Sunday, August 31, 2014

Chedvas Seminary: Welcoming letter from Rabbi Meir Kahane to parents and incoming students

Dear Parents and Incoming Students amus”h,

I hope this letter finds you well.

As many of you are aware, much of our summer has been spent reevaluating our school to ensure that we are being mechanech with the utmost kedushah, tahara and safety.I wanted to update you on our progress:

We have been in consultation with numerous rabbanim, machanchim and Gedolei Yisroel both in the United States and Israel for hadracha and eitza and are indebted to them for the innumerable hours they gave us and the precision and care with which they have evaluated our system and advised every step of the way.  They offered their heartfelt support, and repeatedly expressed their appreciation for the excellent work Chedvas is known for and the countless exemplary bnos Torah we have produced.  They encouraged us to continue our meleches hakodesh.

As per the eitza of Gedolei Torah and the Beis Din of HaRav Mendel Shafran shlit”a, Rebbetzin Blimi Birnbaum has been appointed minaheles ruchani of the entire institution.  Rebbetzin Birnbaum is well known as one of the most prominent Bais Yaakov educators in Eretz Yisroel.  It is truly an honor to have her on staff.  We appreciate her guidance thus far, and look forward to her eitza for many years to come.

Under the hadracha of the Novominsker Rebbe shlit”a, in conjunction with the Bais Din of HaRav Mendel Shafran shlit”a, a vaad harabanim has been established to evaluate school policies and standards and to set new ones. They will be involved in an ongoing fashion, to advise and guide the schools for this year and for years to come, be”h.  The vaad is comprised of the esteemed Rabbanim: HaRav Moshe Hillel Hirsch shlit”a, HaRav Yehoshua Eichenstein shlit”a, and HaRav Asher Weiss shlit”a.< Gedolei Torah in America, including the Novminsker Rebbe shlit”a have written a letter endorsing the schools and the steps that have been taken.  It is attached to this email (in the original Hebrew and an English translation).

It is our tefila that Hakadosh Baruch Hu give us siyata dishmaya to continue to be mikadesh shem shamayim

As usual, please do not hesitate to be in touch with any questions. I remain,

Sincerely,

Rabbi Meir Kahane
Menahel

Seminary Scandal: Frum Follies deliberately misrepresents my views.

Yerachmiel Lopin and I have major disagreements regarding the proper handling of the Seminary Scandal. He views the Chicago Beis Din rabbonim's advisory against attending the 4 seminaries  and their obstruction of justice - as heroic, while I view it as preventing the resolution of the matter and the clearing the mud from the names of hundreds of past and present and future students of these 4 seminaries. 

Following the recent letter by 5 American Gedolim - including Rav Levin a member of the Chicago Beis Din - which praised the 4 seminaries and noted the addition of Rebbetzin Birnbaum as overall director of the seminaries and major Israeli poskim as their Vaad haChinuch - Yerachmiel Lopin is now trying discredit these 5 gedolim as well as to try to discredit me.

This is clearly an act of desperation to try and save the Chicago Beis Din - since it involves trashing a member of the CBD itself in the process! The letter is widely and correctly understood to be a rejection of the CBD's claim that the seminaries are not safe and and also an endorsement of the IBD's focus on getting passed the scandal and focusing on correcting the basis of the scandal - the seminary culture itself. Anybody who is familiar with the seminary culture, understands that this latest scandal was not an aberration of one man who couldn't control himself. The highly emotional relationship between teacher and student and psychological dependency of the students needs to be changed in all the seminaries. That is what the IBD is doing - especially now that it is augmented by the Vaad haChinuch.

Furthermore in the course of trying to discredit me, while he correctly notes that I was initially in favor of the Chicago Beis Din and critical of the Israeli Beis Din - he deliberately misrepresents the reason for this change. He asserts that  I have lost my way - that I am a hypocrite who has sold my soul to the forces of darkness and have repudiated my long time campaign against abuse. He ignores a much simpler explanation - which has the additional advantage of being true.

My initial reaction was based solely on the public releases of the Chicago Beis Din and the Israeli Beis Din. My present position is the subsequent result of reading the many documents that I have posted from the Israeli Beis Din and the Chicago  Beis Din. In addition I have had access to askanim who are directly involved with both sides, In addition I have obtained significant clarification of issues from the IBD itself. I am not ashamed to admit that my initial perception was wrong and that I now have a better informed view of the situation. The Israeli Beis Din has one major problem - they have not been concerned with public relations. Most of this turmoil could have been avoided if they had taken care to fully communicate what they were doing. Nonetheless they clearly are doing what needs to be done - as seen by the approval of the 4 seminaries by the 5 American Gedolim.

I acknowledge that initially I was not aware of the permanent removal of Meisels and the absolute nature of the sale. Aside by this being confirmed by the new owner Yaakov Yarmish - it was also confirmed in a letter from Rav Aharaon Feldman. I acknowledge now that the CBD was making false claims that the sale was a sham to a close buddy of Meisels - Yaakov Yarmish. The sale is not a sham and Yarmish is not and was not a close buddy of Meisels. I also didn't realize that the CBD was claiming that they never relinquished control - something which is contrary to the documents.

Additionally I initially accepted the view that was circulated by the CBD that Meisels had repeatedly committed severe sexual abuse and harassment.  But I was faced by the fact that the Chicago Beis Din has not provided evidence for this and that Meisels in fact only admitted to inappropriate contact. Thus there is a clear contradiction in the CBD's position. If Meisels is in fact a rodef - why didn't they either contact the police or urge his victims to do so. It is elementary that the knowledge of a rapist loose in the community does not even require a beis din to call the police. Everybody who knows this to be a fact - is required to call the police. So either the CBD was involved in a cover up or that Miesels - while disqualified from being an educator - is not a rodef.

Finally Yerachmiel Lopin states
All I know is I have been consistent in my positions about abuse for the last five years. You on the other hand have taken a U-turn backwards from your advocacy for child safety. Dr. Eidensohn I hope it is a malady you are professionally equipped to resolve because all other explanations implicate your integrity or social judgment.
I agree fully that Yerachmiel Lopin has been consistent in his views of abuse. He has focused on bashing rabbis and Orthodox Judaism - even if his views are not always helping the victims. In the case of the seminaries - the safety and welfare of the seminary students is best dealt with using the IBD's approach of changing the protocols and providing oversight of the seminaries. This is clearly acknowledged by the 5 American gedolim. It is not helped by the CBD's approach of refusing to cooperate with the beis din - that they themselves appointed and by trying to close down the seminaries - unless their jurisdiction is acknowledged by all concerned. And it surely isn't helped by the CBD's plan of telling parents to file an absurd RICO slander against the seminaries.

