuse, enabling, covering-up, or persecutory retaliation. Yet Malinowitz didnt even have the most minimal decency or respect in speaking with Truthseker and then violating his committment to get back to her regarding evidence of staff culpability. And Eidensohn has behaved unconscionably in supporting on his blog wildly unsubstantiated villification of Truthseeker’s motives and character and unethical attempts at revealing inherently private personal details.

        I have great admiration for your honesty, TruthSeeker. May Hashem bless you greatly for your courage and integrity.

        • I don’t mean to wrongfully cast aspersions, but has it ever been made clear who selected the members of the IBD, whether they were compensated for their time and work, and if so, by whom? That they were not paid by Meisels doesn’t mean that much, as Meisels is hardly the only person with a personal interest in who is investigated and what happens to the seminaries.

    • IRRATIONAL THINKER: @5:18
      You seem to feel very strongly about your claim that M was only guilty of being too friendly. I certainly hope that when he is brought up on criminal charges in a secular court in the US, that you are the first character witness that they call.
      OTOH, in the meantime, I can only recommend, that you contact the CBD, and explain to them the “follie” of their ways, and also the IBD, in order to inquire why they wrote that the sems were safe, now that the “takalah” was removed. Based on your beliefs, that statement on the part of the IBD is tantamount to Motsi Shem Rah. Stay true to your religious and ethical beliefs, and i implore you to contact both “batei din”. Do it soon, who knows how long it will take for the RICO charges to make there way through the court, and mit n drinnen, there might be criminal charges brought. Not being a lawyer, I do not know if both cases can run simultaneously, but B”H we have many very smart and highly moral lawyers on this blog, Kevin being probably the most vatik, (been around the longest), and i am sure that someone can answer this question. You do not know, exactly what spark will set off the first criminal charges, and then others gain courage, strength in numbers. It can accrete like a snowball. IMHO, instead of preaching to a smart but deaf choir here, use your “beliefs” and go to work, ASAP for your charismatic hero. Time is of the essence….

    • Rational Thinker –

      It is your right to keep your head buried in the sand, and your ears firmly plugged up. You claim “I can be persuaded, if details are provided.” So please tell us, did you speak to any of the 3 Rabbanim on the Chicago Special Beis Din before putting your fingers in your ears and publically saying that nothing happened other than excessive friendliness and a hug? Did you ask any of the 3 Rabbanim what kind of testimony they heard at their Beis Din from multiple girls, as well as what admissions Meisels himself made to their Beis Din, which was the reason for their publically stating in their letter that Meisels is guilty of “unwanted sexual contact”?

      Of course, you always have a right to not be interested in investigating facts so that they don’t confuse what you want to believe.

      We also have a right, to both call you out on your chosen denial, and to wonder and suspect your continual defending of someone who has ben found guilty by a choshuv Beis Din of intentionally hurting and taking advantage of girls trusted to his care, of being a danger to our trusted social structures, and then to add insult to injury, who then denied his guilt in the media.

    • Rational thinker, you are a complete and total idiot if you don’t believe the Chicago bais din. Just call them and please stop posting your nonsense. It is extremely disrespectful to meisels many victims who will suffer their entire lives because they were betrayed and abused by a “rabbi” they respected and trusted.

  8. Not directly connected, but Meisels is quite lucky. If it had been my daughter, Meisels would have received a personal visit from me. Cast iron pipe is pretty easy to come by, or any type of metal baseball bat or similar implement. Problem solved. I wonder how many of the victims’ parents feel the same way?

    • The culture he fostered in the school was just one of the many layers. Meisels would have known not to start up with your daughter. He was very smart about who he groomed for his extra-curricular activities.

  9. The difference between inspiring individuals like R’ Schloss zt”l and Rav Sholom Goldstein zt”l and people like Meisels is that the former were mechanchim l’Shem Shomayim, whereas Meisels is in the Seminary business.

  10. Thank you for speaking up! It cannot have been easy! You ought to be commended one thousand times over both for your bravery in talking about this openly, and for putting up with your detractors! Your willingness to discuss what happened will save others not only from Meisels, but from others like him. These people thrive on silence. Because of you, the world is no longer as safe for them as it was just a few months ago.

  11. Seriously? says:
    09/07/2014 at 7:09 pm
    The culture he fostered in the school was just one of the many layers.


    The ongoing heated debate in the recent comments here is really about the lack of public evidence of any actual layers in this case. TS’s anonymous “eyewitness testimony” here adds nothing to that. The original CBD letter says they investigated allegations, etc.. but it simply does not say what, if anything, the CBD found or learned as a result of their investigation. YL has already stated elsewhere that he feels the CBD erred in not being explicit in stating their actual findings of fact in that regard. I agree with YL on that.

    • However, I would add that all reasonable frum Jews know how to read their statement. Given the stricture of not repeating unsupported allegations, if the CBD found him only guilty of hugs, they would have reported allegations of “physical contact,” etc. the implication to any attuned frum Jew familiar with rabbinical-speak in public documents gets that they found him guilty of “unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature.” Now you can debate whether they meant he groped a breast or a thigh or committed legally defined rape. But we are defintely not talking about a consensual, non-sexual hug. At a minimum they are saying he is guilty of misdemeanor sexual assault.

      • “Given the stricture of not repeating unsupported allegations…”
        I fail to see your point. If the allegations were found to be unsupported, he should have been acquitted and publicly exonerated. If the CBD found him to be guilty, they should have said so publicly in black and white and specified exactly what they found him guilty of.

        • One question: are you worried about which Beis Din should have done what, or are you worried about the safety of our young women? If the CBD still won’t say that the sems are safe, then that says a lot.

          Worried about procedure letters, and technicalities? You’ll have enough to chew on for a long time. But ultimately, the CBD still says the sems are unsafe. That’s all one needs to know.

        • Because of pilpul-shlepping denialists like you, they probably will do that if this situation ever arises again. However until now, even lesser statements did the job. When 14 pulpit rabbis in the 5 Towns went after Dovid Weinberger they just declared he should not work again with women or girls and everyone understood. The CBD did not anticipate the criminally corrupt beis din & the lies of Rabbi Malinowitz and Rabbi Eidensohn. Everyone now knows better. Next time there will be revelations that will make a beis din psak an X-rated affair. Happy!

      • And most importantly, by giving victims permission to pursue criminal charges, the CBD is clearly stating that Meisels committed legally definable criminal acts. A consensual hug is never a criminal act. So the CBD, in categorizing “unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature” as criminally prosecuteable, is basically stating that Meisels is guilty of sexual assault. A consenual hug it is not.

        • I fail to understand the discussion of whether it was only a hug or if it was worse than that. Such a ‘Hug’ would be an Issur De’orisso. It would actually be Yehrag V’al Yaavor, being that it is Abizraihu of Giluy Aroyos. So what’s the question and what’s the discussion.

          I know that there are even worse sins, but I feel that such a discussion fails to put the appropriate weight on a sinful hug. We seem to be willing to turn a blind eye if it was only that. Such a message may not be inferred in the slightest way. We must clearly show that we are up in arms about such sin, even if there are other sins that are yet worse.

        • “Such a ‘Hug’ would be an Issur De’orisso….We must clearly show that we are up in arms about such sin…”

          Is it just me, or do others find this punny?

          To the commenter “Breaking Torah law is a serious offense” –

          You’re on the wrong blog. Please go to the Daas Torah blog to discuss this. 99.5% of the commenters here agree that any manipulation by Meisels in order to make physical contact with his students is inappropriate, even if not everyone here shares your opinion that it is “Yehrag V’al Yaavor,” hellfire, brimstone and all. The point is, go to the Eidensohn blog where they feel it is perfectly okay for Meisels to be hugging his students and take it up with them. Here, most commenters are “up in arms about such sin…” 😉

    • All one needs to do is to call the members of the CBD. They will tell you anything you need to know. It’s that simple. They’re not going to engage in what looks like a blog war. But they will talk to reasonable people with reasonable inquiries. So if you want to find out anything in particular, please call. Otherwise, no need to talk about their lack of disclosure.

  12. I want to point out 2 things.

    1. You have to assume that men who are in contact with women, will be targeting them sexually. This Is true in every culture. I am sure it has happened before, and will happen again. I see it openly with rabbis and married women. It has happened with therapists and patients. Basically, it happens all the time. If it happens 100 times a year in public schools, it happens 10 times in Bais Yaakov. This applies to high schools, seminaries, workplace, jobs. Do you think that no frum boss ever slept with his frum employee ? Single ? Married ? I find it amusing, that people are shocked !!! Idiots!!! Don’t trust your daughters with men they aren’t married to!!! Then when they marry, worry about them as well.

    2. Everyone wants to bury Meisels, and I am sure enough people will try. However, part of this is judgemental behavior. We’re all looking for someone who is “terrible”. Whether he sold treif, slept with a 13 year old, was caught molesting a kid. We need to focus on common sense solutions to the problems. I have a couple.

    3. A beis din set up to deal with allegations of abuse. Now of course perhaps this is what CBD was about. However, there is no one advertising this hotline. I never heard of them up until a month or two ago. They should be in every Jewish Press, Yated, Hamodia, Binah, etc.

    4. There should be video cameras in every school. Every classroom. Outside the rest rooms. Torah Umesorah or another organization should have access to all videos from the schools. They should be inspected so that way there isn’t a place in the schools where people can be abused, molested, etc.

    5. Men should not teach women over the age of 15. They should also not give shiurim to women. Let’s not be fools.

    • re points 1 & 2- I reject complete sex segregation. This is artificially saying that men can’t control themselves. if they can avoid violating shabbos and eating trayf, why can’t they avoid sex with students. Also, why cant bais yaakov girls learn that if a man is making inappropriate overtures tell him buzz off you dirty old man whether you are a plumber, or a rabbi, or a gentile. All children need to learn that as well as adults. What is the point of an education for longer skirts if the education can’t get them to resist men (or in Malka Leifer’s case, women) who want to get under the skirt.

      1. The problem is that our children and adults are trained not to go to the police. If they were, and were supported by the community when they went, there would be way less need for a special beis din.

      2. Torah umesorah is the last organization to regulate molesting teachers. They protected Yisroel Bodkins, and their lead protector was their lead rabbi, R. A. C. Levin, Telz RY. Where is the logic on counting on Torah umesorah to deal with the abuse problem. They have been actively covering up abuse for 30 years, at least.

