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New York - Op-Ed: A Vindication Of Chassidim With Conviction Of Eternal Judaism

Published on: February 20, 2012 09:56 AM
By: VIN News Op-Ed By Ruchie (Rachel) Freier, Esq
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New York - The Silent Majority has once again been caught off-guard and come under attack; we dare not remain silent in the face of our new challenger - Deborah Feldman, a formerly Chassidic, young woman who left Judaism and wrote her memoir “Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of my Hasidic Roots” (Simon and Schuster).

After reading recent newspaper articles and viewing televised interviews of her, I could not allow this tremendous Chillul Hashem to take place without attempting to take a stand against it. I confronted her at her book reading debut last week (2/15/2012, 6pm at the Corner Book Store, 1313 Madison Avenue, NYC) and in the presence of a reporter who recorded me, explained that while she undoubtedly suffered a traumatic childhood, adolescence, and marriage, her experience does not authorize her to disparage Torah and Mitzvohs, nor does she represent the entire gamut of Chassidim. After reading her book, with a heavy heart, I write this article—based on my experience counseling Chassidic youth at risk and my journey earning a law degree while remaining committed to Torah and Mitzvohs.

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As I watched in disbelief, as Feldman disparaged Torah observance on the Barbara Walters Show, and observed her interact artificially with people at the bookstore, I was convinced that not only did she have literary aptitude but that she had theatrical skill as well.  How else could she deceive so many people by distorting our values and making a mockery of us?  In her book she writes of an incident when she feigned seeing a mouse in class, causing her classmates to shriek in horror.  She writes “What an actress I am.  A white face and trembling hands to go with my scream.  To think what I can do with a skill such as this – the ability to convince others of emotions I don’t really feel! It is a thrilling thought.” (pg 23). 

The vast majority of Chassidim are moral, religious, Torah observant Jews who traditionally and proudly raise children to be Torah observant and defer to altruistic and pious leaders in personal and communal matters.  Chassidic children have classically been imbued with love and respect for G-D, their parents, and Rebbe.  How and why could Feldman scandalously turn her back on her family, community and religion? We must comprehend why she attacks the fundamental principles of our faith with vengeance and thrill, rebut and counter her arguments with conviction, and pray that she finds her way back. 

Since founding B’Derech in 2008, the organization advocating for Chassidic youth, I have counseled countless of challenged adolescents and adults struggling in their observance of Judaism.  Children raised in dysfunctional homes typically misconstrue religion as the source of their pain; and in the case of a dysfunctional Chassidic family, the child will rebel and blame the Rebbe and Chassidism as the basis for his anguish. Feldman relates that she was “abandoned by a mother who left the faith, to become a Lesbian, and a father who was mentally disabled.”  Her family was sadly dysfunctional, leaving her bereft of maternal love and devoid of paternal guidance – surely, the abuse and neglect left Feldman deeply hurt and scarred.  She writes, “I feel unloved.  By my parents, yes, and by the people who reject me for being their offspring, and by my aunts and cousins who look down at me because I’m evidence of a familial scandal, but mostly I feel unloved by G-D, who surely put me here and forgot about me.  Without G-D’s love, what chance do I have at happiness?” (pg 97).

Faranak Margolese conducted extensive research on why people leave Judaism.  In her book Off the Derech, she accurately concludes “Sadly, most formerly observant Jews today seem to have left, not because the outside world pulled them in, but rather because the observant one pushed them out.  They experienced Judaism as a source of pain rather than joy… So they were not running to the outside world as much as they were running away from our own (Devora Publishing, 2005).

Using the theory of inductive reasoning, Feldman invokes her personal tragic childhood and failed marriage (which certainly deepened her pain) to disparage the fundamental principles of the Jewish religion observed by religious Jews for more than three thousand years.  These Mitzvohs have been passed by Mesorah – our heritage of an unbroken chain which began at Mount Sinai and continued from generation to generation, and will outlive Feldman and her cohorts and supporters dedicated to leading challenged Chassidim astray. 

Countless youth at risk within and without our community, who suffer similar abuse and neglect, and even those from stable homes, can empathize with Feldman.  But empathy has its limitation – defaming the Satmar community in particular and Judaism in general cannot be condoned.  It is incumbent upon the Torah observant community to proudly and defiantly stand up and refute these bogus claims and champion Torah and Mitzvohs with pride and conviction.

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910), the classic American author and lecturer better known for his pen name Mark Twain was inspired by the eternity of the Jews.  In his essay Concerning the Jews, he wrote: “If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one percent of the human race …  Properly the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of …He has made a marvellous fight in the world, in all the ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him … The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone …The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality? (Harper’s Magazine, Sept. 1899).

The Jewish Nation’s immortality is no secret; in fact, our eternity dates back to G-D’s promise to Avraham (Bereshis 17:7) “And I will establish my covenant (bris) between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations, an eternal covenant to be to you a G-D and to all your children after you.”  What if the Jewish people become undeserving of G-D’s covenant?  Will G-D still honor His promise?  The Prophet Yirmeyahu assured us “But even in those days [when because of their sins punishments will be brought on the Jewish people], declares G-D, I will not make a complete destruction [of you].” (Yirmeyahu 5:18).  If eternity is our covenant, why are Chassidic youth raised in religious, Torah observant homes experiencing Judaism as a source of pain and going off the derech?

Rabbi Dovid Sapirman, founder of the Ani Maamin Foundation who has been involved in chinuch and kiruv rechokim and kerovim for over forty years writes in his book Emunah at Home and in the Classroom, “Most of the kids who ‘go off’ were never really ‘on’ to begin with.  If they aren’t convinced and inspired while they are still among us, don’t feel the sense of mission, and view Torah and Mitzvos as not more than a burden (at best), is it any surprise that they can be so easily enticed to leave it behind them.  It’s not just that they’re running to the internet, etc.  They are really running away from Judaism.  They frantically seek somewhere to escape.  The street is their haven, because it represents freedom from a system that they feel totally unconnected to.” (Torah Umesorah Publications, 2011)

The vast majority of Chassidim are benevolent, compassionate and caring people, who recently have been plagued and silenced by small pockets of fanatic extremists.  These extremists are constantly vying for power and quest reigning control over the masses by promulgating radical decrees often enforced by manipulation and coercion.  Feldman’s statement in her interview with the New York Post (February 7, 2012) “Over the past 10 or 20 years [the Hasidic community] has gone from being extreme to being ultra-extreme” is true and her traumatic defection appears to be a result of such extremism.  The invasion of extremism and internal strife created by a small number of power greedy individuals has unfortunately infiltrated many Chassidic communities around the world. 

We need to heed Moshe’s warning of Lo Sosefu—You shall not add to the words that I command you, nor shall you subtract from it to observe the commandments of Hashem (Devarim 4:2).  Let the silent majority of Chassidim stand up to the fanatics who promulgate excessively restrictive decrees and bans on our society by invoking in children fear of a vengeful G-D.  We need to wrest control of our community from these extremists, who in the guise of Torah, arbitrarily set standards not based on halacha, for example, to reject or expel children from yeshiva, based on minutiae such as the length of a boy’s overcoat.  These practices are alien to Judaism and emulate the fundamentalist beliefs of other religions invariably resulting in the defiance exhibited by Feldman and others who rebel. 

In transmitting the Mitzvohs, our mantra should be VeAhavta es Hashem Elokecha—You shall love Hashem, your G-D, with all your heart, with all your soul … (Devarim 6:5).  It is our duty to impress upon our children that love is a condition precedent to observing Mitzvohs.  We must elucidate to children that our faith is based on knowledge of G-D, as Moshe instructed, Atoh Horaisa l’Daas – You have been shown to know that Hashem, He is the G-D!  There is none beside Him (Devarim 4:35). 

Our ancestors witnessed the revelation at Mount Sinai and accepted the Torah, proclaiming Naaseh v’Nishmah based on knowledge of G-D’s power by witnessing the Exodus from Egypt.  G-D did not demand blind faith from us and we should not demand it from our children.  We need to encourage questions and allow children to probe the basic tenets of our faith.  A child should never be criticized for asking questions so that when he is faced with challenges and/or pain, he will not escape to the streets, but will be confident that there is a loving Father in Heaven to whom he can pray for salvation—a Father who will never break his eternal covenant with His children.

While the Satmar community must surely have reached out to Feldman, it was sadly to no avail; as she most certainly lacked the foundational religious beliefs to support her through her turbulent upbringing and marriage.  Unfortunately, she rejected her family, her community, her religion and now castigates them.  She asserts that Chassidic girls wear skirts that cover their ankles and shirts that cover their wrists and jeers at Chassidic women who shave their hair off and wear wigs. I know many women, among my friends and family members, who readily follow this practice with sincerity.

In her New York Post interview, Feldman alleges that we dress prudish; however, Chassidic women are respected for who we are, our spirituality and personality - not merely our physical bodies.  While we respect rules of modesty, we dress quite well and the shops we patronize carry designer labels and classy, fashionable apparel and lingerie.  While I mingled with my fellow law students at Brooklyn Law School, I was proudly different in appearance.  My skirts were below my knee, my sleeves below the elbow, and my head always covered by a wig – which I was unashamed of and discussed openly with my fellow students and professors – and did not in any way hamper the ability to fulfill my dream and earn a Law Degree. In fact, through my outreach activities in law school, two young female attorneys have embraced Torah and Mitzvohs, and are now raising beautiful religious families.

While Chassidic girls do not study the Talmud, most of us learn to read the Hebrew text of the Torah and Talmud.  Contrary to her statement on the Barbara Walters show, most Chassidic girls have a secular education beyond 4th grade and many of us have read the classic novels that Feldman mentions. I find it surprising that she identifies with the authors Louisa May Alcott and Jane Austin, who were both religious women with a solid sense of morality.  While their characters were strong women, they were exceptionally modest and respected the values of their society, and behaved more analogous to our traditional lifestyle than the one Feldman chose.  I have counseled many women from the non-Jewish world, who secretly and fearfully come to court crying for help from abusive boyfriends and fathers of their children. They have learned the sorrowful results of a pleasure-seeking life without rules. 

If Chassidic women or men yearn for a degree in pursuit of higher education, they need not become disheartened by Feldman’s experience.  I earned my Bachelor’s Degree at Touro College and graduated with many other religious women who chose to embark on a path of advanced education without compromising religious values.  Additionally, B’Derech has recently formed a combined GED/Associate’s College Degree programs catering to the Chassidic community’s needs.  I am fortunate to be part of a typical, warm Chassidic family and blessed with a supportive spouse who serves as a paradigm Talmudic scholar, dedicated husband and father, and is meticulous in his observance of Torah and Mitzvohs.  I therefore, cannot condemn Feldman personally but strongly discredit her philosophy and desertion of Torah values in pursuing her goals.

Feldman scorns the Laws of Nidah—Jewish family purity—and ridicules what we have venerated and observed for centuries, claiming they made her feel “gross” and like an “animal.”  I condemn and take offense at this covert misrepresentation of the sentiments of observant Jewish women.  I, and countless women who observe these laws, can attest to their wisdom and benefit to the marriage allowing the woman time for rejuvenation.  There is separation and reunion which heighten the affection between husband and wife.  It is of no surprise that statistics show the divorce rate among religious and Chassidic Jews to be far lower than in secular communities.

Dr. Joseph Menczer, a gynecological oncologist in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, Israel has published articles in The Israel Medical Association Journal, on the low incidence of cervical cancer in Jewish women.  While he asserts that further research is necessary, he wrote, “An additional distinct characteristic is the observance of the Jewish religious law of Nidah …Cervical cancer seems indeed to be more common in secular than in Orthodox Jewish women who observe the law.” (IMAJ, Volume 13, November 2011).

The Jewish Week (February 16, 2012) reported that a gruesome murder and subsequent cover-up which Feldman relates in her book seems not to be true.  Feldman’s allegations are replete with distortions, including that we have a “lackadaisical attitude toward health and safety,” that “women aren’t allowed to eat out” and that “women can’t be on the street after a certain hour.”  She asserts that she was forced into marriage casting suspicion that arranged Chassidic marriages are forced.  During the past three years, my husband and I have merited marrying off two sons.  The immense time, effort and devotion Chassidic parent invest in finding the “bashert” for their child, is an act of love – but only the first step in the process.  The young man and woman must then meet and spend time together and consent to the marriage.  We conscientiously prepare our children for marriage and transmit the notion that marriage is a sacred bond between man, woman and G-D. 

More than fifteen years ago, my husband and I purchased a summer home neighboring the Satmar community in Kiryas Joel.  We are Chassidic, but not Satmar, yet every summer we have been warmly welcomed by the Satmar community.  In the summer of 2004, and the beginning of my final year in law school, a chance encounter with Satmar Chassidim at the Woodbury Zoning Board of Appeals culminated in the opening of my practice in Monroe.  Ironically, during my years in school, I was cautioned that a Chassidic woman had slim chances of success in law.  Yet, it was unbiased Satmar Chassidim, who sought my counsel, providing me with the privilege to learn who they really are.  My clients are men and women from the various Satmar segments and communities, and from all walks of life.  I know them very well and am qualified to testify to their true character as fervent followers of the faith who embody Jewish ideals of Tzeddakah charity, Chessed loving kindness and generosity of spirit.

Eternal Judaism coupled with our commitment to Torah and Mitzvohs, have made an indelible mark in the annals of history. In his book A History of the Jews, Historian Paul Johnson writes in his epilogue: “To [the Jews] we owe the idea of… the sanctity of life…of individual conscience … and so, of social responsibility; of peace as an abstract ideal and love as the foundation of justice, and many other items which constitute the basic moral furniture of the human mind.  Without the Jews, it [the world] might have been a much emptier place. Above all, the Jews taught us how to rationalize the unknown.  The result was monotheism, and the three great religions which profess it.  It is almost beyond our capacity to imagine how the world would have fared if the Jews had never emerged.”

Let us stand tall and face our new challenge by emulating David HaMelech who proclaimed Gadlu L’Hashem Eetee—Declare the greatness of Hashem with me. (Tehilim 34:4).  May every Jewish child mature into a proud, faithful and content adult dedicated to Torah values and Mitzvohs.  May we, with our children, be eternally proud of Chassidus and our eternal covenant so that we inspire others as we proudly carry the banner of an Ohr l’Goyim a Light unto the Nations—B’Derech HaTorah Neylech.

Ruchie (Rachel) Freier, Esq. is a practicing Charedi attorney, admitted in New York, New Jersey and the District of Columbia, with offices in Brooklyn and Monroe.  In 2008 she founded B’Derech, the organization advocating for Chassidic youth.  She is a member of the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Children & the Law and New York City Family Court Attorney Volunteer Program.  She can be reached at She can be reached at freieresq@gmail.com  or 718-259-4525. 



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Read Comments (167)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Feb 20, 2012 at 10:15 AM Anonymous Says:

Thank you Ruchy for a beautiful, very well written article. I just have one comment to make, Devorah was loved in the community, what enough love is I do not know, but she was given as much love by her grandparents, aunts, cousins and friends that they were able to give. It is very sad that it was not enough for her, however I do wish that she would let go of her past and try to live a happy, healthy life for her sake and for the sake of her son. If she finds happiness being non-orthodox then so be it, but I hope she finds happiness in her life. Everyone has a story and a past, some worse than others, but those that are able to let go are leading as fulfilling a life as possible. Thanks again.

2

 Feb 20, 2012 at 10:16 AM Trolly_McTrollerston Says:

I'm confused, in your ramblings...
(as a lawyer, you should have learned to present a more focused argument)
you present two theories for going OTD: Faranak Margolese and R'David Sapirmam which are at odds with each other (although the book author seems to be of the former) which one do you subscribe to?

3

 Feb 20, 2012 at 10:15 AM sandymoos Says:

I remember when I was at Yeshiva, one of the rabbis taught us the difference between "learning" and "learning about". Ms Freier says that she is not Satmar; she shouldn't comment about what goes on there...she's on the outside, looking in....

4

 Feb 20, 2012 at 10:26 AM toolee Says:

Ms R Freier you make us proud.

5

 Feb 20, 2012 at 10:22 AM LEEAVE Says:

This feldman bum, is gonna blame every1 but herself she has become a self hating jew, and as the gemura tells us: this is worst thatn a non-jew,
Let's be mispalel she should do tshuva and come back 1 day
Nebech on her not on us, there is no community on the world who does more chesed and show more love than us chasidim,
U can't deny the truth u can only mock us n its gonna fall on death ears the end Of the day!

6

 Feb 20, 2012 at 10:20 AM gittyaa Says:

Making someone feel like a shmatta, is makor kol hatzoris.

