“Only-a-Hug” Eidensohn Minimizes Meisels Sex Abuse

“It was only an inexcusable hug given by a respected rabbi to a student,” writes Rabbi Daniel Eidensohn on his blog in discussing the misconduct of Elimelech Meisels. Eidensohn was talking about Meisels when the word was not yet out about his sexual misconduct. But in many other ways Eidensohn has trivialized Meisels misconduct by claiming that is it possible he only hugged a few times, perhaps they were consensual, perhaps they were not in any way sexual. He insists that for that alone he should not be allowed to work in seminaries because he breached Haredi norms banning such contact between unrelated men and women. Yes he was kicked out but if people believe it was only a hug he may be able to eventually stage a comeback claiming therapy and teshuvah (repentance). In fact it was much more than a hug.

Gedalia Dov Schwartz at Nefesh Chicago Sex Abuse Conference 2011

Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz, Av Beis Din of the Chicago “Special Beis Din”, Av Beth Din of the Beth Din of America, Rosh Beth Din emeritus of the Chicago Rabbinical Council (CRC)

Back in July, the Chicago Beis Din (CBD) informed the public that  “students in these [Meisels operated] seminaries are at risk of harm” because of allegations of “unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature between Elimelech Meisels and students.”

In September, the head of the Beis Din in Chicago, Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz, wrote:

Meisels ultimately confessed… to the victims’ allegations of misconduct. He also confessed to having engaged in other misconduct, and prepared and delivered to the Beis Din a handwritten list of multiple additional victims…… Some of the misconduct to which he confessed constitutes… “sexual violence.”

Based on the above findings the Chicago Beis Din ruledElimelech Meisels may have no contact wth any girls, including present or former students, not by mail, email, texting, talking, Shabbos meals; no contact whatsoever… At no point do we give permission to Elimelech Meisels to resume any interaction.

Elimelech Meisels Purim Punk Pninim Rabbi watermarked finThis is mighty powerful medicine for just a few hugs. But it makes sense for a dangerous manipulator and serial assailant.

These statements and rulings by the Chicago Beis Din matter because they are the only body that ever investigated Mesisels’ sexual assaults. The Israeli Beis Din (IBD) never met with a single victim. The joint Beis Din headed by Rabbi Brudny accepted the Chicago Beis Din findings about Meisels’ misconduct and the conditions imposed on him.

Daniel Eidensohn, please admit that Mr. Meisels is a disgraced sexual assailant guilty of much, much more than a hug. He is a serial sexual predator.

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94 thoughts on ““Only-a-Hug” Eidensohn Minimizes Meisels Sex Abuse

  1. Once they’re being dismissive about a hug perhaps they could provide us with a list of all things to be dismissed because I’ve been struggling with a few and could use a free pass.

    • The detailed list is very long. but the guiding principle is simple. Any truth that threatens the interests of someone powerful can be dismissed. Of course this is only bidieved. L’chatchilah it should not be known and should be censored. Boruch hashem, the Haredi media does a pretty good job. But an occasional brave beis din and loads of bloggers forced them to the bidieved position.

    • I’m with you on that. Had I known “just a hug” was no big deal when I was in Bais Yaakov, I could have had a whole lot more experience in what life had to offer. What else did they lie to me about?

    • No, the correct phrase is “Sexual Predator” which hunts, grooms, manipulates and then sexually violates a target.

  2. At this point, some more detailed knowledge of what this menuval did (obviously, without naming names or providing any identifying information) MIGHT dispel some of this dangerous minimizing.

      • Eidensohn just posted a copy of the lawsuit papers. It does not use the term “rape” or “attempted rape,” but the term “sexual assault” (I think this is the term used in legal filings even when there is a claim of rape). At least by Title IX standards, a forced hug would fall under this category. Later in the complaint, it does state that the reason the plaintiffs are asking that their names not be on the filing is because their reputations would suffer if it were to be known in the frum community that they are bringing a claim against Meisels for sexual assault or claiming that they had sexual relations with him. I am not sure if that sentence should be read that they are in fact doing both, or that they are doing one of the two. The public will have to wait for more information before determining if the reference to rape and attempted rape mentioned in the Jewish Week article has any basis.
        To stress, I am not a “Meisels defender” and think that he has no place in chinuch. I just think that the fact that a person has done something evil does not mean that any unsubstantiated allegation can be directed at them any be accepted as true.

        • Actually, you consistently are a Meisels defender in all your other comments and in the disjointed set here.

          For starters, this is not the full suit. It is the judges ruling on the question of sealing the suit altogether or at least allowing plaintiffs to use Jane Doe in place of their real names. Thus the judge is limiting his summary to a limited subset of the allegations pertinent to the plaintiff claim that there was justification for using jane doe and for sealing.

          Most of your stuff, though it is framed as the questions of a befuddled reader is an ingenious collection of questions designed to support the Eidensohn “Just-a-hug” claim.

