Thursday, August 7, 2014

Seminary Scandal: A letter from a supporter of the Israeli Beis Din to his son

The following is a letter written by a knowledgeable supporter of the Israeli Beis Din which he sent to his son to explain the view of the IBD towards recent activities of the Chicago Beis Din. The son who shared it with me said I had permission to post it here to help clarify what is going on from the perspective of the Israeli Beis Din.
My dear son,

In response to your questions about the dispute with the Chicago Beis din, the world might be different, but the fact remains that the perpetrator is out and has been out for weeks and weeks already. The seminaries have a completely new owner.

If it true, as the IBD has heard, that some principals and senior staff were derelict in their duties:

a) It is horribly unfair and a rish'us to just say - as the Chicago beis din has said - that they will hold onto any evidence and refuse to show it to the IBD

b) The IBD is favorably impressed with the heads of the seminaries - especially the lady heads. To say the seminaries are still unsafe is preposterous. Going into the future, they are safe. No one can know what will be in the future but safe is safe. There is no reason at all to think it is not safe. Is anywhere "safe 100%"? Is Hadar 100% safe from their men teachers? BJJ? Greenwalds? 100%???????? Aiyn davar kazeh.

I remind you that Rav Shafran is one of the WORLD's TOP dayanim, and has dealt with similar matters over the years, extensively. Besides being experienced he is incorruptible, and no one's fool. All the dayanim feel the same way as he does about the seminaries’ safety. However there is someone here trying to close the seminaries - and, as they wrote in their letter to Rav Feldman (the BD letter)—such an action is unheard of!!!!!!

Even though it is clear that the seminaries are now safe, the IBD is making sure it stays that way by giving hora'os and hadrachos in the coming 2 weeks to all seminary heads. They MAY be making MAJOR changes in some of the seminaries. OF COURSE the IBD is doing a broad range of research and talking to professionals--that is what they have been doing for 10 days now, when not responding to silly, false, terribly horrid accusations. Contrary to vicious allegations, the IBD is relying on these professionals and instituting their recommendations.

What needs to done to help the situation? Someone needs to convince Chicago to stop acting like troublemakers. They need to remove themselves from the matter as they had planned to when the shtar was signed. They need to stop still hoping that the seminaries will close and that X will be there to pick up the pieces. Let professionals deal with this, not Rabbis with an agenda.

Despite the blogs innuendo, Yarmish is a gem of a person. He is a businessman. He is ehrlich. He is clearly NOT a mechanech which he readily acknowledges. He will do whatever the IBD tells him.

Pious mutterings (bebakashas selichah) are not worth much. Regarding your question why Chicago didn't sign the shtar – it was simply because they weren't baalei devarim. It’s that simple. They told the IBD to take care of the case. Only the actual baalei devarim signed. The IBD put a hold on the money, forbade Meisles from ever entering or having any more shaychoos. He subsequently sold the seminaries, and now the IBD is fully convinced that the seminaries are safe. There is NO REASON to think that they are not. The IBD had the koneh sign on, putting himself fully under the jurisdiction of the IBD for everything they do.

What more can a BD do?

They said from the day of the 2 e-mails—they will continue doing what their responsibility is, and HaShem will take care of all the silliness (or He will decide not to). They have an acharayus--the shtar is mechayev the IBD as well. Rav Shafran was very emphatic about this point--and believe me, he doesn't "need" this case. They are now doing what they always said they would now do --להוסיף שמירה על שמירה



  1. The seminaries became unsafe the SECOND it's principals (Kahane) did not empathize with the victims.


  2. @Mickey - astounding assertions. Did you speak to the dayanim and share your professional opinion. I can assure you that there are molesters who voice great concern for the victims of sexual abuse - does that make them safe?!

