Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Joint Beis Din - Israeli and Chicago - issues psak regarding former Meisels seminaries that all is well and that no one needed to be fired!

I just received the following psak - for publication - from someone who is close to the joint beis din. The joint beis din has apparently decided to endorse the original psak of the Israeli Beis din. All the seminaries have been declared safe and no one need to be fired for what happened. The only question is why it took so long.


  1. Basically, a quick summary: Kesser Chaya is totally innocent of all wrongdoing, the guy in charge of Chedvas showed atrocious judgment twice, but did not know of the abuse and has suffered enough, and (contrary to what it says in the post) in Binas, they were negligent and unnamed administrates have been removed from their positions of authority for the next year and a half.
    Four comments: The statement that the administrators at Penenim cannot be responsible, because Meisels was the administration at the time, does not make much sense to me. If those currently in administrative positions were negligent, they should not be in those positions now, regardless of how much power they had when it was going on.
    2: The Beis din has divided Meisels (called "the assailant" throughout) actions into two categories: Illegitimate (פסולה)/forbidden, and inappropriate.
    3: They say that these distinctions will be made clear in a separate document yet to be released.
    4: It seems like this was a real mess. Although all seven judges signed on it "halakha lema'aseh," 5 of them did not disagree with it entirely. This is more like a Supreme Court opinion with separate concurrences than a unanimous pesak. Rabbis Shafran and Malinowitz disagree with parts of it, as do all 3 of the CBD members. It states that these two documents will also be released in the future.

  2. Does it indicate what part(s) each of the five dissent on?

    Does it indicate how many instances of forbidden and how many instances of inappropriate occurred by Meisels? Is it more specific?

  3. @Yehoshua - your summary does not accurately reflect what is said in the Hebrew.

  4. Hashem Runs the WorldMarch 11, 2015 at 11:08 PM

    Yehoshua, can you read Hebrew?? What you wrote is not at all what the psak said. Why would you want to make people look bad?? Shame on you,

  5. Very much so.
    Footnote 3 makes it clear that there were never more than 3 accusers
    and the kicker is this:
    3 ומכאן, שהשמועות המסתובבות בדבר עשרות בנות שנפגעו מדי שנה בשנה, אין להן שחר או אחיזה

    In other words all the allegations about 40 girls etc. were patently false.
    And for all those who claimed that such claims were never made and are only a figment of the imagination of commenters on this board, this too is clearly disproved because otherwise the Beis Din would have had no reason to even mention this in their psak din. Clearly it was alleged and it's no secret that Feurst and Cohen were among those who made these allegations. For shame!

  6. Thank You, David.

    (I always knew I could rely on someone named David ;-) )

  7. The main text says that there were only a few allegations each year. However the footnote implies like you say, that there were only three in total. Am I reading wrong?

  8. I saw that as well and got a bit confused at first. I believe this is a nod to the CBD's claims of multiple offenses wherein every single claim of any sort was immediately added to the pile in order to make it more horrific and justify their blow-it-all-up approach. If a former student from an early year said that he made a comment that made her feel uncomfortable, that made the list etc.
    When I spoke to R Feurst he specifically listed to me such examples of "the inexcusable behavior" that transpired. He even told me that he learned much of this from what was said to him on the phone [i.e. taking evidence not in the presence of the BD or the accused] and without knowing who the accuser was at times.

    However, the only real claims that were verified as claims - not proven - were by the three listed in the footnote.

  9. I wish I could take credit, but the true credit goes to my great-uncle whom I'm named after :)

  10. Interestingly, the complete Beis Din is highly critical of the letter that had gone out back in June smearing the seminaries. They say this particularly with Keser Chaya as there never was an incident there.

  11. @Daas Torah @Hashem etc.: Please give one example of something that I wrote in the summary that is not in the Hebrew.