          You are so dishonest that even your pseudonym is a false pose. You are not wondering, not jUST wondering. You know where you stand and you are shilling in the guise of someone wondering.

          We both know that being publicly revealed as a sex abuse victim is stigmatizing in Haredi circles.

          Consider a new name like “Just sowing doubt for the Meisels-Peninim contingent”

        • Sexual assault: unwanted sexual contact that stops short of rape or attempted rape. This includes sexual touching and fondling. (But, be aware: Some states use this term interchangeably with rape.) (RAINN.org)

          No, sexual assault is not “unwanted hugging”

  3. “Just a hug” is the comment from people I ask about Meisels and his seminaries. None of them want to believe he admitted to worse sexual behavior with multiple students. Eidensohn perpepetuates the lie and refuses to acknowledge that a rabbi can be a sexual predator. How charedi of him!

    • I had the same experience with my friend.She kept saying she heard just a hug. So I directed her to Truthseeker’s post and the petition asking the sem staff to apologize. She had trouble with her reading comprehension skills, it seems, as she kept saying that Truthseeker only said that Meisel’s behaved inappropriately. When I pressed her, she said, I know but it’s just so hard for me to swallow. People will grasp at any hint that this never really happened………

      • This is why I feel so strongly about being so outspoken. Esp here on the blogs so that everyone can read it. I’m not an internet person at all and even hate attention. But I will not close my mouth until these ‘doubting’ individuals have no doubts to his guilt. I just wish that other girls would do the same (thanks for showing ur friend my post).

  4. I see eidensohn reads this blog. So this is directed to that loser.
    Lopin quoted you verbatim. If you can’t take the heat ,get of the kitchen . Nobody respects you or your brother Dave. I showed his new idea of promoting פלגש to the yungeleit where I learn. They all consider both of you nuts. You pretend to know Halacha , but all the poskim disagree with you,,especially on your wrong misunderstanding what constitutes a forced get. Your seforim are thrown in the garbage ,just as if an apikores wrote them. You are not accepted even to speak about child abuse anymore. Nobody cares anymore about your web site, except your few followers who think everybody is crazy except them. You and your brother bring shame to your family. Your site is full of lashon horah, richulus, conspiracies, inaccuracies and a place for you to bully people. Why can’t you admit when you are wrong? Is your character so shallow that you must call yourself daas Torah? Do you think by banning people who disagree with you ,that will make you right? Is it right to release private e mails? Do you enjoy abusing עגונות? Do you really believe all these conspiracies your blog writes about? Do you have any Rav that backs what you do?
    Have you no fear of heaven, to bashmutz another Gadol because you think different ,by you that’s OK?
    I doubt you will answer me anything more then, you don’t understand and are to stupid.

    • This was so great. Thanks. I especially back u up after he claims that I should be apologizing to Adina..after she was the one who harassed me and called me the B word.

    • Sam,
      This is David Eidensohn. I see you commented about me and said “You pretend to know Halacha , but all the poskim disagree with you,,especially on your wrong misunderstanding what constitutes a forced get.” I have often quoted sources for my opinion about forced GET, such as Teshuvash Maharshal 41, Rashbo VII:414, Even Hoezer 77 paragraphs 2 and 3 and see the Gro there number 5 who says that nobody disagrees with the Shulchan Aruch, Ramo, Beis Shmuel, etc. that coercing a husband based upon the complaints of the wife is wrong. I have presented some of my sources. Now, what are your sources that a husband mayb be humiliated and coerced? Be advised that Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashev zt”l told me that all of the Beth Dins who coedce husbands against the halacha lose chezkas Beth Din. Their divorces are not accepted. The gedolim in Israel have recently required a woman going to such Beth Dins to get another GET. Okay, now, what is your source or the sources of those who free women with coercing the husband with public humiliations, etc., and what about those who permit a woman to remarry without a GET, which is happening now in Philadelphia. Do you think that this is fine?

      • Sam,
        I just want to add that I have not gotten into the seminary issue to decide who is innocent or guilty. But I do read some of the blog posts, and I give a lot of credit to Yerachmiel for coming on my brother’s blog in the middle of a major war and showing a courage to face up to maybe minor mistakes or whatever, I think that is class. I am hoping that you will do the same. Be advised that I have made war with the major Rosh Yeshivas in America for the past couple of years, and I have spoken to many of them. I ask one thing: What is your source to humiliate and coerce husbands to force a GET. I am still waiting for a source. And let me say something else. I have semicha from Reb Moshe published in my halacha books that he knows me for many years as one who delves deeply into complex halacha. Reb Elyashev gave me his name to use for my Beth Din in Gittin. I think when you see somebody fighting and you decide that his brother is wrong, for whatever reason, you have to be careful about how you phrase things.
        Shalom,
        Dovid Eidensohn
        PS and make sure Yerachmiel sees my compliment! This has nothing to do with the seminaries, of course. I don’t know anything about the seminaries.

