Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Seminary Scandal: An explanation of why both the CBD and IBD are claiming exclusive jurisdiction

The following is what I have been able to piece together from various sources who have close connections with the IBD and the CBD.

The following information timeline indicates what is the crux of the dispute between the IBD and CBD. It is not that the CBD views that the IBD is not concerned for the victims but only for the seminaries. Or that the victims will be harassed by the IBD. It is not because the victims approached the CBD and not the IBD.  While the CBD views all these as being true - it is not the basis of the dispute.

The real reason is because the CBD is bluntly claiming that the IBD never had any right to be involved in more than a very limited roll that the CBD decided.

In contrast the IBD is claiming that the CBD never had jurisdiction over the seminaries which are located in Jerusalem and that contrary to what the CBD is now claiming - the CBD did in fact ask them to have full jurisdiction in the case. The IBD brings as proof the shtar borerus which was signed by the staff, Meisels and Rav Feldman

The CBD responds that their authority comes from the fact that  Meisels now agrees to abide by their psak as well as the request of the victims for them to deal with the case. The CBD claims that the shtar borerus of the IBD was in fact initiated by them - but only to make changes in the amutah - and nothing else. Therefore the CBD claims the IBD never had more than a peripheral role and that now it has none.
A girl from Chicago complained to someone there about the problem. She was told that if she’s the only victim, they won’t listen, she should find others.She reached out to other girls and identified another victim. Chicago Rabbanim are informed that there’s another victim.

May 9-11 At the Torah Umesorah Convention Rav Zev Cohen, representing the CBD, asks Rav Aharon Feldman to act as the victims’ formal representative. He agrees.

R. Gottesman calls Rav Gartner in the name of the CBD to discuss convening a BD in EY to take this over. Rav Gartner proposes the dayanim.

CBD meet with Meisels who admits some inappropriate physical contact.

May 19 -- CBD issues it’s ruling of 7 guidelines that include removing Meisels from involvement in the seminaries and avoiding contact with the students. Therapy is required but there is no requirement to sell. No mention is made of any other staff involved. No warning is issued to the girls and permission is granted for the victims to go the the police if they want to so.

June 12 -- R Gottesman and RZ Cohen fly to Israel on behalf of the  CBD, with Rav Aharon Feldman on behalf of the girls; with R' Gottesman and Rav Zev Cohen present and involved in drafting the shtarei beirurin, Rav Aharaon Feldman, Meisels, and the school representatives sign shtarei beirurin with kabalas kinyan, etc, for IBD to handle the case. Clearly handing the responsibility of the case to the IBD. Rav Feldman agrees to be the representatives of the victims for the IBD as he was for the CBD Shtar Borerus

June 30 – Apparently in light of the lack of cooperation of CBD, IBD sends an email to R Gottesman - as the representative of the CBD - that they are meeting that evening, and if the CBD has something to say, this would be the opportunity to do so.

R' Gottesman sends an email in response to IBD - in the name of the CBD [including Rav Levine] - which makes claims which are severely at variance with the original understanding between the IBD and CBD regarding the respective roles and jurisdiction of the IBD and CBD. It claims that the CBD still has full jurisdiction over the case in all areas including all matters  relating to changes in the seminaries and arranging for compensation of the victims. It also clearly acknowledges that the CBD asked the IBD to be involved in the case but claiming it was only for the purpose of reorganization of the Amutah. It also claims that the shtar borerus was signed at the suggestion of the CBD but only to reorganize the Amutah. He requests that these changes be done quickly so that the CBD will proceed as the sole body to have jurisdiction of the IBD and that they drop out of the picture entirely because they no longer will be needed. Consequently the CBD sees no purpose in further discussion about the role of the IBD is this matter because it has none and that the CBD had notified the IBD of this 4 days before on June 26. Finally that the CBD intends to issue a second psak on the matter which will supersede the one of May 19th. This would explain why there has been no sharing of data by the CBD because they claim - contrary to what Rav Zev Cohen told Rav Feldman - the CBD never intended to share the information.

