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The Deborah Feldman fiasco

It seems that everyone (most of the frum community) was pretty pissed off at Deborah Feldman, but i guess those people never really wandered around the hundreds ex-chassidic blogs before. I also guess that every time one of our own finds a new life and talks frankly and negatively about the one “we” choose to pursue many frum folks go pretty crazy. Now to put it into an even stranger place, people are saying that the media whores featured on Oprah are the true Chassidim and Deborah Feldman is just representing a small minority and should not be listened to.

I say they have nothing to do with each other, Oprah is not seeking out former Chassidim, she is trying to sell the feel good story of Americas hidden religious people. She is trying ti garner positive attention and that is a very good thing for the Jews. Sure, the clip where she asks the Chassidic women what they would do if they had a gay child – makes them look like idiots, but most of the videos are a nice old kiddush Hashem which is always nice to see coming out of a community which rarely brings us this. The Oprah show is good for the Jews and it helps non-Jews understand out strange ways a bit more.

In my opinion, articles like the interview of Deborah Feldman (I was a Chassidic Jew – but I broke free) in the NY Post are also good for the Jews. I know that a lot of frummies are pissed off, the general reaction is one of disbelief, the reaction seems to be kind of like when you find out someone you know is refusing to give his wife a get or abused some little boys. Frummies really don’t want to believe that any of their faith and tradition is weird, but ladies and gents, no matter which way you put it, the practice of niddah is about impurity and purity – regardless of if it’s ritual or not – people generally view it as such. I sincerely think that most frum Jews don’t want to read anything thought provoking or that sheds some sort of negative light on their rituals and practices. This is because, most frum Jews don’t want to invite questioning into their lives and would rather live with the ignorance is bliss concept.

Was it negative, hell yeh it was, but she was abused and raised in a cult. Oh don’t be silly Hesh, those Chassidim aren’t a cult…though according to the wikipedia definition, it seems pretty accurate to call Satmar and other extremely right wing Chassidic sects a cult. Of course you can start raining down your hatred upon me, that’s cool, I myself gravitate towards the Chassidus of yesteryear, the type that had me smoking a bowl in the woods while conversing with God Baal Shem Tov style, but modern day cult Chassidus bodes no interest to me.

Of course you may add rightfully so that the Chassidic community really takes care of its own (as long as the women don’t leave the kitchen) with many social service programs and is generally very tight knit and loving. I don’t doubt any of this, as seen on Oprah and by my own eyes, but comparing Deborah Feldman’s plight to a bunch of Chassidim showing off on Oprah (they look like chabadnicks, which is probably farther from Satmar than modern orthodoxy)

Below is the Simon and Schuster video of Deborah Feldman talking about her upcoming book.

Find Deborah Feldman on 4torah.com

{ 215 comments… add one }
  • A. Nuran February 15, 2012, 7:57 AM

    She committed the worst possible sin, making The Community look bad. It doesn’t matter whether or not what she said was true. To the “circle the wagons” mentality – and as Jews we suck it down with our mothers’ milk – any sort of negative attention is bad, particularly if it happens to be true.

    • J February 16, 2012, 12:15 PM

      no we don’t! what the heck kind of response is that? if someone is hurting people we don’t “suck it down” we tell the truth! if we don’t admit to the bad that is going on, how are we supposed to improve it?????

  • Cohen Laundry February 15, 2012, 8:24 AM

    Great post Heshy! Very hard for people to call a spade a spade.

  • Reb Noach February 15, 2012, 9:26 AM

    I think the only real tragedy here is that because of the way religion was presented to, and lived by, her in the Chassidic world, she saw her only option as throwing all of her Jewish heritage aside. There’s a whole lot to choose from between Satmar and secular/unaffiliated. Perhaps she could have found something of meaning somewhere outside the extremes of that spectrum.

    • sk February 15, 2012, 11:20 AM

      That middle ground is called modern Orthodoxy.

      • Reb Noach February 15, 2012, 11:23 AM

        I didn’t say “middle ground”, I said something between the extremes.

        • sk February 15, 2012, 4:23 PM

          That’s where MO is, right in the middle. Unfortuantely, many hasidic dropouts go from one extreme to the other, become atheist and outspoken. Luzer Twersky, Shalom Auslander, Shmarya “Failed Messiah” Rosenberg….

    • abandoning eden February 15, 2012, 1:01 PM

      she actually still keeps a lot of jewish stuff and has by no means thrown her jewish heritage aside (why do you assume she has?), although considering how much she’s gone through it surprises me that she hasn’t.

      • sk February 15, 2012, 4:21 PM

        This week’s Jewish Week profile of Feldman states that she eats treyf and loves crab cakes. Enough said.

        • ghottistyx February 15, 2012, 11:14 PM

          Dude, so do I. And I’m very openly mechalel shabbos. I am just about as OTD as OTD can be. And yet I maintain very strong ties to my Jewish heritage as well. The two are NOT mutually exclusive. I’ll say it again. Violating Halacha b’farhesia and having ties to your Jewish heritage are not mutually exclusive.

          If you’re having trouble understanding this concept, I would like to recommend some Mordecai Kaplan. IMHO, he gives the best definition of “what is a Jew”. I don’t want to spoil it, but I’ll just drop one hint–it is NOT sheer observance of halacha.

          • Critic February 15, 2012, 11:30 PM

            Isn’t the unofficial battle cry of the Reconstructionest movement “Religion without superstition” which is just a fancy way of saying we deny the existence of G-D?

          • bracha February 16, 2012, 6:43 PM

            what heritage are you valuing? parshas yisro just passed and we read at leining the aseres hdibros- which include shmiras shabbos. is that the judaism you value? u said you openly are mechalel shabbos…so which one is it…it cant be both. unless you are talkin about a made heritage that many OTD’s live by….your relationship with G-D……that is very important…and if you have that why do you spit in His face lehavdil be being opnely mechalel shabbos…. yes, HaShem loves you unconditionally. that is true…but since you love him wouldnt you want to live by His Torah? all kiruv rabbi’s or other rabbi’s you will listenn to will say nice n fluffy stuff…all that matters is your relationship with HaShem…thats true..the question is “what is your relationship with HaShem?” openly being mechalel shabbos? expecting him to shower you with uconditional love…that sounds like a great relationship…glad its working for you! i pity you and anything that you went thru that caused you to be OTD. im sorry for your pain. i really am. but for your sake- please stop fooling yourself.

            • Tova February 18, 2012, 11:41 PM

              “anything that you went thru that caused you to be OTD”

              For the umpteenth time, why does a person’s being OTD have to arise as a result of something he “went thru”?

    • Reb Rad February 15, 2012, 11:01 PM

      Why is that necessarily unfortunate?

    • A. Nuran February 16, 2012, 3:43 AM

      Why is that a tragedy? It was a source of pain, shame and misery to her.

      Let’s put it in a Jewish perspective. The real tragedy about the Exodus is that we felt we had no option but to throw away all the culture and customs of Egyptian culture.

      • T February 16, 2012, 5:50 PM

        Nuran – I don’t know if I’m supposed to find that funny but it certainly inspired a chuckle.

  • Yossy H February 15, 2012, 10:16 AM

    I think a lot of the angry is based on.

    1) Would the major publishing companies promote a book detailing a Muslim decision to leave?

    2) Her interview with the NY POST right in the middle of Williamsburg.

    3) This notion that her personally growing up in a very dysfunctional home means that the entire community is sick and abusive.

    I am shocked that the Frum community didn’t come all out against this like they did against the Botach book Satmer is either doing a genius PR move or a very dumb one? only time will tell.

    Her book’s stay on the Amazon 100 seems to have been short lived.

    • Yossy H February 15, 2012, 10:18 AM

      Woops I meant anger not angry

    • Mordy Ovits February 15, 2012, 11:00 AM

      “Her books stay on the Amazon 100 seems to have been short lived.”

      Not really. As of right now it’s ranked #5 (!).

    • A. Nuran February 15, 2012, 11:31 AM

      1) The major publishing houses would fall all over themselves to cash in on fear of Muslims. It’s been a best-seller for over a decade.

      2) So what?

      3) Is what she’s saying accurate? Does she tell the truth about what happened to her? Is she correct about Satmar customs? Notice I’m not asking “Does it make a chillul hashem because yidden cvs look bad?”

    • G*3 February 15, 2012, 11:51 AM

      > Would the major publishing companies promote a book detailing a Muslim decision to leave?

      Of course they would. Ive read a couple of those books.

      > This notion that her personally growing up in a very dysfunctional home means that the entire community is sick and abusive.

      In my expirience, Chassidim (and Yeshivish people) as individuals are not abusive, and, like everyone, are mostly really nice people. As a community, though, its very cultish, and while abuse may be taking it too far, there are definitely unhealthy socially-imposed practices.

    • abandoning eden February 15, 2012, 1:03 PM

      what the heck are you talking about, she is the #5 top selling book on amazon as of 5 seconds ago when I checked the page, she’s even beating out Steve Job’s autobiography!

      • Yossy H February 15, 2012, 1:33 PM

        I am wrong, it was #30 a few day’s ago, then I guess I missed it when I checked yesterday.

    • bracha February 15, 2012, 5:27 PM

      i could not agree with you more!!! i called several ppl in williamsburg and said- where is the outrage? protest? they have PR …why cant they do something…? i was told that they rather let it die down…she isnt worth their time…..i geuss when u play with dirt- u get dirty….
      some of the commenters here sound so ignorant – many of you jump onto the wagon of hype rather than open your mind….think about it…most of you didnt live in williamsburg so you surely cant speak one way or another…ur just saying what you were taught to believe about chassidim….she said chassidim graduate with a 4th grade level of education…well thats what some of u sound like…

      • A. Nuran February 15, 2012, 5:30 PM

        That’s the best thing they could do. If they protested or rioted it would make them look very bad indeed. If they ignore it it will be a nine day’s wonder

    • tinok shenishba February 16, 2012, 12:03 PM

      #1–Absolutely. Unorthodox (which I just finished reading) is even heralded as being in the tradition of one of them, Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. A very famous and well-received book.

      • Tinok ShenishBeth February 16, 2012, 5:29 PM

        Hey A$$hole, get your own screen name!

    • US Marine February 25, 2012, 6:21 AM

      If Martians bought more books than Jews, the publishing houses would find a way to publish controversial Martian books. Publishing is like high-class prostitution….. it’s about acting. It’s like all those actors and actresses on talk-shows who mention that they “accepted” this-or-that role in this-or-that movie because it was artistically the right thing for them to do. Guess what: it’s about getting a paycheck.

      you know why there’s so many TV shows featuring African-American actors nowadays? Because that crowd spends all their paycheck every week; and TV shows are made to benefit…. people who sell things.

      Get it?

  • I agree, sort of February 15, 2012, 10:35 AM

    Heshy, I do agree with you that her situation was really sad and she was abused. I am not chassidish myself at all, and I definitely do agree that they do go to the very extreme in the no-internet or get kicked out etc…but they are not all abusive. Many children are happy where they are and just because they are not exposed to modern entertainment doesn’t mean they are unhappy or abused.
    But I also have to say that the way she made it sound like every hassidic person is uneducated (The View: Most 16 year olds who graduate are on 4th grade level. NOT TRUE. I have worked in a hassidic schools, the girls get top marks on all tests.), all marriages are unhappy, sexless, is unfair. At least Barbara Walters did not allow any comments on her ’14 cloths for checking’ and said straight out that this is not a referrendum on all Jews, just one story one person who got out.

    • Heshy Fried February 15, 2012, 9:52 PM

      Most Chassidim are under educated, the girls can’t learn gemara so they learn math. Have you ever spoke to anyone of Chassidishe back round, they have street smarts and business sense, but seldom do they have any real education and they never sound American.