      3. see points 1&2
      • You are not based in reality. If someone has an emergency in the Haredi world of 2014, they call Hatzalah, not EMS. If a child is missing they call Chaveirim. If there is some danger in the street they call shomrim. Parents may call 911 for abuse, but kids won’t, especially if the abuse wasn’t done to them. If there was a hotline to call, with competent people overseeing it, they would be able to deal with it. As much as we have been plagued by coverups, we still have the ability to self govern. Hatzalah works, shomrim works, Chaveirim works, so could such an organization, provided it wasn’t run by the right people. Torah Umesorah was just used as an example. Cameras should be installed in all schools. All doors should have uncovered glass windows. There should be an “issur yichud” in school settings with any child, boy or girl, bochur or bachura.

        • You are confusing two issues. Yes, din yichud should be maintained and reinforced by things like windows, etc. However, Torah Umesorah protects molesters even when they have the proof. So why would you trust them to get camera feed.

    • VYSHEKER,
      RE; #4. Total agreement re the video cameras. Also in every shul and in every mikveh. yes, in the men’s mikveh.

      Re the videosurveillance, just ask MM Deutsch who, despite videosurveillance recording of him molesting two boys in same day in the molesters’ shul, (dragged them in from the street, both in same day), got away with a bupkes (tiny) sentence. With his actions on tape. Molesters have learned that only a very tiny percentage of them ever go to jail. and if so, with short sentences and probation. And narcissists never believe that they will be caught, and if they are they can always call up Gribetz, or the novominsker…askan.

      RE: 5
      Orthodox rabbis should not even teach younger girls, in fact, they also should not teach boys younger than 18. . And, in addition, someone wrote that no male under middle age should teach banot. M. is in his 40’s that is middle age by most standards. I would set it at 80, and only if the rabbi is wearing a chastity belt…..
      Also, currently under indictment is the one and only Bodenheimer who is 71, I believe, and who allegedly molested a male student starting at age 7, which was 5 years ago.. You make a good case for anti-viagra chemicals in the water system in charedi (and other ortho) water systems. Also, for good measure, Luvox, to combat OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder).

      Why do we NEVER hear of child sexual abuse from the Conservative, Reform Renewal, and Reconstructionist movements????? Is the molester gene in the ortho DNA????? or are they otherwise unable to control themselves, what with all of the 613 mitzvot, it gets really burdensome, eh?

    • A close relative of mine who is one of the known chashuva yidden in america told me that in his circles any man who deals one on one with woman in any capacity is considered by them a chazkas chashud on arayus.

      • david @1:49:
        If I understand you properly, as a chashdan, then that is quite a statement, coming from an “erliche” Yid???? I presume that your meaning is that they all are very aware of their own yetser harah, evil inclinations. All men (normal) have testosterone, but they do not go around molesting every conceivable candidate. Amazing remark, very “pikanti”. How old, may I ask, is this “Chashuva yid’ of yours.
        Perhaps he can fill up the schedule at the Chicago B”D with balshanut reports for the next decade.

  13. Thank you, TruthSeeker, for speaking up! As someone very close to the case (and someone who knows for a fact that the allegations are true), it means a lot to see more girls coming forward so that no girl will be hurt again by Measles and his enablers.

  14. Re: Rabbi Kahane: He ended our conversation by saying that if I talk about the incident, “The malachim (angels) in shamayim (heaven) will speak badly about you to HaShem (G-d). You can’t afford that; you need a shidduch (marriage match)!”

    I detect a veiled threat in those words. Or maybe not so veiled.

    Re: Rabbi Meisels: He took out his phone and said “I just recorded you. Would you like me to replay it for you to show you how ridiculous you sound?”

    Recording a conversation without consent, in addition to being creepy and manipulative, may be illegal. I hope you have a good lawyer.

    It sounds like these wonderful paragons of chessed were not so wonderful when confronted by a whistleblower, and their reactions were meant to intimidate and silence. You are very brave, Truthseeker.

    • @ TS & kweansmom: It IS definitely illegal to record a telephone conversation unless all parties agree to it. The problems here are:
      1) Meir Kahane is in Israel, which means more legal footwork
      2) Meir Kahane can deny ever having said that
      3) Meir Kahane could delete/erase said recorded conversation, leaving no trace of it

      He’s creepy, no doubt, and should not be in a place of any authority, because he’s also abusive, implicitly stated from his actions.

      • Kosher Ham, US states vary about whether both parties need to consent to tape record or either party’s consent is enough. States in the US are divided between 1-party consent and 2-party consent states. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone_recording_laws. When a call is between jurisdictions with different laws it gets complicated. But in NYS it is perfectly legal to record your phone conversation with someone else without their knowledge or permission. Whether it is ethical is whole different question.

        • Telephone recording is governed by laws both at the Federal level & at the state level. Since Meir Kahane is in Israel, I was assuming for it to be a legal recording between TruthSeeker & Meir Kahane, at least 1 person in the U.S. had to know about the call being recorded to fulfill U.S. law. It is fuzzy to me what the laws are as far as U.S. – International calls. I very well could be wrong on my assumption about this.

          • US federal law cedes to state law where 1-party consent is enough to allow recording. Federal law bans wiretapping, recording where neither party to the call knows they are being recorded by an outsider.

            I do not know about Israeli law. However, the recording could be legal in the US even if illegal or inadmissible in Israeli courts.

  15. Truthseeker, thank you for your bravery and courage! You have helped protect many girls by sharing your knowledge. As a mother of a meislels student, I can confirm 100% the apathy of the staff and you confirmed my guess – he must have been having affairs with some of these women because he for sure has something over them that they refused to talk to me about my concerns. My daughter has been totally disgusted by the meisels scandal and in retrospect her time in seminary did way more harm than good – how could such a choshov rabbi be so evil this question torments her. It is a shanda for all Jews that his behavior was not stopped years ago.

    • TruthSeeker, keep up the couragy you have informing us of the truth. You should feel no guilt about any of your actions as a student and the present.

      Tova T–
      I have heard of good girls returning home from sem less Frum or not frum. Maybe they witnessed what TruthSeeker saw or experienced wanted/unwanted contact with Rabbi/teachers.

      Our children are taught that rabbis and teachers are infallible and know better than we do. As my great-uncle, a Rabbi trained in Europe told us: A rabbi is just a man.

  16. Truthseeker, your bravery, emeskeit, and heart for being so bold and courageous with your posts, especially this one, is utterly remarkable. May hashem grant you healing from this terrible situation.

  17. I went to Pninim the first year it opened, ’04-05′. I had many personal meetings with who I also thought was a brilliant mind and Rabbi that I could trust. A truly special person that would be able to help me create a home away from home, nearly 7,000 miles away from my real home. I know the Meisels family and thought this would be a great opportunity and seminary choice.
    Yet something was off. And you know what??Roaming around the girls dormitory after classes were done for the day, just to “see how things are”, to “make sure everything is alright right”…isn’t that what our madrechot were for?? Isn’t that what the Aim Bayit is for???
    It was fishy to me how personal he got and what he shared with me. He wanted to know too much about my pre sem life, and not in a way to help me grow and improve, but to talk about what I thought of boys and other girls in sem.
    I built a wall to protect myself just a few months in. I didn’t like his behavior towards me. He asked too many unnecessary questions. And you know what?? Some of my closest friends would joke about the fact that he was a good looking Rabbi and that he let us go to the mall or to eat out on Ben Yehuda because we were the pretty ones. And it was a joke until he admitted we were the normal ones, pretty with a past…that struck a chord and I stopped laughing.
    I can go on for a bit about my discomfort in his presence and the confusion that has followed me all this way, to reading this post.
    Thank you TruthSeeker for feeling what I feel, for saying out loud what I’ve said to myself all those years ago. It’s nearly impossible to dislike someone like Rabbi Elimelech Meisels because of his Torah knowledge and leadership skills. I felt guilty for thinking so ill of him. But now what makes me ill are the pictures of him posted above and the first news I heard of this in the beginning of the summer.
    I told my husband about this, and I just felt so sick…I never shared with my husband my suspicions bc someone on Rabbi Meisels level of education, shared teachings or amazing Torah knowledge (and his gematria thing) didn’t make sense. I didn’t want to believe that a frum family man would become a hypocrite. It makes me sad, because the family he comes from holds a close place in my heart and they are filled with such Kedusha…this is still so hard to believe.
    We truly live in Galus. We live in a world where it’s nearly impossible to do the right thing every day. But when a leader stumbles like this…it makes it even tougher to find strength in those you trust.
    Thanks to everyone who has spoken up. Awareness is more important than you can ever imagine. Unfortunately things like this happen in frum communities all over the world and it’s frightening. But what’s even more unfortunate is that the Rabbaim do nothing about it. We’re just girls, we know nothing, right?

    • Observer- I’m not rlly commenting so much any more, but I feel a strong obligation to reply to your post bc u are a past student like me (I laughed at the gematria part. Yep. Hasn’t changed).

      There are not so many students who are willing to stand up and repeat telling of his inappropriate behavior. I ask you and other brave students to speak out and tell your stories and feelings. It’s time to ban together and get this monster out FOR GOOD.

      In years to come, I believe the deniers/ defenders will wake up and see how terribly wrong they were.

      My fellow seminary friends- SPEAK OUT. It’s up to you. Do not be afraid. ThruthSeeker is here to support you all.

      Do NOT keep your mouths closed!

      • Thank you for commenting, and I want to make one thing really clear – I am NOT venting for Lashon Hara purposes, I am simply stating that all those miles away from home, parents think their kids are safe. Most of the time they are, but sometimes they’re not.
        I am relieved that you came forward with what you saw because it only confirmed my own feelings.
        As someone mentioned above, you don’t have to touch the opposite gender or be touch by the opposite gender to cross the boundaries of Yichud. In Jewish law, it’s not being physical that predicts the sin, it’s the simple encounter, with doors closed, with no one around, with a drive or walk around the corner…
        And like I mentioned, awareness is important.

    • Observer, you are brave, just like TruthSeeker. Congrats for telling your story. More and more will come out as people like you become more bold.

      I wanted to point out that whatever fear you had is the main reason why more people like you need to write and express themselves. Meisels was a bully who, while showing everyone a happy-face, essentially ruled by fear. He took human emotions, especially those of young post-high school women, and used them against you and the other students. This was a reign of terror, and I am not exaggerating. This is based on what I heard from a victim. He used everything at his disposal, whether money, or the girl being weak in certain ways, or his “great” family name (how great is it now? just google to find out) to push girls around and to bend them to his will.

