The Bad Apples

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chareidi-boys-bochurim By S. Friedman

Perhaps you’ve heard of Shauly Grossman, the wayward former chossid who curiously keeps his name. Or his partner and friend, embroiled in a custody battle for her children and slandering her faith in the process. Both of these people who come from Chassidic backgrounds have abandoned their religion and happily flaunt it in front of the nearest microphone or TV camera. Now, the media attention they have garnered has spawned a cottage industry of people who are drawn to either their rebellious actions, or to see a train wreck, depending on your perspective.

Their actions, though unfortunate, should not be shrugged off with a “nebach.” They are quintessential chotei umachti es horabbim – transgressing and leading others astray. Hopefully, their so-called ideological arguments are falling on deaf ears inasmuch as to downgrade Yiddishkeit, but hearing someone bragging about how they eat bacon (as does Luzer Twersky) or how liberating it is not to be “shackled” by the standards of tznius can have a negative effect on us all the same.

I don’t care for the emotional stories of being “misunderstood” as a child, or feeling abused and locked up from the outside world, etc., and now that they are “free,” they can finally be happy. Happiness is something that is in short order for people who try to fill an endless void that takes the place of religion. Our religion doesn’t require any endorsement, but a few contrasts are in order.

Firstly, since divorce is a common denominator for many of these people, let’s bring that up. What is the divorce rate among the ultra-Orthodox? Is it anything remotely close to society’s rate of marital breakdown? How about the phenomenon that people refer to as “kids at risk”?  Isn’t the considerable disparity between what an average frum teenager does and what the multitudes of the nations do speak volumes as to the eminence of the chareidi lifestyle? Are there homes filled to the brim with fatherless children? Does the average 17-year-old frum boy even know what drugs looks like? The answer, for the overwhelming majority of us, is a resounding no.

Waxing poetically about how we have to reform our chinuch system so that there aren’t more who fall through the cracks is not what I feel is an appropriate response to these people.  Revulsion would be my initial reaction. Thinking about it more thoroughly, I realized that these people, as harsh as it sounds, are abject failures.

Yiddishkeit threw some challenges at them, some nisyonos, and rather than conquer, they fled. To excuse themselves, they have disparaged the lifestyle as a whole. They allege that the proverbial “game” is fixed and that they had been cheated, rather than admitting defeat. They are sore losers at the game of life, and only emptiness waits down the self destructive path they have gone down.

Should we idly accept the defeat of our fellow Jews and “cut our losses”? Of course not, and we don’t. It’s common for a boy or girl to feel out of place in regards to their frumkeit, and we already have ways to assist them. Switching yeshivos, an encouraging summer program, or even inspirational weekends have all proved very successful at helping people feel more comfortable with themselves and how their Yiddishkeit pertains to them.

I have disdain for the aforementioned “former chassidim,” because rather than accept the chorus of outstretched hands that our community provides to those with in inner-conflict and turmoil, they threw us under the bus to the media, portraying us as callous and uncaring in the process. While the eitz chaim of Torah Judaism produces a bountiful crop of a generation of people who give Hashem nachas and glorify His name with their actions, unfortunately some left the “tree” and became bad apples. I hope they’re not rotten to the core.

{S. Newscenter}


  1. “Freedom” is a strange bird. I personally never felt as liberated as I did when I learned to CONTROL a teivah. That’s when I felt the geshmak of feeling that I was no longer being controlled. Ain lichah ben chorim ela mi she’osek baTorah is literal truth. I speak from personal experience.

  2. “” Does the average 17-year-old frum boy even know what drugs looks like? The answer, for the overwhelming majority of us, is a resounding no.””

    But, perhaps, the reason is, that, those things are not what the Yetzer is focusing on, relating to most Heimishe families.

    Today, the main objective of the Yetzer is, to put into us a sense of haughtiness and stuck-up, to the point, that we don’t have the propper and sincere feeling and caring, for Briot of HKB”H who are not Yidden.

  3. There are obviously two mesoros in Chinuch. 1) that of the author 2) Toras Moshe, which there are no bad apples all of Klal Yisroel is one unit & If some “got rotten” it’s because “Avonosenu d’rabim & the golus got to them. The author of this letter will be the first one to have his own kids drop.

  4. To #2, Anonymous
    Care to explain what you mean? To me artcile makes perfect sense.
    And to #1, excellent way to put it, thank you.

  5. You are right it shouldn’t be shrugged off. You see, we are living in a time when people don’t just fall through the cracks and disappear if you turn somone off or abuse your power these days it can explode in your face- that is what is happening here. The woman you reference was more or less “quietly off the derech” until she was threatened with being forced out of her children’s lives if she did not stay frum. That is were that case exploded into the problem the frum community has on its hands now. Tactics that used to work in a pre social media world are now very dangerous and if we do not realize that we are going to continue hurting ourselves r”l

  6. I am happy that this author had the courage to post this article. We are a nation of sympathetic people and will always try to find the weakness in our actions, rather than calling a spade a spade. Sometimes, you cannot risk the danger of the current national addiction to sensationalism, vis a vis the ridiculous reality shows of the day, and must publicly post the obvious rebuttal to this wide spread disinformation. Any idiot can post a you tube video today stating that we are losing thousands of kids, and thousands of women, etc etc etc. This unfortunately open up myriads of possiblities to people going through any kind of challenges, normal or not normal – makes alternative lifestyles look attractive and liberating, whereas we all know that our beautiful heritage and tradition bear wonderful fruit. I speak from experience, I too, tasted forbidden fruit, in my bouts with nisyonos, and now, years later, where i hopefully did teshuva with the help of our wonderful dedicated teachers and rabbonim, see the wonderful joys of true yiddishe nachas and the truth of Hashem’s ways and the Torah. I would give anything to be able to rewrite the past and regain the kedusha that i lost.

    So kudos to the author and this website for the publication of this article, and if anybody is wavering out there, get help, you need true and honest education not sensationlistic fingers pointed at rare stories.

  7. My response upon reading these unfortunate stories of wayward jews over the years is twofold. There must be a way to let these wayward jews know that they can be a cleanshaven upstanding shomer shabbos, torah umitzvos

    Secondly, the solution is re-education that there are many paths to yiddishkeit and if theirs doesn’t work for them rather be a shomer torah with yiras shomayim than a choosid without yiras shomayim.

  8. The above article is callous and vicious. The author condemns those who have fallen through the cracks. If it were up to him, he would not attempt to solve any societal problems. He satiates himself on condemning those who don’t “fit in”.

    You are a coward sir. You conveniently chose to ignore the pain and suffering some of these individuals have gone through –as if nothing had happened to them to cause them to leave observance. Not to mention the closed/stifling societies in which they live that offer no alternatives within a halachic framework for someone not suited to shtetl life – effectively forcing them out. Who in the world do you think you are to cast judgment??!!

    Yet you are outraged by their behavior and especially the one who (nebach) eats bacon and brags about it.

    The article above lacks any empathy and sweeps all the “bad” under the carpet. It is a sickening and disgusting write off of Jewish neshomos by an author who cares more about how things “look” than fixing problems.

  9. You can rewrite the past and the present and impugn other people’s motives to justify your cause and defend it at all costs, or you can face the hard questions and harsh realities of today’s world with emunah. Too bad this author chose the former.

  10. hope i never again have to hear of such a thing becuase frumie yidden going off the derech is a truly sad thing but i was very impressed by this article it is one with true meaning and you could feel the sorrow of the auther kol hakavod and i espesialy liked your arguments

  11. To #5, great comment!

    I’ve seen many divorces, and can safely say that it is the way the community deals with divorce that alienates so many people. There are many times that we are mechazik them, but all too often we help destroy the divorcees or their children, or both. We must learn that taking a side in a divorce is ultimately aiding a crime, while not taking a side is passively watching a Jew drown without trying to save him! If we would approach it with fear of being a partner to a crime and with bravery of a soldier, we would be more successful. If one side is wrong, let’s not destroy them, but love them more, and try to help them see their wrong. But, if we realize that we made a mistake, let’s admit it and ask for forgiveness. Dealing properly with the divorce issue will not only help prevent these issues, but make us better Jews. It is the many small things that make us great! If only I could take my own advice!

  12. I agree about 99.9% with the author of this article and they deserve a yasher koach. However, one small quibble. When he talks about the divorce rate in frumkit community, he mentions how much lower it is. Of course that is the case, but the process involving a get can be much more difficult to get to than the gashmeut’s world of divorce, which is done quite easily. Comparing the two is like comparing chametz & landmines.

  13. The media usually is not aware of our shortcomings. We keep things amongst ourselves.
    These idiotic men and women are flaunting themselves out there. It’s like the old saying – airing dirty laundry in public. These stories will
    get the goyim to talk about us disparagingly. Do we need them to hate us more? These bad apples
    are hurting all the Yidden. I believe that our activists – and we have quite of them – should do
    something immediately. These people need to be stopped NOW, before it gets worse.

  14. There’s a BIG difference betwenn when people go off the derech and these guys. Normally people will say about frum lifestyle, “it’s not for ME.”
    These evil people say, “it’s not for me or YOU”

  15. To Torahis1:
    Chazal tell us that when one shows compassion inappropriately, they’ll end up being cruel on those deserving compassion.
    Taken out of context, you’re right about those who don’t fit in need our understanding and assistance (which the author references, by the way). But these people are different. They are attacking us and by doing so jeopardizing other Yiddishe neshomos.
    If you want to call his words callous or cruel- so be it. But if we don’t take the hard line with them, then we’ll end up not knowing where our compassion deserves to go.

  16. “we already have ways to assist them. Switching yeshivos, an encouraging summer program, or even inspirational weekends have all proved very successful at helping people feel more comfortable with themselves and how their Yiddishkeit pertains to them.

    I have disdain for the aforementioned “former chassidim,” because rather than accept the chorus of outstretched hands that our community provides to those with in inner-conflict and turmoil, they threw us under the bus to the media, portraying us as callous and uncaring in the process.”

    I think the problem is not regarding what people are doing to help these kids, but rather what happened originally to make them go off the derech. If they associated such bad feelings with frumkeit before, what is being done that would automatically make it more appealing to them?

  17. It must be said over and over that this author has been completely DISHONEST in his judgment of these people.

    He claims
    “Yiddishkeit threw some challenges at them, some nisyonos, and rather than conquer, they fled.”

    not only is such a statement simple minded and insulting, but it is a complete lie.

    The author knows very well that it is much more complex than that and that each of these poor neshomos had specific issues and suffered greatly.

  18. #9,

    You write: “I would give anything to be able to rewrite the past and regain the kedusha that i lost.”

    You should not feel this way. You already have regained the kedushah via your teshuvah. This is the meaning of Chazal that when a person does teshuvah, his past deeds “naasin lo kemitzvos.”

