Why I’m Hopeful Despite this Pedophile Mess

Why I’m Hopeful Despite this Pedophile Mess

Last month we Nachlaoters discovered that for the past 5 years our idyllic neighborhood has been the site of the largest pedophilia scandal in Israel’s history. And today we find ourselves coping with, as Haaretz put it, “An Unholy Mess in the Holy City” (click here if you would like to read Haaretz’s EXTREMELY GRAPHIC feature article on Nachlaot’s pedophile ring).

Since I found out about the nightmare that transpired in my beloved village-within-a-city of a neighborhood, I’ve been spending less and less morning time working on this blog, and more and more time at the Burgers Bar where I like to stop on my way to the Kotel, imbibing phenomenally comforting emuna-reviving books by Rabbi Shalom Arush* and thinking about what was and what is and what’s going to be and, of course, trying to figure out what Hashem wants me to do about this whole insane asylum of a story.

And yesterday, in between mouthfuls of my world’s yummiest hamburger halves, I flattened-out a crumpled-up piece of paper that I found on the bottom of my purse, and scrawled out a list that took up the whole page. This list has made me feel quite happy and hopeful for the first time in weeks.

This list was entitled: “Terrible Situations I Thought Would Never Improve…But Did.”

Here is a partial list of the greatest miracles in my life, in no particular order:

1. My friend had a miscarriage and then another miscarriage and then another one and then another one. And, b”H, this year she gave birth to the sweetest baby girl in Nachlaot.

2. The Soviet Union collapsed, and the Soviet nuclear threat (the focus of my obsessive childhood nightmares) evaporated.

3. Soviet Jewry was freed. Who would have ever believed that they would finally be free when we were writing all those letters to refuseniks and attending demonstrations for the millions of Jews trapped behind the Iron Curtain?

4. Bin Ladin, responsible for the murder of over 3000 innocent mothers and fathers and sons and daughters in the Twin Towers attack was assassinated by American forces, b”H!

5. I will never forget how once every two or three years we would go to refresh our gas masks because of yet another threat of a chemical weapons attack from Iraq. And then Saddam Hussein was found and killed and Iraq is a threat no longer, b”H!

6. Little Rivka bat Yael Razel, who was in a coma after she fell from a ladder a year and a half ago is today nearly 100% recovered. She is back at kindergarten with her friends and cousins and her doctors say that they have never seen such a quick recovery from such a severe brain injury. A true Nachlaot medical miracle and a testimony to the power of prayer (thank you again, JewishMOMs).

7. We bought our home 10 years ago, in the middle of the Intifada during which terrorists murdered over 1000 Jews, HY”D. At that time, even more than today, Nachlaot was a totally terrifying place to live. At least once a month I would hear a bomb exploding somewhere nearby, on Jaffa Street, at the Shuk, on the Ben Yehuda Mall. The year before we bought this home in 2001, its windows were shattered by a car bomb that left two Israelis dead. Buying a home in this battlefront of a neighborhood felt like an insane leap of faith. But, b’H, the Intifada ended, and quiet returned to this village-within-a-city…at least until now.

But I am hopeful and I am trying to believe, as crazy and deluded as it might feel at the moment, that this crisis will pass, and that this Unholy Mess in the Holy City will get cleaned up. Somehow.

And that quite soon I will have one more thing to add to my list entitled “Terrible Situations I Thought Would Never Improve…But Did.” IY”H.

Image courtesy of Flickr.com user Smabs Sputzer

*For anybody looking in search of chizuk during difficult times, I enthusiastically prescribe Rav Arush’s new book Garden of Gratitude. This book is the only thing that has been keeping me somewhat sane and functioning during these challenging weeks.


  1. the haaretz article says most of the pedophiles are free.

  2. Yoni Schlussel

    What a beautiful list! Thank you for sharing and inspiring us by your efforts to see past the negative! Yaasher Koach and Amen to your last sentence!

  3. What a great idea to make such a list. So many times I can’t imagine how a situation will get better, and then months later I can’t even remember what I went through.

    • I was reading this list to a friend this morning, and on the original list I mentioned a terrible pack of about 10 dogs that used to run freely around the neighborhood. They were owned by a man who kept them in his apartment and he threatened the lives of anyone who suggested that he couldn’t let his dogs run free. And these were scary dogs, who would bark at people and were especially terrifying for the elderly and children. I remember having to walk my daughter to the school bus because of them, and what a terrible conflict it caused with that owner. And then one day this man just left with his dogs for some reason.

      That was maybe 7 years ago, and my friend had totally forgotten just how awful that period was, and what a relief it was when he left for a moshav.

      It’s amazing how quickly we forget about the insufferable things that Hashem mercifully takes away…

      • actually Rav Arush advises to make a “miracle notebook” to write down these kinds of events, so that when we are down we can look back and read, then feel incredibly grateful for all the times we were sent a Yeshua by Hashem and know that it can happen again.
        You’re a natural!

  4. You have beautifully put into practical advice for all of us King Solomon’s timeless wisdom that he himself supposedly had engraved on a ring;

    This, too, shall pass.

  5. Sharon Saunders

    I think we all need to make a list like yours. Graditude is the key to stability. It helps banish negativity, which stops you from moving forward. Number 1 on my list is being told my daughter would die in early childhood & here she is at thirty b”H.

Leave a Reply

Follow by Email