Free Pedophiles?

Free Pedophiles?

Last week, I saw the pedophile drinking an espresso at a cafe downtown, enveloped by a cloud of his own exhaled smoke.

The Nachlaot pedophile ring is already well-known for its horrific sadism towards the neighborhood’s children, but this particular pedophile was one of the worst. So how is he still free? Because he (like many of the ring’s pedophiles) systematically drugged his victims and/or targeted extremely young children so that the testimony they would eventually provide would not be clear enough to be admissible in court.

And that means that this pedophile, like most of the ring’s members, is still free.

But looking at this pedophile in his cloud of smoke last week, the last word in the world that came to my mind was “free.”

This pedophile looked like an abandoned, gutted building. He looked like the evil that he had hidden for so many years behind a façade of sincere religiosity and impressive acts of kindness had finally consumed all of him, like a swarm of termites. Like he was wasting away in a prison built by his own addiction to cruelty and perversion.

Yesterday I walked by Nachlaot’s Charedi neighborhood, about a block away from my home. Up until this past Tisha b’Av, this community, which had been home to over 200 children, was nearly always full of playing children. It was a place full of laughter and playing and, unfortunately, a false sense of safety brought on by the historic stone walls that surrounded the courtyards that make up Nachlaot’s Charedi neighborhoods.

But all of that changed this past Tisha b’Av, when the shocking news spread throughout the neighborhood that many of the community’s children had been raped and molested over the series of several years by a ring of local pedophiles. Over the coming weeks, as more and more children came forward to their parents about the abuse they had suffered, the Charedi community transformed from an idyllic frum children’s wonderland into a deserted wasteland. 5 families with close to 50 children quickly fled the neighborhood. Parents who remained in the neighborhood kept their children locked inside in fear.

A friend who lives in the Charedi community told me one Shabbat this past fall that she had thought that all of her neighbors must have gone away for Shabbos, since she had not seen a sign of the mothers or their many children. But her husband corrected her. He had seen all of the husbands at shul that morning. There were dozens of families and well over a hundred children home that Shabbos, but all of them were staying home in fear of the pedophiles.

Jerusalem Social Services’ Director of Children’s Interrogations confirmed at a recent meeting that there are currently over 100 neighborhood children who have been diagnosed by expert psychologists and psychiatrists as victims of molestation and rape. B”H, almost all of the young victims have made much progress this year in terms of treatment and recovery from trauma. The neighborhood has also become dramatically safer, B”H, due to the extreme vigilance of the neighborhood parents and also the pedophiles’ fear of arrest.

Yesterday, on Shabbat, I walked by the Charedi neighborhood, and I saw something so wonderful. For the first time since the summer, I saw that the children were back…the courtyards were again full of boys with peyos and girls with braids running around and playing and giggling, as a few mothers sat and chatted on chairs outside, keeping an eye on the children. There was a relaxed feeling of joy, such a relief after so many months of trauma and crisis and fear.

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that many of those playing children and their parents have been going through hell this year. But over this year I have seen over and over how these parents’ rock-solid belief in Hashem is pulling them through this, and will IY”H, pull these struggling families and children all the way through to full recovery.

And walking by that courtyard, I remembered the pedophile in his cloud of smoke. And I was reminded that there are people who are free who, because they are addicted to evil, are actually enslaved. And there are people who yearn to be free who, because they have unwavering faith in Hashem’s infinite power, already are.

Click here to learn more about the Nachlaot Pedophile Crisis


  1. Amanda Elkohen

    How I wish they were all locked up for real, but a prisoner in their own flesh will have to do for now. Very inspiring.

  2. may the safety come back to your community .

  3. The fear, with its accompanying attentiveness on the part of the parents, should remain in place as long as these criminals are at large. At least the kids are able to enjoy the fresh air and pleasure of each other’s companionship. The truth is that all parents everywhere need to be attentive, because we really don’t know who is trustworthy. People who want to victimize children cultivate their friendship as well as the trust of the parents. Sadly, yours is not the only neighborhood that has this problem, but at least you have been made aware of the danger! We all need siyata d’shimaya in this job of raising our families.

  4. This is such a horrible situation; I have 2 boys aged 3 and 14 months, and my younger brother was raped at age 12 while in Israel by someone purported to be religious. This is scary to me, those guys should be castrated at the very least. I am so so sorry that you have these tsuris to go through. Please keep safe, and your children too, they are precious.

  5. Your description of the neighborhood changing from desolate to full of children playing in the streets reminds me of the prophesy about Y-m when Mashiach comes.

  6. Keep the faith, Chana Jenny.

  7. Chana Jenny, I know for a fact that you have helped raise a lot of awareness among parents about this problem in religious communities. Awareness saves lives… Thank you for doing your part. I know it’s not easy.

  8. ruth cohen

    shalom jenny

    its all illusion and lies. dont even allow yourself the tiniest second to think that he is free. they are not at all and even though the so called justice system has let the children down – traitors is the only word to describe them.

    you know i walked around one shabbat, our area and saw the changes no zalman cohen standing there strutting like a peacock, gone and his trees yah all gone. no garden for a front to trap more children that man is not around here anymore nowhere – there are changes.

    walking through the haradi areas children playing and laughing and thinking how much has changed here. how many people got involved with prayers – how many others took up the cause – how many people know and are talking to others and warning others all over the country and the city.

    huge changes have taken place – and you know details of the mental breakdown of some of these nasties. yesterday again someone else told me that one of the nasty nasties is losing his mind more and more every day.

    and now with the fake grass on the migrash and the sounds of children playing day and night out there with the sun and the security that used to be here coming back, i feel a huge new energy here the blackness is being lifted from our street our area our town. there is light coming in here and a huge change is happening.

    look under the surface and see how much light we have all brought down by our unity to save the children. and the children know that we all want to help them and that helps them to heal

    we are winning, we are winning. look back and read what you wrote at the beginning of this story and see how many changes really happened. its been all over the media, everyone knows in the world, and those who are protecting the perverts from judge,to rabbi,to politician are now trembling with fear that they will be exposed.

    rabbi druckman was denied a huge prize because he knew about pedophiles in his yeshiva 20 years ago and did nothing to help. this has never happened before. he was not even guilty but he lost the israel prize and it was all over the tv and media.

    what freedom. we are free not them. we are free to walk our streets with our children. that is freedom.the children are free to feel that we are looking out for them.

  9. They’re just doing it somewhere else, or at least some of them are. They’re doing it somewhere where they’re more anonymous. Until they are disposed of, they’ll keep it up. They’re addicts who have received no treatment. Sorry to have to put it that way.

    Still, I’m glad the neighborhood is returning to itself.

  10. ruth cohen

    actually the perverts have been greatly damaged – their names are out there, the parents are far more careful, the comfortable system they had with easy victims is not longer the case. yes they still are out there looking for more victims but its harder for them. people are talking about this all over the city.

    their is no treatment for this – just death stops them. its not what we want but considering that the justice system failed so miserably and that the haradim are law abiding citizens there is nothing more to do to stop them.

    however the wide media coverage has had an effect and eventually the legal system will be forced to take action – after all there has been a murder

    so considering all the obstacles to justice – a great victory has been achieved – they are weakened and the most important thing is that its not longer a secret.

    for the haradi society so used to hiding things from a sense of shame, its taken them a lot of courage to confront this ugly me as a non haradi i think that is the most important point of all.

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