Whitewashing the Meisels Seminaries and Their Principals

Elimelech Meisels Purim Punk Pninim Rabbi watermarked finDaniel Eidensohn indulged in another selective leak on April Fools Day to claim all is well in the seminaries. This is part of his continuing effort in partnership with Rabbi Chaim Malinowitz to undo the harm to the seminaries’ reputation from the earlier Chicago Special Beis Din (CBD) rulings that Elimelech Meisels sexually assaulted students at seminaries he owned, and worse, that other staff ignored open flirtation, obvious grooming, late night solo excursions with students, and even complaints by parents of sexual assaults.

The Special Beis Din of Chicago (CBD) made a mistake when they agreed to join an enlarged Beis Din (rabbinical court) together with the Israeli Beis Din and added on a seventh dayan (judge), Rabbi Eliyahu Brudny. They did it because the two Haredi rabbis in Chicago (Shmuel Feurst and Zev Cohen) were under pressure from five Agudath Israel of America members of the Moetzes (Council of Torah Sages). Led by Rabbi Avrohom Chaim Levin of Chicago the Moetzes rabbis(Aron Feldman, Yaakov Perlow, Aaron Schechter, and Malkiel Kotler) signed a letter rejecting the conclusions of the CBD instead insisting all was now well at those seminaries.

The enlarged beis din’s majority was guided by a Haredi “sixth Shulchan Aruch” that no scandal can ever be allowed to close up institutions that provides jobs to people from choshuv (important) families. Under this perversion of commonsense and halacha (Jewish law), the reputations and jobs of important families overrode the safety and well-being of students. The CBD was willing to have the seminaries fail unless they completely removed Meisel’s influence, fired Mrs. Ullman, and demoted or censured other staff. They got Touro College (and its subsidiary, Hebrew Theological College) to suspend accreditation until those goals were realized. But then they acquiesced to joining an enlarged (aka joint) beis din.

Saving the seminaries was hard because Meisels was not willing to surrender his ongoing financial interest unless he could get enough money. He could not get enough money unless the seminaries could credibly recruit students. That is hard if you admit all the seminary administrators were abuse enablers. Hence the need to whitewash. This led to the tortured joint psak which acknowledged some problems including abuse and staff shortcomings requiring remedial measures while denying the full extent of the staff enabling.

A while back, Daniel Eidensohn released a text of the psak (minus explanation notes and two dissents) in Hebrew and offered an overly-cheery summary which ignored the criticisms of some staff. I translated the psak and pointed out numerous problems including the fact that seminaries were still not out of Meisels’ control and staff were reprimanded and had their authority reduced, especially Hindy Ullman.

Agudath Israel Lay President Gedaliah Weinberger hosting NYC mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner after sexting scandal (Aug. 2013)

Agudath Israel Lay President Gedaliah Weinberger hosting NYC mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner after sexting scandal (aka Carlos Danger) (Aug. 2013)

Now we are again assured by Eidensohn that the seminaries are sold to Rabbi Gedaliah Weinberger “a prominent member of Agudas Yisroel.” For the record, he is “prominent” because he is wealthy, not because he has any educational credentials. He was Chair of Agudah’s lay board until 2013. He did Agudah’s dirty work of maintaining connections with mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner after an ugly sexting scandal, because Jews owed him “hakkaros hatov” (gratitude) and “the other candidates are not much better then him in terms of behaviors.” He sounds like is the perfect man to replace Elimelech Meisels.

Some of you may be wondering how a not-for-profit can be “sold.” The short answer is that there is no legal way to do it. The long answer is probably buried in complicated and devious pathways. For example, Yaakov Yarmush the purported owner of the Mesiels seminaries, is now suing Rabbi Shimon Kurland and Kurland’s Yeshiva, Darchei Bina for embezzling $700,000 from Yarmush’s corporation, Zap Cellular (Eastern District of US federal courts, CV15-0682, filed Feb 11, 2015).

How in the world did a yeshiva get so entangled with a cell phone company. The lawsuit by Yarmush/Zap Cellular alleges RICO violations. Eidensohn screamed “blood libel” when Yarmush, Meisels and Rabbi Gartner were sued by parents unable to get refunds after they withdrew their daughters per the psak of the CBD. One Jew’s heter arcaos (permission to sue a Jew in secular courts) is another man’s blood libel.

This transfer of financial control may or may not be true and may or may not be completed. We have been promised such transfers pending a bit of paperwork for nine months now, first to unnamed parties and then to Yaakov Yarmush, another businessman.

Rabbi Chaim Malinowitz

Rabbi Chaim Malinowitz

Eidensohn’s “leak” is once again, highly selective, and actually undermines his arguments. Remember, the dispute initially pitted 3 rabbis of the CBD against 3 rabbis of the IBD. Rabbi Gartner refused to join the dissent of the IBD leaving only Rabbis Shafran and Malinowitz. All we see of the two-rabbi dissent is that they don’t think any seminary staff are culpable, meaning five rabbis including Brudny felt there was some staff culpability. But then we have Malinowitz dissenting from his dissent partner, Shafran, and going solo to declare:

My opinion is that there is absolutely no reason to penalize or censure any head of any seminary. There was nothing that the heads saw that could have or should have raised a “red flag” to any reasonable person – there were perfectly rational, reasonable, logical explanations for what is seen now – only in retrospect – as “questionable behavior.”

So we now know that 6 out of seven dayanim thought there were red flags. In my opinion the administrators should be in trouble for either willfully ignoring the red flags, or being too color blind or stupid to notice them.

Hindy Ullman

Hindy Ullman

Malinowitz is apparently a minority of one in claiming “Objective witnesses testified that the actions of M. were not a topic of conversation amongst the girls.” This is a ridiculous claim. Unless someone was operating a Stasi-style bugging operation there is no way anyone can say it was not a topic of discussion. All anyone can say is that they didn’t hear it come up. So either a witness was guessing rather than testifying and the beis din allowed it or Malinowitz is indulging in very sloppy inference in his desperation to deny red flags. He is not telling us about other witnesses.

The truth is that the majority of the beis din accepted staff claims of innocence in preference to testimony they heard including allegations from several alumni of both obvious red flags and staff who were directly advised of Meisels’ misconduct. This was not the opinion of the Chicago rabbis but having made the mistake of giving into pressure and joining the joint beis din they had to sign the ruling. That is how battei din work. They  beis din majority made a decision to treat the staff like American criminal defendants who could only be convicted with proof beyond a reasonable doubt (though that is not the standard for retaining a jobs). They also let several staff off the hook because they did see red flags but consulted with their daas torah rabbis who advised them to ignore it and not make a fuss. In other words a flag is not red if  daas torah bleaches it white. Like cash bribes, the shochad of Agudah pressure, color blinds the eyes of judges.

Once again we see why Agudah is the most useless place in the world to go with sex abuse problems. Their rabbonim advise ignoring abuse. Their peers than feel obliged to validate the ruling. Let any Haredi rabbis get proactive and the heavy hitters of Agudah go after them. The Chicago Beis Din created a window of hope that sometimes Haredi rabbis could deal internally with sex abuse. The joint beis din dashed that hope. This scandal may save the money of the Tress-Meisels family and the jobs of some people in choshuv families. But it is the death knell of Agudah’s claim that its rabbis can be trusted to confront sex abuse.

PS- The seminaries are still not accredited by Touro College. Supposedly they are accredited by Excelsior but it is not clear how much it will cost or whether their credits will be accepted by Touro or other desirable institutions. A civil charge is pending in US courts accusing Meisels of rape and attempted rape.

Consumer Tip: caveat emptor with Eidensohn posts. Look at actual documents and consider what is being excluded.

Zap Cellular aka Yarmish against Kurland

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74 thoughts on “Whitewashing the Meisels Seminaries and Their Principals

  1. Thank you for this update. The only thing you have not addressed is the lack of publicized documents from the dissents of the CBD rabbanim or other dissenting rabbanim of the JBD. The radio silence coming from the CBD is now deafening and disheartening. All any victims – past, present and future – learn from this episode is that even the most trustworthy Rabbanim who start out with the best of intentions, will succumb to “shochad” in the form of pressure from other, politically stronger Rabbanim with agendas outside of halachah, and will corrupt halachic justice, whether willingly or by coercion.

    The halachic process of beis din, of Torah, is raped alongside victims of sexual abuse, and rabbanim not only willingly covered it all up, but they are actively engaged in it’s violation while they remain silent. Better the rabbanim would be honest with us and tell us that Torah and halachah cannot provide justice for sexual abuse cases while we are in galus, than their continued charade of running a “Special Beis Din” which supposedly adjudicates such matters. The CBD can be admired for their sincere efforts, but once they are met with abject failure to succeed in their said capacity, it is their responsibility to be honest with the Klal who they claim to work for.

    It is not surprising that halacha could not prevail over political power, prestige and money; such forces prevail in secular court systems the world over. However, secular court systems do not claim to be Hashem’s will, Toras Emes, or Halachic rulings which need to be followed in order to not be in violation of Torah. The Rabbanim of the CBD need to make an honest evaluation of their continued support for a system which corrupted justice in such an extreme way with such a shocking and tragic episode. Better to admit that the Halachic process of Beis Din is impotent while we are waiting for Mashiach, than to continue to represent and thereby promote the Halachic process of Beis Din while it emotionally violates already violated victims, as well as the trust of the Klal, and creates ever more Chillul Hashem.

  2. A little investigating will uncover some interesting connections.
    The picture of Malinowitz is at a Kupa Shel Tzedaka event. The Kupa chairman is..Eidensohn’s nephew (whom, btw, also runs a school with Malinowitz).
    Malinowitz’s son works for and with one of those under scrutiny (a seminary employee) in the Meiselman scandal.
    Malinowitz and Eisensohn should both recuse themselves from comment and especially psak in this case.

    • Yes, Malinowitz and Eidensohn’s nephew are the two most important political figures in Haredi Bet Shemesh. They partner on all sorts of projects including schools, and are now talking about a haredi initiative on sex abuse to undercut Magen which does support reporting sex crimes to the police.

    • Are you implying that because R’ “Malinowitz’s son works for and with one of those” who are explicitly cleared from scrutiny by the JBD — in a two week summer day camp for elementary aged boys — R’ Malinowitz ‘nefariously’ found nothing wrong with the seminaries?

        • Rabbi Malinowit’s son works for and with Rabbi Simon in a two week day camp for pre -teen boys. Rabbi Simon is now the principal of Pninim, which is excluded from scrutiny in the JBD psak. Even if you disagree with that part of the JBD psak, it is ridiculous to base innuendo against Rabbi Malinowitz on the tenuous connection of his son in a two week day camp. In Yerushalayim and its environs you can find many connections in the anglo-frum community. So what?
          BTW R’ Malinowitz’s dissent is from the joint psak which finds a need to sanction one of the staff members. After a very long hebrew explanation by R’ Shafran why he finds no need to sanction the person in question — or anyone else — R’ Malinowitz, who in his signature to the main psak [which you posted} writes that he agrees with every word written by R’ Shafran, adds an English summary of what was written in Hebrew by Rav Shafran — it was unquestionably not a dissent.
          And don’t ask me to post anything I might have. I am not a blogger. If you feel it should be posted, why don’t you ask your Chicago friends to give you the dissent. They definitely have it. While you are at it, ask them for their dissent. You might be very surprised.

          • You make all sorts of assumptions with no proof. You write: ” After a very long hebrew explanation by R’ Shafran why he finds no need to sanction the person in question — or anyone else — R’ Malinowitz, who in his signature to the main psak [which you posted} writes that he agrees with every word written by R’ Shafran, adds an English summary of what was written in Hebrew by Rav Shafran — it was unquestionably not a dissent.”

            If it was not a dissent from a dissent, why didn’t Malinowitz get Shafran to sign. Shafran grew up in the US and one of his boyhood school chavrusahs assures me his English is more than adequate for reading the English and signing.

            The answer is simple, unless you can prove otherwise, we can only go with what our eyes see, that Malinowitz and Shafran disagree about this. Moreover, why is Gartner not part of the dissent? Apparently he too is disgusted by the conduct of Ullman and Kahane.

            • I think you are being disingenuous. The whole purpose of a joint beis din was to find some way to get back accreditation for the seminaries. Otherwise, the IBD was ready to clear the seminaries in accordance with the takonos they implemented. The architecht of the joint beit din was Rabbi Gartner. Rabbi Shafran made it clear that only a perversion of halachah allows censure of that staff member (the acrimony to which you refer in an earlier post). Rabbi Gartner made sure that the IBD would allow a vague censure on which everyone could sign. Then CBD dissented with a stronger censure OF ONE PERSON, and the remainder of the IBD dissented on that vague censure, but accepted it as necessary in the real world. You didn’t read the nineteen pages before R’ Malinowitz’s signature. There was nothing substantive added by R’ Malinowitz.
              If you want to go with what your eyes see, why does R’ Malinowitz write in his signature to the main ” דעתי במלא המובן כהרר שפרן ואני גם כן כדעת המיעוט והנני חותם בהצטרפות לדעת הרוב “להלכה ולמעשה I’ll allow you to translate that. That’s explicit enough to obviate any need for pilpul about dissent from dissent.

              You go with what your eyes see, but don’t force what you see to meet your agenda. This includes R’ Kahane, of whom the JBD writes [and you posted]”ויותר אין להרהר ולפקפק חס ושלום בחזקת כשרותו וצדקתו לחנך בנות ישראל לתורה ולתעודה ” This was bolded in the original and signed by all seven dayanim — and I tell you from what I have indeed seen with my own eyes there is no dissent on that point. If you choose to dissent, then the burden of proof is on you to show proof that people can see with their own eyes that there is any dissent on that point. Even with what is available to the public it is clear that R’ Gartner — at least – is not disgusted by R’ Kahane’s abilities to educat e seminary girls.

          • Rabbi Malinowitz’s son has worked with Rabbi Simon much more closely than a “two week day camp”.
            Both were faculty members together for quite some time at a Jerusalem yeshiva for troubled youth.

  3. Anyone with half a brain knows that there were some serious problems at the seminaries. Some of us have even seen the text messages and emails. Others have heard about the stories of Meisels’ famous late-night drives. None of this has been rebutted, except for a few idiots who close their eyes to all of this evidence and still call it “just a hug”. But even the “just a hug” group admits that Meisels doesn’t belong in chinuch.

