Memoir called "Unorthodox" and its effect on us

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    big deal

    soleik – nothing personal, but I’m pretty shocked that someone involved in the holy work you do has such low standards.

    how does someone taking up smoking, getting high on booze and gaining weight with all the pig shes eating considered a success and “in one piece” in the secular world? Pretty hypocritical on their part.

    Getting published by Simon and Schuster is no big deal considering the material she sold them. They would pay anything for this kind of gossip. If you read the few unbiased reviews on the book they all comment how the story is a good one but there are plenty of better written ones out there.

    I too wish that she were still frum. It bothers me to no end and spooks me out that yet another person I’ve known on a personal level has turned their back on their Father.

    However, make no mistake, this is not an issue of religion or someone that questions her faith or even anger for that matter. This is clearly an issue of a woman not being able to control her desires and animalistic instincts.


    I find it hard to stomach complimentary comments about DF.

    She wouldnt wince for a second if ch”v all Orthodox and Chassidic guys and girls became just like her. Shed be thrilled about the new company of equally immoral individuals all happy to toss religious observance out the window and gloat about it and spread their unholy gospel universally.

    I understand pitying her, but not complimenting her in any way, because of her behavior.


    This is going to be really long, and I ask the mods to please post it anyway.

    And I wrote, and wrote, and wrote, diatribe after diatribe, condemning anything and everything about the community that I possibly could to whoever would listen. I gave fiery homilies against every institution I could think of, trying to get my vitriol into every publication I could email. My anger consumed me to the point where I started drinking, preferring to drown my emotions in Vodka rather than face them. I cherished those few hours when I could lay numb in my bed, feeling nothing but heady lightness and detachment.

    And then, one day, I stopped. I had been attending Ohr Yitzchok, and had an excellent Chavrusa, and it just occurred to me one day that I was wasting my breath; no one likes that guy; no one likes to be preached at; no one likes the fire and brimstone. If I wanted to actually effect change on my community, then I needed to stop talking and start acting. I needed to take charge and lead by example.


    “of leaving Judaism in favor of something, as the secular world would see it, more constricting and restrictive that what society thinks life should be,”

    should be less constricting and restrictive than what society sees our way of life as*


    or better, “than how society views our way of life” 😛 i wrote this at like 1 AM


    Soliek, I think it’s only the fact that I’m sitting at my desk in my office, among my coworkers, that kept me from crying as I read your heart wrenching story. May you have continued hatzlacha as you rebuild your life and help others to do the same!

    a mamin

    Soleik: I truly admire you and what you have accomplished and continue to accomplish… BUT please don’t compare your self to D.F. THERE IS NO COMPARISON!


    and here i was…hoping that no one would actually want to read a 3000 word forum post 😛


    i think i just made a very clear case for comparison…the end results may be different, but the beginnings are definitely comparable.


    soliek -Don’t put you into her shoes. She isn’t you. I wrote a long post of why I felt she deserves no mercy, but it was deleted.

    Her and her publisher thrive on putting down people (Jews) who throughout the ages have always been put down. No matter what her motive -this is very wrong and non-excusable!


    let me make something very clear. try to understand it.

    there is a difference between caring about someone’s physical and emotional wellbeing, and caring about their spiritual wellbeing. the two, while not being quite mutually exclusive, can be separate when the need arises. and i have no problem with that–to me it all falls under v’ahavta l’reacha kamocha.

    that kid who i was teaching, the one mentioned above, i felt tremendous simcha when he was accepted into PUBLIC SCHOOL because it addressed his physical and emotional wellbeing. we live in Olam Hazeh, gashmius matters. once that was in order, we were able to start on ruchnius.

    it makes me happy knowing that someone who went through what feldman did is able to live a normal life, physically and emotionally. once thats established i can start working on ruchnius. who knows, maybe one day someone will get through to her, but make no mistake, in Olam Hazeh, gashmius DOES MATTER.

    another thing that everyone here has to understand, yet apparently has difficulty with, is that there is a difference between loving and understanding someone, and APPROVING OF WHAT THEY DO. i love and understand the people i work with at Our Place, but i strongly disapprove of substance abuse. am i wrong for loving them?

    big deal

    soliek: I was very moved reading your post.

