Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Williamsburg, Satmar and Me

Apparently so many of you are of the opinion that they know precisely what it is that makes Williamsburg tick. The only problem with your assumptions is that they are so very wrong. Simply stated: Williamsburg is not one entity with a set of rules - - but rather it is a group of people with a somewhat similar ideology and lifestyle. Those that choose to live here have the option of living their lives in a manner that will fit anywhere on the spectrum. The two ends of said spectrum are radically different, just like any other Jewish community, be it Lakewood, Bnei Brak or even Tosh. All these communities have preliminary ‘rules’ – but they are not necessarily binding.

There has been a remark by one commenter that he saw registration forms for the local yeshivas, and if anyone were to be found with the internet then the children would subsequently be expelled. Every yeshiva from Torah V’daas to Torah Temima has registration forms where they clearly state that children from homes that have a TV will not be accepted – yet any survey will reveal that this rule is not necessarily abided by. And no one would accuse a Flatbush resident with TV of being ‘not typical’. These guidelines are just in place to portray the ideology the leaders want for their ‘community'. As a rule, leaders tend to be more to the ‘right’ than the rest of the members.

In addition, we all choose to belong to a group and to leaders that best fit the lifestyle we want. Some prefer leaders that are more liberal than themselves – so this way they can allow themselves to lighten up, and no longer worry about the conscience that has been holding them back. While at the same time, many prefer aligning with leaders that are somewhat more old school and follow more strictly the letter of the law – this way they know that regardless of where temptations in life may lead them, they will always come back – and always belong.


And now for a historical perspective on Williamsburg and her residents:
Williamsburg was initially formed by a chasidish group mostly originating from Hungarian and Romanian communities. Being that the initial towns no longer existed, and most of the members unfortunately perished, this new group consisted of handfuls of different Jews from different towns. Yet the common denominator amongst them all was that they were of similar principles. Be it their focus on tznius, on Torah-learning, or simply their desire to once again live a Yiddish speaking – chaseedish life. They all lost and left a life behind, but still had the hopes and dreams of recreating something that can – if not replace, then at least restore – their heimish home.

The members of this ‘conglomerate’ were from many different walks of chasidish life. Even amongst the rabbonim, as frum as they all were – there were those that were more liberal, while some were more moderate, while others still were die-hard traditionalists. So while the rabbonim placed in position of authority were perhaps more extreme in their beliefs, most of these rabbonim were understanding of the fact that their followers might not be exactly of the same mind – even though they held their rebbes in highest esteem.

Satmar Rebbe Zatz”l especially – as much as he was known for his very outspoken and uncompromising approach towards anything and everything that he deemed unhalachic, when it came to an issue that was simply regarding ‘frumkeit’ his position was entirely different.

Examples that come to mind:
• While CRC / Hisachdus was banning TV with an official ‘issur’, lots of rabbonim were also advocating to include in the ban radio and newspapers. But the Rebbe would not go for it.
• While the Kasho Rav Zatz”l was loudly objecting to girl working in an office environment, the Rebbe was not only not against it, but he even encouraged it – as long as the parents had confirm the acceptability of the place.
• As much as the Rebbe himself was a big Gaon and Talmud chochom and encouraged and valued Torah-learning, unlike other kehillos that rushed into opening kollelim for their freshly-married yungerleit, he actually recommended that they go out in the world and earn a living.

Being that he was a responsible, compassionate and true leader – he understood that by going to the extreme he will alienated a large number of this newly established community. Therefore he gave them the opportunity to live their lives and be accepted as who they truly were, as long as the basic criteria was met. It was on these standards that Williamsburg in general and Satmar in particular were developed.

So while the lifestyle Begreatfull describes, does unfortunately exist – it is by far not the typical. As for me? My family would be considered ‘average Williamsburg’ – and amongst my family I am just ‘one-of-them’, and in no way do I stand out. Nor do I ever intend to.

After five generations, our community has evolved quite a bit, and yet an entire spectrum of very different families still comfortably co-exists. Even though they greatly vary in their ideas and subsequent lifestyles, they nonetheless share their core common beliefs.

As a radiant rainbow ought to be - - each color drastically different, yet blending together so artistically.

P.S. While I know that I have quite adequately covered this issue, I don’t doubt that there will be differences of opinion. Hey, it’s comment that give blogs their color.

76 Comments:

At February 22, 2006 9:39 AM, Blogger Begreatfull said...

goes with the topic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron-Zalman_Conflict

I'm at work right now, I don't have to much time to respond but in any case here is some interesting links to read see about satmar..

 
At February 22, 2006 9:46 AM, Blogger Frummer????? said...

It seems weird that the Grand Rabbi himself was so against draconian chumros, but his followers of today have become the epitome of "farfrumt".

 
At February 22, 2006 9:54 AM, Blogger HumanBeforeJewish said...

i like the way you portrayed williamsburg, and you are accurate in your portrait. however, i find that in the most chassidish of communities, lots of residents behave more chassidish/frum on the outside than they do in the confines of their own homes because "fear" rules and they are afraid of what the "gahss" will say. yes, there is hypocrisy in all communities, but maybe it is much more obvious in the most chassidish.

 
At February 22, 2006 10:01 AM, Blogger HumanBeforeJewish said...

frummer, that's because the rebbe knew halachah and he knew what's the ikkur and he served Hashem from ahava/love. but today's chassidus, FOR THE MOST PART AND AS A GENERAL RULE, is all about fear and it's not always fear of Hashem but also fear of what the street/neighbor, etc... will say. today's chassidus is more about chumros and frumkeit than it is about actual religion, and guilt is a weapon that is given lots of power. dont get me wrong, i love being chassidish because i am an emotional person and i think the chassidish way of life is much warmer than the litvish/yeshivish, etc... but i will not gloss over the fact that hypocrisy exists. the satmar rebbe knew the halacha and he knew what was lifnim m'shuras hadin and he was able to combine those 2 concepts to blend in with reality. today's leaders dont trust themselves and their flock enough to allow people to make their own choices, so instead they issue fanatical decrees in the hopes that the masses will adhere to them - either out of fear of being found out or out of guilt. either way, it's not a good situation and it's a major reason why there are so many teens at risk and why there are so many unhappy chassidish people.