    • Sam,
      The Brisker Rov once noted that argument among Torah scholars is fierce. Sometimes it even gets physical. But he noted, that pulling a beard or tearing a shirt may be wrong, but we must not forget the motive, and the fire for Torah that prompted it. There is another rule about Torah arguments. The people arguing can argue as loud as they want. But nobody mixes in. Now, a blog is a blog. But try to maintain a proper rhetoric.

  5. This ruse of “it was just a hug” is wrong for so many reasons.

    But let’s talk about IF “it was just a hug” – strictly for arguments sake.

    Girls are kicked out of Bais Yaakov schools nowadays and likewise for Yeshivish boys being kicked out of yeshiva, just for being seen TALKING to a member of the opposite sex. Even if it was their sibling’s best friend who is over at their house all the time, and they just say “Good Shabbos” walking by on Shabbos afternoon. Big no, no. They get a warning – one more time being seen doing that and you’re getting kicked out of school. So, how would the Chareidi world view it if they “just hugged”?

    Then let’s talk about who this man is in their lives. This was not a hug of a boy and girl of the same age who are mutually attracted to each other and doing something that they are both in agreement about, even though they were taught that it is wrong. This was a married man who is 30 years older than these girls who is an authority figure, their Rov, their school principal, their teacher, their spiritual guide, who teaches them Torah, who teaches them the value of mitzvos and the spiritual harm of aveiros.

    Then let’s talk about who these girls were that he supposedly “just hugged.” He did not “just hug” a married woman who has experience with sexual or physical intimacy or any knowledge of or saavy with regard to male/female relationships. These are girls who were not allowed to ever be seen talking to a boy who wasn’t their close family member. And even being seen in public talking to an unmarried male cousin or going out for pizza with an unmarried male cousin was punishable with being expelled from school. These are 18 year-old girls who spent their entire lives in the sheltered world of the Bais Yaakov system, covering every inch of their bodies, being reprimanded if their clothing was not loose enough, taught to be hidden and tzanu’ah in every thought, word and action they take. These are girls who were drilled for 18 years in the halachos of tznius and then in high school with the halachos of yichud and negiah. These are girls who were taught that if there was only ONE thing that the Torah required of them, it was to be tzanu’ah and asexual (until they get married). And now they come to Israel, for a “deeper” and more intensive spiritual experience, and have this wonderful male principal who teaches them Torah hashkafah, answers all their complex hashkafah questions, and also encourages them to share with him their personal problems, guides them, lavishes attention upon them and builds up their trust. And then this Rov, this teacher, turns into a man who is so sexually out of control to the extent that he can’t help himself to “just give them a hug.” Seriously?

    Do you not see how when it is from a clearly predatory and sexually out-of-control Rov, from whom they have learned Torah and trusted with their personal life issues, is SO much more than “just a hug”?

    It is so much more than “just a hug” for that Bais Yaakov girl. In all likelihood it is the most traumatic thing that ever happened to her in her young life.

    But it is also so much more than “just a hug” for HIM. He knows very well the rules of the Chareidi world. And if he couldn’t control himself to the extent that he “just hugs them” – is it really “just a hug”?

    In the secular world, men and women hug all the time as a greeting – hello or goodbye. THAT is “just a hug.” But this, even if it was – and the Chicago Beis Din who heard the extensive testimony for many months did not agree that it was – just a hug, then in the context of the world in which it occurred, of who was doing the hugging, and who was being hugged, it was ANYTHING BUT “just a hug.”

    • As you said earlier, people don’t want to believe that there are cracks in their fantasy charedi religion, and they don’t care who gets hurt by their disbelief. I don’t pull any punches with my friends anymore (and you’re probably wondering why they’re still my friends, but that’s a separate discussion). I asked my friend, how would you like it if your daughter, Chanie, had been “only” hugged by Meisels? Or, when she asked me if he actually raped any girls, I explicitly described a scenario in which her daughter would remain a virgin but would have been “felt up” by this menuval. I asked her, would this be okay with you, as long as she wasn’t actually raped?

    • Seriously?, Bravo. you have done a great job at exposing the absurdity of the “just-a-hug” defense. You have exposed this callous, dishonest, harmful deception. You have totally demolished it, clearly and decisively. thank you.

  6. It still amazes me that there are “frum Hareidi” people who don’t trust the very choshav rabbis of the Chicago Beis Din, who spent months carefully investigating and interviewing Meisel’s sex abuse victims. How can anyone doubt the careful judgment of Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz, Rabbis Zev Cohen and Rabbi Shmuel Fuerst? It’s appalling that Meisels defenders are so bewitched by him that they disrespect these great Rabbi’s.

