'Unorthodox' Author’s Claim Of Murder Cover-up Rebutted

Coroner’s report lists 20-year-old’s death in Kiryas Joel as suicide.

02/16/12
Special to the Jewish Week
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POSTED THURSDAY, FEB. 16, 4:30 P.M.

With allegations of communal cover-ups involving child sexual abuse dogging the haredi community over the past several years, it may not be much of a stretch for some readers to believe a gruesome story that appears in a new memoir about growing up in, and leaving, the Satmar community.

The story, recounted by Deborah Feldman in “Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots” (Simon and Schuster), involves the alleged mutilation and murder of a boy by his own father — supposedly for masturbating — and the subsequent cover-up of the crime by Hatzolah, the community’s volunteer ambulance service.

The only problem, however, is that based on information obtained by The Jewish Week, the story seems not be true.

Feldman claims she first learned of the grisly crime from her husband who had, in turn, heard about it from his brother, allegedly a member of Hatzolah at the time, who had been called to the blood-soaked scene. Apparently, the boy’s “penis was cut off with a jig saw and his throat was slit too,” Feldman writes.

Feldman recounts that her husband told her his brother “said the neighbors told him they heard loud arguing coming from the house. When he called the [volunteer ambulance] dispatch, they told him to go home and keep quiet about it, that they would take care of it. He said they buried him in thirty minutes and they didn’t even issue a death certificate.”

In a pre-publication interview with Julie Wiener in The Jewish Week, Feldman was questioned about the veracity of the story. Feldman not only insisted that she was not lying, but asserted that the father was known to be mentally ill and implied that he had escaped justice for his crime.

“I worry about his other children,” Feldman told Wiener, “and I worry about people thinking if he could get away with that, then they can get away with anything.”

This is not the first time Feldman has made this allegation. Indeed, in December of 2008 it appeared on her then anonymous blog, Hasidic-Feminist, where it was described as a “Class A secret.” In the blog post, Feldman recounted the story of a “thirteen year-old boy [who] had been castrated with a jig saw and bled to death.”

The incident, according to Feldman, took place “two years ago on an Erev Shabbos in [Kiryas Joel].” She goes on to elaborate that when Hatzolah arrived at the crime scene (a basement) and tried to question the father, “he refused to cooperate, saying only that his son deserved it and that he was a chazar, a pig, because he touched himself.” Feldman then notes that no police report was ever filed and the boy was “under ground” in 30 minutes. “People of KJ,” she warned, “a murderer walks in your midst.”

While some of the 31 comments on the blog post were credulous of Hasidic-Feminist’s claims, several expressed serious skepticism. At least one claimed knowledge that the death was in fact a suicide and that the young man (who, one commenter noted, was not 13 but 19) was well known to have been mentally ill.

“Our community would not have ignored a murder,” wrote a commenter with the screen name Product, “but anyone familiar with Hasidic culture knows that any mention of a familial disgrace such as suicide would be stifled. This explains why the story is so shrouded in mystery.”

A few commenters even chastised Feldman, in the guise of Hasidic-Feminist, for not reporting her knowledge to the police. “[No] one has gone to the police,” she responded to one of these charges, “because no one wants to be publicly outed as a musser — a tattletale. That’s a sin that merits ‘honor killing.’”

However, The Jewish Week confirmed that the state police do in fact have a record of the incident and its office provided the paper with the names of two of its investigators called to the scene, John Van Der Molen and Michael Colern. Calls to the two officers were not returned Thursday.

Further, a death certificate obtained by The Jewish Week indicates that the death — which it noted occurred in a “storeroom” on a Friday afternoon in Kiryas Joel around the approximate date Feldman’s blog alleged — was ruled a suicide by coroner Thomas A. Murray, and lists the cause of death as “partial decapitation, severed carotid arteries due to circular saw.” The deceased’s age was listed as 20.  

Several e-mails to Feldman and her publisher, Simon and Schuster, seeking comment did not receive a response.

Privacy laws prevent Hatzolah from commenting on any case, but Moses Witriol, the director of public safety and chief constable for Kiryas Joel, told The Jewish Week that the story was patently false.