Finally it is astounding that he tries to defend the Chicago Beis Din against the letter of the 5 American gedolim - by attacking the integrity of its member Rav Levin. This is a self-defeating approach. If Lopin's charges are true that Rav Levin was trying to protect a child molester - then where is the protest of the other CBD members. By their failure to protest shows that they are not concerned primarily with protecting against abuse. Furthermore Lopin is apparently being inconsistent. Normally we would expect a true child advocate to protest against the beis din for child abuse that Rav Levin is part of. Lopin, in his desire to attack the IBD turns a blind eye to this transgression and acts as if you can attack one dayan of the CBD without disqualifying the entire beis din.

In sum, Yerachmiel Lopin should get his priorities straight. Is he first and foremost a defender against abuse or is he primarily concerned with bashing rabbis and Judaism through claims of mishandling child abuse? His actions clearly show it is the latter.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Seminary Scandal: A shamefully inaccurate account published by the Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune    An inaccurate and misleading version of the Seminary Scandal has just been published by the Chicago Tribune. It seems to have been deliberately leaked by supporters of the CBD to coincide with the release of the Letter of 5 American Gedolim which has been in the works for the last 2 weeks. The CBD has suffered a harsh body blow by this letter which in effect endorses the IBD over the CBD. The article falsely implies that the dispute between the IBD and the CBD is whether Meisels is guilty. It can be expected that the supporters of the CBD will peddle their version to other secular media in attempt to discredit the IBD.
A federal lawsuit alleging that an ultra-Orthodox rabbi who runs seminaries for girls in Israel is a sexual predator offers a rare look into the most traditional branch of Judaism, where a young woman's religious education can prove key to finding a good husband through a matchmaker.
The allegations raised in the lawsuit, filed this month in Chicago, have already been brought before rabbinical courts in Chicago and Israel. The courts —known as beis din — came to contradictory decisions on the accusations against Rabbi Elimelech Meisels.
The lawsuit was filed by parents of girls who want their tuition money back in light of allegations against Meisels. They say in the suit that the rabbi for 10 years recruited young women from Chicago and other cities to his seminaries in Israel "under the guise of educational and spiritual development."
Meisels is accused in the lawsuit of "developing mentor-mentee relationships with girls," taking them on late-night coffee meetings and sexually assaulting them. Meisels, who could not be reached for comment, does not face any criminal charges.
A few weeks before the suit was filed, a Chicago beis din heard the allegations against Meisels. The body ruled that, based on testimony (including from Meisels) and documents, it believed "students in these seminaries are at risk of harm and does not recommend that prospective students attend these seminaries at this time," according to the lawsuit. [...]

According to the Israeli rabbis, "there is no cause for concern" at Meisels' seminaries. In addition, the Israeli court said that "it is absolutely forbidden" for other seminaries to offer Meisels' prospective students the opportunity "to switch to their institutions."
 I received the following critical letter from Art Bader - which has been published by the Chicago Tribune as a comment.

Dear Mr. Grossman,
I just read the above-referenced article and found some astonishing omissions. You note that: “According to the Israeli rabbis, ‘there is no cause for concern’ at Meisels' seminaries. In addition, the Israeli court said that ‘it is absolutely forbidden’ for other seminaries to offer Meisels' prospective students the opportunity ‘to switch to their institutions.’
What you fail to note is that Meisels was removed from any involvement with the seminaries several months ago, and the Israeli Beis Din wrote their ruling after the seminaries were sold to a new owner with no prior relationship to the schools or Meisels.
These facts are available online, extensively discussed on numerous blogs that have been dealing with this for the past many weeks.
Although those providing you with information may have withheld those facts because they have an agenda, I would think it the responsibility of a reporter to look into matters a bit more thoroughly.
Especially in the age of Google, I regret to say that your act of omission is reckless and irresponsible. I call upon you to rectify it immediately.
Art Bader
================This followup clarification was sent to the Tribune by Mr. Bader======
I serve on the board of an organization that offers educational scholarships that is subsidizing tuitions for underprivileged girls going to these schools (among others) and my daughter has numerous friends who are going/were intending to go to seminaries impacted by this case.
 
This involvement had brought me to follow the story from the time it first broke with a letter issued by a Chicago Beis Din on July 10. I am also a friend of one of the Rabbis on the Beis Din in Israel, which, as that July 10 letter made clear, was the Rabbinic authority on the case from that point onward.
 
Numerous blogs in the community have been pontificating on the issue, but some facts remain clear, including that
  • Meisels had been removed from any direct involvement with educational matters and was barred from entering the schools or interacting with students
  • that the Israeli Beis Din NEVER in any way vindicated Meisels [in fact, they never directly addressed any issues involving him at all, because of his removal, it was irrelevant]
  • and that – by the time the July 25 letter -- the schools were under completely new ownership and had agreed that the Israeli Beis Din was completely empowered to institute policy and staff changes at the schools as they see fit.
This being the case, some of the assertions made in the article regarding the stand of that Rabbinic Court are blatant lies, while others are misleading and defamatory half-truths.
 
Furthermore, the July 25 ruling from the Israeli Beis Din does not state, as your “reporter” claims, “that ‘it is absolutely forbidden’ for other seminaries to offer Meisels' prospective students the opportunity ‘to switch to their institutions.’”
What it does say (in #4) is that “No other seminary (existing or newly established) may reach out in any way – directly or indirectly – to students who had been accepted...” It essentially forbids predatory recruitment.
I am attaching the July 25 ruling below so you can have an independent translator verify what I wrote here. I am also posting the text on af email sent by one of the schools on July 24. Both of these are available online, by doing a search.
Mr. Grossman essentially wrote a PR piece for those who are suing the schools, defaming a prominent Beis Din in the process. It is shameful that The Tribune has allowed this to remain on your site as-is.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Rivky Stein & Yoel Weiss: Rivky's claims are lies - Benyamin Abeles - claimed by Rivky to be one of her dayanim - gives affidavit that his name was forged on beis din documents and he is not a dayan

Rivky Stein and her mentor Frankel  have perpetrated a major fraud

The have created a false beis din with false dayanim and at least in the case of Abeles - he alleges that his signature was forged. When he found out about the misuse of his name he contacted Yoel Weiss and gave the following affidavit.