R' Gottesman also sends a second email that day announcing that the CBD has issued a 2nd psak. While it again acknowledges that it had asked for assitance from the IBD in the Meisels case  but since Meisels now  agrees to abide by the psak of the CBD  - there is no longer any need for the IBD to be involved in the case. [Apparently Meisels had not agreed to abide to their psak previously.]While expressing gratitude for the help they again insist that they have retained full jurisdiction in this case and there is no further role for the IBD. It is not clear whether the CBD authorized R Gottesman to send these letters since they did not send any letters stating such allegations on their letterhead nor did the CBD sign the letters. On the other hand they have never denied that these letters were authorized.

July 3 – IBD sends their response to the CBD and Gottesman’s emails strongly criticizing the emails from Gottesman (CBD).Response of IBD to R Gottesman's letters

July 10 – CBD first public letter stating that the IBD had assumed the case but that they viewed the seminaries as unsafe at the present time and did not recommend girls attending the seminaries

July 13 – IBD first public letter - a month after they had taken on the case. They declare that the CBD had requested through the agency of Rav Feldman ,  Rav Cohen and   R Gottesman to establish a beis din to hear the claims and to make decisions regarding compensation as well as to make changes in the seminary program. That the staff of the seminaries has accepted the IBD's to do such and they have promised to obey all requests. They also declare that the seminareis are now completely safe because of the removal of Meisels  They said they now will start evaluating the actual claims for the purpose of establishing compensation and to recommend changes in the seminaries.

July 14 – CBD letter to HTC not to recognize the seminaries

About July 24 – transfer of schools to Yaakov Yarmish is finalized. An earlier demand by R Gottesman that the seminaries by sold to him had been rejected. Another proposed deal of purchase by Yaakov Yarmish in conjunction with a friend who is associated with Torah U' Mesorah falls through when the friend backs out. The CBD had promised that the warning against the seminaries would be removed if it were sold - but the CBD reneges on its promise without explanation.

July 25 – IBD’s psak post-sale. Some of the points they mare are: That since they have thoroughly questioned the staff  - they have found no basis of concern for students to attend these seminaries. They request that Touro provide college credits for the courses. They ban predatory recruiting. They prohibit slandering the seminaries. They strongly criticize R Gottesman for meddling in this matter

 July 31 – Rav Aharon Feldman's “Chillul Hashem” letter questioning why the IBD had not requested information from the CBD. This assertion is based on what Rav Zev Cohen told Rav Feldman. He questions why Rav Malinowitz had publicly stated that the CBD had refused to share information and notes that he can't believe that Rav Cohen would lie. He also suggests that the IBD and CBD form a joint beis din. 

August 1-2 – IBD strong formal response to Rav Aharon Feldman 

At that point all hell had broken loose...


  1. OK. So in conclusion the CBD thought they need the IDB to pressure meisels but now don't need them so they should step down. All your posturing about who signed what and who should be in charge has now been shown to be irrelevant.
    You claim to be impartial? Now is your chance to point out on your public blog that not only have the IBD had no contact with the abused girls but they are mind blowingly taking the word of some of the staff who either knew about it and kept silent or didn't know and are incompetent.

  2. @Davidhame - you still don't get it. There is no evidence to support the CBD's claim against the IBD. Why doesn't the truth matter? Furhtermore what is the CBD doing to help - aside from destroying the seminaries as well as the reputation of the victims as well as the rest of the students.

    If you have any evidence or even claims about any staff please contact the IBD.or the police The IBD has said they will investigate it and deal with it. The Staff has agreed that they will obey the IBD. The CBD has no power or influence of the seminaries.. If you don't believe the IBD then go to the police.

    So pleast stop repeating irrelevancies. Either present the evidence or be quiet.

  3. there is a letter circulating around supposedly by a therapist severely critical of a staff member. If in fact the letter is valid it is highly irresponsible to simplly publish it anonymously on a blog. It should be reported to the IBD or to the police. If the therapist wishes to contact me to verify the information or he is too shy to speak directly to either the IBD or the police- I would be willing to be an intermediary.

    As it stands now it is simply slander and is not helping anyone. I have no plans of publishing such a letter without knowing that it is valid and that there is a real therapist behind it.

  4. Never trust anonymous garbage.

  5. "At that point all hell had broken loose..."

    So what is the status today of the two cases and the two butei dinim?

  6. It's hard to believe this entire issue revolves around jurisdiction when we have seen comments from both batei din that they disagree with the positions of the other! For example if cbd is correct about the seminaries not being safe can't they issue their psak regardless of jurisdiction?