      Even now, there are still deniers that float around, even if they are just sock puppets, who talk about how “choshuv” Meisels and his family are. The fact that so many people were afraid to speak out is EXACTLY the reason why it’s so important that they do.

      I wish you nothing but the best in the future, and if you have more to add, we will listen.

      • Thanks for your comment as well, Triangle. You’ve used some pretty harsh descriptions to describe someone you don’t seem to have faced on your own, personally. Just what you’ve heard through other people. I don’t believe he was a reign of terror. I just think he knew what to say, like any Rav that cares about you, to make you open up, in case there is anything you need shared or to discuss.
        I never knew him to use money or to really bully, and trust me, you are hearing this from me first hand, I have had plenty of incredibly uncomfortable encounters with him. But if you didn’t give him the attention or the answers to his somewhat personal questions, he didn’t demand it. I was in Peninim the first year it opened, so maybe he became more aggressive as time passed…I don’t know.
        He had said things about staying open with him about my personal life so that when I am done with sem, he would make sure to help me in the shidduch world. He would always be suspicious of me when I would go a week without talking to him…But he wouldn’t bully. He would just be overly nosy, in my opinion.
        The Meisels name is a significant one. But he is not his siblings. Elimelech is his own person with his own mistakes. The shame that he’s caused his wife, kids, siblings, parents, etc is not something to poke fun of. I feel for them, and I protect their name. Because again, he’s his own person, he’s made his own decisions.
        In terms of things that have happened, I feel that I have shared enough to back up Truthseeker and anyone else who has yet to post something. More stories will not improve him seeing the appropriate consequences. It’s just more fuel for anger. And that’s not worth it. It’s just more room for extra talk, when there is no need.
        I do hope that justice is served, and an example is set…because I fear for all the other girls (and boys) who go to non-local schools. So far from home, kids need a mentor, but not one that lurks and stirs up discomfort within, to the point where you feel like it’s your fault, or to the point where you carry guilt with you for so many years. Guilt, I am now realizing, is from nothing.

        • Observer. I agreed with everything u have said (not including his family in the shame..he is his own person. You are 100% right and u have even gotten myself in between ppl when a convo was started abt his family).

          But, I do not agree that more stories and talking abt it will do no good- quite the opposite.

          “Observer”- predators prey on SILENCE.

          We cannot be silent.

          -TS

  18. Yerachmiel Lopin says:
    09/08/2014 at 12:53 am
    Because of pilpul-shlepping denialists like you, they probably will do that if this situation ever arises again…The CBD did not anticipate the criminally corrupt beis din & the lies of Rabbi Malinowitz and Rabbi Eidensohn. Everyone now knows better. Next time there will be revelations that will make a beis din psak an X-rated affair. Happy!


    Why does everybody call me a “pilpul-shlepping denialist”? Now my feelings are really hurt. And why should the facts of this case be kept secret — something you yourself said was a mistake?

  19. I read the article and have a few comments:Why did Truth Seeker keep up an email relationship with Meisels if she thought so badly of him?
    I fail to see any evidence of molestation or perversion EVEN in Truth Seekers way of understanding the facts she said she saw with Meisels interaction late at night with a female faculty member.At worst it was according to her story, a consensual interaction with a willing adult BUT that is the way she sees it.An objective observer sees from the presented evidence in that specific example no more than behavior that is not really fitting a principal .Most probably not even the letter of the law, though not the spirit of yichud was transgressed.

    Thirdly,the blog seems to be obsessive about Meisels,You have made sure that he will not be educating bnos yisroel in the near future.You’ve made sure that his wife will be watching him, like a hawk.What would you like him to do now, commit suicide?>

    You are so busy bashing the slob that you don’t realize that you’ve basically absolved the victims of any blame.These were not minors.Nor were they naive Israeli Chareidi girls,They are American, most probably have televisions and internet access and as Truth Seeker writes, used makeup and vyed for Meisels attention.

    Bottom line in my opinion:Not a big fan of these out of town girls seminaries where the girls are more vulnerable to poor mechanchim or their own now unfettered urges.Younger male figures should not be anywhere close to such seminaries.Rabbonim of only the highest moral pedigrees plus at least middle aged should be the only male figures involved closely in such seminaries,

    Just some of my own thoughts

    • All those words and you cannot focus on the fact that teachers ignored the climate, Kahane tried to intimidate TruthSeeker into not telling the truth, and a dayan refused to hear evidence and yet claimed the staff are all good because he did not hear from witnesses.

    • Dovid- I’m sorry but “huh” is all I have to say to u.
      My post was NOT to be a testimony of sexual abuse. You and other ppl commenting need to get this. The CBD already has proof of his misconduct. You don’t need me for that. Teachers did not stop him.

      It was inappropriate behavior that I witnessed from Meisles and I complained to teachers. He recorded me during our talk and Malinowitz would not hear me. Kahane pulls crazy lines on me and Meisles/Eidensohn attack me.

      Why did I keep up with Meisels? I am not repeating my words. You are draining and wasting my energy. Re-read the post.

    • +++”What would you like him to do now, commit suicide?”+++

      Yes. But first I’d like him to post a video apology in which he admits to his numerous vile misdeeds. His victims deserve this. And no, I’m not kidding.

      • I am a self-confessed hawk. I totally agree with APC, re the suicide comment. And why? because I am doubtful that any of the girls will press criminal charges. If I could be sure that he would be locked up for a very long time, with no chance of parole, I would be somewhat less hawkish on this subject.
        And the thought of this minuval of minuvalim never seeing a jail cell is anathema to me. An intolerable thought.
        and yes, agree re the videotape. Need to decide just where and how often it should be played.

  20. Just want to add for some clarification:I have no skin in this game.I don’t know Meisels or Eidenson or Lopin and i don’t have any daughters yet.Just my own thoughts after following this blog for a long time

  21. I still think girls with boy friends should not be excepted in any sem. (you wright he used to ask about your boy friend) and then they come and jump on to rabbi miesels

    • Lopin, does this girl’s spelling of “write” as “wright” remind you of someone?

      I have a feeling you are from Eretz Yisroel. Don’t take that as an insult that Israelis can’t spell. It’s just a good guess of mine.

      And oh. I’ve never had a boyfriend of touched a boy. Re-read the post before you think u can get away with slandering me.

      (Sickening that you still refer to him as “rabbi”)

      • He/She also wrote “excepted” instead of “accepted”.
        & spelled Elimelech’s last name incorrectly as well.

  22. @ TS: Your essay is illuminating and helpful. What comes across is how sleazy & manipulative Elimelech was. It strains credulity that this atmosphere went on for years & those same teachers who were flirting and enabling him are still there drawing paychecks.

    • Penelope — I think you need to let your credulity out a couple of notches, if it’s strained at this point. Meisels has been gone for — we don’t know how long, do we? And we don’t really know who the new management is, and it is unclear who the mashgichim (or mere “blessing-dispensers” in David Morris’s [“Tzedek-Tzeddek”] words?) –are. But maybe things have been given a kick in the right direction.

  23. truthsayer–why dont you use your real name? I am not doubting you, but it seems that this is the type of knowledge that needs to be imparted to girls in seminars, not just spoken about on blogs. I am kind of disappointed that it seems that you were on the his side, when, based on your description of that year, if accurate, it was pretty easy to see what was going on.

    • Did you not notice that Kahane was threatening to destroy her shidduch prospects? Oh, of course that pious faker claimed the angels would tell G-d to destroy her prospects, and was merely channeling his inside stock tips on G-d’s inner workings. But get real; it was a threat! First process that and acknowledge that. If you don’t it is going to be impossible to convey what is at play.

      • true–difficult situation–the idealist in me says if you see something that you consider to be evil, scream it from the rooftops, but, I can see her being concerned that she may win the battle yet lose the war.–this suxxxxxx.

    • Robert- how extremely insensitive of you.

      You think it was obvious? I am lucky I had enough perceptiveness to open my mouth. Most did not.

      Have you ever met a master manipulator? Obv not. It is only crystal clear to u how guilty he was bc he has been exposed.

      How very insensitive and unintelligent of u to state that.

      • Now we all can see in real time how and why abusers get away with it. See Millman’s subtle ‘blame the victim’ campaign.
        Robert – if it was so easy to see what was going on – why was absolutely nothing done for ten years?

      • “You think it was obvious”?-uhh, yeah. At least the way you framed it, there was lotsa crap going on there that would’ve rung more bells than a meshulach on Purim. Damn, that’s a good line.

    • ROBERT MILLMAN @9/8 12:35PM:
      TruthSeeker, not sayer, is not a member of the RICO suit, I can only guess, since she has already finished two years at pninim and chedvas. and, furthermore, she was not one of his abused victims, so in no way would she be involved in any criminal proceedings. . Therefore, per my hypotheses, TS has no part in any current or future lawsuits regarding the Sems or M. personally. and If so, it is based on something that she has revealed to no one. I doubt it that she is holding back. .Why in the world should she post her real name, most online people never do. How would it benefit other girls at M sems or anywhere else to know her real name. Shani Mandel, there, you have a name. does that make you happy (of course, that is sarcastic, what the heck, really).
      So, pray tell, what does her name matter?
      Cognitive dissonance, scholarships. a charismatic narcissistic Rabbi with a fantastic reputation. An 18 year old doubting a figure of power, with a fantastic reputation. One may ask oneself over and over, if one’s perceptions are accurate, and who did she have that she could really really trust to talk to , amongst the other girls? Either they were deaf dumb and blind, or victims, and in either case, she had no support system. Even adults get sucked up into this kind of crap. What do you want from TS, she was probably 18 or so, when she started there. Just how mature were you, at that age. OMG. seriously.
      TS today has the understandiing and maturity of someone far beyond her years. That does not mean that at 18, she had these insights, They developed, due to circumstances, unfortunately , l’daavon’a harav. i am sure.
      . Hey, I got my BA, i was less than 20, and frankly, i do not think i had the maturity and perceptiveness that TS has today. even then, and that was centuries ago. LOL. really.

  24. To TS,

    Thank you for posting your story. I am glad that after a short vacation, you posted this important piece.

