The Burka Lady Of Beit Shemesh

The guy circled is the son-in-law of the Burka lady of Beit Shemesh.

From the Jerusalem Post March 27, 2008:

A fringe sect of Jewish women with a Taliban-like dress code will be overcome by a major spiritual crisis after the arrest of the group’s leader on charges of child abuse, haredi sources in Beit Shemesh predicted Wednesday.

According to haredi media and a well-informed source in Beit Shemesh, the 54-year-old mother of 12 who is suspected of serious child abuse and failing to report multiple cases of incest among her children, is none other than the head of a sect of women who adhere to a dress code more stringent than that of the most extreme Muslim sects and a rigorous health food diet.

"We always knew those women were crazy," said Shmuel Poppenheim, a spokesman for the Eda Haredit – one of the most zealously religious groups in Israeli Orthodoxy – who lives in Beit Shemesh. "Now we have been vindicated, and those women will have to stop their insane behavior."

Another Beit Shemesh resident and haredi journalist, who preferred to remain anonymous, predicted that the arrest of their leader would send the sect spiraling into a "major spiritual tailspin that would lead to its demise."

"I do not envy those women," said the source. "They are going to be facing some major soul-searching."

None of the sect’s members, who reportedly number as many as 50 in Beit Shemesh and are also scattered around Safed and Jerusalem, could be reached by The Jerusalem Post for comment. They do not speak with men, even by telephone.

On Tuesday, police announced that they had arrested a woman last month whose name could not be divulged. Police suspicions were aroused after neighbors complained they had heard a child crying for help and objects being broken in the home, a police investigator told a Jerusalem court at a remand hearing on Tuesday.

The Beit Shemesh resident is also suspected of failing to report multiple cases of incest among her children. She was remanded for six days by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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