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My two cents on the Chaya Xo Jane article

So many people have asked me what I think of the Chaya Article that I decided to put in my two cents. I think just about every Jewish person on the internet has seen it, commented on it and shared it by now. Just in case you’re living underneath a rock or actually listened to the Asifa ranters, it’s an article written by a baalas teshuva about all the negative attention that frum women get in the media and how she’s sick of it.

The reason why the article is receiving so much flack from within the frum community is because it’s pretty much a lie. Yes the article is written for non-Jews, to show them how open minded Chassidic women are but it’s coming from a baalas teshuva who is chabad, of course she’s happy and excited with her position, but in no way does it represent most other Chassidish women who are forced into marriages with men they aren’t attracted to and cannot leave their communities if they wanted to.

I think the only people who really understand why the article is a farse have got to have some experience in multiple communities. Yes, it’s written for non-Jews and what do non-Jews know from the subtle and not so subtle differences and sects within the ultra-orthodox community. On the surface it’s great, frum woman writes article, no one except for the small community of frummies online knows the truth – everyone wins. Dig a bit deeper though and it’s only telling the side of a woman who has the skills to leave the community should she choose to. She mentions that she could leave anytime, but when you don’t speak English, have no secular education and no support system it’s not that easy. Add to that the fact that your family will most likely disown you and you may even receive threats – it becomes not so simple for chassidish women to leave their communities.

Two very good blog posts pertaining to the Chaya Article worth checking out:

Eliyahu Finks post which takes her to task

And the rebuttle of Fink from Pop Chossid

Basically the point of the article is to raise awareness about ultra orthodox women in a positive light, but that’s hard to do when you yourself are not ultra orthodox, I’m sorry but chabad is too open minded, down to earth and embracing the internet to ever be considered ultra orthodox by anyone in the know. So does that mean the article is good? One can say that since non-frummies don’t know the subtleties it’s fine, but isn’t that lying then?

Find out more about Baal Teshuvas on 4torah.com

 

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • AC

    Kind of like how Oprah talks to members of Chabad and claims that she somehow infiltrated the closed hassidic community. Try that in NS of KJ.

  • Velvel

    It is not a lie. She is talking about her experience within the chassidic community. Maybe if he had said orthodox women rather than chassidic it would have been better as it is fairly representative of most orthodox women, but probably not of most chassidic women. Talking down to her and judging her writing b/c she is chabad and BT is typical of the ignorant, patronizing, ffb mentality popchassid mentioned. You and R’Fink both don’t get it and probably never will. Doesn’t seem like either of you – especially ‘rabbi’ fink is very happy with your own Yiddishkeit. Sorry if I’m being harsh, but I think a little gevurah is in order. She tells it like it is (for most of us anyway) and pulls no punches and make no apologies. All the secular, wanna-be feminists and self-hating frummies may bristle and seeth upon reading her piece, but I am inspired by it. I hope it is only the start of a much needed wider discussion between Jews of all stripes and shades.

    • CM in CH

      Amein!

    • Actually we get it more than you, I think her piece was great, but I also think it’s misleading. She tells it like it is for a very small percentage of the CHASSIDIC community, she’s trying to give it over as if the CHASSIDIC community is open minded, try to find me some Satmar or Viznitz girls that could write that without having their families threatened. What Fink and I are both saying is that she should have said ORTHODOX instead of Chassidic, but since she said chassidic it is a lie…not a lie for a small percentage of modern orthodox chabadnicks though.

      • batsheva

        You and Rabbi Fink nailed it, Heshy. You even brought up some salient points that Fink forgot–like the idea that many non-Chabad, Chassidic women don’t even speak English in the US!

      • Anonymous

        Well instead of vague character attacks, why don’t you or Fink go throuh her list of 5 statements and argue which ones you believe don’t apply to generic chassidm. Fink’s essay was attacking her right to an opinion, a general statement of the differences in Hassidic sects and his view of the jewish feminine role. He should have emphasized more the flaws he believed he found in the essay.

      • chevramaidel

        I think she sees herself as representative of women in the Chassidic community because when Lubavitchers say “Chassidus”, they mean Chabad.