    I truly believe that there is a very special place reserved for people like you. People that have gone through the unthinkable (from a young age) and emerge not just “in one piece” but somehow find the courage and the sympathy needed to help others who remind you day in and day out of the very tough battle you yourself overcame. It’s hard to conceive where you draw your inspiration from.

    It is commendable that you remain so sensitive to other’s feelings and want to protect the whole world. I don’t know how you have the strength to go fight day after day without just giving up. You’ve taken the fight of all troubled people and made it your own. You fight for their feelings with your own. You fight for their dignity with your own. In short, you identify closely with such people very emotionally.

    I just want to remind you of one thing. You need to verify stories and characters before you invest so much energy. DF, or rather Suri, is not someone who’s worth the fight. Save your energy for all the others who truly cannot help themselves.

    (P.S. Nobody ever said anything about being angry. I just wanted to point out that she ended up exactly where she wanted to and used enough people to get there. If those people feel violated, I would totally understand them.)

    Thanks for your inspiration.

    Hatzlocha on all your future endeavors and may we hear of an end to all Tzaros.


    Soliek, I’m speechless. A kiruv kerovim guy told me, “These kids are neither Yidden nor goyim. First I make them into goyim so that they can become gerim.”

    Still, you’re NOT DF. Difference? CONSCIENCE. You have one and she doesn’t.


    soliek: *whistles softly* that was SOME post. As ‘A Woman outside bklyn’ put it…I am biting back tears. Your emotion and unwavering faith oozes from your post. It seems that you have a true gift in understanding the pain of others, have you considered a career in counseling (be it a Ph.D or MSW)? I’m new here so I’m not sure if you’ve already disclosed on other posts what your profession is..

    Again, I cannot put into words how inspiring your post was.


    I think the chief difference between DF and Soliek is that Soliek always cleaved to Torah, throughout his difficulties. Even if he only went through the motions, he at least did that much. To my interpretation, it sounds as though he knew the answers to many of his issues were in there, and it was up to him to connect through a new point of view. OTOH, DF sounds as though she was all to eager to throw off the “cloak” of observances.


    im glad people are beginning to get my point.


    Soliek, I am heartbroken for you for the life you’ve had, and I am in awe of your ability to keep going through it all. May Hashem bless you with things that are all good.


    I also had terrible experiences, left and then came back.

    I waited too long to come back, which was a big mistake, but the reason I came back is that I NEVER did what Feldman did past a couple of dumb online posts during the first 6 months or so after I left. In fact, I had nothing but contempt for the couple of Feldmans I encountered (one is a Failed rather than a Feldman, vehamayvin yavin) – they just wanted to stay bitter either to avoid moving on or to get 15 minutes of fame. I just wanted to move on, although deep down I wanted to come back. What kept me from coming back earlier was that I was in a place where the community was very weak and corrupt so I had nowhere to go back to.

    I remained a very proud Jew; I even “destabilized” a couple of anti-Semites and made big problems for them with creditors, authorities etc. I also never did anything particularly wild, and I avoided a situation that could have led me to marry out. (Here, too, now, I see etzba elokim because circumstances ended this situation in a very nice and peaceful way before anything could have happened). I just spent most of my time working, and managed to get my 15 minutes of fame the real way, as an expert who was quoted almost daily in business papers where I lived.

    On the other hand, I will never forgive the rosho, who unfortunately is in a very high place (for now) for what he did to me. I have him in mind every time I say the word Reshoim in Ashrei; when I get the amud at Mincha I yell out that word VERY loud with him in mind. (everyone thinks I am either cursing Ahmadinejad or reminding people to finish Ashrei in time for Kaddish, but I recite shomer…yashmid out loud for another reason altogether). In fact, he suffered greatly a few months after he pulled shtick on me, and as he is approaching the age of kareis, I do not expect him to be around much longer – after he got his maka he went from being a weak man who was being used by reshoim to an out and out rosho. He saw me on the street in the US and trembled with fear; that’s my revenge and I will let Hashem do the rest and erase this cancer from our midst when He sees it fit.