    I understand that it is difficult for some people who know Meisels to accept the truth that he is a sexual abuser – but that is the common profile – a charming manipulative man who seems “normal” or even “special” on the surface – that’s how people like Meisels get away with being sexual predators for so long. Minimizing Meisels behavior by repeatedly calling it “just a hug” is nonsensical and keeps abusers in the system. What if it was your daughter???

    Those people still defending Meisels should call the members of the Chicago Beis Din and speak to them personally – let’s see if they still defend Meisels after hearing it first hand from the Chicago Beis Din.

    At this point I think Mrs. Meisels should come forward. She must have known what went on in her own home and at the seminaries over all these years. Mrs. Meisels, I challenge you to do the right thing and come forward. Stop protecting your husband – he is not worth it. Same goes for the teachers and staff with knowledge – time to step forward and stop the cover up. There is a bigger picture out there. What if it was your daughter who was abused???

    • I disagree with you about Mrs. Meisels. She should stay out of the picture. It is not fair to impose upon a wife the responsibility to deal with the public in regard to their husband of 20+ years who faces allegations of seriously hurting others in sexual ways. Just being married to him and experiencing the pain and shame of what she is going through is difficult enough.

      That being said, IF she is defending him, then she is involving herself and putting herself in a position to get hurt by the backlash to her statements. And then all bets are off, by her own doing.

      If she were smart she would say “no comment” to everyone in the world. Everyone. If she defends him to even one person, she is setting herself up for the justifiable outrage at what he did.

      HOWEVER, with regard to the TEACHERS and other staff members it is INCUMBENT upon them to step forward. Even this late in the game, they should muster up the courage and come forward and do the right thing.

      But in all likelihood they wont. They are too fearful of the backlash and how it will affect their livelihood and their children’s shidduchim, because of the way Chareidi society is set up. There is no reward for them to step forward and come clean about the cover up. The only reward is less guilt in their lives, and knowing that they did the right thing. But weighed against their ability to put food on the table, take care of their children, their children’s ability to get married, and their accepted status and probable communal rejection if they step forward, most would not rise to the occasion. Especially since there is no model for doing so in the Chareidi world. Everyone knows that the Chareidi world punishes whistleblowers and protects abusers, that the Chareidi world is afraid of it’s own imperfections to the extent that it punishes those who call out the truth, no matter who is hurt by the cover-up and to what extent lives are shattered.

  7. One other thought. Would 7 chashuv rabbanim come together from different parts of the country to make a determination of if the teachers or principals were complicit in what Meisels did, if it was “just a hug”? Furthermore, as Yerachmiel pointed out, they were NOT coming together to make a determination of WHAT Meisels did, but rather if the teachers, staff and principals were complicit IN what he did. That’s a lot of heavyweights wasting a lot of time on something that is being claimed was “just a hug.” If all those rabbanim believed that it was “just a hug,” they would not be this invested in coming together like this, spending so much time JUST to determine if the seminaries were safe from just an oops-silly-little-mistake hug. Their stated intention was also to make sure Meisels is completely out of the picture in all the Seminaries in every possible way. For “just a hug”? Obviously not.

    For those who can’t wrap their heads around the facts – this is coming strictly from your fears. But sheker ein lo raglayim. The seal of Hashem is Emes. Ask yourself this – why would you fear the truth?

    • On the whole I agree with you. However, 7 choshuv rabbonim will assemble to save a business. Five moetzes members caucused and issued a public statement to protect the business of the seminaries. I have heard from several insiders in this controversy that we are dealing with 150 jobs. Of course it is an exaggeration because many of those jobs are part-time, especially the many teachers who come in for just an hour or two a week and earn a pitiful ~$15/hour. In total we are probably talking about 25-35 FTEs. The non-education workers and the part-timers can probably find work elsewhere at the same rate of pay. It is the administrators who are most threatened, especially if the scandal sticks to them. So while I would like to accept your proof I think the reality is that the CBD and Touro are working to protect girls from serious dangers, but some of the others are working to protect administrators from the hazards of the job market.

      • I hear you, and after thinking about it some more, I agree with you. I take back my comment at 9:26pm.

        A lot of effort is put out by Chareidi Gedolim and Chashuv Rabbanim for things that are essentially meaningless – concert bans, shaitel length bans, the Agudah convention, etc.

    • Seriously?, you have never written a comment with which i disagreed., please do not back down. for the record, andthose who poke theirheads in, from time to time. my understanding is that you are FFB and a distaff member.
      As all who may have read my stuff, i am a parent of a BT, and a person who very much identifies with various parts of the ortho world.

      Seriously?,
      Do not be pressured to change your views. I have agreed and applauded each and every one of your comments, that i have read. figure, most. I am OCD re this junk, being that i do not have a dog in this fight, wisdom would dictate my leaving in order . to retain some sense of sanity. but here i am, and i cannot yet let go. Please, keep up your comments, afilu if they offend others whom you think. feel should agree.
      Please, do not give in to others. afiu if they appear to be on the “right” side.

