Superwoman of Nachlaot

Superwoman of Nachlaot

This morning I saw “T”* and her husband rushing to the courthouse to attend the trial of the pedophile who molested their young children.

T stood on the street corner in her Shabbos sheitl and suit, and her husband was wearing his long black coat and hat as they stood waiting for a taxi with their baby.

I’ve known T for years, and in my mind, she has always been a Superwoman.

I will never forget how she invited my then 5-year-old Moriah and 3-year-old Yoel to play with her children one afternoon before Purim, two years ago. She had worked at her family store that whole morning and then baked hamenstaschen as an activity with the children that afternoon. She even managed to drop off a few hamentaschen at my house after they were baked a few hours later.

And less than a week later, T gave birth to her 6th child.

I told a lot of people this story about this superhero mom who gives birth every year and still finds the energy to make hamentaschen with her children and their guests as a fun after-school activity.

But the truth is that the admiration I felt for T back then is nothing compared to the awe I feel for her today.

Back then, T was a JewishMOM living a challenging life, but the life of her dreams.

She had a mensch of a husband who was learning full-time in Kollel, like she had always dreamed.

She had a home in Jerusalem full of healthy young children growing up in a wonderful frum community, like she had always dreamed.

She had a job she adored as a highly-respected saleslady at a popular fabric store in Geula advising women on their choice of buttons or lace or fabric to make the perfect dress for an upcoming occasion.

And today?

First my superwoman discovered that her older children had been repeatedly molested by their neighbor Binyamin Setz (the indicted pedophile who is standing trial this morning).

Then, a few months later, T found out that Setz had not been operating alone, but was, in fact, a participant in a large ring of pedophiles that had also been molesting her children as well as over 100 of her neighbors’ children, meaning that the idyllic frum courtyard that she had called home since her wedding was, in fact, the epicenter of the largest pedophile case in Israel’s history.

Then her neighbors starting moving away. The family with 10 kids from across the way, the family with 15 kids from upstairs, the family with 8 kids from down the street whose kids had been best friends with her own, and the family with 7 children from around the corner.

But she and her husband have stayed put. And the truth is that I have no idea why.

I only know that this difficult year has transformed T into something I would have never guess she would become: a warrior.

A year ago, if I would have walked into her home, we would have
spoken about the Chanukah donuts she was frying or the new curtains she was sewing or the latest shipment from England to her fabric store. And today, instead, we discuss the trial this week where she will sit on the witness stand, or her meeting with an international foundation in order to raise funds for a support group for the mothers in her community, or her appointment with a leading lawyer to make sure that the case is being handled properly.

And it’s not only her. In my eyes, the Nachlaot Pedophile Crisis has created a neighborhood full of heroines like T.

Moms who, day after day, mourn the life of their dreams that has been destroyed…

And still, somehow, find the strength and the faith to get out of bed every single morning and smile at their husbands and at their struggling and recovering children and say, “Hashem, You put me here, in this place, in this life. What do you want from me now?”

*All identifying details have been altered.

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8 comments

  1. Sherree Belsky

    I only wish I knew this two weeks ago when I was in Yerushalyim. I would have loved to meet her and give her some chizuk. Is there any way that we can email her and give her chizuk now, so she can know that we are all behind her and she doesn’t stand alone?

    • JewishMom

      feel free to send me letters through the contact link above, and I will pass them on. What a great idea…

  2. I hope he is jailed for life.
    May the children who were molested recover speedily and forget that this ever happened to them. May their parents only have lots of nachas and menuchas ha nefesh from now on.

  3. Please visit our website: http://www.besheket.com
    We are the 1st and only website in Israel who has a list of hundreds of pedophiles and other molesters of minors.
    We have a whole section with tips for parents (also in English).

  4. What should we daven for Chana Jenny?

    • JewishMom

      In general, we should daven that no more children will be hurt by pedophiles. And, specific to this situation, that the pedophiles of Nachlaot will not be able to hurt any more children ever again.

      • Hadassah

        Amen! May they heal speedily and all the parents have the strength to be able to help the children heal. The parents are probably struggling with guilt feelings as well, “How could I have not realized this was going on?” The children are not the only ones needing to heal from this ordeal. And all of us have to deal with the issue of how does Hashem let this happen to us? Where are we going wrong that we should have such damage inflicted on children – anyone’s child?

  5. Thank you for this story and for the gentle and insightfull way you wrote it!

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