    And I am very careful not to accept rabbonim of the type we refer to in “ohev es hamelocho vesone rabbonus” in any way at face value again or to get too close to them. Instead, I look at them as businessmen whose services I may or may not need. Sadly, the European generation that did not mix ruchnius and gashmius is gone; yeridas hadoiros is a big issue and I know to watch out and to keep away from any communal politics.

    [There is an amazing “coincidence” having to do with the number of years I was off the derech and the rosho’s first maka.]



    That was an excellent post, and your writing was professional quality.

    While it may be quite long (2,806 words according to my word processor ?), it’s well worth reading.

    A frum guy who went OTD and is now taking drugs is a tragedy and should get whatever he needs to help him, including sympathy and support.


    soliek, I read every word and Im speechless. And thats rare.

    Which issue of Ami has your article? Can I access it online anywhere?

    May you go from strength to strength.

    In my eyes, you are Gadol material.


    “In my eyes, you are Gadol material.”

    please dont make me more than i am.

    it was issue 30 of Ami, and posted here on yeshivaworld.

    I can only try: i concede your point, i just wanted people to see mine.

    big deal

    Soleik – with all due respect for youself and your life’s accomplishments, I fail to get your point.

    Yep, you both had hardships in life but that’s where it ends. Your story is yours and hers is hers the two stories don’t compare to one another.

    You’re one that took responsibility from the get go. While she is one who wanted to shirk responsibilty… and the list goes on.

    While I feel for her as she is still Hashem’s child, and I really wish she finds herself soon, I don’t consider her a victim to her life’s trials. She portrays herself as that to excuse the things she does. I think she considers herself a success for getting to this point that she’s been working on for probably most of her adult life. From the conversations I had with her, I don’t think this was any means an escape for her, although she wants to portray it as such to gain sympathy, I think that this was her goal from the get go.

    Somehow I feel that you’re not getting my point.


    my point was that everyone was so quick to shrei chai v’kayam about her, but no one stopped to consider the other side. l’maaseh you’re right, that the way she chose to deal with her problems was incredibly selfish and mindless of the people she damaged, but i wanted people focusing on what causes something like this. I’m not blaming anyone, my opinions on what needs change is so way beyond blame, but everything happens for a reason. so while you sit there, condemning her and what she did, i want you to have in mind everything that went into making her as well; thats how we’ll avoid this ever happening again.

    i dont believe that she created herself.

    jewish source



    First time I read Such a long post fully.

    Thank You I will BLN learn from you


    big deal: From the conversations I had with her, I don’t think this was any means an escape for her, although she wants to portray it as such to gain sympathy, I think that this was her goal from the get go.

    What Id like to know is what made her so despise the frum life, especially if according to you this was long in the making? She had an opportunity to live a totally different, independent life, away from her relatives who she didnt like and she could have been more modern, instead of totally not frum. I think her husband would not have fought her on that. Some say she might not have known theres a middle path. I cant believe that she didnt see that there is, once she was living in Monsey. Monsey has all kinds. Why was even the middle path despicable to her?

    Some frum people who are in big trouble and daven again and again to Hashem for salvation, with all their heart and instead of things improving, they get worse, sometimes lose faith. Was that part of what made her go away fron frumkeit, at some point? Sometime in the past she was genuinely frum from the heart. She wasnt born anti-frum.

    At the end of the day, she felt that frumkeit sickens her, to any degree, obviously. She didnt do it because she knew shed be able to make money writing her book. She had no way to know that in advance.

    She very much despises frumkeit, in any shape or form. Why?

    big deal

    As for most of your post, you and I are in agreement. For the rest of it I will try one more time to explain: I believe your agenda is not letting you comprehend what I’m trying to tell you.

    The Deborah Feldman you met in writing and the person now in your mind is very much a person the author created. Yes, she created herself. I real life she is nothing like she is portrayed in the book.