As I have said all along - Rivky's beis din is phony. Nobody ever heard of it or its dayanim. It poskened against the halacha. It could not be located or responded to by phone or email. Her case is full of lies and slander against Yoel Weiss. She has created an incredible chilul hashem in going to all the media with her lies, her forged documents, her false beis din, her begging for thousands of dollars from the public with a story of rape, kidnapping slavery etc etc. her disgusting RICO claim which is full of lies. The secular media - especially the New York Daily News' Reuven Blau - strongly supported her cause. Hopefully the media will have the integrity to publish a retraction.

In addition there is a strong backlash against her as the result of her recent posting about getting evicted by her foster parents - Rivky's supporters are deserting in droves.
Redeem Rivky 
Friends and supporters of Rivky Stein: We had thought that the Lefkowitz Family, who fostered Rivky when she was a teen, had decided to do the right thing, but today Rivky received the shocking news that she and her two tiny children will be evicted within 6 days, the week before the start of the school year. We are filled with dismay at this lack of basic human decency. Follow this page for further news. Voice your outrage. Help support Rivky in her struggle to be free.
Her posting about being evicted was taken down today - apparently because of the huge number of negative comments it elicited.

Her days as a media star-  as an aguna - are numbered


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Rare photographs of World War II


Police in English town suppress 1400 severe child abuse cases - to avoid appearing racist

NY Times      A report released on Tuesday on accusations of widespread sexual abuse in the northern England city of Rotherham found that about 1,400 minors — some as young as 11 years old — were beaten, raped and trafficked from 1997 to 2013 as the local authorities ignored a series of red flags.

Some children were doused in gasoline and threatened with being set on fire if they reported their abusers, the report said, and others were forced to watch rapes and threatened with the same fate. In more than a third of the cases, the victims appear to have been known to child protection agencies, but the police and local government officials failed to act. [...]

The vast majority of perpetrators have been identified as South Asian and most victims were young white girls, adding to the complexity of the case. Some officials appeared to believe that social workers pointing to a pattern of sexual exploitation were exaggerating, while others reportedly worried about being accused of racism if they spoke out. The report accused officials of ignoring “a politically inconvenient truth” in turning a blind eye to men of Pakistani heritage grooming vulnerable white girls for sex.[...]

The report described the failures of the political and police leadership as blatant. Even as social workers reported that the sexual exploitation of children was becoming a serious problem in Rotherham, senior managers in the local authority and South Yorkshire police ignored them. When victims came forward, Ms. Jay said, the police often regarded them “with contempt.”[...]

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Schlesinger Twins: Why does the court prefer a Filipino stranger as primary caretaker?

Guest post by Beth Alexander

It’s hard enough having my boys taken away from me again and again by their father after our visits, each time re-awakening the past, the torment of that fateful day which never fades with time.

Watching a Filipino stranger walk away carrying my crying child is a whole other level of pain.

Benjamin, just a moment earlier a little monkey in my arms, hands and legs clinging to me desperately, holding on with all the might of a 5 year old, now transferred to ‘the other woman’ in my ex husband’s life; a Filipino helper, while Sammy, a lost little boy ambles alongside, a faraway look in his big beautiful eyes.

Who is this woman who spends all day with my twins? Is she a legal resident of Vienna? What kind of contract does she have to look after my children? What exactly are her qualifications?

While my parenting skills were endlessly questioned and undermined, this woman – who has replaced me as main carer, hasn’t even been identified!

How can any court in the world believe that the children’s best interests are better served in the care of this woman (who can’t speak either German or English properly) rather than their mother?

My overnight visit ended at 10am this morning but the father was working today so he decided this stranger must substitute. I have my boys again tomorrow – my weekly Tuesday visit – and would have given anything to have them another day and night. I even asked for 9.00 – 5pm tomorrow instead of 11.00- 5pm since the children are still off kindergarten but of course the father refused. The Filipino also brings the children on Tuesday mornings.

Where’s the grandmother? the aunt? the sister? all the family support the father assured the judge he would have before he was awarded custody. Instead, Sammy and Benji are dumped off with hired help while I am bled financially to pay for it.

Yet the court refuses to see it, to hear it, to believe it because acknowledging this absurd reality would be an admission of guilt, wrongdoing and abuse.

The same can be said for the Jewish community of Vienna: Rav Biderman, Ariel Muzicant, Oskar Deutsch and Mr Pardess who remain silent because they would rather not confront the unpleasant realities on their doorstep. Far easier to slam the door on us and turn away.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Seminary Scandal: How to give information to the Israeli Beis Din

 updated 8/25/14 with additional information from the IBD and Trustseeker's response to this post

There have been false claims on blogs that the Israeli Beis Din is not interested in hearing testimony against the staff members of the four seminaries because they just want to coverup the scandal. I checked with the IBD and got the following answer.

Anyone who has information of any type should contact either Rabbi Malinowitz (0549146311) or Rabbi Gartner(I will try and get his number). However it is important to realize  that all Rabbi Malinowtiz and Rabbi Gartner will do over the phone is to take your name and number and  which school this is about. They will then contact you about coming to the next Beis Din session.


Update from the IBD regarding taking testimony over the telephone
The BD is willing to listen to people over the phone with the whole BD there, and the accused there, listening, being able to refute charges (if they would be able to). There is no need to fly to Israel.
 It isn't true that they simply want to give him a label and decide what happened in the past - there are tremendous negative consequences for the rest of the accused person's life if the testimony is accepted.

However having noted the basic din, halacha does allows aiydus shelo b'finei baal din - but only for compelling reasons. What is the compelling reason here? (other than the witness says "I feel so uncomfortable") What are we talking about? - are the teachers mafioso that are threatening the witnesses life!? Are the teachers powerfully connected people that will destroy the witnesses happiness?! The beis din - contrary to ignorant claims -  is not interested in intimidating the witness but simply wants to establish the truth and be fair to all concerned. There are no rabbinic pleaders who are trying to destroy the witnesses. In fact we can just as easily argue that the "shoe" is on the other foot. It is in fact the teachers who are fighting for their lives, their reputation and their jobs - while we hear of purported witnesses  referring to the staff with great contempt. Who is intimidating whom?
Finally after all is said and done, if we still have witnesses who feels intimated or are afraid to testify when the accused is listening -  the IBD is willing to allow the witness to testify by phone with voice altering technology and with his/her identity concealed from the accused.
It was explained that they will not accept testimony over the phone to one Dayan and in  most cases require the accused present (because they are a beis din not a lynch mob). [read the clarification below]
======================
Additional question - what happened to the following proposal by the IBD mentioned to Rav  Aharon Feldman?

