Thursday, 28 August 2014

Lema'an Achai Receives Presidential Recognition for Operation Protective Edge

Avrohom Leventhal, Executive Director of Lema'an Achai, receives prize from President Rivlin

The Beit Shemesh non-profit organization Lema'an Achai received an honour from Israeli president Ruby Rivlin and Beit Shemesh Mayor Moshe Abutbul this week, for the organization's role in providing civilian support during Operation Protective Edge.

During the 50 days of war in the South and Center of Israel, Lema'an Achai provided substantial aid to IDF soldiers and southern population. This was focused on short term aid - and a longer term rehabilitation project has also been launched.

Lema'an Achai delivered over 280,000 NIS worth of equipment which was requested by specific army units in Gaza. These included:

5000 x Field Cellphone Rechargers
1300 x Army Issue Wearable Water Containers
400 x Army Issue Headlamps
7500 x Socks and Underwear
1000 x Packs of Moist Wipes
250 x Personal Hygiene Packs

These were provided directly to units of Combat Engineers and Infantry, according tho their specific requirements and needs.

In addition, on the Home Front, Lema'an Achai:

* funded families from Netivot, Ofakim and Sderot to take respite trips to quieter areas of the country,
* arranged a Fun Day for around 50 southern residents.
* arranged temporary accommodation for 11 families in Beit Shemesh
* provided food + clothes for 35 additional southern residents.

Lema'an Achai also joined forces with Magen (Child Protection) and Ligdol VeLifroach - Mercaz Rakefet (Child Development) to provide a War-Time Support Line (in English), a 24/6 counseling service for English speakers in Israel who are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or are simply seeking information regarding the war.

Unfortunately, the impact of this conflict upon the residents of the South will also require considerable support longer term.

Lema'an Achai has therefore established a free dental program with a new clinic in Sderot, together with a new social services office, to provide support and counseling for southern residents impacted by the war.

Lema'an Achai has received awards for their assistance in other national crises and conflicts, including 2008/9 Operation Cast Lead and 2012 operation Pillar of Defense; Magen also assisted thousands of evacuees from Gush Katif in 2007-2010.

Lema'an Achai is a local Beit Shemesh organization, which provides rehabilitation and assistance for families in poverty. In times of national need, Lema'an Achai has increased its reach, to provide aid for those who have been effected throughout Israel.

You can support Lema'an Achai here.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Shame on You, My Friend

Rabbi Daniel Edensohn
Daas Torah blog
Rabbi Daniel Eidensohn, Daat Torah
[This was originally posted as a comment on R.Daniel Eidensohn's Daat Torah blog posting, "Seminary Scandal: A Rambling and Misleading Slander by David Morris",  in response to my article "Meisels Victims"] 
Dear Rabbi Eidensohn,
I read your response to my post of Friday [8/22/14] with… profound sadness that a distinguished person who has done so much to make the world a safer place for children and all types of abuse victims, should forget all he learned, and all he wrote, and all we learned from him.
Many people who have had great respect for you have watched in the last two months as you have chosen to wage a truly bizarre campaign with only one obvious goal – participating in the minimizing, whitewash and cover-up of a painful scandal.
There is no need to rehash all the charges and counter-charges. Suffice it to say you have chosen to minimize, distract and obfuscate about an abuser and those who enabled him – you have put the wherewithal of the institutions and of three rabbonim, above the safety of the students.
I need to have no details beyond what was made public in statements by a reputable BD [Beis Din, i.e., rabbinic court]. The perpetrator engaged in conduct which included unwanted contact of a sexual nature. That is all that was said. No other details were released to the public, including, despite your requests, to your blog.
The BD also indicated that the activity in question should have warranted action by Senior faculty members,and some “failed in their responsibility to their students.” That is all I need to know.
Every one in the field considers these statements by the CBD [Chicago Beis Din] a courageous act.
Yet you have decided to orchestrate a classical "attack the victim,” “protect the institution,” “circle the wagons and shoot at anything that moves” scheme using all the time-honored techniques. Alleging they claimed Meisels had raped 40 people. I did not see that. Alleging there were no Victims. That cannot be true. Alleging none of this can be serious because the Victims have not gone to the police. As if all Charedi [ultra-orthodox Jewish] victims who live overseas normally travel to Israel to report to the police.
In short you are orchestrating a tired old scheme. You detail these schemes in the pages of your own book. These schemes, it must be said, have worked in the past. They may even work now. Yet you have decided to orchestrate a classical ‘attack the victim,” “protect the institution,” “circle the wagons and shoot at anything that moves” scheme using all the time-honored techniques. Alleging they claimed Meisels had raped 40 people. I did not see that. Alleging there were no Victims. That cannot be true. Alleging none of this can be serious because the Victims have not gone to the police. As if all Charedi [ultra-orthodox Jewish] victims who live overseas normally travel to Israel to report to the police.
Shame on you, my friend, for participating in the undoing of your lifetime’s work.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Meisels Victims


Full Disclosure: As Tzedek-Tzedek readers will be aware, I established and run Magen. I initiated the organization as a responsible & professional response to child/sex abuse cases, particularly in the frum community.  
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Yesterday, I attended the grim and tragic funeral of Corporal Dave Gordon z"l.

Dave was a child sex abuse victim, who bravely stepped forward and spoke out publicly, advocating for other victims to also come forward. Dave volunteered his available time to Magen, to help in promoting this cause and protecting other children from being victimized and abused.

In Dave's case, the damage of the molestation he suffered as a child, played out tragically, even in this 21 year old, heroic, served-in-Gaza, IDF soldier.

The psychological trauma sex-abuse victims endured and often continue to endure for years and even decades, cannot be understated, minimized or overlooked.

As many are now aware, there is an extended blog-war (now officially declared a war of attrition) about Elimelech Meisels and the allegations that he sexually abused his seminary students; and the secondary allegations that, even in Meisels absence, the seminaries are still not safe due to the complicity and/or negligence of members of the staff who are still in positions of authority.

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?

This whole jurisdiction squabble is simply a calculated tactic by the IBD of blowing smoke in the public's eyes. Frankly, who cares?

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 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...

The IBD has now stated through their proxy R.Daniel Eidensohn that, after over two months of them leaking and squabbling in the public eye, the IBD have apparently woken up and noticed there are real victims involved:

Anyone who has information of any type should contact either Rabbi Malinowitz (phone number) or Rabbi Gartner(I will try and get his number). However it is important to realize  that all they 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 Bais Din session.

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). 

