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Message from Leah Vincent to the frum community
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PinkFridge









  


Post  Sun, May 25 2014, 4:29 pm
Frumdoc wrote:
I would think it is because she sees it as her mission to make life easier and less painful for those others who leave, and aid understanding between those who leave orthodoxy and their still frum families.

How is this anything but a good thing, to try to make shalom between jews?


Look, I think that a lot of what these people do may even save lives. But I think that a lot of the people who are helped leave all the way might have stayed had there been a stop in the middle. There are some people from extremely insular communities for whom any change isn't simply a change but going off the reservation. Were they to have the option to make what some circles would consider less a yerida but more a lateral move, some (many?) might still be Orthodox. Maybe even vibrantly so.


Last edited by PinkFridge on Sun, May 25 2014, 4:37 pm; edited 1 time in total
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amother






Post  Sun, May 25 2014, 4:32 pm
BlueRose52 wrote:
Yes, some people in the OTD community are not fans of Leah, and she gets criticism from them. I know this for a fact too. But so what? They aren't entirely invalidating her story or calling her a liar. They just take issue with some of what she does, how she presents herself, and how she goes about promoting her causes (not the cause itself). It's not like the Deborah Feldman situation where (IIRC) people were accusing her of making stuff up that didn't in any way happen. If anything, that's a good thing. A community where people feel free to criticize the more prominent members is a sign of a normal, healthy community.


I read Feldman's book and failed to understand what she was lying about, she told her story from her perspective so I am not sure why people were against this book (and I am very familiar with satmar.) So I thought about it and realized that the OTD campaign against Feldman was spearheaded by three main people: Hella Winston, Shulem Deen and to a lesser extent, Leah Vincent. All three were/are members of the foosteps board and two of them were writing their own memoir which means they had means and motive to discredit Feldman.

Furthermore, I've noticed that none of them come from the Satmar community (so how would they know that she is indeed lying?) so I did some digging and learned that for Deen it was personal, he had some sort of falling out with Feldman. It is therefore very hard for me to take anything he (or Winston/Vincent) says seriously since he/they had an agenda so its not objective.



BlueRose52 wrote:
By the way, do you realize the double-standard here? If everyone were to worship her, or be in total agreement about stuff, then they'd have no credibility and be criticized for being mindless zombies who are just as closed-minded as the people they accuse of being so. But if they actually have dissent in their ranks, then they have no credibility because no one agrees on anything!


Who said they (the overall otd community) have no credibility? If anything, I am doing exactly what Leah requested and actually recognize the fact that they are individuals and want to be seen as such. Which is exactly why I am pointing out that some of them don't agree that Leah should write about the Chasidishe community since she knows nothing about it.

But since we are talking about double standards, here are some that baffle me:

Leah asks us to view OTD people as individuals but then writes about Yeshivishe and Chasidishe groups under the umbrella term Ultra-Orthodox (essentially lumping us all together which is dishonest and a lot of us are uncomfortable with it as well).
Leah was asked by some of her OTD peers not to write about the Chasidish community but she does not feel the need to listen to them and continues to write about them. Now Leah wants the frum world to listen to everything she has to say. Why should we listen to her when she doesn't listen to members of her own community (or us for that matter)? Respect is a two way street. If Leah does not feel the need to respect and listen to anyone then why should we respect and/or listen to her?
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amother






Post  Sun, May 25 2014, 4:50 pm
marina wrote:
Everyone can read her book, read the criticisms ( like I said, there's plenty of room for valid criticims) and decide for themselves. I still don't understand what your comments have to do with the original post. Do you disagree that otd people are diverse and should not be lumped into a box? Or do you discount that idea simply because you criticize Leah's book?


Did you read what I wrote? Leah is asking for us to see otd people as individuals which I have no problem with. Now that we have established that, I took it a step further and said that members of her own community are not happy with the way she portrays the chasidishe/yeshivishe world (under the umbrella term Ultra-Orthodox). Why is Leah lumping yeshivishe and chasidishe groups together? And if it's okay for her to do so then why can't we do the same thing with the OTD community?
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marina









  


Post  Sun, May 25 2014, 6:15 pm
imokay wrote:
I can't believe anyone wud really think that way....and I think u know that... But I think there is a dif between proudly living an openly 'secular' lifestyle- and occasionally slipping up w the mitzvot but being embarrassed about it.... One is a purposeful decision and one is a mistake to be worked on


Who would you rather be? A person who lives a secular lifestyle and knows nothing about orthodox judaism but is a good and kind mentch, or someone who is "frum" but occasionally slips up and beats up his wife and is embarrassed about it?

