Update–Suspected Abuser Confirmed to Be Keren

Haaretz confirms that Rabbanit Bruria Keren herself was arrested. I pretty much expected it, as the suspect’s age and that of her children matched Keren’s (even though the number of children was off). Also, the fact that the lawyer claimed that the whole thing was a conspiracy meant that the suspect was well-known. And the reports made it sound like she was the dominant personality in the home, and the husband was not too involved. Although this is all speculation on my part.

Rafi has more information here and here.

Link to another TV news story
Last night’s links


  1. Black humor: I guess it’s very convenient for her that she covers her face and refuses to speak. Helps keep her identity nice and secret.
    A very sick and sad situation.

  2. Sara K. Eisen says

    So sad. My friends and I freaked out when we saw the news last night.
    Can we please differentiate between these burqa women and the burqa babes? I cant decide whether this means that the video had great or really awful timing.

  3. I saw this on last night’s news. Horrific.
    Those poor children. How can anyone be so “religious” as to not let an inch of skin see the light of day, yet think it’s OK to inflict such abuse on children?
    I wonder if Keren’s followers will stick by her?

  4. To be quite honest, I have a hard time believing this. I am far from being a follower of the loonies in BS, but from my little understanding of psychology I cannot see how this is possible.
    That she abuses her children – I can believe that.
    That her children had sexual relations in her home with her knowledge- that is simply not easily believed.
    I would not be surprised if this turns out to be false – sometimes, when framing a person, the framers go too far – and this might be the case here. Let’s wait and see.
    BTW – I still believe that the previous Charedi child abuser (Wallis) is guilty of causing his childs death- although he probably didn’t do it purposely. I read all of the court transcripts and came to one conclusion – that his lawyer (Feldman) is one hell of a lawyer. I recommend him to anyone who is accused of any crime in Israel and wants to get off easily.

  5. Can we please differentiate between these burqa women and the burqa babes? I cant decide whether this means that the video had great or really awful timing.
    Sara: I’ve already renamed her the Burka Tramp. No connection at all to the Burka Babes.
    Who knows…maybe your video helped push the investigation along…

  6. Sara K. Eisen says

    I really doubt it…its just one of those jungian serendipities.

  7. I think it was bad timing… but so what….
    They said in the newspaper that the investigation has been underway since Jan 2007 (IIRC)

  8. This is very reminiscent of the of cults years ago–remember Jim Jones? Waco? The pastor and his wife in New Jersey who starved his children?
    Strange and extreme practices in the name of religion is not new. Neither is abuse of all kinds.
    What’s sad is many of her followers will probably defend her.

  9. Moshe, I have a really hard time understanding why you think it’s impossible for incest to have happened in that house, with or without her knowledge.
    Psychologically speaking, it fits in perfectly. She was obsessed with sexually attracting men to the point of obliterating her bodily form. Obviously, she was obsessed with sex in general and kids pick up on it. Who knows what went on in that house, what she was filling her kids’ minds with. She is clearly a very sick woman, and it wouldn’t be shocking at all that her kids got caught up in sick behavior as well.
    What shocks me is you think it’s impossible for such things to happen in charedi households. Unfortunately, it’s probably much more common than you would like to believe.
    And, it’s the kids who are reporting this, not the so called “framers”.

  10. Sara K. Eisen says

    rafi – clearly, we didnt know about this investigation when we made the clip, only what we saw: the crazy ladies in all the layers.

  11. Abbi-
    I didn’t say that I can’t believe such a thing – rather that I have a hard time believing it. Obviously it is possible – but I prefer not to simply believe the word of the Israeli press or police – both of which have a rich history of “distorting the truth” (to put it gently). Sometimes, they do tell the truth – a broken clock tells the correct time twice a day.
    I have not heard anything from the kids – only from the press, who was reporting what the kids supposedly said. This may/may not be true, but I still have a hard time accepting this.
    And no, I don’t believe that incest between siblings is more common than I think it is, and I highly doubt that you have any evidence otherwise, aside from hearsay or the reports of the Israeli press.

  12. Moshe,
    If there were only one example of incest in all of Eretz Yisroel among the chareidi Jews, that would be one example too many. Extremism, regardless of whether it is a religion or other philosophy that is being followed, has been well documented to be causative of aberrations in behavior in all areas, including a tendency to incest and other deviant sexual behavior. Frum Jews cannot possibly be participating in such behavior? Have you read the “Al Chaits” lately?

  13. Moshe, I’m really tired of the charedi line that the media and the press (Israeli, American or otherwise) are just out to “get” them with lies and distortions. Because every time charedim trot out this line, more often then not, the reported story was 95-100% true. Some facts might have be distorted, but the basic story and the serious allegations turned out to be true. Kolko? Lanner? Satmar infighting? The recent concert ban in NY? The tax evading rebbi from a few months back? Which one was a complete and utter lie? Which one distorted the facts beyond recognition?
    Please list 5 known embarrassing incidents in the charedi (you know what, I’ll even give you the Jewish community) that were seriously distorted by the media, in the US or Israel. Until you can do that, I really don’t buy the distorting media theory.