 
At February 22, 2006 10:06 AM, Blogger Truth Seeker said...

In addition, we all choose to belong to a group and to leaders that best fit the lifestyle we want.

Not true, a big portion of satmar wouldn’t be satmar if they choose a group that best fits there lifestyle, its goes automatically these days, your in the group your parents choose..

I’m satmar and its defiantly not my lifestyle and most of my friends, but hey we live in williamsburg we have to pretend that this is our lifestyle.

 
At February 22, 2006 10:15 AM, Blogger HumanBeforeJewish said...

trued, i agree with you 100%. it's a shame though, because chassidim have such varemkeit, and therefore chassidim have the most potential to serve Hashem m'ahavah (from love) rather than m'yirah (from fear). that was the whole purpose of the bal shem tov starting chassidus in the first place. i also think that slowly the attitudes are changing because more and more people are going in their own way and doing their own thing, and more and more people are realizing that s'nisht ek velt. of course, it makes the fanatics want to crack down even harder so it's a battle that's far from over. keep strong, and do what you feel is right. if youre not gonna be happy with yourself, who will be? nobody gives a damn if youre unhappy because it threatens their lifestyle and happiness too. chazak!!

 
At February 22, 2006 10:18 AM, Blogger Begreatfull said...

Human:

I agree with you 100%, today many just live for vus vet yeder zogen, (what will everyone say) more than lesham shomayim like the rabbi really lived and wanted of his chassidim,
I'm currently in contact with a 18 year old from a very closed chassidish community who I was asked to maybe talk to and see what I might be able to help him and for him to have someone to reach out to, he feels that he has no where to turn in his community, He has tried to kill him self with over dosing on prescription medication that he is taking for depression, a couple of times, I'm not a porfesstoinal in any way, and I can't help him to much he needs porfesstional help, but I think that there is a big demand and need for those teens at risk and people in this closed sheltered communities, they don't have to totally throw away there all life and give up everything even religoun to find a middle ground. There is no middle ground in a typical chassidish community, most of the time if you divert a bit cutting your payes off or shaving your beard and dress a bit more modern, your not accepted either, even if you stay frum, it's very sad to see so many kids go on drugs and have to go on prescription meds to make it through the day, There is help out there yes but they don't even know where to start looking when they live so sheltered there all life.

 
At February 22, 2006 10:32 AM, Blogger Totally Content said...

Human - you couldn't be more right with "...that was the whole purpose of the bal shem tov starting chassidus in the first place." This issue regarding fearing Hashem vs. loving Him is one I have been complaining about for a while.

It really irks me the way kids finish Krias Shma with the line 'Vloy yira - eech hub nisht moire fin keinem nisht, nor fin dee heilige bashefer alein.' [I fear no one, only our holy God]. A three year old daughter of a friend of mine came crawling into her mother's bed one night, crying about a nightmare. When her mother asked her what was bothering her, with eyes wide open and full of obvious fear she replied 'Eech hub moira fin dee heilige bashefer'. She’s got no idea what that ‘thing’ is – but she was taught from infancy that it was something to be feared.

If kids are raised with fear, they will do everything in their power to 'outgrow it'. No one - no child nor adult - wants to outgrow love.

For my own daughter I changed the line - 'Hashem lee - der eibishter is mit meer, Vloy yira - in eech hub nisht moira fin keinem nisht. Veil dee heilige bashefer hut meech leeb.' [God is with me, and I fear no one - because God loves me.]

As for Trued - I kinda disagree with you. Your parents might belong to Satmar - but at this point the choice of chasiddus and locale is entirely up to your spouse and yourself. As for living in Williamsburg - well I do. And it is definitely my lifestyle.

Final note to all my dear commenters who are relatively new to the English language (or who occasionally might err, like all humans do) the word 'definitely' is vastly different from 'defiantly'. Spell check can't help much there...

 
At February 22, 2006 12:31 PM, Blogger Truth Seeker said...

Thanks for the correction :)

How can you say its your life style when you do stuff that’s not in the guide lines.

You can say you do what ever you want and you enjoy doing and living there, but willy is DEFINITELY(lol) not your life style.

Enjoy,

 
At February 22, 2006 1:25 PM, Blogger JK from KJ said...

“its goes automatically these days, your in the group your parents choose..”


The argument has little to do with Chasidism, Satmarism and Williamsburgism more than it does with Judaism in general or any religion, for that matter. People mostly belong to a religion they were raised with, but not what they chose.

Although I’m not an historian, I’d guess that this was true ever since religion existed; the bible story of Abraham’s struggle to depart from his parents and community’s beliefs is just an historical example.

“there are so many teens at risk… there are so many unhappy chassidish people.”

I’m unfamiliar with the statistics. Are the number of ‘teens at risk’ and ‘unhappy people’ greater amongst the Chasidim than it is in secular communities? Or is it less? Or just about the same?

By establishing these facts, we can more easily identify whether these cases are directly linked to the teens’ and people’s communities and are not a part of a widespread trend found in every part of society. Until the reason for the unhappiness is clear, it would make sense to group them as “unhappy people” instead of “unhappy chassidish people”.

“we have to pretend that this is our lifestyle.”

I had already pointed out on his blog that while it's true that many do things that they don't truly believe in, because of what their neighbor may say, you have to realize that the need to fit in and the fear of public opinion is as old as civilized society itself. It’s called peer pressure.

