Thursday, August 7, 2014

Seminay Scandal; The "smoking gun" - the Shtar Beirurin between the Israeli Beis Din and the Chicago Beis Din

Updated with letter from IBD to CBD after the Gottesman letters

This is the "smoking gun" that answers many of the questions that have been the source of much conjecture. This is the legal basis of the relationship between the Chicago Beis Din and the Israeli Beis Din.

After hearing the testimony and the Meisels admission, before actually involving the IBD, CBD ruled that Meisels must withdraw from hands-on involvement in the schools, but that he may retain full ownership rights, pending a full hearing and decision by a BD in Eretz Yisrael that will take over the case.

Rav Aharon Feldman (obviously), AS WELL AS RZCohen and Gottesman – representing CBD -- were all present at the drafting and signing of the attached Shtar Beirurin.

After the IBD took on the case, Gottesman sent two emails basically stating that he was firing them in the name of the CBD. That’s a halachic impossibility unless the IBD would be prepared to violate lo saguru mipnei ish

The “.... in the woodpile” appears to be Gottesman.
This document invests the IBD with broad authority and limits the CBD to a clerical role with no jurisdiction.

Rabbi Z. Cohen went with Rabbi Feldman and Gottesman to EY, and they were all there when this document was drafted and RAF signed this while the Chicago Beis Din didn't actually sign it - it was clear that they agreed to it and raised no objections. The events are spelled out in greater in the bottom letter that the IBD wrote to CBD.


40 comments :

  1. You realize it seems you just posted their ss #s. Hello identity theft.

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  2. Forgive me if I missed it: where on this document is anyone from the CBD signing and committing themselves?

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  3. And no one from the cbd is signed on here. Huh?!

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  4. All this shows is Rav Feldman agreed along with meisels and the seminaries' menahels. And r feldman in the last email from him you posted says he was only representing the girls who wanted him to. Where's a shtar showing what authority r feldman had viz. the cbd. This shtar doesn't demonstrate the slightest aquiescence of the cbd. How is this "a smoking gun"? What does r z cohen watching this happen help? Is there any proof/witnesses to this? And again if the cbd feels theres a present (safek) sakanos nefashos here they would be mechuyav to let everyone know regardless just like you and I would

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  5. Maybe it is cut off. But I don't see R. Cohen's signature. Only signatures by Feldman and Meisels. I see no proof that CBD authorized Feldman as apitropos.

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  6. I totally don't get what this document is. It seems to be an agreement between Meisels and the seminary heads to go to the Israeli Beis Din, but there is not signature from anyone on the Chicago Beis Din. Additionally, there is no signature from any of the victims. There is the signature of Rabbi Feldman as acting on their behalf, but no indication that any of the victims appointed him to do so. In fact, the other letter you posted from Rabbi Feldman stated explicitly that his "representation" was merely "pro forma."
    Please explain how a case that was before the Chicago Beis Din ends up before the Israeli Beis Din without either the Chicago Beis Din signing it over or any of the victims agreeing to have it heard there.

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  7. "This document invests the IBD with broad authority and limits the CBD to a clerical role with no jurisdiction".

    This was already clear to me from the outset in the first letter from the CBD. I quote:

    "Because these institutions and Mr. Meisels are located in Israel and not the United States, a distinguished Israeli beis din consisting of Rabbis Menachem Mendel Shafran, Chaim Malinowitz, and Tzvi Gartner has assumed responsibility for this matter".

    In essence, the CBD is hereby declaring that they have no more responsibility for the matter, since Israel is not their venue. In addition, they have agreed to pass the torch to the IBD; with confidence that the case is in good hands.

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  8. Given the Shtar Berurin I can understand why the IBD think they have full authority over the case, if they think the CBD authorized Rav Feldman to represent them. However, it still seems odd. Even if the CBD authorized Rav Feldman to sign for them (which Rav Feldman denies in his letter) the CBD is a beit din in the matter not a litigant, aren't they? And if they are acting in their capacity as community leaders to assure safety, rather than as litigants, they are fulfilling a mitzvah and can't waive their obligation by signing a shtar berurin, can they? Doesn't the Torah require them to remove a public hazard?



