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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Deborah Feldman: Unorthodox ‘betrayal’

Deborah at book signing Feb 15 2012 at The Corner Bookstore in NYC.

She’s got some chutzpah!

A gal who ditched her hubby and ultra-Orthodox Satmar community in Brooklyn left behind a trail of broken hearts and hurt feelings to pen a controversial yarn.

Deborah Feldman, 25, says she was choked by an antiquated religion and trapped in a loveless marriage — but that’s news to her husband, Joel Feldman, who friends and family say is “shattered” by the damning memoir.

She was crazy about this boy,” Feldman’s uncle, Izzy Berkowitz, 58, told The Post. “She was dying to get married.

He did everything and anything for her, but she never appreciated anything no matter what he did,” Berkowitz insisted. “She lacked happiness. Nothing was good enough for her.”

Feldman, who’s been on a whirlwind publicity tour for “Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots” that’s included a powwow with Barbara Walters on “The View,” offers a clinical account of the couple’s marital intimacies.

Whenever [Joel] feels libidinous . . . he approaches me much in the same way I imagine a dog pounces on a leg of furniture,” she writes.

Two years ago, Feldman left the marriage — and the Orthodox community in Williamsburg — with her infant son in tow.

No more fighting,” she tells her boy, who she says never even asks about his father. “Mommy’s happy now.”

But daddy is not smiling.

He feels betrayed,’ said an old friend of the jilted pop. “She wasn’t forced to marry him. They were madly in love.”

But Feldman told The Post this month that she never chose to be married.

He’s a stranger to me. I just happen to have a child with him,” she said.

Pearl Engelman, 64, a neighbor of Feldman’s when she lived in Williamsburg, blasted the author.

It paints the whole community in a bad light,” Engelman said. “We’re in an uproar. We feel insulted. I think she’s a lost soul.”


  1. Isn't it amazing - the thousands upon thousands of happy marriages & secure & functioning families mean nothing in comparison to one crazy, vindictive woman who can't cope. How about someone writes a book about normalcy in the frum veldt? Oh, but it won't sell, it won't be salacious, scandalous, or full of lies.

    I hope her ex sues for permanent custody: this child is in real danger from such a disturbed woman.

  2. Geez this woman is ugly. I'm no prize myself, I promise you, but OH MY GOD. She needs to sport a paper bag on her head. MAKE A FREIGHT TRAIN TAKE A DIRT ROAD UGLY. Just a stranger, just happened to have his baby. How stupid is that comment. I hope the book makes a lot of money so this woman can beautify NY - get a face transplant!

    1. She looks like a Jew...your reaction to her looks is internalized Anti-Semitism.

  3. What a whore. lol.

  4. I would urge everyone to keep an open mind and be respectful of this woman's decision whether or not you agree with her choices. There is enough anger and hatred in the world without adding to it - would you not agree?

  5. Funny how quickly "religious" people call women whores.

  6. I don't like the vehemence with which people have been judging Ms. Feldman and the nasty names, etc. But I feel sorry for her ex-husband and how he's been shoved into the public spotlight. :-( I wish them all hatzlacha........

    By the way...he is really cute... LOL /blush

  7. I am conflicted about this book, and can understand why readers may love it or hate it. On one hand, Deborah Feldman has written from her world of the trauma of being raised apart from her parents, who may-or-may-not suffer from mental illness. She definitely received an inferior education at a Satmar school, especially as a female. Living in any religious enclave can be painful for those who somehow do not fit in, and she effectively shares her desire for more freedom. Also, some of the Satmar beliefs, especially their hatred of the State of Israel and their increasing segregation of women within the community, are reprehensible. It should be made clear that the Satmars are a fringe ultra-orthodox group with little in common with mainstream Judaism.

    Feldman's description of her first exposure to literature is quite moving. She took a greater risk in writing this memoir than most writers; she's definitely burned her bridges. However, her book publisher - and Barbara Walters - did not do their due diligence. There are serious factual problems with major elements in this book.