From the point of view of a victim, this short message contains three acts of intimidation:

1. After you have the tremendous courage to pick up that phone and call the IBD, you will not be heard. You will, in effect, take-a-number.

2. You will only be heard by a (leaky) Beit Din, in Israel, in full session, including Meisels or other staff members who are alleged to have done a wrong-doing.

3. The expression "not a lynch mob" is referring to the accused not being "lynched".

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.

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.

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).

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Dave Gordon z"l

Dave Gordon z"l in action with Givati Brigade
David Gordon z"l volunteered his time and many talents to "Magen", the child protection organization in Israel. 
If you would also like to support Magen's work, you are warmly invited to donate to Magen in David's memory: http://magenprotects.org/donate/


------

Dave Gordon went missing this week from the IDF and was found dead today, with his weapon at his side.

As soon as he made Aliya from Detroit, alone, at 21, Dave contacted Magen, the Child Protection Organization based in Beit Shemesh, Israel.

Dave introduced himself as a survivor of child abuse, who now wanted to help others who had suffered similar trauma, and to also raise awareness about the scourge of abuse, in order to prevent further children from being hurt.

Dave's path of coming to terms with his past, and channeling his personal creative talents towards child protection, culminated in a remarkable article he wrote in the Huffington Post, "Why I'm Choosing Leadership Over Privacy".

Dave describes the multiple acts of abuse he suffered as a child, particularly over a period of his life between 8-11. There were several perpetrators of whom four were from his Jewish community.Dave writes about how he divulged his secrets to local rabbis in Detroit, and his disappointment in their response.

Dave concluded his article:

This must stop! If we keep sweeping our problems under the rug we will eventually trip over them. The time has come for us to stand up for ourselves, our children and our communities. It's time to sacrifice the comfort of not tackling serious issues that are awkward and embarrassing and focus on the dignity of human life. If I can have a voice you can too. Take a stand and be a real leader. Blush for a few moments so others don't have to bleed.


One reason why victims of abuse are also called survivors is because so many don't make it. So many are too ashamed to reach out and frequently fall into depression, violence, addiction and ultimately into death's arms. But we can be brave and stand up for what we know is right. Together our voices can be louder than ever. I know that I alone cannot change the world, but together we can make a difference.
When Dave contacted Magen to volunteer, the organization saw Dave's talent for writing, social media - and his deep-set passion for justice and for child protection.

Dave set up a website for Magen, established & promoted media relations, and also helped with specific child protection cases. For example, as a result of Dave's intervention, a known perpetrator was blocked by Magen from continuing his work in an orthodox summer camp for hundreds of kids in the USA.

When Dave was accepted in the IDF, he temporarily excused himself from taking on further projects with Magen: "Sorry I have been out of touch things - have been quite hectic in the army!"

For Dave, entering the IDF with the prestigious Givati Brigade, completing his grueling combat training, and doing active service in the Operation Protective Edge, was a culmination of Dave's recuperation and rejuvenation. In a last message on his Facebook page, Dave wrote: "unbelievably overwhelmed, not from this mission but from the support and messages of encouragement from family, friends and strangers. I am OK and I've never felt more loved. Thank you all!"

Dave was a deeply  pained, embattled & courageous abuse victim; an eloquent and passionate child protection advocate; and a proud & heroic soldier in the IDF. 

Veyehi zichro baruch - his memory should be for a blessing. 

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Israelis Now Heard of Bradford


Recent outrageously Israelophobic statement by George Galloway, MP for Bradford, have put Bradford on Israel's map.

Galloway is a an anti-Israel/anti-Semitic bigot, who heads the pro-Hamas group Viva Palestina, who recently declared Bradford an "Israel-free zone". Rather too close for comfort to the German expression Juden-rein.

"We don't want any Israeli goods; we don't want and Israel services; we don't wants any Israeli academics...We don't even want any Israeli tourists...!" tiraded Galloway, with a backcloth of the Palestinian flag.

Israelis have never heard of Bradford. Which is not surprising, as it's a post-industrial backwater of West Yorkshire, once known for it's smokey mills and textiles industry, and is now known for...umm, not much.

Actually, my father was born and raised in Bradford - a true Bradfordian. At the time there was a significant Jewish community, many of whom we involved in the textile industry there. There is still a Reform synagogue; the Orthodox shul closed its doors just this year.

Bradford has the highest non-white population in the UK, fully 30% of the population.

Dusting off their maps of Yorkshire, a small group of Israelis decided to infiltrate Bradford, the Galloway-declared Israel-Free Zone.

The results are pretty funny...

Among an otherwise welcoming, and somewhat perplexed public, they managed to find one Galloway loyalist, who refused to accept the Bamba she was offered.




Monday, 11 August 2014

The Meisels Seminaries - The Letter Never Written


THIS LETTER WAS NOT WRITTEN NOR SENT OUT BY PNIMIM, BINAS BAIS YAKOV, CHEDVAS BAIS YAAKOV OR KESER CHAYA SEMINARIES.


However, if it had been, I believe this situation would be far better today, than it is. 

See previous postings here on Tzedek-Tzedek, Frum Follies (in the CBD corner), Daat Torah (in the IBD corner) and other fine blogs. 

This is a suggested model for such situations in the future. 

You are invited to suggest improvements either on-line or by email to me offline.

I believe that such a letter would have promoted safety and responsibility, in a way which would have given the parents the confidence they need and are entitled to that these Seminaries will be safer for their daughters in the future, than they were in the past.    
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Date of Letter: [Within One Week of the Seminaries becoming aware of the Chicago Beit Din’s investigation and findings].

To our staff, students and parents,

We are writing to you in the most regretful circumstances in a timely fashion in order to put you all in the picture, in the interests of the safety of our students, and transparency & accountability before the parents.

We have just been informed by the special Chicago Beis Din (CBD) that the founder and proprietor of our seminaries, Rabbi Elimelech Meisels, has been investigated by the CBD, further to complaints the Beis Din received from pupils of the seminaries. These complaints concerned serious allegations of unwanted sexual contact by Rabbi Meisels.

As a result of the investigation, the CBD has made this announcement:

   

We first wish to share our deepest regret & sincere grief should any of our staff have participated, wittingly or unwittingly, directly or indirectly in any abuse. We feel the pain of the alleged victims and we feel proud that these girls have had the courage to step forward in order to protect others girls.

We reach out and strongly encourage others who have endured any kind of abuse, or were witnesses to the same, during their time at our seminaries, to take this step also.