    One important point that I think is commonly overlooked by our community…. A very common theme spoken about by some Rabbonim and our newspapers is that Yeshiva Choeivei Torah is a tremendous threat to our mesorah because of their views on issues such as torah misinai, etc. This and other “threats to our mesorah” our constantly dealt with in public forums

    However, as has been expressed by TS and others, when Rabbis behave badly and then other Rabbis protect them or their institutions as in the Meisels affair,,,people begin to distrust Rabbonim, even the “good” ones. The effect of one bad apple to our emunas chachomim may be minimal if we understand that even Rabbis can do bad things, but the effect of finding out that hordes of major Rabbonim run to protect the bad apple and his schools can be devastating to our belief system in which chachomim are such an integral part of.

    What greater threat can there be to our mesorah (torah sh’baal peh) whose authenticity is based on Rabbonim who are authentic links to that chain, than Rabbonim who claim to be part of that chain but who clearly are not worthy carriers of the torch.

    The chain is broken! If the chain is broken, there is no longer any mesorah. We can yell and scream about Yeshiva Chovevei Torah posing an existential threat to yahadus all we want, but the larger threat comes from within. Every Rabbi who participates in cover ups is not only creating a tremendous chilly hashem but is actually helping to tear down the very torah sh’baal peh that they claim to be imparting to their talmidim.

    What I do find astonishing is that Rabbi Shafran was able to solicit signatures from 5 members of the Moetzes to sign on to a letter declaring the seminaries totally safe when his very Bais Din had a record of TS’s name and number, yet on his trip to America, speaking to TS was not on his agenda.

      • Jack –

        What a brilliantly stated indictment of the rabbinical rashoyim Malinowitz, Shafran, and whatever other pathetic piece of garbage was the third dayan of the IBD. As you so astutely highlight, Shafran went all the way to America to get signatures from 5 willfully blind “Gefoolim”, yet could not find it in his seedy little corrupt heart to contact Truthseeker while in the USA.
        The pervasive Meisels/Kahane Staff enabling of Meisels sexual predation and assault on his students had already been comminucated to Malinowitz’s/Shafran’s bais sheker by TS but the IBD absolutely refused to follow up!

        • Just to clarify, the rules of this Beis Din never required in person appearances or even a full formal session. They wrote the binding arbitration agreement to allow for taking testimony by victims without a formal session, without the presence of the defendant, and by long distance methods. So the issue was not whether he was in America. He could have taken TS’s testimony when she called.

    • They spend so much time traveling to different cities to get the signatures of these rabbis, yet “no one had the time” to speak to me.

      They’re lucky I trusted them enough with my name and number.

  25. To TruthSeeker, a big thanks for speaking up. All girls, need to be warned about predators. You never can tell by their clothing, but the things you mentioned ,are a clear giveaway . It also gives credence to the Rico case. I’m just wondering what took so long and what was the nail in the coffin that brought him down.
    On a side note, to humor some people, eidensohn is unhappy that he is only the brother of his brother.
    In his own words,
    “Dovid Eidensohn • 3 hours ago
    I feel I should straighten things out on this blog. First of all, I am not Eidensohn’s brother. He is Eidensohn’s brother. And anyone who can make a mistake like this is plainly missing in integrity. They don’t call me Big Brother for nothing.”

    • David is onto something in his own weird way. Daniel is still playing catch-up with his brother David who is a bigger fanatic than Daniel when it comes to Agunot. Daniel admires David for sticking to the Lakewood route and never going on to earn a PhD.

      • Interesting to note, that after I put it on your site showing how bizarre they look, he took the comment off. Obviously, he reads your site and comments very often. Perhaps he’s jealous that your site has become more mainstream at his expense and people trust you a lot more.

  26. “It’s not weird, it’s Rabbi Meisels.”

    THAT sure rang a bell. The scoutmaster of my Boy Scout troop went to prison for a long time for molesting boys. A lot of his conduct was inappropriate – and dismissed by Scouts and parents (they loved him) alike as “that’s just Julian.”

    Truthteller, I don’t think you need to hear me say this but maybe some readers do: If you find yourself saying “oh, that’s just Ploni” and rationalizing somebody’s inappropriate behavior, alarm bells should go off in your mind. You might be wrong, but… you might not.

      • TruthSeeker, one other thing: for the idea “it’s just Rabbi Meisels” to persist year after year, it had to be part of the institutional “mesorah.” It seems to me that the transmitters of that dangerous meme had to have been some combination of friends and relatives who had previously attended one of the seminaries, students returning for a second year… and staff.

        I’m also happy to read your 9:09 comment. For as long as I can remember, my mother – may she live and be well – has been saying that she can’t understand why people talk about being disillusioned as if there’s something wrong with it. An illusion is something false!

        To be freed from an illusion by difficult circumstances without becoming bitter or cynical is a sign of growing wisdom.

  27. Kol Hakavod, Your courage is an inspiration to us all, Ignore your adversaries, they are like dust under your feet,

    Chazal’s V’Ematz

    • “What I do find astonishing is that Rabbi Shafran was able to solicit signatures from 5 members of the Moetzes to sign on to a letter declaring the seminaries totally safe when his very Bais Din had a record of TS’s name and number, yet on his trip to America, speaking to TS was not on his agenda.”- Jack

  28. I read the book, THE GIFT OF FEAR, by Gavin de Becker, and I have recommended to several people.
    In this book, the author tries to teach the reader to go with his / her gut instinct. Many of us who have been exposed to molesters have gotten worrisome ‘gut’ feelings which we then dismiss for various psychological reasons. We do so at our own peril.

    Forget what someone says–watch the person’s behavior!

    If a man wants to get a young lady alone, for whatever “reason,” the young lady should be concerned. (I am not a fan of late-night dates with bochrim driving girls on highways etc,)

    If a person acts in a way that gives you the creeps, or makes you feel afraid, even if only for an instant–trust that gut feeling! It may save your life.

    The CBD declared this person engaged in unwanted sexual contact. These acts–whether it was fondling or rape — can have lifelong consequences, especially in a situation with unequal power. (Even in the Weinberger situation, adulterous acts with middle-aged women who sought rabbinic counseling, if that’s what happened, could have lifelong sequelae.)

    Read THE GIFT OF FEAR. Trust your instincts, as Truth Seeker did. Speak to those who truly love you for their take on a situation. Don’t second-guess your gut. It’s a G-d-given protective mechanism.

    • Thank you so much for this! I listened to a “life lesson” episode by Opera once abt following your gut feelings. They mentioned this book! I would like to read it now.

      • I am a middle aged woman who never saw a blog until a year ago. I happened upon the Kolko scandal in 2005 when I saw the article in a doctor’s office. My life has never been the same. Thank you, thank you, Truthseeker, for your courage and your obvious intelligence. How,oh, how, do we, do I, get back the religion I thought I was a part of? Was it always just a fantasy? I know I’m rambling, but reading these posts (is that the right word?) has helped me in concrete ways. I’ve made it clear to my daughters, and to my sons, that there will be no “year in Israel” for them. A Charedi apologist friend of mine called the relationships between Meisels and his victims “consensual”. I was literally shaking with rage! Even if on some level the girls did agree to some part of the relationship (and we know for a fact that there was, at least at times, an element of physical force), the imbalance of power between the two parties makes it impossible for the weaker party to “consent”, even if she was legally of age to do so. When I was a little girl, I learned about S’Dom, and I marvelled at how evil its residents were. Little did I realize that I was living right in the middle of S’dom, where victims are routinely discredited and their persecutors championed. What is to be done?

        • Hi there 🙂
          I’d like to give u some words of hope. Seminary and yeshiva in israel are an amazing opportunity. But u must educate your children on how to deal with cases like this, and in general to use their minds!

          The person who said “consensual”…do not listen to them. They are in denial and will go to the grave loyal to Meisles. Those ppl are supporting a loser. Literally. He has lost the game. Feel bad for his supporters. Eventually, they will see the truth hopefully.

          I also had a seminary girl tell me “I feel so bad for him. I mean, the girls wanted it too. It takes two to tango!”
          This comment also made me shudder in rage. No words to describe it.

          Ignore those ppl. They will see how foolish they have acted, and if they don’t, they are nebach (pity) cases. Feel sorry for them that they live a life in such denial with blind eyes.

          Yiddishkeit is absolutely wonderful. It is our greatest source of pleasure in this world. These people do NOT represent what G-D wants. They do NOT represent Torah and Mitzvos.

          Please remember that. Build a strong foundation for your Judaism that is not based on others actions.

          Hatzlacha 🙂

          • TS
        • Baumayimadnafesh,

          I agree that sexual abuse in the Chareidi community is a huge problem. I also believe it’s important to assess the facts and not allow our emotions to carry ourselves away.

          Let us examine the facts, therefore, and let us see if it is fair to compare the entire Chareidi community to Sodom.

          I spoke once to a frum child sex abuse advocate who told me that while she does not have hard statistics, based on her work she estimates that one in every ten children is molested. Let’s go with her number, since that’s all I have to work with at the moment. That’s a large number. That is ten percent too many.

          That also means that ninety percent of children are not molested. That is, in fact, the overwhelming majority. I wish it were a hundred percent. Every life that is hurt by this kind of abuse is a tragedy. Still, the glass is almost full.

          We also know that few abusers have only one victim and some have several hundred. Again, I don’t have statistics, but taking a rough average, that would bring the number of abusers to one percent or less of the Chareidi population. A generous estimate puts the percentage between one and three. Considering the fact that most abusers have so many victims, however, it would be fair to place the proportion at less than one percent.

          That doesn’t sound so much like Sodom anymore, does it?

          The greater problem is the covering up and enabling. How many people defend each abuser? I have no idea and can’t even come up with the numbers. You might argue that the Chareidi community has created a culture of covering up and thus everyone is complicit. This view fits with the tradition that all Jews are responsible for one another and bear each other’s guilt. I have full confidence that God will take care of that. He has promised to preserve the righteous remnant of Israel, and He has His ways of purging His people of the unrighteous elements so they don’t survive into the following generations.

          For example, throughout history we find that one group among the Jews always makes it while the others disappear. Famously, the Pharisees survived the destruction of the Second Temple while the Sadducees, Essenes, early Christians (the first followers of Jesus were a Jewish sect), and others faded from the scene. The Pharisees, also known as rabbinic Jews, today known as Orthodox Jews, are the ones who have managed to withstand exiles, expulsions, and attempted genocides. Even non-Jewish writers of Jewish history such as Paul Johnson (A History of the Jews) and James Carroll (Constantine’s Sword) acknowledge that rabbinic Judaism is the only viable form of Judaism. Clearly, God favors this group of people, despite their flaws and foibles.

