Monday, January 23, 2012


the book that is making me write again.
After being silent on the blogosphere for a couple of weeks, I've decided tonight to make a comeback with an old topic. You may or may not know that I appreciate arts and literature and therefore at times, I bore you with paintings or authors such as Sartre or Bourguerau . Tonight I would like to bring up a different kind of book, which you may or may not have read: HUSH by Eishes Chayil, a pseudonym. If you haven't read it, I strongly recommend it.

In a few words, Hush is the story of a nine years old little girl who witnessed her best friend being sexually abused and committed suicide in a extremely sheltered Chassidich community. The story is told by the author now in her 20's but remains the incredible tale of a frightening and traumatizing experience in the eyes of a nine years old. The author made the story public ten years after the crime, after she got married to the boy she met ten minutes before her engagement and only after she realized the truth had to be told.

The story of HUSH per say is not that shocking. Tragic definitely but I cannot pretend to be surprised for sexual abuse and molestation happen everywhere. The sad thing is that being sheltered as much as these little girls were, does not help them to outgrow the mechanism of trauma. They don't know any better, they don't know any explanation of what is happening to them or around them. Actually, there is no around them, everything else outside their community, from the goy to the litvish, is not worthy of Heaven. In the eyes of a little girl, it doesn't get simpler.

Despite the fact that the book is written by the witness denouncing the atrocity of the crime, I mainly appreciated the fact that her general tone was not one of anger and bitterness toward the entire Chassidich community. Tell me if you disagree, but I have found that her book was not about trying to denounce the way Chassidich Jews choose to live their lives, by the same token the very Yeshivish community as well. Instead, in an effort to open the mind of the reader, to prevent such crimes to remain silent, she did a great job at explaining the Chassidich ways and what it means to grow up that way.

I admire the way she points at a specific problem which is of course a terrible issue but does not libel the tradition of many generation of Chassidich movement.

That is not to say I understand the way these tight communities are run and how or why they remain sheltered. I simply respect the fact that she remained the modest and deep person she was bought up to be while addressing such an issue instead of turning her back on an entire movement. I've had my share of hate and communities being badmouthed. Abuse is not okay, and therefore she now speaks up.

The issue is that these books tend to be read by outsider who already know these things happen. How to reach those communities remains the main issue but at least she came forward and told her story.


  1. "Eishes Chayil" revealed her identity as Judy Brown a while back.

    She chose to after the murder of Leiby.

    1. Oh really? I did not know that! I hear she had a blog or something?

    2. I don't know about a blog. Try googling "Judy Brown blog" - there are a lot of Judy Browns out there!

    3. i recently went to hear her speak. she is soft spoken and well thought out. and she is doing this all to raise awareness, not to badmouth her culture.

    4. How did you find out about it? I would love to hear her too because she doesnt badmouth her culture. Is she still religious???

  2. not so surprised to c u backJanuary 24, 2012 at 10:14 AM

    And welcome back to you!

  3. I think the book was incredible in that, while highlighting an major issue that is poorly handled (understatement), it remained respectful to the community; therefore, it isn't shunned and might make a difference in how the issue is handled.

  4. ur absolutely right, but it think the book created great controversy for her. I would love to read about what happened if anything happened with her relationship with her family or her husband because of her book

  5. Great review.
    I agree. A great book balances the need for personal poignancy and perspective with the removal of overly emotional reactionism.

  6. I also read "HUSH" recently and found it to be a fantastic work of literature, from a literary perspective as well as its very important message. It deserves as much publicity as possible.

  7. I completely agree. Im surprised i did not hear about it sooner. I picked it up at Barnes and Noble