  3. Permit me, הקטן, to assist our 'knowledgable' writer with a number of points that his letter seems to ignore:
    1) The lack of transparency in dealing with abuse issues has been entrenched and systemic in the chareidi community. This post only continues this M.O. "All is well because [insert name of very TOP gadol] said it is". Parents will no longer accept these pronouncements; the rabbis have lost their נאמנות in this regard.
    2) In addition, rabbis have also betrayed victims on a wholesale level in the past. Standard M.O. has been to pepper them and their families with pressure to recant...and this only begins after their names have been given to he very TOP gedolim. On the contrary dear writer, it is pure צדקות for the CBD to refuse to divulge this information.
    3) It seems that the unspoken agenda of Israel is "keep the sems open", is it not? Why is that agenda more valuable than, for example, seeing to it that this monstrous betrayal of our girls NEVER, EVER happens again? Which agenda do you think is more important to parents? Your institutions, or their daughters?
    4) A final point: you claim the sems have been 'sold'. Such a sale would be illegal, given their 501c3 status. In a world where parents want the highest ideals taught to their children, we are also fed up with the many drei gesheften that apparently form the lifeblood of our institutions. When the TOP individuals start operating with impeccable integrity, they might then restore the trust that has been shattered on a wholesale level.
    Dear writer, that is the whole Torah....the rest is commentary. Go get knowledgeable please.

  4. What are you talking about?

    I don't understand your post.

    And perhaps change your tone of voice to something more professional and appropriate.


  5. Rabbi Eidensohn,

    You normally speak such sense, but your reply on this occasion is outrageous.

    R' Kahane is widely reported (possibly untrue, but it is very strongly likely to be true) as having being warned of the Shenanigans taking place with the girls/young-women, and having done nothing to stop it - just the opposite, it was allowed to continue under his watch.

    And then R' Kahane sends a recent letter to his students (now publicly available) instructing them that they will 'burn in hell' if they tell anyone what really went on.

    I am at a loss to understand how you can comment as you did in these circumstances.

  6. Big difference. The victims have indicated that they complained to the staff, and the staff did nothing. That's why the CBD feels that the sems are unsafe. The same would apply to any other sem where staff ignored reports of potential abuse.

    The IBD feels that there is no concern, and the CBD does. I don't see why it's so hard to understand this.

    But I also have to add that the assertion that somehow the IBD is "more" world class than the CBD is ridiculous. R' Fuerst is a known world-class posek and certainly R' Gedaliah Dov Schwartz has at least the same reputation. Why can't we agree that both batei din are chashuv? That's not the issue here. Not at all. The real issue is a cultural difference between how we view people who heard reports of abuse and did nothing.

  7. @Triangle your description of the IBD is clearly wrong and slanderous. Please read the post over again Or perhaps for the first time.. IBD's great "sin" is that they have not publicized what they have actually done and the concerns they actually have. It is clear from the letter that lack of response is not acceptable to the IBD in exactly the same as the CBD. Why if the CBD is so "concerned" about bad staff members they refuse to share this information with the IBD so they can deal with those individuals. Instead they announce a cherem on the school which means they are more concerned with closing the school then correcting the problems. This is clear from the various letters I have published. As Rabbi Malanowtiz wrote in his letter to Rav Aharon Feldman - closing a school is not the standard way of dealing with abuse - anywhere in the world. Why is the Chicago Beis Din insisting on it here?

    Regarding the quality of the beis din - you simply don't know what you are talking about. And you conclusion about culture is also totally off.

    I would suggest you stick to reading tea leaves - it causes less problems then making pronouncements which have no base in facts.

  8. @Fair Truth - neither of us knows that R Kahane responded improperly to allegations of abuse. If the CBD has testimony of that it is a fact - they should forward the information to the IBD so they can deal properly with the matter.

    Slandering someone without any clear evidence because you don't their letter regarding speaking about the matter is outrageous. Destroying a reputation without cause is also a serious form of abuse. Why do you condemn sexual harrassmenbut wallow in mudslinger with gusto?

  9. @Daniel you are way off on this. The CBD is not charging that the IBD is not conducting themselves properly. They - well aware of the beis din's solid reputation sent Rabbi Zev Cohen and R Gottesman to Israel to get them involved and were present when the shtar describing their operation was signed.
    Why do you bring in this nonsense about their concern being that the IBD was covering up?! There is absolutely no evidence that there was a coverup by the IBD but rather by the CBD in refusing to share information that would enable the IBD to deal with the issue properly - without closing the seminaries. The most obvious explanation is that the CBD wants the seminaries closed - not recuperated!.

