Candles and Pedophiles

Candles and Pedophiles

“I love the Shuk and I love the Charedim.”

For years, this has been my standard answer when people ask me why I love Nachlaot so incredibly much.

By “the Shuk” I mean Jerusalem’s booming-with-life fresh-air market a hop, skip, and a jump from my front door. The shuk is my favorite place in the world, quite probably.

And by “the Charedim” I mean the black-robe/housecoat wearing residents of Nachlaot’s shtetl. Let me explain…

A hop, skip and jump from my front door in the other direction exists a very special community of religious Jews who, for the past 120 years, have been living a life of total dedication to Hashem and His Torah.

The children and mothers and fathers in this modern-day shtletl are simple and innocent and good-hearted Ovdei Hashem to an extent that almost doesn’t exist anywhere anymore.

And this unique community was the one where the pedophiles chose to make their Holocaust. These pure, holy children were the evil pedophiles’ prey for the past 5 years while confused parents and psychologists and pediatricians were unable to figure out what was causing the Shtetl’s terrorized-into-silence children to be so severely injured and traumatized.

Up until a few months ago, when I walked through Nachlaot’s shtetl, I saw a scene that was reminiscent of paradise. Crowds of religious girls playing jump rope and religious boys trading Tsaddikim cards. Mothers peeking out to check on their children while preparing dinner, or hanging laundry, or reading Tehillim. Just to walk through Nachlaot’s shtetl filled me with longing for a different life…

And now, where have the children gone?

Today, the Shtletl is silent. 5 families including over 40 children have already moved away to safer neighborhoods.

And the families that are not moving, because they cannot afford to, or because they choose not to, keep their children largely locked inside. Or the children are outside, with their mothers hovering anxiously and wondering how their paradise on earth became the Devil’s playground while the police and legal system cluck their tongues, and do next to nothing to protect Jerusalem’s children from “S,” the alleged mastermind of the pedophile ring, and his band of experienced predators who have done nearly irreparable damage to the children of an entire community.

And over Chanukah I’ve been thinking even more about these holy children and their families than usual…

Chanukah’s been crazy for me. Non-stop kids and family and frying and cleaning.

But once a day, every day, I come to a screeching halt. Every night I collapse on my sofa and watch my Chanukah candles.

On the 1st night of Chanukah, I watched those two little candles shining in a sea of darkness. You would think that those two little candles would have been totally Bitul b’Sheesheem in that ocean of darkness, right?

But not at all…

Watching those 2 little candles, I saw that they were so strong, so bright in the dark room, shining with the light of Torah and Hashem and Mitzvot. Boiled-honey intense, core-of-the-Sun illuminating. Their flames tirelessly reaching upwards with yearning for something higher, for the Divine.

And these candles, I understood, are the molested children and their parents.

Despite the darkness that fills my community today, an immense light continues to exist in these holy children and their parents. That light fills the hearts, in fact, of most Nachlaot parents and our children as we strive, as well, to be good and better parents and Jews.

The days of Chanukah pass by, and my Menorah is no longer filled with 2 teensy candles, but rather with an entire family of candles. The light of these families, these holy Nachlaot families, flickering in the darkness.

The light of the Torah and Hashem filling us, and enabling us to drive away the darkness that fills our community and our world.

“Please Hashem…” I begged Hashem last night as I watched my candles reaching up towards Hashem in the darkness, “more than anything else I want to be a candle. A candle for my children. A candle for my husband. A candle for my JewishMOMs. A candle for my community.”

“Please Hashem, please Hashem, in this darkness, let me be a candle too…”

Image courtesy of user slgckgc


  1. Chana Jenny… I always loved your blog, but now after reading this post I think we might be soul sisters. But probably most readers of this blog have felt this way after your amazing articles at least once!

    Let’s focus on bringing light to whatever corner of the world Hashem has given us the power to illuminate!

    • naomi, it was wonderful meeting you the other night! nice to hear we are soul sisters:) happy chanukah!

  2. Oh, Chana Jenny that was beautiful. Your words were laden with emotion and ever-so poignant.

    “Despite the darkness that fills my community today, an immense light continues to exist in these holy children and their parents. That light fills the hearts, in fact, of most Nachlaot parents and our children as we strive, as well, to be good and better parents and Jews.”

    What an empowering thought, true to the world at large, I believe.

    Thank you.

  3. Sharon Saunders

    My dearest Jenny, you have been a candle to me for many years. Tonight we light the holy number 7 candle and tomorrow night the infinite light of 8. The intensity of goodness in Nachlaot will eventually drive S back under the rock he crawled out from – we have got to believe that justice will triumph.

  4. dalit rosin

    Than you so much for your beautiful words and prayers. amen- only good things 🙂

  5. Rachel Shifra

    Chana, you are my candle. On the days that I don’t want to go on, there is always your email in my box and a day that would have been ordinary turns extraordinary! I love you and your holy blog! May you be blessed.
    Chanuka Sameach

  6. your article was/is a real inspiration. I had no idea that the nightmare is still ongoing since the head of the group is still at large. I did not think that people would work together for such a nefarious reason. The crime seems so personal and selfish.
    On the topic of protecting ourselves and our children from improper influences I heard a lecture about the dangers of the internet, where with a mistake of a keystroke one could end up on a pornographic site or see a pornographic video without intending to do so. Since these images are addictive and even one exposure can be harmful and have long term effects we were told to either eliminate it from our homes totally or at the minimum put on effective filters. I promptly installed a filter but this blocks all u-tube videos. So if there is a possibility of changing the format for the videos you post I would appreciate it. The danger of leaving it unblocked or even temporarily unblocking it is not something I want to deal with. Keep up with your amazing work!

    • I’m sure the filter you’re using is great. In my house we have one open account, which only I use, and another one that is filtered. As soon as I’m done using it, I lock it so no one else can get on.

    • I think most of these videos are on koshertube also: is that blocked by your filter?

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