Monday, December 12, 2005

Original Sin

As most of you are aware of by now, after a two year hiatus the original Hasidic Rebel is back.

Having been a major detractor of his work for some time, I find myself wondering why it is that his return doesn’t irk me. Is it because he seems to have returned less bent on rebellion? Or might it be due to the fact that he threw some kind words my way? –after all, it is said that bribery blinds. But perhaps it is nostalgia – the way retrospective viewing somehow makes it all appear sweeter.

I spent a good part of these past few days rereading all of the old posts – especially the comments. Those of you who read his blog religiously on that summer of ’03 probably recall my valiant efforts to defend our lifestyle. Chalk it up to nostalgia once more, but I am audacious enough to believe I was good back then.

Here’s wishing that my future ideas are as well formulated and as successfully related. Having stumbled upon writers’ block in spite of the many ideas I’ve got brewing, I couldn’t be hoping more sincerely.

42 Comments:

At December 12, 2005 7:05 PM, Blogger Sol. said...

Well I think that you have the talent to encourage our brothers and sisters to understand the mission of every Jew.
Thanks
But the question is why are you doing this on the net where people don’t even understand your fundamental understanding in Judaism. They don’t bother reading all your script. Well I really appreciate reading your wisdom.
A reader from borough park.

 
At December 12, 2005 7:18 PM, Blogger Totally Content said...

The purpose of the blog is simply to show the other side of the coin, or rather, the brighter and more common picture. Since heimish blogging began, it has been for the sole purpose of complaining and finding fault of the community members, its leaders and the rules. From those who blogged about rebelling in secret (Shtreimel), to those who claimed to give the insiders view (Hasidic Rebel), to everyone in between – the picture painted portrayed our community as very black with little to no shades of gray.

Being that those that don't have the opportunity to get to know us in the 'real world' do have the opportunity to read these blogs, as well as the well publicized book Unchosen, I felt that it was indeed on this venue that a more real, more colorful and certainly HAPPIER perspective was necessary.

 
At December 12, 2005 7:28 PM, Blogger Sol. said...

Yep I did understand this is your prime reason. Do you feel that any accomplishments will arise? Maybe we open some, one on one Chavrusa type. Organization (not in learning torah as that’s not now our prime goal) but rather studies in issues like rabbi Avigdor Millers Awake my glory type of things.

 
At December 12, 2005 7:35 PM, Blogger Sol. said...

One more thing, I don’t feel that she sold to much copies because a innocent bystander from Texas won’t find it interesting we in the community think that its a flawing topic. Well I’m fine if you disagree. Just a thought.
Solomon

 
At December 12, 2005 7:48 PM, Blogger Totally Content said...

There are many sites where a multitude of topics are openly discussed. Blogging is different. Blogging is me just sharing my day to day observations. I don't need the opinion of others to validate what I've said - although it certainly feels good.

In regard to the amount of books sold, rumor has it (and my source seems reliable) that she is onto her third print and doing quite well on the West Coast. Consider that to the average New Yorker (there are 8 million of them) we are an oddity. So close – yet so far away. If someone is offering to show them the 'inside picture' and even more, show them that it is flawed - too many jump at the opportunity.

I don't know whether it is necessarily the secular-Jewish community on the West Coast that is buying the book - yet that would explain it. In spite of being ‘fellow Jews’, we insist on being different (taking G-d’s word literally). It is easy to dislike that which you don't know.

 
At December 13, 2005 12:05 AM, Blogger Sol. said...

ok I see what are saying and even what you are not.
enjoy!!!

 
At December 13, 2005 3:26 AM, Blogger anonymous said...

maybe it's just that by comparison, many other bloggers are a lot angrier than Hasidic Rebel ever was.

 
At December 13, 2005 7:41 AM, Blogger Semgirl said...

I know writers block very well. If you want I would be happy to email some ideas you could write about.

Also, it is important to bear in mind. There is a major diffence between wearing rose-colored glasses, I would think it clashes with a Spitzel.

As oppposed to just honestly discussing all the positive, wonderful things going in your community, yet crticizing where necessary. Not just spouting party line..

 
At December 13, 2005 10:36 AM, Blogger modern chassidish said...