      • I agree, sort of February 16, 2012, 7:01 AM

        Well I was only referring to the girls. I should have been clearer. I agree that (most) a lot of ultra orthodox boys dont’ have education. I can say what I said because I taught in a chassidish high school and personally saw the education they received. The average girl graduating has the same, or better knowledge than a kid graduating public schools.

        • tinok shenishba February 16, 2012, 12:05 PM

          I very much disagree that the average Chasidic girl has “the same, or better knowledge” than a kid graduating from public school when she graduates. Outside of Lubavitch, these kids barely learn to read in English. Secular education is a LOT better in public school, period. (Including for the girls.)

          • OTD chick February 18, 2012, 5:59 AM

            It depends on what public school’s we are talking about. Inner city school like the NYC public school system are notorious for being bad. Also, the schools are getting much worse than they used to be. Nowadays, most kids from public schools can’t read and write in proper English, either. We’re not talking the immigrants. We are talking kids who speak English but they are so ghetto they write English like a foreigner (or worse).

  • Mordy Ovits February 15, 2012, 10:53 AM

    “Would the major publishing companies promote a book detailing a Muslim decision to leave?”

    Of course they would. Stop gazing at your navel and you’ll see that Ayaan Hirsi Ali had a bestseller about her leaving Islam. Actually, two.

  • becky February 15, 2012, 1:29 PM

    whatever the case is , fact is her book contains lots of untrue facts so how can we believe the rest of the stuff she writes?

    • Reb Noach February 15, 2012, 2:36 PM

      What is an “untrue fact”? A fact, by definition, is true. Otherwise it’s an allegation.

  • Abe A February 15, 2012, 1:51 PM

    For all those who dont realize the far reaching negative effect of her book, I located an Anti-Semitic blogger who uses her book as proof that the Zionists control the media!
    He says how else would the world constantly be bashing the inferior treatment of women in the Arab world, if women in the Jewish world are treated no differently, and it rarely reaches the media? He gives examples of this inferior treatment taken from her book.
    Does she care how she has blood on her hands for the way she publicly bashes her former life?
    The fact remains- if Anti-Semites come to power, she and her innocent son will be among those considered Jewish, whether she likes it or not, and will suffer equally. Her disgusting book wont save her and her son. She and her son have Jewish blood and thats enough to make her deserving of torture.
    Kardashian she’s not. No beauty. Not her fault, not her choice.
    Einstein she’s not. No genius. Not her fault, not her choice.
    Joan Rivers she’s not. No comedienne. Not her fault, not her choice.
    Just a babbling buffoon, a seethingly hateful person whose uppermost goal is fun.
    And that IS her choice.

    • Reb Noach February 15, 2012, 2:44 PM

      Wow! Where is this coming from? This poor woman is traumatized and she chose to write about it, that doesn’t make her a bad person. And do you really think this is going to change anybody’s perception of the people she is writing about? Do you think anybody thinks that the Satmars have social practices that conform with 21st century America? What is this about “if Anti-Semites come to power”? Are we in 19th century Russia or in some banana republic? You sound a lot like the people this woman was running away from. You should have rachmonos on her, not kaas (anger)!

      • OfftheDwannaB February 15, 2012, 3:09 PM


      • Abe A February 15, 2012, 5:47 PM

        Pity on someone who clearly caused Anti-semitism?

        What are you and her smoking?

        • Tinok ShenishBeth February 15, 2012, 10:55 PM

          Jews don’t cause anti-semitism anymore than women cause rape or having nice things encourages burglers.

          Racists and anti-semites are not working from a place of logic, i.e., “I shall hate the Jews because they do the following things.” They already hate the Jews and they pick arguments to support their position. The idea that we can defend against it by our own actions is unlikely. Why should we let the haters dictate our behavior?

          Let this woman tell her story. You may not like it, but it’s HER story. Write your own damn book if you had a different experience.

    • A. Nuran February 15, 2012, 3:25 PM

      So telling the truth is anti-semitic?
      That’s a passing strange way of looking at things.

      • Abe A February 15, 2012, 5:53 PM

        Truth: Women must stay indoors after a certain hour?

        Hee hee.

        Truth: Women dont eat in restaurants?

        Hee hee.

        Truth: Girls graduate high school with a 4th grade reading level?

        Hee hee.

        I know someone who got hired straight out of Satmar in a posh decorating house on Madison Avenue (non Jewish), many in top acccounting firms in Manhattan (non Jewish) and others in Fortune 500 real estate firms (non Jewish).

        Hee hee.

        4th grade. Hmmmmmmm.

        Hee hee.

        • T February 15, 2012, 7:39 PM

          Girls are lucky if they graduate with an ability to read coherently bc the only literature they are allowed to read is written worse than most newspapers. And we all know that major city newspapers are not written for the upper echelon of educated peoples. The frum Judaic school system is intended to keep our precious and impressionable sweet kinderlach away from the scheming, drug abusing, sex addicted fourth graders in the public school system. As quoted from a very upstanding school, “We don’t intend on having our students go to Harvard.” Meaning, we won’t give them the option bc they won’t be able to compete on that level given the education they receive.

          Let’s not pretend frumkeit is perfect, shall we? The first step to solving the problem is accepting that there is a problem. Just ask any Blanks Anonymous follower.

          • I agree, sort of February 16, 2012, 7:07 AM

            Why are people making up stories? I taught in a Chassidish High School English and Literature. We did the exact same things that other schools do. Shakespeare. Mark Twain. Short stories by all the classic authors. Poetry by Emily Dickinson, Frost etc.
            Everyone here agrees that this girl had an abnormal upbringing. We all agree that there is abuse out there. But lets not make general comments about things we have no personal knowledge about.

            • tinok shenishba February 16, 2012, 12:10 PM

              Well, was your high school Satmar? There are Hasidic groups that do education well, but it sure isn’t most of them.

              • i agree, sort of February 16, 2012, 5:14 PM


            • T February 16, 2012, 5:58 PM

              Not lying, unless you define lying as telling it how I saw it, in action, as a teacher in a frum school and read papers and tests from students at other schools. Also, if their education is on par with public school education, we are in a very bad place! Have you seen what the majority can write or compute?

        • bracha February 16, 2012, 6:17 PM

          ABE A- I love your post!! this dumb whore deborah has a 4th IQ. she would NEVER make it on her own therefore, she needs to fabricte lies to become famous.
          how many peole like her that go off become succesful?? not many.
          i am wondering why some of you would jump to take her side or even pardon her for her massive chilul HaShem- which will have very far reaching negative effects..

          most of you- have NEVER lived in any chasidic community. you base our emotional opinion on what ex chasidim have told you. That is not intellectual at all…perhaps you should stick to satire and humor on this site…

          Modern orthodx people are better right??? I am related to both….if i had to choose- i would choose chasidim over MO in a second. While Modern orthodox children do receive a better education they are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyy shallower than chasidim or litvish….they have barely any real connection to HaShem. i am not stereotyping…as there are all types everywhere….but from the MO people that I know…and i know a lot of them…..they really are empty thru and thru….its all about shoes, clothes…and etc…

          MO is full of hyocrisy- and if any MO don’t want to admit it….then you guys are the closeminded ones…open the shulchan aruch and you will see (if you want to see) that MO is a sect of orthodoxy that is a convenient form of religion.
          you guys pick and choose the halachos that you want to keep based on what is convenient. This ranges from hilchas shabbos, nidda….(ye u do the mikva thing….but the other stuff thats clearly written just dont make the MO cut…) tzniyus for women is way off…the only way you can tell that a mo girl is jewish is when her boyfriend or hubby is wearing a yarmulka…(im not talking about YU – they are frummer..) the social competition and keeping up with the jonesses in the MO community is pathetic…and sorry for them…since its so stressful….
          so before any MO’s start bashing chasidus…look into the Torah….not at my comment…research you values- question them…several of my relatives were raised MO they admit that when they were teenagers or your age Heshy – they thought chassidim are lunatics, radical extremists from the stone ages…now some have become chasidish or litvish and they treasure their spiritual awakening…and they who have lived MO and now live chasiic/ yeshivish lifestyles claim that MO is a joke…hypocrisy at its truest form…..

          • Meir February 22, 2012, 10:44 AM

            Bracha, you are doing a great job of furthering Deborah Feldman’s message on the lack of education with your posting style. I assume you can’t help it because you didn’t get a decent education and I feel really bad for you.

  • Jason February 15, 2012, 1:55 PM

    To all Jews:

    Since Deborah Feldman grew up in dysfunctional family, all of you will suffer now!!

    • bracha February 15, 2012, 5:18 PM

      WTF???? u sound weierd! she should have gotten therapy! u think she is the only person on this planet to have a sh*tty childhood??? welcome to planet earth!!
      she commited 2 huge crimes:
      1)she caused one of the biggest chilul HaShem in the last 50 years by grossly distorting our lifestyle.
      Thus she desecrated G-Ds name.
      2)she ridiculed hilchos niddah- which is not chassidus!! the 3 values that are the foundation of Judaism are- SHABBOS, KOSHER, and TAHARAS HAMISHPACHA. she basically made fun of the Torah thG-D wrote.
      in addition- do you think she won’t suffer fo exploiting the gruesome murder of Leiby Kletzky z”l for her own personal gain- $$ an fame. Has she asked Mr & Mrs Kletzky for permission? have they not suffered enough? she has a little boy- where is her heart? she obviously has a real rotten one…
      the 2 funniest things are: 1)she claims she looks like kardashian- they should sue her for defamation. They do share 2 things in common- they are both fame whores and they both sold their self respect for $.( kim -a s*x tape and Deborah- a slanderous sham of a book.)
      2)she said on the view that all chassidim do is gossip. what is her book? it’s not gossip against the Jewish religion and its “impure disgusting laws…”? If G-D created each of u & HE created the Torah laws. and you feel his laws are disgusting then u must be disgusting too…just as his laws… no matter what she will wera or eat -u have to admit her face still looks extremely chassidish!! :)……and why isnt her husband suing her for discussing their intimate moments and more…? since you seeem so confident -perhaps you can do us all a favor and look up the laws of chilul HaShem….? and u cursing us all!

      • Heshy Fried February 15, 2012, 9:34 PM

        Biggest Chillul Hashem in last 50 years…Rubashkin, Tropper, Charedim in Israel, Madoff, Abramoff…the list goes on.

        • kissmeimshomer February 15, 2012, 10:29 PM

          She’s entitled to her feelings on her upbringing. She’s entitled to express herself. What is it with you “frummies”, @bracha, than you’re SO afraid of your closet being opened? Dirty laundry perhaps? Look at Heshy. He knows that certain parts of Judaism are fucked up, and he knows that others he finds beautiful. He therefore isn’t afraid that Deborah Feldman’s book will damage or in any way affect the way the world looks at him, because he admits that dirty laundry exists. No one society in the world is perfect. Hasidim can be good or bad, Muslims can be good or bad, Hispanic people can be good or bad, and stern girls can be good or bad. Stop pretending religion is perfect, and I believe you’ll realize there’s nothing to fear.

          • Heshy Fried February 15, 2012, 11:43 PM

            Now this a really good comment, I always find that frum folk are afraid of anyone bashing the system because they really aren’t stable in their own Judaism. I’m stable enough to know that my religion is completely irrational, even though I’m a strict adherent to it anyway. Tell the average frummy that they are completely insane or irrational and I’m sure you’ll get a mussar schmooze out of it.

            • bracha February 16, 2012, 7:00 PM

              if you feel it is irrational why are you religious? It must be so painful to practice a religion and adhere to its rules when you feel or “know” its irrational…kinda makes you sound irrational not really stable…you should live your life with belief in what you are doing….not because you have too..or whatever reason you chose to ….