      No one else, well, mostly, no one else,. has posted with the insight that you have. also. if i’m giving out oscars. i am grateful to triangle and Tova T. a very few others.

      “”Seriously?”, please do not stop commenting. and even more, please post what your innate sense of emes tells you. others, let them make their case or ea t their hearts out.

  8. The allegation “just a hug” is one of the most absurd things I have ever heard in my entire life!!! Are people unaware of the halacha אין אפוטרופוס לעריות???? (no man can be trusted with regard to adultery) Elimelech meisels was in contact with so many girls on a day to day basis. It would be absolutely incumbent on any man in this situation to place boundaries upon boundaries to safeguard himself from any situation that can lead to any sort of misconduct. The fact that anyone, in their right mind, would believe that “just a hug” would go no further is completely and utterly baffling!!! All men are created with the same sexual desires. It is not physically possible for a man in meisels situation, who obviously did not keep to even basic boundaries, to stop himself from exploiting girls sexually!!! Anyone who doubts this is either straight up stupid, or just does not want to believe the truth.

    • You are forgetting a third possibility- he is setting up doubt to leave the door open for a Meisels restoration down the road. the three IBD members with whom Eidensohn is so aligned have never publicly declared Meisels guilty. They have just said he is gone from the seminaries so we don’t need to discuss him. Yet their statement that he was gone and severed his relationship was proven false months later when it turned out that he structured his sale with contingencies such that he could under some conditions, resume control. Most haredi offenders do come back even after scandals. The shtick is that it was just one false accusation by a crazy girl, etc. That is exactly the campaign for which Eidensohn is fronting. It is also the buzz inside the seminaries and among the alumni. Truth Seeker and a few others are great, but they are vastly outnumbered by folks who are either dodging the issue or actively promoting versions about Meisels that either deny anything or minimize it drastically.

      Falsehood can get legs and we may know we are right, but in real terms, the “just a hug” terminology is circulating. I now strongly suspect that a rearguard action is being fought to set the stage for his restoration.

      • Wow. I just had a conversation about this very point with someone else this morning. All it takes is a little money, and the right consultant and publicist, and a reputation can be rehabilitated. There are people who specialize in this. Bill Clinton himself, now arguably the most powerful Democrat in the party, was once considered a low-life. But thanks, to some careful work, nobody cares about his past. I also fear that the same could happen to Meisels.

        Regardless of what the joint beis din said, the focus needs to stay on the victims. They are the ones who suffered, and no amount of pronouncements or letters from anyone can ever change their stories. The more stories that get aired, the more the “just a hug” defense falls apart.

      • How does one fight this “attack”? Before it springs real legs? How do the victims and others interested in truth and safety for our b’not yisrael, combat this garbage??? How do moral ethical knowledgeable caring advocates prevent the dismissal of charges and the distortion of facts????

  9. It is completely beyond my comprehension how any responsible parent would send their daughter to any of these seminaries. My biggest hope right now is that they all go bankrupt.

    • There is safety in numbers. Everyone is looking at what everyone else is doing. People foolishly assume that if everyone else is going, it’s all good and fine. Add to that the bubble of living in the Yeshivish world, shidduchim pressures for girls who would have not gone to any seminary, girls believe it would ruin their entire lives not to go to Seminary in Israel (there were no other Israel Seminaries to go to at the last minute), and the pressure parents get from their daughters – and there you have it – the Meisels seminaries full of girls with parents who willingly sent them.

      • I think that is an excellent summary of why only few dozen students were withdrawn this year. But parents have many choices for next year with the opening of five new sems. And nobody will be trapped into staying because of tuition deposits. It is possible that the Meisel’s seminaries will fold because of diminished enrollment. One insider says the most likely to fold, is Binas based on preliminary enrollment interest.

  10. Any information on who bought the seminaries from Yarmush? If the sale was legitimate? (Without the possibility of a restoration to the lowly Meisels) ?

    • As of a last week the transfer of authority was not complete. That is one of the reasons that Touro College and HTC have not restored accreditation to the seminaries. Rabbi Krupka of Touro insisted on this point a week ago while he was attending an Israeli conference on sex abuse in the orthodox world.

      In fact it is entirely possible that the transfer of authority from Meisels was never completed, something that the IBD admitted to the CBD months after they claimed it happened. Supposedly they are now crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s. However it is possible they will play chicken with Touro, daring them to take responsibility for closing four seminaries. It is possible that the underlying agenda is making it possible for Meisels to get back in business after some appropriate noises about teshuva and therapy for “just a few hugs.”