    After that point, there’s room to speculate. It’s nearly impossible to prove that the staff knew or didn’t know, although from what I’ve read, the staff appear to be guilty. And that’s where blogs perform a valuable service. One can see the writing and evidence presented by both sides. We all judge for ourselves. From my point of view, I have noticed that the morons over Eidensohn’s place routinely call people “ignorant” and “unable or unwilling to read Hebrew” or, in the case of TruthSeeker, that she has a “significant learning disability.”

    To me, this style of defense basically belies the horrible weakness of their underlying position. They keep telling people to refer to the JBD statement, where the CBD was outvoted. Again, anyone with half a brain can call members of the CBD to determine their personal opinions.

    It is rare to see such a strident defense of the indefensible. As long as one possesses a brain (or half thereof) and some semi-functional eyeballs, the facts of this case are clear. People will decide on that basis.

    As a side point, someone noted on Eidensohn’s blog that the Touro hadn’t reinstated the sems, and Eidensohn mentioned that it was merely a matter of time. That was more than a month ago. Yet another proof that Eidensohn and his two or three cohorts are the Baghdad Bobs of this story. Emes always has a way of emerging.

    • Eidensohn chose not to translate the psak so as not to reveal its absurd inconsistencies. But I did translate it so Hebrew is not relevant to being able to know what the psak says. If Eidensohn thinks my translation is wrong let him say so and point out where and how I am wrong. But he is a bully and faker, because he knows perfectly well my translation is excellent. So he ignores it and goes on saying, “Hebrew reading..” etc. Shame on that bully/faker.

    • Triangle, sorry to be nitpicky, but it is not rare to see such a strident defense of the indefensible. It’s as common as dirt. As for the facts of this case being clear and people deciding on that basis, all I can say is: “Eynayim lahem vilo yiru, oznayim lahem vilo yishmah-u…”

  4. As I’ve said before, I’m afraid all this was predictable. And to a large extent, Yerachmiel and others on this blog predicted it.

    In my book (and in a previous book called Tempest in the Temple), I discuss a similar dynamic in the appalling case of Solomon (Shlomo) Hafner. In that instance, Rabbi Dovid Cohen (no hero of mine) properly advised the alleged victim’s parents to go to the police; they did, and the police took the case seriously. Once Hafner was arrested, however, Cohen was pressured to accept the authority of a 5-member ad hoc beth din, headed by David Feinstein, which then proceeded to issue a thorough whitewash — which, in the end, Cohen accepted, telling the alleged victim’s family it was time to back down because “they have a lot more political clout than we do.” A line that might serve as the epigraph to this story as well.

    And in the end, I don’t think it matters very much whether individual rabbis on such a panel are saddled with personal conflicts of interest or are otherwise biased. The main problems that face us are endemic to the beth din system and will likely mar ANY beth din proceeding that addresses alleged abuse by a rabbi or other powerful Orthodox community figure. Let anyone who doubts that study the sophistical apologetics now issuing from the likes of Daniel Eidensohn and being lapped up by all the usual suspects.

    Still, I don’t want to conclude that this case has meant nothing. I think it tells an important cautionary tale, much as the sobering example of Thomas Drake inspired Edward Snowden not to trust “insiders” to curb abuses in the national surveillance state, but to move directly to public media instead.

    We must learn the same lesson. If we want to keep our bodies, our children, our dignity, and our religion reasonably intact, we must NOT trust rabbis to protect us. We must NOT turn to batei din, nor to any other Orthodox institution, with an appeal for help. We must NOT expect any of these bodies even to care about — well, about any of the above. Power, as Frederick Douglass said, yields nothing without demand, and these institutions will begin to function justly, if they ever do, only when they are forced to do it.

    How are we supposed to gin up such a revolution? That’s no small question, and I don’t mean to minimize the difficulties. But I do think the key word is “revolution.” When we realize that we are demanding fundamental change, not the shifting of the tumblers inside the existing power system, not a handful of reforms, I think we’ll have taken the first step.

    Forgive me for pontificating. And forgive me, especially, those of you who have put your heads above the parapet and have paid a price for it. I know I have no right to be preaching at you. I admit to being a bit out of control at the moment, given this latest shameful, spineless cover-up — especially when it comes just at the season that, for traditional Jews, is supposed to symbolize a revolutionary and uncompromising legacy of spiritual freedom. I wish I could experience it like that. This year the ritual salt water (representing the tears of the suffering) and the bitter herbs (symbolizing oppression) had far more practical significance for me than I would ever have wished. Believe me, when it comes to the commemoration of the drowning of those bloodthirsty pursuers in the Sea of Reeds, my imagination will not lack for modern opportunities for such justice…

    Oh, all right — a bit much, perhaps? In truth I don’t believe in vengeance and I don’t wish death on anyone. But I won’t erase what I have written. In a state such as ours, isn’t the absence of anger, of fury, a failure of decency?

    • Michael,
      I agree with just about everything you write. But, I do believe in vengeance,
      when it is appropriate. (I am not proud of that need of mine). The pedophiles who get off with no sentence, with sweetheart deals, yeah, vengeance (oy, i hate to fantasize over mendel epstein’s methods). Re those rabbanim the CBD, who so strongly disappointed so many of us, (what else is left). just reinforces the futility of going to Rabbanim, but can the Sheeple accept that? Go to the police. not the corrupted B”D. All varieties of orthodox (almost) are not able to let go the belief that the B”D is the correct place to go to obtain Tsedek, What a f farce.
      And the abusers go on, with sweetheart deals, if brought to court, and otherwise, with gornisht. They are rewarded by the lack of punishment and rewarded to know that they can continue their abuses, with no fear ever of retribution.
      And worst case, 50 chashuvim amongst the most “chashuvim” afilu those who fight kivyachol abuse in the community will write letters to the judge asking for leniency because the alleged pedophile once smiled at a particular child, and didn’t touch them…
      I frankly cannot bear to go on reading the same story over and over.

      • To tell the truth, I can’t bear it either. But let’s face it — this will not be a quick battle. If we want to fight it, we need to be in for the long haul.

        In any case, I applaud you for refusing to choose the most vulgar of options — just looking on and doing nothing.

        • Michael, my moderate charedi friends tell me that’s all I can do- look on and do nothing. They say, Sheri, you have no money, no influence, you must protect your family, you have daughters to marry off. We all know the system is corrupt, but you can’t fight city hall. How do you think a little person like me can choose anything other than the most vulgar of options?

          • Sheri, I’m honored that you’ve addressed such a question to me. At the same time, I don’t feel comfortable responding to you on a personal level on this blog – it’s like giving advice in an auditorium. Also, I can’t help wondering if I should be the one to answer you. If I distrust the pontificating side of myself, why should someone like you listen to me in the first place?

            On the other hand, since you did post a serious question for me here, and since by now other people have read it (many, I suspect, in silent sympathy), it would be discourteous not to give you some kind of answer – noting from the start that my own paltry record of activism hardly justifies me in giving advice to anyone.

            First, let me address those “moderate charedi friends” of yours. Since I don’t know them, I’m aiming my words over their heads at an imaginary target, but no matter – let the words fall where they’re deserved; I make no apologies. Here’s what I have to say about THEM:

            They don’t believe in God. They don’t believe in Judaism. And they don’t believe in you.