So, I guess my point is that I have yet to see a claim distinctively customized to Chasidim, Satmar and Wiliamsubrg! Not that they aren’t legitimate charges; they just need to be discussed in a broader context, in order to appear objective.

 
At February 22, 2006 1:53 PM, Blogger HumanBeforeJewish said...

jk, in a roundabout way, you enforce my believe (and hence my blog name) that we are HUMAN before we are JEWISH. meaning, that jews have the same societal issues as any other society, no matter how u group societies - based on religion, sexual preference, location, etc... of course, being jewish introduces a whole 'nuther set of issues that other societies dont haveto live and deal with, but for the purposes of sheitel's blog, society is defined as chassidish people who are unhappy with the lifestyle they are forced to lead, no matter who or what is forcing them.
yes, the percentage of teens at risk and unhappy people in the chassidish circles is very large, much larger than it used to be. i dont know if it's because our youth is less tolerant of hardships and unhappiness and so they are begining to speak out more openly whereas till now it was all a matter of suffering in silence, or if it's because the percentage really increased. yes, the overall rate of divorce and drug abuse is much lower in the ultra orthodox world than it is in the secular world at large, but i think that this statistic holds true to any religion, not only judaism.

 
At February 22, 2006 1:59 PM, Blogger exsemgirl said...

Sheitel-I gave up on your promise to write about further education for women.... And so I attempted to do it myself...
Let me know if you approve and what I left out....

 
At February 22, 2006 2:34 PM, Blogger JK from KJ said...

“yes, the percentage of teens at risk and unhappy people in the chassidish circles is very large, much larger than it used to be.”

I wasn’t looking for statistics on the state of Chasidic teens today in comparison to what it had been in the past, although even on that I got an opinion of a single well respected individual, but no statistic.

I’m looking for the percentage of unhappy people amongst Chasidim compared to not Chasidim.

I guess if it’s not available than I’ll stay in the dark on this one.

 
At February 22, 2006 2:55 PM, Blogger HumanBeforeJewish said...

jk, im not sure if ure asking how many percent chasidim are unhappy as relates to the chassidic population (i.e. 5 chasidim out of 50 chasidim = 10%) or how many percent chasidim are unhappy as relates to the rest of the world (i.e. 5 chasidim out of 1,000,000 people = .000005%)?

 
At February 22, 2006 3:50 PM, Blogger JK from KJ said...

Neither.

But I have to make you aware that this isn’t an easy task. I admire you for your courageous undertaking… sampling is not easy. lol

If one is to claim that amongst Chasidim more Prozac is being consumed as it is amongst non Chasidim, for argument sake, that would mean that for every ten Chasidim five are depressed. Then you would inquire into ten non-Chasidim and find that only one was depressed, that yields you the ratio.

The results: 50% Chasidim are unhappy, whereas only 10% non-Chasidim were found to be unhappy!

Now go ahead. I volunteer to participate in the study…

 
At February 22, 2006 4:04 PM, Blogger InterestedJew said...

one question: why not just become modern orthodox? if you are going to blur the boundaries so much, then is it all just about preserving a few customs and a dress code, and discouraging people from being educated in secular subjects? i thought hasidim were defined to a large degree by the fact that they live "a life apart."

 
At February 22, 2006 4:05 PM, Blogger HumanBeforeJewish said...

If one is to claim that amongst Chasidim more Prozac is being consumed as it is amongst non Chasidim, for argument sake, that would mean that for every ten Chasidim five are depressed. Then you would inquire into ten non-Chasidim and find that only one was depressed, that yields you the ratio.

so this basically means that you are going with my second scenario - how many percent chasidim are unhappy as relates to the rest of the world (i.e. 5 chasidim out of 1,000,000 people = .000005%)?

of course youre going to get a higher percentage of chassidim this way, cuz you are comparing a much smaller group of people when your sampling chassidim than you are when you are sampling the general population.

also, you cant compare chassidim to the rest of the world because you are not comparing apples to apples (proverbially speaking). for one, the source of unhappiness is different for chassidim than it is for the rest of the world. lots of issues are unique to judaism in general, and to chassidim in particular.

but in any case, my point is that the unhappiness is blatant and it is no longer being kept in the closet in the chassidish velt. and that's a good thing.

 
At February 22, 2006 4:07 PM, Blogger HumanBeforeJewish said...

interested, i dont purport to speak for all chassidim, but in my experience, as soon as one deviates from the chassidic customs in which he/she was raised, he/she may as well become modern orthodox as far as the family and community are concerned. there is very little room, if any at all, for deviation in the chassidish velt.

 
At February 22, 2006 4:48 PM, Blogger JK from KJ said...

I don’t understand what you’re saying. I really don’t.

Let’s talk Math for a moment.

Your second scenario takes 5 Chasidim and compares them with a 1 Million non-Chasidim. It's not clear whether or not with five Chasidim and/or the 1 Million non-Chasidim you mean unhappy ones. In any case I don’t know why one should make such a calculation. What I’m saying is, randomly pick 10 of each side and see how many out of 10, on both sides, are or aren’t happy.

Simple!

That IS, BTW, comparing apples to apples. Oh ye, figuratively speaking.

 
At February 22, 2006 4:55 PM, Blogger HumanBeforeJewish said...

i hear what youre saying but you arent comparing apples to apples when youre comparing chassidim with everyone else, unless by "everyone else" you mean orthodox people of different faiths or non chassidic, but frum, jews. my premise for that is that youre grouping the chassidim together based on their religious affiliation so youre going to haveto find another religious group to compare them to. if youre telling me to compare them to ultra orthodox christians, muslims, etc... or non chasidic jews, then i agree that it's apples to apples, otherwise, it's a skewered comparison.

