Sunday, August 17, 2014

Seminary Scandal: Joe McCarthy also had a list he wouldn't reveal

The present seminary scandal reminds me of the Joe McCarthy's hunt for communists. As shown below he insisted he had the name of those who had infiltrated sensitive government agencies - but he refused to share the information. I well remember the fear of communists as well as the reliance on rumors or associations - which caused a reign of terror in American in the 1950's. The fear of doing anything which would cause people to make accusations of communism caused people to avoid friends or family members and to allow the bullying of many in the name of patriotism. The rejection of the rule of law, of the right to fair trial, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty - did much damage to the fabric of American society. 

I sense a similar fear in air, there are suspicions everywhere, there are anonymous documents taken for fact, there are rabble rousers who are making accusations based on inferences, erroneous deductions and lies. The guilty need to be found - but the paranoia which has developed and the readiness to assume guilt without any meaningful evidence or the normal rules of a fair trial has to be stopped.

If anyone has evidence of abuse or even suspicions of abuse - they need to contact either the Israel Beis Din or the police. It is not acceptable to simply make comments on blogs - either anonymously or by name. It is not intelligent to make drastic change in plans of seminary or shidduchim or even friendship based on wild rumours. We have means of establishing the truth and protecting the vulnerable - but it needs to be done in a mature, lawful manner to protect the innocent and correctly label the guilty.


  1. Asher pihem diber shavAugust 17, 2014 at 5:15 PM

    Isn't it your website, and Lopin's website, the reason this story is still being discussed ?

  2. This is a very valuable perspective. I have personally corresponded with RDE about some of these allegations. I am in a different category from many of you- I have a daughter enrolled in one of these seminaries, and our decisions as to whether to send her or not is a life changing decision. This is not a theoretical discussion to us . This is actual, vital, necessary and fundamental.
    We need real information. People who are posting speculation, rumors, exaggerations and lies are doing real damage to people like ourselves and our children.
    And, I want to publicly thank RDE for following up on rumors and blogs which I shared with him, tracking them down to their sources, discerning facts from fiction and taking the less sensational but emesdik way to help people like our selves. We are grateful beyond words.

  3. This is a story with great ramifications for all schools, for all teachers, and for all children. Of course, it is quite a compliment to say that everybody talks about it because of this blog, but if that was the case, it means nobody cares about schools, teachers and children. So people care, and the want to know what happened, and they have no way of finding out. In earlier generations in such a case the Gadol HaDor or other Gedolim would immediately step in a clarify things. But today who will get involved except people like my brother who have more guts than I have?

  4. How many girls do the affected seminaries have on a usual year?

  5. I could argue that there's rabble rousing and anonymous sourcing on your side, as well.

    Second, how do you know that the police hasn't been contacted?

    Third, how do you know that victims haven't contacted the IBD?

  6. Asher pihem diber shavAugust 17, 2014 at 8:06 PM

    Don't get me wrong. I applaud your brother for keeping people in check. Making sure people do the right thing. Attacking people who don't. "Lo taguru Bifnei ish". However, I am not sure how he does so, without occasionally taking the wrong side. I am sure he has it all figured out.

    In this case, I have already voiced my opinion. (For the record I am a Am Ha'aretz, and am not privy to all the facts of the case). It is not a beis din's place to judge on the voice of psulim le'edus. Nashim, ketanim. It is also not a halachic method to force a sale. The individuals who have been affected, and know them to be true, should be given a platform to announce the misdeeds, to others would possibly be affected. This would be Lashon Hora, with a great Toeles.

    Batei Din paskening based on what they believe is right "as a Geder" even without "Edus", even though it has some halachic relevance, is a slippery slope. It should be reserved for the biggest chachamim, in the most severe cases. Otherwise, we can all ask, how do we know that this whole story is true? It makes a mockery of BD.

    In this day an age, with psak of BD allowing people to beat up a NON EXISTING recalcitrant husband, psak of a BD without a Hazmana, BD where no one ever heard of the Dayanim, Special Batei Dinim, we need to make sure that EVERYTHING is based on Halacha. We also must insist that all BD publish their Piskei Din. This will keep everyone honest.

  7. "Life changing decision??" Why is which seminary, or even a seminary, a "life changing decision"?? Is this about shidduchim?

  8. Reb Dovid, you seem to have quite a bit of guys yourself when you take on the divorce and Get mafia!

  9. A bunch of conjecture and fear-mongering questions. How do you know...

    And the McCarthyism continues....

  10. the schools lost about ten percent..the different schools range in the area of about 50-60 students each

  11. A lot of girls of complete life-altering (for better!) experiences.

  12. If they have 90% of their enrolled student body showing up this coming seminary yea, that is excellent considering everything that's happened.