“When the first Hatzolah member showed up on the scene, he cordoned off the area and contacted the public safety office, which in turn immediately contacted the state police. Except for them and the coroner, no other people were in the room [where the boy was found]. The state police conducted a full and thorough investigation and interviewed every member of the family.

“If Mrs. Feldman knows about a crime in the village [of Kiryas Joel],” Witriol continued, “I invite her to come forward to law enforcement.”

Reached by phone, a relative of the deceased told The Jewish Week, “I cannot understand how a person could possibly find it within themselves to fabricate such a gruesome story and slander a completely innocent, grieving and tragedy-stricken family in such a horrific way. The facts are that the boy had a long history of mental illness, and his family and the community did a lot to try and help this individual. It was a very tragic end to a life full of suffering.”

 

Last Update:

10/15/2013 - 15:44

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I most definitely believe this. Especially when you look at the phony comments made to try to discredit Ms. Feldman. You can tell a concerted effort; there wouldn't need to be such tactics if this story weren't true.

here is my article that I send to Deborah Feldman Exposed.

After long and hard thinking and concentration I have decided to Expose
this Deborah Feldman , as no one knows her the way I know her ,  being
that I am her uncle & Yes my name is Izzy Berkowitz & yes I am very
proud to say her father is my brother, his name is Eugene & no  I am
not ashamed at all ,contrary I am very proud of him.  & I also have
some of her emails which I will post and make available to the public
which will give you a bit of on  idea who this women is and what she is
about. Yes the emails have her address so she can’t lie about them as
that is what she does lie  again and again over and over a bunch of
pathetic lies.
  
I am not going to comment on her so called writings , yes I call them
writing and not a book , it’s nothing more than a bunch of lies and
trash, and it’s not worth commenting never mind reading ,my only
purpose and goal is to expose this Vicious , Selfish , Self Centered
Deborah, and prove what a liar she is,
  
First and foremost her parents did not abandon her , she got into on
argument and left, her parents are both working class people , have no
mental issue at all.
Her mother is a teacher in the public school system and has a college
degree , her father is doing deliveries all day long at supports
himself independently .
  
At the time my parents took her in , into their home they were both in
the beginning of their Seventies , now they took her in & turned their
house into  her home , she lived like in a hotel , coming and going
freely at her own will. While my mother cooked her meals , washed her
laundry, took her shopping , and the list goes on without on end, My
father took care of her schooling and her financial needs, to make sure
she is happy and continue her life just like any other child.
  
Now let me talk about my aunt & yes I am going to give her  real name
as there is nothing to hide. Shaindy is employed by UTA which is the
Girls School run and owned  by the Satmar community , needless to say
it’s one of the finest schools over the globe, yes let  me repeat the
finest school over the globe ,
Girls are thought Values as that is  first and of utmost importance in
our religion and our society, yes I am very proud to say , no BODY
piercing ( body’s are created in the image of G-D they are not meant to
be destroyed )no Tattoos , no Alcohol , no Sex prior to marriage & no
wild parties getting drunk way into the night , Parents don’t have to
worry were their children are,  as they always know their whereabouts
and  don’t have to  worry what the next phone call is going to be , if
it will be the police calling to report on arrest or a death or a
hospital calling to notify of some horrible incident that happened to
their child,
this is the community at large that we as Jews are proud to brag about .
  
This is the School that Deborah attended , the credit should be given
to my wonderful sister in law Shaindy , she made sure she had  friends
, attends get togethers  and outings with all the other girls , Shaindy
was busy constantly making sure that everything goes over smoothly, 
she should not feel any different than any other child. Mind you it was
not easy as DEBORAH always new better and best.
  
Not let’s move on to her getting married, She was DYING to get married
to this BOY & it was her wish and her wish only & not my parents at
all, that forced her into this marriage, no they did not force her they
only helped her and guided her thru  & all I can say  her former
husband was a doll of a person , she did everything and anything for
her but she never appreciated anything no matter what he did she lacked
happiness, nothing was good enough for her , whether it was going on
vacation or buying her a piece of jewelry nothing mattered to her she 
always moody no matter what .
  