ד.... אנו מעוניינים לקיים דיון ביום ראשון, כהצעת מע"כ, במותב תלתא לקבלת טענות ועדויות של בנות המתלוננות על מחדלי המנהלים ומנהלות ו/או מעשי מייזלס, כמובן בדרך המקובל בב"ד ותיקים ומיומנים, ע"פ כל כללי וסדרי הדיון התקין, שמבררים את הדברים כיד ה' הטובה עליהם תוך שמיעת שני הצדדים ללא כל משוא פנים ו/או דעות קדומות או מוקדמות.
סדר הדברים יהיה:
    
 א. הבת המתלוננת אינה חייבת להזדהות ואולי עדיף שלא תזדהה. רק תמסור מס' טלפון לביה"ד.
  
   ב. ביה"ד יצטרך לדעת מראש באיזה סמינר/ים מדובר, וזאת בכדי להזמין את המנהלת/מנהל/אשת צוות עליו/ה מדובר, שישמע במה הוא מואשם וישמיע גרסתו ותגובתו, ובכדי לאפשר את בירור הדברים בדיוק מה הי', עד כמה שניתן בנסיבות העניין. ובמידה והעניינים גולשים מעל ומעבר לתפקוד המנהלים/ות ומגיעים להאשמות נגד מייזלס עצמו, יהיה צורך לשמוע גם אותו (הלא גם החייב מיתה מעידים בפניו ואפי' שור הנסקל, ולשבר אזני עוה"ד למיניהם הבוחשים בקדירה זו: גם בדיניהם). כאמור הבת לא חייבת להזדהות, אך מן העניין לציין כי הנאשם יזהה וידע מן הסתם במי ובמה המדובר.

The IBD replied:

The fact is the above offer still stands,. The IBD is ready to implement it for anyone who comes forward

However there is a problem in that the CBD made it clear by the letter from their lawyer that they have prohibited the IBD to get information from the victims.


==========================================================
The following letter was posted by Moshe at the request of the young lady [Truthseeker]: She clearly hasn't read the background material that I have posted or if she has -she doesn't understand or care about the IBD's viewpoint


"I rlly don’t myself to be the focus of so much discussion but…Eidensohn just posted an entire post just for me on his website.

As I refuse to directly comment on his blog, someone needs to tell him that I never ever accused the IBD of “sweeping it under the rug” when they didn’t want to hear my accusations over the phone. Go back to my comments, Eidensohn. I said nothing of the sort. EVER.

I was simply giving over exactly how the phone call was played out. And yeah, I do not ever know if the IBD will ever call me back. They don’t seem to be doing their job too well bc if there ARE teachers who covered up abuse and they haven’t already heard teatimony from students in an official meeting, then they’ve FAILED miserably at their job of protecting students bc school starts in about 2 weeks.

They had their chance to do things properly. And failed. Eidensohn, you should w embarassed at your recent post. But I’m honored you made it just for me ;).

Sincerely,

TruthSeeker

===========================================================
The IBD replied to Truthseek's letter:
 
You ever hear of "hakozak hanigzal"? --attack the BD,make it impossible for them to gather evidence, threaten everyone (including a member of the BD!!!! ) with a lawsuit, serve him papers ,meaning the threat becomes a reality,  cut off funding and credits from the seminaries throwing their very existence into question, attack Yarmish incessantly--and then cry and scream that the Beis Din is not meeting to do its job!!
Truth-seeker indeed.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Excess Synapses Found in Brains of People with Autism


No need for Rabbinic supervision of Newspapers: Lubavitcher Rebbe

Lubavitcher Rebbe (Rebbe: The Life and Teachings of Menachem M. Schneerson, the Most Influential Rabbi in Modern History (Kindle Locations 3116-3135). HarperCollins.

Jacobson soon went ahead with his decision to begin the Algemeiner Journal. In time , as the newspaper became known and its influence grew, a local Crown Heights rabbi suggested to him that a group of rabbis check over the weekly paper in advance to make sure the content was appropriate. “Did anyone ask the Rebbe about this?” Jacobson inquired.

The rabbi said: “We think this is what the Rebbe would want.” 

Jacobson went in to ask the Rebbe, telling him that some people wanted to set up a kind of rabbinic supervision bureau to determine what should and shouldn’t be put into the paper. 

The Rebbe smiled: “And what will you do if these rabbis decide that the newspaper should be closed down?” Jacobson said: “So what’s the Rebbe’s opinion?”

 The Rebbe lifted his hands in a way that was clearly dismissive of the other rabbi’s message to Jacobson. “What do rabbis have to do with a newspaper? A rabbi should pasken [rule] that a Jew should be learning Torah all day, and every second that’s free is bittul Torah [wasted time that should be spent studying Torah]. So how are rabbis going to issue a ruling regarding a newspaper when they should be telling a person not to read newspapers but to study Torah ? Newspapers are for people who don’t listen to rabbis or who don’t ask rabbis. And when you put into the paper a few words of Torah, you will be reaching such people.” 

To make certain he was clear about the Rebbe’s attitude toward the direction the Algemeiner Journal should take, Jacobson asked if the paper should establish a formal affiliation with Lubavitch.

 This, the Rebbe opposed: “A Lubavitch newspaper is a contradiction in terms. You have to look at everything in terms of its mission. The mission of Lubavitch is to help people access their Jewishness [Yiddishkeit]. The mission of a newspaper is to have more readers and be a successful media outlet. A newspaper has its goals and Lubavitch has its goals. As far as your editorial positions are concerned, that’s your decision.” 

These thoughts in particular were refreshing and liberating. Newspapers and magazines published under Orthodox auspices generally adhere to a very restricted editorial line, more or less identical with the beliefs of the publisher or the organization supporting the publication. However, because the Algemeiner Journal had no organizational affiliation, Jacobson could follow his instincts and keep the paper open to opinions with which he—and the Rebbe as well— disagreed. [...]

Gershon Jacobson felt bad and told the Rebbe that he wanted to apologize for publishing an article that caused so much aggravation (Shamir himself, after hearing the Rebbe’s reasoning for supporting such a fast, wrote a letter to him apologizing for the tone of his article).

The Rebbe assured Jacobson that he had done nothing for which he needed to apologize. “You have to do your job, I have to do my job. You’re a newspaper. You’re not supposed to be censoring opinions. What I’m saying is what I have to do.”