My problem with your blog is that you seem to think readers of the book won't know that there are people like you. We know that not everyone is miserable and the book says this. your point that you want to show another angle is fine but that does not mean that Hella did a bad job portraying the lives of a select subgroup in the chassidic world. In fact, maybe you should write your own book. That would be fine. But your stories would not negate hers and vice versa.

 
At December 13, 2005 12:30 PM, Blogger mistake said...

Sheitel, this blog isn’t showing the other side of the coin. You don’t even agree with the other side – the side that wants to remain as insular and sheltered as possible. You don’t even live that lifestyle. You’re definitely not showing the more common picture of the community. Check out these approximations:
boys that have watched a movie before they got married: 30%.
Married couples that have watched movies: 10%
People that have internet at home (without a filter): 2%
You’re not common, sheitel, youre on the borderline of being called a rebel or a misfit. That’s why you think willi life is so bright. Because you do whatever you want and don’t have to suffer the consequences – whether its from your parents or from schools that wont accept your kids.
theres a lot of good things to say about willi, but your not the one saying it. What youre saying is: “look at me, Im proof that you can be intelligent and live a very liberal lifestyle in willi.” But you know that that’s bs in reality. You know that if your friends found out about your internet doings you wouldn’t so kosher in their eyes anymore. You know that if the school finds out that you have drivers license there’d be trouble.
Or rather, you know that you personally can get out of that trouble because your family is well connected.
See, willi is very beautiful, IF and only if, you live like the handbook. You might’ve burned the chapters that didn’t suit you and you came away without a scratch. But willi ppl have a weird way of making some peoples lives very miserable when it comes to adhering to that book. And that’s the blackness of willi, the dark side that you haven’t experienced yet. Its when that handbook is transgressed that willi rears its ugly head and shows a side of itself you cant fathom.
So: 1. don’t misrepresent willi by saying you’re a typical willibugger.
And 2: don’t try to paint willi in full glory when you don’t even know the gore that lies underneath. youre doing the same as hella on the other extreme.

 
At December 13, 2005 12:30 PM, Blogger Totally Content said...

Modern - I don't believe that I've got the material needed for a book that'll sell. Angst sells, normalcy doesn't. Regardless of the fictitious nature of the angst-ridden storyline, it seems to be preferred.

I've often wondered why people find it necessary for a movie to enable a 'good cry' in order for them to regard it as successful. I've never really understood how having one's heart torn out makes for good 'entertainment'. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy it too… But that’s the emotions speaking. Logically I still don’t appreciate why.

What is far easier to understand is why negativity and gossip sells. Once again, the validity of the disparagement has little to with its entertainment factor. It’s human nature (of the more reprehensible kind), to find pleasure in having the faults in others focused upon.

What surprises me even further – is the fact that this blog has become as popular as it has. Who would have thought that anyone would find a ‘Smiling Yid’ entertaining?

 
At December 13, 2005 12:41 PM, Blogger modern chassidish said...

"It’s human nature (of the more reprehensible kind), to find pleasure in having the faults in others focused upon."

That is an unfair charachterization. Noone has pleasure. Lehepach (to the contrary) we have rachmonis (compassion) for those who are suffering. You do a disservice by acting as if alerting people about a problem is a sin. The truth is that when you and others listen to their stories only then will there be a hope of correcting the problem. the point is not if Willi people are good or bad the point is that there is a serious systematic structural flaw that needs correction lest the way of life you adore will corrode and tumble. Instead of denyng that there is a problem why not admit that there is and then find ways to correct it??? Hella has taken a first step. You have taken a step backwards. (but I must still thank you even though I disagree with your approach because you have created a dialouge which is benificial and I have learned from your blog).

 
At December 13, 2005 12:54 PM, Blogger Totally Content said...

Mistake- you keep on stating facts that are, yes indeed MISTAKEN. I don't prefer to focus on that aspect of your name - but you give me little choice.

I'm popular in the community, not due to family connections - but in my own right. I am involved in community projects, and am extremely proud of it. I don't know about the statistics you offered, that is not to say that it might not be accurate. I am just unaware of it - if it does indeed exist.

None of that addresses the actual issue. I am Satmar Williamsburg - and I do personify one part of it. I can't profess to speak for all, or even a majority. We are each our own person, and no handbook or conformists' attitude will change that.