 
At February 22, 2006 5:04 PM, Blogger InterestedJew said...

kj writes:"I had already pointed out on his blog that while it's true that many do things that they don't truly believe in, because of what their neighbor may say, you have to realize that the need to fit in and the fear of public opinion is as old as civilized society itself. It’s called peer pressure."


Yes, peer pressure exists everywhere, but the difference is, if you live in a chasidish community, your whole life pretty much revolves around that one community. in the secular world people are generally part of many different communities. while a person might face pressures to conform within the various communities, he or she also has a lot more choice and variation in terms of who she wants to hang out with, and a lot more anonymity in general, particularly in urban areas. if you ask most secular people who live in cities whether they care what their neighbors think of them, they will say no, mostly because their neighbors are just that: neighbors. they don't necessarily have lives that overlap. people have much more freedom from social surveillance in the secular world, but that also means they have to work harder to create communities for themselves.

 
At February 22, 2006 5:40 PM, Blogger JK from KJ said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At February 22, 2006 5:45 PM, Blogger JK from KJ said...

interest:

Good point. It’s hard to comment, though, on something I don’t live with but have to use imagination.

human:

I’m not the one comparing. I was just responding to those suggesting that the so called lack of freedom within our communities results into even more discontented people. In other words, in addition to the common and natural causes for disappointment found in every community, Chasidim have the restrictive element to ad even more cases of unhappy folks. So, in essence THEY were comparing Chasidim to the rest of society.

My point is: That would be a possible reason, if and when a scientific study would document that Chasidim indeed have a greater number of unhappy people.

Now I have to leave office and enjoy my content family members who are eagerly waiting for me to join them.

 
At February 22, 2006 5:52 PM, Blogger Hoezentragerin said...

"I’m unfamiliar with the statistics. Are the number of ‘teens at risk’ greater amongst the Chasidim than it is in secular communities? Or is it less? Or just about the same?"

What sort of argument/ comparison is this?
What kind of measures have the secular or even MO communities taken to prevent their children from becoming 'at risk'?
How insular and isolated are they brought up in comparison to the chasidishe child?
How much do we give up in the hopes of our children staying on the straight and narrow?
Are they protected from reading the Country Yossi mag or listening to WABC?

"the overall rate of divorce is much lower in the ultra orthodox world than it is in the secular world at large, but I think that this statistic holds true to any religion, not only judaism'.

Again, this does not prove that couples are happier and marriages more successful in the Chasidic world.
There is way more stigma associated with divorce in our community than it is elsewhere. larger families are a factor here as well.

"Are the number of unhappy people’ greater amongst the Chasidim than it is in secular communities"

I wouldn't say so. Happiness is a very broad construct that is determined by so many different factors. I'm sure that you will find plenty happy Muslim fundamentalists, Cannibals, and Hare Krishnes. (No JK, I am not comparing Chasidus with Cannibalism).
I wouldn't go as far as saying that Chasidim are unhappy in comparison to the rest of society. What I will say though in no uncertain terms,is that the Chasidishe lifestyle today is by no means the facilitator of individualism, emotional, academic, or cognitive potential.

 
At February 22, 2006 6:02 PM, Blogger HumanBeforeJewish said...

hoezen, ure all over the board and u cover so many different topics that its hard to respond to ur post. but i do agree with u that the divorce rate among the chassidim is much lower than among the rest of other societies but not because chassidim are happier. i've said that for a long time and i still stick by that statement.

 
At February 22, 2006 6:17 PM, Blogger InterestedJew said...

there are studies that have looked across cultures and found that people tend to experiece different kinds of emotional problems in different types of social structures. In more "traditional" societies (of which the chasidish world is a good example) there tend to be higher rates of anxiety, as a result of social pressure and surveillance. In "modern" (hetergenous, multiple non-overlapping social networks) societies, people tend to become depressed as a result of alienation and anomie.

 
At February 22, 2006 6:34 PM, Blogger Moochy said...

I only found your blog now, I only read your last post, and I think it is very well put.

If everyone would agree, I dont think there would be alot of issues like the"eiruv etc.

Unfortunatly it is being dominated.

 
At February 22, 2006 7:03 PM, Blogger her nor said...

Mooch, I suggest you go back and read all the posts and especially the comments. The're up your road

 
At February 23, 2006 10:15 AM, Blogger Begreatfull said...

Shaitel:
As a radiant rainbow ought to be - - each color drastically different, yet blending together so artistically.

If its in deed so radiant as the rainbow ought to be and yet blending so artistically together, whats with all the fighting & politics between aroni's & zalmoynie's?

I don't doubt that there are those everage williamsburger who live a average chassidish lifestyle like you say, But there is still no room for TV, interent, or having the kids talk about a movie they watched at home, discussed with there friends, You still have to hide the TV under your cloth in your walking closet & keep it out of sight from your kids and community.

Your saying:

Some prefer leaders that are more liberal than themselves – so this way they can allow themselves to lighten up, and no longer worry about the conscience that has been holding them back.

so your saying if someone that is a so called chussid/sta, and feels like they are being restricted by the rules thats Holding him/her back, and would like to lighten up a bit, maybe not feel guilty about braking the rules, than they just have to pick a new group/leader that gives them approvel and less restrictive? whats the point than at all of calling your self chassidish or belong to any type of chassidish group, if you can do what ever you want just by picking a new group/learder? basicly what it looks to me, is that there is a big need of approval, and the need to belong why is that? why not just leave it and no need for anyone to agree with what your doing or approva of it?
you emphasis a lot on the need for you to belong to a group/leader, the need of approvel, in order to feel okay with what your doing. Thats just my opinion, I at least don't belong to anyone and don't lie to my self that What i'm doing is okay by community standerds. I don't need to get anyone okay in order to be who i'm.

While at the same time, many prefer aligning with leaders that are somewhat more old school and follow more strictly the letter of the law – this way they know that regardless of where temptations in life may lead them, they will always come back – and always belong.

