Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Seminary Scandal: A parent explains why he is sending his daughter to Chedvas

I have verified that this is from a parent who is sending his daughter to Chedvas. I welcome addtional comments by parents of either girls in the 4 seminaries or are planning on attending. Additionally from parents who have taken their daughters out or who have changed their minds about sending them.

Guest Post by neveyacyack •

Why we continue to support our decision to send our daughter to Chedvas.

We are Americans living in Israel, and have been for the past 17 years. Our daughter went to Charedi schools, up to and through 12th grade of a Bais Yaacov. She is an outstanding student and could have gone anywhere. She chose to go to Chedvas, as did some of her friends because:

- She knows many girls who went there in the past several years, and they all said the same thing: the staff is outstanding, each person is treated as an individual, the school places a strong emphasis on the American approach to Ahavas Yisroel and they deal with and answer all questions of hashkafa that thinking Americans have.

We have followed this blog and many others.
We have spoken to Rabbaim at Chedvas, and other schools.
We conferred with heads of other seminaries here who we know.
We have conferred with principals of American high schools for girls.

And, we had a rather long talk with Y. Yarmush.
We found him to be totally open and frank.
They are putting into place all the logical recommendations:
supervision of all staff, from top to bottom. Safeguards of all sorts. Procedures that would prevent any abuse or anything close to abuse.

Meisels has not been in Chedvas for at least 2 or 3 years. No matter who runs it, or owns it, we are positive that he will not be there.

There have been no verified complaints from Chedvas about any sexual advances by any staff people.

Chedvas remains full, and they do not anticipate any problem meeting its financial obligations.

If anything, the school will be stronger this year.

So, following our hearts, our heads, and the advice of several senior outstanding mechanchim, we will continue to support our decision to send our daughter to Chedvas

61 comments :

  1. At last we have a comment without tasking aspirins.

    ReplyDelete
  2. But your daughter will be comin to your home on shsbbat / other occasions, cause your local. (I know israelis think TA to yerushalsyim is a long trip ("bein ironi", my cousin used to say), but for americans, its the same as brooklyn to manhattan.

    ReplyDelete
  3. He hasn't been there in an active sense because with Chedvas, as well as with Kesser Chaya, he was merely the money man and not actively involved in chinuch (though he may have given shiurim on rare occasions). I don't know about Binas. His main chinuch role was at Peninim.

    ReplyDelete
  4. this is correct. nothing has changed in the seminary. His not being there had nothing to do with the scandal. Why should Meisels be there? it is across town, he wasn't on the teaching schedule, it is for a different style girl to an extent. He was the owner, not the all around lecturer.

    ReplyDelete
  5. correct. and I am sure she will be bringing an American each week. As will all the other Israeli Americans. I think that is a far better arrangement than girls having to scrounge for a place for Shabbos

    ReplyDelete
  6. Well written. I wish all the commenters would be this articulate and logical.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Question: what about the fact that the seminaries never apologized to the victims/ past alumni? What does that show ppl?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Moe not true- they believe it can ruin their daughters reputation. Also, they are still Meisles seminaries. If he wanted contact with any girl, we could do it in the blink of an eye.

    I believe this person writing this is someone in israel who sees things differently and perhaps not correctly. They also have an extra precaution bc their daughter's family is in israel. The majority of the girls are from America and are thousands if miles away.

    I do not think it is fair at all to take the words/advice of any parent in israel. They are in a completely diff posterior than most.

    ReplyDelete
  9. "There have been no verified complaints from Chedvas about any sexual advances by any staff people."

    Please elaborate.

    ReplyDelete
  10. @ Wowzers that has been discussed repeatedly - please read the previous comments

    ReplyDelete
  11. There is obviously some action that cbd wanted to see taken which was not taken. We don't know what exactly.

    ReplyDelete
  12. @Wowzers why do you think they are still Meisels seminaries.
    The CBD prohibited him to have any contact with the seminaries and the girls back in May. I have not heard that he has violated those prohibition - have you.


