Yediot Gives Platform to Shal-Wearers

Today's Yediot Aharonit "24 Hours" magazine has an "exclusive" letter from a 42-year-old cult member. The anonymous author sent it to a neighbor, whose husband delivered it to Yediot with the author's knowledge. The letter may be original and unpublished, but plenty of similar material is widely … [Read more...]

Court to Rule on "Taliban" (Hyper-Modest) Sect

Haaretz reports this morning about a court case involving two young veiled girls from Beit Shemesh. The article contains many details about the group they belong to, which is known internally as "Lev Tahor" (pure heart). Maybe the press will finally stop calling them Taliban women. The two girls … [Read more...]

Does Judaism Require “Submission” within Marriage?

"Submission" is a buzz word that I have heard around the net—not to God, but to one's husband. The idea is that to maintain a happy marriage, the wife should put her husband first and allow him to make all of the decisions. Most women who write about being submissive appear to be fundamentalist … [Read more...]

The Problem with Putting Veils on Little Girls

The pictures of the family from Beit Shemesh wearing veils has disturbed me for several weeks. We can debate about whether this is in the spirit of the Torah. Or whether it threatens Orthodox Judaism, Israel, or women everywhere. But the most pressing issue involves the young girls in these … [Read more...]

Face-Covering Families in Beit Shemesh: A Destructive Cult?

These pictures, from Nahar Hayarden Street in Beit Shemesh, were posted on The youngest one looks about four years old. They are covered from head to toe in black, except for the youngest who enjoys a red, white and blue print with a blue head-covering. The girls from this group, which … [Read more...]

Bnei Baruch Kabbalah La-Am Victim Shares His Story

In April 2009 I wrote a post about the Bnei Baruch Kabbalah La-Am. Since then the post has had a steady stream of search traffic, along with comments from both members and former members. I recently closed comments there both because I did not want to give more space to members, and because a former … [Read more...]

Local Kabbalah Cult?

"So who is moving into Kiryat Matalon as the older people die out?" I ask the woman I met in the park (let's call her P). P has just explained that Kiryat Matalon, her upscale neighborhood at the western entrance of Petach Tikvah, no longer has enough kids to justify its own elementary … [Read more...]

Another Cult Exposed? Megeirot

Update: More on Megeirot Takana forum finds against Megeirot. "Megirot" (lit. drawers) is one of many recent attempts to help religious women attain a higher spiritual level in their lives. The Hebrew newspaper Makor Rishon has an exposé in today's paper about the method and its founder. Women … [Read more...]