Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Seminary Scandal: Do warning bells ring when you read this student's praise of Peninim Seminary/

The following is an excerpt from an article from the blog Where What and When - Time  To Think About Seminary    which deals with issues in chosing a seminary. The excerpt below is about the Peninim Seminary when it was run by Meisels. Do you find anything upsetting about what she says? Or perhaps it is just because Meisels perverted the good but there is nothing inherently wrong about the interaction of the staff with the students.

January 22, 2014


  Tzipora who attended Peninim Seminary and is leaving in a couple of days to go to shana bet (a second year), was very happy to share her experience with me. I was astounded by her enthusiasm. “It was really amazing. It was the best year of my life so far,” Tzipora says. “The principal and all the teachers really care about the girls. They put the needs of the girls first above everything else. For example, there was a big emphasis on the hashkafa behind the halachos of tznius. Many girls came to seminary with skirts that were not very tzniusdik. After being there for a while, and absorbing the hashkafos of the teachers, many girls wanted to wear skirts that met halachic guidelines. In order to make it easier for girls to follow through on their new commitment to higher standards of tznius, Rabbi Meisels set up a program; if a girl turns in a skirt that is not so tzniusdik, he will give her money to buy a new skirt.”

  Peninim makes it a priority that each girl creates a strong connection with members of the staff. “Becoming close to a mentor was important to me,” says Tzipopra , “and the seminary went out of its way to see that no one falls through the cracks. In the middle of the year the staff goes through all the girls, and makes sure that everybody has a connection to some teacher or the principal. Girls often go to the homes of the teachers for Shabbos meals or to sleep over.

  Tzipora explains Peninim’s focus on hashkafa. “There is no homework, and most of the classes are discussions about what we can learn from the sources and apply to our own lives.” Tzipora  marvels, “We spent a whole month learning about the meraglim and how to apply the lessons of the meraglim to our own lives. The teachers welcome questions and will stay after class as long as necessary to answer all the girls to their satisfaction.”

35 comments :

  1. Verification of AddressAugust 5, 2014 at 4:48 PM

    Alarm & Warning bells do ring very loud, big time....

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  2. standard reputation defender type procedures.

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  3. It could be that this is the norm in some places, which is all the more reason to start a new paradigm - no more male teachers or principals in girls seminars and high schools. Perhaps the same could be done for chadorim. Female principles and teachers until age ten.

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  4. No alarms at all. It is not strange for a teen to spend the night at the home of a mentor as long as the mentor is not a single member of the opposite swx. By reading the letter, I would just assume she shared a room with a Morah or Meisels daughter.

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  5. SLEEP OVER???????

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  6. No its not normal and dont assume anything. You wouldnt want anyone assuming things about u or your daughters or wife.

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  7. In Israel, it is common that if you go to a different neighborhood for Shabbat, you sleep over. Don't read something into this statement that isn't meant to be there.

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  8. At a rebbitzen or married female teachers house? Why not!

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  9. Right. Let's throw out the baby with the bathwater!

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  10. I am very confused. What is so bad about this letter? I went to pninim and it sounds exactly like aomebtibg I would have written myself.

    Ps- I am not a Meisles defender. I very much think he is guilty and have no empathy towards him or any of his supporters. But that is wrong with this letter?

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  11. Hi Mickey,

    Question: did girls sleep over at a male teacher's home as part of the program?

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  12. what does he do with all those skirts??


    They have to turn in skirts before buying new ones??


    Sounds creepy to me.

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  13. "Best year of my life." "Put the needs of the girls first" "Big focus on...tznius"


    Since when do the needs of the girls equate to non-tsniusdik skirts?(What, pray tell, arenon-tzniusdik skirts anyway?)


    i would have thought that the needs of the girls would involve their social development, academic development. Something along those lines. Too much personal involvement in their persons, so to speak.

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  14. Since when do the needs of the girls equate to non-tsniusdik skirts?


    Huh? Are you a Torah observant Jew? Rav Moshe Feinstein clearly discusses the halachic requirments and some of the parameters for proper dress.

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  15. Sounds creepy to me.


    Sounds like someone is projecting their sick and perverted imaginations upon others. Are you?

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  16. Preparation for shidduchim. Actually sounds like a school for OTD girls, which i understand these seminary was not.

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  17. Sorry, no warning bells. Maybe you need a dirty mind for that.