    And if, as Rav Feldman claims, the IBD appointed him as nominal rep of the plaintiffs, of what value is the shtar berurin he signed?

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  9. I CAN'T UNDERSTAND HOW WE KEEP ON GETTING DISTRACTED FROM THE MAIN ISSUE...

    ALL AGREE THAT NOBODY CURRENTLY KNOWS IF THE SEMS CAN BE CONSIDERED SAFE.

    NONETHELESS, THE IBD ANNOUNCED THAT THEY ARE SAFE, AND FORCED THE ENROLLEES TO STAY...

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  10. @welovethetruth - while it is true you can't say they are safe - but please explain why the IBD can't say they are safe? Following your logic can you say any seminary is safe? Is any yeshiva where the boys sleep in dorms safe? Are you sure that your wife's workpalce is safe? Is you neighborhood safe?

    Do you get the picture?

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  11. There are two issues here that need to be kept separate:


    1. CBD's responsibility to the Chicago community. This cannot be transferred to any other authority as it is an established, communal agency. CBD has a responsibility to advise based on CBD's understanding of the current situation. Clearly, as of CBD's last letter, CBD does not (did not) find itself comfortable enough with IBD's actions to recommend going to those seminaries.


    2. IBD's responsibility in dealing with the Israeli side of the matter. CBD cannot take direct action in Israel, that requires an Israeli agent.


    From CBD's perspective (CBD's first letter), IBD has no jurisdiction in Chicago and its role is limited to instituting reforms in Israel.


    It sounds like IBD's perspective is that it is the final arbiter with ultimate authority over the entire situation (which could be a mis-communication as there is no way that CBD could relinquish its communal responsibilities without communal approval.)

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  12. so than the CBD should have specified in their last letter that the current psak is only for the Chicago community which they did not. that makes it look like they think they still have a say in the case for the whole world

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  13. I read this as an agreement between Rabbi Feldman (nominally, and apparently only nominally, as a representative of the students) vs the schools, authorising the IBD to act as their arbitrators, mainly regarding financial penalties and internal changes at the seminaries etc. In that regard, the only mention of the CBD is that the IBD is permitted by the parties to ask the CBD to collect testimonies on the IBD's behalf from victims, witnesses etc abroad. In no way does this agreement commit the CBD to anything at all, as they are not parties to it (technically, although the IBD is entitled to ask the CBD, the CBD could even refuse to do the work that IBD asks them to do). As I understand it, this agreement does not obligate the CBD in any way, manner, or form.

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  14. R Eidensohn I still don't understand. What does this show. How does one member of the beis din "being there and raising no objections" in any way halachically bind the CBD to the psak. At most it showed they agreed that r feldman could represent the girls who wanted him to represent them but as r feldman himself wrote. Smoking gun?

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  15. WHAT???

    Now your suggesting these schools are equal to all other sems without any חשד?? (This line of reasoning has been echoed in the letter from a "Dayan to his son", or where you echoing him? You, Harav Doniel , and Melinowitz sound like one and the same these days...)

    Suggesting it's like all yeshivas is popsturous on its own, but all the more so because of the following statement from YOUR site:

    "It is important to note that he says the Israeli Beis Din was concerned primarily with monetary compensation to the victims and >>>>> whether the principals of the schools were liable also<<<<<<<<."

    The fact that CBD didn't give them the evidence, DOES NOT AT ALL OBSOLVE THEM FROM THE FACT THAT THEY MADE A DECISION WITHOUT HEARING THE EVIDENCE!!!

    (Chances are CBD got wind of their cavalier attitude to this matter, and regretted making the in charge).

    You also have not addressed the "psak" that didn't allow parents to look at other options they are more comfortable with.

