Israeli TV show interviews Keren’s sister, mother

More on Rabbanit Keren thanks to Rafi at Life in Israel, who has been posting regular updates on the story. Here you can watch as the Israeli investigative program Uvda (fact) interviews Bruria Keren’s mother, sister, and neighbors. According to her sister, Bruria was abused by her father as a child, and Bruria’s mother admits that her relationship with Bruria was always strained. Bruria’s explicit dress and provocative behavior as a young adult embarrassed the sister. Bruria met her husband at a party while they were both in the airforce. The couple gradually became more observant, with Bruria taking on more and more absurd levels of tzniut. The sister wrote many letters to authorities pleading for intervention with the children. When the social services representative was shown the correspondence on the air, she pointed out that the letters were sent to the education ministry, and that her department was not informed of the accusations.

When asked about Bruria’s childhood, her mother mentioned that she had four girls one after the other but nevertheless tried to give Bruria enough love. The producers chose to end the program on a similar note, with the mother guiltily repeating that she tried to give enough love. Somehow I suspect that the father’s abuse–the sister said he had hit Bruria with a rolling pin–would have been a more important factor.

In most cases of abuse both parents play a role, even if a non-violent parent “only” fails to protect the children. But it’s much more fun to blame the mother.

In the current situation, there is plenty of blame to go around.

On a happier note, check out Haveil Havalim #160, the Waffles edition of the great Jewish blog carnival also at Life in Israel.

Here is Leora’s flattering post about my new header.

I have gotten some delicious submissions for this month’s KCC on April 7. Don’t be left out.

Finally, it seems that Treppenwitz has a fan in Kenya trying to visit Israel, but the Israeli embassy is reluctant to grant a visa. Only Trep can help, but will he?


  1. mominisrael says

    Batya, I don’t know that you are right here. I haven’t been following the Jerusalem story closely, but one of the children is in a coma and the father is at-large, and there is some weird family stuff going on. The abuse was particularly severe. Remember the story of the divorced father who killed his daughter and reported her as missing? He wasn’t haredi and the press was all over that one.

  2. Lion of Zion says

    i’m not sure, but i think that might have been Mother in Israel’s point by mentioning the other 2 cases at the end.
    of course you correct, but note that hiloni parents don’t do horrible things in god’s name. that makes it worse–and newsworthy.

  3. Lion of Zion says

    maybe i was too quick on the “of course you are correct” (as per MOI’s comment). i don’t know about how the cases involving each community are reported in the media, but i really meant of course, you are correct that there is abuse in both communities.

  4. One thing for sure.
    I’m sure that there are at least just as many non-chareidi abusive families in Israel, but the media only hypes the chareidi ones.
    think about it

  5. mominisrael says

    Ari, I can’t tell you how secular Israelis see them, but this story won’t do anything to enhance their reputation. My friend said that she heard on the radio this morning that the suspect was “high up” in this Beit Shemesh movement.

  6. I’m not sure it’s fair to charge the media with unfairly scrutinizing haredim over this story. Jewish women wearing burkas and taking vows of silence is already a titillating story. Jewish women wearing burkas, taking vows of silence and beating their children to the point that they need hospitalization is over the top. How could a news organization not cover this story?
    That being said, as someone with a great deal of respect for the haredi derech, I would not at all be surprised if child abuse is more common in haredi communities than MO or secular communities. Many haredi families are very large and money is extremely tight. Large family + little money = lots of stress. Add this on to the fact that the parents may be quite young and inexperienced…

  7. note that hiloni parents don’t do horrible things in god’s name. that makes it worse–and newsworthy.

  8. Yisrael Medad says

    I’ve got the other news clip
    and, of course, not reporting child abuse is bad but can not absolve any other crime perpetrator. And if religious people, especially of the level of the Burkha Babes variety, claim extra “value” becuase of their religiosity, then their fall must be harder in the eyes of us all.

  9. Breaking News says

    Check out Rafi G’s blog very soon.
    You will all be in for a big surprise.

  10. I’d like to remind everyone that while this is Israel…and although no on here really cares, these are all *allegations*.
    I’m not defending her at all. But in one of the other cases Mom in Israel mentioned, I do know that not everything being reported is accurate, nor do the police even fully understand how or who abused the children.

  11. mominisrael says

    Abbi, which baby do you mean?
    I wrote a new post with updates.

  12. batya, since one of the cases currently being covered is of a completely secular couple with a 6 week old baby in the hospital, I think that accusation is really far fetched.
    BTW, I saw on the news that this baby has absolutely NO family with him at all. I was shocked. The doctor interviewed said it’s the saddest thing that there’s no one to hold him at all.
    I can’t believe there are no grandparents or any extended family involved. I thought it would be great to get some volunteers to be with the baby, but I wouldn’t even know how to go about organizing that.

  13. Jameel, though I agree with you to a certain extent, when you have hospitalized kids and at least one set of parents with prior child abuse investigations, it’s kind of hard to sit back and say, these are just accusations.

  14. it is confirmed.
    I posted about it, and I posted the same, with a few more additional details on :a href = “”>Dov Bear’s site

  15. the family from Or Yehuda, the chiloni couple accused of child abuse, from the haaretz article.

  16. Whats this pius woman doing with a secular attorney in the first place?

  17. Lion of Zion says

    “BTW, I saw on the news that this baby has absolutely NO family with him at all. I was shocked. The doctor interviewed said it’s the saddest thing that there’s no one to hold him at all. . . .”
    very sad. i’ve meaning to post about this. last month i was working in the peds dept. in a local hospital. i couldn’t believe how many children were left alone in the hospital. kids were crying in their bed and there was no one to comfort them.

  18. If she “doesn’t speak with men”, how does she consult with her male attorney?

  19. MominIsrael-I came out of hibernation and spotted this story on another news outlet and headed over to let you know. Seems you are all over this. Now, if I could just stop being MIA. There is a lot to read and all I’m doing is cleaning and pushing papers.

  20. mominisrael says

    Vicki, I wrote to you privately. JF, the attorney is female. Hope you have come back to civilization. SL, miss you too.

  21. Rumors are floating around that the mother named in this case is know to be a quasi cult leader. We are also looking for confirmation on the name of the alleged offender. If anyone has any direct information on this case please contact Vicki Polin at The Awareness Center. 443-… or

  22. Vicki Polin says

    The case of Bruria Keren will be up shortly. I’m still working on the page. You can view it at:

  23. There are dozens, hundreds of child abuse cases. The media only focuses on a few.
    Ari, here in Israel, it’s very rare for a child to be alone in a hospital. When my boys were in, I never saw an unaccompanied kid at all.

  24. Thanks for the update. I watched the video. The way her mother and sister speak about her, she tended to extremes in general and that her supposedly tznius outfit was an act of assertive self-expression — the opposite of what tznius is supposed to be about.. But I do agree with you point about fathers not having to shoulder blame the way mothers do. While her father was abusive her husband seems to have been an absent father who did nothing at all to stop her either from abusing the children or from taking on her style of dress.

  25. mominisrael says

    Abbi, she was saying that she didn’t know. It could be that the misrad harevacha was involved with the family for economic reasons, and only later heard about the abuse. In the US, the child protective services is a separate entity from the welfare dept. I believe.
    It definitely seems that the new charedi population in Beit Shemesh is “gadol al” the police and other authorities. (i.e. it’s more than they can handle.
    One of the children said the accusations were a conspiracy by the aunt, but it looked as if Keren’s mother and sister were interviewed together and supported each other in their statements. It also appears that Keren’s husband is not a rabbi, so she is not a rabbanit.

  26. You have an doubt whether Trep will help or not? Sheesh!

  27. Well, I guess that interview bursts the whole idea that this was a anti-charedi media conspiracy.
    my favorite part was the end when that idiot from lishkat harevacha was like “But this isn’t me! I’m not a rep from the iriya!”.
    How sad.

  28. Thanks for linking to my links about your links.

  29. My SIL is a social worker in J-m with misrad harevacha. MH is child protective services and welfare combined. They are involved in both and a decent social worker can spot problems pretty quickly once she starts working with a family.
    And I’m sorry, even if the letters supposedly went to the “wrong place” how could misrad hachinuch not tell the sister to resend the letter to MH or why couldn’t MHCh forward it to MH? And according to the neighbor interviewed, they’d also been informing MH for months.
    It’s an unfortunate example of bureacratic mess, which unfortunately does happen in the us as well.

  30. abbi – agreed, i wonder why the letters wouldnt be passed on. hard to figure out how someone could ignore something like this if it passed their desk.
    another point that i’m wondering about – if she was ‘teaching’ and considered a ‘spiritual leader’ to many women, did her teachings include thoughts on parenting? scary thought, no? and even though i wouldnt condone a ‘witch hunt’ i do wonder if this angle should be investigated given her standing and the cultlike atmosphere.

  31. mominisrael says

    From what I’ve gathered, she didn’t talk much about parenting. And now we know why. It would have been crazy. But it’s bad enough that people may have seen her interaction with her children as a model.
    I remember that one of her followers was quoted as saying how kind Keren was when the visitor’s child broke some eggs. In fact, everyone described her as being exceptionally kind and on a high spiritual level.

  32. glad to hear she didnt talk much about parenting. but with that kind of ‘leader’ could be that one offhand comment, or modeling, would be enough to inspire others to follow.

  33. On “Eretz Nehederet” the other night, they referred to her as Obi Wan-Kenobi.

  34. mominisrael says

    RR, I know that’s from Star Wars but beyond that you’ll have to explain. Did he dress like her?

  35. mominisrael says

    OKay, here’s a pic from Wikipedia: