“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.
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 ruled “Elimelech 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.”
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.