Veiled Women Called Apikorsim, Told to Wash Dishes

Jerusalem women and girls in veils

Via Ynet

Rafi recently posted about a pashkevil (wall poster-reproduced and translated below) against the sect, or cult, of veiled women. The pashkevil is signed by the “War Council against the Cult of Cruel Women.”

Ynet published the picture above, taken in Jerusalem, of young girls in capes and veils. The author of the accompanying article wonders, like I did a while back, why it’s acceptable to dress children in this clothing.

While the recent poster decries the suffering of women or girls, I don’t believe that is the main concern of the authors. In my post on the veiled women’s cult in Beit Shemesh, I cited a report about the group’s odd practices. For instance, the women don’t bathe more than once a week, and brides don’t go to the mikveh (ritual bath) until after the wedding.

But there is more. A blog reader knows a man who divorced a woman belonging to the group. The man and the woman both came from hasidic families. The reader shared the following details about the cult:

  • The women have sexual relations with their husbands only once a month, after going to the mikveh.
  • They also don’t have sex when they are pregnant—only when they could possibly be fertile. After birth, they don’t go to the mikveh again until they resume menstruating.
  • They breastfeed for only two weeks. I guess they think it’s immodest, but then why do it at all? If it is because of breastfeeding infertility, it’s like pregnancy and they would not want to have sexual relations, which is what they presumably think is more modest. Maybe it’s because it’s still possible to get pregnant while breastfeeding . . .  oy, I can’t wrap my head around it. Maybe I’m overthinking here.
  • They only wash one body part at a time, to avoid uncovering too much. They eschew soaps and perfumes, and, I believe, laundry detergent. Scents aren’t considered modest.

Women in veils have been spotted in Monsey. Of course, there is no way to know whether every Jewish woman wearing a veil belongs to this cult and follows its practices.

If you read between the lines of the pashkevil below, it makes sense that the group’s sexual practices are the main concern. That’s why it refers to the destruction of “shalom bayit” (a harmonious home) and netinat etzot pesulot ve-asurot—giving advice that is wrong and forbidden. They even refer to the cult as heretical. The pashkevil says nothing about the way that they dress. Of course, their sexual practices are clearly against Jewish law. And for good measure, it tells the women to go back to scrubbing floors and washing dishes. Nothing is said about the clothing.

Like all cults, the group recruits.

pashkevil against veiled women


Help! Help! Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh are crying out about a new cult of cruel and vicious women, destructive of household harmony in many homes, and who endanger life and do not spare babies and children.

Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh [are called] to a great protest over the education to rebellion against the transmission of the Torah and the sages of the tradition, and against the giving of impure, harmful, and forbidden advice, and the leading of a group, and all under the mask of “extra holiness”! They take on, with arrogance and pride, the crown of Torah, and decide thereon for themselves,

Heavens cry out over the heresy!

The cry of the destruction of homes and the education of children reaches the heavens! The cry of their suffering kollel husbands  will not let us rest! People of Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh!

We will not abandon the blood of our brothers! We will excommunicate the women leading this cult that rebels, and we will publicize their names and addresses! And we will not rest and we will not be quiet until they stop driving their impure fingernails and their false opinions into other homes!

Please, go back to scrubbing floors and washing dishes and leave to those who are great in Torah and fear of God and to the rabbis who sit in judgment to lead and give halachic rulings! Prepare! Prepare! More details coming soon!

-War committee against “The cult of cruel women.”

Complaints and testimonies send urgently to the voice mail or fax.


Burkas: The New Fashion

Interview with Bruria Keren Interview with Keren in Jail

Hyper-Tzniut Fashions for Young Girls


  1. Note that the paskevil does not bear the names of the people behind it, only an organisation.
    Always suspect.

  2. Nurse Yachne says

    Yes, I suspect it’s the sex thing that disturbs the pashkvill writers. They are correct that this behavior is totally contrary to the halacha and (surprise!) probably devastating to shalom bayit.

    Hysteria ingeneral is usually bad for shalom bayit, but I guess that doesnt hit home as much.

  3. But how do you know about their sexual practices, etc? It just seems too crazy to me…

  4. Are all non-rabbis instructed to go back to washing floors? Makes it easy that the ideas of this cult are very obviously in contrast with Jewish law. Even Jews with the most basic Torah education should know that you can not adhere to Tarah law and these rules at the same time.

