Mid-read thoughts on Unorthodox

Reading about the Satmar Hasidic community of  Williamsburg, NY is bringing up all sorts of emotions in me right now. Distaste, surprise, worry, apprehension, pity, anger and any number of SAT prep words I didn’t learn until college. Incidentally? College was not an option for Deborah Feldman. Neither was reading English books. Or speaking English. Or associating with English speakers who have no souls. Or. Or. Or.

The list of don’ts has been blowing my mind. Me who considers herself such an expert on the Orthodox community. That “expert opinion” comes from the couple of dozen visits to my brother’s community in Ocean County, NJ and Philadelphia. “You know nothing, Eugenia” are the words that are coming to mind. In comparison, my brother’s brand of Judaism might as well cast him as a non Jew with the Satmar. He has technology in his house. His wife does not shave her head. Their children will have a valid high school diploma. They may choose to go to college. They speak better English than Hebrew and they don’t wish the state of Israel to perish.

I know nothing.


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