    This is an incredible tovah that Hakadosh Baruch Hu, in His love for us, does for us.

    You should be incredibly proud of yourself. “Makom shebaalei teshuvah omdin sham, tzadikim einan omdin sham.”

  19. i could have written this article. i have been saying this for years. Let us stop reacting the way we do, nebaching every dope who goes off. It is time for some accountability. And those who throw us under the bus should be sent under the bus themselves. Don’t curse out our religious lifestyle because you were an abject failure.

  20. Given that Yiddin are characterized as Rachmanim bnei Rachmanim,” I was wondering whether the author of this article is Jewish.

  21. Somebody has finally said it. I hate to break it to all those bashing the author of this well thought out article, but yes, there is something called a yetzer harah and there are people that follow it. Sometimes to the extent that we must feel nothing but revulsion for them. Is there no line that can be crossed without us blaming ourselves and our institutions? I sometimes get the impression that if ???? ???? were to have lived in our generation, we would be told that we should understand where he came from and what caused him to fail. How he really is not the kind of person that Dovid Hamelech said ?????? ?? ????. Is there no such thing as a ??? that one is supposed to revile?

    I do not think that introspection is necessarily a bad thing nor am I denying the fact that there are those that have “fallen through the cracks” and could have and should have been helped, but there are no excuses or justifications for certain things. The aforementioned ???? ???? also came from a broken home and worse, he was not always treated so nicely, yet do we justify all that he was and what he caused because of that? Did not Chazal refer to him by an acronym of ??? ??? ??????

  22. Its funny to see all the people sticking up for the “ones who suffered so much”, making it as if it’s not their fault. Although when relating to them you must try to help them, from a standoff perspective, you must despise what they do. Its always an interesting phenomenon that those who are not so in-tune to “stringencies” are the ones whos Middos are perfectly worked out. Really, reminds me of the Gemarah in Berachos 7-2, that one who says “al tischar bamirayim…” you shal tell him “mi shelibo nokfo omer cain”!!! ONE MUST SEE IF HIS EMPATHY IS REAL OR IS A FORM OF SELF PROTECTION. A GOOD WAY TO JUDGE WOULD BE TO SEE IF YOUR USUALLY EMPATHETIC TO ONE SIDE, YET TO THE MORE “STRINGENT” SIDE YOU USUALLY HAVE IMPATIENCE”!!! THE POINT REMAINS THAT AT THE END OF THE DAY, IT’S ALWAYS YOUR FAULT, (SOMETHING I LEARNED THE HARD WAY), YOU ARN’T GIVEN NISYONOS THAT YOU CANT DEFEAT. THAT IS WHY I AGREE WITH THE AUTHOR. “A LOSER WITH A GOOD REASON REMAINS JUST THAT, BUT ONE WHO OVERCOMES THAT REASON, BECOMES A HERO”!

  23. I am also deeply disturbed by the way these two have behaved basing disparaging the whole of Williamsburg, Satmar , Chasidim and frumer yidden bichlal. But just two points I also think the article lacks empathy and also the author writes about feeling abused. As far as i am aware the subject WAS abused not just a matter of feeling abused and even though her behaviour now is inappropriate she is suffering badly we shouldnt know. Please also rememeber the vort of Beruriah Eshes R Meir ztl who said peshat in yitamu chatoim the sins should be finished off not the sinner!!

  24. The writer is %100 right! Samething with the troubled youth. There comes a time when you have to call it like it is & stop with this Liberalism! It’s time to stand up for Kvod Shomayim!

  25. great piece
    right on the money
    a must read
    we cannot let people go around bashmutzing Yiddishkeit wityhout reponse

    Not only that, but there is no issur lashon hara on such people. It is 100% mutar to be mefarseim the terrible deeds of an apikores who is trying to bring others down.

  26. 100 percent true. Well said we are all reviled outraged and feel the pain of the shechina!
    These are people who have a mixture of failures, Taavos that are uncontrolled, mental illness, and self centered egoist personas. All have troubled backgrounds mixed with a huge need for attention. Ohavei HaShem Sinu Rah! However we must react and address this! Lest others think that there is refuge or any area for such behavior we live in a free country and we must use our freedom to completely disssosiate ourselves from these evil dregs of society!

  27. We need to make sure that the singers our children are listening to are not using hos lyrics anymore. This is very hard considering that many of the singers really sympathize with him but it needs to be done. There is nothing wrong with grass roots pressure on these chevra.
    S.G.`s were a dime a dozen in the roaring twenties. The only way that we were able to recoup the vacuum that was left by that generation was to follow the leaders that came during the 30`s & 40`s for some it was Rav Aharon Kotler for others it was the Satmar Rav the Lubavitcher Rebbe & for others it was Reb Yoshe Ber. In a certain way we need to do the same education education & education. I saw the Dr. & SG is not an idealist that has to be dealt with on a confrontational level. He is about as articulate as a toll booth collector he selling only one thing-hefkerus. The likes of his gang cannot be drawn in through the reading of the Nineteen Letters. We need to circle our wagons as Rav Hirsch did

  28. these people and their ilk defend their tumah by trying to machete yiddishkeit. Let’s stop beating ourselves up and start standing against people who are out there luring our fragile teens to further disconent.

  29. BS”D

    I don’t know who you are but you’re comments reflect an understanding that
    Is unfortunately rare indeed and is indicative of a noble heart and spirit.

    Sometimes when one is suffering in life – it can be due to bad choices. Other times it can be a reflection of bad handling by others and shallow ideology…

    Thank You for your gorgeous Kiddush Hashem. B”H for people like you!!