This is a very easy question for me. Is it a hard one for you?
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marina









  


Post  Sun, May 25 2014, 6:19 pm
amother wrote:
Did you read what I wrote? Leah is asking for us to see otd people as individuals which I have no problem with. Now that we have established that, I took it a step further and said that members of her own community are not happy with the way she portrays the chasidishe/yeshivishe world (under the umbrella term Ultra-Orthodox). Why is Leah lumping yeshivishe and chasidishe groups together? And if it's okay for her to do so then why can't we do the same thing with the OTD community?


Maybe I'm confused as to why you think Leah lumps in all orthodox Jewish people into one box. I haven't seen that.
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marina









  


Post  Sun, May 25 2014, 6:21 pm
Quote:
I read Feldman's book and failed to understand what she was lying about, she told her story from her perspective so I am not sure why people were against this book (and I am very familiar with satmar.) So I thought about it and realized that the OTD campaign against Feldman was spearheaded by three main people: Hella Winston, Shulem Deen and to a lesser extent, Leah Vincent. All three were/are members of the foosteps board and two of them were writing their own memoir which means they had means and motive to discredit Feldman.


Feldman's book was sensationalism at its worst. She could have written well about her life and about the beauty she saw in orthodoxy as well as the problems ( ala Judy Brown). Instead Feldman sold out, writing crazy stuff (e.g. murder in the basement theory) without any evidence.

I don't think Hella or Shulem's memoirs have anything to do with their criticism of Feldman. I don't think writers of a similar genre seek to make each other look bad. If anything, the popularity of one should please them b/c it raises the profile for that genre.
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imokay









  


Post  Sun, May 25 2014, 6:24 pm
marina wrote:
Who would you rather be? A person who lives a secular lifestyle and knows nothing about orthodox judaism but is a good and kind mentch, or someone who is "frum" but occasionally slips up and beats up his wife and is embarrassed about it?

This is a very easy question for me. Is it a hard one for you?


Y r these the only two choices?!
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amother






Post  Sun, May 25 2014, 6:42 pm
A while ago I read a memoir about an LDS woman who left her faith. Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin. It was a great read, I found many parallels to the frum community. However, one thing that stuck out to me was the respect with which she was writing about her community. It could be that she didn't feel traumatized as many of the ex-frum authors do. But I felt she managed to convey the atmosphere of her community (some of which she didn't agree with) in such a non-judgmental way.

On the other hand, when I read Vincent's book, I, who grew up in L.A./Toronto/Chicago type of frum community (not tri-state and not Pittsburgh) did not feel that the atmosphere she described was authentic.

I notice that a claim that she sells to her readers as a given is that her frum upbringing inculcated into her a servitude attitude towards the all-mighty men. Now, while there definitely is a strong dichotomy in the Orthodox and especially yeshivish world, I think for many women it is in the background of their lives.

I do not think that anyone really feels that the men are better than them, that the men have all the authority in their lives. It's more of a theoretical concept from what I observe. Most women I know do their best to do what's meaningful in their lives. Some of them have been raised that being a mother is the ideal- but so have many in other cultures, too. I do not think the patriarchal society of frum community today instills in women such self-hatred and issues towards men that she is ascribing her decadent behavior to. I am not saying it is not possible, perhaps some do end up feeling this. But it's not a given. Sorry, not buying it.

And that is what bothered me a lot about the book. I thought it was lacking authenticity and forcing an argument. Since she grew up frum and therefore obviously was raised with an authoritative attitude towards all males, therefore that naturally led to her messed-up behaviors concerning all her urther interactions with males in the outside world.

Nope.
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Frumdoc









  


Post  Sun, May 25 2014, 7:33 pm
PinkFridge wrote:
Look, I think that a lot of what these people do may even save lives. But I think that a lot of the people who are helped leave all the way might have stayed had there been a stop in the middle. There are some people from extremely insular communities for whom any change isn't simply a change but going off the reservation. Were they to have the option to make what some circles would consider less a yerida but more a lateral move, some (many?) might still be Orthodox. Maybe even vibrantly so.