  7. 1. If Meisels agreed to the jurisdiction of the CBD, the CBD still has no jurisdiction over the seminaries as the seminaries are no longer owned by Meisels.

    2. The CBD hasn't offered evidence that Meisels formally agreed to their jurisdiction and exactly to what issues he supposedly agreed to their jurisdiction. If this is in fact the case, the CBD should have a signed agreement from Meisels. In the absence of such an agreement, they cannot claim jurisdiction even over Meisels.

  8. I can't imagine that a serious and competent therapist wouldn't sign his name. If he is willing to publicly call out a person, then he must stand behind his accusations. Not standing behind his accusations and anonymously slandering people, sounds more like the Baryonish behavior the IBD wrote about.

  9. If one follows the paper trail, there appears to be a serious flaw in the assertion that "The CBD claims that the shtar borerus of the IBD was in fact initiated by them - but only to make changes in the amutah - and nothing else. Therefore the CBD claims the IBD never had more than a peripheral role and that now it has none."

    From the timeline, that would be based on R. Gottesman's June 30 emails.

    However, on July 10, long after those emails, the CBD itself issued it's first public letter, in which the CBD clearly affirms the jurisdiction of IBD, apparently concurring the IBD's flat rejection of R. Gottesman's presentation of events and his attempts to limit their role.

  10. @elmandan - that is not psak but an advisory. You don't need a beis din for that. However it does seem that both the CBD and I BD view this a a psak

    The basic issue is sharing the data that is the basis of the advisory. if the IBD has jurisdicition than they should have access.to that information.

  11. Another point: if it is indeed true that R. Gottesman was making a bid to purchase the seminaries (I have no evidence of this at all, I am trusting that RDE confirmed the veracity of this before posting it), it calls into question the validity of hi role in this process. The CBD was clearly relying on him and using him as their emissary and he was working with them. How broker could he possibly have been if his intention was to have his hand in the till?

  12. I apologise. Maybe I am not saying this right. This is about the VICTIMS. The people the ibd have no contact with. Your position is mind boggling. You are asking me for evidence that that the guards of the hen house knew about the fox inside but where is your evidence that they didn't? How can you possibly support any conclusions where the hens aren't involved. Where the head guard actually tells them to be silent. This is the definition of a coverup. The victims are ignored so there can be no evidence so that the powers that be can just bury everything in the sand and carry on as usual.

  13. @David hame - yes this is about the victims. I have repeatedly made that point - apparently you either don't pay attention to what I say or you don't read most of it.

    Iit is also about the seminaries. But most of all it is a question of how our community gives protection and justice and grows from problems instead of self-destructing..

    You don't get carte blance by declaring that all that you are doing is for the sake of the victims.

  14. Your account contradicts the letters from Rav Feldman that you have published in one important respect. He claims he was authorized by CBD to act as a liaison with the IBD, and was asked by Rav Shafran (not clear whether as an individual or on behalf of the IBD) asked him to be a formal to'en for the victims. A procedure he claims he thought was strange, but acceded to out of respect for Rav Shafran. According to Rav Feldman neither the CBD nor the victims appointed him to speak on behalf of the victims, nor did he have any knowledge of their specific claims.

    There are two things I find extraordinarily puzzling about this. One is why the Chicago BD convened the IBD in the first place, if they didn't want to give them any of the information. If they didn't trust these dayanim, why didn't they convene a different BD? Israel has no shortage, B"H, of talmidei chachamim to pick from.

    The other is, according to both Rav Feldman and the material you have published from the IBD, the IBD never heard the details of the victims claims, either from the CBD or the victims themselves or an authorized representative of the victims. That being the case, how could they decide anything about the case? They were lacking crucial information. If the CBD "handed off" a case to them without the needed information they should have refused to take it.

