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