            They don’t believe in God, because if they had a God they couldn’t imagine that you (or anyone) would ever be alone as an advocate for the victimized. If they had a God they would be ashamed to confess to that God, along with you, that they don’t believe in doing what they know is right. If they had a God, they would worry more for the moral dangers your children would face if raised to be criminal accomplices than about the public prestige of their future marriage partners. If they had a God, they’d tremble to think what God thinks about their silence – not about what God might think of your lack of it.

            They don’t believe in Judaism, because if they did they would have taken to heart, long ago, the Talmud’s warning that those who fail to object to wrongdoing must bear responsibility for it. If they believed in Judaism, they would know the Talmudic parable about a man who drills a hole under his seat in a crowded boat; there’s no such thing as “keeping to oneself” when other people’s actions can sink us all. If they believed in Judaism, they would remember, in the words of Isaiah, God’s contempt for all ritual piety performed with unclean hands: “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean…seek justice,/correct oppression;/defend the fatherless,/plead for the widow.” The course they advocate would, according to traditional Jewish sources, earn them (and you) only disgust from the Almighty.

            And they don’t believe in you. If they really were your friends they wouldn’t prefer to see you hide under a rug or melt into a crowd. Is that where friends want to find a friend? Does a host lead someone he values to a seat out of sight of the others? For that matter, if they really think invisible is your most attractive color, what do they like about you in the first place? Forget about friendship – what about basic respect? Even the Talmud, not exactly a libertarian document, reminds us that King David was punished for taking a census because human beings should never be reduced to mere numbers: each individual is unique.

            Yes, I know what your acquaintances will say: that in counseling anonymity they’re only looking out for your welfare. And if you ran the risk of being targeted by a death squad, let’s say, or losing your only source of income, I’d concede that they had a point. But I don’t gather from your message that they’re worried about your safety; what they are saying, however much they may sugar-coat the message, is essentially that YOU DON’T COUNT. Without money, without “influence,” your thoughts and opinions just aren’t important enough to articulate in a society that calls itself religious – that’s the message. And frankly I find it insulting, both to you and to the society they claim to care so much about. I suppose it’s not meant to be. (Again, I’m criticizing imaginary people now, not real ones, so I may be freer with my judgments than particular individuals actually deserve.) But I mean what I say, and though I prefer to say it quietly, I want the implications to be felt.

            Now I’ll turn to you and to your question. I admit I don’t have too much to say – partly because of the constraints I mentioned at first and partly because of the hour (time and holiday cooking wait for no man) – but let me suggest a few things you may find it helpful to think about, assuming you choose, or have already chosen, some kind of action over inaction.

            First, awareness is itself an action. Or, if not exactly that, it is the soil from which actions inevitably grow. Looking at suffering with understanding is worlds apart from gazing on in bovine indifference, even when – especially when – circumstances prevent you from intervening. If you’re moved by what you see, if you internalize the effects of empathy, anger, grief over whatever needless pain you find around you, you’re certain to be changed, and a changed person acts differently in all she does.

            Second, like the man says, if you can’t build a house, lay a brick. You may have more opportunities for action than you realize. Revolutions aren’t accomplished only by the protesters who march over a bridge or chain themselves to a wall. And there are ears that will hear you, whether or not you choose a public forum. In such matters no action is small. For instance: if you can influence your children to grow up without hate, without paranoia, without chauvinism, you’re lighting a few more lanterns that, in turn, are bound to kindle others. If you can help your friends see what you see, that too will add to the light… and don’t forget, where there’s enough light, darkness will crumble away.

            There are also collective actions. Where a signature is needed, each of us can provide one; when it takes money to fight, we can all contribute. At present there is, alas, very little to join in the way of a real, organized movement for change within the Orthodox community. But there’s no reason to assume that will always be true; new voices emerge all the time, and some of them may prove to have staying power.

            But I think the single most important thing – and please forgive me if this sounds like a quibble – is not to characterize yourself as “a little person.” Okay? I don’t know you, except for your postings on this blog, but those alone are sufficient to dispel any such disparagement. You wouldn’t be asking what you’ve asked, or writing what you’ve written, if you didn’t have a soul hungry for the kind of sustenance a truly “little” person never seeks because he doesn’t know what it means to need it. That you do need it is a measure of your worth – and of your latent power. So please don’t tell yourself tales of insignificance. Ignore my advice if you choose (of course), but here’s an unsolicited morsel: if you keep hunting out more of the right kind of nourishment, taking it wherever it grows, I believe – okay, here I can’t help preaching a bit, but I do believe it – you will find what you’re looking for. And when you’ve found enough of it – well, I’m no prophet, but I kind of think Popeye and his can of spinach will have nothing on you.

  5. Eidensohn, nebich, can only respond to substance with insults. This is his response to my post:

    http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2015/04/more-of-lopins-lies-and-distortions.html

    Yerachmiel Lopin’s flights of fantasy and outright lies are getting worse. Having pinned his hopes on the CBD to destroy the seminaries and the IBD – he has been had a tough time of it since the CBD joined the IBD and issued a joint psak that was similar to what the IBD has been saying all along. Due to the odious task of having to read through Lopin’s posting, I am going to start this post and add more material to it later.

    Lopin’s lies: “…Daniel Eidensohn’s Daas Torah Blog, which has always been the voice of Meisels and guilty seminary staff as argued by Rabbi Chaim Malinowitz. Their agenda has always been to minimize acknowledging Meisels’ sexual abuse (even though he faces civil court charges of rape and attempted rape by two of his alumni).”

    Lopin’s strategy has always been to present conjecture with wildly exaggerated claims presented as facts. I have simply stated that evidence is needed before accepting allegations as true. Contrary to Lopin, conjecture is not the same as evidence. Lopin seems to believe that insisting on evidence is to “minimize acknowledging Meisels sexual abuse” and is therefore wrong. What has become clear to mostly everyone except for Lopin and his peanut gallery – the case does not involve the rape of 40 girls, nor does it involved the coverup of sexual abuse by the staff nor is there any evidence to support the absurd RICO claims that the seminaries were consituted as houses of prostitution for Meisels pleasure and to defraud the parents. What is clear is that Meisles is unfit to be in chinuch and he has been removed. Lopin is not a prophet and his visions and his reckless allegations are not the same as truth. Lopin’s filthy claims and attempt to paint me as a supporter of Meisles should be beneath reponse – but there seem to be some naive people who forget that guilt is established by evidence not by the rantings of demagogues.

    Lopin’s lies:”The enlarged beis din’s majority was guided by a Haredi “sixth Shulchan Aruch” that no scandal can ever be allowed to close up institutions that provides jobs to people from choshuv (important) families. Under this perversion of commonsense and halacha (Jewish law), the reputations and jobs of important families overrode the safety and well-being of students….”

    There is no such rule. Rav Sternbuch told me explicity that the concern for viablity of a yeshiva never takes precedent over the welfare of a child. There was never a time that the IBD or the CBD felt it was permissible to endanger a student for the sake of the existence of the seminaries. Here is a clear example of Lopin making up a lie rather than accept the fact that the seminaries are in fact not a danger to their students.

    Lopin’s lies: “How in the world did a yeshiva get so entangled with a cell phone company. The lawsuit by Yarmish/Zap Cellular alleges RICO violations. Eidensohn screamed “blood libel” when Yarmish, Meisels and Rabbi Gartner were sued by parents unable to get refunds after they withdrew their daughters per the psak of the CBD. One Jew’s heter arcaos (permission to sue a Jew in secular courts) is another man’s blood libel.”