        • Anonymous

          I think you hit the nail on the head. I cringe everytime people talk about how chasids are/do things when they start hanging out at the Chabad house. I mean really…

    • ISR

      So does Heshy and his future wife have different opinions on this?? Should make for stimulating pillow talk….!

    • i agree!

      Well put! I am a chabad chassidah. I wouldn’t change it for the world!
      That said, chabad chassidim and satmar are completely different

      • Titanium

        I’m picturing a stork in a black hat, unkempt beard and gartel trying to convince someone to put on tefillin…

  • beans

    This is easily turning into satmar vs. chabad. BT vs FFB, and all that other predictable crap. To clarify and bring peace, (and truth) I propose Chaya officially states that the offensive pronouns “we” “us” be forgiven, reiterate that she IS in fact only meaning to represent herself and her inner circle if you will. I haven’t heard one single person suggest that she is wrong in writing her personal experience. The problem lies in her MISrepresenting a already awfully underrepresented group. This core issue has been brought up time and time again and ignored, if there is any respect for the true Orthodox Jewish women’s voice this issue must be addressed by the responsible party because this is the crux of the issue that I’ve seen stated over and over again on various pieces and threads.

    • Thank you for clarifying, for the record I welcome this article with open arms and think it to be a great Kiddush Hashem. It is nice to see something positive coming from someone frum. I myself am proud to have someone like Chaya writing pieces like this, I just wish it would come from someone with experiences like arranged marriages, lack of education and lack of sexual knowledge who overcame those things and still lives a frum life and is happy. Unfortunately, if something like this came out of any other ultra orthodox community it would most likely be written by someone who wasn’t frum anymore – see that should be our focus.

      • how about

        Ruchi Freier is a Chassidic FFB lawyer, many of whose clients are Satmars. She’s not representative of her community and she got pushback from both them and secular educators when she decided to go to law school. Her husband was very supportive. She’s also behind the effort to have a women’s Hatzolah equivalent. Working to move the community forward and bucking norms while still being accepted. Well, some people definitely disapprove, but as far as I know she’s still part of her community.

        • Sam

          Women’s hatzola was the dumbest move in history. If she has nothing to do, let her to visit sick people or the like. If she needs lights and sirens in her car, she can join the local first aid squad.

      • batsheva

        Absolutely. I really liked her piece. If she would have eliminated the plural first person pronouns, and made it clear that she was just speaking for herself and maybe people she knows, and if she would have used “Orthodox” instead of Chassidic, the piece would have been perfect. But Chabad is very different from the rest of Chassidism, and implying they are the same the way she did is just a lie.

        • Anonymous

          “Orthodox instead of Chassidic, the piece would have been perfect.”

          agreed.

  • CM in CH

    I didn’t know we had to show our papers at the door for being Lubavitch and BT.

  • Velvel

    Oh and who cares if she left out a few issues? It was an opinion piece, not a scholarly dissertation about chassidic life in the modern age. She got an important and relevant message across that Judaism in itself and chasidism in of itself doesn’t oppress anyone. There are bad people and victims of bad experiences in every group.

    • She did and it’s a good thing, also the fact she’s getting all these links means that more ignorant folks will read it and maybe change their ignorant opinions of Jewish women who choose to be religious.

      • Velvel

        B’H! And yes I agree she probably shoudl have said orthodox rather than chassidic. I don’t think people would be dragging satmar etc into this discussion quite as much if she had. But I ask you…What makes someone ‘chassidic?’ Weird lavish and insularity?? Those chassidim are supposedly the ‘real’ chassidim while the happy, friendly, every-Jew-loving Chabadniks are somehow lesser chassidim or ‘modern orthodox.’ Heshy, I know you are smart and like Chabad and have studied a bit of history. I am not trying to malign anu chassidic group here (although obviously I have a Lubavitch bias), but which do you think best represents the values of the Baal Shem Tov? The ones who try to find sparks of G-dliness in everything and spread Torah knowledge and education as well as love to Jewish children and all those Jews more simple in their Jewish education or the ones who send death threats, throw rocks at cars on shabbos, spit on women who are not tznius (by their standards), and shut themselves off from the world? Maybe we should think again when trying to figure out who is chassidic and who is just a wanna-be. PS I love your video about why chabad is not chassidishe and I get what you mean, but I still think I raise a valid objection.

  • rebpipik
    • Finally Free

      As much negative press as been said about Deborah Feldman, this article is SPOT ON. Her point by point rebuttal is truthful and honest and speaks more to those of us who felt the pain of living a lie than the “beauty” of being controlled by religion.

      • Anonymous :)

        She also is only speaking from her point of view. I don’t know if every single satmar had the exact same experience as her.

    • Critic

      Ms.Feldman, the highly educated(by the renowned Satmar educational system)has become a theologian of the highest order as can be seen by her “educated” theological take about Chabad as posted on her blog.
      ” Chabad broke off from the world of Hasidic Jews when they declared their Rabbi the next Jesus. Yes, they are waiting for a resurrection, or a second coming, whichever, and woe to the Lubavitcher Chasid that claims otherwise, as Ive heard from some who were severely beaten in punishment”
      And here I thought that the physical attacks that sometime takes place on the Chabad heretics in Crown Heights are a result of black on white crime.How ignorant of me.
      I’ve got to cut this comment short because I’m late for Mass at my local church after which I have a shir on the upcoming imminent resurrection or second coming.

      • Critic

        Forgot to mention that I also have a daily shiur with Father McMendel where we learn the a portion of St.Thomas Aquinas’s magnum opus Summa Theologi,this in addition to Chumaah,Thillim and Tanya. Before I lay my head down to sleep I will face the picture of you know who and recite the Lords prayer once again reiterating my fervent wish for the second coming,as all good Chabadnics do.

    • Velvel

      Wow, she straight up lied about chabad. She should practice what she preaches and not discuss anything or anyone she knows nothing about.

  • Laurie

    Another vote for Velvel’s position. I live in a mixed community and have many Hassidic friends, including FFBs and including many non-Chabadniks (no Satmars/Gur/other isolationsts). Many confide in me as an “outsider” so I have a bit of an understanding of their lives. Their rate of satisfaction with their lives is pretty much what you’d find in the general population. Approximately the same percent are happy with their marriages, approximately the same percent are happy with their choices, approximately the same percent are married to jerks, etc.

    I’m a little confused as to when you allowed the isolationist Hassidic groups to take over the monopoly on “Hassidic.” Hassidim are followers of the Ba’al Shem Tov and their personal Rebbe. Breslev is another Hassidic group that doesn’t feel that it has to circle the wagons in order to be called Hassidic. And there are a lot of them.

    In the same way that you can’t have one person representing the entire Jewish people with their ideas, you can’t have one person representing the entire Orthodox population, or the entire Hassidic population. So in that way, the Chaya post was mis-representative.

    But it was an honest reaction of a Hassidic woman who is happy with her lifestyle and annoyed to have anyone else trying to tell her that she shouldn’t be happy.

    • You should read my post on Chabad being Hassidic but not Chassidishe…that should clarify things for you. If she was from a regular Chassidishe community and wrote such a piece, the rebbe may have sent one of his gabbaim to burn her house down.

      • Rebecca

        Bingo, Heshy.

  • chevramaidel

    There has been a great deal of generalizing going on, in the original article and in most of the responses to it from both sides. For one thing, I don’t believe that “most other Chassidish women… are forced into marriages with men they arent attracted to”. Yes, I personally know women who entered marriages much too quickly under pressure from their families, and found themselves married to virtual strangers with whom they had nothing in common. I also know women who love their husbands. We probably hear more stories of the first kind, though. First of all, they make news. Also, you’re unlikely to hear a frum woman talking about how sexy her husband is. It’s considered untznius. Divorce is not unheard of in the secular world, either. My guess is that every group has its happy and unhappy marriages.

    • Yochanan

      To me all this

      “Frum woman are opressed by their insular society.”

      “No there not! I’m a frum woman and I feel it’s liberating.”