>>What youre saying is: “look at me, Im proof that you can be intelligent and live a very liberal lifestyle in willi.”<<
That is NOT what I am saying. Not because I don't believe one can, but because I am extremely conservative in my lifestyle. I believe liberalism to be a cop-out. There's right and there's wrong. Being an intelligent and actively involved woman in this community is, in my books, RIGHT!

>>But you know that that’s bs in reality. You know that if your friends found out about your internet doings you wouldn’t so kosher in their eyes anymore.<<
For Heaven's sake! Need I repeat it? They know!! I'm kosher, I'm me. Get over it.

>>You know that if the school finds out that you have drivers license there’d be trouble.<<
Really?? What sort of trouble? I've never heard about anyone getting into trouble for having that little plastic card.

>>Or rather, you know that you personally can get out of that trouble because your family is well connected.<<
While I am unaware of the trouble I can get into - I can't rely on family connections. My family is as normal and run of the mill as any. And as I've said - I am my own person.

>>See, willi is very beautiful, IF and only if, you live like the handbook. You might’ve burned the chapters that didn’t suit you and you came away without a scratch. But willi ppl have a weird way of making some peoples lives very miserable when it comes to adhering to that book.<<
Sorta contradictory - but let's go with it. So even though I did indeed come away without a scratch, the Williamsburg residents nevertheless still have a way of making me feel miserable for not doing something I don't believe in. Hu?!!?!? And if the statement would make sense - what would those 'methods' be?

>>And that’s the blackness of willi, the dark side that you haven’t experienced yet. Its when that handbook is transgressed that willi rears its ugly head and shows a side of itself you cant fathom.<<
Having transgressed handbook's rules - I should be able to fathom the reaction... if there were any.

So: 1. Thanks for the delightful moniker you assigned me (Williamsbugger)- The obvious prejudice reflects more badly on you than on me though.
And 2: Being that I do reside here I would believe that I know my life quite well. It is indeed glorious.

Now Mistake, I am truly sorry that your life has been hard on you. I am! But that is not to say that the life for the rest of us here cannot be truly beautiful.

 
At December 13, 2005 1:13 PM, Blogger Totally Content said...

Modern - I simply stated that it is human nature to take pleasure in, what could also be called GOSSIP.

As for your other claim regarding me defending the faults in the community - I am left to wonder whether you actually read and understood anything I wrote. I call for improvement where it warrants it - I just don't feel that there is, as you've put it 'a systematic structural flaw'. The system mostly works. Those few areas that need corrections can and should get it.

No book discussing a few unhappy souls will bring about that change.

 
At December 13, 2005 1:30 PM, Blogger bagabund said...

"I'm popular in the community, not due to family connections - but in my own right. I am involved in community projects, and am extremely proud of it. I don't know about the statistics you offered, that is not to say that it might not be accurate. I am just unaware of it - if it does indeed exist."
=6 times me - i -
"I am Satmar Williamsburg - and I do personify one part of it. I can't profess to speak for all,"
=3 times - me - i -
"That is NOT what I am saying. Not because I don't believe one can, but because I am extremely conservative in my lifestyle. I believe liberalism to be a cop-out. There's right and there's wrong. Being an intelligent and actively involved woman in this community is, in my books, RIGHT!"
=5 times -me -i -
"For Heaven's sake! Need I repeat it? They know!! I'm kosher, I'm me. Get over it."
=3 times - me - i-
"Really?? What sort of trouble? I've never heard about anyone getting into trouble for having that little plastic card."
only = 1 time congratulation[ and for that statement you are officialy of your mind]
oopst here you go again....
"While I am unaware of the trouble I can get into - I can't rely on family connections. My family is as normal and run of the mill as any. And as I've said - I am my own person."
= 6 times - me - i-

.....=24 times -wow-
are you as troubled as you sound
who is talking about YOU of caurse YOU might be included but if you are so convinced that you're not then scratch yourself out of it but dont take the whole willi ppl with you
GET IT ! not you but ppl like you

 
At December 13, 2005 1:51 PM, Blogger Totally Content said...

Bagabund can count!

Now dear Baga, would you perhaps start counting how many spelling, grammar, and logic-related errors were made in that little paragraph you wrote?