  15. Rabbi Eidensohn, you missed a very important date in your timeline.
    July 2-3 the Chicago Beis Din, this time with the involvement of R Avraham Chaim Levine, Rosh Yeshiva of Telshe CHicago, was in touch with Rabbi Meisels, and insisted that he sell the seminaries, a condition that was previously not part of the deal. They promised that if this condition was met, they would consider the entire thing finished, and the seminaries would be able to continue. Additionally, they threatened that although this was a new condition, if it was not met, they would put out a letter declaring the seminaries unsafe. Rabbi Meisels has a letter signed by Rabbi Fuerst that he agrees to this, and in fact had requested it. Although Rabbi Meisels was in the category of a person who is forced against his will to do something, he was nevertheless working to fulfill their requirements, and they were in constant touch, and aware that this was being done, and even named the buyer. As the first sale was almost complete, with Fuersts and Zev Cohens approval, they put out that terrible first letter..(the first of many thwarted attempts to do as they wanted..) I believe that that is when those involved saw the light..THE CHICAGO BEIS DIN DIDN'T WANT THINGS TO WORK OUT, THEY HAD AN AGENDA, AND THIS WOULD NOT ALLOW THEM TO ACHIEVE IT

  16. We have spent the morning investigating this. We know now who this person is. He is 27. He is a therapist in training. The staff person indeed reported him to the police as a student was with him at 3 am. What therapist sees people at 3 am? the "therapist" retaliated against this staff person an against a different menahel. Very good judgement call not to print the "therapist" letter. and now it is clear why he did not sign it.

  17. so you might inform the IBD about the contents of the letter, since you are in such a good standing with them.

  18. 1. Correct.

    2. But in the presence of such an agreement the IBD cannot claim jurisdiction over meisels. Something to keep in mind.

  19. I can't imagine that a serious and competent commenter on a blog wouldn't sign his name. If he is willing to publicly call out a person, then he must stand behind his accusations. Not standing behind his accusations and anonymously slandering people, sounds more like the Baryonish behavior the IBD wrote about.

  20. Publicly admitting that there is a serious problem in a seminary and getting relevant staff to admit responsibility is not self destructive. It is the only way forward.

    Not making a psak halacha without a thorough investigation including those making the claims is not destructive. It is ABC. Deciding a psak after talking to those possibly responsible and with their jobs on the line is most certainly self destructive.

    How can you claim it is about the victims when their account is not even part of the case? You can't just claim that because meisles has gone they are no longer relevant! Self destruction is allowing a sem that by all definitions failed their charges just continue without being held accountable!

  21. "with Rav Aharon Feldman on behalf of the girls"

    True, but not the whole story. R' Feldman, in his rabbinic position in Torah Umesorah, was regarded as the meta-signer for the CBD as well. Throughout the May 19th hearing, the CBD repeated a number of times that they are coming b'shlichus of TUM and its rabbonim, and mentioned RAF specifically. They viewed themselves as an extension of TUM and working on their behalf. This was underlined in their May 19th "Guidelines," which made a point of tying their work to TUM.

  22. a) The IBD was a Gottesman ploy to steal the seminaries from Meisels. He wanted to use the IBD to accomplish this. Since they are a serious beis din, not like his cronies in Chicago, this didn't work out the way he had hoped.

    b) Meisels's guilt was stipulated. Info re. the claimants and re. the staff was supposed to be passed on from Chicago. They did not pass it on, most likely b/c it does not exist.

  23. Gottesman wasn't trying to purchase the seminaries; he was trying to extort them. Once that effort was blocked, he tried to have his TUM colleague Bloom "buy" them. Since it was unlikely Meisels would ever see a dime from that sale, which was just the same extortion under another guise, he sold to Yarmish instead. At that point, the efforts of Gottesman and CBD turned to closing down the schools.

  24. @davidhume - you keep repeating your claims - I say that is not what happened. You repeat again.
    There really is no purpose.to continue. We can't even agree on what happened

  25. "Since they are a serious beis din, not like his cronies in Chicago,..."

    That's actually setting the bar too high. Let me amend it.

    Since they are yorei shomayim, not like his cronies in Chicago ...

  26. 2. But in presence of the fact that such an agreement has not been hand to and published by frum follies, the CBD has no jurisdiction over Rabbi Meisels. Something to keep in mind.

  27. Why should he inform anyone about a possibly conconcted letter with no return address? Is that the standard of evidence you'd like the beis din to consider?

  28. Whether you or I know that he signed a shtar has no bearing. Either he did or he didn't. The publishing of the agreement does not change jurisdiction. The only thing to choose is who YOU will believe. So don't make it seem that bc the (alleged) shtar was not publicized chicago has no jurisdiction And publicizing your opinion does not require jurisdiction. Something to keep in mind.