    I think a better rule than your of not taking advice from parents in Israel is not to take advice from anonymous commentators on a blog. Eveyone should get advice from people they know and trust

    ReplyDelete
  13. It means exactly what the English sentence's simple meaning is.


    No male other than Meisels was accused of or found to have had inappropriate contact with the girls.

    ReplyDelete
  14. No. It might mean there were no allegations even regarding Meisels in that seminary, as is the case regarding Keser Chaya. For some odd reason, the great investigators at the CBD did not differentiate between seminaries, but lumped all four into one group. The better to destroy them perhaps, or knock down their price.

    ReplyDelete
  15. The predator has been exposed. The discussion has now moved on to why the CBD sees fit to destroy the seminaries.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Asher Pihem Diber ShavAugust 13, 2014 at 10:00 PM

    I am not impressed. People are not smart. I remember how long it took for one of the Yeshivos in Brooklyn to get rid of one of their Rabbeim who was accused of molestation. 20+ years!! You heard it. It took a long time!! There was a beis din. They didn't find him guilty. They kept him as a rebbe for years. There were more allegations. No one got the news out. No one believed it. It was swept under the rug.

    I know NOTHING of this particular case. I do know that people are forgetful. People are trusting. People aren't smart, even with their kids. The main objective as a parent, and a school, is to PROTECT your kids. If you don't, you aren't a good parent or a good school. Regardless, of all your tzidkus. Regardless of what type of Shiddach you make.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Is that really the simple meaning?

    It says "[t]here have been no verified complaints". Had it meant there had been no complaints, wouldn't it read "[t]here have been no complaints"? The added word "verified" implies that there were complaints. If so, what was the nature of these complaints? Please recall that there really have been no "verified complaints" at all at any of the seminaries if we take "verified" in its simple meaning:
    1 : to confirm or substantiate in law by oath
    2 : to establish the truth, accuracy, or reality of
    -Merriam-Webster Dictionary app

    Seems fishy, given the high strung, word parsing level of debate.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Yes, it actually seems like that was getting the seminaries into Gottesmans hands....

    ReplyDelete
  19. yea... its all a conspiracy to take over the seminaries... what is this the jfk assassination??

    ReplyDelete
  20. And thankfully they weren't handed over to the Baryon Gottesman. And yes, this will be a lesson not to collaborate with baryonim and to teach people not to behave like a baryon.

    ReplyDelete
  21. yea... its all a cover up to forsake over the seminaries... what is this the jfk assassination??

    ReplyDelete
  22. Since it was relevant to me as a past parent, I asked Chicago if there were victims from Chedvas and they said no.

    ReplyDelete
  23. If there were no victims from Chedvas there is no one to apologize to...

    ReplyDelete
  24. No, it's a different kind of retzichah. The kind mentioned in the pasuk of הרצחת גם ירשת.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I meant no complaints at all. I said verified because I am tired of all the hearsay around here. As others have now written as well, and to be clear, no smoke, no fire. nothing. meisels was busy elsewhere.

    ReplyDelete
  26. thank you very much. It gives us added feeling of security and confidence to hear from past parents such as yourselves. We appreciate it.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I am a parent who was sending to Peninim. We did this under the assumption that it was a reputable school and that my daughter would receive college credits. At this time there is no reputation. Partially from what M. did and mostly from how the seminaries and others treated us. The lack of college credits is a deal breaker by itself. We should be entitled to a full refund. It is a mekach toas (bad transaction). It is sad that this is not obvious and we have to go to the effort of din torah. I was going to join the lawsuit, but my wife and father felt strongly that we shouldn't. We, as many of the parents are regular every day people who don't have a spare $8,000 to $10,000 on us on a regular basis. We did try to get into other seminaries, but we were turned down by 2 of them outright because of the Psak (I know, the psak doesn't say it outright, but many schools are understanding it this way). What should've happened is that the IBD should've said the seminaries are completely safe, but refunds will be give to whoever wants. At this point our daughter will stay home.
    The CBD has been very open with us and many other parents from the start. It took the schools weeks to give us any sort of straightforward answers.

    ReplyDelete
  28. If Meir Kahane heads Chedvas, and he's the same person that wrote that magical 'moshiach is coming' letter of two weeks ago, then this parent who is happily sending his daughter to the man's seminary has much worse problems than Kahane.

    ReplyDelete
  29. @Daniel if you say we ignore a history of great sucess in educating girls by spurious arguments - then your claim means something

    ReplyDelete
  30. @Meir Katz - If Peninim had the college credits restored would you still send your daughter? This is a very important issue and I would appreciate a full answer how you look at this.

    If I get you a letter from the IBD to accept your daughter would that make a difference?

    Finally did you ask a godol whether you are making the right choice. It is really is not a good idea for you daughter to stay home if there is an alternative.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Unbelievable... I found it fascinating how quick people were to judge Rabbi Kahane's over 20 years of incredible success in Jewish education, from a letter on some crazy web site, that they didn't know details about and background for. I was laughing (actually crying) at every silly criticism of him written on the blogs. If you knew him, or the details of that scammed letter, you would know how off the mark all of the critics were. The letter was basically a ploy of the bloggers and it worked (for those who fell for it). Rabbi Kahane's sterling reputation speaks for itself. I said it once and will say it again: Rabbi Kahane is an excellent educator and world class teacher well respected on every level of Jewish education (chinuch banos and banim, front line kiruv etc. etc.). Anyone in Jewish education will tell you that. Forget the letter. It does not reflect who he is and you are doing a disservice by bringing it up.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I understand at least one Rav on the Israeli Beis Din have made it clear -- to people I know -- that they are free to send their children elsewhere.


    Why is there "no reputation"? There is a fantastic staff with a long track record of success. Caught between a psak they received and a "psak" that may have no legitimacy, what was teh school to do? Cave in and close for no legitimate reason (as RDE has demonstrated)?


    As for the CBD, although they had/have been openly expressing their opinion to parents, who said that the guidance offered was responsible or that they even had a right to do so?


    Were they authorized to guide HTC to refuse to accredit the schools?


    That you didn't join the lawsuit speaks highly of you and your wife (although it is astonishing than anyone with an ounce of honesty would sign their name to the utter nonsense in the RICO filing).


    Perhaps it is time for you to turn elsewhere for independent advice and guidance.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Why is your daughter staying home better than going to Peninim? She gets no college credits to stay home either.

    ReplyDelete
  34. What I mean is that she will go to a local seminary and go to college at night. Peninim and the other schools involved are not an option for us. Chedvas happens to be a 2nd year program, so it wouldn't apply.

    ReplyDelete
  35. We have gotten plenty of independent advice. Most of it was to stay far away. The 2 rabbis that I have a long relationship with, are personally familiar with the CBD (I never heard of them before this) and say they are great, one of them added incorruptible. The RICO filing is not nonsense. The way they had was many steps too far, but the concept is sound. The schools, plus the new owner (don't agree about Rabbi Gartner though) are conspiring since this broke to not return any money. Without the CBD, I promise you this would've been swept under the rug. He would've stepped down and eventually come back. The staff is not so fantastic. According to the victims some of them knew. The IBD questioned the staff only and decided they didn't know. Doesn't work for me.

    ReplyDelete
  36. By the way, you are misinformed about the psak. The CBD was not asking them to close down. A big item (though it is not on the original May letter), was that specific people who knew or should have known step down. I spoke to Rabbi Burstyn from LA, who is a big booster of the seminaries (they even gave out his number to parents) and he explained that specific people were approached by the victims, but because they weren't trained, they didn't take the complaints seriously.

    ReplyDelete
  37. But she keeps her reputation.

    ReplyDelete
  38. We probably wouldn't. She will likely go to a local seminary and college at night. Everything else doesn't sit well with us either. My daughter is the type who is a little trusting. She was convinced how great M. was after a short interview, and she was initially angry at us when we told her the problem. It is true that they will be under a microscope this year, but at this point she said she will view alot of things said at these seminaries as hypocritical. I would like a letter from the IBD that the seminaries are safe and they allow the schools to give full refunds to those who don't want to send.

    ReplyDelete
  39. @Meir Katz - someone sent me the following

    I'm not sure what he means by "The CBD has been very open with us and many other parents from the start. It took the schools weeks to give us any sort of straightforward answers."

    The CBD didn't make their announcement until a long time after registration to schools was sealed and closed. And the seminaries were not ambiguous in any way. They claimed from the start that they were safe, that Meisels was no longer part of the staff , and that there was no need for concern. (The CBD made Meisels sign a statement of resignation sometime in late June or early July).

    I guess he means that the CBD was open about the situation from the day they were open about it, and that it took the schools a few weeks to figure out whether or not they would be opening, since they were waiting for the IBD Psak.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I have no doubt that those advising you mean well, but I would suggest that they review the documents that determine the halachos here rather than rely on people's reputations for being "uncorruptible."

    I was at that stage a few weeks ago. Till I started looking into this more.


    And please don't delude yourself. We have seen that the CBD swept this under the rug for months. They ALLOWED the perpetrator to retain ownership.


    That people who are seasoned educators "didn't take the complaints seriously" does not make them wicked nor does make the environment unsafe once they have (a) learned their lesson and (b) placed themselves under the oversight of Rabbanim and professionals with extensive experience.



    The racketeers here seem to be the CBD, for whom I had the highest regard until this unfortunate episode. Not only have they publicly flouted halachah by undermining the Beis Din authorized by ALL parties (yes, at the CBD's behest!) to deal with the issue, they used leaks to blogs to besmirch the reputation of that Beis Din and its outstanding talmidei chachamim, and they have now undertaken to back and encourage a lawsuit that is a public Chilul Hashem [asserting that the Seminaries are essentially a sex-trafficking operation] and is patently full of misstatements, fabrications, and falsehoods (not to mention naming a chashuv rav as a defendant).


    The CBD's malicious leaks are all the more incredible incredible in light of their utter inability to leak any response to the very substantive, cogent and germane questions raised by the IBD letters to them and Rav Feldman, as well as those posted by Rabbi Eidenson.


    Simply ignoring those issues further undermines their credibility.


    Trust me, I am far more disappointed than you are about my loss of respect for Rabbanim who I had previously held in very high regard. But my regard for halachah and the truth is greater than my regard for them.

    ReplyDelete
  41. @ari you have some good points but you are either naive or have no idea how the shidduch system works. It doesn't matter if the seminary is the best in the world, one of the main reasons for going to a specific seminary is for the reputation for shidduchim. Now like it or not anyone who googles pninim from now til the rest of time will come up with results about sexual abuse, and in the current shidduch climate most ppl will not read through the tens of blog posts and thousands of comments to determine the truth, they'll just say it's not worth the risk- my son has another 10 girls on his list anyways. It is perfectly understandable why a parent doesn't want to make things even harder for their daughter (in addition to the reg "shidduch crisis we keep hearing about).

    ReplyDelete
  42. Can you not be mechalek between direct CBD communication to parents versus letters put up on the internet?

    ReplyDelete
  43. And why would any of the sem supporters (m'lvad the claims of the IBD) allow their daughters to go there? Shocking admission from a supporter!

    ReplyDelete
  44. So I've been told by supporters that the CBD is not reliable and I should get independent advice. I do, I have my 2 rabbis (one a rosh yeshiva), but that's not good enough. According to many of you, I need to keep on being open minded until I see it your way. Very patronizing. I don't assume the IBD is corrupt and not talmedai chacomim and yorai shamayim. Based on mnay factors, their side isn't enough for me. If you are okay with this, than send your daughter. We already decided what we are doing, it is not for you or anyone else to be frum at the expense of my daughter or my money.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Actually, I did not son much think that I would change your decision as I felt the need to have I did want others in a similar position hear another angle.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Your assertion is laughable. I have bH married off several daughters and a son, and have another daughter soon to enter the "Parashah." If you think people in shidduchim look at Google for what seminaries are about, I'm afraid you're the one who is misinformed.

