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"Escape From the Holy Shtetl"

No really... why can't they choose someone more normal to give a decent image of people who choose not to be frum anymore??

Comments that came to my mind:

-I dont know if Kiryas Yoel is really like that but I can’t imagine it’s so stupid !

-Are the pics true ??

-I think she’s giving a bad name to many « normal » off the derech people who don’t suddenly start dressing like sluts, smoking joints and all.

-And what a caricature of secular Jews Gitty’s parents are ! very proud of the gay son and the non Jewish grandchildren ? I wouldn’t say « very proud » is the typical reaction, while they may be accepting…

-WHO would take the Satmar bus in sleeveless top, really.



 "Esther Miriam got out of the car. Gitty wanted to get out, too, give her daughter one more kiss, but she couldn’t. She was wearing pants."


Ok, why not wear a skirt to go there ??



"You couldn’t expect some delicate flower to have eight or nine babies by the time she turned 30".

What a stereotype. Not all chasidishe women have 8 babies at 30.

Some may be horse like but some are also extremely delicate looking.



"During their marriage, Gitty and Yoely fought about whether OUD was kosher enough. Yoely said no, because OUD did not positively guarantee that any milk used was obtained by Jewish hands."


He means it’s not cholov Yisroel ? then that would be normal for a chassid not to have it !



"When he saw the OUD on the Pringles can, Yoely dropped it like it was hot."


Hum. Maybe that’s a bit in her head…



"Gitty looked mournfully at the chips. “Esther Miriam really wanted those Pringles,” she said."


That would work in Europe. In America there are tons of Cholov Yisroel stuff, please.




"Things went off the track when Deborah brought home Chaim Kalfa, the Lubavitcher who would become Gitty’s father.

“A real beauty, that one. Once, he came in, walked right to the refrigerator, and started throwing things out. I said, ‘What are doing? I just bought that.’ They said it wasn’t kosher."


Is this one for real ??




"Matty Feinman picks up the story: “One night, Chaim says to meet him at Columbus Circle so we can settle this once and for all. I went on the subway with a chinning bar stuck into my pants. The cops had to come. The guy was crazy. Violent. Abusive. Last I heard, he was in Israel riding a donkey, yelling about Rebbe Schneerson being Jesus Christ.”"


Come on





"“The kid says, ‘Dis is a Yid?’ I felt like screaming, ‘Yeah, for 70 goddamn years!’ But it wouldn’t have done any good.”"


He should have done it.

And he shouldn’t make fun of accents.




"It was long enough to reach the floor, which seemed to fulfill every criteria of tznius except one: “I looked good in it,” Gitty said."


So you can’t look good ? ridiculous. Not to mention chassidishe women generally do NOT wear floor length skirts.




"The issue of Gitty’s attractiveness never came into play until Yoely Grunwald said his friends were congratulating him on scoring such a hot babe."


Sure, that’s typical Satmar speech….





"“Great, huh? Some old rabbi looking at your panties with a magnifying glass?” Gitty says. “This was so embarrassing to me. I just wouldn’t do it anymore.”"


But dressing like that and saying all these words is not embarrassing ?




"When Yoely heard someone saw me with my hair showing, he said, ‘You’re making me look bad, you’re making my whole family look bad.’”"


She married a chassid. Chassidishe women cover their hair.





"checking constantly to see if there’s any discharge"






"It is humiliating for a Satmar man to have his wife leave him."


Because not for any man ?


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 16th, 2008 03:07 pm (UTC)
apparently people from Imamother know her and she's a nutso and always was. They also say she knew the husband much before engagement and he tried very hard to accommodate her...

oh, and apparently they made the match because they were already, hum... "together". Quite a different situation...

Edited at 2008-07-16 03:13 pm (UTC)
Jul. 16th, 2008 03:15 pm (UTC)
I'm taking everything, on imamother (at least one article discussion is on a public thread) and in the article, with a grain of salt. NY Magazine tends to be a bit sensationalistic.
Jul. 16th, 2008 03:13 pm (UTC)
I go to school about 1 hour from Kiryat Joel. As I understand it, Satmars are the most right wing of Chassidim, and the Kiryat Joel are particularly isolationist.

"And what a caricature of secular Jews Gitty’s parents are ! very proud of the gay son and the non Jewish grandchildren ? I wouldn’t say « very proud » is the typical reaction, while they may be accepting…"

My parents would be proud of me even if I was gay. They would take pride in the fact that I'm intelligent, hardworking and responsible. Do those qualities, and the pride a parent takes in them, disappear if a child is gay. And, frankly, I know plenty of secular Jews who would take pride in a family like that. Hell, I go to school with plenty of secular Jews like that. It's a different understanding or Jewishness means and entails.

"What a stereotype. Not all chasidishe women have 8 babies at 30."

Not all chassidishe women do, but Satmar women tend to have lots of babies, even when compared to other frum circles. Kiryat Joel has been the fastest growing town in New York State for the last decade. Most Satmar women get married at 18ish. If you don't use birth control, are otherwise healthy and don't nurse for long, 8 babies in 12 years is not totally unreasonable, even assuming all single births.

Part of the article's perspective comes from the fact that this articles is written by a secular Jew to whom this is completely new. That's going to create a bias. But, frankly, think of the situation Gitty is in. It sounds like, she's been through a whole lot (getting your kid snatched off a playground!) and after leaving Satmar, she got plunged into a completely foreign country and culture. She's been through a lot and, in many ways, seems like a teenager still.

Frankly, if I was the judge in the situation, it would be a tough life. Gitty has no marketable job skills; I don't know how she's be able to afford to raise a child, unless she has family support who can help her for the next few years until she gets on her feet. But honestly, if her husband really was involved in the kidnapping of Esther Miriam then that's not someone I think should have custody of a child either. And given the reputation of her mother, I'd worry that Esther Miriam would face problems growing up in her community, that she'd be stigmatized and hurt in the shidduch process. I don't know that there's a good solution here, it seems like someone, and probably a few someones are going to be hurt terribly no matter the situation.

I also wonder about the ethics of the magazine publishing all those photos of Gitty in a swimsuit and stuff. I'd worry that that would hurt her custody battle.
Jul. 16th, 2008 03:25 pm (UTC)
"As I understand it, Satmars are the most right wing of Chassidim, and the Kiryat Joel are particularly isolationist."

You're right.

"My parents would be proud of me even if I was gay. "

Yes, "even if"! In this case it sounds that they like the fact that he's gay because it's "alternative"...

"in many ways, seems like a teenager still."

Yup, and a bad case of teenage crisis!

You are also right that no one here seems decent enough to raise a child.
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 16th, 2008 06:33 pm (UTC)
Certainly this girl is much, much "further" than not covering her hair, for sure...

I agree that Satmar is not for everyone, but she makes it sound as if there is nothing between Satmar and sluttiness - when she could be lighter chassidish, Modern Orthodox, traditional, or just "normal" secular...
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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