Cross posting this on two blogs, so if you read both I apologize in advance but this story deserves the cross posting. Several weeks ago this news story appeared on the front page of Yahoo but I saw no other coverage in the major news outlets or news programs.
First off, let me say how incredibly brave and lucky Deborah Feldman is and what courage it takes to come forward to tell her story. Now, here is my real opinion on her story and the broader picture …
I am DISGUSTED that such behavior exists and is allowed to continue to exist within America. Religious freedom is a guaranteed Constitutional privilege but when your religious freedom infringes on the Constitutional separation of church and state then there is a serious problem. The America I grew up in would have not tolerated this nonsense. I admit that it is possible that I may be wearing rose colored glasses about the past, but fringe religious groups seem to be on the rise.
The fact the mainstream media hasn’t picked up the story and there hasn’t been more than one investigative story about the Hasidic Jewish community scares me. Are we seriously going to allow this nonsense in our country to flourish and thrive? There is no excuse in the name of religious freedom, to allow such extremism to go unexposed in today’s society. The mere fact that she is so careful about personal details with family members five years after leaving the community and writing a book is the only way she felt she would continue to be safe is terrifying. There is no excuse, no religious justification, for such nonsense.
Abuse and abusers thrive because their victims are too scared to speak out, doesn’t matter who the abuser is spouse, parent, cult leader, they thrive through intimidation and fear. I have a theory about how why these communities seem to be more prevalent but it will make me sound like I want a return to mid-century America. As we become more connected electronically, we have become less connected socially. The more time we spend behind keyboards, smart phones, etc. the less time we have to spend around the dinner table, donuts after religious services, etc. We rush from one scheduled activity to another, and then divide our attention between the activity and whatever is demanding our attention from the smart phone permanently attached at our hips.
Honestly, can anyone say they are happy living that way? Our kids aren’t kids anymore. We schedule them in one social activity after another, we work insane hours to keep up with the “Joneses” and tumble home with fast food and television time while surfing the web on the laptop or smartphone. I know there are competing stories concerning popular sites like Facebook, story one, two, and three, but five years from now I fully expect that sites like that will be far less popular than they are today.
Anyone who truly knows me knows I’m a homebody. I’m not much of a social butterfly, I love my family and have had few close friends my entire life. But while I may not be a user of sites like Facebook or Twitter, I am not a technophobe either. The pendulum has just swing too far away from human contact in my opinion. The human being is a social animal and we are raising a society of people that doesn’t know how to interact face to face because they’ve grown up rushing from activities and interacting with other behind an electronic screen. We leave no handwritten record for future generations, I struggled with a long time in writing a blog versus a diary. Pictures are now digital, it is rare that we even go so far as to print off this memories we store on memory cards in cameras and phones. What tangible items are we leaving for our family to remember us by and learn from when digital is by it’s very nature a fleeting and transient technology?
I’m going to descend from my soapbox now. I need more coffee.