As a result of this CBD announcement, we have immediately taken the following steps:

1. Regretfully, we have discovered that there is and never has been a Seminary Protocol Concerning Abuse Prevention & Reporting in any of our seminaries. We have therefore referred this important matter of omission to Such & Such Organization, which is an independent non-profit agency and they will establish these protocols in all our seminaries. The S&SO will be acting under The Committee (see below). Deadline for implementation: 15th August, 2014.

2. In the absence of this protocol, we have formed an independent expert committee (“the Committee”) consisting of Rabbi X, Social Worker Y, and Lawyer Z.

This committee has been vetted by both the CBD, the Israeli Beit Din (IBD) referred to in the CBD’s declaration and Such & Such Organization; they have concluded that the individuals and collectively the Committee is of the highest professional and ethical reputation and can be relied upon to be independent and to protect the safety & confidentiality of anyone who refers to them.

The committee’s contact details are: XXXX

In light of the Committee’s immediate advice and instruction:

3. Rabbi Meisels has been requested by the Committee and has committed to take immediate leave of absence and will only return to a role in the seminaries in future in the event that he is entirely vindicated of wrong-doing. Rabbi Meisels has agreed to have no further contact, immediately and until further notice, with anyone associated with the seminaries, including governors, staff, pupils and parents. (For administrative purposes Rabbi Meisels will communicate via the IBD).

4. Any other member of staff who is suspected of participation, collusion or turning a blind eye to abusive behaviour will be placed on immediate leave, pending conclusion of the investigation.

5. The Committee has contacted the Israeli police to brief them, with a view to the police investigating and addressing any aspects of this case which are or could be criminal by nature. We strongly encourage anyone with information which may be helpful to this police inquiry to contact: Detective Plonit (who is a female investigator,experienced with crimes of this nature) contact details XXXXX.

If you are in doubt as to whether the information you possess is significant in this context, you may contact The Committee for their expert confidential advice and counsel.

6. Regarding issues of finance (dinei mamon/civil) in Israel, the IBD has graciously made themselves available to accept and judge claims either presented jointly or separately; the IBD will be operating officially as Arbitrators. The IBD has given assurances that they are impartial and will deliver their judgments, according to halacha and which will also be legally binding upon the parties, and in a timely fashion.

IBD contact details:

7. Regarding issues of financial damages (dinei mamon) in the USA, the above is true for the CBD.

CBD contact details.

These are the steps which have been taken in immediate response to to the declaration of the CBD.

Enrollment for Next Academic Year: Moving forward, our objective is to ascertain that the schools will be safe, beyond all doubt, for you (our pupils) and your daughters in the coming academic year, commencing 1st September 2014.

We understand that you have legitimate concerns about whether your daughters should attend our seminaries in the coming year, and we will make every effort to address these concerns in our ongoing communications.

You are invited to discuss these concerns with the Committee by email or by phone (Committee contact details and hours of availability)

We fully understand if you chose to find alternative educational institutions for your daughters for next year, as is your right, and we will be entirely helpful in this regard.

If you wish to apply for a refund of your deposits, please contact the CBD (for those who paid the Pnimim USA non-profit) or IBD (for those who paid Israeli Amuta). An application form for refunds is available on the website: www.xyz.org) The Batei Din have indicated a response time of approximately two weeks to respond to your request. You may may submit applications until 15th August for your deposit to be returned.

Summary: These are the allocation of responsibilities.

a. The Committee - professional issues relating to the alleged abuse

b. Israeli Beit Din (IBD) - financial issues (dinei mamon) in Israel

c. Special Chicago Beit Din (CBD) - financial issues (dinei mamon) in the USA

d. The Police (Israel) - criminal issues in Israel

e. The Minhalim - implementation

We are making every effort in these extraordinary and regretful circumstances to prioritize the uncompromised safety of our students, particularly for the coming academic year and ongoing, and we would appreciate your expression of confidence by continuing the enrollment process for 2014/15.

We will report our next steps on a scheduled bi-weekly basis. (In the case we have further urgent information to relay, we will contact you whenever required).

Once again, we express our deepest pain and sincere support for any student who may have suffered inappropriate behaviour while a student in our seminaries.

Yours sincerely


Signed:  Four Principals
             Representative of CBD
             Representative of IBD
             Representative of The Committee.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Class Suit Filed Against Seminary & Beit Din Heads






A class suit filing was submitted this week to the District Court for the Northern District of Illinios which accuses disgraced Rabbi Elimelech Meisels,  his sister Rachel Slanger, Yakov Yarmish and Bet Din Dayan Rabbi Zvi Gartner of conspiring to defraud parents out of thousands of dollars in tuition fees and withheld deposits. The four Meisels seminaries (Pnimim, Hemdas, Binas and Keser Chaya) are also identified as defendants.

The plaintiffs names have been omitted from the head of the published document, but are assumed to be parents of girls who attended the seminaries or are now enrolled.

The filing details a gruesome tale of how Meisels and others lured parents and students into their seminaries under false pretenses of ultra-orthodox standards of behaviour, and then Meisels groomed and sexually assaulted the girls, subsequently threatening & intimidating the victims into silence.

"This, it turned out, was a big fraud. It was all part of a scheme whereby Defendant Meisels and his co-conspirators would induce young girls to travel thousands of miles away from home under the guise of Jewish education only to forcibly engage them in various sexual acts and take their money in the process. 

"Defendant Meisels, like many other sexual predators, preyed on the vulnerable. He did this by developing mentor-mentee relationships with girls and exploiting these relationships to lure the girls into late night coffee meetings and other private settings and then sexually assaulted them. 

"Once the sexual assaults were complete, upon information and belief, Defendant Meisels would intimidate his victims by telling them that no one would believe that a rabbi and author with his reputation would have done such a thing. 

"Moreover, upon information and belief, Defendant Meisels would threaten his victims that if they shared their story with anyone, he would draw on his vast contacts within the Shidduch system to ruin their reputations and ensure that no viable candidate would want to take their hand in marriage."

The filing also describes how the scheme and assaults were exposed by the Chicago Beit Din, following which the Israeli Beit Din (Rabbi Zvi Gartner is named; there are also "unnamed co-conspirators", which I understand to mean Rabbi Shafran and Rabbi Malinowitz) concocted a sham "sale" of the seminaries to Yakov Yarmish, hastily and irresponsibly declared the seminaries checked & safe for students, and tried to place a ban upon other seminaries accepting the trapped students.