Now let’s talk a bit about MONEY , who paid for this Wedding Myself
and  my brother Walter , together we plunked down 50,000.00 for her
wedding expenses. My father has the checks to this date & the bills to
prove this. She came and went shopping day in and day out without any
hesitation or restriction at all.  That being said I am still waiting
for the thank you card yes DEBORAH I am still  waiting , but I know
better not to expect anything from you at all.
Deborah let me also remind you the very first yr. you were married , I
did invite you to my private Chanukah party with my own kids & yes I
gave you a check just like I gave to my own children so you don’t feel
left out , just try denying this one & my children are witness to you
being present and treated just like they were however by this time I
did not expect a thank you card as I knew exactly who and what you are 
and stand for.
  
Now after a very brief but very  important history, should I wish to
write it all it will take a book, now let’s prove what a  LOW LIFE,
GOOD for  NOTHING you are,
Moses was not allowed to hit the river with his stick when G-D sent the
ten Plagues on the Egyptians. The Reason was that the water was holding
him and saved him while his mother tried to hide him, he was also not
allowed to hit the Earth to bring out the Lice as the Earth saved him
when he killed the Egyptian , by keeping him buried .
  
Our family as a whole did everything and anything we could and gave to
you above and beyond the call of duty, myself & my brother did not have
to pay for your wedding , my parents did not have to sacrifice for you,
they could  have given you out to a foster home or for adoption . You
have the nerve to  get on the view , sitting with the lowest of the low
, Whoopee , Bayhar , Barbara and the rest of those clowns , yes let me
repeat they are a bunch of clowns and of the lowest caliber , who is
watching a daytime show , only those on Welfare, just like yourself as
you are a welfare case ( I have the email asking me for Money & will
post a copy at the end )is there any wisdom coming out of the VIEW any
knowledge , or any value, Sorry you did not choose this show because
you had variety , you choose this show as no one would give you a
platform as they would not stoop  that low and sink to your level , by
attending that show and making fun of my parents who are your
grandparents,  you got exposed and showed your true colors , making fun
of the people who cared for you and paid for your upbringing at their
old age, what a piece of trash you are , shame on you but you have no
common sense to be ashamed of, that is how low you are.  My mother
survived Auschwitz , all alone at the age of 18, after the war she was 
floating between life and death , for three weeks in a hospital , after
that she came to this country all alone raised a beautiful family & was
never on the unemployment line or welfare , to this day she goes each
and every day no matter hot or called Holiday or weekday to a nursing
home in the neighborhood she lives in , in order to help feed a sick
and helpless human being. Shame on you & shame on all those wise cracks
on the VIEW . for helping you making fun of  my elderly parents , You
and those five clowns on the view can’t fit in my parents shoes on any
given day.
  
Let me take it one step further  & point out that you are bereft of any
values , you are Bankrupt monetarily , physically , emotionally, you
have no G-D , no religion no matter which denomination, and above all
no values , you will step over anybody as long as you have yours.  now
let’s talk very briefly about Sex that you were so proud to disseminate
our conduct with regards to sex, By us JEWS and yes by us Jews I am
very proud to say sex is not being used as on outlet to on urge , it’s
a much more higher value than you and your cronies in the Secular world
that has no morals or values think , Take Dominick Strauss Kahn this
men was on the totem pole & landed in the dump, for one  reason as Sex
had the same value to him as on animal , animals have urges but no
feelings , human beings have feelings  when we have relationships with
our spouses, it’s of a pure and holy nature, it’s a feeling of love,
devotion, sharing and caring and above all giving and receiving it’s
not just on urge, You Deborah you are nothing more than on animal
without any feelings as  you have just proved it yourself on that dumb
show and that is why it has no meaning to you, you don’t know how to
share or care for anyone, no wonder you got divorced as you had no
feelings for that lovely man that was unfortunate to get married to
you.
  