Hey, I just want to know if you can count higher than 24.

 
At December 13, 2005 2:06 PM, Blogger modern chassidish said...

"No book discussing a few unhappy souls will bring about that change. "

we will just have to wait and see. You know that NY times articles on abuse did have an effect.
Question:
Do you thing a blog that discusses a few happy souls will bring about change

 
At December 13, 2005 2:07 PM, Blogger Totally Content said...

Semgirl - I had intended to respond to you, but...

Anyway - I would love to hear of any ideas you wish to share. Email me, the address is in my profile.

The truth - I've got ideas gestating. Lots of them. But for me to write them I would need to have that particular issue propel into a blogging state.

 
At December 13, 2005 2:10 PM, Blogger Totally Content said...

Modern - I am not proposing change. I am proposing a change in perspective.

Unchosen, and the variety of heimish blogs out there have given us a negative portrayal. I am attempting to create a positive one.

 
At December 13, 2005 3:56 PM, Blogger kathyt said...

there is nothing out there to compare with the warmth of a chasidic home

 
At December 13, 2005 4:01 PM, Blogger kathyt said...

i have seen it all
been there - done that

ever done drugs?
ever wonder why people do drugs?
it's the high

there no high as participating in a real melaveh malkeh
a kumzitz is close....but not same
a spiritual high can last for days
with no withdrawal, no headaches no grief

 
At December 13, 2005 7:56 PM, Blogger Hasidic Rebel said...

Sheitel,

Oh, "Original Sin" is the title I get? Isn't that a bit harsh? Oh, well. Thanks, anyway, for the welcome. I should say, though, I'm slightly ambivalent about the fact that I no longer irk you... I must be doing something wrong.

Kidding aside, you seem to be very proud of your past posts, as you should be. But I did wonder about your characterization of your posts as "successfully related" (if you may say so yourself...). How do you judge that? Has anyone told you they've come around to seeing it your way? I have to tell you that as well-written as your posts are, I don't think they're convincing. Certainly not to those who are intimately familiar with the Chasidish world.

You know, sheitel, the problem with your approach isn't necessarily that you're wrong--although I do believe you to be quite often. In human discourse, though, rarely is one right or wrong in absolute terms. Rather, the truth is generally somewhere in the middle, our personal biases dictating to which side we lean. I hope this doesn't come across preachy, because that's not my intention. Oh, heck--that probably is my intention, but I'll say it anyway. I believe that you lack a sense of balance. But even more than that, you lack compassion and humility. Compassion for those who are truly burdened by issues in the chasidish world, and humility for the ability to hear another view without passing judgement. I think that's the main reason you garner such hostility. After all, why would people object to someone who loves their community?

I know this may sound patronizing, and this is truly not my intention, but you remind me of how I was years ago, when I first discovered the Internet.

Some personal tidbits, if I may: The first things I discovered on the Internet were newsgroups and chat rooms where I'd discuss and argue all matters of religion and politics to no end. I was a passionate advocate of Orthodoxy then, and spent many hours arguing with those who would criticize us or our way of life. My political views were solidly conservative. I'd get my daily fill of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and defended their positions passionately. I spent countless hours arguing with proponents of other forms of Judaism and political beliefs, pointing out their inconsistencies and their lack of substance.

I recall I once emailed Naomi Ragen, outraged at her vitriolic weekly columns in the JPost against Chareidim, and determined to knock her out of her obsession with finding fault in us. I actually received a long response, plus she addressed one of her subsequent columns to my email.

But a strange thing happened after a while. I realized there were many sides to the issues that I thought I knew, but didn't really. Looking back, most striking to me is that in all my time then I don't remember ever conceding outright to another's point of view. The reason that's so surprising is because now I hold views that are so close to those of my then-adversaries.

Why do I point this out? Because, sheitel, I truly believe that you are way too intelligent to actually believe in the apologetics you espouse. Intelligent people change their minds and opinions, and I can’t believe you're any different. It seems to me, that it's only your online persona that demands you stick with a certain line. I believe that, given a few years, your views will be closer to mine than you can imagine. Of course, you must find that thought unbearable and impossible. You are proud, which is not necessarily a bad thing, at least not always. Perhaps not in this medium under this name, but I truly believe that eventually you'll come around.