    Lopin is lying when he indicates that I am against RICO suits. If Lopin bothered reading what I wrote I objected to the RICO suit which alleged a conspiracy of Meisels creating the seminaries solely as houses of prostituion for his pleasure and to defraud parents. Such a claim is not only absurd, it is a tremendous slander for all the girls who have attended the seminaries as well as the staff. It is an incredible chilul hashem. That criticism has absolutely nothing to do with the appropriateness of RICO suites in general. Lopin cares nothing for the colleratl damage he causes as long as he can slander chareidim.

    Lopin’s lies: “Yes, Malinowitz and Eidensohn’s nephew are the two most important political figures in Haredi Bet Shemesh. They partner on all sorts of projects including schools, and are now talking about a haredi initiative on sex abuse to undercut Magen which does support reporting sex crimes to the police.”

    My nephew is not “now talking about a hareid initiative on sex abuse ot undercut Magen” which does support reporting sex crimes to the police.”. His program is not undercutting Magen as can be seen from my recent post of the matter which includes a letter from one of Magen’s staff. Furthermore my nephew’s program in fact works with the police and reports sex crimes to the police. Not all parents want to go to the police and that is true of Magen’s clients also. Lopin tries to create hatred and divisiveness rather than taking the trouble of understanding the facts.

    [to be continued]

    • Congratulations — your account of the facts must have stung.

      Nor does what I’m reading here, so far at least, amount to a refutation. Apart from some hairsplitting about the motives behind his nephew’s proposal, Eidensohn avoids rebutting any of the factual claims contained in your post, and despite some hysterical gesturing in the direction of your translation of the beth din ruling, has not cited any errors there either. Maybe he will — but it seems more likely that he would have opened his attack with a recital of significant inaccuracies, had he found any.

      • Apparently the thing that really got to Eidensohn was my lines:

        ”The enlarged beis din’s majority was guided by a Haredi “sixth Shulchan Aruch” that no scandal can ever be allowed to close up institutions that provides jobs to people from choshuv (important) families. Under this perversion of commonsense and halacha (Jewish law), the reputations and jobs of important families overrode the safety and well-being of students….”

        His lame defense was that one rabbi once stated in principle that there were no barriers to shutting down a school. Whoopee doo. I can find all sorts of people saying the right thing. Agudah swears up and down it wants to stop sex abuse. In reality, when the rubber hits the road they are not willing to pay the price.

        • IOW, when the rubber hits the road, the rubber stamp hits the paper …. Excuse an old joke: a traveler spent the night in what he thought was a good hotel, but awoke with bedbug bites. When he returned home, he wrote a letter of complaint to the hotel management, and received what appeared to be a sincere apology. However, together with the letter, the manager’s secretary inadvertently enclosed his memo: “Send this SOB the bug letter.”

        • Yes — I really love the logic that runs, “They couldn’t have done that because once a great rabbi told me it shouldn’t be done.” Ergo, no rabbi ever lied, no rabbi ever stole, no rabbi ever abused a child, no rabbi ever slandered anyone who told the truth…and so on. How simple is a world defined by propaganda!

          On another occasion Eidensohn has quoted the same Rabbi Sternbuch as saying that child sex abuse should not be reported to police until a rabbi is consulted; nor should it be reported at all if the abuse only “took place once and will not be repeated.” So, according to his source, rabbis are clairvoyant (they know when an abuser will or won’t repeat an offense) and are empowered to defy reporting statutes at will. Eidensohn’s reassurance, then, boils down to a promise that scofflaw rabbis who believe themselves omniscient MAY choose to close down a school over a sex abuse allegation when the spirit so moves them — though, of course, we never really know whether to believe a victim, and an outstanding rabbi shouldn’t be deprived of a livelihood, and certainly an established yeshiva or seminary should never have to close its doors, etc., etc…. But in the real world it’s not hard to predict what rabbis unconstrained by the law or by the limits of human knowledge will actually do in such cases, given their inveterate priorities and the huge imbalance of power between the victims and the institutions they challenge. And of course Eidensohn knows that as well as we do. Hence the spiteful style of his response.

    • Eidensohn’s nephew’s program has not been around for a long time.
      It “appeared” magically after David Morris started Magen with the sole intent of undermining Morris.
      Unlike Daniel Eidensohn, I have lived in RBS for quite a long time and have seen up close (including as a parent of a former student in his school) how his nephew is always trying to rid his “competition”, whether in politics, tzedaka, education or child abuse.
      He is an egomaniac who uses his “projects” to further himself.

    • That is eidensohn’s MO. Here is his typical way of answering criticism. From his website,
      righteous • an hour ago
      Boy are you guys being revealed for what you are.
      Rabbi E defends the IBD in the seminary case and says all is good and the rapes have ended. He doesn’t ask for justice, just that his relative in the IBD is listened to. He doesn’t care for the girls. He fights Touro for not allowing FAFSA but he lets the rapist walk.
      Here he doesn’t care if any bais din let them do what they did, the bais din is wrong and these guys are going to pay for helping these people. He brings proof from personal offenses to “do gooders” .
      You’ve been revealed Rabbi E. This is just a personal vendetta for you.
      • Reply•Share ›

      Daas Torah Mod righteous • 43 minutes ago
      @righteous – you not only make up the facts you are clearly a sick individual. This is your last comment on this blog.

      He simply can’t bare that other people have another opinion. Whether if it’s halacha,hashkafa, he is always right and if you argue, you must be a sick individual.
      Instead of helping the situation, he exacerbates them. He encourages men to hold back giiten,reveals confidential information and emails,bullies people and when he can”t defend himself, he simply bans the poster.

      • Sam,
        I don’t think R’ Eidensohn has ever encouraged a man to withhold a Get !
        That is just plain wrong, and unfair on R’ Eidensohn.

        It is true that R’ Eidensohn strongly contests putting pressure on a husband to give a Get. He instead advocates persuading the husband.

        Preventing pressure on a husband is in no way equivalent to encouraging a husband not to give a Get.

        You owe R’ Eidensohn an apology on this one point (but not necessarily your other points, which may or may not be accurate).

        • You are wrong .eidensohn and his brother have encouraged and advised many times on his blog that the husband shouldn’t give a get. His site are full of comments saying ,let the girl suffer and not remarry while the husband should get a heter meah. His brother went so far to say he would pasul the get weiss gave to dodelson, which of course he didn’t.
          Here is another great comment from his chasiddim about the epstein trial,
          “zbeng • 13 hours ago
          What Mengele did to the left, Mendele does to the right. He is not a bad guy, actually he is a good guy, since he prefers chasidishe schita. bechol mokom sheata poneh, tihye liyemin. These techniques he learned from other shechters while polishing their weapons in front of him.”
          So comparing Epstein to mengele is OK in his blog, but to question if epstein deserves 25 years in jail is not.
          Look how he attacks Lopin for having a different understanding in this case. He has attacked him numerous times for no reason other that Lopin disagrees with him. He diagnoses him as if he knows him, but we know that he doesn’t.
          Instead of encouraging people who aren’t living together to move on in life ,he encourages them to fight on.
          Just look at the weiss dodelson case. i have no idea who was right, but by prolonging the get,clearly the boy and his family lost out. Did he take that into account, or does he just ban anybody that talks sensibly and calls them sick. He clearly has an agenda, and it seems that he actually enjoys hurting people. He thinks he knows halacha , but his mistakes are just to numerous to mention yet he is willing to bashmutz many of our poskim and gedolim on the basis of his understanding even though he doesn’t come to the toenails of the people he is against.
          So to answer your question, I owe him no apology.