  12. First of all, the wrote about שמועות המסתובבות, which means "rumors circulating/flying around." How you know that refers to anything other than what goes on in this blog is beyond me.
    Second of all, as I have noted above, this pesak makes a distinction between forbidden and inappropriate behaviors. The limited number (whether 3 or "a couple/few each year") refers to the victims of forbidden acts, not inappropriate behavior, as is clear to anyone who can read Hebrew. As noted elsewhere, the 40 number includes those girls who experienced the second type as well.
    In sum, I have still not seen anywhere else than on this blog the claim that there where 40 victims of actual sexual assault, let alone rape, and this pesak never indicates that the CBD said otherwise.

  13. Hashem Runs the WorldMarch 12, 2015 at 8:28 AM

    Bottom line the psak is saying that the past 8 months have been a BIG mistake. The staff did nothing wrong.

    They actually say there were no allegations at all in 3 out of the 4 schools and and even the 1 with the allegations (not 10's of them-, 2 maybe 3) it is not clear the staff handled anything incorrectly. The letter is full of praise for the principals, and made particularly beautiful comments about one of them, that his incredible reputation and tzidkus far precedes him and is and always has been very well respected in the world of chinuch etc etc etc

  14. Talk about misrepresenting! The only school with regard to which there were no complaints is Kesser Chaya. They did not discuss the Peninim complaints because Meisels was the principal, so they felt it unnecessary (אך למותר) to discuss complaints there. In Chedvas, there were complaints, though only of inappropriate behavior, not forbidden behavior (רק מהתנגות לא ראויה), and in Binas, there were complains of forbidden behavior. So 3 out of 4 had complaints, not the other way around.

  15. @Yehoshua - we have had fundamental disagreements as to how to understand texts. So far you have not acknowledged being mistaken - and I don't agree with your understanding.

    Your summary in this case conveys an understanding of events which is clearly not that found in the text. Perhaps if you did a word by translation we could at least agree on that.

  16. Instead of obfuscating, how about you note 1 mistake I made? The only things I would concede is that perhaps "atrocious judgment" was too strong, and would be better rendered as "acted without wisdom in his decisions"; and that the Binas administrator has been suspended, not removed, from his/her position of authority. Other than that, I stand by every word, and challenge you to point out what is incorrect.

  17. @Yeshoshua - thank you for conceding these serious errors. In addition the Binas administrator has not only not been removed bu has also not been suspended. Equally problematic you chose to ignore the high decree of confusion and uncertainty clearly expressed in the report.

    In short your Hebrew is not only incorrect on a word by word basis - but the overall description is simply not accurate. This was a very carefully worded document and you simply are oblivious to the nuances that are being expressed.
    In short your translation is closer to a computer translation then one done by someone who is attuned to the issues.
    If I get the time I will produce a translation.

  18. If he/she was not suspended, what does it mean when it says that "It is difficult to be freed of the feeling that there were red flags and troubling signs, and the principal should have been aware of what was occurring in her (school) and under her nose..It is difficult to decide if this was on the level of negligence, or close to negligence (אבידה קרובה לפשיעה) or less than that…therefore it is sufficient to continue the arrangement from Kislev of this year, according to which some of the functions and rights/ authority (סמכויות) have been transferred on a temporary basis to others…these arrangements will be in force until the academic year of 5777."
    As to your overall assessment of my reading comprehension skills, I do not agree. I find it ironic that you are choosing the same tactic used at Frum Follies, that whenever someone would quote the wording of the initial CBD letter (unwanted sexual contact) and question whether that means actual sexual intercourse, FF would reply "you have to know how to read between the lines of these kinds of letters."

  19. @Yehoshua - I have no problem with this translation you just made - but it doesn't say that the administrator was suspended as you claimed in your last comment. You clearly lack an understanding of the tremendous concern with the nuance in the document. Your summary is extremely clumsy and no way reflects what the dayanim were trying to say.

    Let look at the words you just translated. It first says that it is difficult to say whether there was guilt. Perhaps it was negligence perhaps it was close to negligence or may not even close to negligence. That covers a wide range of negligence to innocence.
    Did you note that in your summary?

