Photo Credit: Flash 90
Hadassa Margolese walking her daughter Naama to school in Beit Shemesh a few days after Naama was harassed by Haredi Orthodox men in December 1911

Margolese’s departure comes as tensions between the modern Orthodox and Haredi residents in Beit Shemesh continues to flare.

Last month, a group of Haredim smashed the windows of a bus after a women refused to give up her seat and sit in the back. This week, police arrested 14 Haredi rioters who blocked a major street and set trash bins on fire to protest construction at a Beit Shemesh site that once may have been a burial ground.

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Such clashes are not the cause of Margolese’s departure, but they have led other families to ditch Beit Shemesh in recent years, according to City Councilman Shalom Lerner.

“I’m sorry she’s leaving, but it’s her right if she feels better elsewhere,” Lerner said. “Hadassa isn’t the first one to leave and is not the only one thinking about leaving. The past five years haven’t been good.”

Though a number of initiatives aimed at promoting coexistence in Beit Shemesh were launched in the wake of the incident with Margolese’s daughter, the city is still wrestling with its identity. An acrimonious mayoral campaign is underway, pitting the Haredi incumbent against a modern Orthodox opponent.

Activists say the result will determine the city’s future.

This article was written by Ben Sales for the JTA.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. To the men who spat on this child you should start saying a prayer that you did not do it to any of my family. There is no excuse for this behavior. Sorry that this family had no one to stand up for them. Wishing Hadassa Margolese and her daughter happiness and peace in their new home.

  2. You don't bring about change [as she writes] by airing all the complaints in a secular newspaper..You bring about change by writing an articles in religious Jewish newspapers….Makar Rishon, Hamodia, Mishpachat etc… You form committee with balanot and together you bring about change. How many secular Kallot did this article scare away.

  3. NOBODY EVER WINS A WAR. Sometimes one side looses less then the other side and is erroniously named the victor. Either way it is the folly of the Roman Exile Mindset. Here she is the victem of her own petard. Like Dov Lipman and Moshe Amsalem she has still a lot of suffering coming herway for the enormous damage that they caused and are causing the Torah Observant community.

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