Distressed parents of enrolled girls requested their deposits back and were given the run-around, apparently by design & conspiracy, by Yarmish and Rabbi Gartner.

Seven different charges are laid out against the defendants:

* CIVIL RACKETEERING INFLUENCED AND CORRUPT ORGANIZATIONS (“RICO”) ACT
* COMMON LAW FRAUD
* BREACH OF CONTRACT
* INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS
* CONVERSION (a fancy way of saying stealing)
* CIVIL CONSPIRACY
* RESPONDEAT SUPERIOR (this is a term which covers an employer being responsible for acts of the employee, as the employers agent).

The suit asks for class-suit status (ie representative of many or all the other girls and parents), a jury trial and financial damages.

This class suit is the beginning of the closing chapter on the Israeli Beit Din's (IBD) systematic endeavours to hush the allegations up; quietly move Meisels out of public view through a "sale" of the assets; and to continue the seminaries, business as usual. All this while the IBD systematically bullied and intimidated parents, students, bloggers(!), lawyers, competing seminaries, Rabbi Aaron Feldman and the whole Chicago Beit Din, through the IBD's dogmatic and increasingly shrill quasi-halachik declarations and denunciations.

The wheels of the justice system are starting to turn, as the parents are mobilising to protect their daughters and their money, from allegedly unscrupulous and corrupt hands.  

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Beit Din Leaks

Rabbi Chaim Malinowitz
The astounding case of Rabbi Elimelech Meisels, who is suspected to have molested ("unwanted sexual contact with") his seminary students (Rav Meisels was owner and manager of Pnimim, Chedvas Beis Yaakov, Binas Beis Yakov and Keser Chaya seminaries) becomes more bizarre by the day.

The latest developments have moved away from R.Meisels, his victims, and even the seminaries themselves (safe? not safe?) to a bust-up between the two Batei Din involved - from Chicago and from Israel.

The Chicago Beit Din (CBD) issued a semi-private letter (below, from Frum Follies) confirming their position that, even with Rav Meisels reported to have sold the seminaries, and that he is no longer associated with the seminaries - nevertheless these seminaries themselves are still not safe for students.

This is apparently due to the CBD's knowledge from their investigation that students complained about Rav Meisels sexual behaviour with them, to other key members of staff, and and that these complaints were dismissed, covered-up or not acted upon, by the staff.

Effectively, the seminaries are cover-up-ville - and therefore these seminaries are still not a safe environment for female students, regardless of Rav Meisel's presence or absence.

Letter from Chicago Beit Din about Seminary Safety

In recent postings on Daat Torah, Rav Daniel Eidensohn has published private correspondence between Rabbi Aaron Feldman (of Baltimore) and Rav Chaim Malinowitz (a Dayan on the ad-hoc Israeli Beit Din which is involved in "sorting out" the R.Meisels affair, and the resulting messy situation for the four seminaries, which are all located in Israel).

In his letter, Rabbi Feldman takes the Israeli Beit Din (IBD) to task for being seen to be one-sided in their judgement (solely hearing evidence from and serving the interests of the seminaries, and not from the victims).

Rav Feldman therefore suggests a joint venture between CBD and IBD so they can all be on the same page with the available evidence from both the victims and from Rabbi Meisels (who testified to the CBD)

Rabbi Feldman also expresses surprise when the IBD had accused him in a teleconference that Rabbi Feldman had failed to provide the IBD with any information about the "serious nature" of the allegations against R.Meisels and information regarding the other staff.

Rabbi Feldman apparently believes the Chicago Beit Din (CBD) version of events over the version of the IBD, saying he doesn't believe Rav Zeev Cohen (of the CBD) is a liar, and therefore in effect Rabbi Feldman is calling Rav Malinowitz a liar.

Rabbi Malinowitz writes a long reply, repeating that the IBD has received no substantive information or testimonies regarding the nature of the alleged offenses by Rav Meisels from Rabbi Feldman, nor any other pertinent information from the CBD.

Rav Malinowitz states that only the IBD has any authority to handle this case, and that the CBD is not authorised. He even goes so far as to refer to the CBD as "the Chicago Rabbis", omitting throughout his letter the term "Beit Din".

He repeatedly complains that Rav Feldman and the CBD have failed to provide the IBD with the necessary case information - and indeed that the CBD have recently stated they are "unable to do so". (Thus the IBD has only been able to collect evidence from the Seminary staff - and have delivered their psak on that one-sided basis).

Rav Malinowitz clearly had a rough time with Rabbi Shmuel Gottesman, a lawyer, who has a role as representing some of the victims, and acting as a liaison on behalf of the CBD to the IBD.

I will provide below the original Rabbi Feldman letter (from Daat Torah) and my (best-effort) translation of Rabbi Malinowitz's reply to Rabbi Feldman.

Following the letters themselves, I will give my own observations and conclusions below.  

Rabbi Feldman's letter to Rav Malinowitz (from Daat Torah):

Rabosai,

The Chilul Hashem r.l. is spreading; people have lost their emunas chachomim; I just heard of two girls who went off the derech because of this affair. We have to get the Chicago BD to rescind their letter. The only way to do this is to have a joint BD listen to the accusations. Is Rav Shafran willing to do this? They are not at present but I think I can convince them. bedieved I have the following:suggestion. if I get the accusers to come together, will Rav Shafran agree to listen to them bemoshav tlasa? This will not stop the effect of the CBD’s letter, but at least it will stop the charges against you that you refused to listen to the accusers. Would Sunday night be OK for this?

I was surprised that Rabbi Malinowitz said (as I understood him) at our conference call that I never apprised the BD that there are serious accusations. Rav Malinowitz asked me at that time (and so I immediately wrote myself a note, which I have) to supply the BD with the names of the accusers. Yet a psak was given out without this. I am sure there is a good reason for this, but it certainly needs an explanation, not a denial that it ever happened..

Furthermore, you never apologized for having said publicly that you asked the CBD many times to supply you with information about the accusations and they did not. You could have explained this was a misunderstanding but to insist that you did contact them when R. Zev Cohen claimed so forcefully that you did not (I don’t think a person like R.. Zev Cohen would be able to lie in this manner), made them lose trust in you. It would help if you would apologize to them for this.