Now if this psychoanalysis irks you, hey, I must be doing something right again. :-)

 
At December 13, 2005 8:23 PM, Blogger bagabund said...

nice shitel i dont know how to count and you are the biggest igomaniak there is

 
At December 13, 2005 8:24 PM, Blogger bagabund said...

the point was to show you how you think only for yourself you big dummy

 
At December 13, 2005 8:28 PM, Blogger oichmirasatmare said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At December 13, 2005 8:30 PM, Blogger oichmirasatmare said...

Mistake, the only mistake I think you are making is with continuing to argue with Shaitel who obviously has Asberger's syndrome. You won't make the blind see. Especially not the blind who believe they are the source of light.
I say give it up Bagabund, the truth defends itself.

 
At December 13, 2005 8:38 PM, Blogger anonymous said...

You would gain points if you would stop trying to write flowery english and just say what you mean, instead of making an ass of yourself trying to sound sophisticated.

This is part of what is meant by lacking humility.

 
At December 13, 2005 9:18 PM, Blogger Totally Content said...

Oichmir - If you claim to be on the side of 'the truth', the perhaps you ought to stick to correct and rational thought.

How AsPerger's, blindness, Egotism and psychosis relate to each other, or to one’s desire to defend his beliefs - I cannot begin to fathom. But by all mean - let's hear the rationale behind it. This gotta be good...


HR – I couldn’t have said it better myself! >> truth is generally somewhere in the middle, our personal biases dictating to which side we lean.<< It’s sweet, really, the way you don’t see the irony behind your own words.

I’ve got so much to respond with – but so little of that precious commodity called ‘time’. You’ll get yours, don’t you worry. (on second thought, maybe you should.)

 
At December 13, 2005 9:43 PM, Blogger oichmirasatmare said...

Shietel, my comment was not directed to you. I wouldn't bother.
I have full confidence that unlike you, amazing speller and all, those who I addressed, understood my point.

 
At December 14, 2005 10:45 AM, Blogger mistake said...

hey, oichmir, you couldnt have had more perfect timing. after i read her response i just sighed and said: what the hell, theres no use, we're not talking with someone who you can reason with. so i decided to never post anything on here again.
btw, sheitel, i started out as a supporter - when i first heard about this blog i was actually relieved that someone was gonna defend my dear willi. but after reading a few of your blogs and realizing the lack of substance and the stupid denial, the way you focus on technicalities and names or words, avoiding the arguments. i realized you suck. to think that you would actually be worth my time...

 
At December 14, 2005 11:43 AM, Blogger modern chassidish said...

Sheital: I think you defeated your own purpose. Your attempts at defending Willi have backfired and instead you increased the perspective you disagree with and failed to change it. My advise quit while you are ahead because your making your Willi look worse.
In any event thanks for the link to HR. Alas a blog that does not beat around the bush.

 
At December 14, 2005 3:52 PM, Blogger Totally Content said...

HR -
I believe that I can state, without any concern that I might be contradicted, that our planet Earth is a remarkable creation. The fact that there are areas that get more sunlight than others does little to detract from her overall glory. Yet one would have an easy time understanding why some find the world to be a cold and harsh place, while others experience it as delightfully welcoming and warm. There are also those that have experienced both – yet each person’s perception is ultimately up to his own experiences in life.

At the risk of plagiarizing myself, here goes: While some see a glorious sun brilliantly reflecting in the shimmering blue sea. Others choose to see a glaring sun brazenly intruding on the quiet of the cold dark ocean.

“...In human discourse, though, rarely is one right or wrong in absolute terms. Rather, the truth is generally somewhere in the middle, our personal biases dictating to which side we lean. ...I believe that you lack a sense of balance. But even more than that, you lack compassion and humility...”
I’ll give credit where it’s due: HR, I couldn’t have said it more eloquently. Now let’s get that index finger to point in the opposite direction.

The obviousness of your ‘personal biases’ aside, I find the subsequent explanation of how you’ve elevated yourself above said prejudices mildly entertaining. Even after extensive research on both sides of the equation, for one to claim to finally possess the insight and thus the ability to truly be unbiased by one’s own perceptions, could be interpreted as him seeing himself with the divine power of Omni vision. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that such a person might be lacking in humility.