          • Sam,

            In my opinion, R’ Eidensohn’s behaviour has been sickening concerning the Meisel’s Sem scandal.
            Truly sickening.

            But previously, he has a fair record and done some really, really good work.

            I don’t think he has ever encouraged Get refusal once himself !
            And the comments he allows on his blog certainly do not normally advocate Get refusal (one of two nutty comments may have slipped through the tens of thousands of comments on his blog).

            If I am wrong, I apologise.
            But if I am right, then you do owe R’ Eidensohn an apology, even if some of his other current behaviour deserves strong censure and in my opinion is abhorrent.

            • In theory he recognizes possibility of men who are awful and that wives can and should seek to divorce such men and rabbinical courts should order such men to give divorces. In practice he questions the halachic validity of most such orders and condemns most such instances of court pressure as improper and thus voiding the validity of a get. As a practical matter, he invariably takes the side of get refusers. Even when he admits the husband is awful he still contends that economic pressures or public shaming voids the get by making it a coerced get. One can’t get away from the feeling that there are deep misogynistic roots to his halachic pronouncements on divorce.

            • Yerachmiel,

              With respect to your comment below:

              he questions the halachic validity of most such orders and condemns most such instances of court pressure as improper
              This is a fair Halachic point of view, and amongst charedi poskim is probably actually the current majority point of view. So there is nothing shameful whatsoever in that accusation – it is just a statement of Halachah.

              he still contends that economic pressures or public shaming voids the get by making it a coerced get
              As stated above, if this is the Halachic reality, then he cannot be blamed for the state of Halachah – your accusation is then seriously misplaced.

              No-one should ever be shot for being the messenger, and your attack below mainly focuses on his being the messenger for current Halachah.
              Please remember we are discussing purely his siding against forced Gets, not about his other current behaviour (which I have already stated in my opinion is abhorrent).
              I normally very strongly agree with you, but on this point find myself strongly at variance.
              Could you reconsider ?

            • No, there is a broad range of disagreement about what pressures are proper and what constitutes a get meusa which is invalid. The fact is that the RCA prenuptial was endorsed by R. Herschel Shachter, R. Ovadiah Yosef, R. Zalman Nechemiah Golberg and R. Osher Weiss. However, Eidensohn declares gets induced by the prenup to be coerced and invalid. Eidensohn is not in the mainstream of halacha, he is on an extreme edge. The only consistent aspect is that he always favors husbands who refuse to give a get over women who want one. Halacha recognizes that when a wife is disgusted by her husband (“ma-oos alei) the husband is obliged to give a get. Eidensohn, faced with a real case invariably insists women are frivolously asserting such claims. Instead he insists on invariably declaring almost all women in the category of “moredes” (defiant, improper refusers of marital relations). I have never seen him approach a real case with any analysis other than that. Yet many major halachic authorities regularly rule in actual cases that the husband is obliged to give a get. This classification matters because the grounds for divorce affect the amount of pressure a beit din can apply to “persuade” a husband to give a get.

            • Finally there is the question of mamzerut. Some poskim worry that if men don’t deliver a get the woman will nevertheless sin and the children will be mazerim. Hence they support facilitating the delivery of a get once a marriage breaks down. Others only focus on the the most stringent standard for removing eveery last scintilla of suspicion of any kind of coercion. Most fall somewhere inbetween.

              Eidensohn’s position is not the only halachic position. In fact it is at the very extreme end, even among quite stringent haredi poskim.

            • Yerachmiel,
              You said: The fact is that the RCA prenuptial was endorsed by R. Herschel Shachter, R. Ovadiah Yosef, R. Zalman Nechemiah Golberg and R. Osher Weiss.

              I think we are arguing over my statement that the current majority point of view of charedi poskim on Get Meusa is as R’ Eidensohn holds.

              Your quoting the four poskim above doesn’t help, as i) quoting four poskim who hold leniently does not prove that the majority do not hold stringently, and ii) any person’s definition of the group of charedi poskim probably differs from any other person’s – so counting a majority of poskim from a group with shifting members is impossible.

              You obviously hold that the majority of charedi poskim do not hold like R’ Eidensohn.
              I am surprised by this, as in my experience the majority of charedi poskim clearly do hold the position that R’ Eidensohn advocates (even though they do not shout about it).
              If so, the problem is not R’ Eidensohn, but halachah, and there is very little that you or I can do about that (only the charedi poskim can alter).

              Since all agree that there is a significant minority (majority according to you) of charedi poskim who hold leniently, we are in the area of halachic rebuttal (similar to ‘are you due the death sentence if you open a bottle of coke on Shabbos’ – equally split amongst current charedi poskim – some so no problem at all, and open themselves, whilst others say Chiyuv Miesa).

            • And with respect to Mamzerim:

              You correctly put forward the argument that Beis Din should be pro-active to enforce a Get, so that an agunah won’t be tempted to sin and create Mamzerim whilst waiting for her Get.
              A very potent argument.

              But the reverse argument, if you hold that a Get Meusa is not a Get (as the majority of charedi poskim hold), is even more potent.
              Since if Beis Din acts when they cannot, then the Get created is invalid, and the agunah is still married to her original husband (whilst believing she is free) – and so Mamzeirut is almost guaranteed.

              A real dilemna !

            • Eidensohn and his commentators encouraged a man to remarry without giving a get, which he eventually did. He was against Hagoan Reb Shlomo Miller when a certain nutcase who married SEVEN times, remarried without a get and Reb Shlomo wrote against this guy. The people from ORA have backing from Rav Heinaman and he has the chutzpah to say that they are creating mamzerim ,as if he knows more then our Poskim.
              He actually enjoys hurting people as you can tell from his posts.
              Comparing Mengele ימ״ש to Mendel Epstein , even if Mendel Epstein is wrong, is so wicked and it shows you how rotton he is in the inside.
              I could go on but I’m sure you get the point. His site encourages husbands not to give a get, but to remarry without even a heter meah. You obviously have not read his comments if you don’t think so. As far as what is considered a forced get, let him find one gadol that agrees with him . His brother takes it one step further by promoting פילגשים on his web site.
              Who gave him the heter to speak against Rabonim he disagrees with ? Did he apologize to the Rabonim in chigaco on what he wrote? He claimed a conspiracy on the CBD. As far as I’m concerned , this case with the CBD proves he is missing a few screws or maybe the whole toolbox.
              Name me one thing he did good on his blog that you are proud of it.
              So again, my answer is he deserves no apology. I’m sure he must be happy by saving these marriages and having the wife an agunah while the husband remarries.

            • Sam / Yerachmiel,

              OK – let’s agree to disagree whether the majority of charedi poskim hold that most forced Gets are invalid.
              You hold most poskim don’t hold this way.
              I hold and experience that most do.
              There is only one right answer, and we agree to disagree on what that right answer is.

        • Since when is Eidensohn a recognized authority on Halacha? he is a self proclaimed authority with his brother backing him and vice versa. No one takes them seriously.

