The Nachlaot Pedophile Ring and Queen Esther

The Nachlaot Pedophile Ring and Queen Esther

I occasionally still get phone calls from journalists who want to interview me about the Nachlaot pedophile ring, which I used to write about a lot before we moved. But since we left Nachlaot 4 years ago, I’ve forwarded all those requests to my husband. That nightmare of a case consumed 4 years of my life, and once we left Nachlaot behind I was more than happy to never think or talk about that horrific experience ever again.
But two weeks ago, I got an email request from a woman who said she was making a documentary film about the Nachlaot case. And she asked if we could meet to talk about the role played in publicizing the case. That was a request I couldn’t pass on to Josh. And anyway, I assumed this woman was a film student or makes video documentaries as a hobby. No big deal. So I agreed.
And then, about 10 minutes before we were supposed to meet this morning, I googled this woman’s name and was shocked when a Wikipedia entry came up about her with a list of her award-winning documentaries.
Eema’le! Josh save me!! But Josh was teaching, and by that point, it was way too late for me to cancel.
And right then, my heart racing, I remembered Queen Esther.
Yesterday I attended Sara Julia Lustigman’s incredible class on the Jewish months, and she said something that blew my mind.
Until yesterday’s class, I’d always thought of Queen Esther as a heroic but tragic figure, one of the greatest victims of the great Persian empire. Stuck for eternity in that cursed palace, married to a man she could never love.
But Sara pointed out that Esther was not a victim. The entire Megila, she explained, is the story of Esther’s empowerment, of feminine rising.
In the beginning of the megila, Esther is meek, pushed around and controlled by everyone around her. Against her will, she is taken to the palace, prepared for King Achashverosh, raped by King Achashverosh, And then sent away to wait to be summoned by King Achashverosh again.
After the decree to annihilate the Jewish people, Mordechai puts on sackcloth as a sign of mourning. Esther hears about this, and sends Mordechai, according to the Midrash, ministerial clothing. The subtext: “Mordechai, you have to dress up like a minister and speak with Achashverosh! Come to the palace immediately, and take care of this mess!”
But Mordechai sends the clothing back to her. He, Sara explained, is telling Esther: “You are a descendant of Rachel Imenu! Greatness is in your DNA! Only you and you alone can do this! You must go to your new husband to save Am Yisrael!”
And from that point on, we see a different Esther. An empowered Esther. First, Esther chooses to risk her life and go to Achashverosh unsummoned. Then she chooses to have a party. And then another party. And then, and then, and then. Esther, Esther, Esther. Step by step. Esther ingeniously masterminds the redemption of the entire Jewish people from certain genocide.
According to the Jewish mysticism, by the end of the Megila, Esther had grown so great that she had become a meta-soul, with the power to uplift all of humanity.
So this morning, at the end of the interview, when this documentary filmmaker asked if she could come by next week to film me for her documentary, I thought of Esther and what she went through and what she did and who she ultimately became. And for the first time in years, I said: “Yes.”


  1. So how did it go??

  2. Good luck! You probably should have her sign some kind of a legal document which states you need to view your parts, or the whole documentary and approve it before it is put out. Unfortunately we have learnt the hard way, even the nicest seemingly altruistic people will crop, edit and adjust interviews to fit into their documentaries and the narrative they are trying to portray (which they are not usually completely upfront about).

  3. You’re such a courageous woman. It must be quite hard to go back and revive those awful memories and experiences. Hashem should give you lots of koach and clarity!

  4. Wow, I love how you share your thoughts and emotional process with us. Not only in this post, because you do it all the time, but this time was so strong I just had to say something 😊.
    Thabk you for all your inspiration!

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