          Therefore, to say that all Chareidi Jews are evil is a statement based on emotion, not reality. Furthermore, if one believes the Hebrew Bible is the word of God, one ought to be careful of making such blanket statements about those who are, for the most part, loyal to God and His Torah, despite the small number of terrible sinners in their midst. That is because God has told Abraham that He will bless those that bless him (meaning his progeny) and curse those that curse him.

          Of course, I am operating on the assumption that you are a Bible believer. If I am wrong about that, then my argument does not apply to you but to others who might be reading your words.

          If you want to get back this religion you thought you were a part of, then I challenge you to find one story of goodness for every story of evil, such as this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOvorVeVMwI

          This is not to minimize the great evil of sexual abuse and the greater one of cover-up. I just wanted to provide a more balanced perspective on the Chareidi community.

          Finally, to be effective within the Chareidi community, one must criticize what needs to be criticized in a way that Chareidi Jews will perceive that you are one of them and not against them. Change must come from within. It will not be effected by outsiders shouting at Chareidi Jews that they are the worst of all human beings.

          Shalom and God bless!

          • You write as an outsider and your argue for what rhetoric can be used by an insider to challenge other insiders. As you correctly note, the problem is the cover-ups. It is insider rhetoric to speak of such things as middos sodom.

        • Dina,
          10:37PM, where are all of the reply buttons????
          I think your stats are way way off. 10% is delusional (not intimating that you are purposely distorting facts, just that they are way way off, and i do not know anyone who would go with your optimistic number, funny, eh, optimistic, only 10% of community are molesters, or 10% of kids are molested) . Usually the percent quoted is one out of 4 banot and one out of 6 banim before age 16. A charedi Rabbi with whom i am in constant contact estimates the total number as being closer to 33% in the charedi/chassidic community have been abused, per his experience, not that he is personally involved in CSA abuse advocacy. personally, but he is very involved in his large community. and bordering this topic…….. 10% is just so so wrong, Halevai Halevai, that would be a huge percentage improvement from the empirical facts. but thanks for commenting. When we get to 10% it will be time to rejoice. emes.

          • Anyone who claims to know the percentage of orthodox children who are molested is inventing percentages. No one has ever done the necessary research. Moreover, the charedi leadership will never provide the approval to do such research properly with normal sampling. So my position is to assume the rate is the same as elsewhere till anyone proves otherwise. The generally accepted numbers are as Chashdan states, by the age of 18, 25% of girls and 16% of boys will have been sexually abused. The exact numbers don’t need to be known to understand it is a problem that affects many children and the charedi system usually covers up or otherwise protects molesters of their children. And that is like Sodom.

        • TruthSeeker –

          You wrote: “These people do NOT represent what G-D wants. They do NOT represent Torah and Mitzvos.”

          But they are rabbis and they say they DO represent Torah and Mitzvos. So, whose to say what Hashem wants? We’re always supposed to be believing what some Rov says – this is “Emunas Chachomim” and a major pillar of our mesorah. How do you know that these rabbonim that you don’t like are not the ones who have the correct knowledge of what Hashem wants? All the rabbonim claim to know and claim to represent Torah and Mitzvos and Ratzon Hashem. How do you know which one is correct? By using the eenie meenie minie moe method? Maybe none of them are correct. Maybe they are all full of hot air, while claiming to know the mind and will of God.

          “But u must educate your children on how to…. and in general to use their minds!”

          What if their minds tell them that Rabbonim are full of hot air and keep making things up as they go along and don’t care about the Klal or about Hashem, but care only about keeping their jobs, their positions, their authority, their honor, their institutions, their power and their ability to control people? What if that is what her children realize while “using their minds”? “No! That’s not the right thought to have! Don’t think that!” Why not? Because some Rabbis said that’s the wrong way to “use your mind”!

          “Yiddishkeit is absolutely wonderful. It is our greatest source of pleasure in this world.”

          Really? Has that been your experience thus far in your life? If you want to argue that it’s the best thing for ANOTHER world, that’s another story. But you’re talking about this world, so, has Yiddishkeit truly been YOUR greatest source of pleasure in this world? Or is that what some people told you it should be? Or is that what some people told you it is for them? And were any of those people covering up for Meisels or looking away from what he was doing while telling you all about how Yiddishkeit is the “greatest source of pleasure in this world”?

          When you speak in absolutes, you leave yourself wide open for such questions. And here’s a little word of advice, if I may, a bit of constructive criticism. A middle age woman who has been around the block, and who went to all the classes you did and herself was indoctrinated and brainwashed in seminary or high school as you were, who is now questioning the foundation of all she was brought up to believe, is not going to take your word for it when you gush about how “Yiddishkeit is our greatest source of pleasure in this world,” merely parroting the words that were fed to you by your charismatic teachers. She’s been there done that. She heard all of that and was born into or bought into the program a long time ago. She’s got 25 years of experience living Yiddishkeit as an adult with a family. I have a feeling she is fully capable of discerning whether it’s been “the greatest source of pleasure in this world” in her life.

          Please do not take offence TS. I fully support what your goal on this blog is, which is to be a public witness to all that you saw and experienced in 2 years at Meisels’ seminaries and in dealing with the cover-up thereafter. I fully support your strength of will and of character in speaking out against Meisels when all or most of your peers are too afraid to stand up and speak publically about what they saw and experienced. I not only commend but I respect and applaud you for all that you have done in this regard. I simply disagree with your statements of absolutisms about Yiddishkeit. I hope you understand that this is a friendly and non-personal disagreement.

        • This comment is in response to TS’s reply to baumayimadnafesh.

          All I can say is wow. I haven’t been following the blogs on this topic much recently, though I have been involved with the case real-time, but I began reading some of the comments, and TS, you really inspire me (I have commented here and there when your remarks are particularly unique, such as here).

          I sincerely believe that part of the remedy for this “scandal” would be you becoming a roving guest lecturer at all the seminaries. Your topics might be centered on your experience and how current students can avoid it, but you would be so much better at giving over a “mesorah” of sorts on how to deal with the aftermath, what your hashkafa should be, and how to maintain the proper perspective about true Yiddishkeit.

          You exude a purity of soul that is unfortunately rare, and may Hashem bless you for it!

  29. I am sure you read my posts on another blog.
    How can one send girls to a seminary where they also have girls who have been promiscuous.

    • allen at 9/9 1:21AM,
      Allen, you are truly one of the most vile individuals I have ever encountered on the internet. And on a Jewish site no less. Everyone here cares about yiddishkeit, even if they are critical of many things.. SOME of these girls were allegedly RAPED. ALL of them were ABUSED by a POWER figure, which in E”Y is a criminal act, regardless of age or consent of the victim. You are a tat-adam. a piece of dreck. You are re-abusing the victims.
      As an aside, just for accuracy, promiscuity implies multiple partners. These girls were molested and abused and raped by one charismatic FRUM “RABBI”. The ultimate betrayal.
      You would have all boys who were molested by their yeshiva rebbes, also become untouchables, well you know what, according to your hateful perverse thinking, about 1/3 of the orthodox community should be shunned and put into a leper colony.
      Pray that any progeny you might have do not end of there. Better that evil people do not duplicate their DNA. chas v’chalila. A chillul Hashem.

        • The SEC was alerted to Madoff, by a now infamous whistleblower. they ignored his information. as did everyone.
          What is puzzling to me, is this, Evidently some of the girls were raped, abused, molested against their will. and evidently some succombed to his charms. Re the putative latter group. since rumors were rampant at the sems, and everyone knew everyone else’s business. how is it that there were girls compliant, knowing that he was theoretically having relations with his wife, and also with innumerable other girls????? hard to put my head around the fact that he was so very charismatic, that some of the girls perhaps a minority, but some, kivyachol. were agreeable, where was the jealousy? was a one night stand with “GOD” enough not to think about the dozens or more that he was doing, or his wife. Could he possibly have made each and everyone of them think that they were the love of his life and that he would leave his wife and marry them?
          I am not of the frum world. I know the secular world i know about lust, etc, about impulsive activities. but this entire thing stretches my mind, it’s ability to absorb the complacency and compliance. and. ……….

  30. TruthSeeker, I’m not part of the frum world, so although I can say I would be very proud if you were my daughter, if I were your father it would ruin your shidduch prospects. 🙂 I hope your parents have given, and will continue to give, their full support. I just want to say what you already know: you have done the right thing, and it will change your life forever. Like Moshe Rabbeinu after he killed the Egyptian, your identity will become known, so prepare for that. May HaShem guide you, bless you and keep you.

    • TruthSeeker, in thinking back, I don’t think you mentioned your parents, so I apologize if I raised a painful topic by presuming what should no longer be presumed.

  31. To “Seriously”

    Yes, the source of pleasure I gain from this world is Yiddishkeit. And no, that is not just what someone told me (if I had that sort of attitude, I wouldn’t be here blogging).

    Your questions bring up loads of philosophical discussions prob not suited for the post. And of course, I respect everyone’s choice in life at the end of the day 🙂

  32. Yerachmiel- seminary started this week. What’s the situation? Enrollment? This is an important part of the story!

    • 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%.

    • We cannot control the number of students enrolled this yr. U r right. School has started and parents have made their decision of whether to send or not.

      What will hopefully happen is a firing of staff in the coming months who enabled abuse and the closing of the schools for the following years.

      Recruitment should start soon, yet Touro has still suspended accreditation. Girls will not be able to receive credits. We will see how many apply.

      YL- is this about right?

      • “What will hopefully happen is a firing of staff in the coming months who enabled abuse…”

        Who are going to fire them? Their names are not even publicized and they will get jobs either at other established seminaries, or at other seminaries which will open to fill the void of the Meisels’ seminaries that may be closing.

        You wont publicize the names of the enabling teachers that you dealt with, and the CBD is not publicizing their names. There is no independent law enforcement organization doing a thorough investigation which will determine which teachers enabled abuse.

        The only reason Meisels is not teaching right now is because the CBD was willing to publicize his name. We still don’t know how involved Meisels is, as, again, there is no law enforcement involved and the CBD did not have the ability to anything but publicize his name. We haven’t even gotten that far with the enablers.