      If the intent was to totally sever Meisels’ connection you would expect them to have fast-tracked the legalities. After all, delaying accreditation is hurting recruiting for the 2015 year. The recruitment season is in full swing and will close in about a month. It is bad business to let this issue be unresolved. OTOH if the agenda is a restoration, then delays may be a necessary cost of playing chicken with Touro and forcing them to accredit.

      • There can be no ambiguity about teshuva. Rabbi Cohen said publicly during the yomim nora’im that the only way someone like Meisels could do teshuva is if he approaches all of his victims, bows down on the floor and cries a puddle of tears. He would then need to beg for mechila while offering to pay for the victim’s therapy to date as well as any ongoing therapy. That, according to R Cohen, was the bare minimum.

        There are several victims who have suffered immensely and require ongoing therapy. And that’s just the beginning of their suffering. Some have had much more serious ramifications than just needing therapy. And none of it would have happened if it were “just a hug”.

          • Rabbi Zev Cohen said this (I have posted it before) openly and to the entire shul. Certainly, he said it before Maariv on Yom Kippur. He also spoke at least one other time, but memory fails. The shul was packed. His focus was on the definition of teshuva. He told a story about a phone call that he got ONLY DAYS BEFORE from a frum therapist whose client was a victim of abuse (non-Meisels). The abuser called the therapist to ask if the client (don’t ask how the abuser knew which therapist his victim was seeing) would benefit from him doing teshuva. The therapist then called Rabbi Cohen to get advice as to how to proceed. Rabbi Cohen responded that if the abuser needed to ask whether or not to beg mechila, then he didn’t really mean it in the first place, and the therapist should decline the offer.

            In the course of telling the story, Rabbi Cohen said that everyone was aware that he was involved with a case of abuse and that this story, and the definition of teshuva, would certainly apply to him (Meisels) as well.

        • Besides which, teshuva is between a person and hashem. On earth we are allowed to protect ourselves from probable risks even if the offender feels badly. Additionally, teshuva according to most versions includes behaviing in ways to minimize the risk of re-offending. If a Meisels were sincere, he would want to be out of the seminary business, a setting that clearly facilitates his sinning. But why are we discussing teshuva about a man participating in a campaign to deny he sinned and to humiliate his truthful accusers?

          • Because you brought it up 🙂

            “It is possible that the underlying agenda is making it possible for Meisels to get back in business after some appropriate noises about teshuva and therapy for “just a few hugs”.

        • Besides which, teshuva is between a person and hashem. On earth we are allowed to protect ourselves from probable risks even if the offender feels badly. Additionally, teshuva according to most versions includes behaviing in ways to minimize the risk of re-offending. If a Meisels were sincere, he would want to be out of the seminary business, a setting that clearly facilitates his sinning. But why are we discussing teshuva about a man participating in a campaign to deny he sinned and to humiliate his truthful accusers?

  11. There is an inherent contradiction in the “only a hug” position. It goes exactly against everything an orthodox student is taught in school and home. So, If a married, charedi can hug his students – why can’t teenagers do it? Charedi kids are socialized to consider hugs completely off limits. We are making exceptions for Bill Cosby Meisels?

    • Just to be clear, Eidensohn isn’t saying it is OK. He is just using the line to deny he is a serious sex assailant, just a one time halachic sinner. But this opens the way for eventually rehabilitating his reputation. Moreover it is a blatant attack on the Chicago Beis Din which reported he was a serial sex assailant. More details were spelled out in the Jewish Week story which describes just one of his students experiences with him. In attacking the Chicago Beis Din we are left with no account of his abuse and that fosters denialism. The shtick is, the accusers lie. “It was just a hug (perhaps with a girl who wanted/needed it.” The emails floating around by alumni speak of just a hug without dwelling on how bad it was. They also use this line to deny that many other staff knew about it.

    • That was the long answer. The short answer is that the students exist for the schools, not the schools for the students. The most important thing is to respect the authority of those on the top. We now have a version of daas torah where everyone important has to be protected from the reputation consequences of their actions. Normally, the Haredi system of cover-ups and censored media does the job. But when it fails, lies usually follow rather than admit to a double standard.

      • I think the fact that he is perfectly comfortable to remain in the Har Nof community without consequence speaks volumes about the double standard. Everyone – sans the CBD and those few brave souls who comment here with their real identity – is complicit.

  12. Eidensohn is a fraud and state of the art con artist and he should not even be paid attention to. He is a willing stooge and a grand faker.

    • For example, he keeps citing the joint beis din decision deeming the sems “safe” as proof (!) that Meisels didn’t do anything all that serious. The dishonesty over there reeks.

  13. Just wondering, reading the latest that another few Rabonim are saying they trust the latest psak from the joint beis din, then they add on they are asking people to send there in order to make a קידוש השם . Not that I am questioning their opinion, but it sounds like a disparate plea to get people to send there. Can someone enlighten me as their reason why they feel this way.
    I also am noticing a breakdown in eidensohn. He simply can’t handle the fact that Mr Lopin quoted him as the Only a hug rabbi. Even though he said it himself. He also admitted that he doesn’t listen to daas Torah in an answer to one of the posters that questioned him. I guess if you are ok with פלגש, a hug isn’t so bad.