    I forgot… why don’t they go to the mikva before the wedding? So they don’t touch in public? Going to the mikva doesn’t mean you dance with your husband or anything. I believe the ONLY difference is that when there is a “chupah nidah” the man does not hand his wife the ketubah, they [subtly] pass it through the rabbi. And they would leave the yichud room open a crack.

    Do these women put on the veil right after the chupah, or the next morning?

  5. Unfortunately I don’t think that this will work to achieve any of the their aims. This seems to me to be a women’s empowerment issue. So between deriding the women(go back to washing dishes) and the fact that this is probably all men… It may actually have an opposite effect.

    Oh for the days when there were Rebbetzins like Leah Sharabi who would take this issue on with Pashveilim of their own.

  6. While I don’t like the fact that there is no signatory on this things – I agree that it’s a red flag, I think it’s unfair to claim that the only thing that is bothering these folk is the sexual behavior (although that is undoubtedly a problem, and a major one at that.) I see no reason to think that their complaint about “not sparing babies and children” etc. is just for show.

    And, while I agree that the comment about going back to scrubbing floors is stupid, counterproductive and not halachikly appropriate, I don’t think this is a “women’s empowerment” issue at all – not on the part of the women and not on the part of the people protesting it.

    • But it is a primarily women driven movement. The men/husbands are typically not behind or in favor of this whole thing.

      • I know that it’s primarily women driven, but they do supposedly have some Rabbis that they consult. And, the guys that get married have to have some idea of what’s happening. Remember also, that there are children involved – the fathers have to be acquiescent, at least, since when this kind of stuff does hit Beis din in the form of a get, the Batei Din so far have always sided with the husbands.

        I don’t believe that there is a women’s empowerment issue here. Rather it’s a matter of illness and perversion. The few facts we have bear that out.

        • The problem is how they consult those Rabbis. Mrs. Benzicri who was featured in the news segment Hannah linked before claimed to be in consultation with Rav Ovadia. I don’t know what exactly she asks the Rav, but he quite firmly denies ever permitting such extremes. If I were to wager a guess, I would say that he most likely tells her the same thing that he says when he speaks in Sems, that we should not be more lenient than the Shulhan Arukh, that we shouldn’t deviate in either stringency or leniency from our ancestors, and that what women wear is a women’s issue.
          Hence in a Shas/Rav Ovadia affiliated shul/Yeshiva you will never see a Rav pull a husband/father aside to tell him that his wife/daughter is not properly dressed. Though you may see a Rabbanit pull a wife aside to make helpful encouragements to her. You could ask my wife for all of the amusing examples. However, I sincerely doubt that these women are getting the advice that they claim from Rabbis.
          Coming back to the main issue. If this were just an ultra tzniut sect that left others alone I would shrug, say its odd and move on. However, they recruit. Its not men that they recruit, but women. I think many men, are willing to go along with this thing at first because they place a high value on shalom bayit and are willing to give their wives what they want, at least until they realize fully how destructive it is.

          • Oh, I have no doubt that they are distorting at least some of the Rabbinic feedback they get. But, the point is that if it were about women’s empowerment they wouldn’t need to do that.

            I agree that if it were just these women themselves, it would be no one’s business. But, when children are involved, it’s a whole different issue.

    • Observer, I agree that it’s not just for show. But it’s not the main impetus, either.

  7. See here’s the problem with the Burka Babes. They are simply following trends to a logical conclusion.
    Look at what happened to non-Chareidi religious Jewish girls in Immanuel and Beit Shemesh. These girls dressed modestly al pi halacha but not modestly enough for the invented Chasidic standards of their neighbours. What was the difference? Sleeves needed to be longer, collars needed to be higher, socks and stockings were needed, etc.
    Well here’s the logical conclusion – if a sleeve to the wrist is more “modest” than one that ends just below the elbow, if a skirt that goes to the ankles is more modest than one that ends just before the knees, if black socks are more modest than translucent onces, then a burka is more modest than even those Chasidic standards. And if the goal is to be as modest as possible, then why aren’t these women the peak of saintliness and piety?