    With deep respect and admiration, a fellow Jew.

  30. Many of these former frum folks do not present a particularly compelling bunch and what value is there in pointing to those who came before and calling them ignorant morons. What does that say about one’s own DNA?I do not mean to insult but merely pose the question.
    Further many of these Xers have a deep anger relating to their upbringing that has more to od with family dysfunction than faith. Why do these folks extol the virtues of leaving Torah behind and yet where is the outrage over abandoning or confusing one’s children etc… Maybe there has to be more effort to hekp people realize G0D does not grant one life as a creul joke but whatever suffering one endure is for one’s ultimate benefit HOW much more emunah would there be with thaT ONE LITTLE NOTION

  31. good points in the article but let’s all forget about the this or the that and the gratchke kishke chulent and just daven daven daven

  32. Instead of cursing out the author sit down and say a kaputel tehilim that they should do teshuva and stop being mashchis the briya

  33. There are two or three different stories here. There are people (not just teens) at risk of bodily harm (such as heavy drugs), there are people at risk of spiritual harm (disaffiliation with torah) and there are people who reject their communities (which may have little to do with real torah values).

    I actively rejected some of the mainstream elements of the community I was raised in, but I wasn’t “at risk”.

    I have a good friend who died from the disease of addiction. Yes, this started as a spiritual and communal rejection, but in the end he was largely observant and wanted to be physically cured as well.

    There are three trends being combined here, and by separating them we can better understand and address them.

  34. There is a Masechta called Avodah Zarah: Where the chinuch system falls short is that it does not show the contrast of beauty in Yiddishkeit and, simaltaneously, an understanding of the outside world. As long as people feel boxed into their lives, they will react negativley to what they feel is oppresive. However, by introducing the mesechta of Avodah Zara, studying the outside world and how to successfully live as a Yid, one broadens the scope of understanding and love for Yiddishkeit. If we take a catholic, Lehavdil, approach to chinuch, then Yiddisher children will rebel. Our children should be given the opportunity to ask questions about Yiddishkeit versus modern day living and not feel ashamed. We pride our selves as being a religion with more questions than answers. Our fear of outside influences has to be rationalized with concrete proof of their inherent danger. Instead of creating a factory that produces frum Yidden, we need to accentuate the individual. Many of the individuals whose venom is targeted at Yiddishkeit grew up without an identity. They felt negated as human beings. That is extremely sad! Parents with multiple children, Kain Yirbu, have to see the individual with in each one build on their potential. Simply negating this problem is dangerous.

  35. Pwesonally, ot is refreshing to read all these comments on both sides and see how many thinkers we have and how many compassionate souls we have.. Klal Yisroel is lucky to have you both..

  36. No one has the right to judge another until he walked a mile in their shoes! Have you ever heard that expression? I was raised on that motto by Holocaust survivors who told me stories of Tzadikim who went into the camps and came out totally frei and non-believers and of frei people who went into the camps and came out frum full of bitachon and emunah in Hashem.

    Hashem is the ONLY judge. If you have no experience with anyone in the “at risk” arena, or who has struggled and gone OTD, or has gone through a divorce or is struggling for a “get” or who has had her children taken away from her because of tactics that are cruel, viscous and totally what no one in the frum world would believe frum people and Rabbonim would allow to happen, then you haven’t a clue what these people are referring to. So DON’T YOU DARE JUDGE THEM.

    Furthermore, “Yiddishkeit threw some challenges at them, some nisyonos, and rather than conquer, they fled.” Yiddishkeit DID NOT throw some challenges at them, FRUM PEOPLE did.

    “I don’t care for the emotional stories of being “misunderstood” as a child, or feeling abused”

    Where is YOUR YIDDISHE compassion? Why don’t you care? Everyone should care. If more people would care there would be less people going off the derech. That in itself is the problem, cause and effect. Abuse is a very real and prominent problem in OUR society and has been for decades. It is destructive and deadly and it is high time it was properly identified, vilified and banished.

    “What is the divorce rate among the ultra-Orthodox? Is it anything remotely close to society’s rate of marital breakdown?”

    We can’t compare, we are just a small percentage of the society but the numbers of divorce are growing in rates and speed that we have never before seen in our society and the number of women left to fend fro themselves are unheard of, yes unheard of both in terms of disgusting numbers and that no one knows about them because no one cares.

    “Switching yeshivos, an encouraging summer program, or even inspirational weekends have all proved very successful at helping people feel more comfortable with themselves and how their Yiddishkeit pertains to them.”

    Seriously? You think this is a cure? The answer is to address the issues as they arise. Take note of problems as they occur and treat them with honesty, humility and concern. Teach your children about personal safety. Watch out for signs of Abuse in kids, watch out for signs of depression, watch out for signs of a child being bullied in school, make the time for each of your children. Get marital counseling as soon as it is needed from the appropriate, trained and knowledgeable professionals. If you choose to go to a Rav make sure that Rav is a specialist in sholom bayis issues

    And most importantly, be the best Jew you can be. Be the best role model you can be for your children, students, neighbors etc. Don’t be a hypocrite. Kids can spot a hypocrite a mile away and that is what turns them off to yiddishkite. Practice what you preach. Remember that you stand before the King of Kings 24/7. If you remember it and practice it, your kids will believe it too. Cheating is cheating whether you are an adult or a kid. Kids hear and see everything, even what they shouldn’t. They will spot you on everything, you and their mechanchim.