What’s most apparent from this episode was the open-mindedness of the Rebbe. He wasn’t trying to stop other people from expressing their views, but at the same time, if someone said something with which he didn’t agree, he felt he was as entitled as anyone else to say what he did think and why he disagreed. According to Simon Jacobson, Gershon’s son— the current publisher of the Algemeiner Journal and author of Toward a Meaningful Life: The Wisdom of the Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson—this incident helped shape his future thinking: “I learned from this episode that a person can totally disagree with another opinion without feeling that the other opinion has to be silenced. Confidence in your idea means that you don’t have to make other people wrong for you to be right. Unfortunately, there are many people, among them many religious people, who don’t have this attitude.” Jacobson noted his appreciation that he learned this strong belief in tolerance and the need for a free press from the Rebbe and that he learned it at an early age.

Seminary Scandal: A rambling and misleading slander by David Morris

Full Disclosure: David Morris is one of my heroes. Someone who has successfully devoted his time and energy to help other people with a major chesed organization and one dealing with child abuse .[My nephew Rabbi Shmuel Zalman Eidensohn runs competing chesed and child abuse organizations in Beit Shemesh and works together with Rav Malinowitz] He wrote a chapter in my sefer on child abuse where it is interesting to note - he does not once mention going to the police in cases of child abuse - but only to his organization Magen.  He is also very intelligent and sincere - but like all of us has issues where his emotion blinds his rational thought. One of them is Rav Malinowitz and anything connected with him.

1) Friday he published a rather egregious example of misinformation and slander. To set the stage for his slander against Rav Malinowtiz he first brought up something unrelated to the Seminary Scandal - the suicide of a child abuse victim - Corporal Dave Gordon. Yes it is true that the trauma of being molested as a child unfortunately endured into adulthood for Dave Gordon. But the Seminary Scandal is not a case of child abuse.  The Seminary Scandal involved adults who were involved in either being touched or hugged by their teacher. It is not clear at this stage to what degree the contact was forced and unwanted or was consensual. This is not the same as a child being molested or raped. Both halacha and secular law recognize a distinction between consensual and involuntary contact and that which involves a child and an adult. Thus the case of Dave Gordon - while unfortunate - was just brought in to inflame emotions. Or to be more generous, while David Morris was upset about the death of Dave Gordon - he incorrectly free associated to the Seminary Scandal in order to criticize Rav Malinowitz.

2)  David Morris is offering any existing victims  - something he doesn't know to be true -  the services of his organization dealing with sexual abuse. While that is very generous - it would be helpful to first establish there are in fact victims. However the offer is clearly a club to attack the IBD for what he alleges is improper response to victims. Even though in fact he doesn't know that victims  exist or how they have been dealt with - either by the CBD or the IBD. Rather strange to offer help in a crime that you don't know even happened?! While the CBD is claiming unofficially that there were women who were raped - however no official declaration has been made nor has any evidence been produced or even a single woman making anonymous public claims. Clearly no one has gone to the police. David Morris is fully aware that he has no evidence that there are victims who have been traumatized. Unlike Frum Follies he apparently does not have a pipeline to Gottesman and the CBD. But he believes whatever Frum Follies posts - at least as long as it is an attack on Rav Malinowitz. In other words his justification for this offer is that since Rav Malinowitz is involved and he just "knows" that Rav Malinowitz will mishandle the victims that means there must be victims that need help.

3) His third piece of false information involves the so-called  blog war - primarily between Frum Follies and myself.  While it is true that "much of the blog wars have focused on the jurisdictions of the two Batei Din involved - the Chicago Beit Din and the Israeli Bet Din. The question being addressed: Who has the authority to posken/rule?" His next statement is a blatant lie. 
"This whole jurisdiction squabble is simply a calculated tactic by the IBD of blowing smoke in the public's eyes. Frankly, who cares?" 
Only a person who is blinded with hatred for Rav Malinowtiz can ignore the clear facts that have been published in great detail on my blog - and proclaim this slanderous conclusion. He continues 
" Instead, the primary concern must be the process of healing & justice for the victims, and assuring the safety of the girls enrolled/attending these seminaries."
 It is clear that the IBD is in fact very much concerned with the safety of the girls. Aside from their intensive grilling of the staff members - they are actually introducing needed changes in the nature of these seminaries which will make them significantly safer places for the students. In fact they will be safer than other seminaries which don't follow this new protocol.

So how does David Morris know that the IBD is just, "blowing smoke in the public's eyes?" The answer is that he in fact doesn't know that - but because of his hatred of Rav Malinowitz - it is more real to him than if it were true.

4) He indicates that he is at least partially aware that his post is a fraud by saying
 " It is the sad fact that 90% of sex abuse victims do not step forward to report the crimes against them. Most of Meisels' victims, by the nature of these crimes, are still unknown. These victims are/were impressionable girls who were cynically taken advantage of and abused by a pop-star seminary mogul, and are now beset with fear, misplaced guilt-feelings, embarrassment, anger, bewilderment, doubts of faith, confusion, periods of depression... " 
What he means is that he has no idea if there are any victims other than the 2 girls who said they had been inappropriately touched. So maybe there are 200 victims but maybe there are only two. David Morris simply doesn't know - but it makes him feel good to attack Rav Malinowitz for not dealing appropriately with these victims whose existence has not been established.

5) David Morris next twists and seriously distorts statements regarding the IBD which I had published on my blog. Contrary to his slanderous assertion, the IBD has not just woken up and realized there are real victims. The fight that the IBD has had with the CBD is not simply a question of jurisdiction - but trying to gain access to information the CBD will not share - that might help either the victims or students in the future. Only someone blinded by hatred for Rav Malinowitz could ignore that fact and falsely claim that the IBD had no concern for victims. His absurd claim that the IBD is going to intimidate anyone who tries testify is an outrageous lie - that deliberately twists normal court procedure into something hideous and malevolent. His hatred of Rav Malinowitz produces this "gem".
"This is small comfort for the victims, who are being implicitly warned they will be subjected to facing off publicly against their perpetrator or his enablers, aggressively cross-questioned and other intimidating tactics by the Beit Din, and will potentially not be believed, in the name of being fair to (not "lynching") the accused. This level of frightening rhetoric (who's talking here about lynching anyone??), in the name of a Beit Din, is guaranteed to frighten away a victim.
5) Finally he explicitly reveals his motivation is to attack Rav Malinowitz. 
" In addition, I know Rav Malinowitz from close up. He is a fine torah scholar; gets involved in fracases for his kicks; and unfortunately has the bedside manner of a pathologist. If any of Meisels victims are reading this article, in the current circumstances I recommend you do not contact the IBD.
6) But he also reveals another motivation for his attack on the IBD. He is not only advising possible victims to avoid the IBD - the only beis din authorized to deal with the seminaries - and instead turn to his organization. An amazing self-serving statement said without the slightest blush of self-awareness.
If you are seeking confidential counsel and advice, you should turn to an independent victims advocacy organization.  Magen is an independent, non-profit, sex-abuse victims support and advocacy organization, based in Israel, with an in-depth understanding of the US/Israel seminary culture. If you are a victim of Elimelech Meisels, or witnessed or experienced any other abuse/grooming as a seminary student, you can contact/speak in confidence with Shana or Ruty: shoshana@magenprotects.org; ruty@magenprotects.org, or call Magen's 24/6 hotline +972-2-9999.678 (then press 1). There are also other fine (non-Jewish) victims support and advocacy organizations in the USA. (Specific suggestions/recommendations welcome).

