Ten months after Channel 2 News ran a devastating story about her 8-year-old daughter, Na’ama, being spat on by Haredim over differences on modest attire, Hadassa Margolis is planning to move out of Beit Shemesh, the Haredi enclave outside Jerusalem.
In the headline-making interview, back in December, 2011, Hadassa and Na’ama shared horrifying tales of Haredi men attacking them every morning, as mother was accompanying her daughter to school. They were yelled at and spat on by Haredi men, they related, to the point where little Na’ama was staying home, refusing to go to school for fear of being attacked again.
The Margolis story was supported at the time by interviews with Haredi men who spoke openly o the cameras about the need to shame publicly women who do not adhere to the strictest Haredi manner of dress.
The Margolis family is religious but not Haredi.
Now, Hadassa Margolis is considering moving out of Beit Shemesh. This is despite the fact that their story had an enormous impact on the city, as Na’ama herself told IDF radio this week: “The extremists are no longer coming out when I walk to school,” she reported, commenting that “the news report changed reality.”
The same IDF radio report this week said that three kolels (yeshivas for married scholars) where the Haredi attackers used to belong have been closed down and the students left town. But that is not enough, apparently, for Hadassa and Na’ama Margolis, who say they’re still feeling traumatized by last year’s events.
“I’ve had enough of feeling like we’re anybody’s scapegoats (fra’yerim), I’ve had enough of feeling uncomfortable, changing clothes in certain places. I’m a little exhausted emotionally.”
She confessed she is yet to take actual steps to facilitate a move, but she is not going to deny that this is her intention. She said she knew people wanted her to say when she was leaving and where to, but she insisted she would do “that which is best for my family.”
“I don’t need for my daughters to grow up with such thoughts in their heads – am I modest enough – with fear. I want to live in a normal place, without extremists,” she concludes.