Your presumptuousness to assume to know how my journey in beliefs will pan out, might also support than above claim.

 
At December 14, 2005 4:24 PM, Blogger Also A Chussid said...

I always was fascinated with words, and admired a good writer. While in my younger years it was Yiddish writers that I admired, the likes of Rabbi M. Leyman (he was a Ruv of a kehileh) and the pen name of Yankel Pedrutchik in the Yiddisher Licht, however in the last seven years I have taken the time and pleasure to explore the English language. It is with pleasure that I follow the exchanges between HR and Sheitel. Both of them make use of good words connected to some other good words.

Don’t bother being right, rather know how to write.

Sheitel, I’ll spare you the time critiquing my spelling and grammar, or the lack of it, I know I am handicapped.

 
At December 14, 2005 8:40 PM, Blogger Begreatfull said...

Hey Sheitel, I came across your blog today, Its interesting to read, I'm one of the people Hella Winston talks about in her book 'UNCHOSEN" I understand why the people in the community are offended by this book, nobody likes to look bad or negative especially not chassidim, but this book is not a about how beautiful and glorious it is to live a frum chassidish life, For that there is plenty of beautiful books out there too, its about those of us who choice a different life style, why we did?what made us leave, what was our struggles, how we where effected by our up brings our parents rabbis and teachers, this stories are real, to us and to many who still live that life,
I'm glad that hella gave allot of us a voice, I don't think that everything will change by people reading this book, sadly NO, But maybe for a few, Or at least i hope that it will help prevent allot more damage that is being done every single day in the chassidish communities,
hopefully it can help to be a guide to those still living a double life style to find a way to emerge and learn from our experiences, maybe its time for people to take off there sun glasses and take a good look how they push and shove there beliefs down on others , maybe its time that they have more compassion to there own kids, have better relationships with there children, maybe its time to stop the sexual abuse that is going on everyday, god forbid someone will find out that the big macher in the community is a child molester, the rabbis in school who play with little boys, I'm not gonna sit her and write everything i experienced but i can say this much i would probably still be living in new square or somewhere if i was not raised the way i was, another thing if i was catholic and raised with extreme up bring i most likely would rebel too which many of my catholic friends did ..I applaud hella for writing the books and i know there will be many who will feel threatened and bavashen has they say , but the truth has to be out there. weather or not we like it.

 
At December 16, 2005 12:26 AM, Blogger Old Williamsburg said...

Sheitel:

I've lived my share of years in Williamsburg, and regardless of your effort, time and use of poetic prose, the truth remains known.

Watching movies is a frowned upon activity in Williamsburg. It shall not even cross the mind of the typical Williamsburgian. Reading and studying the philosophers whose quotes pepper your blog is also condemned. I don't think that there is a need to expand on the constant Isuurim against the internet and computers in general. Equally frowned upon are many other qualities which you seem to be 'in bed with.'

You are not proving your point to anyone by demonstrating an encyclopedic knowledge of movies and actors etc. Quite the contrary, the one point that does come across loud and clear is that you are rebellious too, in the ranks the subjects in Ms. Winston's book are.

Your pride and lack of unhappiness (if that is indeed the case) is most likely the result of arrogance or ignorance, not true satisfaction.

I'll quote you to prove that what you write in no way reflects the Williamsburg community at large, only you are a rare exception, or a woman in denial with a good imagination:

"So Baruch Hashem I was blessed with a mother who burnt that book as soon as we were born. She taught as that there was right and there was wrong - and what the 'public' has deemed as proper protocol has little to do with how we truly ought to behave. It is indeed thanks to her that all of you are so lucky as to have had the opportunity to be introduced to someone as dazzling as me. :) I had always assumed that my aunts had followed my brilliant mom’s example."

As we know, the burning of "this book" is a rarity; hence, you regard your mother as a blessing. After all you yourself, if you really are the clever person with an IQ of 145, should realize that large portions of "the book," Williamsburg edition, is designed for subjugation of rights which are not in conflict with Torah values.