Aharon Feldman



Rabbi Malinowitz's email to Rabbi Feldman of 1st August, 2014
(the original Hebrew is here)

To The Rav HaGaon Aaron Feldman Shlita

a.       I am writing to explain a few points which require clarification, in my humble opinion, according to my knowledge; in the same way that you state that it doesn't seem that someone like Rav Cohen is able to lie in this manner, I trust that you also hold the same regarding Rabi Malinowitz…
I don't remember the exact words I used in our conference call on Wednesday this week, but the intention of it was clear, herewith:
You did not present before us any claim or proof, and even more so not in the name of a specific victim, just things which had been heard from the Chicago Rabbis that there are victims/plaintives, and nothing else, and even more so without  detailing what exactly is the substance of the allegations.
If you may, the information which you brought from the Chicago rabbis did not add to the knowledge we already had. Due to the fact that you are signed on the Arbitration Agreement and are the legal representative of the girls, we hoped and expected to receive more from you than that, and we were surprised that you did not provide further information, and you did not produce from your resources anything at all that you were expected to bring as a party to the hearing, and we didn't hear any obligation that you would obtain for us the information in either the near or distant future.
This is why I was surprised when you were surprised by our saying you didn't give us  any information.
So there should not be any doubt, I attach the request in writing to obtain the information which had been collected by the Chicago Rabbis (by the way, which is not lawful/halchik and is without authority), requests which were sent to you (and Rav Gottesman the representative of the Chicago Rabbis) a week  before the hearing.
I repeat – we have documented that we requested from you several times (and you were in contact with the Chicago Rabbis) and we also sent the request to Rabbi Gottesman. 
And now I will comment upon the whole situation, while stressing several problematic serious questions which have come up, regretfully.  These are real questions, not like the rhetorical “questions” of lawyers which came up during the hearings, which unfortunately remind me of the working methods of lawyers who try to build mountains upon “false laws” by taking a word or two out of context.
 a.       The Chicago rabbis knew full well that we were sitting in session that night – perhaps you can explain why they didn’t send us the material without us having to ask – and in fact we did ask.
b.      According the  Arbitration Agreement, on which you signed, in the presence and by request from Rav Z Cohen, and it is reasonable to assume with the agreement of Rabbi S. Furst – the Chicago rabbis were not authorized to involve themselves in receiving complaints at all, and with interviewing witnesses, which they can only do with authorization of our Beit Din, and we expect that at least they would send us the information they collected (as I said, without authorization).
c.       What’s the purpose of two of the emails which were bizarre and disrespectful (chutzpadich) which were sent by “a chosen representative of the Chicago rabbis” Rabbi Gottesman,  who tries, unsuccessfully, to throw out the authorized Beit Din from performing its duties? Such hefker behavior is acceptable?!
And what about the authority of the Beit Din and the Torah which has been trampled for all to see? In the hearing which took place around a week ago, you proposed that you send a letter of protest to Rav Gottesman – as if that in itself would be enough – are you willing to correct this terrible situation?
d.      All this is regarding the past – and what about the future – we are asking and demanding the material – will the Chicago Rabbis provide this? 
e.       Also, we have turned to the Chicago Rabbis numerous times in several different ways, as is well known to you, to bring them in as a broad Beit Din and to discuss the issue in its entirety in depth, under the authorization of the Arbitration Agreement!!!!!!! We received a response from their in-house lawyer that the answer was NO!!!!! Absolutely flat No. What do you have to say about that? Have you sent them a letter berating their behavior? 
f.        We have heard today from you that the Chicago Rabbis have strengthened their position, stating that even if they “wanted to” provide the information, they are “unable” to do so, according to instructions they have received from their lawyer (who I assume is not planning to take this to a Beit Din, even though it is a monetary issue).

These questions are substantive, as opposed to the lawyer who asks questions just to dig and catch someone on a word here or there.

Please excuse me for saying these hard words, particularly as we have known each other well for many years, but these things need to be said, and clearly.

Signed in sorrow and tears that the honour of heaven, Torah and the sages, is wallowing in the dust.

Signed this day 5th Av, 5774 (1/8/14).

R.Chaim Zeev Halevy Malinowitz    

---
My Observations/Conclusions

A Word about Leaks:  There are, in general, two types of leaks.

Whistle-Blowers - These are people who have privileged information which concerns matters of public concern, such as criminality, corruption, abuse, public safety, etc. It is recognized by Government and large organizations around the world that whistle-blowing is an essential tool for preserving law, order and public interest. 

Self-Interested Leakers - These are people who are privy to information which, if leaked, would provide them with personal benefit, such as winning business, undermining opponents, promoting their personal agenda, etc. These people are referred to in colloquial ivrit as "Shtinkerim". 

1. Who is the source of this leaked correspondence?

a. Rav Daniel Eidensohn would surely not have published these leaked documents without permission;
b. Rav Malinowitz is personally connected to Rav Eidensohn;
c. These letters endeavor to portray the Chicago Beit Din in a bad light and the IBD as their victims;
d. Rav Feldman is very unlikely to have leaked this correspondence, and I believe he is a patsy in this - he has no interest in going-to-the-blogs about such a sensitive issue.
e. Rav Malinowitz has a history of engaging with blog writers, courting publicity and blowing his trumpet
f. I understand the letters were only sent to Rav Feldman and Rav Malinowitz

...therefore, Rav Malinowitz is the prime suspect as the leaker of these letters.

However, this is speculation, and for the purposes of this commentary, we will call the Leaker "Rabbi X"

2. This is a case about allegations of sexual abuse of students in seminaries by Rav Meisels, a seminary mogul.

Since Rav Meisel's departure, it has now also become an issue of student safety right now in these four seminaries. This is particularly important for the parents of girls who are enrolled for this coming academic year - and who have been unable to reclaim their very expensive deposits.

3. However, by publicising these internal emails, Rabbi X is deliberately putting smoke in the public's eyes that this is really about a dispute between IBD and a spurious group of "Chicago Rabbis" who are systematically preventing the IBD from seeing evidence the CBD has (illegitimately) collected.

4. Actually, what is made clear from these letters is that the IBD's previous declarations that "There is no cause for concern regarding students from chareidi schools studying in the Seminaries", iethe seminaries are perfectly safe, and therefore parents should continue to send their girls there; and decrying anyone who says otherwise as spreading loshen horaa; and forbidding other seminaries to accept stranded students....etc..was indeed based upon hearing only one party, the staff members at the seminaries - who clearly have an interest in saying "hakol beseider" - everything's fine with our seminaries.

4. Had the IBD refused to give a psak, due to this glaring lack of evidence available to them, or to have presented their findings (that everything's fine and dandy) with appropriate caveats - "it seems to us", "from our limited understanding of the facts of this case", "pending a full investigation", "preliminary findings based on hearing one side"...etc - then Rav Malinowitz might have been justified in finger-pointing at the CBD.