So your saying that the most important thing in satmar or any other chassidies is to belong? Not nacassarliy stop picking up zoynes or swinging in manhattan vip clubs, or s&m In paddlers, as long as you know you are accepted and still a part of the community standards regardless of what you do?

So while the lifestyle Begreatfull describes, does unfortunately exist – it is by far not the typical. As for me? My family would be onsidered ‘average Williamsburg’ – and amongst my family I am just ‘one-of-them’, and in no way do I stand out. Nor do I ever intend to.

of course by your family you don't stand out if your all in the same boat, and do what you describe here on the blog, But I bet if your find out by the community and schools there reaction won't be that your average satmar..

 
At February 23, 2006 11:16 AM, Blogger NohrMaal said...

Begratefull

I think you and Sheitl are like two boats passing in the night not knowing of each other.

Both of you have good points but as a chasidisher myself I very much agree with Sheitl on why one chooses a leader that is more conservative thann ones own lifestyle.

I is very common to find even clean shaven satmars especially -old timers like the owners of Meal Mart- that does not mean that they would feel comfortable with a MO clean shaven Rabbi as their leader. They still see Satmar Rav as "their" Rav and the ideal person whom they have no objection if one of their kids would emulate.

In other words one may feel that she/he is not upto leading a life with all Chumras but still may feel that it is the 'ideal'. This is the reason we see all those filthy nevueu riche chasidim who run all over world for 'proste' vecationing. Still they run with 'kvitlech' for brachos from the most stringent Rabonim and support them with vast sums for their pet projects.

 
At February 23, 2006 11:21 AM, Blogger Totally Content said...

Begreatful - thank you for your very lengthy comment. I recognize the fact that it must've taken quite some time and effort to write. I do feel bad though, because I am not really understanding what you are trying to say.

The fact that the colors of the rainbow do NOT bleed into each other - but rather remain separate is actually what gives the rainbow its beauty. - - How that would tie into people having TVs behind their clothes, is beyond me.

I don't understand either why you would object to people deciding that they like to live life as a part of a group. Any group. While we all need to know who we are individually, life can be very lonely if we choose to live without some sort of community. Wouldn't you agree?

In regard to the disgusting behavior your mentioned, remember that people in every society might do wrong things. But to belong, and still be a part of the community they need to conform on some level, and abide by BASIC COMMUNITY STANDARDS. Inappropriate behavior will automatically shut them out.

Keep those long comments coming - but next time try to solidify at least one point. Please.

 
At February 23, 2006 11:36 AM, Blogger yeshivaguy said...

"This is the reason we see all those filthy nevueu riche chasidim who run all over world for 'proste' vecationing."

You mean like vacationing in Vegas (aka Sin City)?

 
At February 23, 2006 12:14 PM, Blogger stillchoosing said...

BG:I have one tiny question to ask , if I may.

Apparently you have not only left the willi community but you left yiddishkeit all together since you are posting comments on Shabbos (unless you live on the west coast). On top of that you also became 'highly' educated and you now speak"IVRIT" and you "HABLAR ESPANOL" albeit "PEDACITO" WOW!!! you really turned your life around and I am sure that French and Italian will follow soon. So my question to you is: why on earth are you burdening us with your long, boring and senseless comments on a blog that is - in your view -a left-back, primitive, closed-minded, Chasidisha willi blog? For heaven's sake "GET A LIFE", or as they used to say back in the days "Turn On, Tune In and Drop Out". And if you are really desperate for attention, I have a great idea for you. Print up a T-shirt in all the languages you speak, saying - I AM A SHIKSHA - and parade up and down 13th Ave. I believe that should do it!!!!!!!.

We all feel bad for you, that you had a tough upbringing but hey, its time to move on: Hang out with a boy friend, watch a movie, read a novel or learn another language. But save us the bother of reading and rereading the pointless, repetitious comments 10 times a day. Thanks.

 
At February 23, 2006 1:06 PM, Blogger NohrMaal said...

still

I think you are being a bit mean here.

There should be no denying of her pain and the way she went thru our system. So even though we may find her comments sometimes unfair or a bit angry, I think she has a right to feel they way she does. In other words she has a right to her particular perceptions of our society.

I happen to have a different take and I assume that my upbringing was vastly different so my feelings towards chasidic society is totally positive. That does not give me licsence to deny others their own take on things.

The very fact that Begratefull trolls 'heimshe' blogs gives me the feeling that she is in her soul very much connected. A connection that is for good or for bad difficult to sever no matter how much she may try.

 
At February 23, 2006 1:18 PM, Blogger The Negotiator™ said...

Wow, Intense. Intense.

I won't take sides here, I Will simpley say this: BG has gone thru Alot in her life, Please Do not Underestimate her.

If not for her me and many of my freinds would still be on the streets, If not for her there would be many people in need Inthis community.

The fact that she has lived thru so much, And has gone from A to Z without to much outside help is what Inspires us most.

She is moving on, Trust me, By Moving on I mean not just Recharging her life, But Recreating it.

I say we should all Support her rather then shun her and be disgraceful.

 
At February 23, 2006 1:20 PM, Blogger Begreatfull said...

after five generations, our community has evolved quite a bit, and yet an entire spectrum of very different families still comfortably co-exists. Even though they greatly vary in their ideas and subsequent lifestyles, they nonetheless share their core common beliefs

As a radiant rainbow ought to be - - each color drastically different, yet blending together so artistically,



The rainbow signifies diversity, yes, blending together, just like
you said, in the gay community if you don't already know this, the rainbow color is there flag/symbol..
for love, acceptness, respect, to each human regardless of sex race denonminations you belong to.