7

 Feb 20, 2012 at 11:12 AM 2Smart Says:

"The invasion of extremism and internal strife created by a small number of power greedy individuals has unfortunately infiltrated many Chassidic communities around the world."
I believe that extremism along with per-pressure are the source of many problems.
We should educated our youth to feel free to open up to their mentors so they can guide them in any detraction they feel more comfortable.
When I was forced to sit in Kollel I didn't had anyone to encourage me to do what I felt was better for me, so I did it on my own, with some back fire.

8

 Feb 20, 2012 at 11:01 AM haskail Says:

I read through the book,and I felt it,as memoir of Ms.Feldman's personal experience.
It is not an attack on the Jewish way of life. It just did not work for her. We should respect that,and not classify her bas a bad apple.
She may change her mind,or not.
To each his own.
The book is factually correct.

9

 Feb 20, 2012 at 11:00 AM MosheM Says:

Very well written.

10

 Feb 20, 2012 at 10:51 AM PMOinFL Says:

The sad reality is that this is a very disturbed young woman who never got the help, love, support and knowledge that she needed. I feel bad for her. Her life is meaningless and empty. But why does she have to try to drag everyone else down with her? I'm sure there are many people who can refute her fairy tales. Why are they not speaking out?

Look, there are fanatical crazy people in every group, including our own groups. We have rapists, drug addicts and spousal abusers. That is all TRUE. So, I accept that she may have been the victim of some dirty people. But that is no excuse to disparage EVERYONE.

Had she written about her experiences with SPECIFIC animals who mistreated her, I could understand. I might have even taken her side. I might have even wanted to reach out to her. Instead, she made up lies and used the media to create a chillul H" and smear us all. Now, I hope she never has a single moment of peace in her life. I hope that she is tortured (mentally) her entire life. May she never have a single night's sleep in peace.

11

 Feb 20, 2012 at 10:51 AM Ravizzy Says:

Rachel Freier's article was beautiful and inspiring, although a bit too lengthy.
However, I wanted to assist her in her presentation. In the paragraph beginning "The Jewish nation's immortality is no secret..." , she quoted from Yirmiyahu ch.5 the promise that Gd would never abandon us even if we did not deserve it. A much better and powerful quote for EVERYONE TO KNOW is from his words in chapter 31, vs. 34-36. This awesome promise of guaranteed non-abandonment no matter what the "seed of Israel" ever does - this promise that we will remain forever the nation before him exlusively - is the most powerful in Tanach, and the greatest argument to counter the church's claim that we are abandoned because we did not accept their "savior." That is why the navi used the very unusual "seed of Israel" here. We are the only SEED, from Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov. EVERY JEW SHOULD MEMORIZE THESE VERSES, and if he ever encounters a missionary trying to convert him, he will silence him totally with these verses.

13

 Feb 20, 2012 at 10:49 AM seebee Says:

I want to thank Mrs. Frier for taking the time to research the facts so thoroughly, and making the effort to confront this angry and misguided individual and enlighten us.We need more people to investigate and speak up in situations where Kovod Hamokom demands separating the facts from the fluff and outright lies. Well done!

14

 Feb 20, 2012 at 10:48 AM curious Says:

What caught my attention in the interview was that all the things that Feldman didn't like about Judaism, weren't really part of Judaism. They were chumros piled upon chumros. It is a perfect example of kul hamoisef migoiraiah. Of course some things she said were exaggerations, but many things she said were true. Chasidim will continue to lose neshamos r"l if they continue to tell their constituents that it is their way or the highway.

15

 Feb 20, 2012 at 10:38 AM Anonymous Says:

Ruchy Freier has shown who she truly is: an educated, proud, Frum Jewish woman, secure in her own skin.

L'havdil, Feldman is a lost soul who, because of her own inadequacies, seeks to make Frum Yidden korbonos for her miserable, wrecked life. I feel sorry for her ex-husband, her child & extended family. I have no pity for a crazy dysfunctional woman who sensationalizes her craziness and humiliates a whole community for financial gain & notoriety.

16

 Feb 20, 2012 at 10:36 AM PowerUp Says:

its one thing being dissapointed in judaism and going OTD, which i can still be ''dan lkaf zechus" with all the baggege she had, but going to the media?? giving this interview to the post??? showing no respect whatsoever to another jew??? this shows of real character issues.

there is no ''dan lkaf zechus'' for that, other the n the fact that she is hungry for money and fame.

17

 Feb 20, 2012 at 10:36 AM Anonymous Says:

we dont need to defend ourselvs. At all!

18

 Feb 20, 2012 at 10:33 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
sandymoos Says:

I remember when I was at Yeshiva, one of the rabbis taught us the difference between "learning" and "learning about". Ms Freier says that she is not Satmar; she shouldn't comment about what goes on there...she's on the outside, looking in....

She is on the outside looking on but said nothing wrong, and Ruchie there are lots of chasidish people attending college today, I am one of them, however I am doing it online and loving it and yes my satmar education was higher than 4th grade level, so much so that I made the Dean's list.

19

 Feb 20, 2012 at 10:32 AM Babishka Says:

The reason this book has appeal is because of all the juicy and salacious gossip it contains. Another big scandal will come along and this book and its contents will be forgotten!

I was raised in a non-observant home and became Orthodox as an adult. One of my secular relatives became involved in a scandal several years ago. I could write a juicy "tell all" but it would hurt my mother.

20

 Feb 20, 2012 at 10:31 AM ayoldguy1 Says:

I haven't read the book yet so I can't comment on most of the article here. I did watch the Barbara Walters interview, however, on The View TV show, and I didn't see any disparagement of Torah, mitzvot, or Torah values. Ms. Walters, in fact, went so far as to say that the book and interview were not a condemnation of the religion or lifestyle.
Please set the record straight in this regard. Thank you.

21

 Feb 20, 2012 at 11:17 AM Anonymous Says:

Sorry but your attempts at defending Orthodoxy and Chassidus are apologetic and fall short. The truth is there is no defence vis a vis Ms. Feldman. She grew up with a terrible family life and one can not but pity her for that. She is no more to blame for leaving her faith then someone who went through the holocaust. In her case, her religion,community, and culture, are partially to blame. You can not deny that an arranged marriage for a girl who is 17 or 19, is not a forced or coerced marriage. Even if she met the guy once or twice before the wedding and her family had all the best intentions and love for her, and even if she consented, there is still an element of coercion. You can attempt to defend the closed off walled of lifestyle of the Chassidic/Charedi/Yeshivish community and paint it as beautiful, however the truth is, that it is the rejection of modernity and a refusal to synthesize frumkeit with the modern world, that is directly responsible for a large amount of our communal problems and the OTD issue. We have a tendancy to denigrate "Modern Othodoxy" but imagine if Ms Feldman had been given a different type of education, perhaps she would still be frum.

22

 Feb 20, 2012 at 11:27 AM Avi613 Says:

Please Mrs Freier pls go on the b walters show and give the world the emes!

23

 Feb 20, 2012 at 11:30 AM rikki Says:

Thanks for these written thoughts!! Again, Deborah grew up in a dysfunctional family and blames everyone else!! If she's so smart, she would know she could make a beautiful wonderful life by, at the least, being Kosher and Shomer Shabbat. She's learned nothing from her life experiences. Her son is growing up just as confused and dysfunctional as she did. He may seem O.K. now--just as she did growing up--but he'll also write his memoirs some time in the future and he'll be just as nasty to her as she's been to others. Noone's perfect -- but we strive to perfect ourselves through Torah observance and being the best we can be!

24

 Feb 20, 2012 at 11:32 AM Rebyid40 Says:

While I appreciate Ms. Frier's attempt to defend against the chillul hash-m brought about by Deborah Feldman's book, I think she is undermining her credibility by not addressing (at all) the shortcomings of the chassidic lifestyle. She needs to be more intellectually honest.

25

 Feb 20, 2012 at 11:36 AM MIESQ Says:

Although I thought the article was a bit lengthy that does not take away from recognizing that OTD may be a reasonable response to an impossible situation one finds by staying on the Derech. That being said there is another aspect to note is that the OTDer's own responsibility to seek faith and experience Hashems love. Certainly time has come to move the community from an idylized conformity to greated tolerance/accetence for individuals who do not fit the mold.

26

 Feb 20, 2012 at 11:36 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
haskail Says:

I read through the book,and I felt it,as memoir of Ms.Feldman's personal experience.
It is not an attack on the Jewish way of life. It just did not work for her. We should respect that,and not classify her bas a bad apple.
She may change her mind,or not.
To each his own.
The book is factually correct.

While I will not read her book, I have heard from people who read it and it is full of lies as is the article in the NY Post which I have read.

27

 Feb 20, 2012 at 11:38 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #20  
ayoldguy1 Says:

I haven't read the book yet so I can't comment on most of the article here. I did watch the Barbara Walters interview, however, on The View TV show, and I didn't see any disparagement of Torah, mitzvot, or Torah values. Ms. Walters, in fact, went so far as to say that the book and interview were not a condemnation of the religion or lifestyle.
Please set the record straight in this regard. Thank you.

The whole interview was a condemnation because she lied on the show about lots of things.

28

 Feb 20, 2012 at 11:40 AM Anonymous Says:

As a therapist who has read this book, I applaud Deborah for her insights.
Far too many of my patients have had the same marital experience as she had, yet have been miserable, self medicating for year after year. Their children are affected, their health deteriorates, and they are basically hopeless. When they try to leave, they are called every horrible name in the book. Is this what G-d wants? I think not!

When there is physical and mental abuse in the marriage, even black eyes and bruised arms, the Ruv still insists they stay married, but just be more quiet and not upset their husbands.

29

 Feb 20, 2012 at 11:42 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #14  
curious Says:

What caught my attention in the interview was that all the things that Feldman didn't like about Judaism, weren't really part of Judaism. They were chumros piled upon chumros. It is a perfect example of kul hamoisef migoiraiah. Of course some things she said were exaggerations, but many things she said were true. Chasidim will continue to lose neshamos r"l if they continue to tell their constituents that it is their way or the highway.

I don't know what you call chumros but most of these things are the way our grandparents led their lives and many of them lost their lives al kiddush hashem. So you are saying we should drop these chumros in order to enrich such people as Devora Feldman's life. Devora Feldman and all others out there like her
will never be happy until she learns to let go of her past and creates herself a future.

30

 Feb 20, 2012 at 11:44 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #20  
ayoldguy1 Says:

I haven't read the book yet so I can't comment on most of the article here. I did watch the Barbara Walters interview, however, on The View TV show, and I didn't see any disparagement of Torah, mitzvot, or Torah values. Ms. Walters, in fact, went so far as to say that the book and interview were not a condemnation of the religion or lifestyle.
Please set the record straight in this regard. Thank you.

I watched a clip of it that someone posted online and it made me sick. I grew up in the same community as her and she lied through her teeth. 4th grade education???? No restaurants or dining out. Give me a break.

31

 Feb 20, 2012 at 11:45 AM Avi Says:

Excuse me #21 but most of these marriages of 18-19 year olds stay together for a lifetime!

And overall the vast majority( not all of course but a much greater percentage than the general population) seem happily married, There may occasional ups and downs as we are human but they are remain bonded, How many of the secular married at 25 or older, stay married a lifetime?

The facts speak for themselves...

32

 Feb 20, 2012 at 11:46 AM ccccc Says:

Reply to #7  
2Smart Says:

"The invasion of extremism and internal strife created by a small number of power greedy individuals has unfortunately infiltrated many Chassidic communities around the world."
I believe that extremism along with per-pressure are the source of many problems.
We should educated our youth to feel free to open up to their mentors so they can guide them in any detraction they feel more comfortable.
When I was forced to sit in Kollel I didn't had anyone to encourage me to do what I felt was better for me, so I did it on my own, with some back fire.

Blame is just the easy way to free yourself of guilt. People have brains and should use them for decision making. If you felt you didn't belong in kollel you should have left. No one can force you to stay. It's a sign of your weakness and yours only!! Stop blaming the others they have their own issues to deal with and their own decisions to make.

33

 Feb 20, 2012 at 11:55 AM bigwheeel Says:

Reply to #6  
gittyaa Says:

Making someone feel like a shmatta, is makor kol hatzoris.

Exactly. But with this individual "Deborah" a/k/a "Sara'le" Feldman, just the opposite is true. Everyone, including her grandparents, who doted on her, and her aunts and cousins showered her with love and friendship. All of that didn't matter to her. What I'm surprised at is, that so-called worldly, intelligent journalists who "Have been around the block", in the year 2012, didn't ask her even one hard question and in the most gullible manner took every word of hers at face value.

34

 Feb 20, 2012 at 12:10 PM Barryfrombrooklyn Says:

Reply to #2  
Trolly_McTrollerston Says:

I'm confused, in your ramblings...
(as a lawyer, you should have learned to present a more focused argument)
you present two theories for going OTD: Faranak Margolese and R'David Sapirmam which are at odds with each other (although the book author seems to be of the former) which one do you subscribe to?

Read the book to find the definition of "rambling".
Mrs. Freier is trying to counter the claims and accurately point out the distorted views promoted by a woman who is obviously plagued with resentment, anger and confusion.
Not an easy task, but Mrs Freier did a great job at it and I commend her for it.

My thoughts:
The book, the interviews, the crab cakes are all an act. A desperate one, craving for attention, recognition and creating a sense of worthiness.

It is obvious from the book that she is not seeking happiness, peace of mind or a better way of life. She is just running, as fast as she can from her misery and the pain she is in.
There is no doubt in my mind, that sooner than later, she will get out of breath from running all this time and she will stop and think (hard).
She will realize that the backpack is still on her back. Although the book she wrote, the media frenzy, the Catholic lover and the celebrity status did a great job distracting her from her suffering and even injected a sense of freedom she never experienced before, in the end, her son's future did not become any brighter and her emotional wounds did not heal.

Deborah, save Mrs.Freier's number.

HOPE!

35

 Feb 20, 2012 at 12:15 PM Nebach Says:

Nebach, A runaway lesbian mother and a mentally ill father. What else can you say but Nebach. I can not understand how commenters here have the chutzpa and insensitivity to denigrate Deborah Feldman. We should be giving her Kudos for not killing herself and surviving to adulthood rather than trying to defend yiddishkeit or blame her for leaving Judaism. If I would have grown up in such a situation, I would have killed myself.

36

 Feb 20, 2012 at 12:16 PM stop this disease Says:

Well written article. thank you. I know the family very well and ill say this, her grandfather took her in and gave her a life. had she been raised by any family outside the orthodox world she would be on the street corner shooting up heroin. don't bite the hand that feeds you. our way of life is under attack by people trying to advance their agendas by slandering their own and the newspapers will to publish this garbage. There is only that far hate can go. Guys, Please take the few minutes of your day and go to the sites that sell her book and leave a respectful negative review explaining how this book does not accurately reflect the true orthodox way of life.

37

 Feb 20, 2012 at 12:22 PM RamapoJew Says:

The shame is that this lost soul thought her choice was satmar or off the derech. She could have left the world in which she was raised and become a "regular" Jew rather than going all the way off.

38

 Feb 20, 2012 at 12:24 PM enlightened-yid Says:

"I have counseled many women from the non-Jewish world, who secretly and fearfully come to court crying for help from abusive boyfriends and fathers of their children. They have learned the sorrowful results of a pleasure-seeking life without rules."
What does that say exactly, that there are no chassidic women in abusive marriages? And what do chassidic women in abusive marriages learn that per-arranged dating with couple of dates work? At least these non-Jewish women have the freedom and the knowledge to seek help independently. A chasidic woman in an abusive relationship is stuck dealing with community rabbis because seeking outside help is shunned.

Funy that Mrs. lawyer quotes Faranak Margolese to defend orthodox lifestyle when Margolese has good amount of criticism against those communities throughout her book even from personal experience of being discriminated against in an Israeli yeshiva because she is from Iranian Jewish roots.
It sounds like a desperate hit piece on Feldman without a sincere intent to discussthe over all subject matter with honesty. And they could not find a Satmar woman with these writing skills and law degree to defend their community?

39

 Feb 20, 2012 at 12:26 PM Love Davka Says:

Mrs. Freier, I commend you for defending yiddishkeit, especially the halachos of niddah, which can be very helpful in strengthening marriage.
However, some of the marital practices that Friedman described run counter to the spirit of the niddah laws. These practices are widely observed in Satmar and other Chasidic circles.
As the Steipler Rov zt"l has written, these practices VIOLATE THE TORAH, because the Torah commands a husband to satisfy his wife. Most chasidic women are not satisfied at all with this aspect of their marriage (unless they and their husbands break the "rules"). For the most part, they don't realize what they are missing because they are uneducated, and they are happy in their ignorance But when a women (such as Feldman) starts reading about how things should be, how Hashem gave marital relations as a gift of joy to women, they are going to feel frustrated and angry.

These women will want to leave their marriages, but are afraid of the stigma that will be attached to them and their children. (Thus, your point about the low Chasidic divorce rate is irrelevant.)

