web analytics
April 21, 2015 / 2 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

By:

Chronicles-logo

Reflection, Rebuke and Reverberations…

An open letter to Deborah Feldman

Dearest Deborah,

Today I witnessed a beautiful event. One of my neighbors had yahrtzeit for his mother and got together with all seven of his siblings, some who had come from as far as Israel, not to mention other states in America.

My memory takes me back some years to when I paid a shiva call to this same neighbor upon the loss of his mother. All of her eight children sat shiva together, all shomer Torah and mitzvos, most of them at the time married with children of their own. It was then that my friend had recalled how his mom would come home from work early on Shabbos day, light a cigarette and relax on the couch before getting up to prepare shalosh seudos for them.

Had I heard correctly? I had, my friend assured me. His parents had been non-observant. I was astounded. How had a non-religious couple manage to raise all eight of their children to be shomer Torah u’mitzvos?

Turned out that his mother had been a rebellious girl from Satmar who had gone off the derech. She left home and went to college where she met a secular Israeli whom she wed.

After their marriage, the couple moved to a remote southern town, where they could blend in and be plain American folk. It was after the arrival of their first child that the idea of Jewish identity began to bother my friend’s mother. This concern grew until she persuaded her husband to move to a more “Jewish” city where they could give their children a Jewish education. All eight children received a yeshiva education, half of them going on to Kollel.

Each child would come home expressing a longing for shmiras hamitzvos. Their mother acquiesced to keeping a kosher home, with all that it entailed — on condition that she and their father be counted out. They had no desire to become observant, even as they were willing to facilitate their children’s spiritual journeys.

This woman left her roots just as you did, Deborah. She had her doubts and issues, just like you. The crucial difference between you and her is that she brought holiness into this world — by allowing her beautiful legacy from previous millennia to continue to survive and to shine through her children.

Unlike you, Deborah, she didn’t malign millions of holy women who love their role as Eim b’Yisroel and didn’t sell out their private and tzniusdik way of life for coffee table talk.

Tonight no less than forty-two B’nei Torah will make a seudah for the neshama of their heilige mama — a woman who scorned her roots, yet brought forth fruit.

Deborah, you can be holy too. There’s no escaping your Jewish soul.

 

Dear Rachel,

A dysfunctional, self-absorbed schnook gets up to make fun of our beautiful holy laws and tradition like we’re some backwards people, and Barbara Walters – along with her staff and audience – applauds and cheers. How appalling!

I humbly suggest that BW interview one of the thousands of baalei teshuvah who have abandoned their secular lifestyle, or one of the many frum professionals – yes, chassids among them – who pursue careers in law, medicine, etc., while adhering to the Torah laws.

We can fill not one book but multiple volumes detailing the accomplishments of our own. Let her visit the hospital’s stocked Bikur Cholim room to start with, and in the process she may even run into one of us mothers of large families, who manage to carve time out of our busy schedules to personally distribute fresh home-cooked meals to patients and their visitors — an ongoing daily practice initiated by none other than Satmar.

My heart aches for Deborah and I hope she wakes up before she wastes her life away. Her disadvantaged background serves as no excuse — a person has bechira and is responsible for his or her actions.

A Proud Bas Yisroel

 

Dear Rachel,

As an avid Jewish Press reader for the past fifty years, and a lifetime resident and member of the Williamsburg Satmar community, I feel the need to clarify that despite Deborah’s unstable parentage, her paternal grandparents are wonderful and very intelligent people.

In our warm, caring and close-knit community we help one another out during difficult times, be they happy or G-d forbid sad, be it with money, time or whatever is needed. How ironic that the widely circulated picture of Deborah, alongside her husband and baby, shows her glowing with chein and happiness! Today she may be giving the impression of being happy with her new lifestyle, but on the inside she knows the truth.

I advise people not to take her book for face value — a lot of it must be verified.

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.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Student at Har Etzion Yeshiva reads announcement of the death of Rabbi Lichtenstein.
Thousands Mourn Rabbi Lichtenstein
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

The teenage years are not about surviving. They are about thriving.

Twenties-041715-Hat

Every moment was a gift. I held each one, savoring.

Teens-Twenties-logo

We arrived in Auschwitz on Thursday, January 30, 2014. My seminary was taking us to see where the prisoners were kept. When we got there, I stepped off the bus in complete and total silence. I was in the back, and when we got to the gate I hesitated and started shaking uncontrollably. I couldn’t […]

From the moment Israel was declared a Jewish state, it has been the subject of controversy and struggle.

Now that Pesach is over, we return you to your regularly-scheduled pressing questions:   Dear Mordechai, Can I use a nose hair trimmer during Sefirah? Harry Lipman   Dear Harry, Yes, as long as your nose hairs are so bad that they’re affecting your job. Like if you have a desk job, and they interfere […]

It is very natural for kids to want attention and to be jealous of each other, especially when there is a new baby.

During the Second World War, a million and a half Jewish soldiers fought in the Allied armies, the Partisan units in Eastern Europe, and the anti-fascist underground movements in Western Europe and North Africa. These Jewish fighters won over 200,000 medals and citations. The Museum of the Jewish Soldier in World War II in Latrun, […]

The 2-day real estate event will take place in Brooklyn on April 26 and 27.

She wasn’t paying attention to what the child did when the mother was not in the room. Rather, her main focus was on what the child did when the mother returned.

The Mets at least have hope for the future with some good young pitchers.

French thinkers of the Enlightenment were generally not pro-Semitic, to say the least.

My Jewish star was battered, indeed it was a wreck
But I picked it up anyway and put it around my neck
To know that hatred mangled it was surely very painful
But just the same to me it is still very beautiful.

A compulsion is a repetitive action. But what underlies the compulsion is an obsession or fear.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/chronicles-of-crises/chronicles-of-crises-in-our-communities-54/2012/04/18/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: