EXPOSED: Woman Who Mocked Man Putting On Tefilin At Ben Gurion Airport Is A Well-Known Israeli Professor


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The womanwho objected to a Chabad chossid putting tefilin on someone in Ben-Gurion Airport a few days ago, has been identified as a well-known Israeli professor and lecturer.

According to a Channel 20 News report, the woman is Professor Penina Peri, wife of Yoram Peri, a professor of sociology and a former president of the New Israel Fund from 1999-2001. The video went viral on social media.

Arutz-7’s Ben Zeigdon contacted Yoram Peri, who explained he was unaware of the incident. However, he did confirm his wife left Israel.

Peri also served as a senior lecturer in Sapir College and Levinsky College. She is said to be an expert on multi-cultural theories and is known to have published books such as “Education in a Multicultural Society: Pluralism and Meeting Points between Cultural Rifts.”

The Peri family has been living in Maryland for the past few years, and this is why she was flying after the incident captured on video. Today, she heads the Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies at the University of Maryland.

Head of the Chabad House in Pisgat Ze’ev, the man in the center of the storm, Rav Meir Herzl, told Channel 20 that he was a bit early at the airport and decided to use the time to merit other Yidden with putting on tefilin. He approached persons and asked them if they wished to put on tefilin. One responded, “gladly”.

Rav Herzl added, “Suddenly, a woman approached us and began screaming and insisting we leave the area and not daven in proximity to her. I did not pay attention to her. I continued putting tefilin on the man, who asked the woman to permit him to daven in quiet for a few minutes, but she would not hear of it. She shouted as seen in the video.

When asked how he kept his cool, Rabbi Herzl explained “I did not see cause to get into it with her and respond. This is how we carry out ‘Mivtzaim’, as the Rebbe instructed us, to engage in and see the light exclusively, to bring additional light into the world and this blocks out the darkness on its own”.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. I sent an eMail to the University of Maryland as follows:
    “A member of your staff made a fool of herself today at Ben Gurion Airport
    Her name is Pnina Peri
    Is this the image you want to portray of your institution?”

    and here is the reply I got from them:

    Thank you for your comment and keeping us accountable.
    At this point all I know is what has been reported in the media. My colleagues and I are currently working to understand the details of the situation. I can say that the Meyerhoff Center very highly values the right of every person to religious freedom and expression. Until we know more, it is premature to comment further.
    Hayiim Lapin

    Robert H. Smith Professor of Jewish Studies and Professor of History
    Department of History
    University of Maryland
    2115 Francis Scott Key Hall
    College Park, MD 20742
    301 405 4296 | [email protected] |

    Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff
    Program and Center for Jewish Studies
    University of Maryland
    4141 Susquehanna Hall
    College Park, MD 20742
    301 405 4975 | [email protected]

  2. From another perspective: her abuse actually made their performance of the mitzvah, exponentially a greater act, as we say, “L’Fum Tzara Agra!” They were also able to fulfill the Mishnah in Avos of being “gibur k’ari” as well. That day was worth living!
    I would imagine that her kavanos would eliminate any claim on her part for schar’ for enabling…

  3. people should complain to the schools that she teaches at. She should not be a person who shapes other peoples intellect.

  4. This is nothing short of shameful harassment by a bigoted and disrespectful individual. I found this link from a website called Rate My Professor. You can see her low marks and if you read just a few of the students’ comments you can clearly see the pattern of prejudices against the frumme velt. Some students calling her a self hating Jew. Here is the link:

  5. This incident reminds me of the famous story that once happened to Rabbi Abraham Twerski: Rabbi Twerski was publicly berated by enraged “enlightened” modern Jew at the airport who did not like R. Twerski’s chasidic looks because it embarrasses the rest of “normal” Jews in the eyes of the non-Jews. When R. Twerski informed him that he was an Amish the man changed his tone and started showering R. Twerski with complements explaining how he respected Amish people and other people’s cultures. Then R. Twerski complemented the man on being “very cultural” person and added that he whished the man would respect his own clutter at least the same way he admires other cutlers.

  6. Her Neshama is crying! She is ashamed that she didn’t encourage her children and grandchildren to don Tefillin, to light Shabbos candles, to observe Kashrut and Shabbath and now she is crying inside. She may not even know what is happening but that is what’s happening. A major quake is taking over her whole being.

  7. ps an earthquake can happen to a person too since a person is earth (adam). This is a personal earthquake, but it happened in order to wake us up too. Kudos to Rav Meir Herzl for being so calm and collective a role model for us all!

  8. Really sad. She embodies every negative stereotype of the secular Jews who had successfully assimilated an were fearful that the images of a yid from the alte heim would somehow drag them back into the world they had escaped. The Chabad shaliach acted with grace that others might not have shown along with the yid who was putting on tefillin. Kol hakovod to them and may the professor have a refuah shelamah.

  9. shimen,, the “famous” story with Rabbi Abraham Twerski did not happen the same way this latest story in BG Airport did not happen.

  10. It’s a chance to follow the rabbis lead we need to show achdus even to lady’s who are far from yiddishkite
    If we could then we would have no problems with terrorists
    She is our fellow jew nebish

  11. To “shimen”

    This famous story is related by R’ Twerski himself in his book “From Generation to Generation”, at the end of one of the chapters.

    The ending is a tiny bit different: he reaponds to the apologetical man that he really is, in fact, Jewish and attempts to make him realize his own hypocrisy etc.