      “Shut up! Your a BT.”

      Basically a bunch of little kids saying “Is not!” “Is too!”

  • Kiruv Krises

    There is a simple solution to this debate. We just need to wait patiently for an FFB Satmar woman to write an article discussing her actual experience. Let us all wait patiently for the article that I’m sure will inevitably come soon.

    • Sounds like a good idea for a post

    • Hahaha! Awesome comment KK.

    • tesyaa

      Didn’t Shpitzle Shtrimkind already kinda write about her experiences as a Satmar FFB?

      • Yes, I wear a shpitzel

        I don’t know if I’m up for a whole post, but I actually am an FFB Satmar wife, in an arranged marriage, gone through the Satmar educational system and lived to tell the tale. I’m happily married, as are all my friends and people I know, and I am satisfied in every area of marriage. I loved Chaya’s article, because I related to every word of it. Well- maybe it wouldn’t be so easy for me to leave, but frankly I wouldn’t want to. I’m happy, thriving, fulfilled, and I don’t think I am the minority. Some of us could be really great people, if you’d only get to know us…

        • Rebecca

          Do I have to be Satmar to get to know you? Will you have the freedom to come into my world so we can be friends or will I only be allowed get to know you in your world?

        • Velvel

          Yes I wear a Shpitzel,

          Thank you so much for shedding so much needed light on this discussion. It figures that when Chaya wrote something that shatters people’s preconceived notions, the reaction is to defame her and say ‘oh what does she know, she’s bt’ or ‘oh well she is lubavitch’. The naysayers try to discredit her by saying her experience must be unusual and not representative due to her background. Thank you for shattering the myths such people believe in even further by telling us a little about how happy you are with life.

          • Yes, I wear a shpitzel

            Yes Rebecca, we can be friends. I do have some non-Satmar friends, admittedly not that many. I choose my friends carefully – I’m not here to “make nice” to the world, I’m here to do my best to grow and become the best person I can be. I try to surround myself with people who share these goals and who will help me in my quest toward perfection, not distract from it.
            Velvel – Thank you for your encouragement. you’re right, the world needs to hear from more of us happy people, in general, we don’t hang out on these sights, and as another poster mentioned, we don’t go around divulging our most intimate secrets. It pains me that the voices of the bitter few are louder than the ones who are truly happy and content,but I think that every person has their own obligation to seek the truth and I don’t think anything I or my counterparts would say would really change their preconceived notions.
            I pray for the day when we all learn to love and respect each other and leave all this hate and judgement behind us.

            • Seriously??

              shkoiach!

  • What if some woman writes into us from Yemen how upset she is at the media’s portrayal of the state of Muslim women and wonderful this Muslim lifestyle is and how she can leave whenever she wants and how beautiful the Korans view of women is and how all her friends are so happy etc, and she just fails to mention that shes an educated American with enough resources and means and outside ties to leave whenever she wants, and the country really has no way of stopping her because shes an American citizen?

    I wonder if the baalei tshuva here can see how much of an outrage that would cause among Arabic women who left Muslim countries to live in America and who are trying to raise awareness of the abuse they and their sisters and mothers are going through. And how they would respond to things like “Im sorry you went through that, but thats not how REAL Islam is supposed to be like.” Fuck you, thats EXACTLY how real Islam is, whether you live it or not. How dare you cover up someone else’s pain to promote your agenda, however noble your dreams for the future are.

    You know who else did that? The socialists in England during Stalins reign when millions of people were being slaughtered in Russia. Killing reports of mass starvation to save their own dreamworld. If you think for a moment thats what God wants, you need to seriously rethink your priorities.

    Do research. Look at the facts on the ground. And then talk. Dont fake that you know how other people live to promote your own life choices.

    • Spot on bro! Make it into a post please

    • Seriously??

      Her happiness is not dependent on the fact that she can leave if she wants to.

      I agree that Torah Jews should be highly educated, and that G-d wants us to make choices. But there is nothing wrong with a woman saying that she *likes* the results of the choices she has made!

    • chanah

      Couldn’t agree more, OfftheDwannaB!