As it is, the publication of Rav Malinowitz's letter has exposed his own Beit Din as a sham, shooting out ill-considered public guarantees of safety at these seminaries, solely serving the purpose of keeping these institutions going as ongoing business concerns.

5. By leaking this internal correspondence to Daat Torah blog, the leaker (Rabbi X) has betrayed the trust of the co-correspondent, Rabbi Feldman.

6. Rabbi X has also given the Chicago Beit Din plenty more good reasons not to share any highly confidential and sensitive information about victims, with Rabbi Malinowitz and the IBD.

(Although it seems the CBD had already reached that conclusion about the IBD some time ago).

7. This correspondence also undermines any remaining trust that parents and students at the four seminaries may have had that the IBD (daas torah, in the popular sense) has been handling the critical matter of the students' safety responsibly, fairly and honestly.

No wonder, in the words of Rabbi Feldman, "people have lost their emunas chachomim... and girls are going off the derech".
  

Sunday, 3 August 2014

את אחי אנוכי מבקש





This short and powerful movie was screened at the Shloshim (30th day of mourning) of the three murdered boys, Eyal, Naphtali and Gil-Ad.



The feeling of unity throughout Israel, and throughout the diaspora, praying for the safe return of the boys, was perhaps unprecedented - and has now overflowed into universal support in Israel for the current war in Gaza and for our courageous soldiers.




Thursday, 31 July 2014

Batei Din Clash on Handling of Sex Abuse Seminaries

[Part One of Two Articles] 

In the continuing saga of Rabbi Elimelech Meisels, the seminary-mogul who is suspected of "unwanted sexual contact" with his students, two new letters have been published, which make fascinating reading, and show a bitter struggle of different approaches to managing sexual abuse.  For the story-so-far, please refer to my previous article and the detailed coverage at Frum Follies.

Letter 1 - from the Ad-Hoc Israeli Beit Din under Rav Shafran

This is my best-efforts translation. The original Hebrew can be found below (by kind permission of Daat Torah).

I have inserted my comments [DM....].

Subject: The Seminaries

  1. Pnimim
  2. Chedvas Beis Yaakov
  3. Binas Beis Yaakov
  4. Keser Chiya

Hereunder "the Seminaries"

After the principals of the Seminaries and the Gaon Harav Feldman Shlita on behalf of the students of the seminaries 

[DM: Batei Din in Israel operate under Israeli law as "arbitrators". They therefore need to be appointed as arbitrators by the parties in a dispute. In this case this ad-hoc Beit Din has been appointed arbitrator by the Principals of the Seminaries, on the one hand, and Rabbi Feldman of Baltimore, on the other hand. Rabbi Feldman is claiming to represent "the students of the seminaries". This is, um, an awkward arrangement, as I don't know if all or even a significant proportion of past, current and newly accepted students have appointed Rabbi Feldman as their legal representative. Frankly, I find this doubtful, and therefore the premise of the legal standing of this Beis Din is not even a legal fiction; it is simply a fiction.]   

signed on a binding Arbitration Agreement, in order to look into the issue from all angles, and after we heard the principals and some staff 

[DM: But not the students, the victims of the alleged offenses and potentially witnesses of a cover-up or cooperation by some of these same principals and staff]

of each of the seminaries separately for many hours, we reached a decision which we hereby bring to public notice, hereunder.

  1. There is no cause for concern regarding students from chareidi schools studying in the Seminaries. [DM: According to their own admission, this Beis Din has not heard the allegations - indeed, were they to interview the victims, they may face criminal prosecution for corrupting evidence of a crime. This declaration that the seminaries are safe contradicts the findings of the Chicago Beit Din, who HAVE heard the allegations. There are apparently no grounds for the Israeli BD making such a sweeping declaration, given the recent failure of the same Principals and Staff to protect their students while under their charge.  PS. The use of the word "Chareidi" is peculiar here - can anyone help explain the significance?].    
  2. We were impressed that the educational staff are wonderful and they perform their responsibilities in a God-fearing and self-sacrificial manner, and for years they have raised legions of students who have established exemplary and kosher homes that are faithful to God and his Torah, and this continues. [DM: Whereas I am confident they indeed have had many educational successes, some or all of them seem to have failed in a very basic requirement both morally and under the law to protect and promote the safety of their students. Furthermore, at least one of the four principals, Rabbi Meir Kahane has recently written a letter to his students which appears to show him to be meglomanic, manipulative and delusional - anything but "wonderful"].  
  3.  We are turning to the organization Touro and TI to authorize the seminaries for Credits, as in the past. [DM: The honourable rabbonim can of course turn to Touro and TI as much as they please, but Touro and TI are responsible to their own directors and students - and are in no way beholden to this Beit Din; indeed TI is a Chicago based institution which I understand feels bound to honor the recognized beit din of their city, and would no longer be able to recruit students if it were to defy the Chicago Beit Din].
  4. It is strongly forbidden for any institution (existing or newly established) to approach students in any way who were accepted by the Seminaries for next year in order to persuade them to join their institutions, and this is forbidden by halacha (Ani Hamhaphech Becharara, Hasagat Gvul and Yeridah Leomanus Chavero) and we are confident that the Jewish people will not trespass in this way. [DM: I would not deign to question the Dayanim's understanding of halacha. Of course, other seminaries, beyond these four, are not party to this Arbitration, and so I don't understand on what authority this Beis Din is addressing them. Each of these other seminaries has their own halachik authority, and they will presumably seek their council and psak. This seems to be a clumsy attempt to close the exit doors on newly enrolled students. In any case, there is no claim here that the PARENTS cannot move their girls to other seminaries and that those seminaries cannot passively enroll them].   
  5. It is hereby forbidden to speak badly and spread slander about the Seminaries in any way. [DM: Surely so. As indeed about anybody else. Unless there is toeles, such as raising legitimate concerns about the safety of the pupils, and obtaining justice for past victims...] 
  6. People who have involved themselves in this without authority, with the backing of a chareidi lawyer, did not hear the version of the principals and staff in an organized fashion and did not receive first hand impressions of their personalities. [DM: This is interesting that there is now a "chareidi lawyer" involved, and he is unwelcome. I understand this is referring to R.Shlomo/Ronald Gottesman, who is connected to Torah UMesorah, and is apparently representing two of the the victims. Indeed this case has the elements of both criminal and civil proceedings, perhaps a class suit of deceived parents, against Rabbi Meisels and against the seminaries themselves - parents would be well advised to seek legal counsel, as some seem to have already done]  
  7. The other aspects of this issue are not referenced here and will be looked into in the future.[DM: Perhaps this is referring to the allegations themselves against Rabbi Meisels and those who may have enabled him. Someone should caution this Beit Din, which is operating under the laws of arbitration, from investigating and prosecuting a criminal case, over which they have no jurisdiction, authority nor qualification]. 