    A yid darf zan b’simcha. Yiddishkeit is supposed to be taught with love, so remember that your home is supposed to be a home filled with love and simcha. A child should always feel that. A child should always feel the happiness and joy of being a Jew and fulfilling mitzvos. It should never feel like a burden or that it is a burden to be a Jew. Keep your home void of Loshon Hora and judgement. And c”v, if Hashem chooses you for a nisayon like this one, you will be more prepared to handle it.

    Just one more thing. These people who go to the media do so for the recognition they never felt they had before. They are hurt and they are angry. One day, they will realize they were wrong and they made a big mistake. One day they will be interviewed and they will be saying they should not have said what they did, that it was their experience and they were in tremendous pain when they lashed out. One day they will realize that it was a group of individuals that hurt them and that they were angry at and not an entire society and community of Religious Jewish People. They did what they did in order to heal themselves and it had nothing to do with everyone else.

  37. To Sherree: At the end of it all….everything is meant to be….and having said that…the facts bear out that we have “bechira” when reacting to anything. There are many people who are, as you say, abused or have suffered under circumstances beyond their control…and regardless of who or what it was that did it to them, the choice one makes as how to react is an individual one. That is not to undermine c’v anyone’s pain…I have had my fair share..I have had unbearable moments, days, months and years of confusion…have been at the bottomless pit…sinking deeper and deeper; however it never dawned on me to forfeit my stop believing. I knew all along that HaSHEM WAS DEFINITELY TESTING ME, PUTTING ME IN A UNBEARABLE SPOT!!!And so, I davened to him to help me heal..told him I cannot think anymore for myself, my mind was not working anymore. Told him to put the right thoughts into my mind so I can choose to go in the right derech as he would want me to!
    So, in essence…we have nisyones. Hashem chooses them for us, he wants things from us. Everyone differently…it’s all part of our tafkid..So for you to say that people are pained and lash out is one thing..and yes..they do. You have to put your pain somewhere. Either you take it on the road or you die inside, either way-you are dead. However, and the big however is: There is a pivitol moment in time when we decide what we want to do – and to me that is the defining moment..we either loose faith or beg Hashem to help us…that moment identifies us to an extent… Are we believers, or do we give up??I have seen people go through the most painful dark experiences..that I cannot even share with you, and have remained strong in their yiddishkeit…so there is a point where a person has to take responsibility for their actions.
    Having said all that:Yes, we definitely need to be compassionate and start taking notice. Sometimes people suffer and nobody out there knows.That makes it difficult. On the outside it appears that all is well but inside the person is dying for whatever reason.What I can say to people is- find a friend, a mentor, someone you trust and share your pain…There is always someone out there to listen with an open heart and help guide you. Hashem does not want us to fail. He wants to test us. And so, he delivers the yeshua, but you have to ask for it…you got to go crawling to him, begging, pleading for HIS HELP. THAT’S WHAT HE WANTS….HE WANTS YOU TO COME CLOSE TO HIM, MAKE HIM YOUR BEST FRIEND….AND HE WILL DELIVER….TRUST ME, HE WILL DELIVER.
    P.S. I can well understand the “acting out” part, but I am still struggling with this “going to the media”, sensationalizing the whole experience…besmirching your family,community, friends, people you shared your life with…there got to be a lot of, not only anger, which of course there is, but HATE..AND TO ME, MY DEAR FRIEND..THOSE ARE MIDDOS NO ONE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR BUT YOURSELF.Look deep deep inside your heart…that is where you will find yourself…who you REALLY ARE!!!What is it that you are capable of doing in times of pain…that is who you are …that defines judging…but judge yourself…know yourself and what you are capable of.We are not judged in moments of joy…and clarity..the nisoyan is when it’s unclear, painful, confusing!!!!! We all have them to some extent, some more than others, but HASHEM DOES CHOOSE THEM FOR US….DON’T EVER FORGET THAT…and so…go back to him for help. HE WILL NEVER LET YOU DOWN IF YOU HONESTLY SEEK HIM..
    Love to you all…to Deborah, to Peri, to all my broken hearted brothers and sisters in Klal Yisroel. I so wish you would know you are running towards the forest instead of the meadow….tranquility lies in the quiet comfort of knowing Hashem runs the show and accepting life and making lemon out of lemonaide…..
    Can go on and on…
    Find your way….find your peace.

  38. I know Deborah’s (whatever her name is) family,I have written the long piece above.I just wanted to add that I have written her with no response. You can tell by her twitter page that she only posts negative things and is so eager to share what she perceives as “ugly and bad” about our community. If that does not tell you something about her, tell me what does. This has nothing to do with her pain. She left, she is mechalel shabbos, she says she is “so happy” so why this? Why don’t you just get on with your life. Revenge is an ugly midda…don’t blame your past on it. I will also tell you that I know people who have been through much worse than she has…and remained faithful to Hakodosh Boruch Hu. There are many paths to Hashem…choices…Her choice was not to make her life better through him and seek an avenue that works for her..her choice was to “deny HIM”….and so…that takes us to a whole other area…
    There is so much to be said about this.I’m hoping that an articulate scholar could openly debate her and Shauly G…and all those with questions in emunah(of course, most of them would be cowards and resist it, as I have already heard an appeal was made to Shauly and he declined to be interviewed publicly.)
    We takeh don’t live for the secular world and we will always be isolated from the Nations, with or without the Shauly’s and Deborah’s of the world…however with everything going on around us….I’m not sure, I’m not a scholar, maybe we ought to set the record straight once and for all about who we are and be the LIGHT ONTO THE NATIONS IN A WAY THAT ILLUMINATES THE WORLD INSTEAD OF BRINGING CONSTANT CONTRAVERSY!