            • kissmeimshomer February 19, 2012, 4:26 PM

              Part of being considered an intelligent inhabitant on a very populated planet is to realize, yes there are good and bad to everything. I came from a Yeshivish home, I left it, and thankfully pursued my own direction. Part of the reason I hardly blog anymore is because discussing my past isn’t so interesting to me as it was a year back. I now blog on a different domain, talking about things that interest me today. Point being, caring too much is definitely a sign of insecurity. Bracha, I’m sure you live a religious life filled with meaning, a beautiful life, and noone is dissing you. They are exposing the rotten parts of the society to which, yes, you do belong, but don’t assume that the world is judging YOU based off her words. The world is full of intelligent people, many of whom are on judgmental and take things with a grain of salt.

            • ummmmm February 23, 2012, 5:25 PM

              Reality is- we defend what we believe in. If one would speak ill of the mother I love, I would defend her to the core. How is it different when somone creates a media circus with a large focus dedicated to stereotyping and bashing a sect? That sect has every right to defend themselves. Had she called her book” Un- Satmer”- perhaps the defense woudn’t be this large- but currently, many orthodox people find her claims ( insulting our education system, safety rules, niddah laws, etc.) offensive. And so , they defend themselves. This is human nature. Religious or not. We all defend what we believe in.

          • bracha February 16, 2012, 6:54 PM

            no one is saying that there isnt good or bad in orthodoxy. but- the FACT is that many things she said and wrote are NOT true. its as if i would go around saying you are a mamzer….when people lie about you- your character and values- THAT hurts…. she also had a messe up childhood – since when did she become the spokesperson of speaking the truth behind hasisim- when in fact- she did not have a typical hasidic childhood. how many hasidic moms run off to be OTD and abandon their daughters? how many hasidic girls are molested? (please bring factual answers )
            you’re also quoting heshy- Heshy has a satirical website that makes people laugh. is he someone you look up to for guidance or for your compass of values? heshy might be a nice guy but I wonder if he even wants the responsibity of being an example of what a jew should look like.

            • T February 16, 2012, 8:05 PM

              May I suggest that you read the book “Hush” by Eishes Chayil. The story is true with some minor variations and name changes.

        • G*3 February 16, 2012, 9:40 AM

          > Biggest Chillul Hashem in last 50 yearsRubashkin, Tropper, Charedim in Israel, Madoff, Abramoffthe list goes on.

          But Heshy, those people are tzaddikim set up to take a fall by the evil goyishe government. Except for Madoff, who isnt frum and so doesnt count. Exposing the underbelly of the frum world to outsiders, though, THATS a Chilul Hashem.

          It reminds me of the quote: “You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image, when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”

          Are people upset about a Chillul Hashem, or about a Chillul Community?

          • bracha February 16, 2012, 7:08 PM

            to G*3 – did the willimsburg community or chassidim create the laws of nidda or did G-D create it? did they create the commandment of shmiras shabbos or did G-D? or kosher laws..? (crab cakes…yumm deborah..im really missing out..i must be so oppressed….) u may try to sound funny by trying to be sarcastic…but u are actually funny – not by what you are saying but by the distorted way you think…..so yes, she caused a chilul HaShem and not a chillul community. ( i wont argue with you if you dont believe in the 10 commandments or laws of taharas hamishpacha…because that would just be a waste of my time…i rather watch grass grow…)

        • bracha February 16, 2012, 6:35 PM

          those were no doubt a huge chilul HaShem. the difference is that those at least the money scams were based on greed. Deborah can congratulate herself for being the first to publicly ridiculing G-D and Judaism- in the last 50 years.

          i know heshy that you are one of those types that think you are always right…and smart….thats great for you…and you may be smart…i do not know you…your articles are usually funny and interesting….who is really smart? those that can look around…litsen to others opinions…with an open mind…learn from others…see the good on others…
          i dont know if you believe in pirke avos- maybe its hasidic? extreme as deborah might say? nevertheless i will quote “who is a smart person? one who learns from every person…” one who learns sometthing from every person..
          what i learned from Deborah Feldman is that people like her never take resposibilty…they will coast thru life blaming others…all they care about is their own gratification- as she clearly doesnt care about her son. she openly says that she doesnt want him to read the book….then why would she write it? in addition i learned that when you play with dirt you get dirty….since this whole book release ..i literally feel disusted and dirty…i feel our society as jews in America has been lowered morally at least 10 degrees….thats my opinion….just like you have yours…you are still young….long life ahead of you with lots of learning experiences awaiting you….wonder how you will feel about all of this once your a father of teenagers..or grandfather…hey..how would you feel if your daughter was deborah feldman?

      • G*3 February 16, 2012, 9:34 AM

        > she ridiculed hilchos niddah

        She did not ridicule hilchos niddah. She accurately (if briefly) described bedikos, mikvah, and what you arent allowed to do during niddah. That it sounds ridiculous is not her fault.

        > the 3 values that are the foundation of Judaism are- SHABBOS, KOSHER, and TAHARAS HAMISHPACHA.

        Not really. Those are just the minimum requirements to be considered frum. The foundations of Judaism are the belief in a single God who took us out of Mitzrayim and gave the Torah at Har Sinai and.

        > she basically made fun of the Torah thG-D wrote

        Most of the ridiculousness of niddah is midirabanan.

        • Critic February 16, 2012, 10:26 AM

          “Most of the ridiculousness of niddah is midirabanan”
          So are to we assume that you are a Karaite? And what’s about the
          “ridiculousness” of many mitzvot that are midiuraitah,
          specifically those that fall into the category of Chukim?
          Logically all of religion is “ridiculous”. If religion was based on logic alone it would have disappeared ages ago.

          • Reb Noach February 16, 2012, 11:55 AM

            To be a Karaite is to not recognize torah sh’beal peh (oral law). It has nothing to do with recognizing rabbinic laws. For example, tora sh’beal peh tells us what tefillin look like and how they are to be worn. Muktsa is a rabbinic law that has no basis in the torah or torah sh’beal peh. So she can’t be “making fun of the Torah theG-d wrote” (sic) if the laws of niddah are in large measure derived from rabbinic injunctions, not the torah itself.

            • Critic February 16, 2012, 12:30 PM

              The Orthodox Judaism as practiced by all its factions and flavors MO,Yeshivish,Chassidish,Hareidish,Litvish etc. is Rabbinic Judaism and is a far cry from that which was practiced in pre Rabbinic times.
              My main point was that once you refer to a Halacha as being ridiculous you can point that same finger at many Halochot be they mideuraitah or midrabanan as being ridiculous and was a response to the statement that “most of the ridiculousness of nidah is midirabanan”.

  • becky February 15, 2012, 2:24 PM

    alright people calm down. I wana talk to her and tell her that Im a nice Jewish lady that never did anything to harm her so why is she harming me?

    • abandoning eden February 15, 2012, 3:00 PM

      how is she harming you?

    • A. Nuran February 15, 2012, 5:31 PM

      If you want to be that way, she was a nice girl in a screwed up community. By defending the community you’re harming her.

      You don’t want to make it personal.

  • T February 15, 2012, 3:02 PM

    When speaking out and revealing abuse is considered harming to others, we are continuing to victimize the victim. Maybe a few of us need some more reprogramming to release us from the cult-hold. “We are only as sick as our secrets.” spoken by some smart people somewhere.

    • Abe A February 15, 2012, 3:39 PM

      She never said once anywhere that the stuff she wrote about only pertains to her dysfunctional family! She is painting the entire community with one broad stroke. This is by no means strictly the story of her family and life. She makes it seem as if all Chassidim are narrow-minded morons like the Twerskys, one a famous doctor and another a Law school dean, and the many others- judges and doctors in the USA, many of whom are not only Orthodox, theyre Chassidic, who have made great contributions to society! Has she devoted even one paragraph in her book to Orthodox people who have achieved greatness in many spheres and still are as religious as ever? She chooses to forget or she’s in the DARK AGES.

      Id love to see a debate happen on national television between her and some very articulate Orthodox highly educated woman like a doctor or lawyer. They’d destroy her. It would be a scream!

      • tinok shenishba February 16, 2012, 12:16 PM

        If you actually read the book, she says very little about “the community” or “Chassids” or even “Jews” as a whole. She simply writes about her own experience.

        The “very articulate Orthodox highly educated woman” would probably NOT destroy her in a debate, but would sympathize with her. Actually articulate, highly-educated people will see the nuances of it and not think she’s the biggest chillul Hashem in history or whatever.

    • bracha February 15, 2012, 5:22 PM

      revealing abuse is one thing and slandering an entire sect of judaism (which amount to thousands worldwide) are two different things. ur talking about apples and cars…
      yes, her molester should rot in prison and hell.
      she should have gotten therapy instead of writing a book full of lies…they are not one and the same.

  • OfftheDwannaB February 15, 2012, 3:12 PM

    That gay clip was painful. Oh my gosh, these are the women chabad sent to represent the frum world?

    • Critic February 15, 2012, 3:48 PM

      Am I missing something here? What gay clip are you referring to?

      • Critic February 15, 2012, 4:39 PM

        Sorry.I saw the clip and yes I think the women seemed to be somewhat flustered and taken aback by Oprah’s question.This however is atypical of Chabad woman especially shluchos who usually are quite articulate in situations like this.
        What I did find interesting is the positive reaction of many in the gentile community, as compared to the Jewish one, to this Oprah series.

        • OfftheDwannaB February 15, 2012, 7:07 PM

          This is the only clip Ive seen of the series, and I really dont want to see anymore. I know PR bs when i see it, and I have no desire to subject myself to a whole hour of it.

          • Anonymous February 15, 2012, 11:03 PM

            Chassidim are in a lose lose situation.When they insulate themselves from secular society we ridicule them,perhaps rightfully so or maybe not, for being medieval,backwards,close minded,bigoted,uneducated,ignorant boors that don’t interact with the rest of society.
            On the other hand when a group of them have the effrontery to leave the ghetto,become inclusive,and give women the respect that they allegedly do not receive in other chassidic sectors ,welcome a black gentile woman to their community to observe and comment on their rituals and way of life blemishes and all, and then actually appear on a national TV network to answer what seems to be a unrehearsed Q&A session and yes,become savvy in PR as if that’s some sort of crime .You condemn them for for propagating “PR bs”.
            I just don’t get it.

            • Critic February 15, 2012, 11:09 PM

              I forgot to sign myself in as “Critic” for my above comment.

            • OfftheDwannaB February 16, 2012, 12:58 AM

              First off, I wont ridicule anyone if I think theyre being authentic. Chassidic, lubavitch, rastafarian. I might disagree, but respectfully. Second, just because other people full of sh!t, doesn’t make me less nauseated when frum people are. This clip was clearly another PR stunt. Not that I’d expect some real hard hitting reporting on Oprah anyhow, but thats why I dont watch the show.

  • Micah T February 15, 2012, 4:23 PM

    I personally don’t have a problem with the fact that she left the Chassidic world that she grew up in. If she wasn’t happy, she was right to leave. We all have the right to seek happiness wherever we can. The Satmar life, obviously, wasn’t making her happy.

    But did she have to write a book and, reveal all of the family secrets? This part bothers me. She has betrayed her friends and family (both living and dead).

    • Sam February 16, 2012, 1:55 AM

      I’ll give you something, I’m reading the e-book (traveling currently), and am at 200/995 pages. If that gives any idea of where it’s at. But so far, I’m at the seder, and her entire family makes her life hell except her Bubby.