By these the undersigned on Thursday night 27th Tamuz 5774 (25.7.14)

Rav Menachem Mendel Hacohen Shafran, Av Beit Din
Rav Chaim Zeev Lalevi Malinowitz, Dayan
Rav Zvi Gertner, Dayan

CONCLUSIONS: 

a. The Beit Din has made efforts to distance Rabbi Meisels from the Seminaries, and this is indeed a sensible, elementary and necessary precaution against further endangering the students. Kudos where it is due. 

b. However, this is a one sided-Beis Din which has solely heard the defendants (the Seminaries) and have (apparently) falsified the status of Rabbi Feldman as a "representative of the students". 

c. Their letter is solely directed at protecting the ongoing and lucrative businesses of the Seminaries, with no word about regret, sympathy, reaching out to the alleged victims, in a genuine seeking for truth, healing and justice.  

d. They are effectively blocking off the exits from these seminaries for parents who enrolled their daughters for this coming academic year, or who already have girls studying there. 

e. Many parents enrolled and paid expensive down-payments, even during the period that the seminaries and the Israeli Beit Din knew of the alleged nefarious activities of R.Meisels, but hid this information from the parents and students. This may constitute receiving/soliciting payment under false pretenses, intent to defraud, etc. A good lawyer should be consulted by any parents in this situation. (Those seeking reliable legal advice in Israel can contact me for a referral offline).

f. The Beit Din is addressing, chastising and preaching to third parties (Touro, TI, other seminaries, the parents who went to the lawyer and most importantly and intrinsically, the Chicago Beit Din...) who are not a party to this arbitration - in effect, ranting.

g. This Beit Din's assurances that these seminaries are in "wonderful" hands and are safe, in opposition to the findings of the Chicago Beit Din who heard the evidence are, at best, premature - and at worst an irresponsible white-wash. 

Regretfully, the culture of this Beit Din is the Old Way of "dealing with" allegations of sexual abuse. 

Quietly, in-house, deny, minimise, intimidate, counter-attack - protecting the establishment/institution at all costs. 

"For goodness sake...Hushhhh."   

[Part Two will examine the latest letter from the Chicago Beit Din]
The Psak of the Israeli Beit Din - by kind permission of Daat Torah

IBA News: Report on War-Time Support Line


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

How Many Innocent Civilians?


More than 1,300 Palestinian killed: Hamas claims over 80% innocents (Photo: AFP)

Hamas has every interest in promoting a narrative which would show Israel is slaughtering huge numbers of non-combatant civilians, and so generate international pressure upon Israel to cease the fighting.

Part of the agenda is to portray combatants who were killed in action, as being innocent civilians killed by Israelis.

Indeed, the numbers as presented do look horrific to every civilised person.

According to "a spokesperson from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OSHA)", quoted anonymously on YNet

"1,109 Palestinians, including at least 821 civilians (of whom were 239 children, and 124 women), 179 fighters and 109 with status undetermined, have been killed since the start of hostilities on July 7."

You'll excuse a sterile approach to the numbers, which represent dead human beings, and are not solely statistics.

My reading of these numbers is:

If there were indeed 239 children, and 124 women, we can reasonably assume they were non-combatants.

If there was indiscriminate killing, then we would expect an equal number of men as women to be killed, ie 124 men. For the sake of the discussion, we'll assume none of those men were combatants.

234 + 124 + 124 = 482 non-combatants.

Total is therefore 627 combatants and 482 non-combatants.

An appropriate (though tragic) picture for a civilised army fighting a jihadist militia deeply embedded within a civilian population.

No massacres.

No indiscriminate or targeted killings of innocent civilians.  

Smaller, Faster 'Iron Dome' Protects Our Tanks




From a vantage point outside my home in Beit Shemesh, I can see the Iron Dome in action over the coastal plane, like a fire-work display in the skies over Ashkelon and Ashdod, destroying Hamas rockets fired at these cities from Gaza.

If Moses or his sister Miriam were to witness this incredible sight, I believe they would break into a Shira - a song of praise.

We are now all familiar with the concept of the Iron Dome.

It detects rockets fired at the area it is protecting.
It calculates the trajectory and therefore the landing point of the rocket.
It decides whether a particular rocket is therefore a risk to the population centers.
If it is, the system fires a missile at the income rocket.
The missile explodes in close proximity to the rocket, destroying the warhead and hopefully sending the rocket debris away from the cities

This cycle of events has to be quick, because depending on the range, there's only seconds, up to perhaps a minute, to respond effectively to the incoming threat.

This remarkable engineering feat is made in Israel by Rafael, a defence systems company. No other country in the world has this capability.

So now imagine that you want to use a similar concept to protect our tanks, now in Gaza.

These tanks face anti-tank rockets every day, often fired from shoulder launchers by nimble ground forces, at short range and with highly lethal armaments.

With say a 100 metre range, these rockets hit a tank in less than a second.

A system for defending the tank using the Iron Dome concept, would need to go through the whole recognition and respond cycle within that second.

Here's the concept for the tank protection:

Detect rockets fired at the tank.
Calculate the trajectory and therefore the impact point of the rocket.
Decides whether a particular rocket is therefore a risk to the tank.
If it is, the system fires a hard-kill missile at the income rocket.
The missile either hits or explodes in close proximity to the rocket, destroying the warhead and hopefully sending the rocket debris away from friendly ground troops or civilians.

And all within a second.

Clearly an impossible task.

Rafael's engineers are of the type that do the impossible on a daily basis. Open miracles may take a little longer.

The system Rafael's ingenious engineers developed is the Trophy Tank Protection System.

Unlike Iron Dome, Trophy is not visible to the public eye, and is little discussed.

An unsung hero.

Here's a Rafael promo video about the Trophy, which is now deployed on Israeli combat vehicles, saving our soldier's lives against Hamas anti-tank rockets:














Friday, 25 July 2014

Dangerously Delusional Rabbis


Picture
Rabbi Meir Kahane
This plague is even more severe than I had imagined.

I am getting used to the idea that rabbonim in positions of trust and authority can abuse that trust and authority, including to sexually exploit their congregants, students, or other vulnerable parties.

