Keren Interview II: A little child shall lead them?

Hebrew Maariv article by Sherry Makover-Balikov

Parts I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII

To view all posts on the subject at once click the label hyper-tzniut.

Highlights of the next section of the interview with Rabbanit Keren:

  • She doesn’t speak to men at all, and rarely to women; during the day she abides by a speech fast and prays.
  • The rabbanit signals to her guest to offer her a drink.
  • Her “small” daughter easily follows her unspoken instructions.
  • She writes on paper, and her followers interpret.
  • The children of the veiled women have an important role. Some women “vitru” (have given up on) eyeholes in their veils, and their small children guide them in the streets. [My father is blind. Guiding blind people is not easy to do, even for adults. I find this part of the article hard to believe; I would think that the social services would come after them. I certainly would report such a mother. Has anyone seen this?]
  • During her talk, she promises the women who have not yet “taken the step” (of wearing veils) many blessings and the merit of taking part in bringing the Messiah, if they will adopt this stringency.

More to come.


  1. mominisrael says

    Robin, I’m equally appalled.

  2. mominisrael says

    PS. The voice is different, because it is possibly alluring to men. Although I don’t understand the point, if there are no men there.

  3. mominisrael says

    Thanks Tamiri, I forgot to link to it in the first part. I updated it.

  4. I admit that I’m processing all this through the eyes of a liberal secular feminist, but I find the whole thing extremely disturbing. Not to mention hypocritical – how is writing a note different than using your voice, when both directly communicate your needs to the party in question. And the voluntary blindness? Absolutely appalling on many many levels. I have a sister who is legally blind (after spending the first 2.5 years of her life completely blind) and thanks G-d each and every day for granting her the vision that she does have. I can’t conceive of someone removing vision and claiming that it is somehow *for* G-d.

  5. For those who read hebrew, here is the link

  6. I don’t know what to think here. I don’t think they care what I think. But I think I feel sorry for their poor husbands and children. That’s what I think.

  7. When I read the article, I actually found it pretty interesting. the whole way it developed and how they are now was very interesting, while at the same time a bit disturbing…
    What really bothered me though was what was quoted I think from Rav Eliyahu of Tzfat (I am quoting from memory, and my memory is famously bad, so I might be off, but the idea is the same) that the real problem is that right now it is 50 or 100 women, but in 10 years this will be the norm because of the extreme way we have begun treating the issue of tznius…

  8. satiricohen says

    These things make life so difficult for a satirist…

  9. Garnel Ironheart says

    She’s nuts. That hasn’t stopped previous nuts from creating movements that have caused us trouble.
    At some point, people have to turn around and say that supposedly saintly customs like a “speech fast” are nonsense and against Jewish behaviour, not an extremely pious version of it.
    But I doubt that’ll happen.

  10. Yisrael Medad says

    Not “hat tip” but “kippah tip”.

  11. “taking the veil” makes me think of women who have taken the vows of nuns — not a Jewish ideal.

  12. The picture of the clothes rather than the woman suggest a metonymy. One is not a person but what one wears — distinguished by the layers and veils.

  13. Yisrael Medad says

    A metonomy is defined as: a figure of speech consisting of the use of the name of one thing for that of another of which it is an attribute or with which it is associated (as ?crown? in ?lands belonging to the crown?), so do you mean Rabbanit Keren’s clothes would place her in a corner (keren = corner)?

  14. lawrence kaplan says

    Very frightening.

  15. “At some point, people have to turn around and say that supposedly saintly customs like a “speech fast” are nonsense and against Jewish behaviour, not an extremely pious version of it.”
    Well they’re not nonsense IN THEORY. They are a pietistic practice. Just not when you have a bunch of kids to raise.

  16. I have tears in my eyes as I read this. I can’t imagine what this must be like for their children. And what happens when this fad wears off? Maybe Keren will stick with the layers and veils – at this point her pride wouldn’t let her give it up if she wanted to – but how many of her followers are going to stay with this long term? Think how confusing this will be for their children. These women are creating future generations who will be turned off by tznius and -by extention – Judaism itself. This is going to backfire badly.

  17. mominisrael says

    Dr. Rona, in one case the woman showed the guard her children’s tzitzit and pe’ot, so he let her through. Don’t know what happens when they’re not with her.

  18. One further concern about this very disturbing phenomenon: this is a country where we have to worry about our enemies strapping on explosives belts and detonating themselves among innocent civilians. How is the security guard supposed to tell whether the veiled, multi-layered person entering the supermarket is a “modest” woman or an armed terrorist? So, these women either subject themselves to close (and therefore immodest) inspection or threaten the security of the public at large.

  19. First of all, it is possible that there will be women without children and secondly, do you really think that the Arabs haven’t figured that out? They are not stupid and they are willing to “martyr” their children.

  20. Jewishsoulsearch says

    I suspect that this will not catch on and that the women who joined will soon find another means of expression.