July 18, 2008

Fleeing From Holiness

Stories like Escape From the Holy Shtetl make me shake my head. I am a Jew from LA, born and bred here. Spent the last 39 years interacting with BT's and FFBs of all types.

In plain English I know Jews of multiple observance levels. There are those in my circle who are what you would call culturally Jewish and those who you'd call Ultra Orthodox. For better or for worse I have been happy to say that I can comfortably interact with all of them.

It is no secret to say that I have my agreements and disagreements with them regarding various issues. But overall I haven't any problem recognizing their Judaism. They may do things differently than I do, but that's ok. I get it, We're all Jews.

But the Satmars are a different bird altogether. And while I would never say that they aren't Jewish (a courtesy that they probably wouldn't extend to me) I find their ways to be cultish and wrong.

It is not an exaggeration to say that things that I have heard and read make me cringe. That story is going to be read by a lot of people who don't have enough common sense to distinguish that Jews are not monolithic in behavior and we are all going to be tarred with the same brush.

(This is a post in progress. I need to come back and do something polishing. Hopefully there will be time to do so later.)


Leora said...

Interesting, your take on this story. We don't even know how accurate the details of story are, and every story is biased.

I thank my lucky stars I was not born Satmar. Especially as a woman.

Looking forward to hearing more of what you (and your commenters) have to say.

One Wink at a Time said...

This will be a good learning experience for me. Is Gentile what "they" still call "us?" Please forgive me if ever I say stupid things here. I've never had the opportunity to know anyone of the Jewish faith. Yeah, I'm sure that sounds outlandish, but it's true.
It's okay if I come here, right? ;-) I'm a retired Catholic, btw.
And please, if I do say something wrong, correct me. Or you can sit and snicker behind my back if that's more fun... Ha!
ps my word verification is "rsjhatva"... that's Jewish, isn't it?

Jack said...

We don't even know how accurate the details of story are, and every story is biased.

No we do not know, but I know enough about the Satmars to make a decision. And they are not for me. I don't agree with their practices, their interpretations and their style of living.

One can say Shelo Asani isha without it being uttered with contempt...


You're welcome to hang out there is all sorts of stuff about Jews and Judaism in this joint. And like your own faith there are all sorts of interpretations about how we should live and what G-d wants.

Ben-Yehudah said...

I am no fan of the Satmar hashqafah nor mentality, albeit a fan of several individual Satmars, which I'm sure you and some of your readers would like, too.

But I think we need to thread particularly carefully when passing judgments, especially in a forum read by non Jews, in which case it could be,...well,...bad {more off-blog if you want}.

We see a lot more taking advantage of such stories in the leftist controled media in Israel. 5 mins. is spent on the story, then a half an hour on how evil haredim are and this is what happens when you're a baal tshuvah, etc.

Jack, I know you're careful and you do your research. I just think it is wise to be super extra industrial strength careful here.

Jacob Da Jew said...

I think that these kind of things need to be examined on a clear, logical base.

Not all Chassidim are equal and not all Satmar are equal.

Even the article points out the the Satmar living in Willy are different than the ones living in KJ.

There is something to be said about those who live in rural areas being just a tad more paranoid than your suburb/city dweller.

Tor Hershman said...

She's got a ticket to flee.....@ YouTube


Stay on groovin' safari,

Jack said...

I just think it is wise to be super extra industrial strength careful here.


Our enemies take every story about Yidden and find a way to distort it. No matter what is said, they will do their best to twist it into something that meets their agenda.

What bothers me the most about this is the fight I see between us. Look through the Jblogosphere and you'll see accusations of it being anticharedi, choruses of how bad secular Jews are followed by accusations of how bad the charedim are.

It is just nasty.


You're right.


That background noise in the video is highly distracting.