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  • AT In CH

    Hi I think that it is defiantly a gross misrepresentation to pass off chabad as “Chassidusm” as a whole. I can also see how someone that was not given choices as we are in chabad might be really hurt by the article. The things that are going on in the “Chassidic” Community (more especially to women and children) are frightening and nearly irrepressible. However in chabad we see ourselves as a part of “Chassidusm” as a whole even if it is untrue. So when people hurl this diatribe against the “Chassidic” Community we feel the need to defend ourselves but in truth we don’t to because we are in a better place then those people. This is not to say that dont have a lot of areas to improve because we do but at least we working on it.

  • another anon

    >The problem lies in her MISrepresenting a already awfully underrepresented group. This core issue has been brought up time and time again and ignored, if there is any respect for the true Orthodox Jewish womens voice this issue must be addressed by the responsible party because this is the crux of the issue that Ive seen stated over and over again on various pieces and threads.

    Is it really such a big deal that the treatment of Chassidic women is allegedly misrepresented in one article on a secular website? It’s an article for non-Jews/secular Jews, and most frum Jews already know very well about the issues with the treatment of women in the Orthodox/Chassidic community. If anything’s going to change, it’s going to come from within the community, so in this sense the perceptions of the secular world really doesn’t make any difference. In all other senses, it’s a Kiddush Hashem to have a frum woman writing so positively about her experiences. Obviously, I’m not saying it’s okay to lie, but she’s not doing that.

  • G*3

    Everything she writes is technically true, but its all very misleading. Sure, she could leave whenever she wants but then she couldnt come back. Halacha doesnt see sx as dirty the way Christians do, but frum society certainly does.

  • Finally Free

    Also check out The Forward’s response to this article:

    http://blogs.forward.com/sisterhood-blog/#story-2

    Dvora Meyers writes a very compelling piece and makes very valid arguments.

  • It’s basically the same “Queen of the Home” archetype that has been repackaged ever since women started agitating for the right to vote. Basically, a happily married person in “x” group of women doesn’t understand why everyone is agitating against the status quo. After all, her life is great, so everyone else’s life should be great too. The problem is, it ignores reality. A Jewish woman cannot initiate divorce proceedings, use birth control without a rabbi’s permission, testify in a Bais Din, or attend a secular university. Parents have to lie to get their kids into school, and then go broke to pay for it. Children are pushed out the door and into institutional care while they’re still in diapers. Many women are encouraged to earn diploma-mill BA’s that aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on, and have no recognition outside of this community. Certainly, a degree in women’s studies would be unacceptable.
    Believe me, I thought the Orthodox community was sunshine, rainbows and bunnies too. Then I got to New York, and had the wake-up call of my life.

    • Hoho

      Nice

  • zach

    More self-congratulatory party line apologetics. Hope she continues to find happiness in her chosen cocoon.

  • For those of you who somehow managed to twist my words into being anti-Chabad or anti-BT:

    Get a grip. I said nothing of the sort. I ONLY said that a Chabad BT has nothing in common with a New Square or Kiryas Joel Chasid. And lying to the media in an attempt to curry favor is a gross misrepresentation of the reality. Thank you.

    • I wouldn’t say that they have nothing in common. Husbands in both sects will generally have a beard that is present by community-established norms, if not by the husbands (and wife’s?) personal religious convictions.

      Sure, that’s very superficial, but there are other, perhaps more significant, points of overlap and relatedness between Chabad and non-Chabad-Hassidism and most of us know what they are.

      • nothing *significant in common

        • Just a thought

          Well like it or not, Chabad is Chasidic as Velvel said earlier, yes by Satmer its a tighter knit and more insular community, and more involved in your everyday life decisions, but Chabad is very much supposed to be involved as well, its just very much misrepresented by the younger generation, but Chabad does have a lot of restrictions as well, and hey maybe she keeps most of them and considers herself a Chasidic women which is what she called herself, her problem was that when she mentioned the Feldman women it implys that she is coming from the same Sect of chasidim, which she’s not, but for you to call someone a “BT Chabad” and that isn’t chasidic is also a Lie. She saw the beauty of Chasidic ideaolgy, which is to live a life beyond doing what’s necesary and acheiving a closer connection to hashem, she considers herself Chasidic. Ye a little more open minded but still halachikly “chasidish” in Chabad terms. And she doesn’t deserve to be bashed. Sorry if it doesn’t sit well by you.

