One woman's search to understand herself and her Jewish heritage.
Raised under the strict rules of a Satmar Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn, Feldman (Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots, 2012) had no clue how tightknit that community was when she decided to leave her marriage and a man she didn't love with her young son and find a new life. "Leaving, to me felt like climbing a tremendous hill," writes the author, "one of those steep inclines that becomes almost treacherous in that the more momentum you build while racing down it, the more difficult it becomes to stop safely." She found herself an outcast from the Jewish system she'd been raised in and an outsider to the rest of the world, which often could not see beyond her apparent Jewish features. Unable to fathom life in hectic Brooklyn, Feldman pulled up stakes and moved to the countryside. Rich in details of Jewish life and the lives of her grandparents in the World War II era, the author sensitively portrays the inner struggles of accepting the pervasive feeling of survivor guilt and her own desires to understand the woman she was becoming. Feldman juxtaposes painfully emotional moments in concentration camps and in European towns where evidence of Jewish settlers was practically erased with humorous, almost macabre playacting scenarios with a German lover, scenarios that only added to Feldman's confusion over her own identity. The overall effect is captivating, entertaining and informative, providing readers with an honest assessment of the strength of one's convictions and the effect a strict religious background can have on a person.
An enthralling account of how one Orthodox Jewish woman turned her back on her religion and found genuineness and validity in her new life.