  29. After Meisel's agreed to the CBD conditions (June 30) and the IBD described it's far-reaching authority (July 3), the CBD acknowledged the IBD's jurisdiction and authority on July 10!

  30. Look at the documents: After Meisel's agreed to the CBD conditions (June 30) and the IBD described it's far-reaching authority (July 3), the CBD acknowledged the IBD's jurisdiction and authority on July 10!

  31. The Anti-Torah ChareidimAugust 20, 2014 at 2:01 AM

    to Ari Davis,

    Rabbi Eidensohn is evidently so in the bag for the IBD that he cant even begin to give a coherent answer to your achingly pressing and essential questions. And I USED TO respect Rav Eidesohn's principled objectivity. NOT ANYMORE . He has tragically revealed himself to be utterly incapable of evaluating the logical and devastatingly clear critiques you present. Specifically, you expose the IBD's incoherent legal process of "paskening" without hearing either from the victims or a respresresentative that was chosen by them i.e NOT Rav Feldman who admits he was chosen without a.single victim's consent. Rav Feldman further EXPlLICITY states that he represents NO ONE who does not wish to be represented by him and further that he knows nothing of the facts of the case!!!!!!

  32. The relevant parts are extremely clear cut. Which part of what happened could we possibly be disagreeing on?

    What we are disagreeing on is the ability and right of the ibd to be involved when they have no access to and don't represent the victims. They can't possibly even know the details of what happened!
    The fact that you support them in spite of this shows that you need to do some serious thinking.

    We also disagree on the fact that you don't think the sems should accept responsibiliy or even acknowledge what happened. That means you support a cover up. Another thing for you to have a long think about.

    I'm going to assume that you agree that meisles started the sems in order to take advantage of the students. Surely you can't seriously claim that his purpose was to spiritually enlighten them.

    The only, but only explanation for your position is if you don't believe the abuse took place.

  33. @Davidhame - you clearly misunderstand my views and you don't have a grasp of what the IBD has done either. I don't think you have an understadning of what happened or a grasp of what needs to be done - either in terms of a fair investigation or resolving this situation.

    Yes I believe abuse has taken place but no I don't believe he started the seminaries as described in the RICO suit. No body has presented evidence for that.

  34. a) You have repeated that accusation often without offering any proof. And I am sure had that really been the goal, the CBD could, unfortunately, have found a beit din in Israel to go along.

    b) has nothing to do with my question. How could the IBD, or any other beit din, issue a ruling on a case without ever hearing what the claims of the plaintiffs are? If the facts are has been described why didn't the IBD just say: "We were asked by the CBD to decide the case, but since they didn't give us the required information we are unable to rule." They could even have added a Cherem against Chicago if they felt it warranted, but they still can't decide a case without hearing the plaintiffs' claims can they?

  35. Cute reply. I claim to be an anonymous commenter, nothing else. I allow my words to speak for themselves.

    However, if I felt that my words were insufficient to speak for themselves and I needed backing, I'd better bring proper backing. If the support I would bring to nonsensical claims would be that I'm a rov and a rebbe (as one CBD supporter claimed), or that I'm therapist, I'd better bring verifiable proof that this is indeed the case. As long as I don't bring verifiable proof that I'm a rov and rebbe or that I'm a therapist, then my words have to be taken at face value - without the support of my claimed expertise.

    This claimed "therapist" does not bring verifiable proof that he's a therapist. Therefore, all logical non koolaid drinking people would not trust his supposed credentials, and takes his claims as is. As is, his claims are very, very, very week and nonsensical.
    The case being that logical people don't trust his claims, why would he claim to be a "therapist"? Obviously just a game in deciet!

  36. "However it does seem that both the CBD and I BD view this a a psak"

    Are you referring to the CBD's July 10th letter? Where do you see that the IBD considers it a psak? I don't think they look at it as a psak at all. More in the nature of a proclamation of three private individuals, without any כח of beis din. They may even have characterized it as having been made shelo k'din, but I don't remember for certain, and don't have time right now to look through their letters for the reference. In any case, certainly not a psak of any kind.

  37. Why are you assuming that the IBD has not heard evidence from the student victims? That is presumptuous.

  38. a) The IBD makes clear references to "hanging a person and forcing him to sell" and called out Gottesman as a Baryon.

    b) Simple. Could the IBD declare MIchlallah safe? How about Darchei Binah? How about any other seminary? In the context of this specific case, yes, they could.