 
At December 16, 2005 1:47 AM, Blogger Totally Content said...

survival is not enough said...
Hello;

I took the liberty of copying and pasting one of your paragrahs to my comment because I beg to differ with its content and intended message.

Theory of the case:
Why do people leave the fold?

Defense:
While the truth remains that a great percentage of those who broke away did so due to either physical / emotional / sexual abuse or because of their homosexuality. Not that I am condemning or condoning their form of expressing their discontent with the way the community handled / handles their troubles, I am only pointing out that the aforementioned aren’t necessarily looking for an alternate lifestyle due to their intellectual pursuits being thwarted, or because they are truly being oppressed by the community as a whole.

Prosecution:

I wonder why we learned in grade school, "never judge a person until you are in his/her shoes"? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that our minds make sense of what our eyes see by comparing it to our trained standards of normalcy.

From your description of your upbringing and current life it is easy to conclude that no person who had/has the ability to control/thwart you in living and achieving did/does so.

Thus, you grew up (I guess) feeling fulfilled enough - not having to seek elsewhere. This is good! I wish you continued happiness. However, that is mostly not the case!

I grew up knowing that I was unwanted - and could never be good enough to please the people who had authority over me. I too have an unsatiable desire for knowledge and have read incesently growing up, (and no - I did not seek elsewhere, instead, I prayed obsessively for guidance).

Although, growing up was hell, marriage to my husband was what finally made me seek elsewhere. Although while growing up, means were invented to squelch my desire for knowledge, including "marrying her off young, putting her to work under age, discouraging developing friendships and (the puncher) blaming her for her beauty, intelligence and talents, I still managed.

My husband married me for my beauty and shamed me for my intellignece.

Wife:

I love to learn - I can't help it. I don't care for jewelry, makeup and parties. I just want to learn and be the most I can be!

Husband:

It's not normal for a woman to want what you want. Look at my mother/sister, friends wives, etc. I can't help you. Next time ask g-d to make you a man!

I was raised to submit myself to my husband fully, and I did for a very long time. Then, one day, I realized - I could never be good enough - I will never reach that coveted Aishes Chayal spot that I have dreamed to fill.....

Theory of the case:

People leave the fold for various reasons - including, being mentally imprisoned! I believe most people want to be loved, supported and respected. If they don't get it at home, they'll seek it elsewhere, and this applies to all religions.

December 15, 2005 6:16 PM


Sheitel said...

Survival -
I feel awful for what you have experienced. Life must indeed feel very bleak when one isn't admired for his individuality and talents. No child should ever feel unwanted, no adult should go through life feeling that she is not worthy of being respected. And it is certainly about time that those individuals in our community who harbor such sentiments be knocked out of their bigoted slumber.

But I still would like to believe that the majority of our community have more brains than that. After all, historically speaking -- we aren't a stupid people.

 
At December 16, 2005 1:59 AM, Blogger Totally Content said...

Be Great -
I feel for what you have experienced, and I too believe that our community needs to wake up and recognize that it has a tendency of often stabbing itself itself in the foot. Somehow they don't realize that amputating a leg that causes some pain - will probably hurt them more in the long run. I sympathize with those that have felt rejection at the hands of their own families. I doubt that anything can be more painful than to find out that your dear one's love was conditional.

While Hella might have had good intentions, I feel that she portrayed the the cold-hearted 'let's-forget-that-they-exist' attitude as more prevalent than it is. I find the community to be welcoming and supporting, and that many families choose to hold onto their own, despite the kids' journey 'out of the fold'.

I hope and pray to see the day when every member of this community can experience the feeling of being loved for who they are, and not for being who they are expected to be.

 
At December 16, 2005 8:21 AM, Blogger alterk said...