      Mother abandoned her. Father I don’t blame so much, he has his own mental issues that are well beyond his control, and for his lack of understanding, he may have deserved a little more respect. Bubby was the good one, she cared at least somewhat more than everyone else. Zaiyde…Her Zaiyde had good ideals, maybe. But there was way too much discipline and punishment, and it did hurt her, though she did recognize why at some points he did what he did. (Mainly when he dealt with his past). The extended family? Outside of her one cousin with the divorced parents, the aunt purposefully made her life hell.

      I’m making a new paragraph for ease of reading.

      When she was little living with her Aunt, she’d cry and get yelled at. The Aunt ran the school and made her life despicable. So did the rest of her family. People thought her mentally ill because of her father, and treated her like epic trash.

      You say she betrayed people. Who? Out of curiousity. Those who were nice, and gave her respect, were shown in a nice light, and those that caused pain in a negative light. Sure, she screwed up. The mouse thing at school, among other shenanigans, but her life was f***ed up.

      Feel free to spoil it, as I already know most of what happens anyway, but what the hell is she betraying? What family secrets? The Hungarian recipes from Europe? Or the fact that she was molested.

      I forgot, the frum community likes to hide these things. Fair point, from your perspective, it’s better to act like problems don’t exist, rather than addressing them. Perspective.j

      • tinok shenishba February 16, 2012, 12:23 PM

        I am strongly in support of openness, honesty, and–for the most part–Deborah Feldman’s book. However, even I thought that she was disclosing things about specific people that it would certainly hurt them for the world to know. The way she talked about her dad, for instance. And some of the things about her husband and (especially) her in-laws were quite cruel.

      • Micah T February 16, 2012, 4:47 PM

        I admit that I haven’t read the book. I just feel that some things don’t belong in the public realm. It was individuals who failed her, not the Satmar community. Why portray the entire Satmar community as flawed, when it was flawed individuals who (according to her account) were guilty of bad behavior. Every communiy has it’s share of bad apples, that doesn’t mean (to extend the metaphor) that the whole apple tree is bad.

  • Critic February 15, 2012, 4:35 PM

    Sorry.I saw the clip and yes I think the women seemed to be somewhat flustered and taken aback by Oprah’s question.This however is atypical of Chabad woman especially shluchos who usually are quite articulate in situations like this.
    What I did find interesting is the positive reaction of the gentile community, as compared to the Jewish one, to this Oprah episode of which the following is but one example.
    Oh my goodness. As a Pentecostal christian, female and single . I was so fascinated and inspired by the emphasis the Hasidim places on establishing mutual values and as well as, the delay of physical exploration within Hasidic courtship and marriage. They seem to have a very spiritual view of male/female relationships that really make our romantic notions of love appear superficial and somewhat trite. Also, the practice of keeping God top-of-mind throughout their daily lives is so inspiring and makes me rethink my own daily spiritual practices. They actively seek to live in continuous allignment with God’s will–not merely when it’s convenient or their schedule allows. Fascinating and awe-inspiring. This is without a doubt one of my most favorite Oprah interviews. Living in New York, and working in the Diamond District, the Hasidim are a common but very mysterious sight. Thank you Oprah for demystifying this amazing community. I’m deeply moved and encouraged to work on my personal daily relationship with God.

  • John February 15, 2012, 4:40 PM

    I love how you call frum people who go on Oprah “media wh0res” Yet no such name calling for the far more prolific media wh0re who spent time with more media outlets. Why the double standard?
    Never mind I think we all know

    • Heshy Fried February 15, 2012, 9:40 PM

      Even chabadnicks will agree that they are the biggest media whores, I’m definitely a media whore and Ms. Feldman is also a media whore, I didn’t mean any double standard by it – you cannot compare the items yet people are.

      • john February 16, 2012, 3:55 AM

        Oh I’m not disputing that they are media wh0res I’m just pointing out your blatant double standard

  • Rebecca February 15, 2012, 7:24 PM

    I am devouring her book. Fascinating look at a world I know little about. And from accounts I have read by others who have left ultra-Orthodox sects, she is not embellishing. I applaud her courage.

    • Abe A February 15, 2012, 8:26 PM

      “And from accounts I have read by others who have left ultra-Orthodox sects, she is not embellishing.”

      Sure! Birds of a feather knock (their heritage) together. Ha!

      All you have to do is get yourself to a Footsteps meeting, by offering to lecture or offer vocational advice and you meet all the depressed angry social misfits personally, who choose to gather to talk education and vocational plans, 10% of the time and to mock their ancestors, 90% of the time. If it were the reverse…

    • Person February 16, 2012, 1:16 AM

      “Fascinating look at a world I know little about. And from accounts I have read by others who have left ultra-Orthodox sects, she is not embellishing. I applaud her courage.”

      Here in lies my issue with her book. People like you, think they now have inside look into Chassidic Jewish life. Wrong, you have a look at the failures. You have a look into the worst parts of that life. You never see the smiles or the families. You see the disfunction, because that is entertaining, exciting and obviously, it sells.
      You have a look into HER and HER FAMILY’s lives as she chooses to portray it and remember. I’m not saying that everything is perfect, or even good as far as certain chassidic sects are concerned… But usually there is much more to the story.

      • Person February 16, 2012, 1:56 AM

        And that is assuming her book is completely factual and accurate. (Considering some of her claims pre-release, this is unlikely, but even if it was…)

    • how to sound smarter February 16, 2012, 7:40 PM

      like you say – a world you know little about.
      so you really should stop saying anything about that world.
      you sound dumb and you stick ur foot in ur mouth. u know nothing about that world – only from her sham of a book and what others whom have left – yet you have a say??? i grew u hasidic. how can you speak about my world when “you know so little about it”??

  • rg February 15, 2012, 9:42 PM

    Your only experience with Chassidim is your father forcing you to go to The Sulitzer Rebbe on B .9 street,you have no clue how much Chessed pours out of the Satmar community whether ,Bikur Cholim which began in the Satmar community or assisting those in need.It is very easy to find fault in any human being such as Deborah finds fault in her unfortunate dysfunctional childhood ,however by & large the Satmar community is made up of individuals that do more for others than for themselves.So heshy give it a break ,you have no clue.

    • Heshy Fried February 15, 2012, 11:52 PM

      My father never forced me to go anywhere, although I have soent time in Toshe, Square Town and KJ and have hung out with and spent shabbos with fans of mine in Williamsburg and Monsey who are of the chassidic realm. Of course, you probably failed to read the part of the article where I mention the entire support system created for the chassidim by the chassidim and my numerous articles talking about bikur cholim, tomche shabbos, soup kitchens and other family and communal support systems – but trying to discount Feldman’s experience by flinging in chesed is complete and utter Bullshit. This was the same thing people tried to do with Rubashkin, just because the guy gave tzedaka, doesn’t make it any less of a chillul hashem.

      I have not read the book and neither have most of the people commenting, I just ordered it from Amazon, so when I do read it I’ll put up an honest book review.

      The point of this blog and of taking a non-chillul hashem view of Feldman is that, in general, frum Jews are scared of people exposing their dirty secrets (they tend to deny them, just like they like to deny it whenever another heimishe guy gets caught with some little boy) and poking holes in their amazing and chesed filled community.

      Am I denying the tremendous chesed of the Chassidic community? Not once!!! I am just saying that, whenever the frummies feel threatened by some truths (even non-fiction is technically not true since someone unique wrote it) they tend to go running for the hills and shouting chillul hashem, I’ve been called such things many times.

      • Sam February 16, 2012, 2:05 AM

        Ya know, I’ve always wondered a couple of things. Why are the priests/rabbis/people always caught with little boys? I get that these are pedophiles, and that some of them are gay. Ok. I just never hear the stories (though apparently this book has a case), of little girls. Rape/molestation is the crime I find absolutely most offensive, and am 1000% repulsed by it to the nth degree, and when I hear about these cases, get angry as hell. By why never the priest with the little girl? Sheer curiousity.

        Are priests themselves disproportionately gay? In a lot of sects, they can’t marry anyway. Sorry for my random injunction, but to be more on topic:

        You gotta take the bad with the good. These Chassidic and very Frum communities, like you say, like to hide their dirty laundry. So much for self-improvement. People are too scared of the bad to reflect on it. We have something wrong with our community, what’s the issue? I can’t trust this guy to schecht our meat, it turns out, he may not be as reliable as we thought. HIDE IT AND HIM. Or either work on getting him to do things more reliably, or get someone new, and move on. Don’t need to act like the incident never happened, but live and learn. Live and learn.

        • T February 16, 2012, 6:20 PM

          Pedophiles are NOT gay.

          • Guest February 21, 2012, 10:00 AM

            If they predominantly desire the same gender they are.

      • slander hurts February 16, 2012, 7:23 PM

        Heshy- would you not be upset if a rumor was started that you were GAY? and that people would accept it as fact….and then someone would write a book about you being gay and soon enough people who know nothing about the MO community would go around saying that most MO men are gay…..thats the same with her book. did she have a horrible childhood? yes. is the entire willimasburg, satmar, chasidim and whole orthodoxy- even you – since MO also alls into the orthodox sect -responsible for her messed up childhood? do we all have messed up parents? or traumatic sedarim? or moms who abandoned us? or dads who have mental illnes? btw- what mental illnes did he have? many are genetic and i wouldnt be suprised if she has inerited it…time will tell….
        so how does it feel to be gay heshy? does it hurt when i say that? well it hurts me when she spreads lies about my community. her personal life story does not reflect all chasidim and all of orthodoxy or all of judaism.

        • T February 16, 2012, 8:13 PM

          Does it sound like Heshy would care if someone called him gay? Sounds like he knows who he is, where he stands, and what is important. Unless you are his secret boyfriend, you have no basis for the accusation. Deborah Feldman had first hand knowledge. So leave Heshy alone.

          • slander hurts February 16, 2012, 8:44 PM

            and i also have first hand knowledge about chassidim and most of what she wrote about is not true. Just as Heshy is not gay. was just making a point..but you got quite defensive- i wasnt accusing him….secret boyfriend…lol…it hurts to be slandered…you just proved it…

            • T February 16, 2012, 9:53 PM

              Your first hand knowledge does not negate hers.

              • Guest February 21, 2012, 10:01 AM

                At best it makes either unreliable, but look who’se racking up book sales.

                You are a moron.

        • Heshy Fried February 17, 2012, 1:18 AM

          It feels great to be gay, I can finally dress well and I’m in great shape and my apartment in the Castro is awesome. I would LOVE it if someone started a rumor that I was gay, that would be really good for publicity and for my advertisers. What does me being gay have to do with someone exposing some obvious flaws in the community that have some people very riled up over it. If they are lies, who cares? The lies will be exposed and she will be disqualified, but if they are true and many of them are judging by the vitriol coming from the frummies – then who cares either way.

          If her personal life doesn’t affect you and all of Judaism, why don’t you actually do something rather than try to offend me by calling me gay – I love the gays and if I were gay I’d be a proud gay, but alas I’m not gay – I would love it if you could start that rumor though…I do live in San Francisco after all so it would make perfect sense to start something as such.

          • T February 23, 2012, 6:55 PM


    • Dave February 16, 2012, 8:25 AM

      If I were going to pick a religion based on the amount of chessed they do, I’d be a Mormon.

  • ISR February 15, 2012, 9:59 PM

    What noone seems to mention in all the comments above is that even the large OTD community have serious mixed feelings about the book. I dont think I can be a fair judge but surely others like her should be able to – and they are not all convinced that she did the right and honorable thing or that she is correctly representing the life she left and not just slandering it for a few bucks.


    • Person February 16, 2012, 1:31 AM

      I actually had no idea about this. Very interesting to read. Thank you.

