So Yoav just saw a like 12 year old girl standing on the sidewalk around the corner, trying to hitch a ride. Gevalt. I remember we grew up with lots of 'stranger' education, lots of just saying no, etc, etc. Maybe here it's not so prevalent; certainly, hitchhiking does not have the dangerous connotation that it does in the USA. Regardless, we just posted this to the Ramat Beit Shemesh email group...
A letter to our daughter:
Dear child, we're so happy you're here! You bring nothing but joy to our lives, and we want to always protect you from harm. That's why we're asking you to promise us that, unlike some girls we've seen in the neighborhood lately (like the pre-teenager today on Ayalon), that you will NEVER, EVER try to get a ride ('tremp') from a stranger on the road!!
Baruch Hashem we live in a frum area. Baruch Hashem the vast majority of people you might catch a ride with - frum or otherwise - will just give you a ride, just want to do a chessed.
But sweet daughter, it's just not worth the risk that one person might have something else in mind. There are, unfortunately, predators who are just watching for young girls to be waiting on the side of the road!!
Many people don't realize that Ramat Beit Shemesh is no more than a one or two minute drive from isolated, wooded areas. So, so quickly you could be so far out of our reach...
We really, really hope that one day this warning will be obsolete. Until then, we hope all of your friends' parents will pay attention too, and never, ever let their daughters try to get a ride with a stranger!! We hope they'll explain to their daughters that when these girls try to catch a lift, they may catch much more than they intended, rachmana litzlan.
Mommy and Abba