40

 Feb 20, 2012 at 12:39 PM Anonymous Says:

First of all I truly feel sorry for this lost woman. She came from a dis-functioning family. A mother who left her child to go with another person whether male or female is no mother. She claims her father was mentally ill [seems like it runs in that family]
I really have questions on her marriage. She claims her husband was the problem but just but maybe she was the problem. Coming from a loveless home she could not give love to her husband and create a downward spiral. She criticizes aunts and everybody in in family. This I don't go along with. Chassidim are on the whole warm people. She also does not tell about whether she had friends. Maybe and just maybe she is the problem coming from such a home and certainly need mental help.

41

 Feb 20, 2012 at 12:43 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #28  
Anonymous Says:

As a therapist who has read this book, I applaud Deborah for her insights.
Far too many of my patients have had the same marital experience as she had, yet have been miserable, self medicating for year after year. Their children are affected, their health deteriorates, and they are basically hopeless. When they try to leave, they are called every horrible name in the book. Is this what G-d wants? I think not!

When there is physical and mental abuse in the marriage, even black eyes and bruised arms, the Ruv still insists they stay married, but just be more quiet and not upset their husbands.

Simply not true. No Ruv insists on people staying married if there is physical abuse

42

 Feb 20, 2012 at 12:54 PM Baal K'rioh Says:

Reply to #11  
Ravizzy Says:

Rachel Freier's article was beautiful and inspiring, although a bit too lengthy.
However, I wanted to assist her in her presentation. In the paragraph beginning "The Jewish nation's immortality is no secret..." , she quoted from Yirmiyahu ch.5 the promise that Gd would never abandon us even if we did not deserve it. A much better and powerful quote for EVERYONE TO KNOW is from his words in chapter 31, vs. 34-36. This awesome promise of guaranteed non-abandonment no matter what the "seed of Israel" ever does - this promise that we will remain forever the nation before him exlusively - is the most powerful in Tanach, and the greatest argument to counter the church's claim that we are abandoned because we did not accept their "savior." That is why the navi used the very unusual "seed of Israel" here. We are the only SEED, from Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov. EVERY JEW SHOULD MEMORIZE THESE VERSES, and if he ever encounters a missionary trying to convert him, he will silence him totally with these verses.

Ravizzy and Ms. Freier ...
As any G'moroh-learning Yeshiva graduate knows, when trying to bring biblical proof for any idea, we try to find it in the Chumosh before we turn to Nach.
My question to both of you, therefore, is why not quote from the Toichochoh in B'chukosai instead of Yirmiyohu? V'af Gam Zois... L'hofeir B'risi Itom. This Possuk is saying that even though we would be r"l cursed with 49 curses, our covenant with HKB"H would not be abrogated.

43

 Feb 20, 2012 at 12:56 PM Avi Says:

Reply to #39  
Love Davka Says:

Mrs. Freier, I commend you for defending yiddishkeit, especially the halachos of niddah, which can be very helpful in strengthening marriage.
However, some of the marital practices that Friedman described run counter to the spirit of the niddah laws. These practices are widely observed in Satmar and other Chasidic circles.
As the Steipler Rov zt"l has written, these practices VIOLATE THE TORAH, because the Torah commands a husband to satisfy his wife. Most chasidic women are not satisfied at all with this aspect of their marriage (unless they and their husbands break the "rules"). For the most part, they don't realize what they are missing because they are uneducated, and they are happy in their ignorance But when a women (such as Feldman) starts reading about how things should be, how Hashem gave marital relations as a gift of joy to women, they are going to feel frustrated and angry.

These women will want to leave their marriages, but are afraid of the stigma that will be attached to them and their children. (Thus, your point about the low Chasidic divorce rate is irrelevant.)

what do you mean by "These practices are widely observed in Satmar and other Chasidic circles. As the Steipler Rov zt"l has written, these practices VIOLATE THE TORAH" ?... shaving of saaros harosh lenashim does seem like a new chumrah which may be fine for tzadikim but not the general population...

44

 Feb 20, 2012 at 01:03 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #28  
Anonymous Says:

As a therapist who has read this book, I applaud Deborah for her insights.
Far too many of my patients have had the same marital experience as she had, yet have been miserable, self medicating for year after year. Their children are affected, their health deteriorates, and they are basically hopeless. When they try to leave, they are called every horrible name in the book. Is this what G-d wants? I think not!

When there is physical and mental abuse in the marriage, even black eyes and bruised arms, the Ruv still insists they stay married, but just be more quiet and not upset their husbands.

Sorry but Deborah does not say she was abused at all and she wasn 't. That being said if their is abuse get help or get out.

45

 Feb 20, 2012 at 01:05 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #40  
Anonymous Says:

First of all I truly feel sorry for this lost woman. She came from a dis-functioning family. A mother who left her child to go with another person whether male or female is no mother. She claims her father was mentally ill [seems like it runs in that family]
I really have questions on her marriage. She claims her husband was the problem but just but maybe she was the problem. Coming from a loveless home she could not give love to her husband and create a downward spiral. She criticizes aunts and everybody in in family. This I don't go along with. Chassidim are on the whole warm people. She also does not tell about whether she had friends. Maybe and just maybe she is the problem coming from such a home and certainly need mental help.

She had friends,neighbors and family that cared for her. Sorry that it wasn't enough for her but I think nothing would have been enough. Lots of people do grow up in disfunctional families, regardless of the reason, however they use it to make them stronger and go on to live beautiful lives. Unfortunately for her and for others she is not one of them.

46

 Feb 20, 2012 at 01:06 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #38  
enlightened-yid Says:

"I have counseled many women from the non-Jewish world, who secretly and fearfully come to court crying for help from abusive boyfriends and fathers of their children. They have learned the sorrowful results of a pleasure-seeking life without rules."
What does that say exactly, that there are no chassidic women in abusive marriages? And what do chassidic women in abusive marriages learn that per-arranged dating with couple of dates work? At least these non-Jewish women have the freedom and the knowledge to seek help independently. A chasidic woman in an abusive relationship is stuck dealing with community rabbis because seeking outside help is shunned.

Funy that Mrs. lawyer quotes Faranak Margolese to defend orthodox lifestyle when Margolese has good amount of criticism against those communities throughout her book even from personal experience of being discriminated against in an Israeli yeshiva because she is from Iranian Jewish roots.
It sounds like a desperate hit piece on Feldman without a sincere intent to discussthe over all subject matter with honesty. And they could not find a Satmar woman with these writing skills and law degree to defend their community?

There is plenty of help in the jewish community, Shalom Task Force is one of those organizations plus many other rabbis that are familiar with abuse. If one rabbi is not, find one that is.

47

 Feb 20, 2012 at 01:08 PM yosefben Says:

I agree with most of the article other than allowing her to use Chasidic extremism as the cause of her "traumatic defection" from Satmar. Thes lady prove early in her book that she was narcissistic at a young age when she stated “To think what I can do with a skill such as this – the ability to convince others of emotions I don’t really feel! It is a thrilling thought” She was erev rav well before any bad life time she had.

49

 Feb 20, 2012 at 01:11 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #35  
Nebach Says:

Nebach, A runaway lesbian mother and a mentally ill father. What else can you say but Nebach. I can not understand how commenters here have the chutzpa and insensitivity to denigrate Deborah Feldman. We should be giving her Kudos for not killing herself and surviving to adulthood rather than trying to defend yiddishkeit or blame her for leaving Judaism. If I would have grown up in such a situation, I would have killed myself.

everyone's got a story and everyone has challenges. She chose to be a turtle and stuck her head in a shell while most of us use it to our advantage and grow from it.

50

 Feb 20, 2012 at 01:24 PM bigwheeel Says:

Reply to #10  
PMOinFL Says:

The sad reality is that this is a very disturbed young woman who never got the help, love, support and knowledge that she needed. I feel bad for her. Her life is meaningless and empty. But why does she have to try to drag everyone else down with her? I'm sure there are many people who can refute her fairy tales. Why are they not speaking out?

Look, there are fanatical crazy people in every group, including our own groups. We have rapists, drug addicts and spousal abusers. That is all TRUE. So, I accept that she may have been the victim of some dirty people. But that is no excuse to disparage EVERYONE.

Had she written about her experiences with SPECIFIC animals who mistreated her, I could understand. I might have even taken her side. I might have even wanted to reach out to her. Instead, she made up lies and used the media to create a chillul H" and smear us all. Now, I hope she never has a single moment of peace in her life. I hope that she is tortured (mentally) her entire life. May she never have a single night's sleep in peace.

But my greater wonder and astonishment is on individuals like Barbara Walters of that show "The View". She is supposedly an experienced journalist and interviewer with life experience. How come she bought everything this obviously malicious, disturbed girl said lock, stock and barrel?! So much for her credibility.

58

 Feb 20, 2012 at 01:18 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #35  
Nebach Says:

Nebach, A runaway lesbian mother and a mentally ill father. What else can you say but Nebach. I can not understand how commenters here have the chutzpa and insensitivity to denigrate Deborah Feldman. We should be giving her Kudos for not killing herself and surviving to adulthood rather than trying to defend yiddishkeit or blame her for leaving Judaism. If I would have grown up in such a situation, I would have killed myself.

That wouldn't have been too bad. At least that would have saved everyone from reading your highly uneducated comment!

59

 Feb 20, 2012 at 01:24 PM #21 Says:

Reply to #31  
Avi Says:

Excuse me #21 but most of these marriages of 18-19 year olds stay together for a lifetime!

And overall the vast majority( not all of course but a much greater percentage than the general population) seem happily married, There may occasional ups and downs as we are human but they are remain bonded, How many of the secular married at 25 or older, stay married a lifetime?

The facts speak for themselves...

Really now. Firstly no one is keeping accurate demographic statistics about this or any other demographic issue in the frum community. Secondly the anecdotal evidence indicates fastly rising levels of divorce in the frum community especially in the younger generation. I have heard of numerous recent stories of divorces after very short marraiges of less than a year. You really don't know what is going on in the Chassidishe velt because they tend to shush things up. But based on the fact that Ruchie Frier had to start an organization for so many off the derech Chassidishe kids we could extrapolate that just like there are a large number of kids going rogue, so to there are probably many marraiges going down the drain. I don't expect it to make headline news in Hamodia or Yated.

60

 Feb 20, 2012 at 01:48 PM bigwheeel Says:

Reply to #21  
Anonymous Says:

Sorry but your attempts at defending Orthodoxy and Chassidus are apologetic and fall short. The truth is there is no defence vis a vis Ms. Feldman. She grew up with a terrible family life and one can not but pity her for that. She is no more to blame for leaving her faith then someone who went through the holocaust. In her case, her religion,community, and culture, are partially to blame. You can not deny that an arranged marriage for a girl who is 17 or 19, is not a forced or coerced marriage. Even if she met the guy once or twice before the wedding and her family had all the best intentions and love for her, and even if she consented, there is still an element of coercion. You can attempt to defend the closed off walled of lifestyle of the Chassidic/Charedi/Yeshivish community and paint it as beautiful, however the truth is, that it is the rejection of modernity and a refusal to synthesize frumkeit with the modern world, that is directly responsible for a large amount of our communal problems and the OTD issue. We have a tendancy to denigrate "Modern Othodoxy" but imagine if Ms Feldman had been given a different type of education, perhaps she would still be frum.

You are obviously not Chassidic or sympathetic to its lifestyle. You prove another one of my theories that refute the claim of those who are not. Namely. That the Chassidic culture limits a person in their secular education, as your newest idol Deborah Feldman contends in her book. In your brief essay/post you committed several errors in English Spelling and Grammar. Obviously, you reside in either Canada or the UK. But even there, those who have a handle on speaking and writing proper English know the difference between "Then" and "Than" (When either is used), which you obviously don't. And "Tendency" is thusly spelled (Spelt) everywhere. Unlike you. ("Tendancy"). I rest my case.

61

 Feb 20, 2012 at 01:53 PM Love Davka Says:

Reply to #43  
Avi Says:

what do you mean by "These practices are widely observed in Satmar and other Chasidic circles. As the Steipler Rov zt"l has written, these practices VIOLATE THE TORAH" ?... shaving of saaros harosh lenashim does seem like a new chumrah which may be fine for tzadikim but not the general population...

The Steipler Rov zt'l was very critical of those who violated the chiyuv d'Oraisa of satsifying ones' wife. He writes at length about this in a printed teshuvah. Although he does not name any groups, his remarks were certainly directed at Ger, and probably other sects as well, such as Satmar.

62

 Feb 20, 2012 at 01:59 PM curious Says:

Reply to #29  
Anonymous Says:

I don't know what you call chumros but most of these things are the way our grandparents led their lives and many of them lost their lives al kiddush hashem. So you are saying we should drop these chumros in order to enrich such people as Devora Feldman's life. Devora Feldman and all others out there like her
will never be happy until she learns to let go of her past and creates herself a future.

first of all, don't fool yourself.s a lot of the things are being done williamsburg today are very recent innovations. Second of all, the answer would be yes. if that would be the way to say people from leaving our religion completely, that would be the way to do it.

63

 Feb 20, 2012 at 02:00 PM israelima Says:

Thank you for this reasoned response, Ms. Frier. I believe that Ms. Feldman has a right to tell her story, but not the right to embellish and fabricate in what is purported to be a memoir. Other authors have been chastised for doing just this. I do think it is a shame that Ms. Feldman feels the necessity to disparage her former community in an effort to sell her book. Much of what I have heard from her just does not ring true, and I hope that, if she is not being honest, that this will be revealed.

64

 Feb 20, 2012 at 02:21 PM Anonymous Says:

So we now have learned that sensationalism (regardless of truth) sells books, not just newspapers or magazines. Only for that, the author of the book should be commended. Her portrayal of a frum or chassidishe lifestyle as oppressive is completely inaccurate, and she should be shunned and held in disgrace for trying such a cheap shot. It is close to universal that a perpetrator of almost any forbidden behavior or crime seeks to claim the role of the victim. I have no clue about her past, and I frankly don't care. Her diatribe against a lifestyle that is focused on serving Hashem in all aspects of life is blasphemous and a blatant lie.

Having noted this, it is true that there are rotten apples in every bushel, and this includes each and every group of people, Jewish or gentile, male or female, Litvish or Chassidish, frum or not frum, etc. The author's reported "bad" experience has zero relevance to Chassidus, both as a culture and as a derech of life. It is shame so many readers lack the intellect to recognize her generalization as her own personal sour grapes. May these readers and the author be healed with the saichel to recognize truth and kedusha.

65

 Feb 20, 2012 at 02:22 PM PatersonMan Says:

Thank you Ms Ruchie Freier for this extremely well-written article. You understand not only the "dry" halachos, but more importantly, the "ta'am" of the mitzvos and their connection to the A-lmighty. Throughout the article, you repeat the all-important theme of defenfing G-D, his Torah, and his faithful People. If all the religious girls had your understanding and put it into action, I am sure that Mashiach would here by now!

66

 Feb 20, 2012 at 02:36 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
sandymoos Says:

I remember when I was at Yeshiva, one of the rabbis taught us the difference between "learning" and "learning about". Ms Freier says that she is not Satmar; she shouldn't comment about what goes on there...she's on the outside, looking in....

The inside shouldn't talk because they cover up.
The outside shouldn't talk because they don't know .
So who should ?

67

 Feb 20, 2012 at 02:46 PM #21 Says:

Reply to #60  
bigwheeel Says:

You are obviously not Chassidic or sympathetic to its lifestyle. You prove another one of my theories that refute the claim of those who are not. Namely. That the Chassidic culture limits a person in their secular education, as your newest idol Deborah Feldman contends in her book. In your brief essay/post you committed several errors in English Spelling and Grammar. Obviously, you reside in either Canada or the UK. But even there, those who have a handle on speaking and writing proper English know the difference between "Then" and "Than" (When either is used), which you obviously don't. And "Tendency" is thusly spelled (Spelt) everywhere. Unlike you. ("Tendancy"). I rest my case.

Actually I live in Brooklyn. And you are correct, in all honesty I made some spelling errors or typos - I had not bothered proof reading what I wrote or spell checking it. Unfortunately your attack on my grammer and spelling is a typical deflective method of avoiding the point. You obviously cannot offer a cogent, substantive,. refutation, of my point, so you make a personal attack on me by implying that I am an imbecile because of some spelling or grammatical mistakes. You also made several assumptions which are untrue but I won't bother answering them all.

68

 Feb 20, 2012 at 02:49 PM LiveAndLetLive Says:

Did any of you posters actually read the book???