Now let me say in closing , thank you for leaving our community by
leaving on  your own  you saved us a lot of aggravation , our community
is thriving by leaps and bounds , our morals date back over three
thousand yrs. ago when Moses gave us the Bible from Sinai, we have
survived the Inquisition of Spain, the Crusaders , and the Holocaust ,
we are for sure going to survive Deborah , however what is interesting
to all of us, maybe you have the answer , you come back day in and day
out , Hum can anyone explain this , it just shows you are sick that we
thrive and no you will not destroy this or any other religious
community as they all know you by now, your writings will long be
forgotten and the orthodox movement will still be going on.
  
Deborah let me just give you a personal message I don’t lose any sleep
over you but for  sure one day our creator is going to take care of you
and you will have to answer for all the lies as a whole and fun making
of my parents  in particular, so when that day comes I am sure you will
pick the phone and call this family first. I can assure they are going
to be there for you and will help you out in any way or  fashion , we
don’t carry hate or retaliate just remember  there is a very famous
saying don’t you bite the hand that feeds you.
  
Below is the email from her to me , I was going with my family and she
was out in California looking for work and we did correspond , so I
asked her when she would be there as we did want to meet her. Yes the
email speaks volumes
  
From: Deborah Feldman [mailto:dfeldman@gm.slc.edu]
Sent: Monday, August 08, 2011 8:31 AM
To: Izzy Berkowitz
Subject: Re: California
  
No I came back to NY because I got offered a job here. I start in two
weeks. Until I get my first paycheck I don't have any money to move my
stuff back or buy groceries or anything. I'm sleeping on a friend's
couch now in Brooklyn. I don't expect you to help but I thought I would
ask.

Hope you have fun in LA.
On Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 5:03 PM, Izzy Berkowitz
<IZY@fairmontins.com> wrote:
We will be going I”YH to LA at the end of August,  R U Going to be there?

I have read the book and i am part of the Jewish Syrian community in Brooklyn. The book was about a girl that was looking for a way out of a place that didn't fit her. Why can't you understand that? Of course everything would seem like lies to you because you don't agree. And one thing that you wrote that made me upset was that you said that your parents did not have to sacrifice for her and take her in? Are you out of your mind?! What kind of sick person would leave their grandchild with a family of strangers? Would you do that if your daughter ran away and didn't take the kid? That discredited you from being any valid source for anything on Deborah's life. Also, the woman that Deborah calls Chaya in the book who I assume if Shaindy, was not called a bad person at all. She was described as tough and Deborah even acknowledges that her strength came from Chaya. And I don't really understand what you mean by calling the UTA one of the finest schools in the world. It is stated that the girls have terrible English skills. Knowing the way of the world is important or you will be called ignorant. There are many schools that teach girls how to live their life regarding religion and they have a great secular education. Why do you want to out yourself in such a box and isolate yourself so you don't know anything? And You must understand that being a female in the Satmar community is stifling compared to being a male. Even though I am a 15 year old male, I still understood how she felt to just watch people around you act differently while you are brought up to stay quiet and opinionless .Why can't you see the hardships that your niece (if she is your niece) endured through the years. Did you even read the book? Why should I believe your word over hers? I strongly disagree with you and find you a ignorant bully (I couldn't care less how much you paid for her wedding so don't bring up your overflowing generosity).

This is the story of a troubled kid and a publishing company that is all too eager to bash a community.

I don`t know if Cookie Jar is aware of this, but a lot of things have changed since Leave it to Beaver. There arose a greater need for orthodox subculture when college campus promiscuity reached new levels of shame.

"There arose a greater need for orthodox subculture when college campus promiscuity reached new levels of shame."

I'm not saying they should go to college, I'm saying for the most part, they are not well educated. They are also mostly not very worldly.

Many in that community will argue thats a good thing. I'm not arguing either way, just responding to the comment by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 02/18/2012 - 23:01.

Seriously? Which cave did u just crawl out of that you offer such broad sweeping generalizations. As a person who has worked with all kinds of Jews, I can tell you that the children of Chasidim are often much brighter, kinder and more capable than the children of doctors and lawyers.

Most grownups are aware that intelligence in cross cultural, you obviously are still in the cookie jar.