Maybe I don't have your experience, but I have never seen anyone try to convince an "otd" or struggling teen to do anything other than stay exactly where they are or threaten to destroy them. I have met lots who were told and believed that they might as well do drugs and become prostitutes because they were evil and not worthy of even discussing issues with as they were tainted by the soton and filled with secularism. That they and their families would be better off if they were dead. All the time while blowing cigarette smoke in these girls faces and watching them cough and wheeze while they choked back their tears.

And these weren't major chassidish or chareidi families, just misguided and bigoted teachers and supposed rebbeim in a school in which the majority of students came from MO or traditional families, and some from more frum/ yeshivish backgrounds.

A whole generation of girls told they were worthless pieces of s**t because they had the temerity to ask how we reconcile dinosaur bones with bereishit. Or to struggle with feminism within orthodoxy.

Maybe things are better now, maybe there are people trying to help others reconcile their legitimate issues with orthodox Judaism, but not everywhere. And if Leah or anyone else wishes to make it their mission to stop others being psychologically abused in this way, I will cheer them on.

I have done what I can to stop it happening again where I live. I would give much to stop this kind of abuse in other places. Until you have been on the receiving end of it, you have no idea how an honest, intelligent child can be driven away from religion by those purporting to be its defenders.
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Maya









  


Post  Sun, May 25 2014, 8:24 pm
Quote:
I read Feldman's book and failed to understand what she was lying about, she told her story from her perspective so I am not sure why people were against this book (and I am very familiar with satmar.) So I thought about it and realized that the OTD campaign against Feldman was spearheaded by three main people: Hella Winston, Shulem Deen and to a lesser extent, Leah Vincent. All three were/are members of the foosteps board and two of them were writing their own memoir which means they had means and motive to discredit Feldman.

Being "familiar with Satmar" and knowing the people in the book, plus the author in her younger years, are not the same thing. I am one of the many people in the latter group, and all of us - ALL OF US - can point out the lies and exaggerations. We are not people with agendas as most of us are former Satmars, and Satmar haters ourselves, and most of us are not writing memoirs.

Think conspiracy theories all you want.
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ValleyMom









  


Post  Sun, May 25 2014, 9:04 pm
Clearly I am not understanding and I am hoping you can clarify.

It is my naive understanding that when people LEAVE they do not look back.
They move forward creating a new and improved life for themselves.

People left behind move on as well.

Yes, they feel a sense of loss for those that left but they continue to move forward and live the best life they can

That is my understanding.

Is there something I'm missing?!
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amother






Post  Sun, May 25 2014, 9:25 pm
ValleyMom wrote:
Clearly I am not understanding and I am hoping you can clarify.

It is my naive understanding that when people LEAVE they do not look back.
They move forward creating a new and improved life for themselves.

People left behind move on as well.

Yes, they feel a sense of loss for those that left but they continue to move forward and live the best life they can

That is my understanding.

Is there something I'm missing?!
I think for a lot of people who leave the community, they can never truly leave. Their background is always a huge part of them.

To a certain degree they are just as involved in the frum community happenings as the rest of us, except they are not practicing and for the most part have highly negative feelings.
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PinkFridge









  


Post  Sun, May 25 2014, 9:26 pm
Frumdoc wrote:
Maybe I don't have your experience, but I have never seen anyone try to convince an "otd" or struggling teen to do anything other than stay exactly where they are or threaten to destroy them. I have met lots who were told and believed that they might as well do drugs and become prostitutes because they were evil and not worthy of even discussing issues with as they were tainted by the soton and filled with secularism. That they and their families would be better off if they were dead. All the time while blowing cigarette smoke in these girls faces and watching them cough and wheeze while they choked back their tears.

And these weren't major chassidish or chareidi families, just misguided and bigoted teachers and supposed rebbeim in a school in which the majority of students came from MO or traditional families, and some from more frum/ yeshivish backgrounds.

A whole generation of girls told they were worthless pieces of s**t because they had the temerity to ask how we reconcile dinosaur bones with bereishit. Or to struggle with feminism within orthodoxy.