    Then it continues as a result of the lack of agreement whether there was negligence or no negligence - the sacrificial compromise that the administrator agreed to - without any admission or claims of guilt - to temporarily not be fully in charge of 3 aspects of administration.

    This sacrifice was done solely so that the CBD could save face and would sign the document.

    Again the administrator was not fired, or suspended or sanctioned in anyway - but voluntarily stepped back from full authority in several areas of the job in order to allow a psak to be issued.
    Note the language of the consequences of not deciding whether there was negligence of any type of innocence. "It is sufficient to continue the arrangement....."

    There is a major difference between saying that the administrator was punished and that the administrator voluntarily relinquished full control in several functions.

    Your summary in no way conveys the absence of punishment which is clearly stated in this piece - even according to your translation.

    Do you understand what I am saying? do you agree that your summary was not accurate? Or are you mistakenly claiming that the point is too subtle and there is no need to mention it?

  20. Okay, one by one:

    1:"Let look at the words you just translated. It first says etc. .Did you note that in your summary?"

    I am not sure if you are aware, but a summary does not purport to include all elements of the source text. If it did, it would be a translation.

    2: "This sacrifice was done solely so that the CBD could save face and would sign the document."

    This is not in the document, and of course would not then be included in a summary (or even a translation). This is insider information that you claim to have. People can take that or leave that, but it is not in the pesak.

    3: "Again the administrator was not fired, or suspended or sanctioned in anyway - but voluntarily stepped back from full authority in several areas of the job in order to allow a psak to be issued."

    Again, this is your take. Perhaps it is based on inside info. To me, if the pesak says that as a result of her ignorance of what was going on under her nose, the right to administrate the school is no longer (temporarily) hers, that sounds like a suspension. If this was "willingly" in the sense of "remove yourself or we will suspend you" or not is not explicit. However, people generally don't jump to be removed from their positions of authority out of the goodness of their hearts.

    In essence, you have two claims against what I wrote. One is that I did not write every single statement in the pesak, As noted before, that is not the function of a summary. The second is that you claim the principal of Binas was not suspended (from being principal) until the academic year of 5777 and that she voluntarily accepted that demotion, or whatever you want to call it, while I understand that this was dictated by the Beis Din. I have no inside info on that matter. Perhaps you do. Either way, the reader can choose which is a more accurate reading of the pesak.

  21. @Yehoshua

    1) that is ridiculous.
    Dictionary definition "a brief statement or account of the main points of something."
    When summarizing a verdict - you do need to at least indicate the degree of guilt and the sentence!

    2) while you don't have insider information - you should have notice the back handed way it address the issue of guilt and consequences. You ignored the nuances and simply decided what it should have meant rather than trying to figure why they would write it is such a strange manner.

    3. But you can't say that. It clearly says they did not make a judgment as to negilgence or innocence - so how could they punish that which they hadn't decided?!

    Even your summary here is not accurate. I am not saying you should include every statement - as you noted that is not a summary. But you neglected to include the major points and thus did not produce an accurate summary - aside from your ignoring clear indications that something was going on other than issues a simple verdict.

  22. The first two points have been gone over multiple times, so I will spare everyone another time.
    As to #3, It says that they did not make a judgment as to the level of her guilt, whether negligence or less than that, but it states clearly that she should have known what was going on under her nose and is held responsible for that.

  23. Yehoshua - again your summary is wrong - you at only one part of a dialectic simply collapse so that it expresses only one aspect. What you said is totally inaccurate.

    Bottom line Yehoshua - I don't have any more time to try to give your reading lessons - but your summaries are not accurate and that is not the fault of being ignorant of Hebrew - but simply refusal to pay attention to what is being said and how it is being said. You don't have a sense for the flow of words and you are clearly missing the message which is contained not only in the words but the way they are expressed.

  24. Well, I don't have the time to counter your vague assertions of problems with my reading comprehension, so I guess we are even. To all of you out there, read the full pesak and decide for yourselves.