  39. no one is G-d forbid saying a Jew does not care about those going off the derech. We do. What we don’t need is the publicity by the bad apples.

  40. For all those asking where the YIDDISHE COMPASSION is and demanding that we not judge:

    I am assuming you do agree that there is a mitzvah to hate a a ???. I do not claim to know exactly where the line is crossed but at some point it is. If you look in the ????? ???? in the first siman of Shulchan Aruch he differentiates between one who does ?????? in private and one who proudly flaunts them in public and causes others to sin. Regarding the last he writes “????? ??????? ???????? ???? ????? ???? ??? ?? ????? ???? ???? ??? ??? ??? ?????? ?? ???? ?????????? ?????? ????? ???? ?????? ????. Please bear in mind that this the written by the same ??? ???? that wrote the seforim ???? ??? and ????? ?????. I think we all agree that his ???? ????? was unimpeachable. It is also important to note that in his generation the ??????? were overwhelming and the youth was abandoning our faith in droves.

    Again, people that could be helped should be helped but it is equally true that people have the free will to choose between life and death and can be condemned for choosing the latter. Any comparison to a holocaust who lost his faith in those horrible years is not a true one. On a personal level we have no right to judge but that ends when one enters the public the public arena and disgraces the name of Hashem to the eyes of the world. Especially so when it has the ability to influence multitudes of in a negative way.

  41. A correction to my comment above:

    The ????? ???? is not referring to those who do ?????? in public or private but rather to people who show disdain for one doing a ???? publicly.

  42. Before we even begin to even begin to think about evaluating ANY incident, we need to know what the case is! So, B’Ezras HaShem, let us try to find out what this case is!

    About a month ago, I saw a TV show that showed a very tragic story; the web page for it is at (Please read the details there; however, DO NOT watch the main lead video, as it shows the woman dressed not appropriately). As it seems to have all of the characteristics of what is discussed here and the same names, I am pretty sure that it is the one that this article and some of the comments here are referring to. So, B’Ezras HaShem, I will relate it.

    The show presented a woman who related that she was born into a family that lives in a totally closed up Chassidic community. The community is located somewhere in New Jersey; I did not though, recognize the name of the particular Chassidic group. When she was 19 years old, her family arranged a Shidduch for her. When she met the boy, she saw right away that he and she were “totally incompatable.” (I do not know exactly what she meant by “ïncompatable,” but from the context, it seems that it was in the realm of social/friendship relating to each other that no relationship could form.) Her father though, strongly told her that this being incompatable was not important at all, and instead stressed to her that her marrying this boy would be her pathway to Heaven!

    So she married the boy and had four children from him. After this short time though, the problem of what had turned out to be an abusive relationship with her husband got to her, and she could not take it any longer. She thus wanted to get out. At that point though, the community’s Beis Din heavily forced her to sign an agreement that stated that she completely relinquished all of her claims to a panel for their arbitration. Now that she wants to get divorced, the community (in effect) says to her:


    She further stated that, right in that community, there were a number of Rabbonim who, yes, DO support her and told her that her claims are correct! However, they also told her that there was no way for them to actually help her. For if they were to even attempt to even say anything in her defense, they would be laughed down with slurs like:

    “SO YOU ‘LIKE’ HER???”
    “OOOO! OOOO! OOOO!!!”
    “OOOO! OOOO! OOOO!!!”
    She clearly states that she HAS NOT, Chas V’Shalom, completely thrown away all Torah observance (and she certainly DOES NOT, Chas V’Shalom, bragg about eating any bacon!)

    At the same time though, she admits that she does wear pants (and, as I noted above, one of the videos shows her dressed not appropriately). She also states that she very much wants to have a professional career in being a model and an actress.

  43. (continuation of my previous narrative)

    With her on the show was a man friend who is from the same community who had a similar type of experience as her’s. When he was pretty young, a Shidduch was arranged for him. Before the Chasuna took place, he was allowed to meet with the girl FOR A GRAND TOTAL OF TWO TIMES! At those two meetings: “We talked about everything, EXCEPT for what was important!!” (His tone of voice implied that the set up of these two meetings was done in such a way that he felt that what was appropriate for the occasion was — and it could have even been that PEOPLE ACTUALLY INSTRUCTED HIM that what was appropriate for the occasion was — that he and the girl should ONLY chit chat about insignificant things, but should NOT “dare” discuss any serious life issues!)

    Then, a while latter after the wedding, he fully realized that he and his wife had no real relationship with each other a thus got divorced.
    With them on the show was a well known Orthodox Rav “Shmuel Botech.” In the presentation, Rav Botech did an extremely excellent superb job of trying to TOTALLY NEGATE all of the Chillul HaShem’s that came from the woman’s narrative.

    Countless times, he empathetically exclaimed to the woman that in Torah, there is no such thing at all of “arrainged marriages” and to do such a thing is totally Assur (forbidden) in Halacha!

    He further empathetically exclaimed to the woman that in Torah, women must be given the greatest respect and dignity and consideration of their sensitive feelings, and especially a husband is even more strictly obligated to give his wife the utmost respect and honor and dignity and consideration of her needs and sensitive feelings.

    He further empathetically exclaimed that, of course, to employ any kind of coercion or deception with people is extremely terrible.

    And, he further empathetically exclaimed that to tear children away from their mother is extremely terrible.

    He thus empathetically told the woman that what has happened to her was outright wrong, he is greatly abhorred by it, and he fully feels the pain of the suffering that she has went through.
    As an equal part of all of this though, Rav Botech also empathetically told the woman that just because these particular people treated her badly, SHE MUST CERTAINLY NOT, Chas V’Shalom, make the terrible mistake of blaming ALL religious Jews or even the Torah itself.

    The host of the show, “Dr. Phil,” also echoed this advice to her. For example, he remarked that in his (Christian) religion, they too have similar types of situations where people state that they have nothing against the church itself, they just do not like the people in it!

    Boruch HaShem, it looks like, to some extent, the woman understood and accepted this.

  44. #50…everyone knows about her..however, if you only tuned in to her interview with Dr.Phil and know nothing about her life and relationship and what transpired,maybe you ought to hear both sides of the story and find out exactly what is going on with her.
    As it is well known, and she openly admits it
    It is a sad day that we have to discuss these issues on a website such as this.
    In any case, what exactly was the point you wanted to bring out regarding her???

  45. To #44-46, as you say you know “the Family” that does NOT give you an insight to what the woman went through or felt like as a child, adolescent, young adult or married woman. Knowing the family from the outside has nothing to do with anything. No one knows what goes on behind closed doors, and no one knows what goes on in the heart of a child.

    We don’t live in a bubble and it is NOT just the one person that goes through the nisayon, it is everyone around them as well. Their parents, their mechanchim, their spouse, their Rabbonim, etc. Hashem challenges everyone, the “chosen” one and the ones that surround him on how they will deal with him and help him through it.

    As far as you are concerned and your nisyonos, I am happy for you. WE all have nisyonos and challenges and we all need a support system to get us through them. What was your support system like? Who did you turn to? What was her support system like? Did you ask her? From the story she told, she didn’t have one or at least felt like she didn’t have one. Young children don’t have the ability to determine that they have a “hero” out there that they can turn to and trust.

    How many questions did she have to answer all her life? YOU DON’T KNOW anything about her nisayon and you can’t compare yours to hers. Her nisyonos started with her parents and compounded from there and if your are NOT the same as her don’t bother going there because there is no comparison. You are not her and she is not you and your challenges are completely different. EVERYONE’s challenges and nisyonos are completely different and everyone’s variables are completely different. Everyone has different parents, different siblings, different relatives, friends, neighbors, mechanchim, etc. Everyone has a different support system or none at all.

    You just can’t compare apples to apples and therefore you can’t compare your nisayon to someone else’s even if it seems the same on the surface, because below the surface you are NOT the same person and you have NOT walked the same path in the same shoes. NO two people are exactly alike and no two situations or challenges are exactly alike. That is why we ALL need to stop being judgmental of others and just accept that people make mistakes. All kinds of mistakes big and small. We all pay for our mistakes. We may not realize how big our mistakes are at the time we make them, and we may come to realize later in life that what we did was wrong. I hope and pray that this young woman will, but I will NOT choose to judge her and bash her. I understand her pain. I understand the pain of abuse and neglect. I understand the pain of being on the other end of game where women are concerned in divorce (get) bais din Russian roulette. It is a matter of GIVE UP YOUR LIFE and move on. Because when you are forced to give up your children you are giving up your life. And when Frum Rabbonim force you to give up your children you are stripped of every form of humanity. Do you honestly think that when FRUM Rabbonim do that you can walk away feeling good about being a Jew?

    If a bais din were to order you to cut off your right arm for no good reason would you still have emunah and bitachon? Do you have two children? If they were to order you to cut off both your arms could you do that and still remain frum? Think about that, seriously think about that, because that is what is happening to women. Taking away ones children is akin to cutting off your arms and legs and stabbing you in the heart and stopping you from breathing.

    If you don’t understand anything else, understand that!

  46. Sorry to have raised your blood pressure Sherree….there is too much anger in you for me to even attempt to answer you. You do not have the picture out clearly….as I do. I know a lot more than her family…but I won’t go there…
    There are some people who will buy the Brooklyn Bridge when it is offered them.Sorry, but you are one of them.
    You are right with one thing. No..I cannot read anyone’s heart…that’s for sure…but I could know the experiences that people have based on very close sources and living in the community very close by, going to the same school…etc.etc. Sorry to burst your bubble…she has a very loving family I personally know…had plenty support if she wanted it. They are not naiive stupid people…quite intelligent for your info…
    Perception is a very interesting word to use regarding one’s life….of course we can all “perceive” the same things differently, however the main point I tried to make was totally misconstrued…and that being-that we all have “choices” as to how WE REACT TO WHAT IS GIVEN US…YOU CAN’T FIGHT ME ON THIS ONE. HAKODOSH BORUCH HU, IN HIS INFINITE MERCY ALLOWS US TO THINK ALL KINDS OF THOUGHTS AND FEEL ALL KINDS OF FEELINGS…however, what WE DO WITH THEM…is ultimately how we are going to be judged.
    I WAS NOT JUDGING HER AT ALL. I’VE BEEN THROUGH TOO MUCH TO DO THAT, MY DEAR…I UNDERSTAND WHERE PEOPLE ARE COMING FROM, ALL TO WELL….we don’t have to share the same experiences, or be the same person. Of course, we are not the same, and don’t experience even the SAME THINGS THE SAME WAY.
    Having said that….she had choices to change what she didn’t like and actually started out doing that…which was perfectly fine.
    To have arrived at this point where she totally denies Hashem and his mitzvos for “everything she went through” regardless of what it is or who she is…is a whole other story. To be making a chillul Hashem is also a whole other story….I guess you just did not get the jist of what I was trying to say and let all your anger(wonder where that was coming from?) come to the fore…
    Sorry…this is a subject that could be debated for hours…
    I will leave you with one answer: We are responsible for our actions in the long run….taken into account, Hashem is the ultimate judge, having all the puzzle pieces together….all true…but bechira is bechira and that does not in any way take away from the compassion I have for anything that went wrong in her life to hurt her to such a degree that she has decided to abandon religion and flaunt it merrily…sorry..
    If you are on a different page…I respectfully agree to disagree.
    Have a wonderful yom tov.