      • This is a reference to the three-rabbi panel (Eichenstein, Hirsch and Weiss) originally appointed by the Moetzes semi-endorsed letter that was supposed to ensure that everything was OK in the the sems.

        Now, having said that, Eidensohn himself just released one of the filings pertaning to Jane Doe#1 and Jane Doe#2 who recently filed civil charges claiming that they were “sexually assaulted” while at the sems. I assume Yerachmiel will put up a new post, but now don’t be so quick to assume everyone will just send their daughters to a place where there was allegedly sexual assault taking place, and also where staff were made aware but did nothing. Standards for a civil suit are not the same as a criminal case.

        We had to endure those knuckle-draggers over the last couple of days with their “just a hug” narishkeit, and now it looks as if the truth is finally coming out. If they lied about “just a hug” chances are that everything else they say is a lie. The oilam isn’t that stupid. Don’t think that everyone will just send their daughters because of a letter from the three rabbonim, or because Eidensohn said so. People are going to carefully read anything they can to try to figure it out for themselves.

      • Another letter came out from an academy called yad aharon calling parents to send there.
        I would love to know who actually owns the schools and what price were they sold for.

    • My hunch is that rabbanim are going to push people to go to the seminaries because there are many jobs at stake. Many teachers could be related to those rabbanim (it’s a small Jewish world).

      • Stating the obvious here, but I think I need to throw up. I’m embarassed to be wearing a sheitel and a long skirt. People might get the wrong idea and think that I support these corrupt rabbonim. I’ll just have to keep opening my big mouth when confronted with the zombie frummies. Conversely, I could just lock my doors and become a hermit. I don’t know if I could stand another cow eyed charedi lady stare when discussing this topic.

          • Yes, Chicago is an wonderful community! We are blessed with fantastic Rabbonim and a warm, friendly community. Plus frum people are not brain-washed robots here.

        • Sheri, reading your comment a few days later, I have to say this deserves some kind of award. Your yiddishe neshomah won’t be denied, but ultimately speaks through your kishkes (“I think I need to throw up.”) Sadly, I think women are usually better than men in cutting through the rationalizations and saying, “genug shoyn!” — particularly when it comes to sexual abuse.

          • Thanks for the validation, but saying I deserve an award is an exaggeration. I’m a very simple, unimportant person making my silly little observations anonymously on a blog. There are precious few people in my “real life” with whom I can discuss my disgust at what Orthodox Judaism has become, or maybe always was. But, thanks for the compliment!

        • Sheri,
          you are sick at the thought of others believing that you support the corruption.
          There are those who might have considered being part of that charedi ???? group. but for same reasons that you write what you do. they have not signed on.
          . I am not being clear. I am not anti. just that what you write hits home. in ways that you could not have imagined.

          • Chashdan, I get what your saying. Might I remind you that there are options other than being charedi for a person who wants to be an Orthodox Jew. I’m talking about being Modern Orthodox, which is less restrictive. It seems to me MO people, as a group, are less likely to put up with rabbinical SA enablers or rabbinical corruption in general. Not saying this garbage doesn’t happen there too, but they’re less beholden to this idea that rabbis and mechanchos cannot be criticized. They believe in secular education and working for a living. Many MO people I know are quite learned in Torah as well. I thought I married an MO person, but he was “maalin bakodesh” (sarcasm). I encouraged him at the time in becoming more yeshivish because I thought that was the right thing. I was ignorant about the real underpinnings of the charedi/yeshivish community.

            • “I was ignorant about the real underpinnings of the charedi/yeshivish community.”

              Most of us were.

              “…more yeshivish because I thought that was the right thing.”

              We were the “good ones,” the thinking and sincere ones who were seeking spirituality, depth, meaning and trying to do the right thing. The rebellious, wild ones didn’t care about what was the right thing or not, they were too busy having fun. (Yes, I’m jealous. Yes, I want a “Do over.” Don’t we all?)

            • Seriously, you’re so right, it’s scary. Please don’t regret being a thinking person, even at the expense of having fun. If you weren’t, we wouldn’t have the pleasure of reading your insightful comments. Your comment also reminds me of an Israeli mechaneches who said, fun is an American concept. I like to pull out that line with my daughters when it gets too noisy. Even my frummest kid rolls her eyes at that one.

            • Thanks Sheri.

              “fun is an American concept.”

              Sounds like a major case of sour grapes to me, and a woman who never even had 10 seconds of good, wholesome fun. She probably wouldn’t recognize fun even if she tripped over it on her way back from her Tehillim club.

