Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Explosive: Court Documents Undercut Core of New Best Selling Book

Explosive: Court Documents Undercut Core of New Best Selling Book

By: Yossi Gestetner

Court documents dated late 2003 which followed a custody request, challenge the authenticity of the recently best-selling memoir, “Unorthodox,” which was authored by Ms. Deborah Feldman.

In the book, the author fails to mention that her mother, who according to the book left the Hasidic Community latest 1990, actually gave birth to another girl in November 1994. When challenged as to why she omitted the existence of a younger sister that was born to the same set of parents five years after the mother ‘abandoned’ the family, the author responded (in a March 2nd blog post) that her sister is still a minor and therefore she did not mention her.

This feeble answer left many people wondering why the author didn’t allude to this fact by simply stating in the book, “I have a younger sister that (until several months ago) lived with my mother.”

Well, the reasons for this omission are surprising:

1)    The author notes (pg. 4) that before writing the book, she asked her mother why she did not take her to live with her after she left. The author laments that the mother said “she had no money [to fight] and my father’s family threatened to make her life miserable if she tried to take me away.” This is contrary to what happened with the author’s younger sister who did live with her mother until late 2011. Had readers been aware of this little fact, they would wonder how Deborah’s mother had money to fight for her younger sister and not for Deborah and why the father’s family “threatened to make her mother’s life miserable” only if she fights for Deborah and not her younger sibling. By avoiding to mention a sister, Deborah paved the way to create falsehoods as to why she did not leave to live with her mother and to paint her family as radically anti-women; who suppressed a lesbian-woman who chose to leave for freedom.

2)    By omitting the existence of a younger sister that was born in late 1994, Deborah can perpetuate the all important component of a drama story: The mother ‘abandoned’ the family when Deborah was a mere toddler, which is to say latest 1990. But of course, with a sister born when Deborah was seven-eight, the falsehood flies out the window. Besides, Deborah’s mother attests in an internet post in the summer of 2010 that she left the family “seven years ago,” which is to say in late 2003 when Deborah was sixteen. Finally, how did Deborah show up in this photo at age seven standing in front of smiling parents if her mother had “abandoned” her a few years earlier?

3)    Most explosive of all are court papers dating back to late 2003, signed by now-former Judge the Honorable Paul Grosvenor. It shows clearly that the mother who – according to Feldman ‘had no money to fight’ – actually dragged the father to court asking for custody of BOTH children! This means, she had money to fight; and to fight for both, and was not an ‘abandoning’ person to begin with. After back-and-forth proceedings, both sides came to a court-approved agreement which stipulates that the Zaidy and his son, the father of Feldman, got the two things they wanted: a) The younger sister, then only nine years old, should continue attending a Jewish school and b) that the father should have visiting rights. The mother as part of the willful deal agreed to both, but as for the latter, she wanted a third party to supervise the visitations. The third party was to be… The Zaidy! Apparently, the mother had no issue that the Zaidy, this supposed abuser who ‘threatened to make life miserable,’ should be the one overseeing the visits.

The likely reason why Deborah’s mother did not put up much of a fight for Deborah is she was sixteen-seventeen at time of the court proceeding with a mind of her own. But more importantly is an event which dates back to the second half of the 1990s when Deborah was 10 or 11: Her mother hit her so severely that she ran down the flight of stairs to Bubby and Zaidy’s who lived on flight below. Deborah resolutely stated that she does not want to go back to her mother. Her extended family, which was always there for her, took her in to live with them. From then on, Deborah did not have much to do with her mother except for when her mother came down from the above apartment to check on Deborah and to visit the husband’s extended family.

This undisclosed fact of Deborah life at age ten likely also explains why Feldman conspicuously starts detailing her memoir only from when she was age eleven: It a) permits her to omit the real reason why the family got involved in her life and how she landed up in the care of Bubby and Zaidy, and b) by omitting life before sixth grade the author can sell a narrative of being raised in an extreme Satmar family who wanted to control her and thus the aunt placed her into Satmar school to ‘keep tabs’ on her.

However, as class photos prove, the author actually attended two different schools before her aunt took her into Satmer. She attended Adas Yereim, the most liberal Hasidic school in Williamsburg, and then, until age ten, she attended Bais Yakov of Lower East side, a non-Hasidic Orthodox Jewish school outside of Williamsburg. No extreme Hasidic family sends their kids to either of these schools. Deborah landed up in there because her family is of the most liberal in Williamsburg, and the only reason she ended up in Satmar is because she was likely expelled from both schools. As a result, Satmar the school where her the ‘bad’ aunt was the long-time principal, was the only school willing to accept this troubled girl into their system under the wings of the aunt.

By omitting these important details, Deborah successfully distorted history to suit her needs. Indeed, no good deed goes unpunished.


  1. I skipped a day of Satmar bashing of this girl. She states in her book that she went down from the apartment she lived in, we presume with her parents or mother, to her grandparent's apartment. A girl of 16 who didn't get along with her mother perhaps so ran to her grandparents? Unheard of right? Wrong. Girls of that age are difficult and if they live in an unhappy household and a grandparent is nearby, the child will go there. Normal rebellious behavior.