      • Hoho

        What ate they?

      • Hoho

        What are they?

    • Velvel

      She didn’t lie at all. If anything she just should have said orthodox or that she is from the chabad Lubavitch sect and experiences may vary in other chassidic groups. To accuse her of lying like you did – and some people go as far as accusing her of being part of a conspiracy to silence Deborah Feldman – is sick and wrong and not dan l’kaf zechus. This assassination of her character in order to discredit what she said is a pathetic tactic of argument and I’d expect better from a rav (perhaps I shouldn’t these days). Your article was an insult to the intelligence of your readership. What she said is definitely true of most orthodox women in most communities. I’d only say she should have qualified her statement in the way I stated above. However, her being BT is not much of an issue when today – except for some closed communities – ffbs have to also choose to stay frum everyday as we live in a more open world. In fact, I’d say Chaya represented most frum women. Satmar and Deborah Feldman etc represent the small amount of exceptions to the rule. Instead of getting caught up about the exceptional cases and small, closed off chassidic sects you could be proud of how she demonstrated that Yiddishkeit and chasidism doesn’t oppress women. Most of those other sects hardly ever study Chasidic philosophy and mysticism and most of their strictures are based on the holocaust. Maybe it’s you who should get a grip.

  • Jeff P

    She went to a university and then became a Chassid. It would not work the other way around.

  • Mendy

    Velvel, she was extremely disingenuous by starting off the article about the asifa implying that she is part of that culture when in fact chabad had no part in it, and the vast majority of lubavitchers do not even have filters.

    • Just a thought

      Excuse me, just because chabad wasn’t invited to the asifa event and generaly don’t hold of such events which don’t acheive some real solution, doesn’t mean chabad doesn’t agree with having some type of filter, chabad agrees with most of the spoken ideas. Just look at the rules in the high schools regarding internet and smartphones. Chabad’s take on internet is prety simple “anything that can help you serve hashem better, should be used”, now it just has to be used wisely with some control, and if needed some filters.

  • Thanks a lot Heshy, now I got all these trolls on my site.

    No, but really, thanks 🙂

  • Velvel

    I love how this modern orthodox fink thinks he can tell a chassidic woman how chasidim really are. It’s that patronizing attitude that people resent.

    • Critic

      Finky is the Tantz of alle Chassunas Rebbe shlita.He proudly proclaims that he is a musmach of Ner Yisroel which should make him centrist chareidi but on the other hand he panders to the “rational”Judaisim crowd as exemplified by his many posts on such blogsites as DovBear.To me he really seems like one confused dude.

  • Anonymous

    BTs and Converts are considered second class citizens in some groups though. And I don’t agree with her article, but to say she’s not credible because she’s BT and doesn’t know jack-shit is a bit of a stretch, but I am totally 100% agreeing with OffthedwannaB.

  • Tossing

    TheE girl in the pix is HOT,. Anyone have her number?

  • EXCUSE ME?!?! NOT ULTRA ORTHODOX?

    EXCUSE ME?!?! CHABAD NOT ULTRA ORTHODOX?

    And what does Ultra Orthodox actually mean? We (the women) cover our hair, necklines, knees, and elbows. We daven every day, and we learn every day as well. We keep kosher, taharas hamishpacha, and shabbos. We have many children as well (Just like the satmer, belz, etc)

    What makes us not UA? The fact that we embrace all different types of people? The fact that we embrace technology and use it for the good? The fact that we are outgoing, likable, and dress in colors?

    You don’t have to be dark and sullen to be ultra orthodox!

    IVDU ES HASHEM B’SIMCHA! Serve Hashem with joy!
    THIS is what Chabad does. This is how we serve our G-D. With kindness and love and positivity.
    Those who oppress the women in the community, say loshon hora (are chabadnikim really worse than goyim?) those cannot be considered UA.
    So do YOU consider them Ultra Orthodox, mr. Heshy Fried? Someone who abuses their children, wives, nieces, THOSE are the ones who are the most religious?