  14. Do you guys think it’s possible that her obsession with not attracting any male sexual attention was a reaction to her children’s alleged (thanks for the reminder Jameel) incestuous relationship? Obviously there are some serious issues going on in that house, because the vast majority of brothers and sisters think it is totally disgusting to think about doing something like that, but I wonder if all the craziness was cyclical and just kept on escalating and escalating. I want to be very clear and say that I am not blaming the children at all. I don’t think there is anything that a child could do to “deserve” being abused. I am just looking at the situation after the fact and trying to make sense of what happened. It’s very unsettling to see that all this could be going on in the home of a supposedly very religious family, not to mention in the home of a Rabbi.

  15. Abbi–
    I don’t think the “hard to believe” part is necessarily that the kids were sexually involved with each other (although that’s very uncommon), it’s that the mother knew about it. That’s just beyond normal crazy into utterly bizarre.
    And yes, I realize that her behavior in general seems bizarre, but I just don’t get how someone that obsessed with limiting sexual temptation could overlook incest in her home. I see how she could cause/add to the problem with her unusual views of sexuality, but I don’t see how or why she would not allow men to see her eyes but yes allow her kids to sleep together.
    As for the press being wrong, the press almost always exaggerates this kind of thing. It’s not about hareidim vs. secular, the press just likes to print sensational stories without checking the facts.
    Some recent examples:
    APARTHEID in Petach Tikva religious school–that turned out to be a special class for a group of Ethiopian girls to get them on the same academic level as their peers. Almost everything in the original story–ex, that the girls had a seperate recess, that they ate seperately, etc–turned out to be completely false.
    RAPE–Two 13 year old boys drug and rape a 13 year old girl they met online. Except that what actually happened is that she passed out drunk, there were no drugs, and there was no evidence of any sexual contact between them.
    REVENGE–Israel destroys terrorist’s house just hours after the shooting attack in the Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva. Except that, uh, that never happened. Apparently some Israeli network heard it from BBC and decided to report the story without checking facts.
    I work in the media, and I see and understand how these things happen. People want 24 hour news, they want the latest news ASAP, and no media outlet can provide that, or even come close, so outlets tend to just pick stories up from each other without speaking to the original source, or take stories from biased sources, etc. It’s not right, but OTOH, if a paper was ethical enough to only report what its reporters could actually–and honestly–cover, that paper would be very small and few people would read it. So again, I don’t think there’s a vast anti-religious conspiracy (although IMO there is a bias in some major papers, ex. yediot), but there is a tendency to get things wrong, especially anything involving sex crimes or scandal.

  16. Ora
    I totally agree about media exaggeration, eliding facts and stretching the truth. And I agree that the papers and the news like to sensationalize things to get more readers/viewers and that said media consumers tend to lap it up, whether it’s true or not. I’m definitely not arguing for blind uncritical belief in media.
    I’m arguing against the charedi conspiracy theory. It just bugs me that every time something sordid comes out, instead of investigating it, charedim tend to say “Look, it’s the left wing media reporting, so it must not be true”.
    As for the incest, you’re applying normal, rational psychology to a household that is clearly lacking in this commodity. Yes, it would make sense in a normal household that a parent who is obsessed with sexual attraction wouldn’t ignore and certainly wouldn’t encourage sexual behavior amongst her children. But as I said before, this woman in clearly mentally ill, in the grips of a raging case of OCD at the very least. Who knows what she says or does to her children behind closed doors?

  17. frumhouse says

    Unbelievable. What a horrible situation.

  18. Abbi-
    Whenever there is a case with Haredi people, it is advertised as a “Haredi pedophile” or “Rabbi Rapist” or the such. For some reason, I don’t recall seeing headlines “Athiest drug rapes a 15 year old” or “Chiloni man kills 3 in traffix accident”.
    If you want to believe that the media loves Charedim, but the rest of the country hates them – and the headlines are just sensational in order to sell the news, fine. At the end of the day, for whatever the reason, I think that it is hard to deny an anti-haredi bias in the press.
    Personally, I think that most people in the media can’t stand haredim and think of them as intellectually retarted people who are still in the 18th century.

  19. Uh-oh. It’s 6:29 P.M.
    Do you know where you’re daily post is?
    (I know, I know, you got 2 in the other day, so you think your off the hook for today).

  20. mominisrael says

    Baila–funny you should mention that. I wrote it, updated the time and was about to post, but decided it needed some final editing. It’s a good one, too (I think). I give myself until midnight.