    A peninim girl is different from a Chedvas girl. And they are both different from a Hadar girl, who is different from Meor girl, who is different from a BJJ girl.

    ReplyDelete
  47. That email which appeared in a post entitled "Kahane's Folly" is authentic. Rabbi Eidensohn, do you have any reason to believe the message was not sent by Rabbi Kahane, or the text was not quoted in its entirety?

    ReplyDelete
  48. I don't really understand why you think that parents in israel are different. We are still Americans and see things the way you do. But, if you are worried about your daughter, which I totally understand, I will make you an offer. in the city in the states where I come from, there is a standing offer that goes to the girls who are in seminaries[ not written by me] that gives the names of 4 parents who are formerly from that city, and now living in Israel. I am one of those. Parents are encouraged to call those 4 in cas they have a medical emergency or need anything that a parents on the spot can help with. We get a few calls... since I commute to the states, I will bring things back for girls- and boys.
    I will make any of these parents the same offer. Contact rabbi Eidensohn, who has my direct contact details and phone number. .We would be your ombudsman to the school should anything happen, it would be like you have a direct rep in israel. does that help you at all?

    ReplyDelete
  49. will the students at chedvas receive College credits???

    ReplyDelete
  50. Yes someone probably hacked into his email, stole the alumni list, sent out hundreds of fake emails, and has locked him up in a closet somewhere for the last 3 weeks so he couldn't deny it. Face it sunny "world class educators" can make terrible mistakes. The name meisels comes to mind.

    ReplyDelete
  51. correct facts pleaseAugust 17, 2014 at 5:47 AM

    I checked with the administration for you. Yes, Chedvas students will be getting credits. The colleges refusing to give credits only give to shana alef programs anyway, so Chedvas doesn't work with them. The programs that Chedvas works with are continuing to give credits.

    ReplyDelete
  52. correct facts pleaseAugust 17, 2014 at 9:45 AM

    That's your first mistake, 100's were not sent, not even 10's not even 10... and regarding the actual text... also scammed... bloggers did a doozy with this one...

    ReplyDelete
  53. i discussed this with Rabbi Kahane. He did send such a letter to 15 students he felt would benefit. I did not show him the text from Lopin and ask him if that is what he sent, but from the context of our conversation, it seemed that he was sprouting that same line of reasoning which was reflected in that letter. In my opinion, it shows poor judgement on his part and no sechel- but this is not a crime. Many people with those charactertistics are in high places.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Even one of those letter is is too much. Much like one act of sexual abuse is too much, one act of covering it up or trying to is too much. Please scroll down several comments and read what puzzled parent has to say as to the authenticity (as well as the numerous other ppl who have claimed to get it. Are you kahane?

    ReplyDelete
  55. correct facts pleaseAugust 17, 2014 at 6:18 PM

    I would say it differently: Many people with a tremendous of sechel and incredible judgement sometimes make mistakes. That doesn't change the fact that have tremendous sechel and incredible judgement, rather is yet another indication that no human is perfect. Track records speak for themselves. I say we lay off the guy. He's very good at what he does.

    ReplyDelete
  56. did you have a girl there? is that how you know?

    ReplyDelete
  57. It depends what the mistake is. If someone has incredible judgement but occasionally abets murderers then it doesn't matter how good he is at what he does.

    ReplyDelete
  58. correct facts pleaseAugust 17, 2014 at 10:57 PM

    Yes, Puzzled parent. Stupid comparisons Moshe. 15 people is not covering it up. He has close to 1000 alumni. Just a mistake. Really, this has been totally blown out of proportion. Forget it already.

    ReplyDelete
  59. And if 2 of those 15 people are rape victims?

    ReplyDelete
  60. thank you very much. I appreciate it. All this tumult about chedvas just makes us nervous.

    ReplyDelete

ANONYMOUS COMMENTS WILL NOT BE POSTED!
please use either your real name or a pseudonym.