      • If the staff and teachers truly had yiras shamayim and bitachon, they would do the right thing and speak up and not be so worried about their jobs. Hashem provides. Why anyone would want to be associated with such a shameful place is beyond understanding.

      • Thanks. Eidensohn has fallen so low, that I can only conclude he has no life at all besides his web site. As soon as he see’s a threat to himself eg someone proving him wrong, it’s beyond his ability to accept it. He needs therapy in a big way. If he thinks free hugs in a seminary is no big deal, and that sexual assault isn’t a reason for a beis din to say it’s not safe, then he is a lost cause.
        My bet,,he will continue to attack YL simply because otherwise it undermines his whole being, knowing that somebody has been able to prove him wrong and catch him in his own words doing so.
        A message to eidensohn, the Gemara says, an arrogant person is despised even by his family. Maybe try to become a mensch and reframe from topics you have no idea about, including sexual abuse. You are doing more harm to the victims then anybody else.
        If you need to have some excitement , follow your brother’s advice and get a פילגש.

  14. And, right on cue, the Meisels defenders over there are saying that “rape” is never mentioned in the newly publicized filing. And one person already said that their names should be revealed if the accusers are lying. The low-lifes over there will never, ever stop. Their sick way of thinking and their lies must be exposed for all to see. Sunlight is the best cure for the “just a hug” chevra.

    • “And one person already said that their names should be revealed if the accusers are lying.” I do not believe that the accusers are lying, but if they are in fact lying, I fully agree that their names should be revealed, and assume that most readers of this blog would agree.

      • You have just entered the realm of victim/plaintiff-intimidation. Basically, you are saying, others can decide a plaintiff is lying and then use it as an excuse for revealing their identities. How’s about letting the legal system figure out if the claim is supported by the perponderance of evidence (which likely will include a great deal of text and email messages). Everybody who went there knows that M loved his messages. But your rishus is to try to prevent it from getting to trial. You lowlifes tried the same thing with TruthSeeker. It failed and it may fail again. We all expect a rashah like Meisels to do that. But if Eidensohn helps him he will be liable for violating the judges order. I hope he is ready for the legal fees and for sitting some time in a jail cell for defying a lawful order. Same for you, “Just Threatening.” Careful about what you advocate or do.

        You are barred from ever commenting again on this blog because you are advocating witness intimidation.

        • Thank you, Lopin.

          Do people honestly think that two girls would go through the trouble of hiring lawyers, paying lawyers, giving statements, filing for an order of protection, and risking their reputations if it was just a hug, or nothing as his defenders have been saying.

      • Unbelievable. How about framing it like this? If Meisels is guilty, he should be made to pay and then also face criminal charges and then rot in jail. No, instead you focus on the possibility that two of the accusers are lying.

        Look, everyone knows that the path of a frum accuser is difficult under any circumstances. Why would someone volunteer for such a thing? Yes, they are going after money, but it’s extremely difficult for so many reasons. And instead of focusing on Meisels’ alleged wrongdoing, you and many other evil people are focusing on ruining the reputation of the accusers, which is the very reason it’s difficult for them to come forward! Shame on you and on all of you focus on blaming the victims.

            • Duh! Bill Cosby Meisels chavrusah is being compensated financially. ”
              Hakesef Yaaneh Es Hakool.”

            • Eidensohn himself reported that Dovid Weinberger was residing in Har Nof back in July. If he’s still living there, maybe the two of them are shteiging away.

  15. Blot Torah Blog getting more egg on its face as the lawsuit filing papers are released alleging sexual assault, and he simply doubles down by calling the accusers liars while his sycophants advocate more witness intimidation. The rabble at that site are similar to the creeps from Satmar taking pictures of the accuser at the Weberman trial – Creeps that the judge likened to inner city gang-members due to their behavior. Do they have any self-awareness at all that their behavior is akin to a “Blood” or “Crip” gang member?

  16. A certain other blogger is moving to bigger and better things like quibbling about college rape statisitics to make the problem seem much smaller than it is. Notice a pattern?

    • Sorry, YL, I don’t mean to trivialize child sexual abuse, but I have to laugh at the introduction of a new metric, the “hug/rape” ratio.

      • OH my, Kevin, you are a riot, and the sad sad fact is, what you know.
        The pain/laughter quotient has gone out of whack……
        re new metrics.. omfg.

        • Thank you, “Chashdan,” but B”H, I don’t “know” — I have not been an abuse victim. I merely have respect for Torah/Judaism and a distaste for hypocrisy.

      • Yes, it could be seen as a “denial ratio.” And of course, the response to the “talmudists” seems easy enough — if hugs never lead to worse, why are they forbidden? And as we all should know by now, an unwanted hug is not only a violation of halakhah, but technically a civil tort-law assault. BTW, your reply was displayed twice, and I’ve seen this previously. Something is out of whack.

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