It’s often very tough to get the inside story on closed communities such as the Amish, the Scientologists and Hasidic Jews.
The big chink in the armor is when someone defects and that’s how BBC came up with its fascinating take about divorced Hasidic Jewish women in their multimedia presentation, “Scare the mother, save the child.”
The story starts with a photo of a woman who’s knocking at a door, her back to the camera. She’s wearing shoulder-length brown hair in a pageboy cut and it’s later when we learn that’s a wig, as married women in that culture don’t show their real hair. This is the only photo that runs with this piece. The rest of the images are lovely, sketched multimedia illustrations (all of which are copyrighted, so we offer you a screen shot of the opening page). Then:
Inside the closed world of Hasidic Jews in the UK are stories of mothers who risk everything in order to leave their communities, with their children.
Emily and Ruth are two women who found themselves locked in lopsided battles - facing harassment, intimidation, and crowd-funded lawyers.
Neither of them realised what it would cost them.
The story goes on to tell of how the door finally opened into a room with two men sitting there. One spoke to her.
We hear that you intend to end your marriage, he said. Ruth would write down their conversation in a diary later. The men had been told that Ruth would be willing to leave her children with their father after their divorce. “No, that's not the case,” she replied, confused. This was not the conversation she had been expecting.
Then her interrogator mentioned some pictures.