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  18. @nat - have you ever studied the halachos governing hirhur, yidhud or simply touching the opposite sex?

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  19. Yes, I think I am somewhat familiar with those halachos. If you are referring to looking at bigdei tzivonim shel isha or the like, I don't necessarily disagree with that, but that would apply to the larger issue of maybe not having men in a seminary or girls high school at all.

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  20. Thanks for the ad hominem. I can use those.


    Now, if you were trying to be HONEST, you would honestly realize that I did not state that there is no such thing as tznius (interesting that your best source is Rav Moshe).


    If you look at the statement quoted in comparison to recommendations for other seminaries on the blog post referenced, you will note the differences.


    Also, it is often those who cultivate victims who get this type of response from the students.

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  21. Well, you could take it that way. However, as a concerned parent who wants to keep his children safe, my hackles are raised when something like this goes on. It is a way to get personal with someone while appearing altruistic.


    Paying girls to purchase new skirts - maybe ok. Having them turn in skirts to the Rabbi -- not ok.

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  22. it does not say they give it to HIM! read!
    "if a girl turns in a skirt that is not so tzniusdik, he will give her money to buy a new skirt.” its turned in to a a faculty member. to which one? doesnt say! so dont assume!

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  23. Thanks for the ad hominem

    You're very welcome!

    Are you the guy who wrote the following?

    Since when do the needs of the girls equate to non-tsniusdik skirts?(What, pray tell, arenon-tzniusdik skirts anyway?)

    And this one:

    what does he do with all those skirts??

    ......
    Sounds creepy to me.


    And one more:

    interesting that your best source is Rav Moshe

    Ahh. What did you say about ad hominem? Happy to be of service.


    If you have an argument or point to make, why not do it clearly and concisely.

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  24. Paying girls to purchase new skirts - maybe ok. Having them turn in skirts to the Rabbi -- not ok.


    That's your opinion. You're entitled to it. However, to people who do understand what a non-tzniusdik skirt is, they may also understand the concept of having the girl part with her non-tzniusdik skirt - and not have it in her possession anymore. They can also understand the concept that the seminary is not handing out skirts for free - there is something the student must contribute as well. She must hand in the offending garment. (To be thrown into the garbage! when she's not looking.)

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  25. I think that is a nitpick.


    And, let me ask. Unless the girls bought the clothes with their OWN money, they have no right to give it away. The school has no right to set up such an exchange.


    I hear giving money to buy new clothing. I get that. Turning in the old is problematic. Coupled with the rest of the statement and combined with the extreme enthusiasm and sleepovers, the picture is not so kosher.

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  26. It violates boundaries.

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  27. Thanks for the ad hominem


    LOL

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  28. I think that is a nitpick.


    And this comment for the same person!

    And, let me ask. Unless the girls bought the clothes with their OWN money, they have no right to give it away.



    What were you saying about a "nitpick"?


    Do you really feel that 19 year old adult girls don't OWN their clothes?

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  29. What are you talking about? I'm not assuming anything. I'm simply stating that the letter would NOT set off alarm bells. Please explain your comnent.

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  30. Really, what is the point in moderating the blog when trollish comments are allowed through. They do not add to the conversation and just serve to chase people away.

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  31. Sorry, I don't rlly understand your question...
    And it did NOT violate boundaries. His wife and a ton of kids were always around the house. Not a single corner of privacy ever. Just fact. Ridiculous that this letter was posted as proof of "inappropriateness". There is so much breed proof than this. Sorry.

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  32. See my response to Joseph Orlow below

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  33. Daas Torah, this letter is perfectly FINE. You have to have a rlly dirty mind to think there's something wrong.

    Just for the record, it is extremely normal for girls to sleep over rabbis homes as long as their wife/kids are home. Most of these teachers live in small yerushalayim apartments where there would be NO space for privacy or yichud even if wanted.

    Again, it is extremely normal and many seminaries do this so please stop creating drama out of nothing. It makes your website much less reliable and ppl don't take your posts as seriously when u blow something like this up.

    Reminder: I am nowhere near a Meisles defender. Just speaking facts. Everyone stop ebbing dramatic.

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  34. Predators do not typically target each person. They do however set up a welcoming environment so that the target feels comfortable and doesn't realize that he/she is being groomed and targeted.

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