Maybe things are better now, maybe there are people trying to help others reconcile their legitimate issues with orthodox Judaism, but not everywhere. And if Leah or anyone else wishes to make it their mission to stop others being psychologically abused in this way, I will cheer them on.

I have done what I can to stop it happening again where I live. I would give much to stop this kind of abuse in other places. Until you have been on the receiving end of it, you have no idea how an honest, intelligent child can be driven away from religion by those purporting to be its defenders.


I respect your broader personal experience. And having read a first person account of a kid who was on the edge and came back, and how atrociously his family handled things, I have to say I believe it.
All I'm saying is babies and bathwater. Yes, the personal and communal experience can be enough to drive someone to the brink. And that's why I say that the Footsteps people may well be saving lives.

OTOH, wouldn't it have been interesting had Deborah Feldman had the chance to say, go to Bruriah? Or maybe even Leah Vincent. (I say maybe even because her book is even more problematic to me than Feldman's as I know her milieu better and again, let this not devolve into her story/her family's story, etc.) Sure, I understand that there are some people who can't intellectually reconcile things and go OTD absent disillusionment, abuse, etc. But there are those whose path to OTD is heavily informed by the disillusionment, abuse, etc. and who might have found their place within the tent, given the chance.
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amother






Post  Sun, May 25 2014, 9:29 pm
That is preposterous.
They LEFT and they continue to harbor negativity.
Then they need to seek professional help AKA a psychiatrist that dispenses medication is an excellent place to start and not air their ill will in a public forum.

I grew up in Crown Heights and spent 13 of my formative years in the Beth Rivkah school system and have chosen to live my life in a different direction. I would NEVER EVER dream of bad mouthing Lubavitch.

I simply chose a different derech--no animosity on my part nor theirs.
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amother






Post  Sun, May 25 2014, 10:03 pm
Maya wrote:
Quote:
I read Feldman's book and failed to understand what she was lying about, she told her story from her perspective so I am not sure why people were against this book (and I am very familiar with satmar.) So I thought about it and realized that the OTD campaign against Feldman was spearheaded by three main people: Hella Winston, Shulem Deen and to a lesser extent, Leah Vincent. All three were/are members of the foosteps board and two of them were writing their own memoir which means they had means and motive to discredit Feldman.

Being "familiar with Satmar" and knowing the people in the book, plus the author in her younger years, are not the same thing. I am one of the many people in the latter group, and all of us - ALL OF US - can point out the lies and exaggerations. We are not people with agendas as most of us are former Satmars, and Satmar haters ourselves, and most of us are not writing memoirs.

Think conspiracy theories all you want.


When Weberman was on trial, people defended him saying that he is a good man, a Rabbi, with a nice family so its impossible for him to have abused someone.

There are people that are really nice to outsiders but then abuse their wife and/or children. We are usually shocked to hear such stories but lets face it, it happens. Read through imamother or visit a shelter and you'll understand what I am talking about.

Which brings me to my point. You claim you know the people in Feldman's story really well.
1-Did you read the actual book?
2-Did you live in Feldman's house? (which is the only way you would actually know what went on behind those closed doors)
3-Did you live through the divorce of Feldman's parents and the ultimate abandonment by her mother? And how the community treats children of divorcees?
4-Did you also go live with Feldman's grandparents?
5-Did the principal of your school also play a dual role in your life like Feldman's aunt did?
6-Did you marry the same guy Feldman married? How do you know that he didnt take advantage of Feldman's situation and actually abused her knowing that she doesnt have a real functional family? Why would he marry someone like Feldman (whose parents were divorced/mentally ill/missing etc. if he didnt have some sort of problem to begin with?

I can go on and on but I think you get the drift. Unless you truly lived Feldman's life, all of it, then you have no business saying that she is lying. Unless you have concrete proof of course, that's a different story. But that would entail you actually having lived her life which we know that is impossible. (and the infamous story of someone killing someone else doesnt count since she never claimed it happened, she merely repeats a story that someone shared with her and we are all guilty of repeating stories we've heard.)
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BlueRose52









  


Post  Sun, May 25 2014, 10:16 pm
ValleyMom wrote:
Clearly I am not understanding and I am hoping you can clarify.