            • Did you try posting it on Eidensohn’s blog to get his reaction. This is clearly a case where an Israeli Rabbinate court ruled the husband was abusive and cruel. Accordingly the court rules that the husband must deliver a divorce in 30 days or get a whole range of government authorized sanctions as well as being put in various forms of excommunication. In Israel that range of sanctions can include imprisonment if he does not comply.

              The ruling also is clear that while the husband claims she is rebellious and he desires reconciliation, the evidence is clear to them that he is not really interested in the marriage, just in using the reconciliation claim to extort her on the financial aspect of the divorce settlement.

        • The only person who owes others an apology is Daniel Eideonsohn. He’s insulted Lopin, his commenters, and me many times. His most recent insult to me was telling me I have “a severe learning disability.” Those were his exact words. I have no idea how he is a psychologist. Or an adult. He’s immature and pretty sickening. Oh, and YES. He has encouraged husbands not to give a Get many times and is a misogynist himself. So you are wrong. Further more, he allows and does not argue back to sick comments on his blog which put down the female gender. Grow up, Eidensohn. It is YOU who needs to apologize to many people…but we can’t expect it of you.

          • Only an incompetent professional diagnoses people s/he has never met. FWIW, I too have been misdiagnosed by Eidensohn. BTW, I have my doubts about his professionalism. I am not even sure he is licensed to practice as a professional. Those of you who frequent his site may want to ask him about that.

          • “wow,” on his blog, he was challenged to give any scenario where a woman who asked for a get should receive one. The challenger gave the example of a woman whose husband regularly visited prostitutes and eventually gave her an STD. His commentators said OF COURSE NOT!!!! WHYEVER would such a woman be “entitled” to a get just because she wants one?? She needs to go to shalom bayis classes and re-learn how to respect her husband!!!. Now I admit he did not say those words, but he did let his masses respond this way with nary a word, which does leave me thinking he believes this sickening anti-woman worldview as well. I hope you do not think that this is a typical chareidi worldview, and I really hope that most reasonable charedi people would think that a woman whose unrepentant husband cheats on her is “entitled” to a get.

            • Hi Busy,

              I repeat that I said that in my opinion the behaviour of R’ Eidensohn in the Meisels affair has been abhorrent.

              However, we do not live in a black and white (good and evil) world. We have to be fair, as R’ Eidensohn may sometimes be right or represent fair comment, even if he had been severely wrong or dysfunctional at other times.

              Addressing your point, you say that R’ Eidensohn himself did not comment on the divorce question posed. It is therefore unfair to bring any conclusions againt R’ Eidensohn from there.
              And the fact that some commenters gave answers which were offensive to you does not necessarily besmirch R’ Eidensohn in any way. Allowing opinions to be aired on your blog does not mean you agree with them.

              As it happens, your example is not a good example, as the Halachic right of a woman to a Get in that case is anything but clear. I would venture to guess that all poskim would hold that a husband who visited a prostitute only once, a thereby gave his wife an STD, would not be obligated in Halachah to give his wife a Get.
              The question you posed differs only by use of the word ‘regularly’. I am not a Posek, and do not know if the ‘regular’ completely changes the Psak – but it could well be that most poskim (or at least a significant number) hold that it makes no Halachic difference.

              I hate the Halachah on slavery. I believe it should be torn up.
              I also have great difficulty with the Halachah of not allowing women to be witnesses.
              So does that invalidate Halachah for me ?
              No – I am not G-d, and G-d who is omniscient made Halachah, and I accept it even when I would tear it up if it was left to me.

              I believe you (and others here) are confusing Halachic-Reality with Misogyny.
              You claim that R’ Eidensohn and others who accurately reflect major Halachic opinion are unhinged, when all they are doing is accurately reporting Halachah (that we would find unhinged if we were making the law), and it is the Halachah that you object to.

              And if and when you retort that you have seventeen major Poskim who holds the Halachah is as you want it to be, then I respond that you are right – yes, there are such major Psaks – but there are fifty five Psaks of the most significant Poskim who hold that Halachah is against what you wish.

              Please can we have an honest discussion, and stop bashing R’ Eidensohn on this point. You need to bring the most major poskim, who hold like R’ Eidensohn represents, and then try and show that R’ Eidensohn is mis-applying their Psaks to his cases.
              Sorry for the length of this reply.

            • The STD instance is important. In order to protect the wife from fatal danger, a scientifically competent posek would authorize the woman to refuse further sexual relations and to stop going to mikveh. This is important because the Eidensohn brothers repeatedly portray women seeking a get as defiant wives who breached their martial obligations and separated. They hinge their support for the man’s right to refuse to deliver a get on such assumptions. The claim of defiance fails when continued cohabitation is life threatening.

            • “I am not G-d, and G-d who is omniscient made Halachah, and I accept it even when I would tear it up if it was left to me.”

              Wow – Actually, the Gemara talks about how God did NOT make the Halachah, but rather Chazal did. When there was an argument about what the halachah is, they invited God to give His opinion, and it was agree that halacha is determined by humans, not by God.

              You can see halachah changing and evolving over the past 2,000 years, not by God, but by man, and by the circumstances in which Jews found themselves. There is no reason that rabbanim cannot use the process of halachic determination to further evolve it today to meet the needs of our times with regard to issues deeply affecting people’s lives, including the agunah issue, get, marriage, as well as other major issues.

              If anything, perhaps you believe that God gave rabbanim the ability to determine halachah. But the belief that God made halachah is disproven by Chazal themselves.

            • Just to be more subtle, The Torah was a skeleton which chazal interpreted and extended (and continue to reinterpret and extend (or contract). Torah lo min hashomayim refers to interpretatons and rulings. And indeed Midrash has Moshe Rabbeinu not understanding all of the interpretations of Rabbi Akiva and yet being pleased.

  6. you still have not explained to anyone why the CBD changed their minds. until you do that the only logical reason is that they realized they were wrong. they signed the psak. all your finageling and peshatim does not change the facts

      • YL, this is in response to your response on 4/14 to that one who suggests that the poskim might not excuse a wife from a marriage where the husband frequents zonot more than once and gives wife an STD. It appeared that there were comments on DT to that effect. and I don’t doubt it.
        Your answer is satisfying. But are there really poskim who would rule against the wife being freed?. How vile and vulgar and hideous if true.
        If true, I would turn in my Jew badge at the earliest opportunity.

        • It gets even worse than that. I heard a story that goes back to the era before anti-virals for HIV, so that HIV infections were death sentences from AIDS. A woman had several episodes of STDs from her husband and sought rabbinical permission to refuse intimacy to her husband. The rabbi was so ignorant about the science, and so psychologically clueless, that he refused. He insisted the wife could cure the wayward husband by the wife being nicer and having more sex. Luckily others intervened and that decision was reversed. Not surprisingly, that situation ended in civil and halachic divorce.

          • Well, what do you expect from a culture which expects women to consult their rabbis over whether to have babies or not? When I was still single a frum married friend if mine boldly stated that she would never go to a rabbi for a heter to use birth control, it was none of the rabbi’s business and she’d prevent a pregnancy when she wished. I was scandalized at the time, but now I agree with her fully. It’s a woman’s right to decide when to have a child and when/if to have sex with her husband. If the husband doesn’t like it he could hit the road, Jack.

