Meir Pogrow’s Manipulations as Remembered by a Seminary Student

Shayna Goldberg describes what is obviously Pogrow in a Times of Israel post.meir Pogrow img 2

Rabbi Meir Pogrow

I knew this rabbi. 18 years ago, I came to Israel for the year to study Torah in a seminary [Michlalah] where he taught. He lived on campus with his young family in the apartment right beneath mine. From the first time I met him, my overwhelming gut instinct was to stay away. There was something creepy about the way he knew all of our SAT scores by heart, even before we arrived. The way he knew exactly who was registered for an Ivy League college.

The way he pursued and initiated chavrutot with very specific girls. Never the weak ones. Only the “best and the brightest.” It felt like a kind of game for him. A challenge. Could he crack the toughest ones? Break them down and then rebuild them? By some, it was considered flattering if he chose you. And there were girls who were hurt and devastated because they didn’t make the cut.

Once he forged that connection, he was manipulative, he played mind games, and he fostered dependence and hero worship. He was sarcastic, biting, and cynical, and he used his sharp mind and his Torah knowledge in cunning ways. He was brilliant, absolutely brilliant. He knew Torah by heart, and of course his way of looking at things was always “right.” You could never really challenge his read or his understanding because he was held up by everyone as the ultimate talmid chacham. He had mastered Torah. And he was only 27.

I stayed far away, and yet the experience of coming into even limited contact with him was incredibly painful. There were a couple of times that he threw out such nasty lines to me that I was left crying so hard that I couldn’t breathe. And then there were the difficult feelings of confusion and abandonment that arise when you try to raise concerns with friends and teachers and, instead of taking you seriously, they make you doubt yourself.

This is the real issue that has plagued my mind for so long. The fact that this man was never, ever fit to be an educator.

The rest of the post is well worth reading for Goldberg’s prescriptions for healthy educational leadership without overwhelming students.

For other Frum Follies posts on Meir Pogrow, click here. For other Frum Follies posts on Meir Pogrow, click here.

7 thoughts on “Meir Pogrow’s Manipulations as Remembered by a Seminary Student

  1. just checked back to the original fb post. there is so much more there. worth reading in its entirety.

    • We lived in the Pogrow’s neighborhood. 17 years ago, Pogrow was arrested for inappropriate sexual misconduct with a 10 year old boy who took a ride with him as did other kids to school each day in the Old City. He was released on bale and four years later the case was closed. Two of the minors who witnessed the abuse on several occasions and even a rabbi who travelled in the,car daily who admitted that Pogrow’s verbal banter in the car was inappropriate and that he himself would not have wanted his child to be in the car with Pogrow, refused to give evidence. They were friends of Pogrow and even though they knew his crime, they preferred to protect the pervert rather than protect future victims. Imagine how many destroyed lives could have been saved if people who knew of his sick perverse side had done the responsible thing and acted upon צדק צדק תרדוף.

  2. With minor changes Sheina could have been writing about Meisels, Lanner, Matis Weinberg or a number of others. Even if they were not abusers they should not have been allowed to manipulate adolescents in their role as educators and mentors.

  3. This film is really relevant to the Orthodox Jewish world as well. Really important film to educate parents about what Clergy in any faith can do:

    • The film is about how difficult it was to uncover and report on the wide scale sexual abuse of children by Catholic Priests. It was about the massive effort to cover up the abuse by the Catholic Church higher ups as well as the lawyers and politicians who had more of a self interest in helping to cover up the abuse of children than to protect the children. What is similar is the sexual abuse of children and the large scale cover ups by Rabbanim, “Gedolim”, Askanim and the frum political elite who are sometimes all one and the same. Another similarity is Rabbanim, Schools, Shuls, Yeshivos and Camps firing an abuser without publicizing why, so that he then moves on to another Yeshiva, Shul, or Camp to abuse more kids. Yeshivos are essentially family owned businesses and they are afraid of publicizing that abuse happened in their school for fear of damaging the Yeshiva’s own reputation. Those who run the Yeshiva put their own self interest before that of the Klal or of future victims. The Catholic Church did the same thing.

  4. Thank you seriously? for your comment,
    sagacious as usual,
    when will come the day that this blog can close down, due to lack of topic,
    And i am not referring to the disgusting buyout of FM, which, was obviously,
    from first moment, to shut SR up.
    All of the naive innocents who believed that the new owners would rebuild and re-open,
    well, difficult to write but naive and idiots are tsemed chemed.
    What is still of interest, at least for me,
    is whether something new and earthshaking was on the way.
    This is re the timing of shutting SR up
    I can understand his poverty et al,
    but YL, never ever would have sold out, never,
    Ethics and morality, YL would never have sold out, and i do believe that YL is burned out,
    For the record, , i personally would never have allowed him to be bought out, amnam that i highly doubt, strongly doubt that YL would ever have gone over to the dark side.
    And AND YL perhaps might guess this,
    but i would never have let that happen,
    i.e., unless we are talking about super rich australian chabad,
    and there i cannnot compete, not at all.
    i would have been there for YL, not to go over the line,
    YL would never have done a Scotty, NEVER EVER,.i would bet my last cent, otoh, he is burned out it seems,
    but i believe that YL would have found a different solution, lolol some slob like me and a few more if necessary,
    but who am i to judge scotties position,
    (all negatives aside), Theories and facts are not co-incidental.
    i hope that i have been clear here,
    many of you have family, la’chen, yerushot v’kadomeh,
    halevai alai

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