Ex-Haredi Woman, Whose 'Suicide Book' Roiled Gur Hasidim, Buried in Two-part Funeral

Court denies parents' request to hold funeral in Jerusalem, but divides ceremony to secular, religious stages.

Yair Ettinger
Yair Ettinger
Esti Weinstein, an ultra-Orthodox woman in Israel who committed suicide and whose body was found near Ashdod beach on June 26, 2016.
Esti Weinstein, an ultra-Orthodox woman in Israel who committed suicide and whose body was found near Ashdod beach on June 26, 2016.Credit: No credit
Yair Ettinger
Yair Ettinger

Esty Weinstein, a formerly ultra-Orthodox woman who committed suicide and left behind a manuscript telling the story of her life, was buried Tuesday in Petah Tikvah’s Yarkon Cemetery with hundreds in attendance.

In the suicide note that accompanied the manuscript, Weinstein said she killed herself mainly because she missed her daughters. She left the ultra-Orthodox world eight years ago, and only one of her seven daughters, Tami Montag, remained in contact with her.

Weinstein’s parents – who, unlike her daughters, remained in touch with her throughout those eight years – wanted to organize the funeral and hold it in Jerusalem, but the Tel Aviv Family Court ruled Monday that it should be held in Tel Aviv. Nevertheless, the court added, both her ultra-Orthodox relatives and her secular daughter and friends should be able to participate. It was therefore held in two stages, with the first part secular and the second religious. Her parents attended only the second half.

Many of her friends and acquaintances attended the service as Yehuda Poliker's song "Perah" (flower), played in the background. Weinstein's brother, Hanuch Irenstein, eulogized her: "Esty, you may not know this song, but this song knew you. Father and mother and all of us lost you. In war, the children also die.

Her father, Rabbi Menachem Irenstein said the Kaddish and eulogized his daughter.

In her suicide note, Weinstein requested a “modest” funeral with “lots of flowers, as I like it, and perhaps a moving song.” Montag, who came to court to fight her grandparents’ request for control over the funeral, said after the hearing that her mother’s wishes would be honored.

“We’ll honor her last request,” Montag said. “Both religious and secular people will be at the funeral. I asked each to respect the other.”

She added that she was sure her mother would approve the half-secular, half-religious ceremony, because “her parents were important to her.”

In her note, Weinstein apologized to her parents “for the grief I caused you,” and told her mother that despite some difficult years in their relationship, “in recent years, you proved yourself ... I love you very much.”

Weinstein’s body was found in her car on an Ashdod beach on Sunday, six days after she disappeared. Police finished identifying her Monday.

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