Unorthodox: Breaking away from the Hasidic community

Though a large Hasidic Judaism community in Brooklyn sits just across the river from bustling Manhattan, the neighbourhood looks a century away from modern life in New York City.

The way the Satmar sect dress – the round fur hat, the long black coat, the side curls and long beard – is the only knowledge most outsiders have about this closed community.

In her recently published autobiography, Unorthodox, 24-year-old Deborah Feldman reveals everything she knows about the condition of women within the group and what she calls the oppression of individual freedoms of its members.

Ms Feldman tells the story of her childhood in a very religious Satmar family, where even reading English books was prohibited.

She claims she was forced into an arranged marriage at the age of 17 with a man she met 30 minutes prior to their wedding. She left the community at the age of 19, together with her newly born son.

The book has prompted angry reaction from her former community for revealing some painful secrets. She says she now worries about her personal safety.

But she still says that she is proud of her origins and that her intent was not to harm or embarrass anyone, but to open a dialogue.

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