    If you read the book with an open mind, and leaving your emotions behind, it is very clear that she created laws, circumstances, and herself (character), leaving nothing to imagination. And she successfully preyed on your emotions.

    I agree with you that most troubled people went through hard times and i really don’t judge people because of it. However, this one had a goal from the outset. She was gonna satisfy all kinds of crazy desires she couldn’t control. Problem is she couldn’t justify it so she found people who are willing to take the blame.

    She was also part of our community so she knows exactly where we are vulnerable and those are the points she chose to expose. You want to learn from her story? I would suggest you continue talking to the honest people, the really hurt ones, do to find a way to correct some very disturbing problems in our community. I for one am willing to follow your direction to make this world a better place.

    And back to my original point. Her book – big deal. I don’t think she’s done any damage to our nation as a whole. Destroy her neshama – maybe. We don’t need to defend ourselves or the Torah. Hashem is the only one who can truly fight for His own honor. For those of us that follow the path of the torah – great. And those of us who need to improve – change – we needed to do it anyway she affected nothing.


    Wow soleik. That was incredible. Brave of you too. But the main difference here is what you became because of your experience and what she became.

    You are an amazing person to have gone through what you did and still remain a strong, steadfast Jew. You lived through hell and came out a better person than you were before. That’s emunah. The only comparison here is the circumstances, you and her are not comparable.

    I think you are an absolutely amazing person. You took what you went through and use it to help others. That is truly awesome. We can’t say the same for her.


    I find it interesting that a well known anti-chareidi blog also calls her a liar.


    soliek: I am in awe.

    big deal

    Medium – that’s exactly the point. She did lead a pretty open lifestyle when she lived in Airmont. She was in good company and basically did as she pleased. I dont think she has a major hatred towards Yiddishkeit I think she just wanted to be free and live a life with zero restrictions.


    Big Deal, I think I read that she felt she has no reason to be religious because in her mind G-d doesnt care whether we observe Judaism in the way she was taught, or any form thereof.


    .. And sometimes the way to heights is by hating evil, evildoers. I think there’s one mefaresh on the Torah, that that was the reason for ???? ?? ???????, to internalize contempt for a sinner. So in a case like this one must work himself up to ?? ??’ ???, despise and fight her and every filth she stands for, side with HaShem, feel for Him, be in sync with Him.

    There’s a big difference between one who got turned off for whatever reason and this ??????. As I wrote before – HaShem is the ???? ?????? ????, He knows all the generations’ trials and inclinations. He put us into this darkest depraved period. He is ???? ?? ??????, if one r”l leaves nu nu, HaShem will patiently wait for his/her return. ????? ????? ???? ????, even if at the time of departure that person has such bitter attitudes towards —, it is, after all, HaShem who planted such moods, wants, urges etc. into the person.

    This ??????, on the contrast, however stooped and muddled in her depraved base sensual exploitations, however animalistic, shameless she’s become in her mannerism, speech, expressions, public exposure – she’s actually at WAR against HaShem, His People, His Torah. No. This is not a phase, something temporary. This is in full capacity of her senses. She went through a whole publishing process, a whole media expose etc. at the express wish to get her filth out. No. This is not a standard OTD whim. This is in direct line with earlier (in)famed meshumadim. Malshinim. The worst. Welcome to the club!

    Damage she has brought on with her work of evil and her appearances has and continues to be so great. Chilul HaShem by exposure to non Jew, and also (actually mainly) to Jew is nothing small to sneeze at. In Heaven, they don’t take to this lightly. As I wrote earlier ??? ???? ???? ???? ?????? ???. No – her story is ENTIRELY different.

    You can’t get yourself to hate her? Well, hitler, you know, was also a person, he had a rough upbringing… Esav.. he just couldn’t hold himself in.. oso ha’ish, he too was a Jew, he had a rough upbringing (no father!)… Nimrod too… Someone actively chooses to side with ???????? To understand them??? ???? ????? ??? ?????? we say for regular sinners ( of the first type), of this type we say ?? ??? ?????? ?????. She is a RABID HATER.