Friday, August 22, 2014

Monsey mother loses custody battle after leaving Hasidic community

Rockland County Times   A Monsey woman who left her Satmar Hasidic Jewish community was dealt a blow Wednesday of last week, when the New York Appellate Division ruled in favor of her husband in a legal battle over custody of their three children.

The court ruled in favor of father Guillermo “Moshe” Gribeluk over mother Kelly Myzner, in spite of Myzner’s accusations that Gribeluk had sexually abused the children and the children’s stated desire to be with their mother. 

According to the Appellate ruling, religion was not the deciding factor in the decision. Myzner had contested to the court that Judge Sherri Eisenpress of Rockland Family Court had based her initial custody decision on a preference to maintain the children’s religious identity, for stability sake.
“Here, contrary to the mother’s contentions, the Family Court did not rely solely on religion and the mother’s decision to leave the Hasidic Jewish community in making the determination to award the father custody of the parties’ children,” The decision read.
The ruling in the Appellate Divison effectively affirmed a 2012 decision made by Judge Eisenpress, who concluded that though both the mother and her children wanted to stay together, taking the children from the community in which they were raised would be detrimental to their well-being.
 “The Family Court expressly stated that it passed no judgment on either parent’s religious beliefs and practices,” The Appellate Divison ruling said. “The children’s need for stability and the potential impact of uprooting them from the only lifestyle which they have known are important factors in making a custody determination.” [...]

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Civil & Criminal Liability for those who protect child abusers by Shlomo Singer

A satire about Yerachmiel Lopin of the blog Frum Follies – “Who was that masked man?”

[Of course you shouldn't take seriously anything I say here because I don’t mean anything I write here. Besides Yerachmiel is a good sport and I am suffering from a slow news day.]

Many years ago in the infamous social jungle of Williamsburg Brooklyn – home to many criminals and perverts as well as chassidic rebbes - a baby was born without anybody realizing his awesome significance for Mankind. There were no omens from heaven – such as a violent hurricane - nor were there any indications on earth – such as a rebbe forgetting to ask for a gift for a bracha. Of course this concealment of the earthshaking significance of the event was totally necessary and appropriate because of what we now know regarding the man we know as Yerachmiel Lopin.

As is true of the 36 righteous tzadikim – this baby was a true nistar. He seemed average in every way to his family, friends and teachers. What separated him from the others was his tremendous desire to be somebody. He wanted to have vast power and be recognized for his influence on the course of human events. 

Unfortunately his understanding of morality and right and wrong had been frozen at the level of a 6 year old. He has always viewed everything in black and white terms because he could not understand nuance or the interaction of complex moral factors. This was the result of a singular event that occurred when he was walking with his father in Williamsburg one summer evening. They stepped off the curb in the middle of the block to cross the street. He heard an incredible cry of “gevald from one of the biggest tzadikim in Williamsburg. Yerachmiel was totally shaken to his inner core and suffered post traumatic syndrome from that abusive shout. He and his father jumped back on to the sidewalk where they were sternly lectured about the incredible evil which is released into the world by even seemingly minor crimes such as J-walking. He never recovered from that experience and as a direct result - never advanced to the cognitive and moral understanding of an adult.

As he grew up two major factors dominated his life – 1) he lost interest in Yiddishkeit while retaining a nostalgia for it 2) He developed a great desire to be looked up to and to influence the world. The desire with being a great and important man was unfortunately combined with a fear of being criticized and being hurt. How could he possibly influence the world while remaining vulnerable to be hurt and criticized?

The answer came to him one day when he was secretly watching Superman on his neighbor’s television.  He realized he needed a secret identity like Superman so he adopted a false identity “Yerachmiel Lopin”. Then while he was watching Perry Mason the next day, he learned that if he was careful with his vocabulary he was safe from lawsuits. He learned that one should always say “This is just a satire”, “It is alleged”, “some people claim” , "if  despite strong evidence to the contrary X happened" or “it can be inferred that”. He also learned that one should always hide behind authorities by citing them or attributing his understanding to an authority - even though these authorities never said what he claimed. Thus, “it says in Shulchan Aruch” or “Mary Murphy 18 time Emmy winner alleged” [a really good expression because it combined “alleged” with “an authority”. Finally he discovered - that in America – most of what is published on a blog is safe from lawsuits and that became the medium for communicating with the world. He was now almost invincible.

Besides having a childlike black and white view of morality, he had trouble empathizing and understanding people who disagreed with him. After all Truth is Truth. Besides he didn’t have a good opinion of anybody who disagreed because after all since his opinion was right – the other side was obviously wrong. It was also important to his black and white self-image – to largely avoid acknowledging he had made a mistake. Besides a good offense is the best defense. 

The only think lacking in his grandiose, messianic vision was that he didn’t have a cause. He – as an avid admirer of Don Quixote - desperately needed a cause. At least some windmills to fight. He tried on various causes, being good to the environment, all men are brothers, feminism and even for a while became a baal teshuva. However nothing gave him the needed charge of self-righteous and galvanized his hidden powers until he discovered the cause of “Child Abuse and the great Orthodox Cover-up.”

The rest is history as he became one of the most famous and influential accusers and allegers of child abuse. He needed very little evidence to accuse someone. It helped if the person had at least one accuser who was reported the allegations to the police or to a newspaper. Once he had an allegation, his super powers of imagination and prose were activated and he just poured out an incredibly creative tale – usually with very little substance – to nail that “bastard.” He started a blog “frum follies” which provided him with additional protection against lawsuit and having to deal with facts. Of course he also pointed out that he was using satire – so he could make words mean anything he wanted.