    • Desiree O'Clair February 22, 2012, 6:03 AM

      Those in the discussion admit they had not yet read the book. One should keep that in mind. It is not a book full of lies. It is a memoir.

  • Batya February 15, 2012, 10:49 PM

    Satmer isn’t Judaism. It’s something else. What did she give up, the whole package or just the Satmer thing?
    I grew up in a totally non-observant home and took on Torah Judaism when my peers from blowing their minds on LSD. I got the better deal.

    • Person February 16, 2012, 1:28 AM

      “I grew up in a totally non-observant home and took on Torah Judaism when my peers from blowing their minds on LSD. I got the better deal.”

      This comment made me smile. If only people some people saw the alternative as it really is… 🙂

  • red roses February 15, 2012, 11:45 PM

    I’m sure she has a story to tell, and I get that Hasidic life has flaws, my question is, if her story is that good, why did she feel the need to lie? Her story is full of lies, if she would have stuck to the truth, her book would have been something to celebrate about.

  • Person February 16, 2012, 1:26 AM

    I don’t have a problem with her. I feel for her in certain ways, but she is pissing off the frummies because now everyone thinks that is who they ALL are, which isn’t true. Maybe the reaction is a bit extreme and ridiculous in certain areas, but if someone told the world my life was a joke and my kids are being abused, yeah I’d be pretty pissed off and irrational too.

    You want to bring attention to problems in the community? Fine, I will shout it from the rooftops with you because it is important. I read this blog because I feel like it IS important to show that there are flaws(even though I don’t necessarily agree with what if considered a flaw all the time on here). The difference is that I don’t feel like it coming from a place trying to do harm but in the end of the day help. I feel like this book isn’t about reform so much as destruction and an angry hurt and abused girl trying to give Chassidus and Judaism the middle finger because “they failed her”.

  • Person February 16, 2012, 2:13 AM

    From Deborah’s Feldman’s Website: “She is currently working on the first novel in a series about crime in the Hasidic community that is based on real-life characters and events, and is due out from Soho Press in Autumn 2012.”

    I wish her the best in her endeavors to have a sensational career as a crime novelist.

  • Rebecca February 16, 2012, 3:44 AM

    Am I the only person on this thread who has actually purchased and read this book? Why such an uproar if it’s all purported lies? The author says on her blog she is receiving death threats from family. Classy behavior. Can you say Taliban? Me thinks they protest too much (for it to be lies). Yes, I understand there are good people and warm, loving families in every community in the world. There is also a lot of “dark stuff” that goes on in communities where ultra-fundamentalist religious behavior thrives. There is nothing G-d honoring about misogny, pedophilia, or ignorance. Read the book and allow the woman her Constitutional rights as an American. Or don’t read the book and stop judging her. Judge not, lest you be judged, but if you must judge, judge righteously. What is hidden in the dark always comes out in the light.

  • utubefan February 16, 2012, 4:02 AM

    Heshy, you mentioned that the Chasidim are uneducated. I guess–and it makes sense–that you don’t know many Chasidic women. The ones I know are well-spoken and present their high school level education. The majority graduate high school which is not what Deborah Feldman wrote. I actually think that she and everyone else has a right to tell her story, but I do feel sorry about some of the lies that were quoted in the NY Post article. I also feel extremely annoyed that any time anyone mentions Mikvah with regard to Chasidim, no one brings up the fact that Chasidish men are Tovel in the Mikvah every single freaking day!!!! Mikvah is often used as an example of how Chasidim subjugate their women. Why wouldn’t anyone, especially that ridiculously silly group of Oprah women, bring that up??? And, btw, Chabad women who live in Boro Park are not going to be the well-spoken, savvy kind you see out of NY. They specifically send those out into the world. They know their customers and they know their men and women quite well so they match up people to their Shlichus. It also cracked me up that the Chasidish women profiled were all Chabad. What a copout. That isn’t a real picture of Chasidus in Boro Park and we all know it. I think the worst of what I had to hear in that series were their comments about the killing of Leiby and how none of that could be prevented and how they have not changed their lives at all. I would have appreciated hearing that they have begun speaking more openly with their children about being careful around strangers. That, to me, was the most upsetting moment of the Feldman/Oprah week.

    • Abe A February 16, 2012, 6:51 AM

      ” I think the worst of what I had to hear in that series were their comments about the killing of Leiby and how none of that could be prevented and how they have not changed their lives at all. I would have appreciated hearing that they have begun speaking more openly with their children about being careful around strangers. That, to me, was the most upsetting moment of the Feldman/Oprah week”.

      The lectures and therapy and newspaper colums and books on how to prevent it, were unending. Hello???!!!!

    • Critic February 16, 2012, 7:17 AM

      “Chabad women who live in Boro Park are not going to be the well-spoken, savvy kind you see out of NY”
      Chabad women in Boro Park? Apparently your knowledge of Chabad is somewhat limited.The number of Chabad people living in BP is minuscule. They tend to hang out in Crown Heights and most of them are just as well spoken and savvy as those living out of NY. The fact that they don’t fit the usual perceived Chassidish stereotype is not something negative. I used the word “perceived” because I think that Chassidim in general are being given a bum rap because of our misconception of their chosen lifestyle.Chassidim are actually the “Jews” of Judaisim.Just like Jews in general have always been perceived as cultist and clannish by the gentile world as Haman said to Achashveirosh “Yesh am echod mefurish umifurod”.Chassidim are the microcosm within the Jewish sphere that are looked upon in the same manner.

    • G*3 February 16, 2012, 10:11 AM

      > I also feel extremely annoyed that any time anyone mentions Mikvah with regard to Chasidim, no one brings up the fact that Chasidish men are Tovel in the Mikvah every single freaking day!!!! Mikvah is often used as an example of how Chasidim subjugate their women.

      Men are not required to go to the mikvah. Women are. A man being taamei has no practical consequences today. A woman being niddah does. Its as simple as that.

      • Critic February 16, 2012, 12:55 PM

        I’m not a regular mikveh goer myself and barely make it to one on erev Yom Kippur when it is a is a halachik obligation but as long as this custom,”chumra” if you will,is not forced upon me I see no reason to deny others the right to do so.
        There is a sound and legitimate basis for mikvah before Shacharit in the morning and here are just a few examples.
        Mikvah before Shacharit in the morning
        Talmud, Berachot 22a
        It is written: And you shall make them known to your children, and to your childrens children. The day on which you stood before HaShem your Gd at Chorev. Just as that day was experienced with awe and fear and trembling and shaking, so now it should be experienced with awe and fear and trembling and shaking. Based on this, they taught that a baal keri may not learn Torah.
        Talmud, Berachot 22a
        A baal keri who has 9 kav of water poured upon him is tahor.

        Talmidei Rabbeinu Yonah to Berachot 22a (13b in their pages)
        All of the rashei yeshivot in Bavel expressed amazement at him (Rambam) for being lenient regarding the immersions of a baal keri, and he replied that he never missed that immersion, even for a moment, but that he couldnt write anything in his Code other than that which emerged as the halachic law.
        Rambam, Mishneh Torah Hilchot Tefilah 4:6
        The common practice in Shinar and Sfarad is that a baal keri does not pray until he has bathed himself entirely in water, under Prepare to greet your G-d, Israel. This is true for one who is healthy, or for an ill person who has engaged in sexual relations. One who emitted keri unwillingly, though, is exempt from this act of bathing, and there is no custom for this.

        Talmud, Berachot 22a
        R Yannai said: I have heard that some are lenient in it (immersing rather than using 9 kav) and I have heard that some are strict in it. One who is strict in this matter for himself will have long days and years.
        There are also many Kabbalistic sources for tvillah which are beyond the scope of this discussion

      • Critic February 16, 2012, 1:08 PM

        “Mikvah is often used as an example of how Chasidim subjugate their women” so wouldn’t that mean that men that are tovel bemikvah on a daily basis do so because they are subjugated by women ):?

        • G*3 February 16, 2012, 7:50 PM

          No. Women are OBLIGATED, men are not. Women have to send their dirty underwear to male rabbonim to determine if they can tovel, men dont send their underwear to anyone, let alone to women. Women go to the mikvah because they are unclean if they dont and forbidden to their husbands. Men go to the mikvah because of well, Im not really sure. To socialize? Everyone is taamei anyway, and being taamei doesnt make the slightest bit of practical difference.

          • T February 16, 2012, 8:17 PM

            Taamei is not the same as unclean. In all honestly, the concept of niddah is beautiful. Tumah comes from death. A woman’s cycle, if the parts are healthy, represents the death of a possible Jewish neshama that could have entered the world. That’s the tumah, as I believe it. Any husband or man who denigrates his wife is the dirty one.

          • Critic February 16, 2012, 8:39 PM

            I see that you took my comment seriously.It wasn’t meant to be.I was trying to interject with a little humor here because of the personal and ugly nature that this whole series of comments has taken on..Sorry it fell flat.

            • Critic February 16, 2012, 8:54 PM

              By the way I tried to post quite a number of sources from the Talmud and the Rishonim including rational Jewry’s favorite Rishon, Rambam, that speak about the importance of daily tvilah for men.For some reason the post didn’t post.Maybe it’l show up later.
              There are many Kabbalistic sources for this minhag to.

  • Abe A February 16, 2012, 6:47 AM

    Has anyone here ever heard of a single Satmar girl ever being smacked by her principal? I have ties to that community and havent!

    I suppose everyone else whose child it happened to, is shoving this under the rug and allowing it to continue. Ha! A new scandal!

    • Anonymous February 16, 2012, 7:12 AM

      Youre embarrassing yourself. Stop talking before you incriminate yourself to prove a point.

    • abandoning eden February 16, 2012, 7:50 AM

      I was smacked by a teacher at a modern orthodox yeshiva, and I’m a girl, so it seems fairly plausible to me (the school denied it actually happened and never reported it, after forcing me to write a letter saying I was lying, which I was not. I was in first grade).

      • off February 16, 2012, 10:29 PM

        Thats terrible.

  • utubefan February 16, 2012, 7:09 AM

    AbeA, did you see the television interview? Did you hear it on XM radio the next morning? Did you hear what the women actually said? I did. At the end of the day, I am one of the biggest supporters of what Chabad does and of the warmth of the Chasidish way of life. I have family members and friends who are Chasidish and I get what the beauty of it is. I am just disappointed when they decide to speak out and then miss opportunities or sound ignorant. I would prefer they remain silent if they are going to present that way. As to the issue I raised, their words spoke for themselves. Try to get a hold of the interview so you can hear them. Very disappointing.

  • Ora February 16, 2012, 10:18 AM

    I bought the book (wireless) and read it in a manner of hours. I think many people are missing the bigger point here, “missing the forest for the trees.” There are many things about which DF writes which are SELF-revelatory, of which she herself does not appear to be conscious, which are HARDLY flattering.

    The carrying-on from her family/members of the Satmar community? Not surpising, nor exclusive to Hasidim (and I am not in any way supporting or condoning it).

    Many people huff that DV has written extremely, and yet doom any chance of reasonable discussion/analysis/conversation with vitriolic, often knee-jerk, posts.

  • 000646 February 16, 2012, 11:05 AM

    The biggest chilul Hashem of this whole thing is watching people like Abe A comment and deny that things that EVREYONE in the community knows happens.

    If you know anything about the Satmar or even Yeshivishe communities you know that they frown very strongly on women or even men eating out (It doesnt “Pas” for a Ben Torah Or Bas Melech etc.)

    You know that Satmar in Willi has a takanah that tennage girls should not be out side after certain times at night

    You know that many Satmar cannot even SPEAK english at a 4th grade level let alone read it!