  33. so sorry that all three seminaries opened with tremendous success im sorry all ur bashmutzing and bashing and chillul hashem didnt work

    • You call withholding tuition $ and forcing parents to have no other choice after paying $20k?

      That parents were searching left and right for other seminaries to accept their daughters? That pninim Shana bet closed down?

      Yes. Very successful schools indeed. Can’t wait for kahane to get fired in the middle of the year. That will be awfully “successful”, no? 😉

  34. TruthSeeker, what is wrong with u???
    I have been following this scandal for the past two months, and you have taken every possible stab at Rabbi Meisels, Rabbi Kahane, Pninim, and anyone affiliated with it. What else do u want??
    The source of the problem was removed..Rabbi Meisels is no longer a part of Pninim! The teachers are enablers..? Maybe they are too naive (like the girls) to notice abuse! Maybe them in their kollel-minded thoughts they cant see the big picture…so fire them??
    Guess what, if Rabbi Meisels did alot for you, then u shud keep ur mouth shut- because u ratting him out in public is the highest form of chutzpah, and u will burn in hell for that. U dont think girls saw what happened?? I was in pninim also, and i saw flirting, and guess what it wasnt my business..it wasnt done to me or anyone close to me, so i kept my mouth shut! There are other ways to draw awareness to this problem then by ‘living’ on a blog! GET A LIFE!

    • It is because of people like you – and opinions like yours – that abuse is so problematic in the orthodox world. Instead of a climate of absolutely ratting out a married haredi principal who was doing a lot more than “flirting” – you want an atmosphere of everyone looking out for only for themselves and how it affects them.
      Although I am sitting in a busy office with a ton of work to do – I won’t be able to work anymore you angered me so much.
      As I said last month – Midas Sidom indeed.
      Instead of growing spiritually, The Meisels Seminaries were a cesspool of indecent behavior and you propose letting it continue?
      FOR SHAME!

    • TS tried very hard to talk directly to Meisels, other seminary staff, and the IBD. You are right this is scandalous stuff to reveal. What is even more scandalous is that all this happened, no one listened, and Chaim Malinowitz was so corrupt that he made sure the IBD did not get the testimony of TruthSeeker. Instead of wasting your time trashing the messenger, start worrying about the mess in the seminary.

      Is it your opinion that the scholarship should be regarded as a bribe or hush money.

      Like so many others you start all nice about avoiding scandal, complaining about chutzpah and descending into the vulgar silencing the witnesses to abuse and talking about keeping mouths shut. Does your frumkeit include lav of lo saamod al dam reyachah? Or do you believe if you get enough favors you are relived of that obligation?

      • Please understand, all i was trying to say was, since she has no evidence that these acts ACTUALLY happened (only the flirting part) and since he has helped her, the smartest thing for her to do right now is to keep quiet. If these acts were committed, then the truth WILL come out, cuz it always does. As far as whats happening now, she has just as much evidence as any other pninim girl in the past 10 years has..and out of thousands of girls, SHE is the one saying things. People are calling him a predator, rapist, creep, etc..those are pretty strong words..especially if ur not 100% sure abt the situation.

        • So you are saying that if you saw all the clues of sexual misconduct by a respected leader with many young woman you would say nothing. Terrific! You are a great example of loshon horah chumras run amok to the point that you would violate lo saamod. There is a reason both prohibitions are in one posuk.

        • Opinion. We do not need to “be sure” of the situation. It doesn’t matter if he is a rapist or if it was consensual. He ruined MANY girls. He committed the worst sexual acts with them. What more do u need? U have some nerve to come here and say “shut ur mouth” “get a life” and “burn in hell” and u give me a speech abt how to behave? Honestly, ur disgusting. U owe me a big apology. I know for a fact that this will allow witnesses/ victims to find their voices and come forward. I am helping and facing the problem. You turn ur head away and ignore. Meisles is a pervert and sick. Call about the situation. Call rabbi Cohen or rabbi fuerst.

          (And for the last time, my sorry was NOT to claim sexual abuse. Get that thru ur very brainwashed head). U sound like a terrible person, just from ur posts. What if it was your child he fooled around with? Answer that! U sicken me, Opinion.

    • I will burn in hell?

      You’ve got to get more creative with ur insults. Not the first time I’ve heard that from brain-washed seminary girls.

      It’s ppl like u that allow sexual abuse to go in the world.

      U should be absolutely ASHAMED OF YOURSELF for turning a blind eye (it was none of your business? Do u even hear yourself?).

      And ew. He is NOT a rabbi. Call rabbi zev Cohen and maybe he’ll describe to u the sexual favors Meisles asked from girls.

      “Opinion”- you are pathetic and u make the world a more dangerous place.

      So NO. I will NOT shut my mouth.

      • TS, let me ask u, how exactly are u solving this problem?? By repeating ur stupid ideas again and again? He’s out! Its a one year seminary, most of the girls will never ever see him again! What else would u like to happen? Im sorry to say i dont trust the CBD! My theory is, that if charges were not filed against him, then its not as bad as u are making it out to be..if u dont like that, i dont care!

        • U are obv confusing urself. U at first say “okay so he did something bad, but don’t make it public. Shut ur mouth”.

          And now ur saying “I don’t believe he did anything rlly!”

          It was obvious from the moment u told me that I’d “burn in hell” and to “shut my mouth” that u were a Meisles defender.

          Thanks for revealing yourself so obviously. I feel bad for u and your future children.

          Truly, you are a sad case.

    • Hakoras hatov is not a reason to let a person who is not fit for his position as a teacher of Torah to girls stay on. Even if he saved your life, you cannot stand idly by while he harms others and makes a mockery of the Torah. You saw the leader of your seminary flirtering with teenage girls under his charge and you didn’t say anything!?!?

      A Seminary Principal who flirts with his studens should be removed from his position immediately and never allowed to teach women again. By letting him stay on you are allowing to continue to harm the neshamos of his students and his own soul.

    • opinion @ 9/9 4:13pm
      Nice quoting from the IBD “the source of the problem was removed”. Obviously your morals, ethics, integrity are in the gutter. That’s what your parents paid for? They threw out all of that money to aid you in making a shidduch. omg. You will have children and teach them your ethics. Better you should be barren than propagate yourself..
      You are EVIL REALLY REALLY EVIL. imho. Of course, there is the possibility that you are a paid poster. IN ANY CASE, you are a vile vile person. “ratting him out in public is the highest form of chutzpah”, you are expletive disgusting, or a cretin, or both.

    • You are very mean. If you saw treif food served at a chasuna would you remain silent? Speak to the mashgiach? At least ask a Rabbi who was present? No. You would say it isn’t my business. Shame on you. You think that TS will burn in hell. Did Meisels and Kahane teach you to speak like that. Did you ever learn about lifnei ever? Don’t forget that the 1st letter from the CBD said there was an admission from EM and clear evidence of incorrect sexual behavior. And you still are upset with TS?

      TS, you are a credit to society. You and the others who went to the CBD. And the CBD too. I have met Rav G Schwartz and find him to be an upright honorable person besides a huge talmid chachom.

  35. Seriously,

    You hit the nail on the head! And yes, Dina, comparing the Charedi world to Sodom is an emotional response, so let’s just say that I’ve been highly disappointed by the lack of righteousness in a community that considers itself to be closer to G-d than any other. BTW, even if the sex abuse numbers were 10 percent, that is horrifying! And how many layers of people have to be looking aside in each case in order to perpetuate the evil? And this does not touch upon the culture of rampant lying and deceit in money matters. Of course, there are many good frum people who do many good things, but the culture itself seems to have 2 standards, with exacting adherence demanded in some arenas and a lackadaisical approach to morality and uprightness in others.

    And, yes, Seriously, some of my children have used their heads to tacitly follow leaders that I consider to be evil.

    • I dont understand the last sentence. I assume you mean your kids for psychological reasons are following evil people and refusing to believe the bitter truth.
      That’s not using one’s head. That’s drinking the Koolaid.
      Perhaps the greatest threat to the future of the chareidi world is willful ignorance which, as Rumseld once said, means “we don’t know that we don’t know,” ie we’re so ignorant we don’t even realize how ignorant we are and what is lacking.
      This is criminal stupidity and we’ve been led down this path by fools or people who wish to take advantage of us, our children, etc.

      • Yes, but the Kool-Aid drinkers insist that they’re the rational ones and that the non Kool-Aid drinkers have a biased agenda, or in the words of a young person very close to me, “You’re just jealous”. And maybe I am sort of jealous, in a way, of people who can feel so self assured in their lives and believe so whole heartedly. Reality is a bitter pill.

        • Baumayimadnafesh – I’m jealous of people who are on a drug-induced high 24/7. That doesn’t mean that I’m going to do drugs, because I don’t want to die young and ruin my life in a myriad of other ways. In my opinion, the negative side-effects of being brainwashed is like drugs, and outweighs the benefits. Very often the drug – the brainwashing – wears off at some point and just doesn’t work anymore. That is what happened to me.

          I was a self-assured believer of all the “Torah” my teachers were preaching when I was in high school/seminary/post-seminary age. I thought my parents knew nothing, and looked down upon them for their lack of adherence to the new fad mitzvos they had never heard of before I came home telling them how they were not following Toras Moshe MiSinai. I didn’t want to eat thoroughly washed but unchecked lettuce, told my parents what they were doing wrong in how they kept Shabbos (opening a soda bottle!), believing Hashem is giving me a “nisayon” of having parents that just do not understand that the Earth will fall off it’s axis if they do not follow the “halachah” that I was taught in school, instead of following the mesorah that they received from their parents, and their parents before them. I insisted on believing and following all the asinine things I was brainwashed with in high school and seminary. When I was making lifelong decisions based on the brainwashing, my parents talked themselves blue in the face to try to make me see some sense and logic, but to no avail.

          Such is the power of brainwashing on children whose brains are not fully developed and on teens who are in the process of forging their own identity. Until the age of 21-23, the brains of humans are not fully developed. This is real science. The Israeli army knows this which is why they will not accept boys being inducted into army service after a certain age – they know that after that cutoff age the boys are no longer trainable to follow combat orders no-questions-asked. Chareidi schools use this age to brainwash kids, together with the fact that they know that teenagers have a natural (and healthy) need to forge their own identity separate from their parents.