        • Hey there Chashdan,

          Why would you turn in your Jew badge over this point, but not over Halachic acceptance of slavery (which is surely much worse) ?
          Or Halachic refusal to allow women as witnesses in financial and many other cases ?
          Or …. (I could go on with more).
          Is it that any time you don’t agree with an aspect of Halachah, you give up all of Judaism ?

          Why is only the husband with an STD case the religion-breaker ?!?

          And if the husband had Aids, or a life threatening STD, then he couldn’t have normal relations with his wife, and I believe (although I am not a Posek) that the wife would already be able to fully demand a Get under Halachah in this circumstance (might even be one of the rare cases where a Beis Din is allowed to force the Get).
          So Halachah already deals satisfactorily with your case.

          But what if i) the STD was Herpes which is not life-threatening and can possibly be worked around, or Syphilis which is easily fully cured (I am not an STD expert, but I believe this is the case), and ii) the husband was ashamed of his temporary disgusting behaviour and wanted to be a good husband from then on.

          Now you and I, if we were making the Law, would still certainly rule that the wife is still entitled to an automatic Get in this circumstance.
          In fact, it seems totally wrong to you and me that she cannot demand a Get under Halachah.
          But if this is not the Halachah, and in this latter case the wife cannot demand a Get, then maybe G-d has a reason (however much you and I would like to argue with G-d that this is wrong and unfair).

          Judaism has never been a religion where each person makes up his own rules as he see fit.

          • This debate is getting nowhere. Clearly, for some people, the rabbinic rulings whether inavaoidably halachic or done at the discretion of rabbis, turn some off, big time. Clearly there are others who insist, for better and worse the hands of the rabbis are tied by g-d, however unappealig the outcomes seems. Moreover, goes this second line of argument, a believing orthodox Jew must accept halachah as a package which sometimes comes with things they don’t understand and bother them. In fairness to readers, I will only approve further comments on this exchange that add something not already said.

            • Don’t know if this is something new, and it’s totally okay if you don’t approve this comment. When I took kallah classes, the teacher had us buy this book of halachah in Hebrew. By one passage, she asked us to skip it over and not read it. Of course I read it, and it explicitly said birth control is assur under any circumstances. The teacher just said to consult your rav. I think there are many items in Judaism like this, and it proves that rabbonim do shift halachah when they feel like it, and in some cases at least rabbonim themselves don’t agree that the previous halchik norms were mandated by god. Just sayin’, couldn’t resist, sorry.

            • The real point is that there is halachah and then there is misrepresentation of halachah, particularly engaged in with the naive. The plain fact is that there are many conditions under which birth control is halachicly acceptable. According to some poskim it always acceptable when a man has fulfilled his pru urevu obligation of one son and one daughter. Then it is only question of which method is acceptable.

              Moreover, some poskim maintain that it is acceptable to delay having children as well as long as the plan is to have them.

              Inside the haredi segment of the frum world there is a lot of misrepresentation of the difference between halachic obligation and communally adopted stringencies.

            • the author of a book saying contraception is always prohibited should be publicly exposed for dangerous halachic malpractice. It is not just permitted but mandatory for women whose lives would be endangered by pregnancy, in much the same way that abortion is mandatory if a pregnancy endangers the life of the mother, even very late term abortion.

              The Mishna (Oholot 7,6) puts it this way:

              “If a woman has [life-threatening] difficulty in childbirth, the embryo within her must be dismembered limb by limb [if necessary], because her life [hayyeha] takes precedence over its life [hayyav].

        • I feel like Moses. Finally see why the Jews are still in exile. Lopin is just dasan And avirum in this generation

  7. no, you did not. the most logical answer is that CBD realized they were wrong. For you to say otherwise is to make lomdisha derashos instead of reading simple peshat. if you want to convince anyone that you are correct and that CBD was intimidated, you should have better proof than you have right now…which is actually zero proof.

    • We can go back and forth. As I have stated, I believe the haredi members of the Chicago BD, Rabbis Cohen and Feurst were intimidated by five members of the moetzes siding with the IBD. These are people who want to continue to function within the haredi world. R. Feurst is employed by Agudah in Chicago. Do you imagine they cannot exert pressure. Can I prove the intimidation caused the change. No. On the other hand, can you prove there was no intimidation effect even though there was an effort. Also no. So we disagree. But I have answered you. Yours is not the most logical answer. It is just the one your prefer. So be it.

      • There are two possibilities: a) EM raped 40 girls, as originally asserted, or b)he did not, but did inappropriate actions that warranted throwing him out of chinuch permanently. If the first, then no amount of pressure on a “Special Beis DIn for Abuse” should have worked for any Dayan with minimal self-respect. If the second, however, pressure is a possibility that can not be negated with the information that is public.
        That presumes, however, that they realized in the course of the JBD analyzing the data that the original assertion of 40 (or any) rapes was wrong.
        So “logically”, either they have no self respect or they realized that they were wrong on their original assertion.

        • That is an absurd dichotomous choice. For example are you really saying that if he didn’t rape 40 girls, but only 39 they could no longer feel that strongly about him Moreover, you position presupposes they knew which way the 7th dayan would vote. No one can know the decision of legitimate dayan before he has heard the evidence. However, the rules of dayanus are once there is a vote, the majority position prevails and all others have to sign on.

          • Nice debating trick, but I added “(or any)” subsequently. Any rapes that are ignored requires a lack of self respect. Furthermore, they DID issue a dissent — despite your “rules of dayanus” — and the dissent only applied to the extent of culpability of one staff member. Even if that dissent is not public, there is no debate that that dissent did not substantially dispute the conclusions of the JBD.

            • I have not yet seen the dissent by rabbis Feurst, Cohen and Schwartz. If you have it, please show it to us. I have worked hard to present actual texts, and to translate them.

            • I have not yet seen a dissent by rabbis Feurst, Cohen and Schwartz. If you have it, please show it to us. I have worked hard to present actual texts, and to translate them.

        • Ish,
          Sorry, but your argument is so close to that of an abusive forum troll, it is scary.
          There are not 2 choices.
          The only source for the rape of 40 girls has been Meisels’ defenders, when they try and build a straw man to attack and whitewash Meisels. No serious accusation of 40 rapes has EVER been made, except by Meisels’ defenders.
          Such a state does however not preclude very serious multiple sexual abuse by Meisels or even possibly rape of a smaller number (If I remember correctly, Yerachmiel has reported that one or more rape law suits are currently going through the Courts).

  8. Just want to give a shout out to Truthseeker. Been reading her comments on Daas Torah and Eidensohn’s insulting replies. At her age, I would’ve been sniveling and crying in my pillow if a rabbi spoke to me that way. But Truthseeker maintains the strength of her convictions and she won’t be shouted down! I admire your guts!

    • Thanks, my comment above quotes Eideonsohn’s newest insult to me that I have “a severe learning disability”. That’s how he fights back. A 60-something year old with a PhD. Guess his education wasn’t worth much. I can talk back to him because he’s certainly no rabbi to me. He’s a guy with no morals who likes to call himself a “rabbi” and “psychologist” to make himself feel important. Thanks for the shout-out Sheri 🙂

      • This kind of nonsense is almost predictable for people who cannot deal with the truth. When they cannot intimidate witnesses they resort to character assassination to discredit their testimony.

  9. Pingback: A Review of the ‘Daas Torah’ blog | Perceptions of Israel

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