  47. Erev Sh’vee’ee Shel Pesach
    Time: 5:00 PM Pacific Standard Time

    (continuation of my previous response)

    You point out how I saw only the presentation on the Dr. Phil show, so I really need “to hear both sides of the story and find out exactly what is going on with her.” Yes! Definately! Of course, I certainly do not disagree with that!

    Of course though, hearing “both sides of the story” — hearing “both sides of” THIS PARTICULAR “story” — will obviously mean that I will hear full clear answers to ALL of the woman’s (what certainly seem to be) totally valid extremely serious allegations!

    Furthermore, these are not just the woman’s allegations. As I related above, on that TV show, along with the woman and her man friend, was Rabbi Shmuel Botech. As I related in great detail, throughout the presentation, over and over and over again, Rav Botech very strongly condemned what was done to the woman and very strongly emphasized with her pain. When giving her this strong support, he never made his support conditional. In other words, when talking to her and replying to her narration, never once did Rav Botech ever QUALIFY his words and say anything like: “Of course, I was not there and I do not know these people and I did not see what happened, but, IF WHAT YOU SAY IS TRUE . . . ” No, Rav Botech did not do that; instead, he evidently felt that the woman was relating what really did happen to her, and he thus responded to that.

    So answers are needed for not only the woman’s allegations and her man friend’s allegations, but also for (as he seemed to agree to them) Rav Botech’s allegations!

    So yes, please print here the answers of what you say is the other side of this story.

  48. To the Author,

    I would prefer to refer to the abusers, molesters, pretenders, phonies, etc. as the “BAD APPLES”. These are the ones that force kids and adults alike OTD. These are the people who are making the biggest chilul Hashem and causing the biggest catastrophes in our ehrliche communities. These are the people who have stripped our children of their innocence and childhoods, destroyed our children’s self-esteem and self-confidence, and ruined the shalom bayis in one family after another. These are the people that push the olam into smoking, drinking and self-medication through alcohol and drugs. These are the BAD APPLES that take peaceful nishomas and cook them up till they are so tzehitz they are boiling over with frustration with no one to turn to. OTD is just the beginning of their dark journeys, death is the end.

    Stop blaming the victims and start blaming the villains. Maybe then you can put an end to the cycle and find a cure for OTD.

  49. You are really cooking!!!!! No one is blaming the victim for any abuse or anything they have suffered. We all know that change is needed in every community and every way of life…that is NOT THE ISSUE…THAT IS A GIVEN….your anger is distorting the facts and the seems like somewhere or other you must have been hurt badly to be so angry. Because I’ll tell you a little secret. I have every right to be angry regarding instances of abuse….and the end result is:IT IS IN YOUR HANDS TO SEEK THE HELP YOU NEED TO HEAL AND THERE IS NO JUSTIFICATION IN FINDING IT OUTSIDE OF RELIGION.YES….people are suffering, people are hurt out there…but denying Hashem AIN’T THE WAY…!!!!!

  50. Anonymous, accusing me of being angry is your way of justifying your own feelings. I am NOT angry, as I said. From your words it would seem that YOU are the one who is angry. You are angry that she did NOT follow your path and come to the same conclusions that you did. Stop being so judgmental. She is NOT you and she did not have the same nisayon that you did. She did not have the same support system that you did, the same parents that you had, nor the same challenge. Nor do thousands of others.

    B”H, you were able to pull away from your yetzer hora and run the other way. But I am sure you did not do it alone. I am sure you had some very understanding people in your camp that held your hands and pulled very hard for you in your tug of war so you did not fall down into the deepest darkest depths of this very black journey that so many travel. Unfortunately, she has not yet reached your madreiga, she has succumbed and you nor I know how or why. But that does not mean that there is no hope for her nor that we should slam the door case closed. Your attitude and those that agree with you does just that. It slams the door with no opportunities for return. Those who are so blinded with pain and have no emunah and bitachon left, who are as aveilim who feel that Hashem have left them and are alone in this world with no one to turn to, make tremendous mistakes out of blindness and out of pain. But when they have finished lashing out, and their anger subsides and their empty hearts start to search and find Hashem again and they feel their emunah and bitachon return either through the miracles that are their children, or other simple things that they appreciate, or through the power of others reaching out to them, Hashem embues them with the power to do teshuva. This is not between you and her, this is between Hashem and her. It is about their relationship and Hashem is in charge not you nor I. They will work it out in due time. Hashem will send her shelichim to show her the way home. I have complete emunah and bitachon in that, because I have been the sheliach in many cases. In cases involving OTD kids and in cases involving helping abuse victims.

    So I would suggest that you shelve YOUR anger and daven to Hashem for more compassion. Stop judging others and throwing them under the bus as you proclaim they are doing to us, and just daven that Hashem helps her find her way back home.


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