You understood me wrong, I was not maybe clear enough in how I experssed my self, but it has nothing to do with TV in the closet, IT HAS TO DO THAT I never witnessed satmar to have that type of diversaity like what the rainbow color represents, You avoided answering my other question when I said right after what I said about the rainbow check again, "If its in deed so radiant as the rainbow ought to be and yet blending so artistically together, whats with all the fighting & politics between aroni's & zalmoynie's?

my experince in satmar was/is always on going poliltices and fighting. for me at least
Satmar is far from what the meaning of the rainbow colors truly represents to the world, That was really my all point..

In regard to the disgusting behavior your mentioned, remember that people in every society might do wrong things. But to belong, and still be a part of the community they need to conform on some level, and abide by BASIC COMMUNITY STANDARDS. Inappropriate behavior will automatically shut them out.

wow, your finally admiting a little just a little that you will be shuned out if they find out what your doing,
there is a big differents to compare outside communities with satmar communities or chassidim in general, when you dress in a frum garb your looked up to, and your actions, much more than other communities doing wrong outside socity.

I dont mind that you want to belong to a community and yes some people belong to a community and I agree and understand that you have to abide or conform a bit, the differences is some people are there not beacuse they choose to belong to it or conform to it, they are there just beacuse they are afraid to leave it, or leave there comfort zone, its a big difference when you choose it alone, or when you actualy just stuck in it and lie and decive everyone about who you really are.

 
At February 23, 2006 1:30 PM, Blogger Begreatfull said...

As for stillchoosing:
your still choosing what? I'll let someone else respond to your stupied remarks..

 
At February 23, 2006 2:00 PM, Blogger HumanBeforeJewish said...

stillchoosing, what a vicious attack. i guess the truth makes you uncomfortable. i have no idea who begreatfull is, and neither do you, but i think your post warrants that you apologize for your insensitivity.

 
At February 23, 2006 2:04 PM, Blogger HumanBeforeJewish said...

nohrmaal,u post very sensibily. i guess ure normal after all. at the very least, you admit in a roundabout way that there are discrepancies/inconsistencies in the chassidish velt and that it's not all peachy keen, nor is it all represive.

 
At February 23, 2006 2:58 PM, Blogger yeshivaguy said...

Still choosing:

What are you choosing between? Judging by your comments, I'd say you're still choosing whether to be a jackass or a human being, and based on your comments, the donkey tribe will soon be welcoming another member.

 
At February 23, 2006 3:19 PM, Blogger NohrMaal said...

Human

Your phrase 'admit' as if there is something in the community to be 'guilty' of, is offensive to me. But I am sure you meant no offense.

Look, anybody who has any idea of anthopology or just an apriciation of vast differences between cultures and how each and everyone of them deals with 'guilt' 'shame' 'public' 'private' ...the whole gamut of organized communal interaction, knows that there no such thing as a perfect society.

In this light I see the often severe critisim of how we treat 'dissidents' within, as being cruel and uncaring as being beside the point. Look at the general society in America where 'shame' has lost its entire purpuse. (someone should post the latest what Wendy Shalit has writen abou this) Shamelessness is the opposite of communal supression; do as you please is the hightest value.

For me thats utter depravity.

Hasidic society in modern America should be seen -in my opinion- with a Darwinian eye. We are survivors of great tribulations; nobody expected our way of life to flurish on these shores. The vast mojority of communities in Europe were 'infected' by modern ideas of the entlightenment. We are the "bacteria" that survived all asaults or like the virus that has cleverly adapted its own DNA to outsmart all attacks. So its easy to suggest that we change the way we deal with 'deviancy' in our communities. But as a community we also know something about 'survival' as a group.

Of course we have huge societal problems.

But as Henny Youngman answered to the question "hows your wife"

He said: "compared to what?"

[writen by somebody who had 4 grades elementry secular edu in satmar cheder ;-) Although I'm not Satmar I am still very Chasidish]

 
At February 23, 2006 3:19 PM, Blogger Begreatfull said...

Normal:

Thank you for being kind and sympathadic, I really don't come here to get any ones pitty, I do enjoy to blog and read and have debates on all types of subjacts and topic, I learn a lot from reading besides improving in my spelling and writing, and no I'm not angry at anyone for being who they are, people might take it that I need you to agree with me or pitty me, but that is not it, I just enjoy to blog and read different views and I'm just sharing my opinions I dont claim to be smarter than anyone or better than anyone here, I might be wrong sometimes and I can maybe even change my view's on things by reading what other people have to say, I'm not all that educataded and learned that I dont have room to listen and take in from others.


I might come across to you or to others that I'm here prove to everyone wrong, but that is not it, I see it has having debates weather you agree with me or not is fine too, no desire to come here for pitty or remourse from anyone, I'm a big girl and I can handle some one who decaides to make stupied remarks in my direction, I dont waste sleep over it, I enjoy to read and learn new things,
regarding being and reading frum blogs I connect to it more cause its where I'm from, I read many other blogs too, And yes I'm still very much a jew and connected to my upbring and always will no matter where I go. I'm not ashamed of it or ambarrsed to say that I'm a jew, I'm only ambarassed when people make a chilul hashem and degrade gods name and use it in vien,
I will always be a chussid at heart and I always will cherish the things I have learned and lived, some of them made me into a better person..

 
At February 23, 2006 3:32 PM, Blogger stillchoosing said...

BG wrote:
I do enjoy to blog and read I just enjoy to blog and read I enjoy to read and learn new things,
I read many other blogs too

I really don't come here to get any ones pitty,no desire to come here for pitty or remourse from anyone, I need you to agree with me or pitty me,

All from one post

No comment

 
At February 23, 2006 3:39 PM, Blogger Begreatfull said...

Still: Maybe I should hire you to be my editor? You really have a way of putting things into prospective.. thanks for your help.

 
At February 23, 2006 4:08 PM, Blogger stillchoosing said...