    The fact that you think evreyone is to stupid to see through the propoganda you spout and that you are embaressed to admit publicly about the practices of your community is Chilul Hashem of such perportions that whatever Chilul Deborah feldman made pales in comparison

    • Critic February 16, 2012, 9:07 PM

      “If you know anything about the Satmar or even Yeshivishe communities you know that they frown very strongly on women or even men eating out”
      I’m not familiar with Satmar eating habits but Yeshivish and other Chassidic sectors are definitely into eating out.Boro Park, that other largely Chassidic neighborhood and Flatbush ,homeland of the Yeshivish crowd, probably have more eateries per square foot then then any other place one can think of.

  • Jason February 16, 2012, 11:30 AM
  • Anon. February 16, 2012, 11:35 AM


    • slander hurts February 16, 2012, 7:35 PM

      ill say it for you – sara devorah berkowitz – you are one piece of shit.
      is her mother even jewish? she is a bas sore u moreh….
      anyone on this blog- that did NOT live in willimsburg or a chasidic community and nevertheless you are defending that her book is true – you are all hypocrites…..how can you agree with neative claims against an entire sect of judaism based on heresay…?? u sound like you graduated with a 4th grade level IQ

      • G*3 February 16, 2012, 7:55 PM

        > u sound like you graduated with a 4th grade level IQ

        Yeah, okay. Thats not coherent. IQ is a measure of learning ability as compared to others in ones age group. Grade level is (an informal) measure of knowledge learned.

  • X February 16, 2012, 11:54 AM

    I cannot claim to be Jewish, Hasidic or otherwise, but I know enough about various cults to recognize one when I see one. What Deborah describes is a cult, and I applaud her for speaking up about her experience. I find it sad how so many frum Jews put her down in the most disgusting ways just because they a) haven’t experienced what she has, and/or b) do not want to cast a negative light on the community, lest outsiders think that they are all freaks. But what they fail to realize is that outsiders can figure out for themselves that Deborah’s story is that of a life in a cult, and not the life which your average MO or Lubavitch Jew lives!

    A few years ago, Carolynn Jessop published a similar book about her escape from the FLDS. Did everyone who read it start bashing all the mainstream Mormons because of her book? Of course not. Then why would they bash all Jews because of Deborah’s book?

    Also, it’s quite typical for someone emerging from an especially restrictive religious environment to “throw it all away.” Give her time, and most of all, respect and the right to make her own choices, as any responsible adult.

    • Anon February 16, 2012, 12:09 PM

      One of the best comments I’ve seen on the whole saga.

      • X February 16, 2012, 2:30 PM

        Why thank you!

    • Josh February 16, 2012, 12:29 PM

      Im not Hasidic also, yet Deborah Feldman Aka Deborah Berkowitz claims that Hasidic women are so sheltered, why are there so many Hasidic women on Facebook, blogs, twitter including frumsatire? telling everyone how its not true, if Hasidic women are so sheltered they would not be on Facebook, also I have been many times to various NYC Kosher eateries such as Kosher Delight and Ive seen Hassid women there both with girlfriends and families.
      Hassid women dont take their children to the doctors ?HUH! Hasidic women dont wear seat belts?!!!

      • X February 16, 2012, 2:30 PM

        Given the fact that most Satmar are not particularly tech-savvy (cell phones being a possible exception to the rule) and do not have internet at home, I strongly suspect that the most of the Hasidic women you say are on FB, blogs, Twitter, and Frumsatire are NOT the Satmar women which Deborah is referring to.

        • Josh February 16, 2012, 3:15 PM

          The Book is called “UnOrthodox” NOT “UnSatmerd”.

          • X February 16, 2012, 4:29 PM

            Yeah, that’s because “unorthodox” is actually a word. “Unsatmerd,” however, isn’t. Aslo, Satmar is a subset of what most people view as “orthodoxy.”

            I’m not too sure how any of this is relevant, though… *scratch head*

          • finally someone smart February 16, 2012, 8:26 PM

            you hit it on the head!!!

        • Critic February 16, 2012, 5:46 PM

          “Given the fact that most Satmar are not particularly tech-savvy”
          You sure about that? Have you ever been to B&H Photo?Check it out and then come back and tell me whether Satmar are or are not tech savvy.

          • X February 16, 2012, 6:37 PM

            I recall reading that the Satmar do no own TVs and generally shun internet within the home… Probably not representative of /all/ Satmar though, as you are quite right, B&H Photography is run by the Satmar community. Mind you, there is a big difference between selling cameras online and getting Wi-Fi in your home for your wife and kids to use.

  • Josh February 16, 2012, 12:44 PM

    Had she at least attempted to balance her many chapters filled with negativity by pointing to some of the many virtues and benefits existing in her former lifestyle and admit that even though she doesnt agree or believe or doesnt have innate discipline, theres much to be admired in this lifestyle and it has many gainful attributes, she might have deserved some respect. After all even a broken clock is right twice a day. Orthodoxy has to have some advantages, even to those who choose not to practice. Personally, I believe there are many advantages even in Chassidism, even though Im very far from Chassidic.

    No such thing. In her eyes, the Orthodox lifestyle is all nonsense. She really doesnt differentiate between Chassidism and modern day Orthodoxy, whose followers go to Mikva, as well, but are mostly highly educated with advanced degrees. There are great differences. She feels shes the brilliant enlightened heroine, who can transform the lives of everyone who is religious and naive, if theyd only experience the sweetness of her freedom. She has the key to the door of true happiness.

    I pity her for her pain and confusion and newfound aimless free fun, but I pity her son more, for having to live with and learn lifes lessons from a hateful, guiltless, vengeful person, who smugly chooses to mock and ridicule. Id love to read a book authored by her son in future years, detailing what it was like growing up with her as a mother. It would be especially interesting if he ever decides to be religious. It could happen. The BT movement is alive and kicking, mostly with highly educated and intellectual advocates.

    With all this she hopes to come out looking like a saviour for her efforts. A modern day saint.

    No, this is not a book limited to her personal troubled saga, this book details her perceptions of an entire community, as if most in the community secretly agree with her and are envious of what shes become. Her income perhaps, otherwise, no. Not true.

    Had she or the publishers clearly stated that the facts offered in the book relate to her family only, that might have been different. Wouldnt have sold too many copies though. Multiple reviewers have pointed out the many exaggerations and untruths.

    Kardashian shes not. No beauty. Not her fault, not her choice.
    Einstein shes not. No genius. Not her fault, not her choice.
    Joan Rivers shes not. No comedienne. Not her fault, not her choice.
    Just a babbling buffoon, a seethingly hateful person whose uppermost goal is fun.
    And that IS her choice.

    She is an example of what not to become, what not to aspire to be, capitalizing on hate, mockery, meanness and exaggeration.

  • Abe A February 16, 2012, 1:37 PM

    “If you know anything about the Satmar or even Yeshivishe communities you know that they frown very strongly on women or even men eating out (It doesnt Pas for a Ben Torah Or Bas Melech etc.)”

    BULL, My relatives ALL do! Who fills up Spoons in BP every night, if not them? Aliens from the Five Towns?

    “You know that Satmar in Willi has a takanah that tennage girls should not be out side after certain times at night”

    BULL, My relatives ALL are! I meet them regularly on 13th Avenue and department stores!

    “You know that many Satmar cannot even SPEAK english at a 4th grade level let alone read it!”

    BULL, My relatives daughters are ALL employed in top notch firms- running the gamut from accounting, law, real estate, decorating ! These girls are sharp, capable and very much desired at their jobs and always getting raises. I have some relatives and friends who saved up more than the cost of a college and masters degree from their nicely paying jobs in non-Jewish uppity offices!

    What are you smoking??? Im falling off my chair.

    If what you say exists in some families, thats different. BUT for her to make it seem like its the norm and not an exception to the norm, is INSANE!

    Btw, to go off on a tangent, if its only education, intellect, more worldliness, and some more freedom she was after, as opposed to dumping her heritage totally, why not become a Sterns girl?

    • G*3 February 16, 2012, 7:59 PM

      > Btw, to go off on a tangent, if its only education, intellect, more worldliness, and some more freedom she was after, as opposed to dumping her heritage totally, why not become a Sterns girl?

      Are you suggesting that the Satmar community wouldnt see going to Stern and adopting Torah Umaadah as NOT dumping her heritage totally?

      • G*3 February 16, 2012, 8:00 PM

        *would see*

  • Anonymous February 16, 2012, 1:57 PM

    I went to the same school she did, knew her parents, know her wonderful grandparents…..and for an outsider who does not know anything it appears like it’s all her story..But it aint. Because in spite of the fact that she had upheavel in her life and did not have the ordinary upbringing for which I am terribly sorry, she has injected all her pain and anger into her book…Because, we who know her, know that alot of stuff she says are BLATANT LIES!!!!!I I WOULD LIKE TO PERSONALLY CONFRONT HER AND ASK HER WHICH PRINCIPAL SLAPPED HER ASS AS SHE SAID…LET HER TELL IT TO US INTO OUR FACES….OR FOR THAT MATTER SHE LIES ABOUT LOTS OF STUFF.Woman having curfew…what a d…lie! Men not giving woman pleasure, Lie..Not touching “boobs”, what in the world is she talking about? nightgowns rolled up? Is she out of her mind???? Why doesn’t Simon and Shuster come and interview Hasidic woman and find out that the book she wrote should have been written as fiction, instead of her life story…which is not to say that everything she says is lies. I don’t know what happened in her basement, whether she was molested or not…but you know what…why would I believe her? Because I see with my own eyes that she lies about other stuff, so why believe what I think could actually happen. You know, it is hard to trust someone who lies….so she has just lost her credibility… because she was not honest with the things we know for a fact to be untrue. Sorry Deborah, you just did yourself in….big time.
    She won’t get away with it, because the backlash is coming fast and furious….We will stand up for what we believe in and the beauty of our way of life.The fact that she could not, or did not have the best of it, does not give her a right to pour manure of it…because it aint manure…it is a beautiful, exemplary way of life….for those who appreciate the values inherent in it.She could have chosen to find her own path “within the path” as so many have, instead she has chosen to leave the fold entirely and besmirch those who have tried to give her the best they could (her grandparents). What a nice way to show “hakoros hatov” (greatfullness). It only shows one thing….where her heart and soul are…And they are not in a good place right now. I definitely leave room open for repentance…I am not here to call her “black”..I feel she is going through a period of rebelliousness, which she didn’t do as a child and is now experiencing all those pent up feelings and releasing them. I have only pity on her and her beautiful child who are missing out on the beautiful mesorah that has been passed down to her through those who raised her.
    To all those who are not jewish and reading this: OUR LIVES ARE NOT DEVOID OF PLEASURE, WE HAVE VERY STIMULATING, EXCITING LIVES…As in every group, and in everything in life, some have better lives than others…but isn’t that the rule in life?…not just our community. Life is what you make it. You can make it exciting and wonderful or you can bitch about everything that you “don’t ” have. You can improve on your lot or you can whine….it’s up to all of us …and the way we perceive things. And everything could be done within the “confines” of our religious upbringing….which actually is not confining…rather liberating. For those who understand real freedom….having the freedom to have it all, is the biggiest confinement and having some confinements and rules, is the biggest

    • Chezzy February 16, 2012, 2:31 PM

      Yup — I’d say 4th grade level, for sure… 🙂

    • finally someone smart February 16, 2012, 8:39 PM

      THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      I also grew up chassidish and suri -deborah is a lier!!
      just had the most amazing s*x with my husband….no fuc*&%ng nightgown!!!! stupid bitch! and chassidish/ orthodox/ jewish men do now how to please or pleasure.. their wives.
      where is the satmar community??? im waiting for outrage. why are they not suing her for defamation? why isn’t her ex suing her for defamation? doesnt it bother im that she wrote such negative stuff about her? why is he allowing her to release pictures of his son?
      at first i thought they were staying quiet to let it die down…but she shows no signs of stopping.
      also, she is way worse than rebellios…rebellious are the OTD’s who choose to go off and do their own thing- which is fine….she is a modern day yoizel….traitor….her grandparents survived the holocaust…will they survive this mamzer? anywy, her lies are coming out…check out the post on failedmessiah which was taken from the jewish week….as high as she will go …i hope thats how great her fall will be…..we must defend the truth.

