Sabbath birth puts infant’s life in jeopardy

FROM time to time, bizarre reports surface about the activities – or rather, the non-activities – of Orthodox Jews on the Sabbath. But this one takes the bagel.

Having vowed not to speak on Saturdays, a woman in Jerusalem kept schtum about a baby she’d just given birth to.

According to this report, she secreted the infant under her dress with the umbilical cord still attached, hid the placenta in a bag, and refused to speak to anyone including paramedics.

No one knew that the baby had been born until the woman’s concerned husband went to a local Jerusalem synagogue, and asked the rabbi for a blessing.

When the rabbi asked why, he said his wife had given birth and was sitting at home with the baby, according to paramedic Ariel Atias.

The rabbi called Hatzalah emergency medical services and paramedics showed up to help take the baby and mother to the hospital. But they met with resistance, said another paramedic Yoni Hacohen.

The couple was sitting in the bedroom and wouldn’t let us into the room. I thought it was due to modesty, so I asked a female paramedic to go in there and send the father out. But a few minutes later she came out and said the woman wouldn’t communicate with her in any way. Nor would she allow them to see the baby, who was still hidden under her dress.

Eventually some neighbours suggested a rabbinical tribunal be formed to relieve the woman of her vow, but even after that she refused to speak or communicate.

Two hours later police and rescue teams had to restrain the woman. The umbilical chord was cut and both mother and baby were rushed to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

Atias said:

It’s a miracle the baby is safe and healthy. The incident could have ended badly.

By the time they reached the hospital, Shabbat had ended and the woman had resumed speaking.

Hat tip: Bill Murray


38 responses to “Sabbath birth puts infant’s life in jeopardy”

  1. Buffy says:

    She has already proven herself an unfit mother. But of course it’s about her “religious beliefs” so anybody who dares to say so will be accused of persecuting her.

  2. Matt Westwood says:

    With any luck her ridiculous superstition will cause an early demise of this poor little sod and hence Darwin will be served.

  3. alb says:

    It’s the mother who’s at fault, not the child who should be given the best chance in life and not an early demise. If I didn’t know any better I’d say the woman needs psychiatric help.

  4. mike says:

    are the authorities prosecuting a charge of attempted infanticide? At the very least remove the baby from the parents for it’s own safety, what kind of life can this child look forward to with these kind of people

  5. Daz says:

    I know twas Jesus who said it, so technically it’s not applicable, but “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” springs to mind.



    With any luck her ridiculous superstition will cause an early demise of this poor little sod and hence Darwin will be served.

    Were you trying to look like a heartless sack of shit, or did it come natural?

  6. Angela_K says:

    I’m with Matt Westwood on this one. Unfortunately, in spite of their stupidity and adherence to superstition, the religious are too successful in over-breeding. A child brought up by a religious nutter such as this woman will be indoctrinated with the same nonsense and so most likely continue the cycle.

  7. mikespeir says:

    I can only imagine the fictional smile this woman must bring to God’s fictional face!

  8. remigius says:

    According to Halakha, the collective body of Jewish law, any commandment or vow may be broken if a life is at risk.

    I’m somewhat surprised that the rabbi didn’t know this.

  9. Lucy says:

    The rabbi did know, he called the ambulance and tried to persuade the mad woman.

  10. Howlinbob says:

    What a f**king idiot.
    Sorry, gut reaction.

    This woman has endangered the life of her own child. If religion weren’t involved, she would be deemed mentally ill and given treatment. When are we going to grow up?

  11. Ryan morrigan says:

    @alb…Agreed, but ANYONE who believes in invisible beings needs psychiatric help, really.

  12. L.Long says:

    Unfortunately taking the baby away form the psychotic mom will not help as it will be given to a different psychotic mom and raised to be at best totally delusional.
    The only faint hope for this baby and all their babies is after a while they find the infernal-net and start thinking….don’t hold your breath for this.

  13. Ian says:

    Part of the prayer that ‘orthodox’ Jewish men say every morning is: ‘thank you for not making me a woman’. We might have issues with Jewish men but this woman might just prive the point.

  14. tony e says:

    There is a good chance that this kid could have long term medical issues due to the actions of this woman. The kid should be placed in care until she has a full psychiatric assessment.

