My Review of Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman

Let me just say that I usually restrict book reviews to my Goodreads account. But since this book deals with the frum world, I have to include it in my blog. So any book review dealing with Judaism of any kind will now get posted on Confessions. So here goes: This is the type of book which made me look back on my decision to become Orthodox and learn from the mistakes of the Hasids mentioned in the book. They were extremists, and I am moderate. Reading of the way Aunt Chaya forced Miss Feldman to shave her hair, reading of how her Zeide’s angry temper towards American society and culture forced Deborah into reading in secret, and reading of the way the Satmar community handles rape, incest and molestation made me realize that in becoming frum, I was sure it was the Modern Orthodox lifestyle that made the most sense to join. I’m still taking baby steps here, which is why I want to make one thing crystal-clear: I’m not becoming an extremist. I won’t forbid my kids or grandkids from reading such classics as Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, or Matilda. I don’t know if I will cover my hair when I marry. I refuse to slut shame any woman who chooses not to dress tznius. Satmar is a cult which I refuse flat-out to join. Deborah’s memoir is a raw, insightful look into a selfish men’s world. For it is just that: a men’s world. Why else were the sexes separated? Why else is it the women who are told to dress a certain way and not the men? Why else is it the women get slut shamed for not dressing in a way that ensures a man not lose control of his own lust which by the way is up to the man to control, not the woman? This was my first time reading a memoir/biography willingly, and I don’t regret it for a second. Unorthodox was like a big unapologetic BandAid: You dread ripping it off but feel loads better afterwards. I shit you not when I say that my grandmother used to have to bribe me with crappy fast food to make me comply with any kind of service or religious education. Hell, I used to celebrate Shabbos and holidays only because it involved free food, and even then I was lax at best in my observance of the mitzvos. If I had grown up in the kind of repressive environment Deborah did, I’d’ve ended up in the Hotel California at an extremely young age. Unorthodox was right up there along with Harry Potter, The Shadowhunter Chronicles and any Rick Riordan book: the storyline stayed with me. What’s your personal opinion? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Internet Usage in Jewish Daily Life

Some might say to you that the Internet is incompatible with a frum lifestyle. I have to respectfully disagree.  Think of it this way: Every technology and object can be used for an evil purpose or a G-dly one; how it is utilized is solely dependent on its user and his/her intentions. Computers can certainly be used for a plethora of different reasons. They can be used to raise up or knock down. (Does the name Megan Meier mean anything to you?) My most common uses of my laptop are:

Renewing my library books

Listening to music

Making an online purchase

Studying Torah

Blogging

Facebooking

Tweeting

Netflix

Everyone has their own reasons for Internet usage. These are mine. The way each person utilizes a particular machine is dependent solely upon the intention of its user. Liked this post? Comment your thoughts/opinions/frustrations with this post below.