culture/multiculturalism · Jews/Jewish/Judaism/Orthodox Judaism · New York · news

Escape from the Holy Shtetel

The New York magazine feature, “Escape from the Holy Shtetel” chronicles the sad story of an American Jewish Family. The would-be heroine of the tale is Gitty. Gitty escaped from her Satmar town only to have her daughter kidnapped and taken back to the town by her ex-husband. The tale paints a picture of two extremes: a mother whose unfortunate repressive childhood has manifested itself in an adulthood of childish rebelliousness that includes recreational drug use and more comically “spike-heel boots” and a town whose extreme views paint an ugly picture of fundamentalist Judaism. It is truly a sad, sad story.
Update: Women from the “holy shtetel” respond to the New York magazine article’s negative tone towards the ultra-orthodox: Hasidic Women Address the Story

2 thoughts on “Escape from the Holy Shtetel

  1. I read this last week, and was, well, uncomfortable with the article. Both people — the rebellious “escapee” and the zealous ex-husband and the “escapee’s” mother’s family — are painted as not right. Everything seemed so very extreme, but maybe that’s the truth of it all … that there are these incredible people in these incredible lifestyles. Either way, fascinating, and unsettling. At the same time, one has to wonder, why does she assume that she should have custody? Just because she doesn’t agree with their lifestyle? Yes, they swept up her daughter off the street, but at the same time, it comes back to the whole should a woman always be granted custody no matter what kind of debate?


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