  15. AgentCormac says:

    SIMON THE HOLY MAN: Mmmmmmm.

    BRIAN: Please! Please help me! I’ve got to get–

    SIMON: Mm. [whump] Oh, my foot! Oh!

    BRIAN: Shhhh.

    SIMON: Oh, damn, damn, damn!

    BRIAN: Well, I’m sorry. Shhh.

    SIMON: Oh, damn, damn, and blast it!

    BRIAN: I’m sorry. Shhhh!

    SIMON: Don’t you ‘shhhh’ me. Eighteen years of total silence, and you ‘shhhh’ me!

    BRIAN: What?

    SIMON: I’ve kept my vow for eighteen years. Not a single, recognizable, articulate sound has passed my lips.

    BRIAN: Oh, please. Could you be quiet for another five minutes?

    SIMON: Oh, it doesn’t matter now. I might as well enjoy myself. The times in the last eighteen years I’ve wanted to shout and sing and…

    BRIAN: Shhhh.

    SIMON: …scream my name out! Oh, I’m alive!

    BRIAN: Shhh.

    SIMON: Hava Nagila!

    BRIAN: Shhh.

    SIMON: Hava Nagila! Hava Nagila, ha ha ha! Look out. Oh, I’m alive! I’m alive! Hello birds! Hello trees! I’m alive! Get off. I’m alive! Hava Nagila. Hava the relinq–

  16. Stonyground says:

    The thing about these people is that the god that they imagine is just as batshit crazy as they are. Why on earth do they think that God will be impressed if they promise not to speak one day out of seven? To those who insist upon the strictest observation of the Sabbath I would say this, if you live to be seventy years old you will have wasted ten years of your one and only life.

  17. RussellW says:

    How could a vow of silence prevent the mother from indicating that she had just given birth? There’s more to this black comedy than the usual religious mania.

  18. Daz says:


    I wouldn’t be so sure. I’ve read of cases in the 1700s of women killing babies rather than admit producing a bastard. They’d be upset as all hell—it wasn’t done lightly—but the shame of bastardy was great enough to overpower such distress.

  19. Trevor Blake says:

    Torah, Parshah Bereishit, Third Portion: “To the woman [G_d] said, ‘I shall surely increase your sorrow and your pregnancy; in pain you shall bear children. And to your husband will be your desire, and he will rule over you.'”

    Disgust and contempt, sure, but no surprise is warranted.

  20. Robster says:

    Those afflicted with one of the stone-age Middle Eastern religions do the old nip and cut on babies bodily bits as a tradition. All it would need is one more wee cut and bingo..reproductive ability removed and problem solved. Can we get some non afflicted doctors into the church run hospitals?

  21. Ryan says:

    How do you play an umbilical chord?

  22. Trisbreya says:

    A woman has the right to decide how she wants to give birth, but if she weren’t delusional I seriously doubt she would have chosen that way. And as it’s been mentioned before not paying any attention to the child or providing it any health care makes her a seriously unfit parent. As someone else pointed out, the irony is that abortion is considered wrong but endangering your child’s life because of “religious” reasons is perfectly acceptable.

  23. JR says:

    I’m from las Vegas , babies are born and dumped in trash cans all the time, lack of education, inteligence and comprehension are the problem, unfortunately religion flurishes under these conditions and that breads more of the same .

  24. Sarah C says:

    Caring for and saving a life goes above everything, even the sabbath.

  25. Kelly McGinnis says:

    I am a mother. I would fight a pit of hungry lions for my child. I would climb a mountain barefoot, if need be. The fact that this woman refused the help that could have been the difference between life and death for her child is fucking insane! When the church says it’s ok (like you should really concern yourself with something like that in a time of crisis) and you STILL refuse help? To save your baby’s life? I’m sorry, but you have mental problems. Choosing religion over your child is completely irresponsible, and I hope that they take this baby away and find it a home with parents who have some child-rearing common sense. If these people weren’t religious? And they didn’t have religion as an excuse? They would find this woman out of her mind. If you are out of your mind, you should not be the care giver of an infant. Period. Religion should not be an excuse for irresponsible behavior when it is the CAUSE of irresponsible behavior.