YG,
Oh sorry I forgot only you have the monopoly to criticize the way you see fit.

Oh please, baloney. Stop with the apologetics already.

(Or will this be like the long-promised, never-delivered post about the contentment of Satmar women? Time will tell.)

Give it a rest, will you?

You mean like vacationing in Vegas (aka Sin City)?
Who is the "jackass" again?!

 
At February 23, 2006 4:10 PM, Blogger Begreatfull said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At February 23, 2006 4:33 PM, Blogger stillchoosing said...

BG,
You are indeed a good student I am glad that finally, you are short and to the point.

"are you on your period," Nope, men dont have periods, so your suggestion (you speak yiddish dont ya)may be a good idea after all.

"stop bitching around"
you must be kidding!

"go daven mincha/mariv."
Done with Mincha to early for Mariv

How about you not working today?

 
At February 23, 2006 4:35 PM, Blogger stillchoosing said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At February 23, 2006 4:38 PM, Blogger Hoezentragerin said...

Still Chosing,
What are your choices?
Prozac or Zoloft?
I don't think an Antidepressant will work for you.
You're not depressed.
You're psychotic

 
At February 23, 2006 4:45 PM, Blogger stillchoosing said...

Hay Hoz,
It tooke you a while to jump in, your Ritalin slowing you down?

 
At February 23, 2006 5:13 PM, Blogger yeshivaguy said...

Oh, God, I can't get over this guy. Choose, don't choose, whatever. But for the love of Willy, will you shut up already?

 
At February 23, 2006 5:15 PM, Blogger stillchoosing said...

The Negotiator said:
If not for her there would be many people
"in need" In this community.
Can you elaborate a little, what "need" and how she helped?

She is moving on, Trust me, By Moving on I mean not just Recharging her life, But Recreating it.

And after all this recreating all she can do is complain about how she was raised?

 
At February 23, 2006 5:17 PM, Blogger stillchoosing said...

how about for the love of humanity that you shut up

 
At February 23, 2006 6:39 PM, Blogger Begreatfull said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At February 23, 2006 7:05 PM, Blogger HumanBeforeJewish said...

children, children, let's grow up and stop bickering, shall we?
let's get back to the original topics broached in sheitels comment.

 
At February 23, 2006 7:07 PM, Blogger The Negotiator™ said...

No Mr. "stillchoosing" I will not elaborate.

But, If you were to know what she has done, and whom she has helped, I guerantee you would get on your knees and beg her for forgiveness.

 
At February 23, 2006 11:37 PM, Blogger Begreatfull said...

Negotiator:

I don't need his forgiveness trust me, thank you for your kind words, You are just as specail to me, and even more, knowing you as tought me a lot of lessons, I'm actualy ambarrased that lowered my self to his level I really am.. Lets move on to better and brigher things .. Live and let live I say.

 
At February 24, 2006 12:06 PM, Blogger וואלווי said...

http://yeshiva-bochur.blogspot.com/

 
At February 24, 2006 3:20 PM, Blogger modern chassidish said...

Question:

Is the Kasho Rav Rav shaul Brach?
Where can I get info about the rav?

 
At February 26, 2006 12:53 PM, Blogger NohrMaal said...

R. Shaul Brach was rav in the town of Kasho [Kosice] and was murderd by the Nazies.

Rabbi Refael Blum who died last year he was over the 90's and was Rabbi of Kasho after the war. He was a close talmid of R. Brach.

Rabbi Blum founded a small community in Bedford Hills NY he was considered both as very holy and learned man but way much more extreme than Satmar Rebbe. But on a pesonal basis Rabbi Blum was a very peacfull man and very humble.

His son R. Eliezer Chaim is considered even way more fanatic than even his father. He had a face to face run in with Mayor Bloomberg of metzitza be'peh.

 
At February 27, 2006 4:59 PM, Blogger serene said...

I didn't read all the comments above, so I don't know which direction this whole topic has gone too, but I did read your post, and will comment on THAT.
As a williamsburg resident myself, I know that of course there are many pple on "the spectrum" as you put it... BUT, you and I can both agree that if we do go a little bit "OUT OF LINE", and don't "fit the mold" so to speak, of the typical williamsburg image, then we are looked upon as an outcast. Of course not everyone is like that, there are many exceptions, but there are lots of pple in our town that stare after anyone a little bit different. I don't give a damn about what pple think about me, so it really doesn't make a difference as to where I live and whatever... I'm sure most pple are the same way... (Besides those who live for their name, and take other pples opinions of them to heart... of which there are plenty) But anyways...
Therefore, I can live happily ever after, be it in Willy, or anywhere else.

 
At February 27, 2006 7:58 PM, Blogger HumanBeforeJewish said...

serene, it's funny u say that, about people staring, cuz i was in willy for a simcha on shabbos and a person passed me by and actually turned around when i passed so that they could continue staring. i stopped, turned around, retraced my steps and said, "do u want my name, age and social security number too, or are u just happy looking?"

 
At February 27, 2006 9:43 PM, Blogger KiddushClubGuy said...

To paraphrase INTERESTEDJEW. There is a a way, a lifetyle that will allow to to do to shul 3 times a day, attend shiruim, live in the comtemporary world and enjoy your life and have a wonderful social all at the same time. It's called Modern Orthodoxy. it's not black & white

 
At February 27, 2006 11:17 PM, Blogger Semgirl said...

Who are you kidding, KCJ. All the MO communities I visited have their social conventions and sociological moors that are just as rigidly enforced , in albeit a more subtle way. If you violate them, you are merely snubbed and avoided.

If anything the Hareidi communities are more straight up and fly about what the rules are going in.

 
At February 28, 2006 9:44 AM, Blogger Moochy said...

Lots of anger lots of debates lots of comments lots of opinions.
I really was not aware up to now, how colorful willi really is.
SO I guess Sheitel, you were damn right.