    • Garnel, it’s like trying to stop a train. What I see is that the message that was directed to the ones in the tight skirts, ended up being heard by the ones already wearing the shapeless clothes.

  8. This was exactly my point when I wrote

    “We are to cover up- to be modest lest you sin because of us. And yet, when this modesty infringes on your pleasure, a witch hunt ensues.” (Full article here

    It is correct that hey are bringing this obsession with ‘tzniut’ to a natural conclusion. If this is x, then this is xx. Its sick and disgusting, but the men only care because it infringes on their sex life.

    It is the same everywhere. Do what we say how we say it- YOU Cannot make your own decisions. It is exactly what I felt when I first saw those stupid pashkevilles. A witch hunt.

    • Yes, I definitely noticed that line. Thanks for visiting and sharing the link–I’m sure it will intrigue my readers.

    • The reason for needing to tackle this, even by those men who are affected, goes way beyond sex life. While that may be part of the Shalom Bayit issue, it neither begins or ends there.
      There are issues of any type of physical intimacy, even that aimed at children being viewed as un-tzniut. All forms of intimacy(passing children/babies, buying your wife flowers ect.) are out. Even conversation, based on a skewed view of the dictum in Pirkei Avot, is mostly out. Beyond just what happens in the bedroom you cannot build a healthy relationship with that.
      I’m the first to say that it should be women spear heading much of this. But unless you’ve seen the damaged children and families from this mess, please don’t call this a witch hunt. Real people are being hurt and damaged by this thing.

  9. Mekubal-

    You misunderstand my point and perhaps I did not state it clearly. When I see these women and the way they force their children to wear this ridiculous and unhealthy get up, I am sickened- and i see it in my neighborhood. My point is that the only time the ‘great Rabbanim’ come against it- ISNT to save the girls, or to show the women with love that they need not be so restrictive, its when it means they aren’t getting what they want.

    • Shoshanna-

      I understood your point. I just respectfully disagree. I think that many(though perhaps not all) Rabbis that are against this are against it because of the damage that it is doing across the board. You will find that many of the Rabbis who are against it are not directly affected. Perhaps a few of their talmidim have fallen victim to the cult, but by and large this isn’t about the “great Rabbis” not getting what they want. At least those that I know are against this, are against it because of the damage it does to families as a whole.

  10. I am specifically talking about the pashkiville writers, unless you are telling me that your Rabbis are behind them and also feel the women should go back to washing dishes?

  11. I think you fail to understand the problem fully. I am very familiar with the “shalkes” as they are called by “the Charedi” world, and no one approves of them, and not only because of the sex issue.

    Interesting that you are so focused on that, since no outright mention is made of that in the flyer (which is real by the way; my neighbor called to testify against one of the shalkes). Or perhaps you’re unaware that not everything revolves around sex?

    There are numerous problems with them. Having spoken to the head in Beit Shemesh at length, the main issue is that they espouse beliefs in general that are completely against halacha. They have told girls they don’t need to listen to their mothers or fathers, wives they don’t need to listen to their husbands, yet refuse to reveal the names of their so called Rabbis.

    Many also believe in making a taanis dibbur all day long, and so they don’t speak to anyone- even their children. I personally know of 3 instances where this took place. They are essentially a cult.

    The reason no one did anything until now is because people didn’t realize what a problem they were. They felt “Nu, so they’re so misled. But their hearts are in the right place.” Many of their contingent were and are ba’alei teshuva, who think they are being frum.

    People are just now starting to realize the situation – they simply weren’t fully aware of the extent of the problem (ie. that they proselytize so heavily, and basically do whatever they want). Obviously issues that affect Shalom Bayis are going to be noticed right away, because the issues surrounding taharas hamishpacha are at the heart of a Jewish home.

    And yes, while I completely disagree that children should not wear shawls-I am rabidly against it, in fact – a newly-married man wandering the streets because his wife doesn’t let him come home until midnight is much more dangerous spiritually.

  12. I do not doubt the very real issues included in this very warped situation. However, I still contend that the main reason R. Pashkeville got involved is the sex issue and all it entails. If they dressed this way and put out, and washed floors and made dinner, no one would speak against them. And FTR I would be thrilled to be wrong and for their motivations to be purely for the sake of real shalom bayit and Judaism, where everyone gets the love and honor they deserve as Gds children.