As ever more reactions pour in throughout the haredi world in the wake of the suicide of Esti Weinstein–who was found dead in her car in Ashdod after a week-long search–in a tragedy that has garnered much attention in the wider Israeli public due to its backstory, a more important perspective, that of Weinstein's estranged children, has now been offered.
Weinstein left the Gerrer hassidic community and religious observance several years ago, leading to a complete break of contact with 6 of her 7 daughters, in an estrangement allegedly enforced by Gerrer community leaders.
The late mother left a note and a will on her computer, explaining that the cause of her decision to commit suicide was the estrangement from her children. She also left a book detailing her entire life story in which she makes severe allegations against Gerrer leaders and norms, and asked that it be disseminated in every way possible, mentioning in the will that she wants "as many "Dossim" [slang term for religious or haredi people] to read it."
Her family will attend the funeral today (Tuesday) at the Yarkon cemetery, which will include the secular burial ceremony requested by Weinstein, and a religious ceremony afterwards, to accommodate the wishes of the family.
Channel 10 news' Avishai Ben-Chaim obtained some reactions from family members.
The husband of one of Weinstein's daughters had the following to say: "You can't blame little girls who get angry at their mother in this kind of situation. It's a normal thing, a human story, something that happens the world over. I don't think it's anything that should be brought in support of any one side's agenda."
In response to the question of whether the daughters broke off contact with their mother for religious reasons, the son-in-law said that "they broke off contact because of this unsolved mystery: a mother who abandons her children. It's very possible she had right on her side, it's very possible that no one was right here, the bottom line is you can't blame the angry reaction of daughters abandoned by their mother."
Ben-Chaim also published a eulogy written by one of the daughters:
"Mother, we will remember and never forget the years in which you raised us. We well always remember the way you walked with us glowing with pride, seven amazing girls."
"We will remember and never forget the sudden, bitter day when you abandoned us. We begged for explanations, we asked to come with you, but you turned your back on our feelings. Little girls who were just abandoned one day and have no mother to explain things to them and pick up the pieces."
"Mother, mother, we will always remember and not forget. I understand there are things we couldn't take back, but now you can watch us from above, listen, and understand everything that the people around us didn't. But the most important thing is that you forgive us now."