web analytics
April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communites

By:

Chronicles-logo

Share Button

Dear Rachel,

I, too, am a female member of the Satmar community in Williamsburg, but I am not writing to bash Deborah Feldman for using Yiddishkeit to dump her miseries on; I leave that to others who seem to be doing an admirable job of speaking out.

Rather, I feel compelled to share my personal opinion, based on my own experience in a dysfunctional upbringing similar to Feldman’s, in the same Satmar community. My childhood was spent with a mentally ill mother, as my father watched helplessly from the sidelines.

In the interest of preserving the dignity of my close kin, I will skip over the details and trust readers will understand my reluctance to provide them with entertainment at the expense of good people. Suffice it to say that eventually, like Deborah, I ended up living with my grandparents who gave their life to me and saved my sanity.

Like Deborah, I got married at a relatively young age. My marriage didn’t last, but in all honesty our “differences” had no bearing whatsoever on my background, religion or age.

The main point I’m driving at is that I actually thrived in the aftermath of my divorce — in no small part due to the warmth and kindness shown me by my community in every way. I was, moreover, never made to feel like a pity or charity case.

To set the record straight, divorced men or women here are in no way, shape or form made to feel like second-class citizens. On the contrary, the outpouring of compassion and love that surrounded me in my time of need makes mine a story with a happy ending. Today I am married to a wonderful man with whom I am baruch Hashem raising a beautiful family — right here in Williamsburg where we continue to live a blissful and fulfilling life, where I count my blessings daily.

While I am not writing this to sing my praises, I do give myself credit for keeping true to my faith and staying strong in the face of hardship. Blaming my religion, school or community for my life’s misfortunes was never an option and is a cop-out of an excuse for any mature human being.

I could have chosen to leave my faith and gone on to write a best seller, but thankfully I never even entertained the thought. Just goes to prove that, as we are taught, Hashem leads one in the direction the person wants to go.

Proud to be of Satmar Heritage

Dear Proud,

You start off by saying that you and Deborah share a similar upbringing in the same community. I offer that you share a similar personality trait as well: that of a steely determination — which can be used to one’s advantage or to one’s detriment. Personally, I am humbled by people of your stature and applaud you for your strength, maturity and courage.

Plenty of commentary and opinion has surfaced online regarding the current fiasco, but I find one in particular to be most noteworthy, both for intelligent and coherent content. I take the liberty of quoting the concluding paragraphs of an op-ed article by Rabbi Yaakov Rosenblatt, written as an open letter to Deborah Feldman, that appeared last week in The Jewish Press:

Deborah, you are a woman who has crossed a river. You are free, entirely able to live your dreams. What are your dreams? In which moral community will you find a home?

Will it be a community in which people care for each other? Will it be a community in which people make sure that no one falls through the cracks? Will it be a community in which even the weakest are provided for? Will it be a community infused by a desire for closeness to God? Will it be a community in which gala weddings are made for the needy, even those who can’t pay for them themselves?

And when you find the community of your choice and raise your son to maturity, I pray you will be bold enough to look back and recognize and appreciate all that a community did for you when you were young and had nothing.

Indeed, Satmar has a lot to teach you.

Dear Rachel,

As an American of Italian origin, I imagine I am not one of your typical readers. Though you wouldn’t guess it from my outward appearance, I strongly identify with your people and have enjoyed a close camaraderie with those of the Jewish faith for many years now.

Some years back I had the privilege of working closely with a number of Hassidim who always impressed me with their exceptional warmth and generosity. I even visited their homes on occasion and met with their beautiful families. Thus I was most dismayed by the twisted view presented to the world by a young woman who has an ax to grind.

Share Button

About the Author: We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

Leave a comment (Select your commenting platform)

One Response to “Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communites”

  1. How Sad says:

    Thanks Sal for taking the time to defend a religion and a culture that’s been spuriously maligned. It’s truly said that Deborah missed out on the genuine experience. There’s tremendous beauty in Jewish family life. We’re fortunate to have a strong family structure, with our religion giving us a structured yet flexible framework. In the typical Jewish home, the kids look up to their parents, depend on them for guidance, and their home is a place in which they feel safe, loved, and secure. A home in which the parents, despite being busy (popping out ‘lots of babies’ – I’m paraphrasing DF here) are happy to be raising their kids and are happy to do all the hard work required to reap the heaps of nachas that’s their reward at the end of the day. Wissotzky Tea just put out a video that just about captures the beauty and joy of Jewish life – check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KxEeL-HcIY.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
Unit 9900 is an intelligence unit that utilizes the unique capabilities of soldiers on the autism spectrum.
Autism in the IDF: Uniquely Talented Soldiers
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

Regardless of age, parents play an important role in their children’s lives.

Marriage-Relationship-logo

We peel away one layer after the next, our eyes tear up and it becomes harder and harder to see as we get closer to our innermost insecurities and fears.

Gorsky-041814-Torah

Some Mountain Jews believe they are descendents of the Ten Lost Tribes and were exiled to Azerbaijan and Dagestan by Sancheriv.

Baim-041814-Piggy

Yom Tov is about spending time with your family. And while for some families the big once-in-a-lifetime experience is great, for others something low key is the way to go.

A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.

Dear Dr. Yael:

My heart is breaking; my husband’s friend has gotten divorced. While this type of situation is always sad, here I do believe it could have been avoided.

The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!

Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.

Alternative assessments are an extremely important part of understanding what students know beyond the scope of tests and quizzes.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/chronicles-of-crises/chronicles-of-crises-in-our-communites-8/2012/03/09/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: