Thursday, February 9, 2012

Deborah Feldman - A Satmar Runaway

I have secrets too. Maybe Bubby knows about them, but she won't say anything about mine if I don't say anything about hers. Or perhaps I have only imagined her complicity; there is a chance this agreement is only one-sided. Would Bubby tattle on me? I hide my books under the bed, and she hides hers in her lingerie, and once a year when Zeidy inspects the house for Passover, poking through our things, we hover anxiously, terrified of being found out. Zeidy even rifles through my underwear drawer.
Only when I tell him that this is my private female stuff does he desist, unwilling to violate a woman's privacy, and move on to my grandmother's wardrobe. She is as defensive as I am when he rummages through her lingerie. We both know that our small stash of secular books would shock my grandfather more than a pile of chametz, the forbidden leavening, ever could. Bubby might get away with a scolding, but I would not be spared the full extent of my grandfather's wrath.
When my zeide gets angry, his long white beard seems to lift up and spread around his face like a fiery flame. I wither instantly in the heat of his scorn. ''Der tumeneh shprach!'' he thunders at me when he overhears me speaking to my cousins in English. An impure language, Zeidy says, acts like a poison to the soul. Reading an English book is even worse; it leaves my soul vulnerable, a welcome mat put out for the devil.' 

Source: Simon and Schuster/Amazon 


  1. B"H

    Did you see her article which was in the NY times?

    I also heard that next week she will be making an appearance on some TV show called the view.

    This woman has alot of anger. But the way she describes her life is too far fetched.

    Many women like myself are quite happy living as we do.

    Gut Shabbos

  2. B"H

    I only found out about Deborah Feldman while reading an Israeli haredi forum. She hasn't made any headlines in Israel yet.

    However, the commentator at the forum claimed that Deborah was sexual abused at the age of 12 and married by the age of 17.

    Reality is that one can earn lots of money with an "anti - book" revealing all kinds of community "secrets" but one won't make a living from writing a book about the pleasure of haredi life.

  3. B"H

    My main issue with this book being published as it seems that many of the readers (non Jewish) will make the assumption that this is how all Chassidim are.

    Someone mentioned she has a FB page. Many Charedi blogs are all talking about this book. You can even read the reviews on Amazon. Can you believe this book is already on some best sellers list??

    Life in many frum communities may not be picture card perfect but that does not mean we all go out and write books about it. Obviously it seems she never truly did fit in. But to insult the lives of Torah observant Jews will not be tolerated.

    One can be "Living in the world but not being of it". This book will do more harm then good. No community is perfect but for those who have no idea about the life within our communities will automatically assume it's all the same. Maybe life was hard for Deborah growing up and she obviously felt she did not "fit" in. But does that give her the right to tarnish the image of our community?

    Deborah grew up in a troubled home but yet feels the need to berate her community in every possible way.

    On another note. I'm sure you have seen the videos of Oprah's visit to Brooklyn. Found one link:

  4. B"H

    Thank you very much for the link !!!

    I don't know Deborah's book but I know that such stories sell well all over the world. The same with Naomi Ragen when she described Mea Shearim and secular Jews or Gentile readers got the wrong impression.

    Even if such people write books, they should reflect positive and negative sites and draw conclusions about what they learnt for life.

  5. B'H

    The problem with such people is that once they experienced bad things, run away and decide to write a book or speak about their old chasidic lifestyle is that they describe their experiences as if it was like in ANY and EVERY chasidic communities and families.

  6. I was raised chassidish and know very well what goes on on there. The interview in the post is mostly lies. Deborah has sex issues and body image issues as well as low self esteem. what she really needs is a good shrink.
    what will happen to her when all the hype and attention regarding the book will die down?....what a loser...

    She didnt trash chassidim- she trashed Taharas Hamishpacha (mikva, nidda...) this is one of the 3 foundational values of our religion. Shababbos, Kashrus, Taharas Hamishpacha.

    No one is trapped in williamsburg. she could have left when ever she wanted and she did leave....but why the hell is she not leaving willi and her family alone??? if she hates chassidim so much- then why does she keep posting videos of them on her web and speaking about would stand to reason that she would run far away and stay away....
    she says on the simon and shuster website - that she will feel uncomfortable for her son to read such intimate details...what about having some self respect and feeling uncomfortable with sharing distorted intimate details with the world???

    and all my willi friends want to know "who wears a nightgown??!!!" she felt fat - and i see why- so she kept the lights closed and wore a night gown!!! sorry to burst anyone's bubble- amongst all my chassidish friends we have a darn good bedroom life- each with our own spouse of course!

    She grew up in a dysfunctional house and now wants to blame/ defame chassidim, judaism, halacha...Torah...

    she says in the article she has a kardashianesque body.....who is she kidding??? they should sue her for defamation!!!! she is chubby- thats all.

    its clear that she did not write or publish the book alone...with all the media attention.....her mom probably helped her and financially supported her....


