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Monday, July 14, 2014

Meisels removed from his Seminaries! UPDATED



by Harry Marylis
Rabbi Elimelech Meisels is a tremendous Talmid Chochom, a co-author of Hashkafic works, and stemming from a distinguished family. He is an incredible Mechanech. Thousands of girls can testify to that. He has the respect and admiration of many thousands of former students and their parents for being there for their daughters. He has helped girls get through many things and actually saved lives. Where would they be today if not for him? He is a special man who helped Klal Yisroel in countless ways.

This is the problem with a serial sex offender like Meisels. They are often very accomplished and successful individuals that inspire many followers with their charisma. And yet he is a sexual predator who preys on the vulnerable. He knows how to ‘groom’ his victims. Most of whom are in their late teens. How talented this individual is. And how sick. Yes, it is unfortunately possible to be a talented Mechanech who has saved many lives and at the same time be a callous sexual predator that can ruin many others lives – all for his own personal sexual gratification.

It is difficult to understand how it is possible for someone like this to have been preying on the vulnerable for so long. At the same time, it’s easy to see how he can get away with it. The accolades in the first paragraph are based on comments many of his former students made defending him on Yerachmiel Lopin’s blog. He is a beloved figure. For the many he helped –which is no doubt the majority, he is an icon. It is therefore impossible to believe someone like this could ever do anything so egregiously wrong. Not only is he a great Mechanech - he is also a happily married man. How could anyone dare say anything so negative about him?

It is this kind of thinking that a motivates the defenders of people like Nechemya Weberman… or Baruch Lanner. It is also the kind of thinking that causes rabbis of good will to say that abuse must be first reported to them before going to the police. The thinking is that people with such great reputations and so many accomplishments cannot possibly have done what they have been accused of doing. They must be given the benefit of the doubt. Allowing the police to get involved would instantly ruin the man’s reputation. So of course the rabbis must be consulted… God forbid that this man, his wife, and children suffer needlessly at the hands of a false accuser. That’s what good reputations will do for the predator. Which of course allows them to continue their clandestine behavior while continuing to behave in an exemplary manner in public.

But at least in this case, justice seems to have prevailed so far. Victims of this guy have come forward and the rabbis believed them. A letter was published by the special Beis Din in Chicago created for exactly this purpose. Here it is their statement in its entirety:
The Special Beis Din of Chicago has convened to address allegations of improper conduct, including unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature, between Elimelech Meisels and students of the following seminaries with which he is affiliated: Pnimim, Binas Beis Yaakov, Chedvas Beis Yaakov, and Keser Chaya.
Based on the testimony and documents received by the Beis Din, including testimony by the claimants and by Elimelech Meiels, the Beis Din believes that students in these seminaries are at risk of harm and it does not recommend that prospective students attend these seminaries at this time.
Because these seminaries and Mr. Meisels are located in Israel and not in the United States, a distinguished Israeli Beis Din consisting of Rabbis Menachem Mendel Shafran, Chaim Malinowitz, and Tzvi Gartner has assumed for this matter.
Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz
Rabbi Shmuel Fuerst
Rabbi Zev Cohen
There are many people who have suggested that this letter is fake and the signatures are a forgery. I personally spoke to Rabbi Fuerst, one of the signatories. He told me it is real and that he signed it as did the others.

For those who don’t know, Rabbi Shmuel Fuerst is the Dayan for Agudath Israel of Illinois. A Posek that was mentored by Rav Moshe Feinstein, he is the ‘go to’ Rav for many people in here in Chicago (and beyond) for just about any Shaila in Halacha one might have. He is also the Posek for NCSY Midwest.

Rabbi Gedalia Schwartz is the Av Bet Din (chief judge) of the Rabbinical Council of America (Bet Din of America) and Rosh Bet Din (Emeritus chief judge) of the Chicago Rabbinical Council Bet Din.

Rabbi Zev Cohen is the Rav of Congregation Adas Yeshurun, a Dayan, Rosh Kollel of the Choshen Mishpat Kollel and one of the most trusted rabbis in Chicago.

These three people do not usually cross paths. But they have come together here as one to warn the community about this guy. They do not even refer to him as rabbi, refusing to give him the title he earned (and now dishonored). Which is pretty amazing since Rabbi Fuerst’s mentor, Rav Moshe Feinstein used the title ‘rabbi’ in his Teshuvos when referring to Reform rabbis. Imagine how undeserving this fellow is of that title.

On his blog, Yerachmiel said that people close to that Beis Din told him that among his pickup lines were “my wife is boring….”. Imagine your daughter hearing things like that from her charismatic seminary head. I’m told that many seminary girls will develop a crush on their seminary heads. That makes it easy for a dirtbag like Meisels to take advantage of them.

