Israel 2018, 58/70 min,
A Dalit Kimor Production
by Dalit Kimor

Unkept Secrets

What happens to a mother of eight when she finds out that the admired rabbi, teacher of her three sons, has been sexually abusing all of them for years?

When the boys reveal themselves to us we realize the magnitude of horror they suffered. We follow them on the difficult journey leading up to the end of the trial. In this community, people shy away from cameras. Here, they give their testimony as it never has been seen or recorded before.

Ornit, a 42-year-old ultra-Orthodox woman leading a quiet life, becomes a hero against her will when she has to face her sons’ abuse. Together, they sued the offender and went through grueling legal proceedings.

At the same time, the family had to cope with another blow – the entire Orthodox community defends the Rabbi, and Ornit and her boys were called "moisers" (informers), a huge insult. The victim, airing the dirty laundry in public, faces shunning.

Genendy, the second hero of the film, is a pre-school teacher. She is married and a mother of three. In a few months, her son will celebrate his Bar Mitzva and she wants to invite members of her extended family (11 siblings and her mother), who live in an ultra-Orthodox community in the US. But this seemingly trivial act is very complicated and complex, since Genendy was shunned by her family for the secrets she didn’t keep. She spoke out loud about being raped by her father, a famous rabbi, when she was a little girl. Since 18 years she hasn't spoken with anyone from her family.

Both Ornit and Genendy are assisted by Shana, a 29-year-old ultra-Orthodox woman, working in a global Jewish organization aiming to create a change regarding sexual offences in the community, and she binds the two stories.

The heroes in the film are a source of empowerment for other Jewish Orthodox in the battle against pedophilia and sexual offenses within the community. They will no longer remain silent.


Director Statement
Rarely in a life of a filmmaker one can make something that you feel important, that can actually make a change.
The Jewish ultra orthodocs community in Israel is very much controlled by the social norm of not showing the dirty laundry in public. This approach is typical to many other segregate communities such as the Catholic Church, Olympic or university sports teams, or other religious communities who close ranks around its sexual abusers. When being molested - many times they do not want the help of the secular authorities and therefore do not approach the police or court for help.
In my documentary I met two very brave women that either they or their children suffered from pedophilia by a respectful rabbi in their community.

Women in the Jewish Orthodox community are rarely allowed to speak in public, and of course not allowed to be filmed. Showing their face on the media according sexual abuse- is something never heard of. Both of them stood up against all their community members and decided to create change - and when I saw that I decided to help them.

It was the hardest film I have ever made, the protagonists were terrified of the exposure. But eventually they decided to do it in hope that it will make a change for other people. I hope we can all give them a voice.

Dalit Kimor - director

Haifa (National Premiere), PriMed Marseille (Winner)