  13. @Jasper you are entitled to be wrong if you insist.
    I generally trace things back to the source and know who my informants are. If you really thing I am rabble rousing I don't understand by you keep reading my blog.

    The CBD did not mention the police except in the May guidelines and only as an option if the victim was interested. No recommendations for them to go.

    None of my contacts - who are aware of what is going on in the IBD -have mentioned the victims contactiing them. It could be they did but I just hear repeated complaints about the CBD denying them access to the victims.

  14. Unbelievable. There is only one beis din that has investigated in depth with the actual victims. They decided meisles is guilty. They decided that the sems are still not safe (presumably because some of the staff were incompetent). These are the current facts. By ignoring these two conclusions and ludicrously supporting the bes din that did NOT interact with the victims you are doing a great disservice. You talk a lot about jurisdiction and internal politics but you just breeze over the simple facts.
    To make matters worse the sems have taken no responsibility, sent no letter to parents or girls besides one that can only be described as a threat to keep silent, and have refused to give refunds.
    You claim to want to help the abused but you are just aiding in a huge cover up. Where is your post condeming the IBD and seminaries for not publically recognising the problems with a frank letter to current, past and future students? A letter asking for more girls to come forward. Where is the post condeming the horrendous letter the principle sent out to the students?

  15. I have a fair number of children, Baruch Hashem. Ever hear the expression: "formative years"? the seminary years are formative years. I have had children in BJJ, Hadar, and Bnos Chavah. Each was different, Each needed something different to grow. Each grew into their own understanding of Yahadus, and each turned out as a individual different from the siblings, with their own frum hashkafos. This girl needs some hadracha in hashakfa which we understand from friends who went there in the past, (and were very very satisfed) is just what Chedvas offers. Impressionable like most girls of 18, we do consider the right school to be instrumental in helping her with life changing decisions.

  16. @Davidhame - you are simply blasting away without paying attention to the facts. Anyone who could make the erronenous statement that only one beis din investigated this in depth and - declared Meisels as guilty - is absurd. No one has said he is innocent. There is a significant problem of guilty of what for which the CBD has been forthcoming despite their "in depth investigation" Nor did they see fit to publicize for 3 months. Your black and white summary has nothing to do with the facts of the case. No one is denying point one. Point two is clearly a point of contention. If CBD thinks staff is dangerour then they should either turn that information over to the IBD since they can do nothing other than try to close the seminaries down. Or contact the police. You are the one who blinded to the reality of what can actually be done to help. The CBD is stonewalling with the result that the seminary girls are not being helped. The seminaries are not functioning at optimal level - and the CBD refuses to explain why they are stonewalling IT HELPS NO ONE except for those who would benefit from a pool of students who need a seminary if their seminary clsoes. Please pay attention to all the facts

  17. Wow, you have a very strange definition of facts.

    How could the IBD investigate when they never spoke to the students who were abused? Your position is ludicrous.
    How can you possibly say the sem is safe when it won't even take responsibility for what happened? When there have been no staff changes? Are you trying to say that you think it is logical for the sem to just continue with no changes in staff or procedure as if this never happened?

    The sem doesn't need to close but very very clearly it needs to make drastic changes specially with the staff who were meant to be responsible! Either they knew in which case they were guilty or they didn't in which case they are incompetent. Why are you insistent that this is all brushed under the carpet and everything just goes on as if nothing happened?

    Your whole argument is based on the fact that the CBD won't explain themselves to you and you therefore don't trust them. I'm sorry to say that they have no obligation to you. All you have to know is that they questioned the students and the IBD did not. Therefore they know what happened and the IBD does not. It is very very clear cut.

    Stop trying to defend the jobs of a few of the staff. The girls come first. If the sems have to close they have to close. Either that or they need a huge shakedown. They were started by a guy who wanted to get girls away from their parents so he could abuse them. That is an incontestable fact. How can you just carry on his model.
    The principle of one of the sems actually sent the girls an email telling them to keep quiet about what happened. And you think he is a suitable responsible head? Unbelievable.

  18. McCarthy was right about the Communists. The current Communist type takeover of America is the result of academic Communists that wreaked havoc on American higher education and poisoned the mind of the intellectual elites.

  19. Daas Torah,

    I believe that you are confusing 2 concepts.

    Concept #1 - For Bais Din to require the seminary to refund the
    deposits, there would need to be evidence that the staff of the seminaries knew all along what was going on.

    Concept # 2 - However, for any person to be willing to send their
    daughter to this seminary, it is reasonable for the parent to require having
    evidence – in the opposite direction - that the staff of the seminaries did not
    know what was going on.