  • 000646 February 16, 2012, 2:01 PM

    Abe A


    We all know that you are lying! and that MANY MANY (probably most) satmar families would have a problem with their teenage girls eating out! Why are you so embarrassed about how your community (assuming you are Satmar) lives!

    You know that Beis Ruchel dsatmar tells their students to stay off the streets after a certain time you know that such a takanah exsists!

    As an aside Students are much more likly to get hit in a Satmar cheder then a M.O. or even regular yeshivish cheder.

    Stop denying facts. The frum communitie’s obsession with denying any fact that is inconvienient is the biggest Chilul Hashem in the past thousand years and turns more people away from judaisim then any book that people like Feldman may write

    • Critic February 16, 2012, 2:37 PM

      “As an aside Students are much more likly to get hit in a Satmar cheder then a M.O. or even regular yeshivish cheder.”
      Maybe in a Satmar cheder but remember she is speaking about her experience in a girls school and I highly doubt that corporal punishment is delivered in a girls school be it Satmar or otherwise.

    • Abe A February 16, 2012, 2:40 PM

      You are so BLATANTLY wrong!

      I am NOT Satmar, I am NOT Chassidic, FAR FROM! I have relatives who are Satmar though.

      I dont even understand how you could suspect that I am Satmar from my spelling. YOU are clearly a Chasid that you describe, based on your spelling alone! My Chassidic relatives can spell. I think the Twerskis and all the other Chasidic lawyers , doctors, psychologists, judges and assorted scientists and other professionals throughout the world can spell. OR PERHAPS they got their degrees and elevated positions by paying people off? Right?

      Oy veyz mir, buddy.

      Youre remarkable for your IGNORANCE! There are slow people in every population- Chassidic and not Chassidic!

  • becky February 16, 2012, 2:23 PM

    I’m curious to know what exactly deborah hoped to accomplish with her book.

    • G*3 February 16, 2012, 8:03 PM

      Make money, become famous, get people talking about her?

      Seems to be working so far.

  • X February 16, 2012, 2:23 PM

    Hold on there, so how many relatives do you have? Like, 10,000 or however many Satmar are in NYC? Wow, that’s a big family huh.

    Bottom line, whatever your relatives do or don’t do is not exactly representative of the whole populations.

    And quite frankly, what she did or did not become after leaving the Satmar is none of your business.

    • X February 16, 2012, 2:24 PM

      This was directed at Abe A. Sorry, technical problem—didn’t post as an answer to him.

    • Abe A February 16, 2012, 2:50 PM

      Whats the difference how many Chassidic relatives I have? Enough to know her descriptions apply to a very minute part of the Ultra Chassidic communty! I deal with Chassidim every day!

      You are so BLATANTLY (look that up in a dictionary) wrong!

      I dont even understand how you could suspect that I am Satmar from my spelling. YOU are clearly the Chasid that you describe, based on your spelling alone! My Chassidic relatives can spell. I think the Twerskis and all the other Chasidic lawyers , doctors, psychologists, judges and assorted scientists and other professionals throughout the world can spell. OR PERHAPS they got their degrees and elevated positions by paying people off? Right?

      Youre remarkable for your IGNORANCE (look that up, it might be beyond your unerstanding) ! There are slow people in every population- Chassidic and not Chassidic!

      • X February 16, 2012, 4:02 PM

        “Enough to know her descriptions apply to a very minute part of the Ultra Chassidic communty!”

        Exactly! She is only talking about her very small part of the Chasidic world (Satmar), incidentally the one she was raised in. Not the wider Chasidic community.

        I assumed you were Satmar because you have taken her statements regarding the Satmar and discredited them by referring your own family members. If I use some logic, that would mean that you and your relatives would also be Satmar. But I digress.

        But LOLOLOL at your comments regarding my spelling and knowledge of vocabulary. Note that I made no allusion whatsoever to your own spelling, grammar, usage, or vocabulary, so I’m not quite sure why you are being so aggressive… You said, “YOU are clearly the Chasid that you describe, based on your spelling alone!” Well, you couldn’t be any farther from the truth with this statement: I am an evangelical Christian. Ouch, I know. Before you ask though, no, I’m not going to ask you to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. I’m about as far from that type of evangelical Christianity as an MO is from Satmar Judaism.

        Nice talking to you, have a blessed day.

        • Abe A February 16, 2012, 4:26 PM

          And Im a famous ballerina with two left feet.

          Have a blessed day.

          • Babe A February 16, 2012, 8:52 PM

            you’re funny abe….omg…im laughing so hard…i agree with most of your posts….

  • becky February 16, 2012, 2:25 PM

    And btw it doesn’t make a difference if all those things she said about Satmar are true or not. Fact is most people who read her book will associate her storys with Jews as a whole, on who most things she wrote about do NOT apply.

    • X February 16, 2012, 2:46 PM

      Oh please.

      There’s tons of ugly stuff going on in the fundamentalist Christian cults and while some people like to generalize, the fact is that most realize that the guilty are part of a small fringe of nutcases who should be ignored or taken to justice when necessary.

      Things that need to be said should be said. People who feel unfairly judged need to differentiate themselves from those being denounced.

    • judaism attacked February 16, 2012, 8:49 PM

      you are 100% right becky. As shee also called her book UNORTHODOX. not UNSATMAR as a previous poster commented….so the stuff she wrote is about all orthodox jews…to the average gentile..who don’t know much about judaism….(forget about the bigots and anti semites….) yes, they will associate all jews with this book….

  • becky February 16, 2012, 2:29 PM

    And another thing, I don’t think it’s fair to judge her on her decisions since we were not in her shoes and we don’t know if we would have done any differently. But to bash the entire Jewish world in the face like that is totally unfair

  • Anonymous February 16, 2012, 2:34 PM

    Interesting enough if you google her name you will find many off the derech people comments are in disagreement with her in writing the book .One of the reasons they disagree with her becuase they come from the frum community too some are from satmar and they all claim that she is full of lies.

  • Chezzy February 16, 2012, 2:40 PM

    Breaking! At least one of her lies has now been rebutted:

    “‘Unorthodox’ Authors Claim Of Murder Cover-up Rebutted”


    Reached by phone, a relative of the deceased told The Jewish Week, I cannot understand how a person could possibly find it within themselves to fabricate such a gruesome story and slander a completely innocent, grieving and tragedy-stricken family in such a horrific way. The facts are that the boy had a long history of mental illness, and his family and the community did a lot to try and help this individual. It was a very tragic end to a life full of suffering.

  • Abe A February 16, 2012, 4:44 PM

    OH BOY!

    The lies are emerging!

    Jewish Week reports that Feldman’s story about the murder in Kiryas Yoel, which is retold in her book, is false!


    Good job, Deborah! You pulled the wool over S&S! You were so believable!

  • John February 16, 2012, 5:37 PM

    THe Jewish week, certainly no firend of the frum exposed one of her lies:
    I hope A. Nuran and some of the others here will stand up for the truth and condemn her lies. Or is that to much to ask, much like asking Heshy to have the same standards for frum media wh0res and antifrum media wh0res

  • Deborah's lies r unraveling... February 16, 2012, 8:24 PM

    From The Jewish week: deborah’s lies are starting to unravel…
    With allegations of communal cover-ups involving child sexual abuse dogging the haredi community over the past several years, it may not be much of a stretch for some readers to believe a gruesome story that appears in a new memoir about growing up in, and leaving, the Satmar community.

    The story, recounted by Deborah Feldman in Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots (Simon and Schuster), involves the alleged mutilation and murder of a boy by his own father supposedly for masturbating and the subsequent cover-up of the crime by Hatzolah, the communitys volunteer ambulance service.

    The only problem, however, is that based on information obtained by The Jewish Week, the story seems not be true.

    Feldman claims she first learned of the grisly crime from her husband who had, in turn, heard about it from his brother, allegedly a member of Hatzolah at the time, who had been called to the blood-soaked scene. Apparently, the boys penis was cut off with a jig saw and his throat was slit too, Feldman writes.

    Feldman recounts that her husband told her his brother said the neighbors told him they heard loud arguing coming from the house. When he called the [volunteer ambulance] dispatch, they told him to go home and keep quiet about it, that they would take care of it. He said they buried him in thirty minutes and they didnt even issue a death certificate.

    In a pre-publication interview with Julie Wiener in The Jewish Week, Feldman was questioned about the veracity of the story. Feldman not only insisted that she was not lying, but asserted that the father was known to be mentally ill and implied that he had escaped justice for his crime.

    I worry about his other children, Feldman told Wiener, and I worry about people thinking if he could get away with that, then they can get away with anything.

    This is not the first time Feldman has made this allegation. Indeed, in December of 2008 it appeared on her then anonymous blog, Hasidic-Feminist, where it was described as a Class A secret. In the blog post, Feldman recounted the story of a thirteen year-old boy [who] had been castrated with a jig saw and bled to death.

    The incident, according to Feldman, took place two years ago on an Erev Shabbos in [Kiryas Joel]. She goes on to elaborate that when Hatzolah arrived at the crime scene (a basement) and tried to question the father, he refused to cooperate, saying only that his son deserved it and that he was a chazar, a pig, because he touched himself. Feldman then notes that no police report was ever filed and the boy was under ground in 30 minutes. People of KJ, she warned, a murderer walks in your midst.

    While some of the 31 comments on the blog post were credulous of Hasidic-Feminists claims, several expressed serious skepticism. At least one claimed knowledge that the death was in fact a suicide and that the young man (who, one commenter noted, was not 13 but 19) was well known to have been mentally ill.

    Our community would not have ignored a murder, wrote a commenter with the screen name Product, but anyone familiar with Hasidic culture knows that any mention of a familial disgrace such as suicide would be stifled. This explains why the story is so shrouded in mystery.

    A few commenters even chastised Feldman, in the guise of Hasidic-Feminist, for not reporting her knowledge to the police. [No] one has gone to the police, she responded to one of these charges, because no one wants to be publicly outed as a musser a tattletale. Thats a sin that merits honor killing.

    However, The Jewish Week confirmed that the state police do in fact have a record of the incident and its office provided the paper with the names of two of its investigators called to the scene, John Van Der Molen and Michael Colern. Calls to the two officers were not returned Thursday.

    Further, a death certificate obtained by The Jewish Week indicates that the death which it noted occurred in a storeroom on a Friday afternoon in Kiryas Joel around the approximate date Feldmans blog alleged was ruled a suicide by coroner Thomas A. Murray, and lists the cause of death as partial decapitation, severed carotid arteries due to circular saw. The deceaseds age was listed as 20.

    Several e-mails to Feldman and her publisher, Simon and Schuster, seeking comment did not receive a response.

    Privacy laws prevent Hatzolah from commenting on any case, but Moses Witriol, the director of public safety and chief constable for Kiryas Joel, told The Jewish Week that the story was patently false.

    When the first Hatzolah member showed up on the scene, he cordoned off the area and contacted the public safety office, which in turn immediately contacted the state police. Except for them and the coroner, no other people were in the room [where the boy was found]. The state police conducted a full and thorough investigation and interviewed every member of the family.

    If Mrs. Feldman knows about a crime in the village [of Kiryas Joel], Witriol continued, I invite her to come forward to law enforcement.

