Cindy's Reviews > Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots

Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman
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's review
May 08, 2012

really liked it
Read in May, 2012

I think the title is a little misleading. The story is not particularly scandalous, but it is interesting. Deborah grew up among the Satmar Hasids of Williamsburg but never felt like she belonged among people who controlled every aspect of her life (as do most religions, this isn't an attack on Jews in general). She married at 17, like good Hasid girls, but wanted more. She was able to leave the community and take her son--something that hadn't been done before when a person has left the fold. The story is really her life growing up in Brooklyn, but doesn't follow her once she leaves. There is no drama to her leaving, really, she just convinces her husband to divorce her and moves on. That is the part that I think is mis-titled--maybe her rejection of her roots is scandalous to her community, but we don't see that side of the story.

She has received much criticism from the Orthodox community (no shock there) but none of the criticisms counteract the treatment of women, the marriages among virtual strangers or the isolation of Hasids, which leads me to believe it is all more or less true. There are some specific examples of her story that she exaggerates, of course, it is a memoir after all, but the point of her story is that she was unhappy and chose to leave all she knew.

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Saloma Miller You might like my memoir “Why I Left the Amish” You can also visit my blog and my website

Cindy Thanks!

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