 
At February 28, 2006 9:56 AM, Blogger specialx2 said...

Well Moochy - I guess you are too caught up in your own little world to open up your eyes.
Now go out and appreciate your colorful hometown!

 
At February 28, 2006 1:15 PM, Blogger yeshivaguy said...

SG:

What MO conventions and mores do you mean?

 
At March 01, 2006 11:47 AM, Blogger Semgirl said...

Basically, in many MO circles, particularly in the NY area, there is an atitude of "if you are one degree more religious then me you are a fanatic, if you are one degree less religious you are a heretic".

Also, to be fair, and this is only my personal experience, but if you go to Monroe, New Square, Tush, etc.., (siz alla mol a plotz) there is always room for one more guest to eat , sleep, whatever.. Whereas, in Cleveland, Chicago, St Louis, especially in the Young Israel circles, if you didn't arrange for 'hospitality' way, way in advance, you are out of luck..

In Lakewood, more Tzodoka is raised in one night by a Mesholach, than in a week in Teaneck, even though there is much more money in Teaneck.

At the end of the day, there are many not nice, inappropriate things going on in Hareidi communities, and I am the first to complain about them. However, the MOs like to shoot their mouth off , about how great they are, but at the end it is just "Arba Meos Kesef, Ovair LoSohair".....

A lot of talk, but very little else..

If you don't believe me, just show up in Lincoln Sq Synagogue in NYc, or the White Shul in Far Rockaway, by Kabbalas Shabbos and see how many ppl come over to invite you to stay by them.

 
At March 01, 2006 12:35 PM, Blogger specialx2 said...

SG - You couldn't have said it better. We all have our faults, as well as strong points. So best idea would be if no one puts down the other type...

 
At March 08, 2006 1:32 AM, Blogger bagabund said...

"just like any other Jewish community, be it Lakewood, Bnei Brak or even tosh"
it sounds that you would the least expected it from tosh

 
At March 08, 2006 1:36 AM, Blogger bagabund said...

even you have to fit in every community
in the chasidishe velt you would get the least amount of support though.

 
At March 12, 2006 3:46 PM, Blogger FrumGirl said...

Very interesting!

It all seems idealistic enough. The thing the ghetto style community never considered was the changing of the times... there are so many situations now that need addressing and it all seems to be swept under the carpet. Rules need to change in order to go forward, but putting more and more gedarim is not always the answer. The problem also lies in people so afraid of change because all they know is what they cling to combined with intolerance.

Thanks for the history.

 
At March 27, 2006 5:23 PM, Blogger previous anon said...

there is no such a a thing as too frum
as long you dont force the frumness on someone else!

 
At April 24, 2006 11:26 PM, Blogger First_Lady said...

Hi, I'm new here and sheitel you write fantastically!!

I wanted to comment on the staring post. I was once shopping in Lawrence on Central Avenue and boy did I get stared at!!

I also know for a fact having many MO relatives that life there is not as glitzy as mentioned above at all. You need to fit into society and many other problems.

Just to prove that there are problems in every community and that other lifestyles are not what they appear to be.

 
At May 08, 2006 1:45 PM, Blogger Truth Seeker said...

If anybody is still reading this blog

Check this out
http://mendythemovie.com/flash/trailer.php

 
At July 27, 2006 10:16 PM, Blogger The Anti-Semite said...

Hi All,

I just stumbled on this blog, and was very surprised reading this article.

The author paints Williamsburg and Satmar as an idyllic, beautiful and perfectly balanced society, where all are free to chose and speak their minds, and their greatest problem is indeed whether to sit down and learn a blatt gemore or to go out and do volunteed chessed at the local hospital.

The author sounds as if she chose to be Satmar, and that she is totally free to have a TV and internet at home, as well as openly going to the movies and Las Vegas. I might be naïve or ignorant of the subject, but judging of the many hundreds of Hassidim I see every day, the good hundred or so that I personally know and the many thousands that I have met during my life, give a totally different impression. Personally, most of them were nice, ordinary people. But they were by and large ignorant, not only on secular subjects but about Jewish law as well. But as soon as little as a hint at a fault with their minhogin, ideology or Rebbe was raised, they were either going berserk or just have a motion of the hand as if to say “Wos fershteist du, bist doch a goy”. Would you deny most men in KJ, WB, Skwer an Tosh barely speak or write English?

It is a well-known fact that most Hassidic communities live off social services, in other words, out of my paycheck. Living in a house written on totty or schver’s name and paying it off with sec.8, fraudulently acquiring welfare checks, food stamps, WIC and every other imaginable service, and buying the authorities’ silence with votes are de-rigueur in all Hassidic shtetls, and in many Yeshivish shtetls as well.

Your TV and internet are not tolerated in your community – it is just another blatant example of people laughing at the rules, just as they laugh at the prohibition to steal, cheat, embezzle, swindle and create Chilul Hashem. I don’t think that thousands of wild Hassidic savages attacking a police officer go well with your picturesque description of Williamsburg.

Just a thought – imagine your husband would decide that wearing a $3000 shtreimel while other people starve isn’t ethical. So he takes it off and walks into shul with a hat on Shabbos. You can bet that your car’s tires would be slashed, your kids beaten up in “school”, and probably far worse. But the people about whom everyone knows that they burn down their business for insurance, spend their time and money in casinos and houses of ill repute – often on shabbos – are considered “sheine yidden”.
If WB is takeh azoy a gan eiden, why are you writing under anonymity? You don’t even give an anonymous email. Are you afraid of something?

I believe it’s time for all yidden to stand up against this separatist abomination, unite, and clean our act. We are all areiveim –warrants- to each other, and ultimately we will have to pay the price for all our crimes – as well as for those of our fathers. Wake up, folks.

Sincerely,

The Anti-Semite .

 

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