Finally we can understand his Oedipal complex. Ultimately this crusade against abuse and his secret identity using the magic words of “it is alleged” or “Mary Murphy says” - enabled him to bash the rabbis that he despised and against whom he wanted vengeance for making him feel inadequate. Every rabbi he made squirm, declared to be a hypocrite or phony – or better yet insulted – gave him a tremendous feeling of power that he craved. Of course he hid behind the cover of a crusader for the victims and his concern for the absolute truth. But since this is satire – we know the truth.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Schlesinger Twins: Community President Oskar Deutsch's failure to help Beth

 Update, added Mr Deutsch's response to Ev Meyer's criticism and Beth Alexander's response to Mr. Deutsch letter.

Heute  A 10 head delegation under the leadership of Community President Oskar Deutsch visited Israel on Tuesday; "We are showing the people that they are not alone." Wounded soldiers were wholeheartedly thanked.

It is not my intention to name and shame people, especially not my own fellow Jews but when I saw this article in yesterday´s Austrian press, I felt so outraged at the hypocrisy of it, I felt compelled to voice my deep hurt and offence.

While the soldiers in Israel deserve all our thanks and praise and it is indeed noble of the Viennese Jewish community to fly a delegation out there, I would like to share my personal experiences of the ´compassionate´ President.

I went to see Mr Oskar Deutsch together with the Vice President, Ariel Muzicant. I was in a pretty desperate state and begged them to help my children who continue to suffer every day they are denied their mother in their lives.

I appealed to them as fathers, and Mr Muzicant as a father and grandfather to understand the daily loss from our lives and tried to communicate to them just a fraction of the grief we live with every day of our lives. I pleaded with them to step in and try to resolve the terrible crisis that has played out in their community the past 4 years and try to halt the terrible chillul hashem that has spread all over the world as a result.

Both men seemed sympathetic, Mr Deutsch even more so and while he insisted they could not interfere in the judicial process or change court decisions, they could certainly try to make the visiting arrangements better and 'more Jewish,' they assured me. Mr Deutsch promised to set up a meeting with Mr Schlesinger and at least try to make him keep to my visits and stop cancelling so frequently on a whim. He also said he would certainly try to do something so that I would no longer need to pay an exorbitant cost just to see my boys.

Mr. Deutsch also said he would find me a good lawyer. He suggested the name of one that had already repeatedly rejected my case and one who would bankrupt my family. He didn´t know her personally and wasn´t offering any kind of personal connection - something that´s taken extremely seriously here. Giving me the telephone number of a lawyer he didn´t know personally and whom he could not help me finance was not really the help I was looking for.

After several weeks when I hadn´t heard from Mr Deutsch, I called him up to see what he had done. He dismissively told me he hadn´t managed to set up a meeting with Mr Schlesinger and neither would he be able to do so. When I asked why not, he simply said, ´Mr Schlesinger refuses to come, there´s nothing more I can do´

When I asked him about the cost of my visits, he stingingly said, ´What´s 50 Euro?! You pay your lawyers more than that!´ I didn´t hear anything from him since then. It feels like the community have simply abandoned us.

Mr Deutsch, you may be kind and generous to children of Israelis far away but can I remind you once again about the suffering children crying out for help in your own community, on your own doorstep? You are fully aware of our pain and suffering. Please don´t keep your back turned on us. The whole world has heard about the plight of the Schlesinger twins, Samuel and Benjamin. Please find it in your heart to spare a thought for us too. Perhaps you can bring some of the kindness and compassion that you demonstrated so publicly in Israel home with you to Vienna. You don´t only have to be Jewish in Israel. In fact, here in the diaspora it is those Jewish values we need all the more.


 Ev Meyer wrote the following to Mr. Oskar Deutch

PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO READ THE COMMENTS THAT PEOPLE IN THE WORLD COMMUNITY HAVE WRITTEN ABOUT YOU. I WOULD APPRECIATE A RESPONSE AS TO YOUR LACK OF INVOLVEMENT IN THIS CASE OTHERWISE I WILL CONTINUE TO SPREAD THIS INFORMATION ON THE INTERNET. THESE COMMENTS WERE COPY AND PASTED FROM DAAS TORAH WEBSITE WITHOUT THE PERMISSION OF THE CREATOR OF THE SITE.
KIND REGARDS
EV MEYER
concerned Australian well connected Jew

Mr. Deutsch's response to Ev Meyer

Dear All,
I have spoken many times to both . Unfortunately not achieving the desired results. A claim I would not care is simply wrong.
Best Regards
Oskar Deutsch

 Beth Alexander responder to Mr. Deutsch's letter
Dear Mr Deutsch,

Please don't add salt to our wound. To claim you have 'spoken many times to me' is pure fiction and extremely insulting. Enough untruths have been spread around the Jewish community by Mr Schlesinger and his family without more being added by the people that are supposed to be 'neutral mediators.'

Your response to my supporter is extremely disappointing to say the least. Here we have such a caring, compassionate Jew on the other side of the world who doesn't even know me, taking the trouble to contact you about members of your own community because she truly cares and you cannot even form a truthful response, never mind turn to help?

This only confirms everything people around the world are hearing and seeing about the IKG - you have let us down unforgivably.

When will you begin to care? I just hope your own children and grandchildren will never have to suffer like we have in your midst. You remain blind and deaf to our pain.

Beth Alexander  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Former principal of girls' school in Melbourne arrested in Israel on sex assault charges

The Australian    THE former principal of a Melbourne Jewish girls’ school who fled Australia in 2008 after being accused of sexual assault has been arrested in Israel and is facing extradition. 
 
The federal Attorney-General’s Department has confirmed Malka Leifer was taken into custody in Israel after an extradition request from Australian authorities.

The mother of eight left Australia six years ago after she was sacked as principal of the ultra-orthodox Adass Israel School Elsternwick following allegations of improper conduct with students between 2001 — 2008.

A spokesman for the Attorney-General’s Department said Ms Leifer was wanted to face prosecution in Victoria for alleged sexual assault offences.

Seminary Scandal: Rechilus and baloney - time to resolve this mess

guest post by puzzled parent

We have been going round and round on the charges of sexual abuse for several weeks now. Time to organize the facts, and puts the rechilus, rumors and baloney into perspective.

facts

1.We have established that meisels is out of the Seminary business. How do we know that? Both batei din say so, and there were witnesses to the sale. Technicalities of selling a 501 C3 corp do not particularly interest us. We know it can be done.

2.We have established that he has sold the 4 seminaries to Y. Yarmush. A long interview with Yarmush yielded the information that he has a business plan, and contingent financial backing if necessary. We did not get into the details of the sale and the contract. How much does anyone know about the ownership and financial interests in any other seminary in the country? This did not seem necessary. We believe that if Meisels is seen anywhere near any of the seminaries, there were be an immediate major hue and cry.