Yerachmiel was also told that the abuse involved many young women and was severe.

While this situation may or may not involved abuse of minors, there is no question in my mind that it involves some form of molestation or worse. If the students he abused were minors (usually defined in this country as under 18 if I understand correctly), he could be prosecuted for statutory rape if he had sex with any of them. I have no clue what the laws of the State of Israel are with respect to that. But my hope is that the distinguished rabbis in Israel who have accepted the task pursue that avenue if it is available to them.

The bottom line here is the following. If you have a daughter that will be studying in a seminary in Israel, stay far away from this man and any seminary with which he is connected.

Update
Elimelech Meisels has been removed as head of the above mentioned seminaries. For details, see
here.
 
UPDATED Sunday July 20
 

Just to update readers, there have been several newer posts about the situation. to be absolutely clear, Meisels says he will not teach in the seminaries this coming year but he still owns them and other enabling staff have not been removed, or even, to the best of my knowledge reprimanded. That is why the Chicago Beis Din stands by its psak advising against sending students to those seminaries. Hebrew Theological College (HTC) and Touro College have suspended accreditation, pending a more substantial set of changes, thereby preventing students from getting US Government assistance with grants and loans.

All posts on Frum Follies about meisels can be found with the search URL: http://frumfollies.wordpress.com/?s=Elimelech+Meisels

Rabbi Yosef Blau, Mashgiach Ruchani of YU's RIETS wrote a comment to my most recent post worth passing along to students and alumni of the Meisels seminaries:

"This analysis correctly demonstrates that the Israeli Beis Din has no
interest in investigating Meisels and interviewing victims to find out
the role of others working for him in Pninim and the other seminaries.
However there is a great need for the graduates of these programs,
whether they were abused, or saw inappropriate behavior, or are
convinced that there was no abuse to speak with both therapists and
rabbinic figures who understand rabbinic abuse. Many of them are
traumatized and are profoundly shaken by these reports about a major
influence on their lives. In earlier cases this was at least partially
done for young men attending Yeshivot after they had been in an
environment where there was a teacher or rabbi who was an abuser. This
will be particularly difficult in this case because the women are
unlikely to be in educational settings where they can find people who
are qualified to meet with them."



15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Who freakin cares? get a life you panhandlers.

Anonymous said...

I understand that the owner of this blog is a Satmar chasid, who resides in Wiliamsburg and has one of the dumbest and anti Semitic blogs on the web. So yes he is a panhandler

Anonymous said...

frum bloggers who know nothing
http://thepartialview.blogspot.com/2014/07/the-interlopers-churban-of-internet.html

Anonymous said...

to Anon 1:13*************

This is what's in part in the blog you're referring*****

Same with the frum bloggers who look for any news article about yidden which in their small mind they cant understand and they put in their two cents. What gives a Modern orthodox blogger from Chicago or Rabbi with a small shul on the beach, the right to butt in on an issue that does not pertain to their own kehilla. What gives people a right to question the minhagim and derech of Satmar or Lakewood or any chasidus that only pertains to these kehillos who follow their leaders.
The churban of these interlopers and yentas has created a huge chilul hashem by feeding their stories to the national media who in turn take the opportunity to make light or make fun of Frum yidden make fun of the Torah. Its time for these ignorant interlopers to go back to their natural habitat.

Several problems here_----
Calling Jews in general small minds who can't understand.. This is exactly why these blogs exist, because they and us are dopes, feeble minded people who can't understand . Typical arrogant stuff.
Next, you guys are into BIG. Only satmar and lakewwod exist. No modern orthodox rabbi or rabbi with small shul on the beach may criticize the established tyrants. Phooey on you. How dare you! That's why people are getting turned off because it's exactly this arrogant attitude that's causing the demise of Hareidiism as we know it. These blogs reflect what people are saying on the street.
Modern orthodoxy has the same right to its minhagim and can question you exactly the way you question them and denigrate them. You got gross chutzpah. . What do mean RIGHT to question? What are we , a Jim Jones cult all of a sudden? You guys got the brains and we the stupid ones have to shut up, swallow your minhagim and chumras that affect many of us, whole, without complaint because we have small minds. No wonder so many are OTD.
Take your junk elsewhere you control maniacs .

Anonymous said...

1:13 ,
Such disdainful disrespectful chutzpah in that article.
The cult sects you mention have gozillion of dollars and the rest of us have no right to question or criticize. I got news for you, those days are over and you and your ilk are running scared because your towers are toppling and smashing. You are the small minded narrow minded bosses who won't allow debate. That the article says "their kehillos" means they've separated and insulated themselves from the rest of Klal Yisroel and we the small minds homo sapins are dumb like cows and have to meekly follow. And befor you accuse others of Chillul Hashem take a good look in your wives' mirrors. Don't throw accusation like that because more and more and more blogs will show up . You're playing with fire.

