Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots


As a girl Deborah Feldman was not allowed to read. She'd hide books under her mattress in a spirit of defiance against the restrictive life in an Ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect in New York. Deborah Feldman would walk away from her closed community. And now, the forbidden book is her own - a memoir that gives a glimpse into the world of the Hasidic Satmar community with detail that is fascinating for outsiders and scandalous for those she left behind.

Part Three of The Current

Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots

We started this segment with the theme from the 1981 movie The Chosen, based on the best selling book of the same name. The book chronicled life in the Hasidic Jewish neighbourhood of Williamsburg, in Brooklyn. The Chosen is a work of fiction, but Williamsburg is very real.

And Deborah Feldman grew up in its restrictive ultra-Orthodox Satmar community. It was the only life she ever knew, populated with the only friends and family she had. She nevertheless found it so oppressive, she rebelled.

Her book about the community and her decision to leave is: Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots. Deborah Feldman joined us from New York.

This segment was produced by The Current's Howard Goldenthal.

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