The Stranger who Tried to Abduct my Kids

The Stranger who Tried to Abduct my Kids

I had heard rumors that this has been happening, and now it happened to my kids, so I’m warning you too, so you can protect your children…

This past Shabbat my 10-year-old, Moriah, 8-year-old, Yoel, and 4-year-old, Tsofia, were a block away from home when a man wearing a kippah approached them and asked how he could get to the market.

My ten-year-old told him the market was just one street over, and even though the market is less than a minute away from where they were standing, the man said he didn’t understand how to get there. Could she take him?

My 10-year-old and her 8-year-old brother attended an intensive self-defense camp before Pesach, and right away they understood something was fishy.

When Moriah refused to take him, the man grabbed her hard by the wrist and insisted she take him. She pulled her wrist away and yelled, “Leave me alone! I don’t want to!”

Then the man grabbed Yoel’s wrist, and he also pulled his arm away and yelled “Leave me alone!”

Then the three of them ran away and yelled, “Let’s go to Abba and tell him everything that happened!” and they came home.

In his speech on the terrible child abuse ring plaguing his Jerusalem neighborhood, Rabbi Yitzchak Berkowitz shlit”a warned parents, “We even have to teach our children—I know this is terrible—we have to teach our children not to do chesed [acts of kindness]. If a stranger comes up to you and says, ‘Oi, this is too heavy. Could you help me shlep it up the stairs?’ you have to say, I have to ask my parents. I know it’s a terrible thing, it’s a terrible thing, we’re telling our kids not to do chesed. But it’s sakanos nefashos [it’s a matter of life and death]. We can’t be mafkir our kids [leave our children unsafe]! We’ve got to watch our children!

Through education and increased caution may we enable all of our children stay safe, IY”H!

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  1. Yocheved

    {{{hugs}}} There is nothing wrong with saying that you have to ask your parents first. You’ve obviously done everything right in teaching your kids, and finding that perfect balance between not being afraid of the world, yet knowing how to navigate dangerous situations.

    The guy is lucky he didn’t try to grab my daughter. He’d get a hard bite on the arm if he grabbed her! She’s a wildcat when it comes to self defense.

    If you’ve ever read the short story “The Ransom of Red Chief”, then you’ll have an idea what my kiddo is like. (I think every parent should read that story, it’s hilarious!)

  2. Rivkah


    Sorry to hear this scary story.
    I couldn’t help but be reminded of a clip I saw yesterday on FB- I believe there is a reason to me seeing it and reading what you wrote the day after. Here’s the link:
    Worth watching…

  3. Nechama

    I am so sorry this happened to your kids but I am so happy to hear they knew how to handle it. Thanks for sharing. I will again speak to my daughter tonight about this topic and repeat to her the safety rules.

  4. Amanda Toren

    Did you report this to the police on Motzei Shabbat?

    • JewishMom

      we have no idea who the guy was…so unless we figure that out it’s just a waste of time I fear

      • Amanda Toren

        This is from my good friend, who is a volunteer with the Jerusalem Police:

        I believe the Israeli ‘police can help even if it is just a matter of information. you may not have any specific suspects but in the interest of your community, it is advisable to not just blog about it but to also inform the police (immediately as possible).
        Generally speaking the information the Israeli Police has for suspects is not public knowledge (ie even if you think you saw no one there may be something that you remember later on that is specific to a certain suspect the police are aware of)
        what if there was another strike perpetrated by the same suspect and because there was no complaint then the person who did this is not even being looked for by any security forces, (he is a suspect of a previous crime and)because nothing is formally reported then he gets away with this over and over and over again. (Because we don’t want the mark on our community, family, Shul, school etc)
        it is not enough to go to awareness meeting(s) in your community, it is not enough to teach a 10 and 8 year old defensive measures (although GOOD on you!!), the perpetrator of these kinds of abusive/harmful behaviors will continue to strike as long as he/she can get away with it. Part of a clear and legal action you can take is to report it to the police.

  5. Miryam

    This is one of the reasons I think the children’s book “Chanale’s Shabbat Dress” (שמלת השבת של חנה’לה) should be removed from stores. It tells children (girls in particular) that if a (literally) dirty old man approaches them and asks them with help carrying something, they should accompany him to help him, even far away into the woods. Scary, and it’s still a fairly popular story.

  6. Nothing comes up when i open the link for the Rabbi’s speach

  7. Thank you for continuing to post about this. Baruch Hashem you are giving your children the tools to stay safe in this world. After reading this, I went out and bought “Let’s Stay Safe.”

  8. esther

    My Dd was approached by a man and a women outside my front door. They offered her candy. She said no, rang the bell and quickly came inside. Her heart was racing and i went straight to the police to make a report. They said that they cant do anything since they didn’t do anything sinister. Bh i have cameras on my street and there is police stationed 2 meters from my house.

  9. Weird that a guy in a kippah would ask how to get to the market on Shabbat.

  10. This is terrifying!

    What are the details of the self defense camp that your kids took?

  11. i’m interested to know what self defense camp they went to. so important!

  12. Just saw this post. I am from Baltimore too. Recently there has been an upsurge of violence that has even spread into the Jewish community. Last week, the vaad harabbanim sent out a letter that if anyone is accosted and there is a POSSIBILITY of them harming someone else too that could possibly lead to pikuach nefesh, one is OBLIGATED to report it IMMEDIATELY, ON SHABBOS, to the police. In the case of this potential harm to children, I would guess the same would apply. It’s definitely a sh’ailah to ask! Check out for the letter.

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