Thursday, October 06, 2005

Shtreimel Disappoints

If you want to an illustration of the sheer power of the cult-like stranglehold that ultra-orthodox communities have over their members take a minute or two to hear about Shtreimel.

Shtreimel is the name of a blogger that until Monday of this week had a fascinating blog called A Hasid & A Heretic. Don't bother navigating there now, as he has removed the vast majority of his posts.

So who is Shtreimel? After reading his blog for over a year I feel safe to say the following. Shtreimal is a Satmarer chossid who had become very disillusioned with his life in the ghetto. Although externally he was very much a member of the community he had big problems with the whole thing.

Over the last one and a half years one could see how Shtreimel was developing. His writing got progressively better, he was getting out and exploring how life was lived on the other side. The thing that I liked best about him was his libertarian like attitude. He had realized that essentially all peoples are similar and just because one is born a chassidic Jew does not mean that one is better than the rest of mankind. He realized that men and women of no religious persuasion can also be moral. He realized that people can be left alone to decide how they want to behave and should not be forced to listen to the dictates of a Rabbi or any clergy.

He wrote entertainingly about his nominally big misdemeanors. Of eating kosher food on Yom Kippur and being frightened his neighbor in shul might find out; of his first go at eating non-kosher food; of meeting and enjoying the company of woman something that would have been a complete no-no in his 'real' life. He told us about his disgust at the less than good things that go on behind the ghetto boundaries. The fact that they make a religion out of scrounging, the little real respect for women or womens rights and the way kids are schooled to be racist.

But Shtriemel had a big big big problem. His wife whom, he might not love but has nothing against, knows nought about his wayward thoughts and actions and possibly a bigger problem is that his children go to establishment schools. He himself is part and parcel of the community he grew up in. Can he tell her? - oh no. All hell will break loose. He would lose his wife and kids. He would have to move from the community and try to start again. Who knows if he would be allowed to keep contact with his children. Lately Shtreimel blogged primarily about his big dilemma. He did not want to live a double life and so he would have to make a decision either way. A clean break from his current frum ultra-ortho situ or - em well I didn't quite know what he meant.

Well now we know. And it isn't pretty. Compared to his old self its nutty and fundamentalist. Crazy in fact. It sounds very much as if he is on the verge of a breakdown which isn't funny at all. Yes maybe you should read his last post here. Do you see what I mean? Its a ramble, not coherent -its nuts. Exactly as one would expect from a member of a cult that's cracking up.

Well unfourtunately that's what it is.


Blogger Jerome Jackson said...

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2:47 PM  
Blogger Rod Pendergrass said...

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2:48 PM  
Blogger Lvnsm27 said...

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4:02 PM  
Blogger Lvnsm27 said...

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4:03 PM  
Blogger Tamara said...

As of this writing, the blog seems to have been removed altogether.

I've been concerned about the state of his mental health for some time. I was afraid something like this would eventually happen.

5:49 PM  
Blogger mnuez said...

Yah. everyone seemed to be ignoring me when I said it but I'm glad to see that there's another non-lemming out there.

"I've finally resolved to accept the love of krishna into my heart"

Oh, mazal tov! mazal tov! I'm so HAPPY for you!...

After showing the manyfold logical flaws inherent in Judaism, is shtreimel's nutty tshuva rant any better than that? And is that the response that he would have gotten had he have confessed his love for vishnu rather than the ribbono shel oilum?

8:18 PM  
Blogger Lvnsm27 said...

First of all, Judaism is way different. It's the only one that speaks of national revelation, and is the most detailed religion too, with many volumes of info.

Second, our souls need nurishment just like our bodies. But the food that our souls need are the mitzvos because that's how we connect with Hashem. Why connect? Because that's what our souls need for fullfillment and happiness. And so Hashem told us in the written torah, what to do, and in the oral torah, how to do the mitzvos so we can connect with Him.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Con Artistic said...

Shtreimel is specifically saying that he is not repenting out of sudden reasoning. He claims that it was a requirement to go along with life. You (and mnuez, Tamara and the rest) cannot blame him for making this choice, can you?

9:53 AM  

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