    By the way I am well aware of the coverups that have gone on in the Chareidi world, Modern Othodox World, Army, Sports teams etc etc.

    That is not wht is going on here.

    Both sides agreed that the seminaries should be sold. The difference was to whom. Your tax question is important - but it has nothing to do with the different responses of the IBD and CBD

    In short Daniel you are projecting your own agenda on the letter instead of seeing it as guide to understand the present conflict. As Rav sTernbuch has told me you don't pasken and then look at the facts - you must have a clear grasp of what is going on before you posken. You are clearly lacking in your understanding of the reality of the conflict.

  10. Why do you assume that the CBD wants the schools closed down? They want the schools to be safe. I didn't say that it was easy. But it might mean getting rid of staff who did nothing. How is that the same as closing a school? Yet, you insist on talking about the closing of the schools, which nobody wants. Is it too much to ask that staff who did nothing when informed about abuse no longer work in chinuch?

    As to your assertion regarding sharing, why would the CBD share confidential and personal information knowing that it's going to end up being featured here? Seriously.

    But you continue to believe that Chicago is somehow secondary. I'm not even going to bother with the ridiculous "our rabbanim are bigger than yours" assertion. Remember that the victims came to the CBD because of their reputation for having successfully dealt with these issues since 2000. They didn't approach the IBD.

  11. @Triangle read Rabbi Malinowitz letter. The IBD is a highly respected beis din. It is so highly respected that the Chciago Beis Din acknowledged thee desirability of them handling this crisis of Israeli seminaries. Dayan Cohen attended the signing of the shtar berurin along with R Gottesman. No one forced them to agree to this.

    Then they suddently refuse to cooperate with the the IBD. They refuse the IBD's repeated offer for infomartion - which Rav Aharon Feldman finds so bizarre he in essence accused Rabbi Malinowtiz of being liar that he requested the information. It makes now sense. It is like hiring a surgeon and then locking him in his office when it is time for surgery.

    The key seems to be that R Gottesman wanted the seminaries closed down rather than repaired. That is the basis of the long letter betweent he IBD and CBD after Gottesman attempted to kill off the seminaries.

    You naively claim that the IBD is not willing to fire staff - that is absurd - as I have heard from a number of people associated with the IBD. Rabbi Shafran has no problem firing people that interfere with a properly functioning school.

    The rest of your comment makes clear you have no idea about the facts of the case or the agreement between the two BD's. Why do you think that Rav Feldman suggested a joing beis din and why did the IBD agree to that - but the CBD refused?

    Bottom line the CBD has had a change of heart - and it isn't simply because they are afraid that the primitie IBD won't handle the case properly. Rrread RAv Ahraon Feldman's difficult in grapsing the fact that the CBD is doing something against the agreement and against reason - without giving a reasonable expalantion.

  12. Funny that the IBD is impressed with the "lady heads" - I know for a fact they have been trying to intimidate the victims.

  13. RDE forgetting everything else, if legally, bc of civil/criminal proceedings the CBD can't share their evidence with the IBD, or, if they are worried that "somehow" the information will be leaked to a blog, HOW IN THE WORLD can you blame them for not releasing their findings.

  14. Dear Rabbi Eidensohn,

    Anything is possible, and you just could be correct.

    But it seems beyond credible, given R' Kahane's public letter, and given the long timescales of the allegations, that he responded properly to allegations of abuse.

    Given that R' Kahanes public letter was clearly an improper response to allegations of abuse, and given the tone of his public letter, it seems to me that it is more credible that the moon is made of green cheese than R' Kahane responded properly to allegations of abuse.

    The moon could be made of green cheese, but a sane person does not hold it to be likely.

  15. And if chicago is not a baal davar then again they can do whatever they want. I just don't get it.

  16. Why don't we consider the possibilty (instead of assuming a conspiracy that the CBD is trying to undermine the seminaries for no good reason) that maybe just maybe despite the fact that the IBD is very responsibly dealing with the situation - bringing in outside experts etc. - the CBD for some reason still feels it's not enough or there's something else wrong and therefore feel the sems are still not safe. They are perfectly entitled to (in their opinion) save the lives of young women esp bc they din't actually sign the shtar. They are some of the biggest poskim in the world from across the spectrum with impeccable reputations, don't they deserve that you be dan them likaf zechus. R eidensohn, have you spoken to any of them personally?