69

 Feb 20, 2012 at 03:16 PM TorahTruth Says:

I recognize that this blog is not the proper venue for a serious conversation, but I shall try anyway. Reading this blog prompted me to view the interview with Barbra Walters on the View. While it is clear that Ms Feldman has an axe to grind with Judaism and with Satmar Chasidus more specifically, she does touch on some issue that require serious consideration. Let me be clear, I am not defending her position as it is obviously Kneged Torah... but if we don;t "listen" to when people are telling us, especially people who are leaving our ranks, we will be unable to address the problems that we have. If you cut through everything she said (with the exception of her issues around Hilchos Neddah) she is lashing out against the "extremes" in our midst. When we take on ourselves Chumros that have no refection on Torah, women driving, getting an advanced education, working outside of the home in the corporate world, we are opening up ourselves to revolt! We don't live in the Shtetel anymore and for better or for worse we are exposed to how the rest of the world lives. We need to train our children how to embrace this world Al pi Torah and not reject it, or there will be many more Feldmans

70

 Feb 20, 2012 at 03:17 PM jordon Says:

She is like a rapper rapping about his life with anger and bitterness (and makes it worse then it really is) She doesn't know how to rap so she did a book

71

 Feb 20, 2012 at 03:25 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
sandymoos Says:

I remember when I was at Yeshiva, one of the rabbis taught us the difference between "learning" and "learning about". Ms Freier says that she is not Satmar; she shouldn't comment about what goes on there...she's on the outside, looking in....

Mrs Freier is a devout Bobover chasidiste - Bobov and Satmar have a lot in common - the old Bobover Rebbe zya only stayed as a Rebbe because the old Satmar Rebbe zya encouraged him to do so. The main difference between Bobov and Satmar is views on English in their schools - the minhagim are similar and their views on Zionism are similar with only slight differences (ie Bobov goes to Koisel and Satmar doesn't)

72

 Feb 20, 2012 at 03:22 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #60  
bigwheeel Says:

You are obviously not Chassidic or sympathetic to its lifestyle. You prove another one of my theories that refute the claim of those who are not. Namely. That the Chassidic culture limits a person in their secular education, as your newest idol Deborah Feldman contends in her book. In your brief essay/post you committed several errors in English Spelling and Grammar. Obviously, you reside in either Canada or the UK. But even there, those who have a handle on speaking and writing proper English know the difference between "Then" and "Than" (When either is used), which you obviously don't. And "Tendency" is thusly spelled (Spelt) everywhere. Unlike you. ("Tendancy"). I rest my case.

Bigwheel proves why it is pointless to try and have a serious conversation in a Blog. The writer makes a challenging and thoughtful point that deserves analysis and discussion regarding the future survival of Klal Yisrael... and all you can respond to is the use of the word "then" versus "than"... how childish and how bereft you must be of a compelling argument.

73

 Feb 20, 2012 at 03:22 PM noahz6 Says:

is there anywhere i can get a free pdf file of the book ?

74

 Feb 20, 2012 at 03:22 PM Miriam Orbach Says:

great article!! thank you!!! i just called your number and left you a message. I would love to volunteer and help you in any which way that i can.
May we merit to greet mashiach very soon.....all of us.......frum and non frum.....v'karov pezureinu mibein hagoiyim.......bayom hahu...HaShem echod ushemoi echad....

75

 Feb 20, 2012 at 03:17 PM Miriam Orbach Says:

oh my G-D!!!!!!!!!!!! FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! someone is standing up to this massive chilul HaShem caused by Devorah Feldman many people become OTD due to severe emotinial pain. As sad as that is, it gives no one the right to steretype and slander an entire religion. forget chassidim. Deborah ridiculed taharas hamishpacha- that is not a chasidishe minhag.
for all those that feel they can not be frum, they have the freedom to do what they want. However, why can they not stop living in their past and instead focus on their future and make a life for themselves in their "new found freedom."
Deborah claims her mission is to help free us- frum women from "oppression".
memo to deborah: we are NOT oppressed! we are frum and proud to be. and we are very happy!!!!! (no i am not brainwashed- as many OTD's would like to say...)
you left, and no one held you back or forced you to stay so please leave us alone.

76

 Feb 20, 2012 at 03:27 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #68  
LiveAndLetLive Says:

Did any of you posters actually read the book???

Yes I actually did whats your point

77

 Feb 20, 2012 at 03:42 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
haskail Says:

I read through the book,and I felt it,as memoir of Ms.Feldman's personal experience.
It is not an attack on the Jewish way of life. It just did not work for her. We should respect that,and not classify her bas a bad apple.
She may change her mind,or not.
To each his own.
The book is factually correct.

Perhaps it is factual that she heard these rumors but she didn't see them first hand. These rumors have been proven false. We learn from here how poisonous lashon hara is - we think we can spread rumors and they will stay in the community - but they can come out and make a bigger Chillul Hashem. We see an innocent Rosh Yeshivah got thirty years in a federal prison on such lies by rumor people.

78

 Feb 20, 2012 at 03:48 PM Chaim Says:

Reply to #73  
noahz6 Says:

is there anywhere i can get a free pdf file of the book ?

That would be stealing

79

 Feb 20, 2012 at 04:04 PM BeKind Says:

Everybody who remained in her life did everything in their power to please her and make her happy. Her grandparents were good and kind to her. As well, she was fortunate to have a handsome, loving and supportive husband, who went to great lengths, including moving the family to a different community, just to please her. She will bitterly regret what she has done.

80

 Feb 20, 2012 at 04:06 PM My2Cents Says:

I remember hearing a shiur from a Great Gadol in Israel, he said over that an at-risk teen came over to him, saying “I dont believe in Hashem anymore—I dont see his hand in what happens” The rav answered having questions means you believe you have to just work your problems out—But you’re a Mamin!
Ms. Feldman is in the same boat- she has her issues, and unfortunately did not deal with it until it was too late in the game.
By saying there is a problems- she is proving there is a system!
Klal Yisroel has had a proven system for years. Unfortunately outside influences have seeped into our society- It doesnt make us bad- but make us have to be stronger, we have to fight the influences.
its tough out there being in a world where everyone is trying to hit us up…

The only tip here that i can say is—if you have problems go iron it out- dont wait until its too late—I feel bad for her kids- I feel bad for herself- Ms. Feldman is trying only to justify herself- (she obviously knows she is wrong)

When you have a diamond you do not have to prove to anyone its true.. we have the Torah יקרה היא מפנינים we dont have to prove it—its real.
we should only hear simchas in klal yisroel

81

 Feb 20, 2012 at 04:17 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #79  
BeKind Says:

Everybody who remained in her life did everything in their power to please her and make her happy. Her grandparents were good and kind to her. As well, she was fortunate to have a handsome, loving and supportive husband, who went to great lengths, including moving the family to a different community, just to please her. She will bitterly regret what she has done.

i have heard such nice things about her husband. They are all saying how supportive, doting, caring he was to her.....why is he allowing her to defame him and tarnish his name as a man, husband and father....based on the stuff she wrote in the ny post- she didnt really put him in the greatest light..... i feel bad for her son....she is doing to him the exact thing her mother did to her.
boy, will she regret this one day.....i hope and pray her son becomes very frum and she will be able to see and enjoy the yidishe naches from him....i hope she is chozer b'tshuva....there is always room for tshuva...though i dont know how after such a massive chilul HaShem...but I'm not G-D and HE is a loving father!

82

 Feb 20, 2012 at 04:32 PM PMOinFL Says:

Reply to #50  
bigwheeel Says:

But my greater wonder and astonishment is on individuals like Barbara Walters of that show "The View". She is supposedly an experienced journalist and interviewer with life experience. How come she bought everything this obviously malicious, disturbed girl said lock, stock and barrel?! So much for her credibility.

Ummm.... OK.... so here's the deal. Your view of Barbara Walters is a bit skewed.

Her job is to interview people and let them tell their own story. That's it. Journalists do not inject their own judgments. That's what pundits and commentators do. Journalists just report the story. Now, if there is a member of the Satmar community who would like to meet with Ms. Walters to refute the story, I'm sure she would be happy to have them on as well.

83

 Feb 20, 2012 at 04:54 PM lbpss Says:

Reply to #50  
bigwheeel Says:

But my greater wonder and astonishment is on individuals like Barbara Walters of that show "The View". She is supposedly an experienced journalist and interviewer with life experience. How come she bought everything this obviously malicious, disturbed girl said lock, stock and barrel?! So much for her credibility.

She is also jewish and Devorah preyed on her weaknesses and made it seem like they have things in common. They do, they both are jewish but don't keep any jewish laws and they both went to Sarah Lawrence College.

84

 Feb 20, 2012 at 05:02 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #39  
Love Davka Says:

Mrs. Freier, I commend you for defending yiddishkeit, especially the halachos of niddah, which can be very helpful in strengthening marriage.
However, some of the marital practices that Friedman described run counter to the spirit of the niddah laws. These practices are widely observed in Satmar and other Chasidic circles.
As the Steipler Rov zt"l has written, these practices VIOLATE THE TORAH, because the Torah commands a husband to satisfy his wife. Most chasidic women are not satisfied at all with this aspect of their marriage (unless they and their husbands break the "rules"). For the most part, they don't realize what they are missing because they are uneducated, and they are happy in their ignorance But when a women (such as Feldman) starts reading about how things should be, how Hashem gave marital relations as a gift of joy to women, they are going to feel frustrated and angry.

These women will want to leave their marriages, but are afraid of the stigma that will be attached to them and their children. (Thus, your point about the low Chasidic divorce rate is irrelevant.)

It is not Satmar, it is Gurr (Gerr) who has those extreme practices - I have heard Satmarers say how crazy Gerrer Chassidim are for having their chumros

86

 Feb 20, 2012 at 05:11 PM GoldieLocks Says:

Thank you, Ruchie, for standing up and defending our way of life!

87

 Feb 20, 2012 at 05:21 PM LebidikYankel Says:

Thank you Mrs. Freier for an inspiring excellent article.
Although its beside the point, no one has written a book denigrating the Hippies. That is because its not news. No one kicks a dead horse. That Mrs. Feldman wrote a book about Satmar is actually a backhanded compliment!

88

 Feb 20, 2012 at 05:37 PM FirshtRadzivil Says:

Reply to #8  
haskail Says:

I read through the book,and I felt it,as memoir of Ms.Feldman's personal experience.
It is not an attack on the Jewish way of life. It just did not work for her. We should respect that,and not classify her bas a bad apple.
She may change her mind,or not.
To each his own.
The book is factually correct.

Did she in her experience see my neighbor slit his sons throat ?

89

 Feb 20, 2012 at 05:39 PM Rachel W. Says:

Reply to #8  
haskail Says:

I read through the book,and I felt it,as memoir of Ms.Feldman's personal experience.
It is not an attack on the Jewish way of life. It just did not work for her. We should respect that,and not classify her bas a bad apple.
She may change her mind,or not.
To each his own.
The book is factually correct.

You are factually uninformed.

90

 Feb 20, 2012 at 05:44 PM Anon Says:

What becomes clear from reading all the responses to this article, is that there is no single group whose practices fit everyone. Some people are totally happy living with additional chumros; some chafe at the additional restrictions. We might consider modifying a practice that the Amish use - the Rumspringa. During the teenage years, rules are relaxed and the kids are allowed to explore their independence. At the end of the Rumspringa, most decide to enter the Amish community, while a few leave. I'm not suggesting that we permit teens to leave the Torah. However, it would be nice to have an exchange program, where Satmar teens can live with

91

 Feb 20, 2012 at 05:48 PM Rachel W. Says:

Reply to #68  
LiveAndLetLive Says:

Did any of you posters actually read the book???

And literally support Deborah's Chilul Hashem? There are enough lengthy excerpts to cry over without rewarding a lowly actress for besmirching us.

92

 Feb 20, 2012 at 06:04 PM jonkamm623 Says:

no big deal Deborah shoul maybe try modern orthodoxy if that is her cup of tea.

93

 Feb 20, 2012 at 06:26 PM growing up in disfunctional family Says:

Reply to #45  
Anonymous Says:

She had friends,neighbors and family that cared for her. Sorry that it wasn't enough for her but I think nothing would have been enough. Lots of people do grow up in disfunctional families, regardless of the reason, however they use it to make them stronger and go on to live beautiful lives. Unfortunately for her and for others she is not one of them.

To # 45

It's true that lots of people grow up in dysfunctional families and come out OK but most do not.

Growing up in a dysfunctional family for kid is like falling down a flight of stairs and landing on your head.

Some kids survive the fall and miraculously come out unscathed but for all the rest who end up with a concussion or permanent brain damage, no one is ever surprised as to why they ended up that way.

Many people went though the Holocaust and lived normal lives afterwords but no one is ever surprised as to the great many of those who suffered irreparable damage as a result.

The same is true about the other article on VIN which documents the epidemic of Molestation in the frum community and the schools largely covering it up, at least until recently.

While some survive it miraculously, no one is surprised as to why many other victims, leave Yiddishkiet or go on to drugs and suicide as a result.

94

 Feb 20, 2012 at 06:35 PM OscarMadison Says:

There's plenty of chillul Hashem for everyone. Chassidim think their chumrot make them holier because they've tricked their brains into generating psychological reward for their excessive spiritual flagellation. It's masochistic and Torah turned on its head. But this woman is still crazy, and it doesn't vindicate he whole system. It just means she's crazy.

95

 Feb 20, 2012 at 07:13 PM TruthSeeker Says:

As much as what DEVORAH F did was a VIRAL CHILUL HASHEM, it is incumbent on us to push all emotion aside an REALLY LISTEN, yes we have a BEAUTIFUL RELIGION but EXTREMISM IS RUINING IT!!! We live in a day in age where you CANT get away with SLOPPY PARENTING and EDUCATING. It's too easy to run away today. CHASSIDUS today is NOT what the BAAL SHEM TOV HAD IN MIND. The Baal Shem Tov intended on a movement that will INCREASE JOY in Yiddishkeit. The GOAL today seems to be WHAT SHOULD WE RESTRICT NEXT!

When HASHEM wants someone to CORRECT a behavior, He sends a MESSAGE through life events. If we DON'T get it, He sends a LOUDER message. Just reflect HOW MANY negative incidents were in the news regarding chassidim this past year. We don't have NEVIIM to tell us where we NEED IMPROVEMENT yet frankly THE INTERNET is doing a GREAT JOB. It's not coincidence that all this is exposed, it's HASHEM speaking to us.
RELIGION is meant to bring us CLOSE TO HASHEM and "LOVE HIM WITH ALL OUR HEART AND SOUL" as we daven three times daily. We are meant to WORSHIP HASHEM with leaders to GUIDE US. NOT worship leaders with HASHEM to GUIDE us. We are MEANT to live A LIFE OF HOLINESS AND VALUES which creates DEEP FULFILLMENT and CONT

96

 Feb 20, 2012 at 07:18 PM curious Says:

Reply to #84  
Anonymous Says:

It is not Satmar, it is Gurr (Gerr) who has those extreme practices - I have heard Satmarers say how crazy Gerrer Chassidim are for having their chumros

now that is the pot calling the kettle black if I ever heard it. just because 1 group has gone further off the deep end than the other doesn't mean the other 1 has not gone off the deep end as well

97

 Feb 20, 2012 at 07:30 PM a survivor & champion Says:

Reply to #35  
Nebach Says:

Nebach, A runaway lesbian mother and a mentally ill father. What else can you say but Nebach. I can not understand how commenters here have the chutzpa and insensitivity to denigrate Deborah Feldman. We should be giving her Kudos for not killing herself and surviving to adulthood rather than trying to defend yiddishkeit or blame her for leaving Judaism. If I would have grown up in such a situation, I would have killed myself.

i had a far worse childhood than her- a bi polar father who was and still is horribly abusive- and a battered borderine schizophrenic mother.....my childhood was mine and my siblings personal holocaust. Not only did I not go off the derech- even though i could have and should have been the poster child for OTD as i also had modeling agencies running after me....from seeing me on the street..... i consciously chose to stay frum and realized that my parents do not represent judaism or G-D.
when frum peole disappoint me, i amagine as though i am on an island- just me and HKB"H. Baruch HaShem i stayed super frum albeit not chassidish...and im raising my family in the Torah way. I have gone to extensive therapy and i am a very happy individual- no matter what gets thrown my way....My love for HaShem and frumkeit is strong and steady. Yes, we all have our moments and our pasts- but that isNO excuse to constantly blame ur parents, the community, the schools and so on for the rest of ur life the way the OTD community does.... i did not kill myself or trash my parents or community in the secular media. please do not glorify her for staying alive. she was and is old enough to go for therapy.

98

 Feb 20, 2012 at 07:33 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #93  
growing up in disfunctional family Says:

To # 45

It's true that lots of people grow up in dysfunctional families and come out OK but most do not.

Growing up in a dysfunctional family for kid is like falling down a flight of stairs and landing on your head.

Some kids survive the fall and miraculously come out unscathed but for all the rest who end up with a concussion or permanent brain damage, no one is ever surprised as to why they ended up that way.

