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August 28, 2015 / 13 Elul, 5775
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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

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If Satmar Chassidism was torture for Suri, her amenable husband was the antidote — a great guy who also happened to be very tolerant of his wife’s need to be “different.” As a matter of fact, they relocated to a different neighborhood (a substantial distance from Williamsburg) not long after they married, where Suri would feel less “stifled.”

She was thus given the opportunity to establish independence from her supposedly overbearing family and could have eased into a less stringent lifestyle, albeit still as a practicing orthodox Jew. But Suri chose rather to immerse herself in fantasies spun by the novels of which she couldn’t get enough. Her imagination was further fueled by the support of her new friends and college courses she was taking (such as writing).

And in the process, she did more than unshackle herself from the “confines of Hasidic Satmar” — she shed her light of spirituality … in exchange for the darkness of materialism.

Yes, Suri, we in the Satmar community take upon ourselves to live “beyond the letter of the law” — not in spite of the world we live in but because of the world we live in, so as to avoid the danger of getting “to the edge and jumping off” into an abyss. We love our beautiful way of life (contrary to your ludicrous insinuations) and are devastated by the distortions and web of falsehoods you have woven into your “memoir” — fundamentally an attack on all segments of Orthodox Jewry.

It is hard for me to believe that this woman will get away with all the untruths and inconsistencies put out there. When called on his lies, James Frey, the author of “A Million Little Pieces”, claimed to have literary reasons for his fabrications. He defended “the right of memoirists to draw upon their memories, not simply upon documented facts,” but he eventually was made to own up to his untruthfulness in newer editions of his publication.

I expect the same to happen to Deborah Feldman.

* * * * *

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.

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.


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2 Responses to “Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities”

  1. ym says:

    thank you for such a well written response! this article took all of the seething emotions ping-ponging in my head whenever i saw this “suri”in the news, and formulated all the thoughts into one very clear, straigh to the point, well needed article. i hope this can get published in more places as well.

  2. Satmar Grad says:

    I can attest to every word and then some. Seventeen is considered quite young for a girl to get engaged (and then wait 8-10 months for the wedding), let alone get married. About ten years ago I heard from a shadchan that there are about 300 girls in Willy who are over 20. They were all desperate to find their bashert, of course; this is why the shadchan had their names in his files. Too bad they didn’t get the memo about the horrors of Chassidic marriage. Poor things, they were duped by their parents’ and friends’ happy marriages. Why, they might have been as happy and fulfilled as Deborah Feldman claims to be – if only they had the “courage to break free”!

    BTW, how did you manage to write so eloquently and intelligently with your “fourth grade level” English education?

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