3. The letter from R. Kahane to 15 girls was amateurish and poorly done.There is no disputing that the letter was disturbing and calls his basic judgement into question. This does not equate to any sexual wrongdoing however.

4. Charges of enabling against administrators have been thrown around at all 4 schools, and Kahane is one of those targeted. None of these have been substantiated. No one has called the police to our knowledge in any country. No one has called Rabbis Feldman or Malinowitz to our knowledge. If Chicago Beis Din has this information, they have not shared it with anyone. Charges in a law suit have not been substantiated. It is a source of great frustration that there has been no proof put on the table that anyone can see. “ Lo raeenu aino rayah.”

If in fact R Kahne acted the way that is described in some of these blogs, we would like to verify it. We will that same day go directly to Yarmush, Rabbi Aaron Feldman, Rabbi Furst and Rabbi Malinowitz ---and Kahane will have to step down. The Rabbis promised us that if there is proof, either from an individual or a therapist, they will act. We will either give you the direct cell phones to the individuals mentioned, or we will call them. Lets have some action. enough unverified talk and baloney.

opinions

1. Many people writing on all of these blogs have no daughter enrolled in a seminary. The ones who do have, for the most part, done their own major investigation and spoke to as many people as they could. The speculation on these sites is really astonishing, uncalled for, does not contribute to any real understanding of what is truly going on, and is counterproductive.


2. Particularly disturbing are posts by “psychologists, professionals and therapists.” Most of those are not written in the style, form and fashion of any professional that we have known over our years in education and psychology. They are also unsigned. Any bone fide professional would not be concerned about signing his/her name. No one has done so. Attempts to reach them have failed. How can anyone expect any credibility to be attached to these claims?

Dilemmas

There are only a few very clear points that need clarification, and the clock is running.

A. Was there enabling by staff and administrators? First hand evidence, or evidence submitted by a therapist would help resolve this. If you have this information, please share it le tovas haklal.

B. Will the schools be safe next year? Y. Yarmush has hired Rebetzin B. Birbaum, currently the “masgiach ruchani” of Bnos Chavah to oversee the 4 schools. We intend talking to her this evening. We have checked into her enough to know that she is excellent and means business.

This has been a very trying time. Lets try to bring this to a clean and proper ending b’ruach Hatorah.

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...

Monday, August 18, 2014

Lessons about happiness & spiritual satisfaction learned from spaghetti sauce - Malcolm Gladwell





הרב שיק: לא לטייח מקרי התעללות בילדים, לפנות למשטרה

Kikar HaShabbbat

הרב אליעזר שלמה יהודה שיק, המכונה "הצדיק מיבניאל" קורא להתלונן במשטרה על תוקפי ילדים ולא לטייח את המקרים. בכך, מצטרף הרב שיק לרבנים נוספים שקראו בשנים האחרונות לפנות לגורמים המוסמכים ולהתלונן על מקרי התעללות במגזר החרדי.

בשאלה שפורסמה באתר האינטרנט של הרב שיק, סופר על קייטנה במהלכה פגע לכאורה נער קטין בילד - בנוכחות אמו של הנער. לדברי אמו של הילד, ששמעה על המקרה, היא ניסתה לברר עמו מה אירע, אולם החליטה לעצור זאת כי ראתה שבנה "נכנס ללחץ", כלשונה.

Discrimination against Chareidim in the workplace by Allan Katz

Here is a short summary of   an   article from The Marker '   dealing with Discrimination against Chareidim in the workplace' and then my response.

My initial reaction to the title of the article describing the difficulty a graduate of the sought after elite Hi- Tec 8200 unit of the Intelligence Corps  to find work because of his Hasidic dress and appearance, was that a man with a chasidishe style dress, uncut beard, pe'yos etc would be at a big disadvantage as people normally don't like to be with people different to the themselves. But the people who complained about discriminationin the article  - just because they are chareidim -  were modern chareidi, no beard or suit, and who had went to the army – and this surprised me. Chareidi women have another obstacle in their path. They are asked when they intend to fall pregnant again. Although the % employment rate for women in Israel is 66.3% and for Chareidi women a close 61.2% we must keep in mind that often they are the sole breadwinners. Other obstacles in the path of Chareidim is the lack of training and qualifications, English and Maths, the degrees or non-academic diplomas  from the Chareidi colleges are not so competitive, and in the case of men they expect higher salaries because they enter the market at an older age and with a big family to support. The Ministry of Economic Affairs has a program to help absorb more Chareidim in the work force by opening employment centers, providing professional development and training, and offering incentives to employers to take on Chareidi workers. The spokeswoman said that employees were afraid of employing Chareidim because of their perceptions of demands for separation between the sexes and kosher food. She was hopeful in the long run as Chareidim become more open to working in a secular environment and employees reap the benefits of serious and dedicated Chareidi workers.[...]

The problem imho is the message conveyed by the politicians – both chareidi and secular. The chareidim would prefer not to work but remain in learning and live on hand outs and not integrate into Israeli life by going to the army etc. . . . So a private employer would ask himself – why support a community that discourages its men to go out to work or make a contribution to the country by going to the army. I think it was before the last elections that a friend of mine - studying in a Kollel and doing hours of she'rut le'umi with the intention of studying dentistry asked a  ' Gimmel ' - Agudah politician the following question. Why they did not join others defending the existing rights that 'she'rut leumi' offered to those who wish to study and enter the workforce.  The politician gave various excuses but when pushed, he said that Agudah cannot be seen to be encouraging young men to leave Kollel and go out into the workplace. The same negative attitude is to employment and parnassa is also expressed in the context of education. A kollel for young men who wanted to work and learn seriously in a Kollel framework was forced to close down.  A school offering kids to graduate in one year and do other courses afterward together with a learning program was severely criticized in the name of ' pure haskafos'.  It seems that issues of poverty have no place in ' hashkofos'.It seems that nothing has changed in the 60 years since Rav Dessler passed away? Rav Dessler had the view and belief ...... that  Yeshivah students should be encouraged to pursue full time learning and be denied the chance to get an academic qualification. Only in this way, could Yeshivas produce a large student body,  needed to  produce  Talmidei Chachamim and Ge'dolei  Yisrael. The negative impact on the lives of those not suitable for full time learning was a worthwhile sacrifice for this goal.The issue now is whether the system would not be better served by altering the single focus to one that allows a multiple tier educational system. [...]