    1) There is a recording of the CBD accusing Meisels and his confession. That part was repeated to the IBD.

    2) Besides for the above actual evidence and facts, the CBD is claiming new evidence. Well, if so, why aren't they sharing it? Who even gave them permission to hear this case (Psachim 113)? As long as they're stonewalling, their accusations are completely not credible and the seminary resumes its chezkas kashrus since Mesiels has been removed.

  39. The IBD spoke to the administrators who know who the victims are and their contact info. It isn't rocket science for the IBD to have gotten victim info from the schools and then contact victims.

  40. Wait, you believe that the CBD is refusing to turn their info over and at the same time believe that the IBD has access to that info. Have they hacked the chicago computers?

  41. a) The proof to my accusation will emerge, at the right time and in the right forum.

    b) They are capable of doing an investigation of their own, by contacting young ladies from previous years, following the same path Chicago has supposedly taken. They plan to begin on this task, as is their mandate.

  42. You are just making many assumptions. That the individual victims are known to the sem. That there is a magic list of all the girls who reported their suspicions to the staff over the years and were ignored. That the staff would want to tell the beis din about these girls so that the girls could then accuse them. According to dt's latest post, that these girls would fly back to Israel just to give testimony again. Please do not just make very far fetched assumptions which contradict the evidence. Just consider that these assumptions are incorrect. What do you think of the ibd now?

  43. Where did I say anything about Chicago turning info over?

  44. You've been telling us about your forthcoming "proof" for several weeks now, it has been "forthcoming" for quite some time. Since you obviously are privy to much inside information (unless you are a liar, which is utterly inconceivable, heaven forbid! no one would risk their anonymous online reputation like that), would you kindly let us know an approximate timetable and "forum" to expect these bombshell revelations to be made so we can go back to our daily lives instead of hanging on your every word hoping you let some secret slip.

  45. So far as I recall, I said nothing ever about forthcoming proof. If you can point to the comment, please do.

    Even here, I do not promise the proof, which in fact I have no intention of delivering. I simply state that it will emerge in the proper forum, which it will. This blog is not the proper forum.

    You are perfectly free to go back to your daily life, if indeed you possess one, which I doubt. Contrary to your assumption, I owe neither you nor anyone else the slightest proof to anything I write. As I've stated several times, you are free to disbelieve my comments. I see my purpose here as opening minds to the truth about this case. That presupposes a mind that can be opened. You do not fall into that category.

  46. Shouldn't they have done so before issuing any ruling?

  47. Their ruling stated clearly that there is still more work to do. But to protect the seminaries from the attacks of the reshaim trying to destroy them, they were forced to issue an interim psak. Had they waited, the rishus of Chicago might have been successufl. On the Binas conference call, they explained the basis for their decision, and discussed the various shemiros they were considering to ensure the students' safety. Had the baryonim not tried to destroy the schools, the IBD certainly would have completed their work before issuing any psak at all. Their hand was forced by the עושי רשע.

  48. The CBD wasn't the victims either. And how does Meisels' confession help them address the issue of how the other staff members who were told by the victims reacted? How do they even know that the staff members they questioned were the ones who the girls talked to?

  49. So far as I recall, I said nothing ever about .... If you can point to the comment, please do.

    This has been the modus operandi of Moshe in his comments. Misquoting, concocting things and just plain deciet.

  50. Huh? Do you care to explain yourself? Please quote the part of my comment you are responding to.

    Again, there has to be a specific accusation, which doesn't have a strong "rei-isa" in order for there to be suspicion. In light of the fact that there was an accusation and confession, and then afterwards was the supposed accusations new "crimes" as well as crimes of staff.

    Whereas the supposed accusers and the tribunal which supposedly heard their claims are hiding their new accusations (as opposed to the old ones, which included a confession).

    Whereas the CBD representative Gottesman threatened R. Meisles that if he doesn't sell him the seminaries he will create this shameful campaign.
    Therefore, there is a super strong rei-isa in any of the accusations against the staff.

    Whereas, the IBD has instilled many new safeguards, supervision and monitoring of the seminaries.
    Therefore, the seminaries are safe, without any concern.


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