My wife and I were recently in Israel. While we visited the regular tourist sites and holy places, we were also taken to tour a place hardly anyone goes to. Tourists do not know of this place; and if anyone does, I doubt that they will take an hour or two out of their pleasurable itinerary in order to visit hell.

Did I say "hell"? Let me explain.

The place we visited is called Miklat, a two-fold shelter. Miklat-Bat Melech is a shelter

We spoke with shy, young mothers who have experienced much more than their years should allow.

specifically for abused and beaten Chareidi women and their children who are hiding out from a husband and father who just may kill one of them during his next fit of insane rage. The other shelter, Miklat-Nigunim, is for young girls who were abused and horribly mistreated by family members and others.

We spoke with the directors of Miklat-Bat Melech, who are investing precious time and effort in order to comfort and protect those our society shuns. We met the dedicated female directors, counselors and volunteers manning the kindergartens, who are in constant physical proximity and closeness with these abused women and their children. They talked with us. They explained and described; and though they ought to be hardened after having witnessed more hellish scenes than can ever be described, the fresh tears in the corners of their eyes were obvious.

We met abused women who were kicked, cut with knives and razors, and literally enslaved. These are women and children who have come to the end of their rope and have nowhere else to go. We spoke with shy, young mothers who have experienced much more than their years should allow. In these shelters - miklatim - they find caring people who give them comfort and warmth, as they sooth their fears and do all they can, both legally and within the halacha, to extricate these innocents from the hell they are in.

Where these miklatim are exactly, I'm not free to divulge, nor do I want to further elaborate on the details and horror stories every one of these women and children has to tell. To do so will require many days and volumes of paper. My aim in writing about this is to bring to the forefront what I consider to be the root of this ongoing evil.

In most cases, the husband is given a blank check of believability and the wife's complaints are handled with skepticism. In fact, there are some well-known rabbis who will insist on attempting to re-glue the torn relationship and insist on a so-called sholom bayis even in the face of the shelter personnel's professional opinion that it is an impossibility.

In most cases, the husband is given a blank check of believability.

Even in such dire situations, certain rabbis can still blame the wife for the break-up and consider her refusal insubordination.

When does our religious society say "enough is enough"? When will our Orthodox community end its assumed ignorance (assumed, I say, because the evidence is clear in the women's black-and-blue facial and body designs, courtesy of their husbands)? If a stranger did the beating, an immediate arrest would be forthcoming. What else do we need to be convinced that a terrible crime, perhaps attempted murder, is being committed? What are we waiting for? Another brain-damaged young woman? Another silent funeral?

And the funeral need not always be the wife's physical death. The fact that the abusive husband can hold his wife hostage for as long as he wishes creates countless situations where the young woman's future life of freedom and happiness has been murdered and buried. It is a funeral for lost youth and the ability to try her luck elsewhere, while he retains the freedom to come and go as he pleases.

Take a close look. There they are. There. And there. And there, too. The front row of too many shuls are occupied by illustrious and benevolent wife-beaters whose money has bought the silence we hear so loud and clear. You see them - gentle-looking, pious, G-d-fearing individuals who donate to every worthy cause and don't have a bad bone in their body. Just looking at them tells you that, had the wife been a proper wife to her husband, this gentle, shy and innocent man wouldn't have had the need to become aggressive and abusive.

I am furious, because it boggles the mind. Don't these abused women have brothers,

I am furious, because it boggles the mind.

parents and other close relatives? Why are these husbands allowed to do what they do? If one was to see a beating on the street, wouldn't one rush over to help? Why is there silence here? And why are so many women - our daughters - silent? Don't we know that the great percentage of these husbands are actually just spineless, yellow-streaked vermin who take out their violent anger on those who are weaker than them?

So you see, as I wrote in my first few sentences, we visited hell on Earth.

Miklat is in desperate need of funding in order to provide for so many more who urgently need help and have nowhere else to turn. If you wish to help financially or if you know anyone who needs assistance or protection, please contact Noach Korman, Executive Director of Miklat Bat-Melech (Office: 972-2-651-6103, Fax: 972-2-651-6055, Mobile: 972-52-476-7379).