    Reached by phone, a relative of the deceased told The Jewish Week, I cannot understand how a person could possibly find it within themselves to fabricate such a gruesome story and slander a completely innocent, grieving and tragedy-stricken family in such a horrific way. The facts are that the boy had a long history of mental illness, and his family and the community did a lot to try and help this individual. It was a very tragic end to a life full of suffering.

    • OfftheDwannaB February 17, 2012, 8:25 AM

      You are the same person just reposting under different names, and agreeing with and complimenting yourself. Very nice. You need a life.

      • Ano February 18, 2012, 9:09 PM

        PROVE IT!!!!

  • Suzy Q February 17, 2012, 9:05 AM

    The persona posting as abandoning Eden is devorah Feldman

  • wert February 17, 2012, 9:16 AM

    Here is an explanation offered by DF. make of it what you will:

    “The way I related that story in the book was exactly the way it happened to me: in a conversation. I described a dialogue word for word in which my husband told me the story his brother had told him. I made no claims about the story itself, or if it was true, I just described hearing it being told to me and my reaction to that telling. It was more about the conversation than the actual story. Since then Ive received a lot of messages about that story; some people seem convinced it was a murder, others are inclined to dismiss it as a suicide. Either way its tragic, but again, I dont make any claims as to its veracity. I hope someone does uncover the truth though.”

    • Ano February 18, 2012, 9:10 PM

      The blind leading the blind, all to make a buck!

  • becky February 19, 2012, 8:36 AM

    Yes it’s not right to badmouth a community but since when do we care what other people think? We know that our way of life is true and good so who cares what the world thinks?

  • Sara February 19, 2012, 10:43 AM

    The reality is every segment of society has bad apples. And Satmar is not for everyone; Deborah had the option of leaving and becoming modern orthodox. She chose to throw out the baby with the bath water…..

    • Moish the spacedout BT May 12, 2012, 7:55 PM

      Debora was never given the opportunity to savor Modern Orthodoxy. Young Israel was treifed out of her neighborhood years ago and it was drummed into her head by her family, school and community that MO is completely outside the frame of reference. When frum kids go OTD they don’t try stopping at a Young Israel.

  • Sara February 19, 2012, 10:45 AM

    I read her book cover to cover and she is very angry at G-d. So she threw out her entire religion and all of its laws and customs. She currently has her ten minutes of fame. She also has a young, innocent child who will grow up very confused.

  • c.f. February 19, 2012, 11:28 AM

    I am a young satmar graduate from the same school as Feldman and am horrified by the amount of lies and slander she has depicted. It is despicable how she mocks our school from which I have only fond memories of. I certainly don’t consider myself having a fourth grade education and am pretty confident with my knowledge in many differnt areas. Our students graduate from school well educated and intelligent. If someone would like to pursue a career that’s perfectly fine. However most of us choose not to since we tend to marry young and look forward to stay home to raise our families.
    Every word she writes about sex is false. I have a wonderful and satisfying relationship with my husband. I will not go into detail as it is below my dignity to discuss such an intimate topic so publicly.
    I don’t know where she takes her ideas about safety from. Of course we need to rely on god but we need to do the proper steps to ensure our well being. I carefully strap m son into a car seat and always make sure to belt myself properly. I am a regular visitor at the doctors office too.
    Is it fair to believe the rantings of one confused soul and making assumptions on an entire community?

  • becky February 20, 2012, 10:15 AM

    On another note, I went out with my friends last week to Manhattan. We ate dinner in a restaruant (!!!!!!) and we then went ice skating. It was a blast! Anyway we were in the subway and a mexican woman was staring at us and our long skirts and whispered to her husband, ” I hate Jews”. Let me tell you something. At that moment, we we’re so PROUD to be Jewish! Why is everyone obsessed with Jews ? With Israel? Because they KNOW we’re different. Better. Moral. And they can’t handle the fact. FIST BUMP anyone? C’mon Deborah ! Yes life is hard and confusing, but when we get down to it, there’s nutin like a warm NORMAL Hasidic Jew. Like you said you miss the cholent! Hey Debs! We are the Chosen People! BE PROUD OF IT!

  • shame on you debora February 23, 2012, 5:13 PM

    Debora is a lost soul who will never fit in anyhwere. Her many inconsistencies portray her as product of a mentally unstable background, and it seems that the gene has been passed on to her. After reading her book, which was nothing more than a typical coming of age story, I was left underimpressed. Her media circus created noise, but her book…ehhh. Two years from now, you’ll find it in a discounted Walmart- and maybe Debora will be behind the checkout counter …

  • becky February 26, 2012, 7:34 AM

    all this back lashing is a chillul Hashem

    • Anon February 26, 2012, 8:24 AM

      Becky, perhaps you have a point.

      Lets praise her for the great media attention she has garnered and suggest to her that she continue being a crusader for women’s rights throughout the world, using the same tools she has employed with the Unorthodox book.

      Can she or Simon & Schuster, alone or in partnership, use their energies similarly, to combat the beheading of women in public squares, in the Middle East and beyond, for suspicion of unfaithfulness or even having been raped, for simple suspicion, no proof needed, of having dishonored their families that way?


      Now that would be heroic.

      She could be a REAL cause celebre.

  • Civie March 4, 2012, 11:10 AM

    Very true one does not have to give up religion totally – there is a middle road.

  • To Proud Foulmouthed Footstepers March 4, 2012, 11:19 AM

    To G*3 and all others who prodly indulge in Footsteps lingo:

    Ive seen more Orthodox Jewish kids move to the right religiously than to the left, choosing to be MORE religious than their parents.
    YU, and Sterns, both highly respected Modern Orthodox undergrad schools, with medical and law schools of their own, have a great percentage of their graduates, many doctors and lawyers among them, who choose to be more religious than their parents and upbringing and raise their children more religiously.
    This desire is not coming from naive or unworldly individuals.
    And then theres the very tiny minority of Jews, like Ms Feldman, and graduates of Footsteps, the foulmouthed OTD mill, who have no use for religion, and like Ms Feldman, would do anything for a buck, even trashing her beloved Bubbie who sacrificed tremendously for her in any way needed, and trashed all her beloved Bubbie held dear, to make the book more successful.

    Thats what they teach in Footsteps, the OTD school, where these foulmouths become more so and proud of it, very different than YU and Sterns.

  • Anonymous March 4, 2012, 9:06 PM

    Oy vey, my brain is boiling, I have so much to say! First, let me state that there are good and bad an hypocracy in any group. I don’t agree that MOs pick and choose the laws they observe. I think they do the best they can. To some people MOs are pretty strict. It’s all subjective and where you’re coming from that matters. Truthfully, things have gotten way out of hand in terms of laws of niddah going way over the top with ridiculous skirt lenghts and the stupidity of the wig/hair covering situation we have now. This is not about Hashem and Torah. Nothing in Torah mentions wigs. Women in biblical times wore veils over their heads, but that was the fashion of the times. Now, the frummiest Jewish men wear black and white exclusively with borselino hats. Where did this come from? Europe of centrues past . Eastern Europe. This is not where our religion was borne, not at all. That dress is not of THE HEBREW PEOPLE. Why don’t we look back at the times of the Torah and figure out what the Avos and Imahot wore and take an example from that. I’m sure they didn’t have seams up their stockings and they certainly wore colors. Sephardim are huge on color. In a nutshell the proble we are having these days is with groups that came from parts of the diaspora, where the customs of those regions are so adhered to, they are mistaken for law. Then there are the rabbis who make these declarations that we should do things this way or that way. IMO this millitarization of Chassidic groups is dangerous because it denies the spirit behind the law and makes the custom into law. People then do whatever they are told to do so they won’t be shunned by their next door neighbor who is in their face every day. Community is not always a great thing, you see.
    In my daydreams I go to these communites and somehow make them see that they are traveling too far away from the intentions of the very Torah they love. A woman has to be the one to do that…like me…. but the rabbis, the male rabbis, of course, won’t listen to me because I’m a woman.

    What if each couple were resonsible fort their own Taharat Mishpacha and didn’t go and show some old rabbi soiled women’s panties. Interesting thet the underwear is not analyzed by a woman, a rebetzin, or someone like that. Truth to tell, showing this kind of thing to a rabbi is the very definition of having NO modesty at all.
    So much is wrong with Chassidism today. It’s all become mechanical and ritualistic. So much law, all the time; no wonder we make great lawyers. But there needs to be a major overhaul in Judaism. (and please don’t call it Yiddishkeit, because we’re not all Ashkenaz. Read as much Torah for yourself , read the mishna, look through the gemmara and make your own decisions. Let people serve Hashem the best way they can, and let them keep their style of observance to themselves and accept all Jews. Not everyone was raised with full observance, but those that do observe do what they can and their hearts are in the right place. I really don’t think Hashem wants us to judge our fellow Jews. Judaism is not an easy road, so give your fellow Jews (not Yids) some slack, please. Be glad and proud of what rituals you do, but don’t judge another person because his hat is not black or he doesn’t have a beard. Doing so will inihillate any mitvot done.

    I am a Rabbi given smicha by Rabbi Joseph Gelberman and we’re a modern group and a liberal group, but most of all a spiritual group. I would love to reach out to these chassidim and very politely remind them that the spirit of the law is just as important as the nitpicky details and that maybe they should reevaluate some things for themselves, without the ok from whomever their rebbe is. This is in attempt to save Judaism. Any thoughts on what we might be able to do?

  • Abe March 4, 2012, 9:53 PM

    “What if each couple were resonsible fort their own Taharat Mishpacha and didnt go and show some old rabbi soiled womens panties. Interesting thet the underwear is not analyzed by a woman, a rebetzin, or someone like that. Truth to tell, showing this kind of thing to a rabbi is the very definition of having NO modesty at all”.

    Convince the many hundres of thousands of Orthodox doctors and lawyers psychiatrists psychologists and judges, CEO’s, etc, who are doing it just that way, (who are not Chasidim) that YOU have decided that you have a better way.

    While you might have some good intentions, buried down deep, you smokin’ something? Who are you?

    I needed a good laugh.

  • Chana (Tracey)S, Glick March 8, 2012, 6:45 PM

    I’m not spending precious time on this, but I do have one thing to say, EDIT please. If you’re trying to make a point, do yourself a favor, and learn how to write first.

  • Moish the spacedout BT March 29, 2012, 6:33 PM

    All I know is that my neighbor went to Karlin Stolin yeshiva and the first month his rebbe kept slapping him for saying “du” instead of “rebbe”. He claimed he was never informed this was school policy!

  • Moish the spacedout BT April 9, 2012, 8:41 PM

    Satmar women run a plethora of sophisticated businesses in Wmsburg and Boro Park. This doesn’t lend credo to the idea that Satmar girls schools turn out ditzes.

  • well April 24, 2012, 8:45 AM

    Hey Deborah, I think it’s time you become chabad.

  • Abe May 2, 2012, 8:00 AM

    The proof of the pudding will reveal itself when her son, who observes her from within her four walls, makes his life choices. What book might he write about her and his relatives? Is Deborah limiting or encouraging contact with his blood relatives? That’ll be a more interesting read.

  • Ofer Zeev July 2, 2012, 2:25 AM

    Big whoop. Some slut decides shes tired of the dietary restrictions, wants to wear a tube top, hates missing Saturday TV shows, and wants to sodomize with bar acquaintances. So what else is nu. Isn’t it a free country?

  • Abe July 8, 2012, 6:57 AM

    Ofer Zeev, L U V it!

    What will she do next to attract attention and make some dough?

    What does she tell her son is the reason she has no connection to blood relatives? Theyre not beer guzzling, bar hopping publicity addicts like herself? Aw.

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