          Suffice it to say that my own life journey has taught me that the brainwashing I received was a crock of you-know-what, administered (taught) by people who themselves were brainwashed or who were so married and invested in the system as to not be able to pry their minds away for a single moment of critical thought, and not be able to see the forest from the trees. I regret EACH AND EVERY life decision I made which was based upon their “Torah.” (For the record, I have apologized to my parents, albeit 20 years too late, and told them they were right about ALL of this.)

          The current system is stealing the minds and hearts of impressionable teenagers and young adults, and with it, taking their lives and their futures. They are encouraged to make lifelong decisions, get married and have children before their brains develop enough to think critically, at which point they wake up and realize that they have been misled, but it is too late.

          For the record EVERYONE has a “biased agenda.” The accusation makes no sense. You have as much of a “biased agenda” as they have!

          One day, if your children are honest with themselves and with you, they may just surprise you and tell you that you were right, and that they were wrong. It may take 20 years or 30 years, but don’t give up hope. In the meantime, emphasize ethics with all your children, and hope that they themselves will come to see that if the “lowly goyim” can practice and value basic ethics without “the gedolim” or Torah commanding them to, and yet Chareidim as a majority can’t seem to practice and value basic ethics WITH “the gedolim” and all the Torah they are supposedly following, then there is something drastically wrong with this picture.

    • Btw – you asked earlier “Was it always just a fantasy?”

      My answer – read through all the sifrei nevi’im. Read about everything that was going on during Bayis Sheini, during the times of the 2nd Beis Hamikdash. Then tell me, for how many years was it “good for the Jews”? For how many years were things as they “should be”? Read about the climate in which the Ba’al Shem Tov and his students became a populist movement, because of the dichotomy of the learned elite and the downtrodden lower class Jews. Rabbanus and learning had turned into a class system. And finally, who did abuse get reported to 100 years ago? Or 400 years ago? Did it not exist? Did it not cause the same devastation to the lives of victims? The claim that gedolim were not aware of the extreme damage sexual abuse causes is ridiculous in the face of the idea that the gedolim know all kinds of other non-halachic things about life due to everything being in the Torah that they learned so well. So the gedolim missed that part of Shas describing the devastation of sexual abuse, and only now, 20 years after the secular world is realizing how terrible it is, the gedolim are first realizing it themselves?

      There is much beauty in our heritage, but there is much ugliness as well. Are we really any better than any other peoplehood on this Earth? For thousands of years, billions of people in the world never heard of the Jews. Why would Hashem pick a people as his chosen ones that billions of people never even heard of? And lo and behold, a bunch of those people on the other side of the planet who never heard of us, swear up and down that God picked THEM as his chosen people! What a strange coincidence.

  36. TS, after reading many of your comments, and your story, you mention that you loved seminary, we’re inspired by it, and didn’t really have misgivings about it until your second year. This means that for quite a while, you discounted and rationalized any misgivings you had. So why would you and many others writing in, not extend that same courtesy to the other staff in P’ninim? Maybe they were influenced and as swayed as you were, and did not willfully hide anything? Maybe they could have been more perceptive, but that is Monday morning quarterbacking, and not fair to say they should have known. They were probably never educated in what to look for and what to do. Your complaints to them especially seem to be your feelings and suspicions, no facts. What should they have done? Remember, he was their boss, and if they received complaints of suspicions, not facts, where could they have gone to? And who says that they didn’t speak to him, and he assured them in his confident way that it was a misunderstanding, and “you know the girl has problems, but we will sort it out”? Additionally, many staff seem to be there for a few hours, and are not there at night to see anything suspicious.

    It’s so easy to point fingers at them now, but if you really think about it, would we really have acted differently before proof came to light?

    You have written in glowing terms of the amazing staff, yet you and many others want to see them all fired and the school to go down, when they have done so much, and have done nothing wrong besides being duped.

    You think the best thing is that the seminary closes. I think the best thing would be for them to be more successful than ever, while Meisels has to sit on the sidelines and see that they are doing just fine, and even better without him.

    Furthermore, if there was an enabler, that person should be named and gotten rid of as Meisels was. But to accuse them all as a whole is wrong, and taints an entire wonderful staff, that was helping educated girls the right way.

    • I’ll she’d some light on you (as long as you are not accusing. Only if u r respectfully asking me a question).

      The problem was never brought to Meisles bc his behavior only got WORSE. And I nvr said I only saw stuff my second yr in chedvas…where did u get that from?

      Many of these staff members have been working at these seminaries for years. They have had (I know for a fact) MANY girls complained to them about Meisles. It was their responsibility to look into the issue bc of so many complaints troughs the years. Also, ppl complained to them about touching as well.

      All of this equals enabling.

      Sorry to burst anyone’s bubbles.

      Any my complaint was not just out of emotions. U seem to be discrediting me (maybe not. It’s okay). I saw legit behavior that was NOT okay and I acted on it.

      • I’m not accusing, but trying to understand. You did state that for quite a while everything was amazing, and then later you had suspicions. You never had any kind of proof, otherwise, you would have done something. You basically were duped and then later felt helpless, even though you had your strong suspicions.

        How is that different than the staff. And time doesn’t make a difference. The longer you spend in a cult, the more indoctrinated you get. You left after your year and had space to think, away from the situation. They didnt.

  37. In the final analysis this fiasco was a perfect storm of many peoples personal Negiyos put ahead of the Klal.
    1. The 8K deposit that would be lost forced parents to make poor decisions.
    2. The community of seminary teachers and support staff that moved heaven and earth to keep the schools running this year even though obviously they should be shut.
    3. The conspiracy of silence among people who do know the truth but didn’t want to get involved.

    Abuse and misconduct is generally done secretly. With little cooperation, the schools opened for business as usual. However, it would be malpractice for any school counselor or advisor to recommend these schools going forward.

    When one reads the absurd comments being posted, one can only marvel at their absurd view.

  38. YL, when the cult leader is gone, everything changes. That’s the difference. The rest of the staff did not create that climate, Meisels did. Now that he’s gone, the climate will surely change, and maybe the amazing things TS described as well as others will continue, but without the fakery.

    Remember, that before a brave girl (or girls) went to the CBD to testify, no one said anything. Even TS, only started posting after the scandal broke. Did she contact you before? No. Does anyone blame her? Of course not. There might be suspicions, strong feelings amongst girls, but proof? No.

    How is that different from the staff, who were not out of that cult-like atmosphere, and might have heard some complaints, but no proof? And about their boss, who was considered this amazing tzadik? And who would they go to? Their boss? The police? With no proof?

    And TS, you seem very eager to jump into the conversation when everyone is praising you. When I ask a few innocent questions, you all of a sudden don’t have time. Maybe I didn’t show enough deference to you? I didn’t ask in the right way? Really?

    And I notice, none of my questions were answered, not that you are under any obligation to do so, but I guess I mistakenly thought that this blog was a place of free flowing exchange of opinions.

    • Sorry, my bad. I just read your new post with the CBD’s new letter. That answered a lot of questions, and cleared up a lot of what people were wondering about. I don’t know what took them so long to put this out.

      Obviously, those few staff who the CBD know about have to go. But they do write that almost all the staff are ok. Maybe finally things will start to move, and the school will be truly be the amazing place that was described.

    • Meir.

      Pls don’t take offense.

      This is, of course, emotionally draining to continuously defend/ explain myself.

      That much, u must understand and accept.

      With that being said, I believe your questions are repetitive.

      Those are the reasons I “do not have time” for it.

      • I understand. However, you of all people should be pushing to keep P’ninim open, with all the “kosher staff” who are innocent and wonderful people. You know that P’ninim is different than the other seminaries. No one has their kind of inspiring teachers and people you can really talk to, get real answers on hashkofa, and what is important in life and yidishkeit. Most of the other sems are an extension of their school back home, that you can’t ask questions, or your a bum or oisvorf, and must marry a Lakewood boy and support him forever as he learns.

        It is important that a seminary that talks common sense, be kept open.

        I’m hopeful that this newest letter from the CBD will be a catalyst to get things moving to get rid of the bad apples, so that they can stay open and continue to educate in the right way.

        Meisels might have been a central figure, but they can flourish without him. It would be good for the girls, and the biggest slap to his face.

        • Meir- u hit some great points. Pninim is such a special place. Even after all that has happened, I am in love with my seminary (Altho now a little embarassed when ppl ask me where I went to school in e”y).

          This is what made pninim so special- bc it was not an “extension” of high schools from America.

          It took a lot for me to say “these schools need to close”. It is not about the teachers anymore. It should stand as strong proof that this is how serious sexual abuse is.

          It is a very unfortunate situation. I feel betrayed by my teachers. I know kahane has been straight out been lying about many things (not just abuse stuff).

          But I very strongly think that the schools should be shut down. It takes a lot for me to say that.

    • An educator who does not realize they are in a cult is a major problem, like a mashgiach who doesn’t noticed pork being dumped into the food vats. Maybe they are in the wrong field.

      I am not so sure your questions are so innocent.

      • Sorry to get in the way of your conspiracy theories, but I am asking these questions straight up, with no n’gius. I am not related in any way to anyone from Pninim. When I saw the additional information, it did answer a lot of my questions. I just know many people that had wonderful experiences in Pninim, and how different it was than the other sems. Maybe I naively thought that it could be salvaged. I just hope that someone else will open up a seminary with the positive attributes that Pninim had, because it is needed.

    • Oh and Meir- quite the opposite.

      I jump into conversations when ppl start misunderstanding/ criticizing me.

      The praise is nice, I guess…but it’s not what I focus on and look for..

  39. UOJ once had a piece in relation to Torah Temimah, Kolko,MArgulies about Ihr Hanidachas…that sometimes you need to knock it all down. If YL can post that it may be worth reading in relation to the conversation over here about closing the schhols down or not.

  40. You know what the 4 Meisels seminaries remind me of? The Bernie Madoff story. Madoff was a complete fraud, the entire back office – at least – was complicit, and after he was arrested they all played dumb. Same story here. Any long time teacher or staff member simply had to know.
    Eli was running around assaulting girls and you think the girls didn’t say anything? Sure they did.
    He took girls out on long unexplained outings late at night – no one noticed?
    The long time staff HAD To know.

    • NYC Princess,
      , re Madoff, not just the entire back office, there was a substantial whistleblower, Harry Markopolos gave data and information to the SEC, he was ignored. Talk about enabling. Since this is off-topic, i will keep it short.
      RE: enabling by the staff, one would assume that many, or most knew. I suppose that if there were some part time teachers, who taught a course or two a day, and left, that there might be an assumption re some of those being “out of the loop”. Don’t know how many of those part-timers there were. (if any?). (as opposed to full time staff).