  25. Actually, they don't say he "acted without wisdom..." either, Yehoshua. Still wrong. What they do say is that it is up for debate as to whether such an act was wise or not- they are not saying whether it was or it wasn't. And, they only mention it with respect to one decision not two (you said 2). They also go to great lengths to praise Rabbi Kahane and his incredible reputation and request that people (like you) should stop wrongfully blemishing his name.

    Your entire tilt on this psak is against the obvious tone of it. They are saying very positive things and you, strangely, are making them everyone look bad. I smell an agenda...

  26. RDE, may I humbly suggest you post a translation so that there is no further need to debate what the letter actually says?

  27. "How you know that refers to anything other than what goes on in this blog is beyond me."

    Indeed it is beyond you but it's readily apparent to anyone with a smidgen of honesty or without a bias in favor of the CBD.
    It would take but one minute to check what was written on some other blogs - one of them a mouthpiece for the CBD - and see these allegations. I would take but one minute to pick up the phone and call S. Feurst and ask him whether he ever made such allegations. I heard it from him multiple times.
    But then again, evidently you're bias and dishonesty render anything that reflects negatively on the CBD as beyond you.

    "In sum, I have still not seen anywhere else than on this blog the claim
    that there where 40 victims of actual sexual assault, let alone rape,
    and this pesak never indicates that the CBD said otherwise."

    The distinction between allegations of forbidden and inappropriate actions I already made above.

    Claiming that it doesn't indicate that the CBD said it is meaningless. Of course they won't say so openly - the CBD had a hand in this psak. Yet, as anyone who knows anything about the case knows, they said it and repeated it to hundreds of people and in very public forums.
    nothing much left to debate on this point.

  28. To clarify: You heard directly from Rabbi Feurst that Meisels raped 40 girls?

  29. @Yehoshua - Yes I agree that the psak needs to be read and studied - not simply summarized

  30. His words to me on one occasion were: "I know of 40 victims by name."
    When I asked him whether we're talking about sexual contact or just inappropriate behavior he responded: "I can't get into details but many were sexually abused."

    On another occasion he claimed that there were only three who made any allegations of contact, but one was of a sexual nature BUT he knew that there were many more and he was investigating.

    He told one high school principal who repeated his words to me: "Six young ladies are confirmed not to be receiving a full kesubah and there are allegations of many more victims."

    The RICO lawsuit which he orchestrated together with Mr. Gottesman - calling parents and telling them they were obligated to join - claimed that there were many many victims and that the entire operation was just a setup to provide paramours for him. You can look it up yourself.

    So yes, I heard from him all about the 40 victims and so did many others.

    This Psak Din makes it clear that this was a gross and vile exaggeration and it doesn't take much to understand how difficult it must have been to have even that footnote included because it reflects so negatively upon the CBD. Clearly they had no choice but to 'fess up.

  31. A few each year? That means a minimum of three per year. Of course, Meisels found the weakest girls and exploited them. How, exactly they were exploited is unresolved, but this sure seems like a number larger than three. Depending on the number of years this went on, it's likely close to the 40 originally cited.

  32. Ah, we're back to the 40, which even the corrupt so-called dayanim of the cbd now admit was fraudulent.

  33. Even if one thinks the CBD was wrong in this case, I think that even R' Eidensohn would agree that "corrupt so-called dayanim" and "poor saps" is not the proper way to talk about noted talmidei chachamim.

  34. Ok, so let's say that Meisels "only" destroyed 3 neshamos. Would that make him a tzadik? You're the one here trying to minimize the rishus. So let's put the blame where it squarely belongs, and not try to whitewash what the "Pogeah" did. You can play number games all you want, but in the end, it makes not one whit of difference in terms of the evil that he did.