Many people went though the Holocaust and lived normal lives afterwords but no one is ever surprised as to the great many of those who suffered irreparable damage as a result.

The same is true about the other article on VIN which documents the epidemic of Molestation in the frum community and the schools largely covering it up, at least until recently.

While some survive it miraculously, no one is surprised as to why many other victims, leave Yiddishkiet or go on to drugs and suicide as a result.

she was normal enough to write a book and slander her heritage and hurt her family ...then she is normal enough to know right from wrong and gone for therapy rather than creating a new form of therapy- we can now call memoir slandering therapy. perhaps all of us who have had crazy, sick, abusive beyond imagination, dysfunctional childhoods should start doing......my my...the book shelves will be full of books from every society, religion and culture as abuse exsists everywhere...

99

 Feb 20, 2012 at 07:38 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #82  
PMOinFL Says:

Ummm.... OK.... so here's the deal. Your view of Barbara Walters is a bit skewed.

Her job is to interview people and let them tell their own story. That's it. Journalists do not inject their own judgments. That's what pundits and commentators do. Journalists just report the story. Now, if there is a member of the Satmar community who would like to meet with Ms. Walters to refute the story, I'm sure she would be happy to have them on as well.

i actually asked abc to feature me on the view. i also asked the ny post....to give me the opportuniy to address her allegations and slander and i would take them on a tour of our "oppressed" community....(the way oprah did) both ABC and NYPost have not gotten back to me... my letter was very respectful. I asume they have no interest in hearing the truth since that will not boost ratings or sales.. i have no problem appearing in public to defend my religion.

100

 Feb 20, 2012 at 07:49 PM Anonymous Says:

Think twice before giving your email address to someone you don't know.

101

 Feb 20, 2012 at 08:04 PM mendoza Says:

wow .. what a story ...... b,h i cant complaine ,,,about my not so perfect life ,,,bh

102

 Feb 20, 2012 at 08:07 PM mendoza Says:

the book is all about $$$$$$$$$$$$$$

103

 Feb 20, 2012 at 08:24 PM for shame Says:

Reply to #5  
LEEAVE Says:

This feldman bum, is gonna blame every1 but herself she has become a self hating jew, and as the gemura tells us: this is worst thatn a non-jew,
Let's be mispalel she should do tshuva and come back 1 day
Nebech on her not on us, there is no community on the world who does more chesed and show more love than us chasidim,
U can't deny the truth u can only mock us n its gonna fall on death ears the end Of the day!

Sorry, we don't use the kind of language you do in the same breath as hoping she will do teshuva.....
It falls on deaf ears...not death ears...Lee Ave.
You, for one, shame us...you shouldn't be posting...you almost make D.F. sound like she knows what she is saying!!!!(former Williamsburbger, now B.p)

104

 Feb 20, 2012 at 08:31 PM speak kindly Says:

Reply to #10  
PMOinFL Says:

The sad reality is that this is a very disturbed young woman who never got the help, love, support and knowledge that she needed. I feel bad for her. Her life is meaningless and empty. But why does she have to try to drag everyone else down with her? I'm sure there are many people who can refute her fairy tales. Why are they not speaking out?

Look, there are fanatical crazy people in every group, including our own groups. We have rapists, drug addicts and spousal abusers. That is all TRUE. So, I accept that she may have been the victim of some dirty people. But that is no excuse to disparage EVERYONE.

Had she written about her experiences with SPECIFIC animals who mistreated her, I could understand. I might have even taken her side. I might have even wanted to reach out to her. Instead, she made up lies and used the media to create a chillul H" and smear us all. Now, I hope she never has a single moment of peace in her life. I hope that she is tortured (mentally) her entire life. May she never have a single night's sleep in peace.

You are a mean, vicious human being...Your own writing is symbolic of an angry hatefull human being, probably worse than D.F.She, at least, had a difficult path to navigate..your cursing manner is unbecoming a yid and I think you should stop posting...because you are bringing more shame to those who are reading your post than her book. Who in the world taught you to curse like that?Shame on you...!
If you grew up in the chassidishe world, you almost validate everything she says. You need teshuva badly.(p.s. I'm chassidish, from wmsbg...you make my blood boil)

105

 Feb 20, 2012 at 08:38 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #20  
ayoldguy1 Says:

I haven't read the book yet so I can't comment on most of the article here. I did watch the Barbara Walters interview, however, on The View TV show, and I didn't see any disparagement of Torah, mitzvot, or Torah values. Ms. Walters, in fact, went so far as to say that the book and interview were not a condemnation of the religion or lifestyle.
Please set the record straight in this regard. Thank you.

Sorry, you are wrong...I watched it too...I don't recall the exact interview but there were opportunities for her to explain certain things regarding the customs, and she chose to laugh along with the crowd to cheapen the whole thing. And she definitely did say things that were not accurate, when I will listen to the interview again, I will post....

106

 Feb 20, 2012 at 08:47 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #21  
Anonymous Says:

Sorry but your attempts at defending Orthodoxy and Chassidus are apologetic and fall short. The truth is there is no defence vis a vis Ms. Feldman. She grew up with a terrible family life and one can not but pity her for that. She is no more to blame for leaving her faith then someone who went through the holocaust. In her case, her religion,community, and culture, are partially to blame. You can not deny that an arranged marriage for a girl who is 17 or 19, is not a forced or coerced marriage. Even if she met the guy once or twice before the wedding and her family had all the best intentions and love for her, and even if she consented, there is still an element of coercion. You can attempt to defend the closed off walled of lifestyle of the Chassidic/Charedi/Yeshivish community and paint it as beautiful, however the truth is, that it is the rejection of modernity and a refusal to synthesize frumkeit with the modern world, that is directly responsible for a large amount of our communal problems and the OTD issue. We have a tendancy to denigrate "Modern Othodoxy" but imagine if Ms Feldman had been given a different type of education, perhaps she would still be frum.

Sorry ...but we do not have to Modernize to survive...that does not mean to a certain extent we blend into the world.... We, B'h have raised generations of children, in America, and in Europe before ...with the same values, customs and it seems to work for the majority of our children, not because they are dependant, or don't utilize their brains, no no....our kids are b'h bright...but they also have "trust" in parents that they know what is good for them...they are older and somewhat wiser. If the majority...99% of kids make it well in the world, in their marriages ...then those who cannot conform have the issues. That is not to say that some kids need a "different" way of life. I understand that...so she could have chosen "modern orthodoxy"...but to leave the fold and then turn her back in an ugly way, portraying to the outside world a picture that is less than accurate....that hurts...That smacks of a different issue. Those are issues that involve flaws in ones character...and those...satmar or the community did not give her. Her soul is tainted and needs some introspection...

107

 Feb 20, 2012 at 08:51 PM curious Says:

Reply to #99  
Anonymous Says:

i actually asked abc to feature me on the view. i also asked the ny post....to give me the opportuniy to address her allegations and slander and i would take them on a tour of our "oppressed" community....(the way oprah did) both ABC and NYPost have not gotten back to me... my letter was very respectful. I asume they have no interest in hearing the truth since that will not boost ratings or sales.. i have no problem appearing in public to defend my religion.

When you writ a fiction that is flying off the shelves, they'll interview you.

108

 Feb 20, 2012 at 08:54 PM IMPERFECT Says:

Reply to #24  
Rebyid40 Says:

While I appreciate Ms. Frier's attempt to defend against the chillul hash-m brought about by Deborah Feldman's book, I think she is undermining her credibility by not addressing (at all) the shortcomings of the chassidic lifestyle. She needs to be more intellectually honest.

Wait a minute...so you mean to say that Mrs. Frier needs to wash dirty laundry in public..is that it? She is very credible...every human being with a bit of commonn sense knows that we are not perfect...that every society has it's ills...we are always in the process of growing, learning...that is life.....but no...she doesn't have to go public,illustrating bit by bit what we need to change.That does not challenge her intellectual honesty. What she did was defend what Deborah lied about. Does that mean that we have no problems?...not at all. We do, so...who doesn't...We have problems as individuals, and we have problems as a society...Since when are we supposed to be perfect? Only Hashem is perfect...and our job is to work TOWARDS PERFECTION...NOT TO BE...WE NEVER WILL....

109

 Feb 20, 2012 at 09:01 PM LiveAndLetLive Says:

To #91: You can't comment on any kind of chilul H-shem if you haven't actually read the book. Much like Angela's Ashes or The Glass Castle (two best-selling secular memoirs) a memoir simply tells the story of the author from the author's point of view and emotions. In both of these examples the authors tell personal (and sometimes unflattering) stories of the people and circumstances in their lives. A memoir by definition is part novel and part truth. If you read the book you will see that UnOrthodox is a REGULAR book, not some tell-all against Satmar and the Frum velt. When I see people ranting here, I can tell who actually read the story. Those who are screaming and yelling, are mostly basing their opinions on nothing but hearsay... The Post is a sensational newspaper; Barbara Walters needs viewers. Read the book and call it fiction if you like. Read the book and call it truth if you like. But for heaven's sake it's written as a memoir, and it's just a book!!

110

 Feb 20, 2012 at 09:01 PM moshe leib Says:

please dont blame Debra Feldman ,she was raised among extreme of the extreme
satmar which you Ruchie were not raised nor did you feel pressured when you got a drivers license and ultimately went to college ....the average shpitzel lady would not get away with this let alone go out and get a drivers license ..
Yes she has gone over to the exreme anti chassidish (jewish) exreme but i do not blame her one bit ,

111

 Feb 20, 2012 at 09:05 PM tafkid Says:

Reply to #35  
Nebach Says:

Nebach, A runaway lesbian mother and a mentally ill father. What else can you say but Nebach. I can not understand how commenters here have the chutzpa and insensitivity to denigrate Deborah Feldman. We should be giving her Kudos for not killing herself and surviving to adulthood rather than trying to defend yiddishkeit or blame her for leaving Judaism. If I would have grown up in such a situation, I would have killed myself.

Really....but you have bechira...and killing yourself is a sin. And Hashem put her in a situation knowing quite well what he wanted of her, as he does of each of us. We all have our "pekelech", my dear child...running from them is not the answer. Working through them is!!!that's your tafkid in this world...ARE YOU NOT AWARE...THE THINGS THAT ARE THE HARDEST IS WHERE HASHEM WANTS YOU TO LOOK LONG AND HARD...THAT IS WHERE YOU NEED TO FOCUS...YOU GET IT, OR WHAT????

112

 Feb 20, 2012 at 09:09 PM golde Says:

U wrote it so well.i have been saying all along that the extreme ppl in the hasidic community make the young get turned off.they even rally behind the rabbonim and make them sign extreme rules. It will get no where only feldmans. Am hasidic and open minded i truly love hashem i allow our children access to tex internet with supervision (computer in the kitchen-open to everyone) and B'h they are all true yiras shmoyim from 18 years and down

113

 Feb 20, 2012 at 09:13 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #38  
enlightened-yid Says:

"I have counseled many women from the non-Jewish world, who secretly and fearfully come to court crying for help from abusive boyfriends and fathers of their children. They have learned the sorrowful results of a pleasure-seeking life without rules."
What does that say exactly, that there are no chassidic women in abusive marriages? And what do chassidic women in abusive marriages learn that per-arranged dating with couple of dates work? At least these non-Jewish women have the freedom and the knowledge to seek help independently. A chasidic woman in an abusive relationship is stuck dealing with community rabbis because seeking outside help is shunned.

Funy that Mrs. lawyer quotes Faranak Margolese to defend orthodox lifestyle when Margolese has good amount of criticism against those communities throughout her book even from personal experience of being discriminated against in an Israeli yeshiva because she is from Iranian Jewish roots.
It sounds like a desperate hit piece on Feldman without a sincere intent to discussthe over all subject matter with honesty. And they could not find a Satmar woman with these writing skills and law degree to defend their community?

Who says you run to a Rebbe if you have Marital problems? If you have diabetes do you go to a lawyer? If you have life issues, you go to the person trained and expert in their field. A rebbe you go to give a kvittel, a counselor you see when your marriage if falling apart. And if things don't work out and you want out....you get out...
Nothing to do with chassidish or not. I am chassidish. This is what my brain (B'h healthy) tells me to do...So you see, one must use their G...d given seichel when they run into problems..
You are not stuck with anything. You go to the right sources...and you work from there.Everyone is independant....and has the option of doing the right thing.NO ONE IS STUCK IN ANYTHING! If someone has a problem with their self esteem and stuck in the mud...well...they need to learn to love themselves and grow up.. happens in every society, not only CHASSIDISH....FOR THE RECORD

114

 Feb 20, 2012 at 09:17 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #39  
Love Davka Says:

Mrs. Freier, I commend you for defending yiddishkeit, especially the halachos of niddah, which can be very helpful in strengthening marriage.
However, some of the marital practices that Friedman described run counter to the spirit of the niddah laws. These practices are widely observed in Satmar and other Chasidic circles.
As the Steipler Rov zt"l has written, these practices VIOLATE THE TORAH, because the Torah commands a husband to satisfy his wife. Most chasidic women are not satisfied at all with this aspect of their marriage (unless they and their husbands break the "rules"). For the most part, they don't realize what they are missing because they are uneducated, and they are happy in their ignorance But when a women (such as Feldman) starts reading about how things should be, how Hashem gave marital relations as a gift of joy to women, they are going to feel frustrated and angry.

These women will want to leave their marriages, but are afraid of the stigma that will be attached to them and their children. (Thus, your point about the low Chasidic divorce rate is irrelevant.)

I'm so sorry to burst your bubble...but we are all b'h very well versed in the areas of intimacy...with time, we all learn. And those who don't, and are happy with their lives, who is to say anything. Whatever makes 2 ppl happy, is fine with me.
I don't know where you are coming from, thinking that chassidish woman are so prudish and unaware...there are very few rules that are broken in order for ppl to have satisfying lives...sorry...

115

 Feb 20, 2012 at 09:22 PM stop criticizing Says:

Reply to #42  
Baal K'rioh Says:

Ravizzy and Ms. Freier ...
As any G'moroh-learning Yeshiva graduate knows, when trying to bring biblical proof for any idea, we try to find it in the Chumosh before we turn to Nach.
My question to both of you, therefore, is why not quote from the Toichochoh in B'chukosai instead of Yirmiyohu? V'af Gam Zois... L'hofeir B'risi Itom. This Possuk is saying that even though we would be r"l cursed with 49 curses, our covenant with HKB"H would not be abrogated.

Why do you need to find fault.? Why does it bother you that she brought this reiya...Does she have to bring the reiya you want her to. The Torah is big enough....live and let live.
You see, this is a major issue with some.It doesn't have to be your way.She wrote the article, she did it her way..read the jist of it and either agree or don't...This constant barrage of criticism is what destroys us!!!

116

 Feb 20, 2012 at 09:30 PM sally Says:

Reply to #110  
moshe leib Says:

please dont blame Debra Feldman ,she was raised among extreme of the extreme
satmar which you Ruchie were not raised nor did you feel pressured when you got a drivers license and ultimately went to college ....the average shpitzel lady would not get away with this let alone go out and get a drivers license ..
Yes she has gone over to the exreme anti chassidish (jewish) exreme but i do not blame her one bit ,

You are very obviously very unfamiliar with satmar...definition of satmar is not shpitzl they happen to be a minority altogether.

117

 Feb 20, 2012 at 09:33 PM Anonymous Says:

Sorry, my dear, whoever you are...I love you...but you don't have great writing skills based on your comment...you omit punctuation marks, were somewhat redundant...your first sentence should have read: I am a satmar woman with great writing skills, currently in college and have written about it..."I have also written a great letter(you seen to think too highly of yourself...I must admit, sorry)to the N.Y.Post writer. You don't need both N.Y. post writer (who wrote the article)... ...Sorry, dear...a little brushing up won't hurt...Hatzlocha in your writing career...I mean it...seriously.

118

 Feb 20, 2012 at 09:38 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #61  
Love Davka Says:

The Steipler Rov zt'l was very critical of those who violated the chiyuv d'Oraisa of satsifying ones' wife. He writes at length about this in a printed teshuvah. Although he does not name any groups, his remarks were certainly directed at Ger, and probably other sects as well, such as Satmar.

And you know that for a fact...that it's Satmar...because, obviously you are a lover of that chassidus!!
Well, sorry to spoil your illusion....my friends and I are b'h very well taken care of by our spouses...we have great intimate lives...our husbands know how to please us...thank you...most of them do very well, thank you.

119

 Feb 20, 2012 at 09:45 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #66  
Anonymous Says:

The inside shouldn't talk because they cover up.
The outside shouldn't talk because they don't know .
So who should ?

