After the premiere of “Conventional Sins,” (“Yedid Nefesh”) at the last Jerusalem Film Festival, several ultra-Orthodox viewers approached the two directors, Anat Zuria and her daughter, Shira Winther, and offered their heartfelt thanks. A few even admitted that they were personally familiar with the subject of the documentary film – pedophilia in ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) society and the conspiracy of silence that surrounds it.
The film, which won the festival’s documentary film award, focuses on Meir Bar, the son of a revered rabbinic leader of an extreme Hasidic sect in Bnei Brak. The sect shunned Bar after he testified testified to police against a network of Haredi pedophiles. The whole case was hushed up. Throughout the film, broadcast this week on Yes Docu, Bar copes with a series of sexual assaults by a number of men, some of whom abused him for years while others attacked him at random. […]
According to Zuria, boys in Haredi society are sucked at a very young age into an educational system controlled solely by men, where the mothers have no influence. “The Haredi educational system has no parent committees or guidance counselors or any kind of supervision,” she says.
“From my perspective, dealing with this patriarchy stemmed from a desire to see what happens in a world in which women are not involved. When you so blatantly exclude the women and mothers, this is one of the results.”