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  16. @David you are a very intelligent man. Why would R Z Cohen and Gotesman fly to israel to participate in the signing of the charter for the IBD in handling this crisis? Why would Rav Aharon Feldman who had been asked to be the representative for the victims - whether pro forma or not - by the CBD serve the same function with the IBD. Why would Rav Aharon be surprised when the CBD did not transfer information - which was clearly against the understanding the two beis din's had. Why would the matter be so strange to Rav Aharon that he in essence accuses Rabbi Malinowitz of lying about the matter?

    It is clear there was a solid agreed relationship -in which the CBD suddenly refused to cooperate. There is no clear justification for the maneuver. It did come after Gottesman insisted that the seminaries had to be destroyed and closed down. The IBD rejected that suggestion strongly. The CBD then reacted by attemption the same thing denying funds to girls who wanted to go there and announcing that they thought it was not safe.

    So while you might be technically correct reading it as lawyer - it has nothing to do with the actually behavior of the CBD which has clearly reneged on the initial agreement - whether it was in writing or simply understand as obvious to both parties.

    So please lets not waste time asking what they were obligated to do but rather what they agreed to do and why did the CBD change its mind.

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  17. The CBD is not a beis din in the matter. No one signed shtar beirurin with them, and they heard no testimony. They are three individual rabbonim.

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  18. @welovetruth - you raise good questions - but you misunderstood my point. No one is suggesting that serious changes are required in these seminaries. The letter of the father to his son - clearly states that the IBD has consulted experts and is fiollowing there suggestions. How can you read that to mean that there is an equivalence between these seminaries and other schools?!

    It was simply stated that the standard practicse is not to close down schools that have these problems but to rehabiliate them. That means calling in psychologists, introducing protocols and firing staff as well as assigned guilt and blame where appropriate.

    You missed the point that the question of Meisles guilt was not on the table since he confessed. The problem of properly dealing with other staff was severely hampered by the blockage of infomration from the CBD. There was no cavalier attitude. These dayanim are serious people and they no that this is serious business. So please stop the nonsense about repeating "coverup" , ignorance of grooming etc etc which has been leaked by supporters of the CBD. There is no basis in fact.

    Regarding the last - that is a complicated issue which is not as easily to deal with as the other more substantive issues. Once we agree on the others I would be willing to discuss that point.

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  19. In the letter from R' Shafran's beis din in response to Gottesman's email, they close by accusing the CBD and Gottesman of blackmailing Meisels. I believe they refer to the CBD's threat, later carried out, to put out their public letter about Meisels if he does not sign over the seminaries and their bank accounts to Gottesman. Imagine that. They pressured him to transfer the seminaries and their funds to a private individual. Once he refused, they did an about-face on the IBD, and became all about destroying the seminaries. Very dirty business.

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  20. In the US, that should be understood.


    1. We do not have any central Batei Din to which everyone is beholden. (To the best of my understanding, The IBD itself is an ad-hoc Beis Din with limited authority.)


    2. CBD is clearly issuing an advisory to a community. They are not issuing a ruling per-se.

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  21. I'm afraid that this whole shenanigance from Gottesman and the CBD will cause the "Special Beis Din" to stop functioning and become defunct. No one will ever agree to attend the CBD/Special Beis Din, and they won't have any legitimate rabbincal support anymore. We can expect Torah U'mesorah to be unwilling to use them again. Who will replace them?


    It will turn out that Gottesman has done a tremendous disservice to abuse victims, and more so, to the prevention of abuse. He has turned the clock back in a ever decaying society. Sad.

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  22. Very dirty. To me what is all the more dirty is, why did this have to become such a public fiasco? Why was there the need to hurt all the previous students - the students with positive experiences. They now walk around with inner shame for having attended these seminaries which was led by a rabbi who fell through, and they walk around with public shame that they attended these seminaries. And all for fearing man instead of Hashem?

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  23. The Special Beis Din was established for the whole of the United States to deal with such issues.

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  24. Just underlining your point re. denying funds: The CBD and Gottesman are actively working to deny college funds to the seminaries (it was Gottesman who contacted Touro etc.), even though they know full well they have been sold, while refusing to divulge to the actual beis din on the case the information they supposedly have. Yes, they are trying to destroy the seminaries (now that they failed to gain financial control of them).