  35. I'm not discussing Meisels at all. My focus has always been the CBD, and the rishus embodied by corrupt dayanim.

  36. I disagree, obviously. Corruption should be named,especially when embodied by dayanim.

  37. In any case, nowhere does it say there were "a few each year." That's something you invented. The text does not give numbers; the numbers are given in footnote #2 -- a total of two girls. Y'hear -- two girls over the entire period, not three each year, or whatever number you invented from whole cloth. (An inventive guy like you should look for employment with the CBD. They'll love you.)

  38. Listen, if you want to post a comment explaining why you think dayan x or y is corrupt, that is fine with me. That is very different than just labeling a group of three dayanim as "corrupt so-called dayanim" without any explanation. Obviously, there have been differences of opinion between the various Rabbonim involved in this case, and it may very well be that the IBD was more on target than the CBD. However, getting a case wrong does not equal corruption.

  39. I have posted numerous comments detailing precisely why they are corrupt. Go look up the many seminary threads and you will see. If you can't be bothered to do that, it's not my problem.

  40. first off - "a few" means a minimum of two each year, but regardless that's not what the psak alleges.
    How they were "exploited" cannot be resolved by this psak because it's not addressing his actions but those of his staff.
    Also, since certain folks here continuously insist that the number 40 has never been stated by the CBD would you care to explain where you got that number from? You seem to be on the side of the CBD and it would be fascinating to know where you heard the number 40?

  41. I agree. Not proper to say this about noted Talmidei Chachomim.
    Sadly however, the CBD does not meet even that minimal standard. Other than Feurst, neither of the others are noted talmidei chachomim and serious questions have been raised about Feurst's level of scholarship as well long before this sordid affair.

    Those who've learned the truth about this story simply have no choice but to refer to them as either incompetent or corrupt. I prefer incompetent because it's kinder and gentler, but corrupt can certainly be employed as well.

  42. So you are saying they are going back to the classic policy of covering up sexual abuse.

    Shame to see they are doing that

  43. Hashem Runs the WorldMarch 17, 2015 at 11:22 PM

    No moron, they are saying that they made a mistake. Get it through your head. .

  44. In fact, that's precisely what he is not saying. It's what you are saying, without basis, but not RDE.

  45. This comment is exhibit A as to why this is such an impossible subject to discuss rationally and honestly.
    Here we have the very same CBD that went all out declaring FOUR schools as unsafe on a very flimsy basis. They've never apologized although they have tried to walked some it back in recent months.
    They sat with another highly reputable BD and added a third neutral party to the deliberations to ensure that their joint psak wouldn't be a partisan battle. After issuing a partial psak declaring them sage again, they now issued a full psak detailing why they were jointly pronouncing all the schools as safe. Hear that? The CBD now says they're safe, not just the IBD.
    And yet, along comes michael613 and insists that all it amounts to is a big coverup. So much for truth and honesty. Nope. It's all one big cover up because it doesn't allow for the nuclear option to be exercised when it's entirely uncalled for.

  46. Interestingly, Gentle Harry has still not admitted that he was wrong. Why not? Do Modern Orthodox Jews not have to acknowledge and apologize when they make a mistake and slander people?

    PM/Frumfolies just now, after a full week, has tried to put some sort of negative spin on this. However, it is obvious to all that he was wrong in his claims and reporting.

  47. Harry would never apologize because facts mean nothing to him. He has an agenda and any facts that get in the way of that agenda are conveniently ignored or discarded.

    He based all his early arguments on the strength of his great trust in his Chicago rabbis. When they subsequently signed on to the Psak Din stating the schools were safe, he merely decided that he couldn't trust them any longer [הפה שאסר הוא הפה שהתיר anyone?] and continued to insist that they must not be safe.
    With this new psak in place clearly stating the same - and going even further by stating that some of them never even had allegations - he just ignores it. Even his minions might suspect that he's biased beyond compare and his credibility will suffer. Thus, he pretends it never happened.
    He also relies on FF for his arguments and since he was slow in producing them, Harry had no choice but to wait a week. Any day now he'll have a summary of FF's recent post up.


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