  8. So she gets to wear sequined minis and has a more varied menu than those in the Orthodox community do, she enjoys fantasizing about a salacious blissful love life, and has lots of publicity in her life right now, with everyone famous calling to interview her, due to her using her overabundant energy to blacken her very own ancestors and very own blood relatives and making them all out to be foolish robotic dodos.

    Had she been using her overabundant energy to become a doctor or inventor of some kind to make lives easier, or to encourage education, or had she taken on any noble cause, without the negativity and ridicule she employs, I might have been able to understand her, and find some redeeming qualities. But no, all she wants to do is defame the religious practices of her forefathers, instead of just living a normal accomplished, less religious or even totally irreligious life, privately without negativity and finger pointing.

    Had she at least attempted to balance her negativity by pointing to some of the many virtues and benefits existing in her former lifestyle and admit that even though she doesn't agree or believe or doesn't have innate discipline, there's beauty in this lifestyle and it has many gainful attributes, she might have deserved some respect. After all even a broken clock is right twice a day. Orthodoxy has to be good in at least some ways, even to those who choose not to practice.

    No such thing. In her eyes, the Orthodox lifestyle is all nonsense and shes the brilliant enlightened heroine who can transform the lives of everyone who is religious and naive, if they'd only experience the sweetness of her freedom. She has the key to the door of true happiness. While feasting on crab sandwiches and sending her child to a Modern Orthodox school, she feels she has the recipe for happiness and freedom. It’s not, it’s a recipe for confusion. I pity her for her pain and confusion and newfound aimless free fun, but I pity her son more, for having to live with and learn life’s lessons from a hateful, guiltless, vengeful person, who smugly chooses to mock and ridicule. With all this she hopes to come out looking like a saviour for her efforts. A modern day saint.

    Shes having fun and enjoying popularity with her mission now. She’s a conversation piece at the moment. What will she do for excitement next, when the buzz wears down? Who really respects her for her cheap and nasty mud slinging? So people are getting an enjoyable read. How long will the media be interested in her? Not one second longer than the next scandalous book gets published.

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

  9. B"H

    She reminds me of Gitty Grunwald. First such runaways become famous (although Gitty hasn't written a book), people are curious and love reading such books. Thus, there is a market because the runaways may have first - hand information and not like Naomi Ragen, fiction only.

    But let me tell you: Society and even literature have become fast food. You read these kinds of biographies, you are moved but soon after, new books are being published and people loose interest.

    What happened to the Gerrer runaway Sarah Einfeld in Israel ?

    First she appeared in all kinds of TV shows and wrote articles for secular Israeli papers. After a year or so, she had nothing new to tell anymore and thus, the public lost interest.

    Furthermore, Sarah has to support her two little children and she started going to school and finishing her college degree.

    I heard that from time to time, she still gives lectures to psychology students at the Tel Aviv University but beyond that, she is concentrating on building up her own life now.

    Deborah Feldman is going to face the same fate. People will loose interest but you are right: She has been causing lots of damage but I guess that money is more important to her.

    After a while, people are going to loose interest and then Deborah's reality is going to start. In case she wants to become a writer, she has to come up with new content and not always repeat herself.

  10. B"H

    Gut Shabbos

  11. Sorry but "any religion cannot be a license to practice barbarity". Why some people whose family went through holocaust practice same crualty than their nazis criminals : Their race and ways of life are the only rightous ones and whoever is out of the path don't desserve any respect (let's forget the word "compassion"!). But strange enough the ones " IN the "path" who kill (yes! : Kletzky) or abuse boys in yeshivot are protected by your rabbis and the Shomrim! These last ones working on public fundings ... And what about the kids being systematically taken away from convert or "out of the path" moms!
    I am sure there are very rightous people in your group SO THEY SHOULD DO SOME CLEAN UP in order to stop covering yiddishkeit with such shame !

  12. you let ONLY favorous comments ! beleive me I'll let all the net know about , sure it is more convenient but your paper looses all credits .

  13. B"H

    I am usually letting all comments through but sometimes it takes some time, as I have other things to do and I am not always on the Internet. So, there is no reason for false accusations !!!

    As far as I know, no Rabbi stood up for the Kletzky murderer and countless Haredim said openly that it is a disgrace for haredi Judaism having such a murderer among them. On the other hand, some Haredim claimed that the killer of the Kletzky boy wasn't really haredi.

    As a matter of fact, there are society problems in any society and no one is denying that. There are those who spoke in favour of the Spinka Rebbe and his arrest and there are those who still claim that he was innocent.

    I don't only look at the negative sides but do concentrate on positive facts as well. And there are plenty of great things happening done by great Jews. By only picking on negative incidents you are accusing an entire society which doesn't deserve it. Criminals are everywhere and you should accuse them instead of an entire society.

  14. B"H

    Here are the episodes in full of Oprah's visit to Brooklyn:

    It seems the same person has uploaded the second one as well.

  15. this lady is simply an *******,she's just lying about everything to try to get people's attention,with using her own people as money earning tool LOL!