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  25. Oiy,

    איך נפלו הגיבורים???

    En to Brute??

    You? R' Doniel?... fully invested in covering for this IBD?!?!

    What happened? Where did the "seeker of truth wherever it will lead us" go??

    I have NO connections here. I don't know one of the involved parties. No, I'm not leaking anything for CBD, as you suggested!! I'm simply reading your information, and interpreting it the way you would if you weren't so invested in one side. (I have commented on your site many times, and contributed posts... Now that you have Discus, I'm using old account).

    You say...

    "The letter of the father to his son - clearly states that the IBD has consulted experts and is fiollowing there suggestions."......

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME???

    Even if, as anyone with a half brain suspects, this came directly from Malinowitz.... IT'S WAY TO LITTLE, WAY TOO LATE!!! Two weeks after being disregarded by CBD, and anyone sane, they suggest in an anonymous post that they are speaking to "experts"???

    AND, they didn't even hear from the girls who they have to speak to the "experts" about!?!? (which of cause is the CBD's fault...).

    Bottom line: this quibbling between the various Botei Din is a total red herring, the IBD announced a stamp of approval that they knew nothing about, and enforced it!...

    Which is reprehensible.

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  26. I just read the complaint filed for the civil suit. In #51 there it says that meisels signed a binding arbitration agreement (=shtar berurim) with the CBD. How can he then go sign one with the IBD?! It should be worthless, He's not allowed to and it should have no legal or halachic standing. Unless of course the CBD explicitly released him with explicit consent of the other party-but there's absolutely no proof or indication that happened.

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  27. Meisels signed no shtar beirurin with the CBD.

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  28. Gottesman is from Torah U'Mesorah.

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  29. It didn't have to happen. Meisels was prepared to comply with everything the CBD required. The public fiasco is on Gottesman, and on the CBD, who followed his lead.

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  30. Cannot be -- No such beast.

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  31. I add: The CBD has acted irresponsibly. It amazes me that these people are actually tasked with handling sexual abuse cases, which require, for all kinds of reasons, not least the welfare of the victims, tremendous wisdom and delicacy. These people possess neither attribute.

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  32. They are a beit din Kavua, and at least claim to have acted after hearing from the girls, R. Meisels and some of the staff.

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  33. What you say is unfortunate very true.

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  34. "I'm afraid that this whole shenanigance from Gottesman and the CBD will
    cause the "Special Beis Din" to stop functioning and become defunct."

    Given their scandalous behavior, that could only be a good thing.

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  35. They heard from the accusers shelo bifnei baal din. They heard from Meisels with nothing signed. They then put the accusation, to which Meisels never admitted, into a public letter after having given the case over to another, competent, beis din. Whether they are "kavua" or not, they have no standing as a beis din in this case. They are simply three individuals who publicized an unproven accusation against Meisels, to which he never admitted, in order to put pressure on him.

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  36. You could be right. My only point is that if the civil complaint is not a lie then we have a big problem from the outset. And i tend to think it's the truth bc they wouldn't allege in writing to the court something which will obviously be found out to be false the second they must submit their evidence. The shtar is only tangential to the civil suit and the downside to be caught lying would be to undermine the whole case from the get-go. And anyways how do you know he didn't sign?

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  37. I know. Accept it or not, as you please. The lie will probably not be found out b/c no one, least of all the litigants, expects this to go to trial. It's a tactic to get the seminaries to cough up money.

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  38. Your skepticism doesn't trouble me in the least. In a case with so much falsehood, most notably by CBD, you are perfectly wise to be skeptical. As I said, accept it or not, as you please. But think: Wouldn't the CBD have produced such a shtar beirurin if it exists?

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  39. The Anti-Torah ChareidimAugust 11, 2014 at 3:18 AM

    and the IBD conducted their investigation of staff and came to a "decision", i.e a scheme to kasher the seminaries while dayan malinositz was sitting shiva 6,000miles away in the USA !!!

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  40. A lie. Their session was delayed until he finished shivah. It took place when he returned.

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