  17. I am sorry, Reb Daniel, but you are apparently being willfully obtuse.
    **You claim that CBD transferred authority....and then failed to cooperate. Why might that be??
    **CBD is also on record as contradicting the IBD 'hechsher' of the sems. How do you explain that in light of all that's happened?
    Like in other topics, I find you may be projecting your own agenda on this issue. I thought I was fairly clear: the rabbis have lost their נאמנות. Israel had no business -- ZERO -- declaring those sems safe with no qualifications. Their actions are proof positive of why they can't be trusted in this area.
    I feel that you are coming at this from a need to justify IBD. Please be a bit more open-minded, and thank you in advance.

  18. Both batei dinim are trying to protect the girls. The CBD is out-of-town straight and honest. The IBD is excellent too, maybe a bit shrewder and slightly less straightforward. The CBD is not trying to close any seminaries, they just want them to admit accountability. The fact is that these principals have many lost lives on their clock, with some degree of pshia at least for some of them. If they are all denying any knowledge, they are not acting honestly and the CBD feels that they cannot be trusted. I do understand the position of the IBD that perhaps safety can be ascertained by other precaution even if the principals are not being 100% honest about the past, but then again the CBD has a right to be extra cautious when it comes to parents who are spending $20,000 to entrust their daughter's neshamos to others. They want it to be 100% glatt and straightforward not just relying on the precautions the IBD implemented and who knows how foolproof they are. That is the reason they are not rescinding their original recommendation. They have the right to recommend what they believe. You dont have to follow their recommendation, if you feel confident in the IBD by all means send your daughter, the CBD will not stop you.

    He may be right that the CBD did originally give a more lenient psak, but they subsequently heard numerous testimonies and the scandal turned out to be much bigger than they originally believed.

  19. @Fair truth - we don't put people in jail based on the likelihood of the moon being green cheese.

    If the CBD has any evidence regarding him they should share it with the IBD. Why is that so hard to grasp.

    The IBD has no commitment to the continued employment of any staff that have been complict in this matter - why can't you accept that?

    All the IBD is saying is we need to deal with this with due process and delibaration and testimony. They have no problem of acting appropriately to correct the schools. The issue at this point is the CBD stonewalling

  20. @Baal shita - what you are cllaiming is simply not true. I am not going to repeat something I have repeated many times but you are impugning the integrity and commitment of the IBD to dealing with the staff - including firing them and making them pay compensation - if relevant

  21. @Daniel we have been around this block before - several times in fact. I will suggest that your suggesting regarding my supposed "obtuseness" might expainyour.

    I have no need to justify the IIBD - I simply hae been researching the matter and I see that there are a lot of unsupported claims made from leaks and the pilpul of bloggers which have no basis in reality. So who is more open minded - somelinke you who has not reaserached tthe issue but has made deductions as to what is reasonable or mean who has spent countless hours reading materila and speaking to a wide variety of people. I think you need to reevaluate what open minded means!

  22. Yes but they gave the green light to send there before finishing the job. There are still negligent people who have not yet admitted (and countless girls who voiced uneasiness with M. in the past know this!) Why would someone send to a seminary if the principal may be fired in a month?
    I agree, if you have 100% confidence in the IBD, you can send your daughters and trust the IBD will do a clean up job, but as of yet it did not yet happen. I would be somewhat hesitant, even though I agree that it is an excellent BD.

  23. @Vera It is funny that I know for a fact thatyou don't exist! The value of the unsupported comments of an anymous commentor when added to the valud of $1 equal $1. If you have proof of intimidation then please pass the information either to David Morris or Yerachmiel Lopin who would kill for such information.

  24. @MavakeshHaemes - you have a good point. I would go one step further. I seriously doubt whether there was any need for her leaving Yoel and wanting a divorce.

