In Zoom, Deborah Feldman is seen as calm, so a middle-class woman in a comfortable middle-class apartment, so sure that it’s hard to believe that she’s the woman who lived what we met in the Unorthodox series. That the happy woman – who on Tuesday talks to several journalists via the web – is the real Esty.
But it’s true: Feldman was born and raised in the hard-core Satmar group of ultra-Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn, but he rejected his fate, secretly went to college, saw lawyers, and figured out how to escape. How to escape with your son without losing service, which had happened to other women. The first lawyer told him there was nothing to do, no chance he would raise his children and come back later. The other recommended something else: lots of publicity. If the case was known, if he had support from outside society, he could succeed. Was it good to reach the media with a story? More or less it would last a short time. She decided to write a book, she decided to become a writer.
What follows is known: the book ̵
Those days. Deborah Feldman, the real protagonist of “Unorthodox”, with her ex husband and son.
On Thursday, the book will be available in bookstores on two continents –in our country, at the moment as an ebook for quarantine– and it is therefore from Berlin, where he lives in the bright and modern house, Feldman he sits in front of a screen and talks to journalists.
Count the decision to leave. How much more difficult is that decision for women, especially if they have children. And how he fought it.
-What was the most difficult thing to assume after leaving society?
-There are different aspects: I will talk about the practical, the survival. When you leave young people, without contacts, without education, without knowing how the world works outside society or what a bank account is … From a practical point of view, the most difficult thing is to survive: eat, live. During those years, I was always on the edge of the precipice, watching the precipice of hunger, disaster and homelessness.
How did you solve it? Do many things. With the body itself.
-What I did was donate my eggs to an egg bank to survive. They paid me for it. But it was not the most difficult.
-The difficult part is another. When you leave, you have nothing, you have no identity, the feeling of being yourself. The community defines who you are, what your identity is. Who is one without it? This is causing a real crisis, even a mental crisis. In 2015, a girl jumped from a skyscraper: she was smart, she had friends, she had a business, she had no children … She had left society and built a life for herself. I was jealous of her and she committed suicide. The real crisis is not the practical part but the mental crisis. How do you survive as a person when your identity is emptied and under construction. Who will be the new family, what will be the new beliefs, the new house. Sometimes it seems that death is the only thing that represents you because it is nothing and you have nothing inside.
What kept Feldman from the empty emptiness?
-I had a son and it gave me an identity: I am the mother of my son. And I had faith: I thought my son deserved another life. My disadvantage was my blessing: I was able to survive thanks to my son.
Feldman’s husband also left society: would it have been the same if a man, he, wrote the book?
Obviously not. “He never had to write, he could go away and live his life, he did not have to sell his story to survive. I do not blame him for anything, even when we fought for custody and everything became difficult, I did not face him but society. I got freedom and my son thanks to the book, if there had not been another who lost his son. My ex husband remarried With a non-religious woman, she works in a non-religious company, her children have names that are not Jewish, she could do that. When I turned our lives upside down, she had a terrible timeof course. But when I know he’s happy today and living a good life thanks to the fact that I took the initiative first, I’m glad I did. That in the series is reflected: Yanky cuts her corkscrew. There it becomes clear that something is happening in him, that he will go his own way “.
Unorthodox. My true story
By Deborah Feldman
Price: $ 899 (paper) $ 499.99 (ebook) f
Did the book help other women?
“There are many brave women. There is a completely inspiring movement. Something is moving. But on the other hand, it is still difficult. In society, men pray, do spiritual work. Everything practically done by women, so their departure threatens the current survival. Women depend on daily to make society work, some end up committing suicide, so they convince them that this is destiny: someone who has succeeded like me is a threat. This is a non-violent society that says you have to use violence against yourself. “