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Secret sex life of the ultra-Orthodox has Israelis reading

The story of Esti Weinsten, who fled the very strict Gur Hasidic sect and later committed suicide, has shaken and enthralled both secular and Orthodox Israelis.
Ultra-Orthodox Jews dance outside a synagogue during a wedding in Jerusalem February 27, 2007. The Gur Hasidism dynasty celebrated their Rabbi's grandson's wedding on February 27.  REUTERS/Yonathan Weitzman  (JERUSALEM) - RTR1MW8Q

One must admit the truth: Reading the book by Esti Weinstein, a former adherent of Gur Hasidism who committed suicide in June after long years of separation from her ultra-Orthodox daughters, is exhausting and sometimes boring. From a purely literary angle, as prose “Do As He Wills” is an immature text. If it weren't for the sensational, tragic story behind it, it likely wouldn't attract many readers. This unusual tragedy is also the reason that many weeks after the text circulated on the internet free to everyone, large and renowned publisher Kinneret-Zmora-Bitan decided to publish it as nonfiction, edited by Shmuel Rosner. The story of Weinstein's life and suicide has enthralled Israelis.

Eight years ago, Weinstein left the Gur Hasidim, an ultra-Orthodox sect whose strict and forbidding regulations seem truly extreme to secular Israelis. Upon leaving the sect, Weinstein's ties with six of her daughters were severed because they remained Hasidic. Her one other daughter, Tammy Montag, left the sect, and ultimately saw to the publication of her late mother's text. Weinstein's separation from her daughters, enforced by the elders of the sect, led to her suicide, or so Weinstein's relatives claim. The Hasidim, who argue that they have been maligned in the media, contend that Weinstein abandoned her daughters and brought about her situation herself.

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