  25. @Baal shita - how do you know the problem was not dealt with. Regarding a principla who might be trouble - the question is if the CBD is worried about that why are they refusing to share the information so that principal can be removed? Do you have information that any of the principals were activity involved in harming the girls? If so please share it with us - or contact David Morris or Yerachmiel Lopin so they can publicize the matter.

    If you just have suspicions but it isnot based on anything real then why are you publicly stating there are still problems with the seminaries.

  26. Lopin does not need my info. I am sure he knows all I know. Anyone who had a distant cousin in M's seminaries knows that he acted somewhat inappropriate to just about every female. All the mechanchos knew it as well, I am sure some more than others. They are good mechanchos and were slightly posheya. Not one admitted publicly. The CBD is not OK with that, the IBD is. I don't have a strong opinion who is right on this, I would love to hear yours.

  27. "@Fair truth - we don't put people in jail based on the likelihood of the moon being green cheese." We aren't discussing here whether R' Kahane should go to jail, why are you diverting the issue?

  28. I ouldn;t agree more with the letter writer when he says "Let professionals deal with this, not Rabbis with an agenda." vehamavin yavin.

  29. This is utterly unbelievable!!!

    From the way your comments have been going in this issue I'm expecting YOUR (RDE) next response to be...

    "Sha!!! It's Loshon horah to talk anything about this subject....

    איך נפלו הגיבורים???......

  30. Please post Moshe's rejoinder 'letter to a son' that he sent you.
    Hopefully that letter will show you how claims can be made on either side of this argument.
    And, sadly, parents don't accept your נאמנות either. Don't tell us about your research; start showing proof of what's going on here. You have deftly ignored the main problem: how did IBD dare issue a hechsher to the sems, given what is now acknowledged fact?? HOW? And talk in מציאות please.....parents don't need your assurances of how much you know. SHOW US PROOF.

  31. Rabbi Eidensohn,
    Respectfully, can you shed light on why the IBD response within 8 hours of receiving the case, was that the "seminaries are sold, so no more problem" when the timeframe on its own provides a major pircha to it being anything other than a straw sale? As a parent I would never elect to send my child there...

  32. As these seminaries are not what people signed up for I see no reason why the seminaries shouldn't offer a full refund. Did the IBD tell the seminaries to offer a refund, and if not, why?

  33. @Daas Torah - do you have a phone number I can reach you at? I have spoken to YL a few times. I am very offended you telling me I don't exist - when unfortunately, I am very close to this case.

  34. Reb Doniel. I have been a supporter of yours in the past and a fan of your
    blog for many years. It pains me to see what you are writing here.

    is pretty simple. Parents want their money back and have an opportunity
    to send their daughters elsewhere. The CBD agrees. The IBD doesnt.
    Common sense says, if there is the slightest of doubt about the safety
    of your child in a sem, do not send them there. The parents who made
    deposits before this news came out deserve their money back AND the
    opportunity to go elsewhere.

    The IBD is not only
    holding back the money (directly or indirectly) but also stopping other sems
    from accepting girls previously registered at one of Meisels seminaries
    (implicitly or otherwise).

    This is why the CBD
    severed ties with the IBD. No longer will they communicate with them,
    especially now that one member of IBD is named as a plaintiff in a lawsuit.

    Now that the suit is public, i suppose we all know why CBD and IBD split.

    are you still claiming 'if they have proof, show it'. They won't and
    shouldn't. No one in their right mind would. With all due respect,
    please stop making a fool of yourself.

  35. "Can we finally dispense with the idea that there's no proof the staff was complicit? "

    So now the mere filing of a lawsuit constitutes proof? Ridiculous.

  36. R Eidensohn why did you block the response letter I posted?

  37. They did not tell them that. They feel the seminaries are fine.

  38. Explains nothing. They'll have to give his lawyers everything they have if the suit ever comes to trial.

    I am constantly amazed at the new levels the CBD sinks to.

  39. I didn't think it provided an accurate presentation of the facts

  40. As little as two weeks ago the staff tried making believe the accusors mentally ill.

  41. evidence to support your accusation please!

  42. Where'd you get the 8-hour nonsense? In fact, weeks elapsed between when they received the case and when the sale was done.

  43. The IBD is not holding back money. It is not in their control to hold back. They say that a claim of mekach ta'us requires a din Torah. This is actually a davar pashut.