It's not about covering. The inside knows the truth and it is 99% ok.. The rest does not lend itself to public scrutiny....like here on VIN. People with brains, don't wash their laundry in public. Do you? Do you go outside and launder what happens in your own home, your children, for ex. if they have issues, or do you try to take care of them discreetly. Nothing wrong with that. doesn't mean it doesn't exist....just doesn't need to be made public. Seichel...is something many of you posters are missing. Just because there is a forum for discussion...when and how are the rules to live by...

120

 Feb 20, 2012 at 09:48 PM moshe leib Says:

Reply to #116  
sally Says:

You are very obviously very unfamiliar with satmar...definition of satmar is not shpitzl they happen to be a minority altogether.

I did not necessarily mean shpitzel I meant the extreme practice of shaving the head of a married woman (and that is not a minority among satmar women} it is pressured to be done and young married women are given a gift upon being rendered almost bald >that is EXTREME

121

 Feb 20, 2012 at 09:48 PM yaakov321 Says:

I honestly did not get excited in any shape or form when I heard of this 'book' or book of this woman. I must say that I am not 100% convinced that a chassidic community is for everyone and of course, I would be amiss to say that they are 100% righteous in all of their ways. But of course, I seek neither to read nor to decry foul at this book overall. If there are particularities that are fraudulent, we should hear about them. Overall, its probably a person with much illwill or otherwise some ill experiences who wants to voice her either concerns or greivances and has chosen this manner to do so. Some may be intrigued, some may be sickened, but overall, I suspect this will not be a major seller. Watch out for books by rabbis that call Jesus Kosher. That might be more problematic overall.

122

 Feb 20, 2012 at 10:07 PM Babishka Says:

Commenters at "The Forward" and "The Jewish Week" are asking questions that no one at VIN has thought to ask. Mainly, how does a Satmar girl with what she claims is an 8th grade education, get a scholarship to Sarah Lawrence, the most expensive and exclusive college in the US? A college that applicants with 4.0 average from the most exclusive prep schools can't get into? How does she get a monster book deal from Simon & Schuster on the very first try, when there are other aspiring writers, who have also gone "OTD" 10-15 years ago, with much more compelling AND TRUTHFUL stories to tell, who have a mountain of rejection letters? Who is her "Fairy Godmother" and who sold her the winning lottery ticket?

123

 Feb 20, 2012 at 10:10 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #110  
moshe leib Says:

please dont blame Debra Feldman ,she was raised among extreme of the extreme
satmar which you Ruchie were not raised nor did you feel pressured when you got a drivers license and ultimately went to college ....the average shpitzel lady would not get away with this let alone go out and get a drivers license ..
Yes she has gone over to the exreme anti chassidish (jewish) exreme but i do not blame her one bit ,

I am your average shpitzel lady, born, bred and raised in an "extreme" Satmar family. I currently attend a MIXED college in Manhattan, with the full support of my husband, parents, grandparents, ET AL. I dont harbor any feelings of rebellion, I am proud to adhere to all stringencies, and I feel privileged to belong to this community. I did however wish to further my education, and wow surprise! I am able to do so and my family sees it for what it is. When someone attends college with the intentions to spite, of course they will get chastised for it.

125

 Feb 20, 2012 at 10:18 PM sally Says:

Reply to #120  
moshe leib Says:

I did not necessarily mean shpitzel I meant the extreme practice of shaving the head of a married woman (and that is not a minority among satmar women} it is pressured to be done and young married women are given a gift upon being rendered almost bald >that is EXTREME

No one is forced to shave any more than they are forced to say brocho. It is a way of life chasidim are brought up with and those that shave do so out of their own will. Nobody checks them out and btw shaving hair is a chasidish thing not a satmar thinh

126

 Feb 20, 2012 at 10:34 PM ShlomoS Says:

Reply to #42  
Baal K'rioh Says:

Ravizzy and Ms. Freier ...
As any G'moroh-learning Yeshiva graduate knows, when trying to bring biblical proof for any idea, we try to find it in the Chumosh before we turn to Nach.
My question to both of you, therefore, is why not quote from the Toichochoh in B'chukosai instead of Yirmiyohu? V'af Gam Zois... L'hofeir B'risi Itom. This Possuk is saying that even though we would be r"l cursed with 49 curses, our covenant with HKB"H would not be abrogated.

Baal K'rioh, you're absolutely right. Although many may not say the part of Shaharit that comes right after the Akeida, it is there for us to say every day! This pasuk should bring a Jew to tears realizing the love HKB"H has for us!

127

 Feb 20, 2012 at 10:42 PM ShlomoS Says:

Reply to #59  
#21 Says:

Really now. Firstly no one is keeping accurate demographic statistics about this or any other demographic issue in the frum community. Secondly the anecdotal evidence indicates fastly rising levels of divorce in the frum community especially in the younger generation. I have heard of numerous recent stories of divorces after very short marraiges of less than a year. You really don't know what is going on in the Chassidishe velt because they tend to shush things up. But based on the fact that Ruchie Frier had to start an organization for so many off the derech Chassidishe kids we could extrapolate that just like there are a large number of kids going rogue, so to there are probably many marraiges going down the drain. I don't expect it to make headline news in Hamodia or Yated.

Although also anecdotal, I did a mental calculation regarding 8 young adults when I joined a religious community 20 years ago. Of those 8, as far as I know, only 3 are still married to our first spouse, 1 became a widow and was remarried, but I don't know if she is still married to her second husband.

My anecdote shows Frum Jews of only 20 years ago unfortunately in line with their secular counterparts

128

 Feb 20, 2012 at 10:56 PM Whitney RIP Says:

People go off the derech because of pain. . She didn't come up with new scientific evidence proving that Satmar is the wrong way of life. She just doesn't feel like being Orthodox anymore. It is not worth her while. Her parents caused her pain or didn't protect her. Satmar didn't protect her from her pain. And now she is gone. She is right according to the way she feels. Period.
If as a society we want to grow, we'd better learn from her story to deal with our problems. Drugs, Singles, Parnassah, Abuse, Chinuch, Molestation, Lack of Internal true Yiddishkeit, Lack of outlet for Orthodox men, Lack of family or community for many, Organizations that aren't focused on those who need the help, High expectations in terms of family size and cost of living, just to name a few.
Let he who is free from the sin of not being there for our fellow Jew cast the first stone. We all can do more for others or just be there for others. If we want to make the world a better place, we need to change ourselves. Tikun Olam.

129

 Feb 20, 2012 at 10:59 PM what'sInIt? Says:

Can someone please tell those of us who haven't seen the interview or read the book, what exactly and specifically does she say that's so offensive? Thank you.

130

 Feb 20, 2012 at 11:05 PM Reb Yid Says:

Reply to #8  
haskail Says:

I read through the book,and I felt it,as memoir of Ms.Feldman's personal experience.
It is not an attack on the Jewish way of life. It just did not work for her. We should respect that,and not classify her bas a bad apple.
She may change her mind,or not.
To each his own.
The book is factually correct.

The book is not "factually correct." The murder story was exposed as a lie by a secular newspaper. Who knows how many lies are in the book? Also, the author herself admits to faking emotions in order to manipulate people. Is that a lie, too? Because if it's the truth, then we have to suspect the veracity of all the emotional claims she makes in the book.

131

 Feb 20, 2012 at 11:10 PM Eagle Says:

Reply to #10  
PMOinFL Says:

The sad reality is that this is a very disturbed young woman who never got the help, love, support and knowledge that she needed. I feel bad for her. Her life is meaningless and empty. But why does she have to try to drag everyone else down with her? I'm sure there are many people who can refute her fairy tales. Why are they not speaking out?

Look, there are fanatical crazy people in every group, including our own groups. We have rapists, drug addicts and spousal abusers. That is all TRUE. So, I accept that she may have been the victim of some dirty people. But that is no excuse to disparage EVERYONE.

Had she written about her experiences with SPECIFIC animals who mistreated her, I could understand. I might have even taken her side. I might have even wanted to reach out to her. Instead, she made up lies and used the media to create a chillul H" and smear us all. Now, I hope she never has a single moment of peace in her life. I hope that she is tortured (mentally) her entire life. May she never have a single night's sleep in peace.

PMOinFL: Whatever you feel about her, please don't curse her or anyone else, you don't know what she went through and how much she suffered. The fact is that she suffered and nobody really cared to help her out, and btw, even the kids who are being helped out are being looked down at and they are never respected in the community. And even if she was helped, she is right about the fact that she didn't get a proper education, which every child is entitled to here in NY, especially since the Yeshivas get partly subsidized by government aid and charity. Living in the Charidi world is sadly a world with no freedom and no opportunities, it is not what true Judaism is about, I am happy for her that she is out and she gets the CHOICE to live the life that she chooses, I wish her to find the right path in life.

132

 Feb 20, 2012 at 11:11 PM Rachel W. Says:

Reply to #28  
Anonymous Says:

As a therapist who has read this book, I applaud Deborah for her insights.
Far too many of my patients have had the same marital experience as she had, yet have been miserable, self medicating for year after year. Their children are affected, their health deteriorates, and they are basically hopeless. When they try to leave, they are called every horrible name in the book. Is this what G-d wants? I think not!

When there is physical and mental abuse in the marriage, even black eyes and bruised arms, the Ruv still insists they stay married, but just be more quiet and not upset their husbands.

You say they are "basically hopeless" yet they have the wherewithal to seek out a therapist. Hmmm. Yes, many people (in all cultures) are stuck in miserable marriages, and many are physically and mentally abused. DF just doesn't fit the bill.

133

 Feb 20, 2012 at 11:24 PM neezoogshoin Says:

I posted a comment on her facebook page but they took it off right away. It wasn't even that bad. I basically said that I wanna be supportive of her, but coming from the same strict hasidic background as her, and currently attending medical school, I don't see how leading a nice chasidic life interferes with getting an education and living according to your own choosing.
I finished off by saying that I guess people will always believe whatever they choose to believe, no matter how ludicrous.

134

 Feb 20, 2012 at 11:27 PM neezoogshoin Says:

Reply to #122  
Babishka Says:

Commenters at "The Forward" and "The Jewish Week" are asking questions that no one at VIN has thought to ask. Mainly, how does a Satmar girl with what she claims is an 8th grade education, get a scholarship to Sarah Lawrence, the most expensive and exclusive college in the US? A college that applicants with 4.0 average from the most exclusive prep schools can't get into? How does she get a monster book deal from Simon & Schuster on the very first try, when there are other aspiring writers, who have also gone "OTD" 10-15 years ago, with much more compelling AND TRUTHFUL stories to tell, who have a mountain of rejection letters? Who is her "Fairy Godmother" and who sold her the winning lottery ticket?

Ok let's not get too excited about Sarah Lawrence lest we steal her thunder, making up/exaggerating stuff.
That being said, you do make a valid point.

135

 Feb 20, 2012 at 11:38 PM Rachel W. Says:

Reply to #97  
a survivor & champion Says:

i had a far worse childhood than her- a bi polar father who was and still is horribly abusive- and a battered borderine schizophrenic mother.....my childhood was mine and my siblings personal holocaust. Not only did I not go off the derech- even though i could have and should have been the poster child for OTD as i also had modeling agencies running after me....from seeing me on the street..... i consciously chose to stay frum and realized that my parents do not represent judaism or G-D.
when frum peole disappoint me, i amagine as though i am on an island- just me and HKB"H. Baruch HaShem i stayed super frum albeit not chassidish...and im raising my family in the Torah way. I have gone to extensive therapy and i am a very happy individual- no matter what gets thrown my way....My love for HaShem and frumkeit is strong and steady. Yes, we all have our moments and our pasts- but that isNO excuse to constantly blame ur parents, the community, the schools and so on for the rest of ur life the way the OTD community does.... i did not kill myself or trash my parents or community in the secular media. please do not glorify her for staying alive. she was and is old enough to go for therapy.

Finally. A ray of hope. Someone gets it -- the someone is you. You humble yourself when you say you are a survivor and champion... you're that and so much more. You are a beautiful person, inside and out. Nothing to refute, you've said it so well. Thank you.

136

 Feb 20, 2012 at 11:56 PM moshe leib Says:

Reply to #125  
sally Says:

No one is forced to shave any more than they are forced to say brocho. It is a way of life chasidim are brought up with and those that shave do so out of their own will. Nobody checks them out and btw shaving hair is a chasidish thing not a satmar thinh

yes no one is forced per say,but an enormous amount of pressure is applied communally .thy typical young married wife can not stand up to this chumra,,,,

and by the way making a brocha is required al pi halach ,,,shaving a womans head is not

137

 Feb 21, 2012 at 12:03 AM moshe leib Says:

Reply to #123  
Anonymous Says:

I am your average shpitzel lady, born, bred and raised in an "extreme" Satmar family. I currently attend a MIXED college in Manhattan, with the full support of my husband, parents, grandparents, ET AL. I dont harbor any feelings of rebellion, I am proud to adhere to all stringencies, and I feel privileged to belong to this community. I did however wish to further my education, and wow surprise! I am able to do so and my family sees it for what it is. When someone attends college with the intentions to spite, of course they will get chastised for it.

i applaud your stepping out of the herd and trying to further
your education by attending a mixed college ,,,YOU are the minority in your community and i wonder if more likeminded women would do the same if the bans would start to flow in fast,,,,,,just wondering

138

 Feb 21, 2012 at 12:04 AM PrettyinPink Says:

Mrs. Freier, as I was reading your article I felt tears trickle down my cheeks. Finally someone is speaking up for us. Finally someone is sticking up for Hashem and his treasured Torah. I truly thank you for that!

Deborah and her supporters are annoyed at the negativity she is receiving, oh well, I guess we need to teach her/them how to stick up for their rights. Maybe that would've prevented her from being where she is now. How can we Yidden sit by idly as she slanders us and mocks our religion that we value, our traditions that we so cherish. How can we allow her to write book after book (there's a sequel to this one on the way) distorting the truth about true Orthodox Judiasm? I also grew up where she did, I went to the very same school that her yet I find my religion beautiful and fulfilling. I feel so close to my benevolent creator. I often wonder who she turns to when she's in trouble. I can't fathom living a life without Him.

To Deborah and her cohorts, the day will come and you will have to answer for all hate you've sent our way.

Please my fellow Jews, let'sstop all the hate, let's unite as one nation serving the same G-d so that He deems us worthy of His protection.

139

 Feb 21, 2012 at 12:09 AM sechelyoshor Says:

Reply to #112  
golde Says:

U wrote it so well.i have been saying all along that the extreme ppl in the hasidic community make the young get turned off.they even rally behind the rabbonim and make them sign extreme rules. It will get no where only feldmans. Am hasidic and open minded i truly love hashem i allow our children access to tex internet with supervision (computer in the kitchen-open to everyone) and B'h they are all true yiras shmoyim from 18 years and down

Just wondering what the schools you send your kids think of the open internet usage. I have it too but I'm not chassidish and the schools know that I do as do other parents from the schools I send my kids. Do you need to hide from the school? Do your kids not see the contradiction?

140

 Feb 21, 2012 at 12:17 AM Shlomie Says:

Once again R. Freier makes us soooo very proud!! Your children are blessed to have you as their mother, your Erlicha Husband (that I watch him davening like a real Yiras Shamayim) is blessed to have you as his wife/Rebitzen, your parents did something very right raising you, and Klal Yisroel did something right to deserve you as a true Vaig Vazzer!!! Keep it up!!!

141

 Feb 21, 2012 at 12:21 AM PrettyinPink Says:

Reply to #135  
Rachel W. Says:

Finally. A ray of hope. Someone gets it -- the someone is you. You humble yourself when you say you are a survivor and champion... you're that and so much more. You are a beautiful person, inside and out. Nothing to refute, you've said it so well. Thank you.

Just my thoughts...

142

 Feb 21, 2012 at 12:32 AM Anonymous Says:

Correlation does not prove causation:
"Dr. Joseph Menczer, a gynecological oncologist in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, Israel has published articles in The Israel Medical Association Journal, on the low incidence of cervical cancer in Jewish women. While he asserts that further research is necessary, he wrote, “An additional distinct characteristic is the observance of the Jewish religious law of Nidah …Cervical cancer seems indeed to be more common in secular than in Orthodox Jewish women who observe the law.” (IMAJ, Volume 13, November 2011)." Cervical Cancer is caused by a virus which is transmitted through sex. Secular women with multiple partners are certainly more likely to get a cancer which is avoidable by two people who are virgins (and therefore virus free) when they get married. The "law of Nidah" has nothing to do with it.