    In conclusion, since at this time there does not seem to be evidence in either direction - whether or not the seminary staff knew what was going on - therefore, it would make sense for Bais Din to rule that the deposits do not need to be refunded, however, on the other hand it would be reasonable for a parent to NOT send their daughters to this seminary until there is convincing evidence that the staff did not know what was going on. And it would also be reasonable for a Rabbi to advise his follower to not send his daughter to this seminary.

    Again, I know nothing about this case or the people involved, however, every person has the right to take precautions, and a concerned Rabbi could
    advise his follower to take precautions. If there is a case of reasonable doubt how can you blame people for not wanting to send their daughter there?


  20. If your issue is that beis din should not accept the "eidus" of nashim and ketanim in this case that is directly against widely accepted psak halacha in cases like these. It is true two kosher eidim are required in many kinds of dinei torah - but not in every kind of din torah. You should leave these issues to the batei din.

  21. You know what I'd like to see? Accusation insurance. An educator with this insurance agrees to follow a simple protocol of keeping a physical distance between himself and students, not being isolated with a student, etc. Then, if there's an accusation, he gets money to hire an attorney to swing into action and defend him and who will also file a countersuit against the false accuser. I am already involved in a program like this for the farm I have. I raise goats and there is an organization that has a lawyer to help me if I have a legal challenge to my agricultural activity. I will also be getting insurance for a farmers market I'm starting. The prices for these insurance programs are low because many people are part of the plans. We could get hundreds of teachers to carry this type of insurance and that would put a crimp in the style of any would-be false accusers.

  22. the difference being that if the CBD reveals the names of the girls who were molested to the ibd, there is a risk of the girls being harrassed. Furthermore, it might be that the CBD promised non-disclosure to the molested girls, and it would be a grave breech of trust (also of law?) to pass the names on to the IBD.

    Why is this so hard to understand? The CBD needs permission from the girls to pass their names on to the IBD. It might be that the girls have good reasons to refuse this request.

  23. Daas Torah,
    Did you reject my comment?


  24. Asher pihem diber shavAugust 18, 2014 at 10:41 PM

    Davidhame is making a lot more sense than you are.
    If everyone agrees that someone here is guilty of something in the sexual arena at a FRUM SEMINARY.
    1. No apology ?
    2. No refunds ?
    3. No taking responsibility ?
    4. It's now CBD's fault ???? What ???

    What in heavens name is going on ???

  25. Asher pihem diber shavAugust 18, 2014 at 10:55 PM

    Perhaps you want to tell me where they found in Halacha, that testimony of women is acceptable ? Where in the Torah of ours did they derive it from ? Or is it three guys sitting down saying " let's not be stupid, we know this guy is a creep. We have five girls telling us so". Is that how BD works ? Halacha ? Shulchan Aruch ? Why even have a BD ? Why even be mazmin him to a Din Torah ? He looks guilty, walks like a duck, let's get signatures, and put up signs all over Meah Shearim!!! We are tzaddikim !!!

  26. Asher..., Please get some knowledge of halacha before posting on this topic. Or at least have the decency to pick up your phone and call one of the big poskim who deal with this issue. Or maybe read through yeshurun volume 15 which is dedicated to this problem. Or r eidensohn's books(which i haven't read but assume discuss this). Or even read one of the many places online this is discussed and summerized. There is no reason why we should have to suffer through your ignorance.

  27. I have heard that the harassment is already happening.

  28. "Incontestable fact" that they were started to get girls away from their parents to abuse them???

    Are you basing that off the ridiculous Rico suit? Not only is it contested but it fails the laugh test.

    The extent of his guilt is hardly even established yet you proclaim "incontestable fact"

    He is out of the seminaries, the IBD has conducted numerous interviews with the staff and are completely open to removing people if they find it appropriate. Why wont the CBD share this information.

    How does it show that the staff was incompetent if they were unaware that something inappropriate took place. Contrary to your assumptions (or imaginations)of what took place, he admitted to not pushing away a troubled girl who initiated a comforting hug. This wasn't widespread but rather an isolated incident.

  29. Anyone who followed the weber an trial or the exile of the S. Family from Lakewood should have no trouble at all understanding why no names should ever be given over.

  30. @Jasper - so you have heard - but who is the source. Does your source claim that the IBD is harrassing victims? What are they supposedly doing?

    Of perhaps you are claiming that Meisels is harrrassing them or maybe the newspapers.

    What exactly are you trying to say?

  31. Neither. The teachers/staff harassed a victim who went to CBD. There are text messages and emails to back up the claim.