  41. Hi Seriously,

    I read with interest your comments here https://frumfollies.wordpress.com/2014/09/07/truthseeker-is-the-pseudonym-of-a-former-student-in-elimelech-meisels-seminaries-she-describes-her-initial-enthusiasm-the-charismatic-flirtatious-nature-of-meisels-leadership-his/#comment-96560
    and here https://frumfollies.wordpress.com/2014/09/07/truthseeker-is-the-pseudonym-of-a-former-student-in-elimelech-meisels-seminaries-she-describes-her-initial-enthusiasm-the-charismatic-flirtatious-nature-of-meisels-leadership-his/#comment-96563.

    I am responding in the hope that you will consider another perspective.

    As my response is long and unrelated to the purpose of this blog, I have published it online. I hope you will do me the honor of reading it.

    You can find it by clicking on this link:

    YL-note. Link was deleted and will be replaced when the commenter submits it to me.

    Sometimes when you click on the link it will bring you to the middle of the document, so you will need to scroll up to start at the beginning.

    • Dina – Yerachmiel is not posting your link until you submit it to him for review. His email address is in the top right corner of the blog.

      If the link becomes available, please let me know so that I can go there and respond.

    • Seriously,

      I can’t figure out how to publish an article online anonymously, so I am copying and pasting my response below. My apologies for its length.

      You wrote that you were disabused of some wrong notions in which you were indoctrinated in your youth, and for which you have since apologized to your parents:
      1. Washed lettuce does not need to be checked.
      2. Opening soda bottles on Shabbos is permitted.
      3. Torah is not needed for people to know how to practice basic ethics and have basic values.
      4. The idea that God chose the Jews to be His nation is absurd.
      5. Not only are Chareidi Jews not more moral and ethical than anyone else, they are worse. The Jews were always evil—just read Tanach.

      It’s an interesting collection of ideas, to be sure! Putting aside the question of why your parents sent you to a religious school at all, let alone a Chareidi one, I think a careful examination of history will show you that some of your premises are faulty.

      [I am adding that I just read your comment that you were raised Chareidi and for the most part remain so. This is confusing to me, but let’s leave it at that.]

      It is ironic that you are outraged about sexual abuse. If you had been born in the Mesopotamian Cradle, the cradle of civilization, let’s say in the year 2000 BCE, you would not have been outraged. In fact, the idea of sexual abuse did not exist. Furthermore, the idea of sexual morality did not exist. Women and children were the property of men to be used as they pleased, often even as part of religious rituals.

      Realize we are talking about the only civilized part of the world.

      Sexual abuse was not the only problem. Human life itself was expendable. Humans were sacrificed to the gods. Parents killed children who displeased them. They also left infants out to die if they were born deformed.

      If you had lived in this part of the world in 2000 BCE, the notion of “basic ethics” would have been foreign to you.

      Not long after your lifetime, a small band of people introduced the radical concepts of one invisible God, the sanctity of human life, and sexual morality.

      You take these values for granted, but I assure you that if you study ancient civilizations you will understand how strange and crazy these ideas were at that time.

      It took a couple of thousand years for these concepts to catch on in the Western world. Even as people became introduced to these ideas, they had a hard time regarding all human life as sacred. Thus, even in the twentieth century in the Western world, we have seen the devastation wrought by institutionalized racism and anti-Semitism, such as the Holocaust.

      In fact, only since the 1960s have racism and anti-Semitism become unfashionable–and then, only in some quarters.

      Had you lived in Europe in the 1940s, I wonder if you would so glibly say:

      The “lowly goyim” can practice and value basic ethics without “the gedolim” or Torah commanding them to, and yet Chareidim AS A MAJORITY [my emphasis] can’t seem to practice and value basic ethics WITH “the gedolim” and all the Torah they are supposedly following.

      In fact, seeing the rising tide of anti-Semitism all over the world, I wonder how you can say that at all.

      You and everyone else, including Christians and atheists, do not live in a vacuum. Western values, the values of sexual morality and sanctity of human life, are derived from the Bible. That is why I find your outrage ironic. You didn’t come up with these ideas yourself, and neither did the “lowly goyim” (your words) who practice better ethics than Chareidi Jews. If the Torah had never been written, who knows? We might still be living like 2000 BCE in the Mesopotamian Cradle.

      You made the following statements:

      Chareidi schools use this age to brainwash kids, together with the fact that they know that teenagers have a natural (and healthy) need to forge their own identity separate from their parents.
      The “lowly goyim” can practice and value basic ethics without “the gedolim” or Torah commanding them to, and yet Chareidim as a majority can’t seem to practice and value basic ethics WITH “the gedolim” and all the Torah they are supposedly following
      Read about everything that was going on during Bayis Sheini, during the times of the 2nd Beis Hamikdash. Then tell me, for how many years was it “good for the Jews”? For how many years were things as they “should be”?
      The Ba’al Shem Tov and his students became a populist movement, because of the dichotomy of the learned elite and the downtrodden lower class Jews. Rabbanus and learning had turned into a class system.

      If these statements are true, then anti-Semitism is justified. Jews, especially religious ones, are vile and deserve the hate that is heaped upon them. Did you know that, historically, Christian anti-Semites have used your argument about Tanach? They point to Tanach to show that the Jews have always been evil—this same book that says God chose them. In Ogden Nash’s words, “How odd of God to choose the Jews.”

      That’s because you make the same mistake they do in reading Tanach: reading it as a history book. Tanach is not a history book. It is an exercise in self-criticism. (How many ancient cultures did that, I ask you?) As such, it highlights our faults so we should learn from them. If you read the Book of Judges carefully, for example, you will see that the bad years (the years the Israelites did evil in God’s eyes and were punished) total up to somewhat over 100 years out of an approximate 400-year timespan. In rough percentages, that works out to a record of 75% of the time good, not a bad record at all! But the point of the Book of Judges is not to indulge in feeling good about ourselves.

      If you read about the Israelites’ sojourn in the wilderness, you will find sin after sin, rebellion after rebellion. Only when Jeremiah arrives on the scene a thousand years later do you get the picture that there was a righteous remnant loyal to God (Jeremiah 2:2).

      I find astonishing your statement that a rabbinic elite had arisen which kept the masses of Jews downtrodden. I do not know what history books you are reading, but even unbiased outsider accounts record that the oppressors of the Jews were Christians in the West and Muslims in the East—not the rabbis. In fact, most rabbis, though not all rabbis, throughout Jewish history were quite poor. Your statement smacks of anti-Semitic stereotypes, rooted in Christian scripture, of power-hungry, greedy rabbis trying to control the masses. For example, in Matthew Chapter 23, the word “hypocrites” is used against the Pharisees no less than seven times in this one chapter.

      Echoes of your condemnations of the Chareidi community in Matthew 23:

      Verse 15: Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert [substitute “be mekarev a ba’al teshuva”], and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.

      23-24: Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. [The writer of this gospel charges the Pharisees with focusing on legalisms while ignoring what’s really important.]

      25: Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.

      27-28: Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. [I’ve seen comments on this blog with almost these exact words, minus the analogy to tombs.]

      I confess it makes me shudder a little bit.

      To your point about chosenness, if you do not believe the Torah to be true, then nothing I say is relevant to you, for the Torah itself teaches that we are God’s chosen nation (Deuteronomy 7:6-8; Exodus 19:5-6; Isaiah 43:10).

      But I will say this.

      The Torah promises that though the Jewish people will be scattered, weakened, and oppressed, they will never be completely wiped out. The Torah does not promise this protection to every Jew. This protection covers only the righteous remnant of Israel.

      It’s easy to trace this righteous remnant, from the time of the destruction of the Second Temple. We know from the historical record that many Jewish sects proliferated: the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Essenes, the early Christians (the first followers of Jesus were a Jewish sect). The Pharisees were the Orthodox Jews of their day. I dare say you would have found them extreme. Nevertheless, this sect of rabbinic Jews is the only one to survive the destruction of the Second Temple. Throughout history other sects arose, and always, only the rabbinic Jews (todays’ Orthodox Jews) survived. In fact, every Jew today with the exception of converts is descended from these religious Jews. And the descendants of secular or non-Orthodox Jews today will, within a few generations, be completely assimilated. The demographics bear this out.

      Non-Jewish writers of Jewish history—objective outsiders—have noted this phenomenon. Both Paul Johnson in A History of the Jews and James Carroll in Constantine’s Sword recognize that rabbinic (Orthodox) Judaism is the only viable form of Judaism.

      Like you, I was educated in Bais Yaakov schools, but I bring a different perspective.

      Shalom and God bless!

        • Please accept my apologies, sir. If Seriously would like to respond privately, you may give her my email address (if she requests it).

          Thank you for allowing the comment through despite its length and divergence far afield. You are most kind!

          Shana tov and kesiva v’chasima tova,
          Dina

  42. I too went to this seminary. When I first met Rabbi Meisels I saw he was a really charming man. Which bothered me. I wouldn’t think it was weird if I met a guy my age who would be charming and sweet. But he was A Rabbi, married, and with ten kids. So that really hit a nerve. I would think to myself all the time how weird it was having the girls in my class OBSESS over him. I’m not some close minded girl. I’m not trying to just go against him. But I did see that something was off. I feel bad that he had come to this but being a principle in a girl’s school is putting yourself in a hard situation, especially Pninim. I’m not trying to say that girls are “bad” there. They are some of the sweetest people I have ever met. But Pninim is known as the oddball’s of Frum girls. Girls who haven’t really found there place yet.
    The reason i’m so annoyed about all this is because they had told us all the time about tznuis and tznuis etc. And both principle’s were being hypocrites. One thing that really annoyed me was that when I had come back for a second year. I was called a “whore” and a “slut” by Rabbi Kahane, because my skirt was short. In my opinion he did not have the right to say that. And wearing a short skirt is JUST wearing a short skirt.
    I’m sorry to be writing this sort of comment. But I just was so frustrated from all of this.
    In the end I just feel like Jews in general should be true to themselves. To many people are become OCD with minor things that aren’t as important then being a kind , loving ,honest and non-judgmental Jew. Instead of getting angry about all this, I hope each Jew takes this to heart and learns to become the best Jew they can be. And not because your peer pressured into it. Have a great day.

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