    I found no bashing of her grandfather in the book. Yes, he was extremely religious, he checked the house apparently everywhere before Passover, and he was strict. He was also very bright, a Torah scholar according to the author. She stated she didn't believe anybody else in the community was a wise as he was. As to her grandmother she implies that she spent just about all of the time in her kitchen. Apparently she liked being there with her grandmother. What is she saying that is so bad about her grandparents?

    Jesse Kornbluth asks at the end of his article in The Huffington Post, on 3/6/2012

    "Why didn't the Satmars take me on about the blatant sexism that oppresses both women and men in their community?"

    Referring to other schools the author may have attended of which I've heard no disputes, you write above, "
    she was likely expelled from both schools". The word, "likely" is as vague as Deborah's book. But I do not doubt she was expelled. She may have been. She doesn't seem like an easy person and might have been a difficult student.

    Deborah may be a troubled girl....I do not know. If so, instead of bashing her, why do you not feel sorry for her? She did not say awful things about the Satmar community. She said what she saw and what she perceived and how she felt about living that type of ultra-Orthodox life. You treat it as if her opinions are a shame. If you all stop posting here against her this will go away. However, as long as you post, it shows up on a Google search so we are reminded that you still want to knock any credibility she may have while assuming no responsibility for blatant sexism, marriage to virtual strangers, head shaving, & everything being the fault of the woman in your eyes, etc.

    And you are attacking all authors who write about her book favorably. For what purpose? Is the secular view going to change? Are writers going to stop writing about her as long as you keep her in their minds? No to both.

    Why did the book begin when the author was 11 years old? Well, perhaps that is when a young girl begins to think, assess, and find fault with things due to reaching puberty. Did you think of that? Does anybody remember their lives before they were 11 enough to write about it? I doubt that.

    So the mother dragged the father into court asking for money for both children. You put an exclamation point after that sentence. Oh, is that unheard of in divorce cases? To the best of my knowledge, the father pays child support for children up till 18 or if they are attending college, age 21 in the state of NY. That is the law. It is what the mother's attorney would have asked for.

    You may not like America, gentiles, secular Jews or Zionist Israel, or speaking English, but you live here in this country, in the U.S.A. In this country the girl has a right to publish her views if a publisher will take her on. A woman has a right to divorce her husband. To whatever man or woman wrote on another Deborah bashing blog, the husband didn't go to a prostitute because it was the fault of his wife. I didn't answer him because what he said was disgusting. There is no excuse for a husband using the services of a prostitute unless he doesn't care what disease he gives his wife. It is nothing but the lowest of low things to do. Normal, decent, young American men do not do such things to their wives and if they do, the wife gets rid of the man promptly - in any religion, unless the woman is oppressed.

  2. "Why didn't the Satmars take me on about the blatant sexism that oppresses both women and men in their community?"

    I'm not Satmar, but after the Author proved to be fabricating events in this book, I'm more pro satmar then ever, what Sexism are you talking about?! because Deborah Feldman said so?! Deborah Feldman also hid and omitted the fact that she wrote beautiful English poetry as a child, writing to her Aunt a Hanukah Poem which you can see on Shmarya Rosenberg's Failed Messiah blog, she has the Audacity to lie and tell us the reader that she had a 4th grade education when proved otherwise.

    Yes anyone can write a book including James Frey, but this a free country where we are allowed to voice the truth without any censorship.

  3. Wow...I loved Deborahs book and I find your attempt to discredit her as futile. It really shows that she did the right thing in getting out of this community. You are very sad.

  4. It's called "artistic license." Books and movies are often edited and streamlined in order to hold the interest of the viewer or the reader, that doesn't make them untrue. The author said she had changed names in order to protect the people in her life. That may explain certain omissions, as well. A sister who wasn't around is not a glaring omission. Gay people and Jewish people are often targeted for hate crimes. Could it be the author was trying to protect those she cares about?

  5. You mention irrelevant quibbles when this entire website is a complete fraud,, redirecting from what should be a feminist site. Do you - the liars who created this deception believe you have ANY credibility after that? Now I am sure what she says is true. Thank you for the confirmation.

  6. I recently read this book and was shocked at how different the portrayal of the Satmar community was from reality. This woman obviously is troubled and wrote a book full of exaggeration and outright lies. Why? That is not my place to decide, but it is a tragedy that she did write such hurtful untruths. I do not need to conjecture, that would be unfair. What a shame that this woman didn't remember the lack of merit to Lashon Hara.

  7. I recently read this book. Those of you who are detractors are trying to make something of nothing, whatever your motivation. I learned something about this insular community. I am a staunch Zionist!!

    Deborah, your response to the lady who returned to the Lubavichers would have been much better if you omitted the profanity. After attending a good college, you should have a large enough vocabulary to express yourself well with currently acceptable words, not trash talk. a well expressed opinion has much more credibility and weight than one with the use of profanity.

  8. You're a very sick person Yossi. I hope Deborah gets a restraining order against you. You need psychological help