  32. @Jasper-did you see the text messages and emails? Assuming it is true what is the CBD doing to protect the victim? Is this is their justification for trying to destroy the seminary because they have no ability without the IBD's involvment of influencing the seminaries. If they have such evidence they should foward it to the IBD or to the police. The seminaries already have signed a shtar with the IBD but not with the CBD.

  33. Moe,
    I am basically protected in all of my attacks because all of the people I attack have signed letters that clearly show they know nothing about the laws of Gittin. I confirmed this by talking to some of them. They don't know the laws of Gittin so when I attacked them they had no defense. But my brother attacks people for doing things that people can deny and get away with it, and they and their followers can scream bloody murder and there is no signed letter to prove the point. This requires a certain genius and incredible guts. And I don't have them.

  34. Ashe pihem,
    In this day and age, are you not embarrassed to insist on honest Beth Dins? And if you are not embarrassed by that, do you really have the gall to insist on Beth Dins proving their sources and not inventing them?

  35. Asher pihem diber shavAugust 19, 2014 at 5:43 AM

    I don't hear an answer to my question. You seem tongue-tied. If you can't explain it, just say, I have no clue, but someone else does. Yeshurun does, Some book does. We are a Halacha based religion. If BD doesn't need to worry about Halacha, then why should anyone care what BD has to say !! RMF wrote his tshuvos in Igros Moshe. I don't recall him ever writing, we know better than Halacha.

  36. @Asher - please read Yeshurun 15 or my 3 seforim.

    שו"ע חושן משפט - סימן לה
    (יד) אשה, פסולה. וטומטום ואנדרוגינוס, פסולים מספק. וכל מי שהוא ספק כשר ספק פסול, הרי הוא פסול: הגה - וכל אלו הפסולים, פסולים אפילו במקום דלא שכיחא אנשים כשרים להעיד (הרשב"א בתשובה והרמב"ם בפ"ח מה' נזקי ממון וכ"כ הב"י), וכל זה מדינא, אבל י"א דתקנת קדמונים הוא דבמקום שאין אנשים רגילים להיות, כגון בב"ה של נשים או בשאר דבר אקראי שאשה רגילה ולא אנשים, כגון לומר שבגדים אלו לבשה אשה פלונית והן שלה, ואין רגילים אנשים לדקדק בזה, נשים נאמנות (ת"ה סי' שנ"ג ואגודה פ' י' יוחסין). ולכן יש מי שכתב דאפילו אשה יחידה, או קרוב או קטן, נאמנים בענין הכאה ובזיון ת"ח או שאר קטטות ומסירות, לפי שאין דרך להזמין עדים כשרים לזה, ואין פנאי להזמין (מהרי"ק שורש קע"ט ומהר"ם מריזבורג וכלבו סי' קט"ז). והוא שהתובע טוען ברי (מהרי"ק שורש כ"ג) (וע"ל סכ"ח סט"ו בהג"ה):

  37. " If BD doesn't need to worry about Halacha, then why should anyone care what BD has to say !!"

    Really?! bc you are too lazy too look up the sources given to you that explicitly give halachic justification for this you will make some ignorant statement like this. I guess you feel that anything that can't be dumbed down into a 3 line comment on a blog can't be true. And for your information a BD doesn't have to explain their psak unless a litigant wants to challenge it in a greater BD. R nissim karelitz's BD has a policy that they will NEVER write up a psak (but they'll say it orally). They're also probably "tongue tied". And since you seem to be such an expert in igros moshe, why don't you attack him also for the times he writes "kvar hora zakein" even when he disagrees.

  38. And how are teachers or principals to defend themselves if they are not given the names of their accusers? Think!

  39. "Again, I know nothing about this case"

    As you demonstrate with your every comment.

  40. I had one daughter who went to two of these schools and another who is enrolled for the coming year. My older daughter's experiences were life-changing in a positive way. I was shocked when I heard the allegations about Rabbi Meisels. We have made the decision to continue to send our next daughter to one of these schools since Rabbi Meisels is no longer there. I have spoken personally to some of the staff and feel that the school is a safe environment ESPECIALLY since Rabbi Meisels is gone and the spotlight is on the schools. Since no facts have been revealed, I have no idea what R. Meisels did do, but he is no longer there. These schools are unique and offer a growing experience for the students who attend them. (Please do not misconstrue my words and read them in ways they were not intended. It is almost impossible to post any viewpoint supporting these schools on these forums without getting blasted.)

  41. Much hatzlacha to you!

    It is almost impossible to post any viewpoint supporting these schools on these forums without getting blasted.

    How true. Especially if a sincere comment goes against a persons McCarthy agenda.


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