It was not the first nor the last time that Haredi leaders and activists have tried to bury Shaulson as a journalist; he claims he was forced to flee Jerusalem to his current home in a New York suburb due to threats to his life.
He claims to get some 250,000 hits a day - though that can't be independently verified since Ba'olamam Shel Haredim operates via a blog-publishing service that hosts numerous blogs.
"The biggest problem in the Haredi public is that for decades we've been sweeping things [under the carpet], not wanting to deal publicly with important public issues," Shaulson told his blog readers.
"It got to the point where individuals have been controling the public and bringing us to the state we're in. That's where I come in - to expose this reality so that the public can know what's really happening, and that there's no choice but to work to change things."
No major slip-ups
He denies refusing others the right of reply. "There has never been an instance in which I didn't bring the response of someone who wanted to respond," Shaulson told Haaretz. "I don't call back after someone slams the phone down on me. But anyone who spoke to me got a platform, and the biggest proof is that my blogs are open to all. There is no Haredi blog or website that gives more freedom of response than me."
Ba'olamam Shel Haharedim has benefited since the popular website Behadrei Haharedim, (Behind Closed Doors with the Haredim ), after years of provocative reporting, toned itself down in response to rabbinic dictates, and over the past few years has stopped publishing negative information about Haredi communities, particularly the stronger, more established ones such as the Gur Hasidim.
Shaulson, by contrast, has had no qualms about taking on the Gur, Vizhnitz and Satmar Hasidim, among other Haredi groups not known to take insults dispassionately.
He resolved early on not to make money from his publications; he made a living, among other ways, as a rabbi in Brooklyn and an editor of the U.S. edition of Maariv.
"Money is the weak point," Shaulson says. "Newspapers are afraid, they need money. There are sites that are dying to tell stories, but because they know they'll be closed down, they remain silent.
"I'm the opposite," he says. "At the start, Panim Hadashot had advertisements, but that was how they could fight me. So I declared: No more ads. I survived without ads all these years and that's how I finished them off, they didn't have anything to fight me with."
Shaulson was born to a long-established Jerusalem family affiliated with Chabad. His father, Shmuel Shaulson, was a deputy mayor of Jerusalem and a leader of Agudat Yisrael. Chaim Shaulson began his work in journalism in the 1970s, but also engaged in political activism with his father.
His first foray into publishing was called Tzofar ("Siren" ). It immediately set itself as an alternative to the Aguda paper, Hamodia, with articles that attacked senior rabbis, particularly that generation's leader, Rabbi Elazar Menachem Shach, a determined opponent of Chabad who controlled the content of Hamodia in the days before Shas and Degel Hatorah split off from the movement and started their own newspapers.
Last November he shut down the paper and started the blog. "I thought I'd do a post or two a day, that it would take me five minutes. Suddenly there was enormous interest, and what started as 50 posts a month became 200," he says.
"One day there were 12,000 actions on my page, just downloads and printing, not including regular surfing. I was shocked. There's no doubt that a blog is a thousand times more influential. A newspaper can't get everywhere, and this goes out immediately all over the world," he says.
Shaulson believes that the heavy media exposure the Haredi community has been getting has reduced all kinds of hidden abuses.
"Today there is a lot less terror and violence among the Haredim, a tenth of what it once was," he says. "It's over, they know everything's exposed. As long as it wasn't exposed, they were killing people. Today, they know you can't keep things quiet, they think a million times before they do anything."
Why is gossip about rabbinic families or rabbis' health issues legitimate material for publication?
"I know that I have a deterrent power, in certain Hasidic courts they think twice before terrorizing individuals, lest something leak out to me. I have no interest in fomenting disrespect of rabbis, I have an interest in stopping terror and violence."