143

 Feb 21, 2012 at 12:53 AM survivor and champion Says:

Reply to #135  
Rachel W. Says:

Finally. A ray of hope. Someone gets it -- the someone is you. You humble yourself when you say you are a survivor and champion... you're that and so much more. You are a beautiful person, inside and out. Nothing to refute, you've said it so well. Thank you.

thank you so much!! thts really sweet of u!! the fact tht u can see tht in my comment reflects back 2 u! k'maim panim el panim!
yes,i consider myself a survivor & a champion in life. a champion is 1 who survives & thrives. i hav been dealt w/ many struggles in the past & present. Its hard 2 constantly face e/ challenge head on w/ faith, courage & emunah. emunah does not come naturally-many times its hard not 2 ask why? Moshe Rabeinu askd why & HaShem didn't answer him-so certainly HE won't answer me!Emuna,bitachon,happiness is like maintaining a diet. it takes work & effort. yes, there r many times when its hard 2 face the challenge-but i put on makeup & a big smile & n/o is the wiser. wallowing in self pity & blaming others serves no purpose at all. I do the best I can w/ the tools HaShem gave me 2 deal w/ my custom made life. we don't knw why s/ of us are born in 2 crazy abusive dysfunctional homes-but I trust HaShem tht He is ALWAYS holdng my hand e/ whn i may get sad @ the circumstances or cards HE gave me. HE is my only anchor & Father who will alwys b there 2 wipe my tears-1 day I will use my painful past 2 help & inspire others-rather thn slandering our beautiful religion!!!!

144

 Feb 21, 2012 at 01:00 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #123  
Anonymous Says:

I am your average shpitzel lady, born, bred and raised in an "extreme" Satmar family. I currently attend a MIXED college in Manhattan, with the full support of my husband, parents, grandparents, ET AL. I dont harbor any feelings of rebellion, I am proud to adhere to all stringencies, and I feel privileged to belong to this community. I did however wish to further my education, and wow surprise! I am able to do so and my family sees it for what it is. When someone attends college with the intentions to spite, of course they will get chastised for it.

Is there any particular reason you cannot attend a college for woman, like Touro...just curious.

145

 Feb 21, 2012 at 01:08 AM bracha18 Says:

Reply to #95  
TruthSeeker Says:

As much as what DEVORAH F did was a VIRAL CHILUL HASHEM, it is incumbent on us to push all emotion aside an REALLY LISTEN, yes we have a BEAUTIFUL RELIGION but EXTREMISM IS RUINING IT!!! We live in a day in age where you CANT get away with SLOPPY PARENTING and EDUCATING. It's too easy to run away today. CHASSIDUS today is NOT what the BAAL SHEM TOV HAD IN MIND. The Baal Shem Tov intended on a movement that will INCREASE JOY in Yiddishkeit. The GOAL today seems to be WHAT SHOULD WE RESTRICT NEXT!

When HASHEM wants someone to CORRECT a behavior, He sends a MESSAGE through life events. If we DON'T get it, He sends a LOUDER message. Just reflect HOW MANY negative incidents were in the news regarding chassidim this past year. We don't have NEVIIM to tell us where we NEED IMPROVEMENT yet frankly THE INTERNET is doing a GREAT JOB. It's not coincidence that all this is exposed, it's HASHEM speaking to us.
RELIGION is meant to bring us CLOSE TO HASHEM and "LOVE HIM WITH ALL OUR HEART AND SOUL" as we daven three times daily. We are meant to WORSHIP HASHEM with leaders to GUIDE US. NOT worship leaders with HASHEM to GUIDE us. We are MEANT to live A LIFE OF HOLINESS AND VALUES which creates DEEP FULFILLMENT and CONT

it says that before mashiach comes, the weak ones will fall away. your entire post is based on your own opinion. You are not a Navi so you don't know why these things are happening. They are happening because there are many weak individuals in our community. in all the previous generations there also were weak ones. hence the tefilla V"LAMALSHINIM was added to shemona esrai.
when the frum go off and desecrate HaShems name on such a large scale that is NOT a message from HaShem as each person has bechira. The message we should take is - we are frum and proud to be!!! like the satmar Rebbe Z"L would say "zei shtulz!!!"- BE PROUD!!! (and im not satmar!!! never was...especially in my long denim skirt...) but the message for us is to continue being frum!! be proud!! become frummer!!! and closer to HaShem!! only 1/5th or 1/50th of klal yisrael will greet mashiach!! let us raise our flags "MI L"HASHEM EILAI!!!!!" like the chashmonaim....like Mordechai & Esther!!! that is the message!!! chazak chazak v'nischazek my sisters & brothers!!! we r doing well!!! HaShem loves us!!! and in regards to parenting- there has NEVER been so many parentig classes being offered and they are booked solid.

146

 Feb 21, 2012 at 01:09 AM Anonymous Says:

Depravity...not depravy
Disgusting commenter...
I'm chassidish too..
Screaming ugly foul words ...you are no better
you have something to say....you can, in a manner befitting your position, which is...I don't quite know....because you lost your position with me.Whenever someone comes across trying to rebuke someone, most of the time it looks worse than the one rebuked. No wonder the Torah has to teach us how to rebuke. Because there is a good way and....a not so good way. You....took the low road. Next time.....take the High Road.Thanks

147

 Feb 21, 2012 at 01:13 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #127  
ShlomoS Says:

Although also anecdotal, I did a mental calculation regarding 8 young adults when I joined a religious community 20 years ago. Of those 8, as far as I know, only 3 are still married to our first spouse, 1 became a widow and was remarried, but I don't know if she is still married to her second husband.

My anecdote shows Frum Jews of only 20 years ago unfortunately in line with their secular counterparts

Really? you got to be kidding. 50% of families end up in divorce court...We have a rise in divorce, but please...please don't lump us in with the secular world.
If you are trying to paint us with a black brush...because you have an agenda...please find something else to say...your survey doesn't add up to the averages....

148

 Feb 21, 2012 at 01:22 AM heimish Says:

Reply to #128  
Whitney RIP Says:

People go off the derech because of pain. . She didn't come up with new scientific evidence proving that Satmar is the wrong way of life. She just doesn't feel like being Orthodox anymore. It is not worth her while. Her parents caused her pain or didn't protect her. Satmar didn't protect her from her pain. And now she is gone. She is right according to the way she feels. Period.
If as a society we want to grow, we'd better learn from her story to deal with our problems. Drugs, Singles, Parnassah, Abuse, Chinuch, Molestation, Lack of Internal true Yiddishkeit, Lack of outlet for Orthodox men, Lack of family or community for many, Organizations that aren't focused on those who need the help, High expectations in terms of family size and cost of living, just to name a few.
Let he who is free from the sin of not being there for our fellow Jew cast the first stone. We all can do more for others or just be there for others. If we want to make the world a better place, we need to change ourselves. Tikun Olam.

i grew up living across the street from her, her parents didnt cause her any pain, her mom wanted her to go to public school, and graduate college, and she refused that. satmar took her in after a few non chassidish schools rejected her, and when she graduated 11th grade satmar gave her a 9th grade english teaching job.

149

 Feb 21, 2012 at 01:26 AM mommy dearest Says:

Reply to #128  
Whitney RIP Says:

People go off the derech because of pain. . She didn't come up with new scientific evidence proving that Satmar is the wrong way of life. She just doesn't feel like being Orthodox anymore. It is not worth her while. Her parents caused her pain or didn't protect her. Satmar didn't protect her from her pain. And now she is gone. She is right according to the way she feels. Period.
If as a society we want to grow, we'd better learn from her story to deal with our problems. Drugs, Singles, Parnassah, Abuse, Chinuch, Molestation, Lack of Internal true Yiddishkeit, Lack of outlet for Orthodox men, Lack of family or community for many, Organizations that aren't focused on those who need the help, High expectations in terms of family size and cost of living, just to name a few.
Let he who is free from the sin of not being there for our fellow Jew cast the first stone. We all can do more for others or just be there for others. If we want to make the world a better place, we need to change ourselves. Tikun Olam.

We are growing, b"h ...we are learning...Satmar doesn't have to protect her...I'm sure they were nice to her...did their best. She didn't choose not to be orthodox, she chose to leave the faith...big difference. She chose to go public and humiliate us and herself for that matter....after all, you can leave the faith, but the faith (won't ) leave you...
Every society has flaws...always has...Don't try to make it sound like it is something new...Every generation since the beginning of time has to deal with the issues that arise. We are trying to deal with ours.
Nobody is casting anything. People are hurt, people who know her, her family, but not everyone goes public and paints their former life with a big black brush...If she chooses to abandon her former way of life, so be it, what can we do...win some, lose some...this one got lost. So go...have a great life....and leave it behind..But no...I gotta take revenge on those ppl who didn't give me what I needed. Wow...I didn't exactly get what I thought I needed. Did I write a book about it..?.
Please...at some point, we are responsible for our behavior. Plenty hurt souls..the world over. "mommy dearest" really sells(famous book)!!!!

150

 Feb 21, 2012 at 01:33 AM stamazoy Says:

magnificent article

151

 Feb 21, 2012 at 01:39 AM career minded Says:

Reply to #131  
Eagle Says:

PMOinFL: Whatever you feel about her, please don't curse her or anyone else, you don't know what she went through and how much she suffered. The fact is that she suffered and nobody really cared to help her out, and btw, even the kids who are being helped out are being looked down at and they are never respected in the community. And even if she was helped, she is right about the fact that she didn't get a proper education, which every child is entitled to here in NY, especially since the Yeshivas get partly subsidized by government aid and charity. Living in the Charidi world is sadly a world with no freedom and no opportunities, it is not what true Judaism is about, I am happy for her that she is out and she gets the CHOICE to live the life that she chooses, I wish her to find the right path in life.

Go get a life! we have brilliant kids coming out of this so called "sheltered, no proper education" community! No freedom or opportunities, please...you are making me mad. I grew up there, in the heart of it...had every opportunity I wanted...there is always room to grow. And by the way, WE ALSO EDUCATE OUR CHILDREN IN HEBREW SUBJECTS, MIND YOU...And so...we cannot spend the WHOLE DAY on secular ones. There are some MORE IMPORTANT subjects we have to absorb, the ones the secular world omits...and that's why I can't travel anywhere without being proud of who I am. Their noise reverberates and wakes the dead!!!! So much, for a nice public school education. College? plenty today. Get a scholarship and go. My daughter-in-law didn't even have a hight school diploma. She didn't bitch about it. She got herself one, and went on to get a B.A. in ...social work....So,don't give me any stories...the motivated ones just do what they gotta do...the others, are happy without. Raising kids is the hardest job of all. Having a career is fine for those who seek it, not necessarily for everyone. At the end of time, why don't you ask those career minded young ladies, where they stand...?

152

 Feb 21, 2012 at 01:42 AM career minded Says:

Cont'd
a head full of information and an empty life..Sacrificing career for a life ... B'H...we have what to be proud of..Raising generations of yiddishe kinderlech...no task could compare to it...and I, for one, am as proud as can be...looking a my gorgeous grandchildren....and knowing that they will perpetuate the cycle over and over and over again. IYH.
May we raise the flag of yiddishkeit high...and never be ashamed of who we are!!!!

153

 Feb 21, 2012 at 01:45 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #133  
neezoogshoin Says:

I posted a comment on her facebook page but they took it off right away. It wasn't even that bad. I basically said that I wanna be supportive of her, but coming from the same strict hasidic background as her, and currently attending medical school, I don't see how leading a nice chasidic life interferes with getting an education and living according to your own choosing.
I finished off by saying that I guess people will always believe whatever they choose to believe, no matter how ludicrous.

Because it doesn't substantiate her story...that's why they took it off. Cowards!!!
Why don't we tell that to the press.
I emailed her a long time ago.? Did she answer? Of course not. She is not open to be challenged...bet you.

154

 Feb 21, 2012 at 01:48 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #135  
Rachel W. Says:

Finally. A ray of hope. Someone gets it -- the someone is you. You humble yourself when you say you are a survivor and champion... you're that and so much more. You are a beautiful person, inside and out. Nothing to refute, you've said it so well. Thank you.

And there are many others like her who are not posting ... as a matter of fact. You know, not everyone is following VIN...
The point being.....when given a lemon....MAKE LEMONAIDE!!!!!!

155

 Feb 21, 2012 at 03:20 AM allmark Says:

Reply to #73  
noahz6 Says:

is there anywhere i can get a free pdf file of the book ?

That would be stealing.

156

 Feb 21, 2012 at 05:41 AM mendoza Says:

Reply to #10  
PMOinFL Says:

The sad reality is that this is a very disturbed young woman who never got the help, love, support and knowledge that she needed. I feel bad for her. Her life is meaningless and empty. But why does she have to try to drag everyone else down with her? I'm sure there are many people who can refute her fairy tales. Why are they not speaking out?

Look, there are fanatical crazy people in every group, including our own groups. We have rapists, drug addicts and spousal abusers. That is all TRUE. So, I accept that she may have been the victim of some dirty people. But that is no excuse to disparage EVERYONE.

Had she written about her experiences with SPECIFIC animals who mistreated her, I could understand. I might have even taken her side. I might have even wanted to reach out to her. Instead, she made up lies and used the media to create a chillul H" and smear us all. Now, I hope she never has a single moment of peace in her life. I hope that she is tortured (mentally) her entire life. May she never have a single night's sleep in peace.

That's wrong to wish her bad .and Not the Torah way
It's people like u who turnd her off yidishkeit

157

 Feb 21, 2012 at 07:51 AM Babishka Says:

Reply to #142  
Anonymous Says:

Correlation does not prove causation:
"Dr. Joseph Menczer, a gynecological oncologist in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, Israel has published articles in The Israel Medical Association Journal, on the low incidence of cervical cancer in Jewish women. While he asserts that further research is necessary, he wrote, “An additional distinct characteristic is the observance of the Jewish religious law of Nidah …Cervical cancer seems indeed to be more common in secular than in Orthodox Jewish women who observe the law.” (IMAJ, Volume 13, November 2011)." Cervical Cancer is caused by a virus which is transmitted through sex. Secular women with multiple partners are certainly more likely to get a cancer which is avoidable by two people who are virgins (and therefore virus free) when they get married. The "law of Nidah" has nothing to do with it.

The low level of cervical cancer among Jewish women has been linked to having sex with circumcised partners, not necessarily observance of mikvah.

158

 Feb 21, 2012 at 08:05 AM Batsheva Says:

Reply to #29  
Anonymous Says:

I don't know what you call chumros but most of these things are the way our grandparents led their lives and many of them lost their lives al kiddush hashem. So you are saying we should drop these chumros in order to enrich such people as Devora Feldman's life. Devora Feldman and all others out there like her
will never be happy until she learns to let go of her past and creates herself a future.

#136: No, not enrich Ms. Feldman, but to enrich ourselves. We jog along looking down at others who do not conduct themselves the same way as we do. Many Chassidish minhogim are just that: minhogim with no real basis in normative halocha. Normative halocha is what the Shulchan Oruch demands of us, not what our grandparents did because they came from the chotzer of Rebbe X who had this or that hanhoga/minhag/chumra. A married woman shaving her head is not halocha yet we all know of ladies who have been looked down upon, frowned upon and treated as a non-person when they have gone to a chassidish mikva where that is the minhag. Lets stop living only in our own world and wake up and smell the coffee. There are lots of chassidishe men and ladies whose excessive emphasis on the outer trappings of life, where the wife shaves her haed and the hsuband spends a large part of the davening curling his peyos but not bothering about real mitzvos like not stealing etc. has pushed people like Feldman away. We need, as communities, to get back to basics. We may follow the heilige minhogim of out holy ancestors but those same heilige ancestors would, I suggest, find out life styles abhorrent.

159

 Feb 21, 2012 at 08:05 AM sally Says:

Reply to #136  
moshe leib Says:

yes no one is forced per say,but an enormous amount of pressure is applied communally .thy typical young married wife can not stand up to this chumra,,,,

and by the way making a brocha is required al pi halach ,,,shaving a womans head is not

its not being forced on anyone anymore than saying a brocho whether halacha or not....and did you check out what any woman has under her wig? most modest women dont advertise their private matters. We are not all sury berkowitzes

160

 Feb 21, 2012 at 08:26 AM Whitney RIP Says:

Reply to #148  
heimish Says:

i grew up living across the street from her, her parents didnt cause her any pain, her mom wanted her to go to public school, and graduate college, and she refused that. satmar took her in after a few non chassidish schools rejected her, and when she graduated 11th grade satmar gave her a 9th grade english teaching job.

I admit it. I don't know her. However, You obviously don't know her well, if you think she left, and it wasn't because of her pain. It is the most unnatural thing for her to do ; leave the faith. if she had a good warm home enviroment, if she had a good warm community, if she had even one person who really cared, she wouldn't have left. I am pretty sure about it. And if she had none of the above, there is a lot of pain. BTW, living across the street from her doesn't mean you know anything about her. I would doubt that people across the street from me, understand me.

161

 Feb 21, 2012 at 08:39 AM Babishka Says:

I comment frequently at a non-Jewish blog that discusses political, environmental and religious topics. Participants come from a very diverse background: Christians, Jews (mostly non-Orthodox), Muslims, Mormons, Atheists. I am the only Hasidic person who posts there. When this story first came out I was expecting to get a lot of questions from other posters about this book. Do you know what they asked me about it? NOTHING! It was totally ignored by everyone.

