Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ruth Blau - רות בלויא, Part 3


Ruth Blau (Bloi) was the second wife of the formerly well - known head of Jerusalem's Neturei Karta, Rabbi Amram Blau. Most facts about the two are already known but now I got hold of Ruth's autobiography published in 1979 (in Hebrew). The French original version of the book is called "Les Guardiens de la Cite" and the Hebrew translation is named "Shomrei Ha'Ir - שומרי העיר".

This is the second part of me putting together the content of Ruth's book. 
The first part you can read HERE and the second part is HERE !

There are people in Mea Shearim who have never liked Ruth Blau:
“She should have been satisfied with the great Zaddik, Rabbi Amram Blau, marrying her and not ambitiously searched for her own fame. The only thing she was after was becoming famous”.
I was even told that Ruth Blau didn’t have a sign with her name on her door. Instead she had a kind of sticker saying “The woman who is not a Zionist”. 

Ruth Blau wrote in her biography “Shomrei Ha’Ir”:

After her first visit to Mea Shearim accompanied by secular friends, she decided to return and have a closer look at the ultra – Orthodox neighbourhood. Why would people dress like that and why did they decide to live in such poverty ?
She came to the conclusion that in Mea Shearim, the Jews stressed their inner being and not a materialistic outside façade. Here the Jews lived their religion and didn’t only care about founding a state where anti – Semitism doesn’t exist. 

She claims that she already knew Yiddish back in Paris (in 1952). Only the Polish way of Yiddish but Yiddish. After her conversion, her community (not an Orthodox one) refused to recognize her as a Jew with all rights. In the meantime, Ruth Blau was accused of not paying customs (due to an incident taking place at her job) and was put in jail for two months. After she was released, she went to an Orthodox Rabbi in order to convert her and her son Uriel. The Rabbi converted her and Ruth and her son were accepted into the community (1951). 

Last Shabbat, someone living in Mea Shearim told me that Ruth Blau walked around in Paris, going to several famous Rabbis and asked them to marry her. Well – known Rabbis who were single. Probably widowers. Ruth Blau herself describes such one incident in her book. She did ask a Rabbi to marry her. She also claims that she and this particular Rabbi decided not to get married.

She sent Uriel to a Kibbutz school in Yavne (Israel). 

A Rabbi she knew told her about Yossele Schuchmacher and asked her if she could bring him out of the country. Rabbi Nachman Straks had lived most of his life in Uman before he moved to Mea Shearim. In 1957, Rabbi Straks, his wife Miriam and their son Shalom (then 19 years old) sat together and came to the conclusion that even in Mea Shearim, the spiritual war continues. 

Three months after they moved to Israel, their daughter Ida made Aliyah together with her husband Alter Schuchmacher and their two children. Their daughter Sina was then nine years old and Yossele was four years old. The former head of the Mossad, Isser Harel, reported the age of the children in his book “Mivzah Yossele”. However, Ruth Blau writes that Sina was ten years old and Yossele was five years old.
Ruth Blau continues in her book:
Ida and Alter Schuchmacher decided to give young Yossele to her parents Miriam and Rabbi Nachman Straks who then lived in Mea Shearim. Ruth claims that Yossele lived in Mea Shearim for two years and the his parents, Ida and Alter Schuchmacher, hardly ever came to visit their son. Alter, for instance, had only shown up twice. Rabbi Nachman Straks, however, took Yossele for many visits to his parents. Sina, on the other hand, only stayed in Mea Shearim for six months. Her grandparents were worried about her education and sent her to a girls’ school in Kfar Chabad. 
In Russia, Ida and Alter Schuchmacher had been religious Jews. They ate kosher, Alter put on Tefillin and prayed three times a day. However, as soon as the couple arrived in the “Zionist” State of Israel, they became secular. No more Synagogue, no prayers and no Tefillin. They also stopped keeping Shabbat and the family purity laws (Taharat HaMishpacha). 

In addition to Ruth Blau’s opinion regarding the “Yossele Case” I am going to mention how the Mossad, in particular its former head, Isser Harel, considered the case.
Ruth Blau ended up taking the kidnapped Yossele Schuchmacher out of Israel and she later brought him to New York where he was discovered by the Mossad and was returned to his biological parents Ida and Alter Schuchmacher.
The kidnapping of Yossele Schuchmacher (1959 / 1960) shocked the Israeli nation and even David Ben Gurion interfered. He asked the Mossad, in particular Isser Harel, to find the child and return the little boy to his parents.
“Yossele Schuchmacher” has been living a secular lifestyle since he returned to his parents. He went to the army and is still secular today. Israel’s Haredim rememberhim until today and, from time to time, Yossele appears in gossip section of haredi Internet sites.

Further Link:

The secret life of Ruth Blau

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