Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman
Deborah grew up in a Hasidic Jewish community in New York. It is a world that most of us know little to nothing about and those who live there know little about the rest of the world. It is a self-segregated community that polices itself, fears the rest of the world and in many ways reminds me of what I have read about the polygamous Mormon communities. Women are not allowed to finish high school, but rather are married off at age 17 in arranged marriages and are expected to have as many children as they can. They are considered inferior to men and in some Hasidic communities, cannot even walk on the same sidewalks with men. Deborah was supposed to read only approved Yiddish literature, but her love for and desire to read books in English, which she sneaks into libraries to check out and hides under her mattress, shows her that another world does exist and plants the seed that will eventually help her to escape from the cloistered and censored existence she has been forced to live in all of her life.
Deborah shares her story in this well-written and gripping story.