Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots

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Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots

by Deborah Feldman

Simon & Schuster | March 12, 2013 | Hardcover |

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The instant New York Times bestselling memoir of a young Jewish woman's escape from a religious sect, in the tradition of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Infidel and Carolyn Jessop's Escape.

The Satmar sect of Hasidic Judaism is as mysterious as it is intriguing to outsiders. In this arresting memoir, Deborah Feldman reveals what life is like trapped within a religious tradition that values silence and suffering over individual freedoms.

Deborah grew up under a code of relentlessly enforced customs governing everything from what she could wear and to whom she could speak to what she was allowed to read. It was stolen moments spent with the empowered literary characters of Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott that helped her to imagine an alternative way of life. Trapped as a teenager in a sexually and emotionally dysfunctional marriage to a man she barely knew, the tension between Deborah's desires and her responsibilities as a good Satmar girl grew more explosive until she gave birth at nineteen and realized that, for the sake of herself and her son, she had to escape.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 272 Pages, 5.91 × 9.06 × 0.79 in

Published: March 12, 2013

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1439187002

ISBN - 13: 9781439187005

Found in: Biography and Memoir

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Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots

Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots

by Deborah Feldman

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 272 Pages, 5.91 × 9.06 × 0.79 in

Published: March 12, 2013

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1439187002

ISBN - 13: 9781439187005

About the Book

In this arresting memoir about growing up in--and ultimately escaping from--a strict Hasidic community, Feldman reveals what life is like trapped within a religious sect that values silence and suffering over individual freedoms.

Read from the Book

Prologue On the eve of my twenty-fourth birthday I interview my mother. We meet at a vegetarian restaurant in Manhattan, one that announces itself as organic and farm-fresh, and despite my recent penchant for all things pork and shellfish, I am looking forward to the simplicity the meal promises. The waiter who serves us is conspicuously gentile-looking, with scruffy blond hair and big blue eyes. He treats us like royalty because we are on the Upper East Side and are prepared to shell out a hundred bucks for a lunch consisting largely of vegetables. I think it is ironic that he doesn’t know that the two of us are outsiders, that he automatically takes our existence for granted. I never thought this day would come. Before we met, I told my mother that I had some questions for her. Although we’ve spent more time together over the past year than we did in all my teenage years put together, thus far I’ve mostly avoided talking about the past. Perhaps I did not want to know. Maybe I didn’t want to find out that whatever information had been fed to me about my mother was wrong, or maybe I didn’t want to accept that it was right. Still, publishing my life story calls for scrupulous honesty, and not just my own. A year ago to this date I left the Hasidic community for good. I am twenty-four and I still have my whole life ahead of me. My son’s future is chock-full of possibilities. I feel as if I have made it to the starting line of a race just in t
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From the Publisher

The instant New York Times bestselling memoir of a young Jewish woman's escape from a religious sect, in the tradition of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Infidel and Carolyn Jessop's Escape.

The Satmar sect of Hasidic Judaism is as mysterious as it is intriguing to outsiders. In this arresting memoir, Deborah Feldman reveals what life is like trapped within a religious tradition that values silence and suffering over individual freedoms.

Deborah grew up under a code of relentlessly enforced customs governing everything from what she could wear and to whom she could speak to what she was allowed to read. It was stolen moments spent with the empowered literary characters of Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott that helped her to imagine an alternative way of life. Trapped as a teenager in a sexually and emotionally dysfunctional marriage to a man she barely knew, the tension between Deborah's desires and her responsibilities as a good Satmar girl grew more explosive until she gave birth at nineteen and realized that, for the sake of herself and her son, she had to escape.

About the Author

Deborah Feldman was raised in the Hasidic community of Satmar in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York. She attends Sarah Lawrence College and lives in New York City with her son.

Editorial Reviews

"Feldman's evolution as well as her look inside a closed community make for fascinating reading … her storyteller's sense and a keen eye for details give readers a you-are-there sense of what it is like to be different when everyone else is the same."-Booklist
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