I used to live near Lakewood NJ and watched the Hasidic women dragging their endless broods of insulated children around the grocery store but never realized just how badly they were treated in the name of "faith" - what a nightmare. The oppression of women in this cult reminded me of the renegade Mormon cults in Texas and Utah; hard to believe this kind of crap still exists in 2012...but lo and beyond...these kinds of cults abound and they ALL forbid birth control so they can populate the country with their particular brand of CRAZY! Well God Bless Deborah Feldman for her courage in breaking away and revealing the truth about the cult she was raised in and let's hope they don't try to hurt her physically. Thank you Deborah Feldman and may your book encourage other women to break away and be FREE!
I did a fair amount of reading on Judaism and different Jewish cultures, history and practices. I sifted through literature trying to understand what does it mean to be Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Mizrachi, Maghrebi, Haredi or Beta Israel Jew. However, when it comes to the daily life of Haredi or Hasidic Jewish communities, literature is almost silent. Yes, there is some light shed on the general practices of Ultra-orthodox sects but beyond that, nothing much. My curiosity towards ultra-conservative jewish sects is not tainted with judgement. I just wanted to learn about their culture. Who am I to judge anybody anyway? Ms. Feldman paints a vivid picture of what is it like to be a girl in a Yiddish-speaking Satmar Hasidic community in Brooklyn. She brilliantly describes the preparing for and rituals of the sabbath, Yum Kippur and numerous other occasions the Hasidim celebrate zealously. Their lives are dedicated to studying the Torah and Talmud from an early age. The little things that we usually overlook like how to be modest, talk, behave, read, watch, preparing meals, keeping kosher, going to yeshivas, marriage arrangements and many other things from the Hasidim perspective. Ms. Feldman got a lot of criticism from Jews and non-Jews such as Shmarya Rosenberg about the content of the book. You can read both points of view and judge for yourself. The criticism does not undermine the value of the book, however. If you're interested in the costumes and daily life of the Hasidim, this the book is for you. A little background of basic Jewish costumes helps a lot with reading this book. I enjoyed every page and emerged with more info about this overlooked sect. @shakirbahzad
Yes - enjoyed the story. However, it has an angry tone to the book.
no - needed a break
Insightful read. The first half of the book could have been titled, "I grew up in a strict (Christian, Jewish, pick one) house. Not so insightful. The last part of the book finally got into the Hasidic culture.
Overall, pretty good.
Hearing the courage and bravery it took for Deborah to redirect her life.
The car accident
Meeting her betrothed
I could have
I would have liked to know more abut her mother... Book 2?
Great personal story about growing up in a isolated religious community that values traditions over reason, facts, and experience. While the story is about a sect of the Jewish Faith the same I am sure can be said of similar communties such as the Amish and many cults. The author was brave and lucky to free herself from her "bonds" yet how many others that don't have her intellegence, her skills, and a husband that was somewhat tolerant are trapped.
I gave the story only 4 stars because I would have like more details on the Hasidic Jews and thier various factions. Also her finally breaking away is told in a rapid manner at the end of the story. Would have also liked to know how she was able to keep her child, what became of her husband, and if she ever tried to develop a relationship with her mother that she had been kept away from her whole life.
As a whole it is a brave story and well told.
Initially I thought this would be the story of an excessively entitled person. But the orthodox life required that the author face humiliation and hardship, which in her case, rounded the edges of her character.
I enjoyed the details of the hasidic beliefs and practices, much like those of my Catholic ghetto upbringing. A narrow set of beliefs, but profound in the conception of the divine. Deep respect and awe of the divine is hard to come by in today's world.
The female voice is essential.
I wish there were more. What happended next? How did she do when she faced the tasks of motherhood by herself? There's another book there.
Deborah's childhood and marriage were presented in great detail, but her escape (for lack of a better term) was vague. I would have liked to hear more specifics about that.
No. The book left me unsatisfied.
She was very convincing as Deborah. The pronunciation, accent and tone was entirely believable.
How was Deborah able, despite rabbinical law as referenced in the book, to keep her son? The story went from packing him up in a rental car, to visiting New Orleans alone. Did she retain custody? If so, how?
Learning about the Hasidic lifestyle was very interesting. I grew up in Brooklyn, not far from Park Slope, and the Hasidim were always a mystery to me.
I read this book to learn about the Hasidic community, but it seemed to be very shallow. I didn't finish it.
I enjoyed learning about the Hasidic people and their ways. The book left many things unanswered. I wanted to know more about how she got away. Did she have custody of her son? How did she settle with Eli? I cared less about her "feelings" than about the reality of her situation after she left. How did her grandparents take it? Is her son growing up in two cultures?
To me the reader had a nasal quality in her voice.
Yes, obviously, if she wants her story out there.