Yesterday, my view of ultra-orthodox extremists and those who suffer in silence from them, changed. Many of those keeping silent are desperate to be heard.
I received a phone call in the morning from a woman who asked in a soft, low voice “is this Margolese?” I said yes, and she continued “I am calling to say thank you. I am calling to ask you to please continue this fight. We suffer from these animals (in her words: chayot) so much.”
She said that she cannot speak out about their sufferings so she asked me to continue doing everything that I have been doing up until now. She asked me to save Bet Shemesh. That’s quite a task, let me tell you.
The phone call from an anonymous lady left me shaking. I was so moved by a woman that I have never met, will most likely never meet, and don’t know. She decided to pick up the phone and call a stranger, not knowing how I would react or what I would say.
Had I been prepared for the phone call, I would have said so much more. I thanked her for calling and told her that I would do everything I can to keep going, until we can all live side by side in acceptance and peace, without violence. I told her that she’s a courageous woman for picking up the phone and calling, knowing full well that if anyone were to hear her, it would not end well.
The majority of these women’s voices are silent. It is our responsibility- the ones who are unafraid to speak out, to be a voice for those who cannot, or will not.
I have received many phone calls from people expressing their support. However, this one phone call changed the way I look at the situation. Beforehand, I strongly disliked the extremists and was upset at those who remained silent. I felt that those who don’t speak out against the violence coming from within their community, are to blame as well. Now, I still dislike the ones who are terrorizing us, but I feel sorry and pain for the silent ones who are too scared to speak out. I feel sorry for the extremists who have such hatred ingrained in them, who raise children to have hatred towards anyone who is not like them. They are missing out on happiness, and on all of the good that the world has to offer.
I feel that a weight has been lifted off my chest. Disliking someone so strongly takes up so much energy. Feeling bad for someone is easier… I hope that there are many people out there who feel the same way as this woman who called me, people who want those who are able to, to continue being a voice for them so that someday they will not have to live in fear of another human being.
It seems to me, that the advertisements of women without faces represent the lives of these women- voiceless.
The new mikva rulings passed down by the high court, supporting women’s choice to immerse alone, was not a law I saw being passed anytime in the near future. Going back three and a half years, I remember that day so clearly… Continue Reading >>