    • Anonymous

      No one who knows anything about orthodoxy would ever consider chabad ultra orthodox. They speak English, invite secular culture into their homes and lives and the women are terribly untznius even by right wing modern orthodox standards.

      Worse than Goyim? I don’t think Goyim are bad at all, at times the meshicistim, minority as they are, remind me of Christianity, but worse than the goyim is a cruddy sentence.

      Ultra orthodox is obviously relative, but in the frum community it means something that you are not describing. Chabad is too open minded and too accessible to ever be UA.

    • Anonymous

      ultra orthodox usually isn’t a compliment. I wouldn’t fight it.

  • BT are better than you

    By the way, it says

    Bimakom shebaalei tshuva omdim, ain tzaddikim gemurim yecholim laamod

    In the place where a baal teshuva stands, not even a complete tzaddik can stand

    • What shaichos? This is about misrepresentation. She presented herself as something she’s not. She countered the claim that chassidic women dont have rights with yes they do because I’m one of them and I do. Thats a lie, because her being 1)Chabad and 2)a baalas teshuvah takes her out of the category of women the articles discuss. If you don’t understand why these things make a difference, you need to do research. Your uninformed opinion is worthless no matter how loud you shout.

      • Anonymous

        Trust me, all of the people who think we’re bashing her are merely seeing BT’s suck, rather than BT’s cannot really tell you what goes on. You can pretty much say that all the positive attention is from BT’s and Gerim and the negative from FFB’s who know and tell it like it is.

  • ahg

    Her 2nd sentence: “I am also a media professional with a degree in Women’s Studies from a large, very liberal university (magna cum laude, baby!)”.

    That’s where she went wrong. She put her “in the know” audience on alert from the get-go that her experience was anything but typical but then proceeds to speak on behalf of the larger chasidic community with her frequent use of “We” as if she could be anyone of them. Just given her education alone makes her anything but typical in the chasidish community. Then add in the omitted fact that her education came before being a devout chasid, and she did not have the obstacles to making those choices of someone born into most chasidic groups to get where she is. When you put it all together, you don’t even need to mention chabad to see that the whole article amounts to a total misrepresentation of reality.

  • My issue with her essay wasn’t so much that her background is atypical as much as the fact that her opinions and writing style were so blatantly one-sided. She’s speaking to a secular audience and trying to refute popular characterizations of Orthodox Judaism. You’d think that part of this would involve actually explaining some elements of Judaism people may not be familiar with. Instead, she threw out self-congratulatory declarations about how great her life is and how no one saying otherwise can really understand. She doesn’t, for instance, explain the procedure of mikveh. Instead she compares it to “the best spa ever” and just states, supported by nothing, that “Mikveh is awesome.” Oh great, thanks for clearing that up. Between that and the snarky asides about WWII, graduating cum laude, and feminists, I was already done with her before I began to consider her background.

    Here’s the ultimate question: what was the point of her essay? If it was to educate people, particularly non-Jews or secular Jews, I think this was pretty unsuccessful. If it was to promote herself or Chabad, or to just generally rant about misconceptions that bug her, so be it. But you can’t have it both ways, IMO.

  • YUJEW

    Of course she HAD to be wrong! If (God forbid(irony)) she is right then this whole blog is pointless and its’ authors lifes work is irelevent! In fact Chaya removes the justification of those who have gone ‘off the derech’ and shows them as just a bunch of losers who have no self control.

  • tickedoff

    Someone joining a community (ANY community) by choice as an adult cannot purport to speak for those who were born and raised in that community. Her being a BT is not the issue; the fact that she wasn’t raised within the group she refers to as ‘we’ is the issue. Each individual’s context derives from their own particular experience. In a culture such as this, much of that is a communal experience. Short of jumping into a time machine, she just doesn’t have it. She might live in the land of bunnies and unicorns and think her life is awesome, baby. That’s great. And irrelevant.

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