  44. @Moshe you didn't pay attention to the post. It was written by a talmid chachom who is close to the IBD. You made up your version. If you want to get Rabbi Fuerst or Rabbi Cohen to write such a letter I would be willing to publish it

  45. You would be correct if the letter writer was conveying new information and since he is more knowledgeable and reliable than me you should trust him. But he is not. This is empty of facts and proof and full of value judgments. He says "It is horribly unfair and a rish'us to just say..." which it may be, but obviously the cbd feels otherwise. He says "The IBD is favorably impressed with the heads of the seminaries " fine. But chicago is not. etc. etc. My point is all his judgments can go the exact opposite way which is clearly what chicago feels so all you get by this is only portraying one side.

  46. The "sale" of the seminaries to a private individual is a scam. Any lawyer (like Gottesman) or Rav who works with non-profits would know that. Someone can be hired by the board of the nonprofit to be a new administrator -- but he can only get a salary; no way can anyone get "rich" off of a nonprofit legally. A nonprofit can be transferred to another nonprofit, but it can't be owned.

    No one person or group of people can own a nonprofit
    organization. You don't see nonprofit shares traded on stock exchanges, and any equity in a nonprofit organization belongs to the organization itself, not to the board of directors or the staff. Nonprofit assets canbe sold, but the proceeds of the sale must benefit the organization, not private parties.

    If you start a nonprofit and decide at some point in the future that you don't want to do it anymore, you have to walk away from it and leavethe running of the organization to someone else. Or, if the time has come to close the doors for good, any assets the organization owns must be distributed to other nonprofits fulfilling a similar mission.

    When nonprofit managers and consultants talk about
    "ownership" of a nonprofit organization, they're using the word metaphorically to make the point that board members, staff, clients, and the community have a stake in the organization's future success and itsability to provide needed programs.

  47. Daas Torah- funny how you wouldn't publish my post earlier today bc I said the same exact hung as FairTruth- the fact that you respond in such a disrespectful and emotional way. No one respects those responses so if you want ppl to take you seriously, then brush up on the way you speak to ppl. And your are WRONG. If you knew anything abt anything, you'd know that Kahane was very much involved in covers things up (not actual sex abuse but DEF inappropriate behavior from Meisles).

  48. @Mike Bash, I've heard much of the same. Slander and intimidation tactics against the victims. @Daas Torah, doesn't think I "exist." Unfortunately, I am very close to the case and am not looking to speculate, just share the facts I know.

  49. Forcing the seminaries to close down fits the pattern of what Gottesman has been doing. He tried to bring them and their finances under his own control, then tried to force their sale to his Torah U'Mesorah colleague Bloom. When they were sold to Yarmish, he had Bloom open another branch of his own seminary and contact parents to take their girls out of the sems. Closing them down certainly benefits Bloom. Does it benefit Gottesman too? Does he have an ownership share in the new Bloom seminary? Is closing them down just a power trip for him? Who knows.

  50. Here's my legitimate question, not being argumentative - I just want to know how I can put my trust that a bais din who has encouraged covering for molesters, and discouraged reporting molesters can be 'making sure it's safe'. If there is a legitimate answer to that I would love to hear it because, to me, it makes all the other conversations moot. You can't use their word as the proof that all is well. You have to remember that it was Israeli Rabbeim who told staff and councelors not to bother reporting the allegations and suspicions they heard. (first hand info, not heresay)

  51. @C.W. please explain what you mean by not reproting allegations they heard.

  52. Happy to answer but I'm not interested in a diversion from what I asked If you are able to answer the question, please do so. I will clarify my infornation as well.

  53. First, they are not some of "the biggest poskim in the world." That's a ludicrous statement. As for your question - well, if they have a legitimate reason, why are they so shy about sharing it with the far-more-qualified beis din they themselves entrusted with the case?

  54. kinda what I figured . . .

  55. Use your imagination. I'm sure someone like yourself can come up with a few reasons.

  56. I certainly can. None of them which speak well of the CBD. And it doesn't require much imagination. But how do you, a believer in the integrity of the CBD, explain it?


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