  26. Ashley says:

    So many haters, you’re no better than she is really. *sigh* The minute you lose compassion is the moment you give up your humanity. I give her credit, she kept her vow, and I’m guessing she didn’t expect to have the baby on a Sat. Most of you do realize the cord would have fallen off on it’s own, and is something a number of people practice. Your hate and judgement is totally misplaced. Keeping her vow doesn’t make her psycho, and the baby was likely safe.

  27. KristaMish says:

    It would be nice to know why this baby was in danger. Sounds to me like it was born, end of story. Leaving the cord attached isn’t dangerous at all (actually it’s much LESS dangerous than clamping the cord too soon). If there was a problem that required attention, yeah she should have done something. If baby was healthy, who cares if she didn’t talk to anyone. (Although I agree that the fact that she hid it under her dress is weird and suspicious.)

  28. AgentCormac says:

    @ Ashley

    So, you think her behaviour was ‘normal’?

  29. mikespeir says:

    Ashley & Krista,

    It may very well be that the baby in the end suffered no ill effects. I certainly hope so. The issue from my perspective is that this mother put her religion above the well-being of her child. That all turned out well seems a product of luck. From all appearances, if he baby had been in jeopardy, it wouldn’t have changed her behavior. Her religion trumped the consideration of her child’s health. So, no, we’re not the ones lacking compassion.

  30. RussellW says:

    Surely a newborn child has a right to compassion (and medical attention).


    Consider the outcome if the baby wasn’t healthy?

  31. Apathostic says:

    Sorry, folks, but I am now officially beyond the “whatever floats your boat” attitude. This woman is a moron. Her husband is an idiot for not dragging her to hospital. The baby should be taken away from them both and given in adoption to a family who will raise it with reason, compassion and love, and not by the twisted and dangerous teachings of a bogus religion (and that includes all religions, they are all bogus). These people should then have to apply for a licence to give birth to and raise a chld, on the proviso that they have given religion away as a bad joke and can prove that they have finally grown up and become mature, intelligent adults.

    Now, as for priests . . .

  32. Andrew Hall says:

    I humbly propose that paramedics are allowed, upon encountering parents such as these, to punch them squarely in the throat.

  33. Buffy says:


    Really? You’re supporting her decision to risk her newborn infant’s life to uphold a vow? Yes, this time it might have ended fine but what about the next time her child’s needs conflict with some “vow” she’s made to her god? What if she decides she can’t save the kid from a speeding car because she’s not dressed modestly enough to go out of the house or some other nonsense? Any woman who values adherence to religious observances over her child’s welfare is unfit, period.

  34. Ab says:

    The Talmud says that babies are not “people” until they are 30 days old. I wonder if that played a part in the mom not caring about the babys well being. The Talmud also says something about laws being broken to save a life. I suspect the baby not being a “person”, has a lot to do with this utter stupidity! Hopefully, the kid will find out that he spent his first day of life dangling by a cord, under his moms skirt, & realize how utterly horrifying these stupid books are!

  35. Daz says:


    There’s a reason our children tend to survive more often now, then when we lived in caves. It’s called modern medicine.

  36. AlphaCentauri says:

    Just to put things in perspective, you don’t have to take a healthy newborn to a hospital. You don’t have to cut the cord while the placenta is in place. But if you’re wearing a long dress, yeah, the baby’s going to be under the dress instead of wrapped in a blanket with a little hat, as he/she would be in the hospital. The umbilical cord brings all the oxygen the baby needs, just as it did in the womb, so until the placenta is delivered, there’s no need for the baby to breathe air. The baby was probably perfectly snug and happy where it was, and the mother probably was just as skeptical of the sanity of her rescuers as they were skeptical of hers.

  37. mikespeir says:

    But, AlphaCentauri, you’re just reiterating a point that was already made, above. But take a look at our replies to that point.

  38. Murray Levin says:

    I doubt the truth of any part of this article — it appears to be propaganda.

    Firstly,tThere is absolutely NOTHING in ORthodox Judaism preventing people from speaking on the Sabbath – quite the is a day of joy and celebration.

    Secondly – human life is put above all other restrictions to do with the Sabbath – so cutting the umbilical cord, or even going in an ambulance to the hospital if necessary – would have taken precedence – and a rabbinical tribunal would have been ridiculous……

    Another example of not believing everything you read……