    I don’t know, maybe I’m one wrong site. I chose HaShem. Hear me all. Even if I have to be the ????, to only one.



    ZeesKite: +1. You’ve said all that needs to be said about her.

    Guter yid

    Zeeskite, thumbs up, for every word ?????? ????, and ???? ?? ??? ??.

    Soliek, I must admit, I was moved by your story, but, that does not explain why should side with such a filthy book, I see you did soften up a bit lately, but every bit you still feel for this book and still “have feelings” to this author, has to be replaced by working on more ahavas hashem.

    Gut shabbos to everyone in the coffee room and abroad.

    big deal

    medium – yup. Now that she’s got that out of the way – on to the good stuff.

    If she were truly a victim she would be angry or question G-d’s existence at all.

    Zeeskite – You must be so weird and backwards standing up against basic western ideas. 🙂



    Perhaps Hashem would prefer that you err on the side of loving His children. Do it the Berdichever way.

    I see no reason to hate her, just her actions.

    And you are bringing in Hitler. Again. That really disturbs me. It’s irrelevant that you are not actually making any direct comparison. (the Esav and Nimrod bit is also irrelevant but doesn’t disturb me as much, though perhaps it should).


    mod: please delete my above post. changed my mind. thanks.


    I also change my mind. (with who?)

    >Perhaps Hashem would prefer that you err on the side of loving His children. Do it the Berdichever way.

    Again (and again and..) loving His children means His children, where Torah and Halacha permit. Ahavas Yisroel is not a discriminatory blanket “love” for a brotherhood, club, union. It’s where Halacha permits, where one is deemed fit for ??? ?????. Otherwise your entire Ahavas Yisroel is not really true Ahavas Yisroel. ??? ???? ????? and ???? ??????? mean just that. Kindly look up in seforim, ask your LOR.

    >I see no reason to hate her, just her actions.

    Again (and again and..), seforim and halacha seem to indicate the opposite. The mere fact that one cannot get to hate a hater of HaShem shows something. (Would you love someone that just slapped YOU?)

    >And you are bringing in Hitler.

    I am. (I think I did, did I?) Her works of evil continue at a fast pace. Hitler is dead. His destruction is over. This evil person’s work at destroying Yiddishe Neshomos continues. It is viewed by many who are on the fringe… (I know this for a fact. Being questioned about some filthy lies contained there..) It proceeds to do it’s depraved creator’s intent. Its mass destruction continues…


    oh, really!!


    ZK: You are dead wrong about Hitler. But it’s a side point and OT in any case, so I won’t pursue it here.

    NB: my last comment was directed at the mod who put in my posts, not at you.


    The disgrace of having the dispute over the leadership of a major Chassidic group sent to a non Jewish court (New York Supreme Court) is far greater than the disgrace discussed in this thread. Fortunately, the court cited separation of state and religion and has refused the case.

    big deal

    zk: I know what she did was wrong and there’s no excuse. But I don’t see where damage is done.


    ZK -I agree with soliek until she wrote the book, afterwards I agree she created a massive Chillul Hashem.

    “And sometimes the way to heights is by hating evil, evildoers.”

    Mr. or Mrs. ZK -Do you have the same disdain for other Reshayim? Like do you feel the same way towards child molesters who work or worked in a Yeshiva? I hope your hatred to Frum fakers is a least as great as your hatred toward this lady!


    The Goodreads description of Deborah Feldman:

    “Deborah Feldman was born and raised in the Hasidic community of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York. Her memoir, UNORTHODOX: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots, is being published by Simon and Schuster on February 14, 2012. She is currently working on the first novel in a series about crime in the Hasidic community that is based on real-life characters and events, and is due out from Soho Press in Autumn 2012. She attended Sarah Lawrence College and lives in New York City with her son.”

    So now after, “Unorthodox,” she’s “working on the first novel in a series about crime in the Hasidic community, that is based on real-life characters and events, and is due out from Soho Press in Autumn 2012.”