162

 Feb 21, 2012 at 08:41 AM Take pride Says:

Reply to #97  
a survivor & champion Says:

i had a far worse childhood than her- a bi polar father who was and still is horribly abusive- and a battered borderine schizophrenic mother.....my childhood was mine and my siblings personal holocaust. Not only did I not go off the derech- even though i could have and should have been the poster child for OTD as i also had modeling agencies running after me....from seeing me on the street..... i consciously chose to stay frum and realized that my parents do not represent judaism or G-D.
when frum peole disappoint me, i amagine as though i am on an island- just me and HKB"H. Baruch HaShem i stayed super frum albeit not chassidish...and im raising my family in the Torah way. I have gone to extensive therapy and i am a very happy individual- no matter what gets thrown my way....My love for HaShem and frumkeit is strong and steady. Yes, we all have our moments and our pasts- but that isNO excuse to constantly blame ur parents, the community, the schools and so on for the rest of ur life the way the OTD community does.... i did not kill myself or trash my parents or community in the secular media. please do not glorify her for staying alive. she was and is old enough to go for therapy.

Beautifully stated. This really sums up my feelings on the matter. However, I do feel that we as a whole need to take partial responsibility for this woman. The same way we naturally take responsibility for the shortcomings of our own children, (i.e. he is chutzpadik today b/c I let him get away with it yesterday, or she is angry now because I didn't show her enough love then), we need to take partial responsibility for one of our own and we need to be completely honest in doing so. Everyone keeps saying, she was given enough love, but maybe "enough love" wasn't enough. Did we go out of our way to invite and accept? Kids from broken families are finely tuned in to what others really think about their families and feel the stigma even at a very young age, so we need piles upon piles of love to counter that. On the other hand, just as we don't let our kids justify listening to their yetzer hara b/c of external factors ("it's b/c I'm tired"), she was a child and then an adult with bechirah who made her choices. And while I don't blame her for choosing to go leave the world she was raised in, I do blame her for choosing to slander, disparage and embelish the details of it.

163

 Feb 21, 2012 at 09:00 AM Whitney RIP Says:

Reply to #149  
mommy dearest Says:

We are growing, b"h ...we are learning...Satmar doesn't have to protect her...I'm sure they were nice to her...did their best. She didn't choose not to be orthodox, she chose to leave the faith...big difference. She chose to go public and humiliate us and herself for that matter....after all, you can leave the faith, but the faith (won't ) leave you...
Every society has flaws...always has...Don't try to make it sound like it is something new...Every generation since the beginning of time has to deal with the issues that arise. We are trying to deal with ours.
Nobody is casting anything. People are hurt, people who know her, her family, but not everyone goes public and paints their former life with a big black brush...If she chooses to abandon her former way of life, so be it, what can we do...win some, lose some...this one got lost. So go...have a great life....and leave it behind..But no...I gotta take revenge on those ppl who didn't give me what I needed. Wow...I didn't exactly get what I thought I needed. Did I write a book about it..?.
Please...at some point, we are responsible for our behavior. Plenty hurt souls..the world over. "mommy dearest" really sells(famous book)!!!!

Satmar doesn't have to protect her ? I would say, if she is part of the Satmar community, Satmar does have to protect her. I know you are in pain. I know that her friends and family feel guilt, probably at least somewhat unwarranted guilt. I know that secular society is no better for her. I know that there is more pain in store for her future in the secular world. All this is true, however, those in pain now, family, friends, and the like, were not there for her needs. It is possible that her needs were more than the average person could be there for. It is possible people did what they thought was their best. End of the day. Not enough for her.

I would venture to say, there are 1000's of people like her on the edge of the proverbial roof. Whether they jump or not, i don't know. Whether they go on TV and denounce their former life to absolve their guilt, I dont know. Either way, there are kids and adults at risk all over the place, and that is a result of US not giving them their emotional needs. WE can all make a difference. It's not about blame or fault, it's about us as a community recognizing the problems and finding solutions.

164

 Feb 21, 2012 at 09:44 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #21  
Anonymous Says:

Sorry but your attempts at defending Orthodoxy and Chassidus are apologetic and fall short. The truth is there is no defence vis a vis Ms. Feldman. She grew up with a terrible family life and one can not but pity her for that. She is no more to blame for leaving her faith then someone who went through the holocaust. In her case, her religion,community, and culture, are partially to blame. You can not deny that an arranged marriage for a girl who is 17 or 19, is not a forced or coerced marriage. Even if she met the guy once or twice before the wedding and her family had all the best intentions and love for her, and even if she consented, there is still an element of coercion. You can attempt to defend the closed off walled of lifestyle of the Chassidic/Charedi/Yeshivish community and paint it as beautiful, however the truth is, that it is the rejection of modernity and a refusal to synthesize frumkeit with the modern world, that is directly responsible for a large amount of our communal problems and the OTD issue. We have a tendancy to denigrate "Modern Othodoxy" but imagine if Ms Feldman had been given a different type of education, perhaps she would still be frum.

'however the truth is, that it is the rejection of modernity and a refusal to synthesize frumkeit with the modern world, that is directly responsible for a large amount of our communal problems' WRONG. Internal communal problems are not the result of a rejection of modernity - unless you believe that Judasim has no empirical moral standards or you believe that the current secular standards are THE 'moral' standards to abide by. This is not the place to discuss minutiae of the problem you allude to, but YOUR response demonstrates that your own standards are definitely not dictated by Torah.

165

 Feb 21, 2012 at 10:08 AM verizdantata Says:

this lady is plain talking non sense why are we even disscus what shy rights in her book

166

 Feb 21, 2012 at 10:34 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #158  
Batsheva Says:

#136: No, not enrich Ms. Feldman, but to enrich ourselves. We jog along looking down at others who do not conduct themselves the same way as we do. Many Chassidish minhogim are just that: minhogim with no real basis in normative halocha. Normative halocha is what the Shulchan Oruch demands of us, not what our grandparents did because they came from the chotzer of Rebbe X who had this or that hanhoga/minhag/chumra. A married woman shaving her head is not halocha yet we all know of ladies who have been looked down upon, frowned upon and treated as a non-person when they have gone to a chassidish mikva where that is the minhag. Lets stop living only in our own world and wake up and smell the coffee. There are lots of chassidishe men and ladies whose excessive emphasis on the outer trappings of life, where the wife shaves her haed and the hsuband spends a large part of the davening curling his peyos but not bothering about real mitzvos like not stealing etc. has pushed people like Feldman away. We need, as communities, to get back to basics. We may follow the heilige minhogim of out holy ancestors but those same heilige ancestors would, I suggest, find out life styles abhorrent.

Your attack on Minhagei Yisroel is disgraceful and untrue. In fact, there are a great many minhagim for which we do not know the reasons, yet they are every bit as holy as Totah itself (Minhag Yisroel Torah Hi). There is truth to some practices being mistakenly considered minhagim when they were adaptations for practical reasons that may not be applicable. There is the famous legend of the woman who cut off the ends of the roast before putting in the roasting pan because her mother did so. Mother did not know why, but copied this from her mother. It was finallky determined that the grandmother had a pan that would not fit the roast unless the ends were cut off. This was assumed to be a minhag, and was actually not. There are certainly more such practices. Some forms of levush are similar in their origin. Some chassidim wore knickers because that was the style (not fashion) in their countries of origin. Others wore their pant cuffs tucked in their socks because streets were not paved and tended to be muddy.
Shaving the head was done as a stringency of tznius. Some adopted this minhag, others did not. How dare you declare it as baseless in halocho.

167

 Feb 21, 2012 at 11:17 AM Love Davka Says:

Reply to #114  
Anonymous Says:

I'm so sorry to burst your bubble...but we are all b'h very well versed in the areas of intimacy...with time, we all learn. And those who don't, and are happy with their lives, who is to say anything. Whatever makes 2 ppl happy, is fine with me.
I don't know where you are coming from, thinking that chassidish woman are so prudish and unaware...there are very few rules that are broken in order for ppl to have satisfying lives...sorry...

I'm pleased to hear that you and your friends are "very well versed in the areas of intimacy.'' However, as you admit, it took time to learn and some people never do learn. And from that you make a jump to saying "whatever makes 2 ppl. happy is fine with me." I agree in theory. However, very often, when 2 ppl. remain ignorant, it is only that husband that is happy (because men are wired differently), while the wife detests the act. It is almost impossible for women of certain Chasidic groups to be satisfied without breaking the "rules". As the Steipler Gaon zt"l wrote, this is the opposite of what the Torah intended.

168

 Feb 21, 2012 at 03:47 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #157  
Babishka Says:

The low level of cervical cancer among Jewish women has been linked to having sex with circumcised partners, not necessarily observance of mikvah.

Wrong...everything to Torah commands us to do is for a purpose to make our lives healthier and better. Check it out further.....you are not well informed.

169

 Feb 21, 2012 at 10:06 PM lie after lie after lie Says:

Hasidic Hell: Married at 17, Girl Runs From Her Orthodox Roots...on abc.
For some more interesting info she shared, plus a couple of fabrications, check out the site.

170

 Feb 21, 2012 at 10:17 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #167  
Love Davka Says:

I'm pleased to hear that you and your friends are "very well versed in the areas of intimacy.'' However, as you admit, it took time to learn and some people never do learn. And from that you make a jump to saying "whatever makes 2 ppl. happy is fine with me." I agree in theory. However, very often, when 2 ppl. remain ignorant, it is only that husband that is happy (because men are wired differently), while the wife detests the act. It is almost impossible for women of certain Chasidic groups to be satisfied without breaking the "rules". As the Steipler Gaon zt"l wrote, this is the opposite of what the Torah intended.

My comment was intended for those (yes there are some)naiive and eidel children out there. The rest of us...let nature take it's course, you see, chasiddish or not. The whole subject is stupid to discuss, like woman in chassidish circles don't have nature on their side. Absurd...totally absurd. And no, those who have no interest in finding out "more" and are happy, does not mean they are unfulfilled. We are all different, with different needs. Those who feel unfulfilled, will certainly seek it out...give us some credit, you know. We are not as stupid as you think. Nature doesn't skip us over...!!!! There are very "few" rules between spouses, no matter how orthodox...that are broken to have a satisfactory life...Sorry...
I can't speak for their personal "guilt"....if that's what they feel, but I'm talking halachically. If it's against halacha, it's against halacha for everyone...otherwise...it's fair game ...for all!

171

 Feb 22, 2012 at 10:35 AM Love Davka Says:

You know and I know that many Chasidic (and some non-Chasidic) women have no interest in the act. And this is caused by numerous "rules" that are not required by halachah, as well as guilt.

You made short shrift of the issue of guilt. Well, in fact, guilt is a huge problem. It is very "natural" for people brought up in such communities to feel guilty about enjoying themselves in this area. When a couple get married, we just tell them to do something that runs counter to everything they were told their whole lives, and leave the rest to chance. Sometimes "nature takes it's course" (as you eloquently put it), but very often it doesn't. The system is wrong, it is against the Torah, and it is a large part of what caused Feldman to leave yiddishkeit.

172

 Feb 22, 2012 at 12:01 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #171  
Love Davka Says:

You know and I know that many Chasidic (and some non-Chasidic) women have no interest in the act. And this is caused by numerous "rules" that are not required by halachah, as well as guilt.

You made short shrift of the issue of guilt. Well, in fact, guilt is a huge problem. It is very "natural" for people brought up in such communities to feel guilty about enjoying themselves in this area. When a couple get married, we just tell them to do something that runs counter to everything they were told their whole lives, and leave the rest to chance. Sometimes "nature takes it's course" (as you eloquently put it), but very often it doesn't. The system is wrong, it is against the Torah, and it is a large part of what caused Feldman to leave yiddishkeit.

I'm sorry to inform you, but your knowledge about this is seriously antiquated. I work with many couples in every stream of the frum community, and the knowledge base about intimacy is far more advanced than you seem to believe. There is a major problem we have with those given the authority to teach our chassanim and kallahs before their chasunos. Many give misinformation, others omit too much, hardly any speak about issues of relationship (physical and otherwise), and limit their transmission to the halachos of niddah. Many of these teachers are later consulted by the couples when there are questions or problems. Few, if any, have the training to know how to guide these couples. As "chassidishe" communities, there is no "derech" that minimizes the beauty of a mitzvah relationship. If that is what Feldman thinks she is rejecting, then her real enemy is a fantasy. The notion of bad advice is an individual issue, not a community one. There needs to be some regulation or control over chosson and kallah teachers, but that is for another forum.

173

 Feb 22, 2012 at 02:48 PM Love Davka Says:

So at last you admit that there's a problem.

I don't know what you mean when you say "there is no 'derech' that minimizes the beauty of a mitzvah relationship". A very large chasidic group follow this very derech (clue: their name begins with a G).

174

 Feb 22, 2012 at 11:51 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #144  
Anonymous Says:

Is there any particular reason you cannot attend a college for woman, like Touro...just curious.

I probably would have if they would offer the subject that I'm taking.

175

 Feb 24, 2012 at 07:00 AM yaakov321 Says:

To anyone still reading this thread. I went in impartial and read the sample of this 'book'.
THIS IS BASICALLY ANTI-ORTHODOX SMUT.

176

 Feb 25, 2012 at 10:45 PM lbeen Says:

Reply to #10  
PMOinFL Says:

The sad reality is that this is a very disturbed young woman who never got the help, love, support and knowledge that she needed. I feel bad for her. Her life is meaningless and empty. But why does she have to try to drag everyone else down with her? I'm sure there are many people who can refute her fairy tales. Why are they not speaking out?

Look, there are fanatical crazy people in every group, including our own groups. We have rapists, drug addicts and spousal abusers. That is all TRUE. So, I accept that she may have been the victim of some dirty people. But that is no excuse to disparage EVERYONE.

Had she written about her experiences with SPECIFIC animals who mistreated her, I could understand. I might have even taken her side. I might have even wanted to reach out to her. Instead, she made up lies and used the media to create a chillul H" and smear us all. Now, I hope she never has a single moment of peace in her life. I hope that she is tortured (mentally) her entire life. May she never have a single night's sleep in peace.

She got a lot of love & attention during her school years. People like her always try to blame their youth when they actually have to work hard to put it behind & build their own life. As Dr. Rabbi Twersky says in his book when someone came to his office with complaint on his parents & youth, he told him your an adult & actually responsible for your own doings. It's hard, but not impossible.

177

 Feb 25, 2012 at 11:13 PM anonymous Says:

Reply to #143  
survivor and champion Says:

thank you so much!! thts really sweet of u!! the fact tht u can see tht in my comment reflects back 2 u! k'maim panim el panim!
yes,i consider myself a survivor & a champion in life. a champion is 1 who survives & thrives. i hav been dealt w/ many struggles in the past & present. Its hard 2 constantly face e/ challenge head on w/ faith, courage & emunah. emunah does not come naturally-many times its hard not 2 ask why? Moshe Rabeinu askd why & HaShem didn't answer him-so certainly HE won't answer me!Emuna,bitachon,happiness is like maintaining a diet. it takes work & effort. yes, there r many times when its hard 2 face the challenge-but i put on makeup & a big smile & n/o is the wiser. wallowing in self pity & blaming others serves no purpose at all. I do the best I can w/ the tools HaShem gave me 2 deal w/ my custom made life. we don't knw why s/ of us are born in 2 crazy abusive dysfunctional homes-but I trust HaShem tht He is ALWAYS holdng my hand e/ whn i may get sad @ the circumstances or cards HE gave me. HE is my only anchor & Father who will alwys b there 2 wipe my tears-1 day I will use my painful past 2 help & inspire others-rather thn slandering our beautiful religion!!!!

You are a living example of taking life into your own hands (with the help of Hashem). You really giving me chizuk that with the youth that I had (not very
hard but definitely not easy at all) I should continue working on myself without
looking back & blaming my hardships & faults on my past.

178

 Mar 12, 2012 at 06:50 AM UriLevi Says:

Reply to #90  
Anon Says:

What becomes clear from reading all the responses to this article, is that there is no single group whose practices fit everyone. Some people are totally happy living with additional chumros; some chafe at the additional restrictions. We might consider modifying a practice that the Amish use - the Rumspringa. During the teenage years, rules are relaxed and the kids are allowed to explore their independence. At the end of the Rumspringa, most decide to enter the Amish community, while a few leave. I'm not suggesting that we permit teens to leave the Torah. However, it would be nice to have an exchange program, where Satmar teens can live with

"can live with" ... - dare I say Modern or Centrist Orthodox families or yeshivos that would abide by their chumros but open them up to a different Hashkafa. This could e for a period of a week to a year. The same should apply to modern orthodox youth going to Satmar or Lakewood.

179

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