Yes, each time, I am shocked, horrified, but I am no longer particularly surprised. My emotions are knocked each time, but my brain tells me it makes sense.
  
However, (even) I am surprised and shocked by a letter reportedly sent out to his alumni by Rabbi Meir Kahane, Minahel/Director of Chedvas seminary in Israel and a member of Aish Hatorah's faculty.

This letter brings to light a whole world of Orwellian thought-control and double-speak which is apparently endemic in seminaries - and has unfortunately been used to manipulate and take advantage of the girls.

The full letter is below and it's so (frankly) demented, it's hard to know where to start in analyzing it.

Here's a few examples:

1. Rabbi Kahane's opener, that he's "inspired to write to you a letter" - is against a background that the titular head of that seminary, Rabbi Meisels, has been found by the Chicago Beit Din to have molested female students. As a result, the institution's erstwhile good name is in tatters, and the seminary itself is now under threat of closure. "Inspired", indeed.

2. He then starts blathering about the soldier hostage Gilad Shalit and the three murdered boys.

He takes as a given that by encouraging girls to increased levels of modesty by wearing lower length skirts, this had succeeded in saving Gilad Shalit from the hands of Hamas.

However, the same (mad) defence strategy had somehow failed to save the three murdered boys, because God willed it.

3. Adding to this weird train of thought, Kahane refers to the alumini as "my army". "My"? "Army"? Which had "saved Gilad".

The perverse illogic is that because it's really the army who deal with Israel's security (and which Rav Kahane's world has its own anti - he doesn't "rely on the IDF") and Kahane is claiming the girls skirt lengths are the true power that protects Israel from Hamas attacks, then the girls must really be an "army".

And who is the Chief of Staff? - R.Kahane, of course.

Thus "my army".

If it is an army, and it belongs to someone, of course the actual leader was "General" Meisels.

And this rant is promoting the use of long skirts.

The same long skirts which, allegedly, proved no obstacle for R.Meisels "unwanted sexual contact" with these girls.

4. R.Kahane then raises and dismisses the idea of doing a Kinnus (assembly) to promote modesty (rejected due to the logistic impracticality). At which point he gets to the point.

Loshen hara - gossip.

Yesterday's military defense of Israel was girls wearing long skirts. Today's is apparently preventing pointless gossip. If Chedvas girls were stopped from pointlessly gossiping, Hamas will stop firing rockets at Israel's population centers.

5. Although Rabbi Kahane doesn't spell it out, the gossip he's referring to is the revelations by the young female victims of R.Meisels to the Chicago Beit Din.

And who knows what further pending revelations are scaring R.Kahane into an incoherent frenzy.

So, for goodness sake, girls, just shut up, will you.

6. The loshen hoara project (ie shut up any whistle blowers) is still apparently in planning phase, but it will include the use of "buddies" - ie peer monitors, or field officers. The implied threat is that these other alumini will inform on any girls breaking ranks, to General Kahane. These monitors will also be in a position to exert peer pressure and intimidation on any whistle blowers, to shut them up.

In the word where shiduchim are more important to these than any degree, this threat carries some weight.

7. The incentive being offered to drive this whole scheme, is that it will bring moshiach/Messiah.

Understood.

If this had been written by a drunk, or the writer has been professionally certified with a serious personality disorder and is off his meds, then I would not be surprised by this gibbering nonsense.

However, Rabbi Meir Kahane is a respected teacher and is responsible for hundreds of female students.
This demented mind-set is considered acceptable, even honourable and admirable in respectable circles.

This letter only reinforces the Chicago Beit Din's findings that all of Rabbi Meisels' seminaries are currently unsafe for students. And it seriously undermines the Israeli ad-hoc Beit Din, under Rav Shafran, that these seminaries are run by "illustrious educators" who can be "fully entrusted" with their students well-being and safety.

The lunatics are running the mental asylum.

Worse, they're running our girls schools.


From: Meir Kahane <MKahane@aish.com>
Date: July 17, 2014 at 7:03:09 PM EDT
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Dear Chedvas Graduates amus’h,
I am inspired to write you a letter. It was just recently that I was reminiscing about your year. When the three kdoshim were missing, I recalled our mission a few years ago to save Gilad Shalit. I recalled the the dedication with which you worked and the determination. I recalled that you were brave enough to fight a yetzer hara that so many fell prey to. When most girls were wearing skirts above their knees you made a kinnus to teach the world that it’s assur. While the kdoshim were missing, I kept asking myself, where is my army? We saved Gilad, we can save them as well. I have no doubt my army was doing their part. This time, Hashem said no.
But the death of three kdoshim led to war. When things started getting worse the nagging thought kept coming back. Is my army doing its job? While the rest of the world is relying on the IDF, I personally was relying on a different army- you, my Chedvas graduates.
The thought crossed my mind more than once over the past couple of weeks “can we do another kinnus?” Can we do one now to save us from the war? But scattered all over the world, it seemed quite impractical.
Hakadosh Baruch Hu has his ways. And he sent us a nisayon of colossal proportions. It’s as if Hakadosh Baruch is telling us that Klal Yisroel needs major zchuyos, gigantic zchuyos.You be the ones to do it.
All of us know that loshon hara without toeles is assur. At this stage of the very unfortunate situation our school finds itself in, there is no toeles in discussing the situation and its details. And even l’toeles the halacha is that it’s asur to believe it. My Chedvas students. Much of the world is talking about it and much of the world believes it. Do you hear Hashem speaking to us? Hashem is saying Chedvas you be the ones to stay quiet. Hashem is giving us another chance for a kinnus. He’s telling us that he listened to us last time, and wants to listen again. But this time the kinnus will not be on a stage, with signs all over Yerushalayim and a video. It will personal, and quiet, and extremely hard. My students, if we stay strong we can and will change the world.
I never thought we’d have a chance to do this again. Hashem believes in us, so let’s believe in ourselves. Let’s make chizuk projects to be michazek each other, let’s make buddy systems to see if we’re staying in check. I’m ready for volunteers to come up with a mehalach. I have a sinking feeling we’re going to bring Mashiach.
Sources tell us that before Mashiach there will be a big nisayon that will be very hard to pass. Those who do will merit Mashiach. Those who don’t…
I’m looking forward to hearing your ideas on how to initiate this program. I’m happy to make it worldwide.
With tefilos that Hashem should bring everyone back to His Torah, I remain,
Sincerely,
Rabbi Kahane