  12. .

    A post in The Times of Israel raised something interesting that should cause us all to take pause and consider our responses. The post compared our reactions, the reactions of most people, to this incident in which we all told her that it is a public space and she should mind her own business and they have just as much a right to be there and do their thing as she, and between our reactions to the fairly regular incidents at the Kotel of women, led by Women of the Wall, putting on tefillin and reading from the Torah and the reaction of Haredi people nearby and the reactions of people around the world who see the images.

    When confronted with the Chabadnik putting tefillin on someone we said he is in a public space and has the right to do so, with a willing partner, and they should be left alone. Why is it that so many of us do not say the same thing regarding the Women of the Wall at the Kotel? They are putting on tefillin in a public space, everyone else should mind their own business – whether you like what they are doing or not/ Scream at them and whistle at them to disturb and harass them? What makes you, or us, any better than this childish professor in the airport?

  13. > It is Time for Truth

    Are you joking? Being government-controlled (and even government-owned) does not make something “public space”. The way it works in Israel is that the government apportions land to be used for such-and-such purpose. Thus the actual shul (for example) where my cousin davens in a (so-called by some) “settlement” (and the school he sends his children to there) are all government paid-for and government owned. In no way does that mean it is public space for anyone to do what they want. There is an appointed authority to handle the situation. The Kotel area is exactly the same. First-come-first-served. The religious made their request first and were given an authority to run things their way – basically a shul just like the one my cousin attends – on a limited section of land. When other groups later came, such as the Women of the Wall, they were apportioned their other space that had not yet been allocated. Instead, they rejected what they were offered and demanded space that had already long been allocated to others. I see that exactly the same as if they came to my cousin’s shul and demanded to use it as they see fit.

  14. It is Time for Truth: The airport is not totally a public place, where one may behave any way they like. There are many rules and regulations at an airport. Fortunately, one is allowed to put on tefillin in the airport. Likewise, behavior and actions at the kosel can be regulated by whoever has the authority to do so.

  15. A number of people, including myself, emailed Prof Hayim. His response was fascinating , creative fiction. Piri alleges that she is the victim and was shocked by the response. She claims that just prior to the recording, the Chabad rabbi assaulted her , called her a Nazi and she was fearful. I replied to Hayim that the recording showed a smiling, laughing ,taunting Piri while the rabbi tried to ignore her. I asked how this remarkable change in appearance happened so quickly? He was accepting her unverified, self serving claim over the video and the statement of the man who put on the tefillin

  16. There are some who feel passionately about their beliefs but equally passionately about a personal obligation to impose their beliefs on others. This woman obviously rejects yiddeshkeit (or the traditional form thereof) and seeks to extend her personal beliefs to others in her visual space. Her vile actions are matched by those who attack the WoW or the tzinius police who attack women in chareidi neigborhoods. Hopefully, there will be a special place in gehenom where all these haters can ultimately come together and attack one another for eternity.

  17. Gadolhadorah,

    Chazal (Shabbos 54b) that those who could be “mocheh” (lit.
    protest) against wrongdoers of their city/country are held accountable for
    their aveiros;…
    against the wrongdoers throughout the world are held accountable for
    *their* sins.

    Care to expound on our primal obligation of D’vorim 29:28?

    Eh,Taking may post and running away with it?

  18. may 30 10 05 pm
    you just repeating youself…nice try…
    didnt say didnt happen but not rabbi twersky. was by rabbi rottenberk, kosson family bronx ny
    1940s delancy subway station.we know first hand from famliy
    also bostoner rebbe in book ‘angel laughs’ ..look up.. brings similar experience he had on subway

  19. Nhorow, relax and get some sense of humor. I was trying to ridicule shimen’s ridicules claim that the story with R. Twerski did not happen.

  20. Comparing this Torah-hating lunatic to the crowd at the Kotel protesting WOW is stupid and 180% upside down logically. In one case an Yid helping another Yid to perform a mitzvah, in the other a group of anti-Torah provocateurs truing to denigrate a mitzvah and create a disturbance. One is kidush Hashem and another is hillul Hashem, the only similarity is that they both use the same object: the tefellin. And please, stop this nonsense of “moral” equivalency.

  21. She is a member of new israel fund which is anti Israel; so you must know who you aree dealing with. I can deal with any Jew except a self hating Jew

  22. Thanks for posting the University’s email. I plan on asking
    1- how they can have a staff member can be so intolerant.
    2- who published a book on Pluralism!
    3- Who then tries to cover her tracks with a worth lie using the Holocaust!
    This isn’t micro aggression. It’s macro-aggression! I feel triggered !

  23. > Shoyta

    Her version of events is described by lesschumras. As lesschumras points out, her version is not consistent with her exuberance in the video, and her version also contradicts both the Rabbi and the layperson in the incident, and her version slanders the person who took and posted the video.

  24. moishe in gaulus may 31 11 42 am
    it is expected from gaadol hador…believe me hes more against the protests against WOW, separate seating etc than againat this meharshas but doesnt want to showi it

  25. y seigal.may 31 5 31 am
    excuse .. i new for a fact the 2 stories i mentioned that its true ..but if u say in’ generation to generation ‘ he had same experience , ok. thanks
    i did read ‘generation….’ when it came out many years ago. quite a few times.dont remember this part. we use these stories for a mussar haskail …a long drasha too long for posting…so we have another anecdote to add