It is my naive understanding that when people LEAVE they do not look back.
They move forward creating a new and improved life for themselves.

People left behind move on as well.

Yes, they feel a sense of loss for those that left but they continue to move forward and live the best life they can

That is my understanding.

Is there something I'm missing?!

Yes, that is a somewhat naive understanding of the situation. It's not that simple and straightforward at all.

Some people leave and don't look back. Some people leave and maintain a decent relationship with their family. Some people leave and still retain some connection to the community of their origin. Some people want to leave, but can't due to familial and professional ties that force them to still stay connected. Some people want none of those connections, while others do, but aren't allowed them. Some people leave, don't look back and then some time later are able to reconnect to some extent with the family/community/life they left behind.

There are many variations, it isn't so cookie-cutter.

And what does "moving on" even mean? For everyone, it's something different. You can't just close the door on 20 years of your life and forget it ever happened.
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BlueRose52









  


Post  Sun, May 25 2014, 10:22 pm
amother wrote:
Unless you truly lived Feldman's life, all of it, then you have no business saying that she is lying. Unless you have concrete proof of course, that's a different story. But that would entail you actually having lived her life which we know that is impossible.

Sorry, but this is absurd. Of course you can know someone is lying without having lived their life. While I agree that we usually can't know the veracity of someone's own personal experiences, what we can often verify is when they say something about other people. For instance, if she says her ex-husband is a horrible father who never spends time with his son and you know the man and see what a loving and caring father he is and how much time he spends with his son, then you know she is lying.


Last edited by BlueRose52 on Mon, May 26 2014, 9:25 am; edited 1 time in total
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BlueRose52









  


Post  Sun, May 25 2014, 10:33 pm
amother wrote:
...and the infamous story of someone killing someone else doesnt count since she never claimed it happened, she merely repeats a story that someone shared with her...

Sorry, but this is not at all accurate. She does indeed claim it happened, and even said in interviews that she felt obligated to put it in the book because she hoped it would spur someone to seek justice for the victim.

From The Jewish Week:
Quote:
“That was not the main story of the book. I didn’t need that story to sell the book. I put it in because I felt obligated.... I hope someone would read that, know what I’m talking about and bring justice — and if not justice, treatment for the father,” who is known to be mentally ill, she says. “I worry about his other children, and I worry about people thinking if he could get away with that, then they can get away with anything.”
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BlueRose52









  


Post  Sun, May 25 2014, 11:04 pm
ValleyMom wrote:
It is my naive understanding that when people LEAVE they do not look back.
They move forward creating a new and improved life for themselves.

Ideally, this would be true. Ideally. I would imagine that all of them would like to do that, but unfortunately, in far too many cases, it isn't true, and often that is because of the very problems that Leah Vincent and her associates are trying to address.

It's because too many people think it's right to take a child away from an OTD parent that many can't simply move forward with their life.

It's because many people who leave have barely any secular education, barely speak English, and possess no professional skills, so they can't easily get a job, an education, or integrate into society. (And often, if they had a a job in the community, they lose it when word gets out that they're not frum.)

It's because many of them have no experience interacting with the opposite gender that they find it difficult to form a normal romantic relationship (or even a non-romantic one, with someone of the opposite gender).

It's because many of them suffered abuse (of all sorts) which is why they find it difficult to maintain healthy relationships.

It's because many of them are so terribly heartbroken after being rejected by the families and communities they love, that they can't simply move on with their lives.

It's because many of them are haunted by the prophecies of their teachers who told them that anyone who leaves frumkeit will be a failure, a druggie, a whore, and a miserable, unhappy loser that they are hampered from making a better life for themselves.

Yes, many do overcome these obstacles (and I think more these days than in prior years, thanks to Footsteps and the encouraging, growing OTD community), but many continue to be held back in life by them, and it's these issues that many in the OTD community are trying to address.
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sequoia









  


Post  Sun, May 25 2014, 11:09 pm
As an "OTD xtian" (yes, my mother STILL asks me why I abandoned Haysus), I am amazed at the similarities in thought control in extreme religious groups. The principal of the fundamentalist xtian school I attended informed me I would get raped, get AIDS, and die if I ever left the school/church.
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