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Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Rootsby Deborah Feldman
Synopses & Reviews
“A remarkable tale” (Kirkus Reviews): in the tradition of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Infidel and Carolyn Jessop’s Escape, Unorthodox is a captivating story about a young woman determined to live her own life at any cost with a new Epilogue from the author.
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 seems to value silence and suffering over individual freedoms.
The child of a mentally disabled father and a mother who abandoned the community while her daughter was still a toddler, Deborah was raised by her strictly religious grandparents, Bubby and Zeidy. Along with a rotating cast of aunts and uncles, they enforced customs with a relentless emphasis on rules that governed everything from what Deborah could wear and to whom she could speak, to what she was allowed to read. As she grew from an inquisitive little girl to an independent-minded young woman, stolen moments reading about the empowered literary characters of Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott helped her to imagine an alternative way of life. She had no idea how to seize this dream that seemed to beckon to her from the skyscrapers of Manhattan, but she was determined to find a way. It wasn’t until she had a child at nineteen that Deborah realized more than just her own future was at stake, and that, regardless of the obstacles, she would have to forge a path—for herself and her son—to happiness and freedom.
The instant andlt;I andgt;New York Timesandlt;/Iandgt; bestselling memoir of a young Jewish womanand#8217;s escape from a religious sect, in the tradition of Ayaan Hirsi Aliand#8217;s andlt;Iandgt;Infidel andlt;/Iandgt;and Carolyn Jessopand#8217;s andlt;Iandgt;Escapeandlt;/Iandgt;, featuring a new epilogue by the author.andlt;brandgt;andlt;brandgt;As a member of the strictly religious Satmar sect of Hasidic Judaism, Deborah Feldman 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 Deborahand#8217;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 Satmar Hasidic community in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York. She attends Sarah Lawrence College and lives in New York City with her son.
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