Anonymous said...

That blog is called The Partial View and they seem to be lapdogs of Lakewood and Satmar although in fairness they have some good articles when they don't bring in the 2 dictatorial cult nations.

Anonymous said...


Who makes chilul Hashem with demonstrations and burning of Israeli flags in front of all media and cursing the Jewish State in the media and owning dozens of websites talking against Israel in worldwide public forums just like the Muslims and taking out huge ads in NY Times for all the world to see ? Who makes chilul Hashem in landgrabs in Monroe ? How come the BIG minds of LLakewood don't say anything about that/ because they agree that's why.
How come that moronic article isn't signed by anybody?

Anonymous said...

yenta & interloper says,


(yidden which in their small mind they cant understand and they put in their two cents.)

Duh ! Can I have 2 sense? Duh ?

millions OTDs cause dey waz told they have pea brains. Duh ? don't question u pea brain..YES DUH !!!!!!!!!
Sorry, I don't understand--- duh? YES again YES DUH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

ALBERT EINSTEIN

yenta and interloper said the smartest thing since my theory of relativity.

Anonymous said...

(The churban of these interlopers and yentas has created a huge chilul hashem by feeding their stories to the national media who in turn take the opportunity to make light or make fun of Frum yidden make fun of the Torah. Its time for these ignorant interlopers to go back to their natural habitat. )

Everything goes to nat. media including the recent diatribe about the 3 teenagers in Israel by your prominent rabbi. Careful about your chillel Hashem remarks and don't treat us like idiots.
Tell him to take your advice and go to his natutal habitat.

Anonymous said...

To 2;45
you don't get it, because yur a yid with a small mind. You're probably wearing a size 1 peewee hat.

Dusiznies said...

"What gives a Modern orthodox blogger from Chicago or Rabbi with a small shul on the beach, the right to butt in on an issue that does not pertain to their own kehilla.:

So according to this logic, who gives R'Chaim Kanievsky or R' Shteinman the right to butt into issues that do not pertain to their kehilos?

RationalFaith said...

So the problem isn't the awful behavior of certain heimesheh yiddin. The problem is those who refuse to put up with it and refuse to act like second class yidden to certain wealthy and powerful rebbes and roshai yeshivos.

The blogs have become the frum version of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. To bad so many of our 'elites' act like the royalty of countries that have since deposed their monarchies.

Yerachmiel Lopin said...

"In a place where there is no man, strive to be a man" Hillel

In a community where there is no open, honest media reporting of scandalous misconduct harming its members -- strive to be an honest, informative journalist and blogger." Yerachmiel Lopin- FrumFollies.Wordpress.com

The real shonda is that the main media of the haredi world leave their members, especially their chidren, vulnerable to atrocities.

Yerachmiel Lopin said...



Just to update readers, there have been several newer posts about the situation. to be absolutely clear, Meisels says he will not teach in the seminaries this coming year but he still owns them and other enabling staff have not been removed, or even, to the best of my knowledge reprimanded. That is why the Chicago Beis Din stands by its psak advising against sending students to those seminaries. Hebrew Theological College (HTC) and Touro College have suspended accreditation, pending a more substantial set of changes, thereby preventing students from getting US Government assistance with grants and loans.

All posts on Frum Follies about meisels can be found with the search URL: http://frumfollies.wordpress.com/?s=Elimelech+Meisels

Rabbi Yosef Blau, Mashgiach Ruchani of YU's RIETS wrote a comment to my most recent post worth passing along to students and alumni of the Meisels seminaries:

"This analysis correctly demonstrates that the Israeli Beis Din has no
interest in investigating Meisels and interviewing victims to find out
the role of others working for him in Pninim and the other seminaries.
However there is a great need for the graduates of these programs,
whether they were abused, or saw inappropriate behavior, or are
convinced that there was no abuse to speak with both therapists and
rabbinic figures who understand rabbinic abuse. Many of them are
traumatized and are profoundly shaken by these reports about a major
influence on their lives. In earlier cases this was at least partially
done for young men attending Yeshivot after they had been in an
environment where there was a teacher or rabbi who was an abuser. This
will be particularly difficult in this case because the women are
unlikely to be in educational settings where they can find people who
are qualified to meet with them."

http://frumfollies.wordpress.com/2014/07/19/israeli-beit-dins-problem-isnt-naivete-its-narcissism/#comment-91448