Sheitel,
As my name indicates, I am much older than you and so perhaps have a little more experience and, dare I say perspective, on some of the issues you are writing about. No doubt you have good intentions with your blog. However, based on my many years of experience working in your community, I can respectfully say that you are absolutely atypical, and were people aware of the kind of life you lead, your children would surely suffer repercussions. Blogging, reading the things you read, seeing movies, befriending men, etc. are NOT condoned in the chassidish velt and you know it (this is not to say that these things should be frowned upon or make you in any way a "bad" person. But this is another discussion). Also, the idea that most people "leave the fold" because of abuse or the need for adventure is also incorrect. While it is true that people who are abused suffer greatly and have very good reason to harbor negative feelings about the community, many people leave because they just no longer believe. It seems you have bought the propaganda that the only people who leave are those who have been abused or have issues with their sexuality. Of course, it is easier and more pleasant to think that (after all, it takes the responsibility off you and the larger community) than to accept that some people cannot intellectually accept the chassidish way of life. And you know as well as I that many people who want to change their lives do not, not because they are happy, but because they have family and children and see no way to do it. Life and people are very complex and that a little humility goes a long way. When you have gone out and spend 10 years (as hae I) dealing with some of these people directly, then I think you will be in a better position to make conclusions. I am very glad that you seem to be so healthy and well adjusted. Perhaps you should give a shiur in Willy so that other women could see that there are other ways to live.

 
At December 16, 2005 10:43 AM, Blogger Begreatfull said...

Sheitel, Thank for your understanding and compassion, I'm glad to see that you are open enough to acknowledge me and people like me, to see that there is problems and faults in your community.
Hella interviewed me directly and i did end up establishing somewhat of a good relationship with my parents today,
What your saying that she paints a cold picture that it doesn't exist that some of the parents and people in the community do accept them for who they are maybe its true,
but it is the truth that allot of those who she spoke with are not that fortunate to have parents who have the ability to accept them and let them come into there homes. so she wrote what she wrote about them, I'm sorry if that seems harsh to you, what I do see is that you repeatedly keep writing the same things about hella how badly she portrays your communities, one thing that you
don't seem to you get it its not her stories its ours. maybe you should blame the people who she spoke to for having that experience that obviously doesn't make any sense.
it happens to be that most people who read a book understand on there own that there is another side of each experience and story
at least that's how i see it, besides i know her personally and she knows that allot of us have good relationship's with our parents, Men darf nisht shrieben rochel bitcho aktona to you, you get the picture if your smart enough.
for me now having a relationship with my family was not from one day to the next it was hard work and compromising from my side to be able to have a relationship with them, and sadly allot of it i feel that its more coming from me trying to build a relationship which I don't always mind, but I sometimes feels that from there side its superficial, when they do talk to me, its has if to show everyone how nice they treat me, my mom will throw her self at me if I show up at a family wedding in front of everyone to hug me and cry mien tochter mein tocheter ich hub deir lieb (my daughter i love you) when in fact she never ever hugged us in private, this of course has nothing to do with her being chassidish its just simply how she is and many other people who don't have the ability to express love to there children,
Now she is getting a bit better at it, cause i hug her all the time thats just how i'm, I'm not saying that there isn't parents who in light of how they kids turn out to be Do accept them and take them in into there homes, and i truly give them allot of credit for that.
but for some of us we have to wait years to build a relationship with the people who are our own flesh and blood our families, I still dream sometimes of being able to pick up the phone and express my self and share my day with them, its just that some of the things are just not things i can or would discuss with them, Its reality and i have to accept it, I don't expect that my parents should say we love you the way you are, NO- they don't have to, its was my choice to leave not there's but its painful, even if its reality all of us want loving parents its only normal to want to have a family that really loves you unconditionally.

 
At December 16, 2005 10:57 AM, Blogger alterk said...

I just want to say that I think begreafull is extremely brave to come onto this blog and share her experiences and her feelings. I, too, think Sheitel should be commended for her compassion. Maybe, Sheitel, your blog is going to have some real positive effect, beyond merely "defending" the Willi way of life.

 
At December 16, 2005 11:16 AM, Blogger modern chassidish said...

begreatful:
thanks for affirming what I have been saying here that Hella reported the stories with integrity and sensitivity. I really have trouble with the frum world because of the insularity and the illusions they foster. All in all the book made me sad. Malkie if you visit this blog know that many are behind you for the good work you have done in raising awareness and helping those who are left alone.

 
At December 16, 2005 11:47 AM, Blogger Begreatfull said...

Modern Chassidish:
I hope that the next book who ever ends up writing it, will be filled with stories of joy instead of sadness, of how the jewish communities have changed in the way they will be dealing with this types of experinces and stories,
Belive me I would be more than thrilled to be able to read a book like that and maybe even be a part of that as well.

 

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