    Not only did she leave Yiddishkeit;

    she committed a Chilul Hashem against Yiddishkeit.

    She’s after money and publicity; and now, it sounds, to me, like she’s really going after the Hasidic community, with a vengeance.

    I agree with ZeesKite, on this issue.


    Mr./Mrs./Dr. Health

    You have a point. Do I hate all reshaim as much? Do I hate frum fakers as least as great as this one?

    Let’s put it this way, one who the Torah and the Halachah says I must hate, then yes, it is a mitzvah, and I must develop an attitude as such. Is there a mitzvah to hate a “frum faker”? Don’t know. It’s not a ???? ??????. I would have to ask my Rabbi about that. But this one’s definitely a ???? ??????, if there was ever!

    But I take issue with your wording. Which is what I’m trying to bring out all along. WHY IS KOVOD HASHEM ANY LESS then a person’s??? Should I really hold a person, ??? ??? in the same esteem I hold my Creator??? I should hate “frum fakers” at least as much??? A bit of kovod to your (MY) Creator is in store.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    It’s not called being for Hashem when you rip a person apart without having a clue what the details are. You want to degrade Debra, go right ahead, but what right do you have to insult posters for comments they never made. This isn’t the first time you’ve resorted to calling people names without fully understanding their position or their comments. Speak your mind but cut the nivel peh already.


    ZeesKite: Thank You for standing up for Kovod Shmayim!


    ZK -“Let’s put it this way, one who the Torah and the Halachah says I must hate, then yes, it is a mitzvah, and I must develop an attitude as such. Is there a mitzvah to hate a “frum faker”? Don’t know. It’s not a ???? ??????. I would have to ask my Rabbi about that. But this one’s definitely a ???? ??????, if there was ever!”

    You don’t know about Frum Fakers, but you know about her????

    Acc. to the Chofetz Chaim -anybody who does an Aveira over & over is a Mumer -so any Frum Faker is a Mumer. It’s really amazing you hate her more than you hate molesters! (That was the question that I posed to you.) You’re not even sure if you are allowed to hate molesters, but you are sure about this mixed up woman from Willi!

    “But I take issue with your wording. Which is what I’m trying to bring out all along. WHY IS KOVOD HASHEM ANY LESS then a person’s??? Should I really hold a person, ??? ??? in the same esteem I hold my Creator??? I should hate “frum fakers” at least as much??? A bit of kovod to your (MY) Creator is in store.”

    Your Chutzpa is outrageous! Where did I ever say “Kovod to Hashem is less than a persons”? Where did I ever say you should hold a –

    “??? ??? in the same esteem you hold you Creator”??

    Maybe you don’t know what a Frum Faker is – that’s why I gave an example of a child molester.

    Or maybe you think that you’re G-d and I can’t dare comment on anything you post!?!?!


    Health I hope your hatred to Frum fakers is a least as great as your hatred toward this lady!

    Im with you on that 100%! At least we can keep our kids, the innocents of innocents, away from people like DF. The people described above who have hurt the innocents of innocents, and manufactured in bulk male DF’s are way way way more despicable, and we cant keep our kids away from them because were unaware! The products are all in that despicable organization, plotting against the frum population. Why? Because of the Frum Fakers some protected, who were allowed to continue to give in to their disgusting impulses!!!!

    Shame on those who protect and even partially defend as better than DF, those who are the manufacturers of DF type people.


    MSS -You speak the Emes.



    Health: Kindly cool your engines. I’m not in any argument with anyone here.

    I just subtly commented on your choice of words “I hope your hatred to Frum fakers is a least as great as …” You wrote it, not me. (Does that not imply that I must hate a Frum Faker more than a rabid hater of God?) No chutzpa intended. And yes, anyone can argue on what I write. That’s what this whole CR thing is made for! Kindly do!!!

    Syag: You meant me? Have I RIPPED anyone apart? Have I called anyone names? I’ve resorted to calling people names?? Did I write any nivel peh? I humbly beg mechilah if I hurt anyone’s feelings.

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