I have to wonder if the author of this article knows the definition of the word "rebuttal."

Talking to the very people accused of the cover-up and nobody else is just sloppy reporting. This isn't a rebuttal, this just looks like more of the cover-up. Makes me think perhaps there really is something to this story.

Can someone fill in whether Deborah Feldman ever really went to Satmar school. During what years did she go to Public School and why. There is word out there, that she actually went to Vien girls school in Williamsburg. And that she went to Public School but was enrolled under her name Sara Berkowitz. So I imagine Berkowitz is her maiden name? Why would her family send her to public school? Is she learning disabled?

And the lesson in all of this to me, is stay away from people from unstable family backgrounds and women who wish they could be "famous" and will lower their dignity and do whatever they have to, to get their 15 minutes of fame. Not too considerate to drag her nice ex-husband who reportedly is a loving father and who fulfills his duty of child support, into all that.

there is something seriously wrong with this article.
first please read this portion of one of the last paragraphs of this article, I quote, "was ruled a suicide by coroner Thomas A. Murray, and lists the cause of death as “partial decapitation, severed carotid arteries due to circular saw.” The deceased’s age was listed as 20."

now that you have read that, doesnt that prove that Ms. Feldman was NOT indeed fabricating the story?!? to me it does because Ms. Feldman said she heard the story from her husband and her husband said there was a boy who was killed because etc.. etc.. now we dont really know the truth about why he died meaning whether it was suicide or he was killed by someone but, the coroner states, as I quoted to you from this article that he found the guy with partial decapitation and severed carotid arteries due to circular saw, I think the possibility of someone taking a saw to his neck is just as likely as him doing it himself, the is zero proof in this article that Ms. Feldman is fabricating this story!!!!!
again seems people are seeing what they want to see here.

Chaim--

Are you serious? Zero proof she is lying?

There are two issues here. The facts of the case and the veracity of the hearsay Mrs Feldman is repeating.

The hearsay Mrs. Feldman is repeating claims...

1) a 13 year old boy was killed by his father
2) the father severed the boy's penis for masturbating
3) a communal cover-up with no police investigation or death certificate

The article proves all of this to be untrue. Mrs. Feldman might be telling the truth that she did indeed hear this story from her former husband, but the story itself is BOGUS.

So if the story is bogus, why would she repeat it in a book? Why wouldn't Mrs. Feldman or her publisher fact check the details?

Because Mrs. Feldman has a vendetta which you can plainly see in her blog and in her articles and in the book itself. She is convinced without any proof whatsoever (aside from the story she alleges her former husband told her) that there is a conspiracy to cover up this "crime" instead accepting the police report and the coroners report that this was a tragic and gruesome suicide. How can she still believe this was a cover-up when the facts in the case prove otherwise? Again, there was no severed penis, which would be integral to support her alleged story.

Mrs. Feldman wrote "I hope someone does uncover the truth though" which is her way to continue to make the allegation of a conspiracy by denying that the truth has already been revealed.

How would this completely sheltered 19 or 20 year old woman who just discovered 2 years earlier that she had a vagina (and couldn't consummate her marriage for a year) even know what male masturbation is? The bottom line--very little she claims seems to have any validity and her claims about this story are completely non-nonsensical.

Youd think that Deborah Feldman's family, and all Chassidic families, hasve lots of skeletons in their closet. Trust me they dont have any more or any less than the world at large. You wouldnt know it based on Deborah Feldman's fable.

If anything the book should have been titled Un-"Satmar" but believe it or not, among Chassidic people there are highly educated and very worldly and NORMAL individuals.

Are all non- Chassidic people educated and worldly?

Orthodox people are mostly VERY highly educated and VERY worldly.

Bad choice of title, S&S!

"Orthodox people are mostly VERY highly educated and VERY worldly."

I'm sorry, in what fantasy world is this? The only highly educated orthodox people I know are baalei teshuva, or over 55 prior to the college taboo.

Pardon? My friends and I have attended Chassidic schools and have earned our MA from very prestigious universities. I have actually continued on to my second MA towards my doctorate. I am in my early thirties not 55! Please don't make any wide sweeping comments on people that you know nothing about.

>for in the Hassidic tradition no Jew testifies against another Jew. <
Unless they are leaders of said community like Aaron and Zalman.

So he partially decapitated himself with a circular saw? Makes sense to me. This story has no logic. What's more shocking are the people who think this article makes sense and use it to discredit Feldman. Thank you, I will definitely buy and read her book.

To David Lener:

I understand you are a friend of Feldman's and want to defend her. However, your logic is so lacking that it is hard to take you seriously. Neither you nor she offers absolutely one shred evidence for her allegations, except that she heard a "story" about it. Well, I know her ex-husband and he says the story she writes in the book about his brother calling their house to tell them about the incident did not happen. Perhaps you should seek him out and ask him about this yourself. It is also the case that his brother was not a member of hatzoloh at the time of the incident. The fact that you don't know the dead man's name is also telling. If "every hatzoloh" member in Monroe knows this story, then surely you can get the name quite easily and request the death certificate yourself. And while you're at it, why don't you also call the state police and the coroner, as their names appear in the story? You have a right to your skepticism, but if you are going to accuse a man of murder and hatzoloh, the state police and the coroner of covering-up for him, you are going to need more than invented gossip to do so without sounding like a silly conspiracy theorist.

To those who claim self-decapitation is improbable, I shuddered when I read this as it was strikingly similar to a tragedy that took place some 40-50 years ago in my community. An Orthodox Jewish teenager took his own life in exactly the same manner and yes, we did have power saws in those days! This woman who dropped out of the Satmar community seems quite disturbed, the more you read about her. She illustrates the very sad fact that the worst Jews are the self-haters, of which we have Rachmana Litzlan, way too many.

I grew up in KJ, I don't know if its true but I believe it is possible, they are capable of anything.

I am also curious as to how one partially decapitates their own self. Seems suspicious to me.

Here is an explanation offered by DF. make of it what you will

"The way I related that story in the book was exactly the way it happened to me: in a conversation. I described a dialogue word for word in which my husband told me the story his brother had told him. I made no claims about the story itself, or if it was true, I just described hearing it being told to me and my reaction to that telling. It was more about the conversation than the actual story. Since then I’ve received a lot of messages about that story; some people seem convinced it was a murder, others are inclined to dismiss it as a suicide. Either way it’s tragic, but again, I don’t make any claims as to its veracity. I hope someone does uncover the truth though."

"Has anyone ever heard of someone killing himself by attempting his own decapitation with a power saw?"

Yes - a non-Jewish neighbor of mine who was married to a Jewish woman did exactly that. The mess was indescribable but we worked for many hours to clean it up and bury him with his splattered blood. It was a real tragedy but that is how he chose to die.

As far i remember at the time that story happened her brother in law did not join the KJ EMS...

hey, I want my comment back. I put in alot of thought to write that, and now it's going to just disappear because I now learn you cant post more than 300 words? At least break it up.

What I want to know is -- why doesnt Deborah Feldman talk more about her lesbian mother? I find it really hard to believe a sheltered Satmar girl figures out on her own how to get to Sarah Lawrence, of all schools ... afterall, she claimed to have only a 4th grade education at tops, by the time she graduated high school. And then she gets a full scholarship at Sarah Lawrence (the most expensive college in the country)????

There is no way I will believe she doesn't have someone behind her (as she said, she had the best lawyers money could buy) who was guiding her on how to milk the system on every side she can. And I wouldn't be surprised if it was her own mother who she conveniently never mentions much in her interviews, most likely so she can elicit sympathy that she is a hero breaking free of oppression all on her own. Because otherwise it isn't really much of a story.

Also, how did she end up getting her son into preppy Park East day school? If Sarah Lawrence was her window to the world as she claims, I can assure you those people who were trying to help her escape religion weren't encouraging further religious schooling and arranging scholarships for her son at Park East.

And what about her claim chassidic women aren't allowed to eat out in restaurants???? Have you ever gone to Prime Grill on a Thursday evening and seen the place filled to the brim with chassidic yiddish Williamsburg guys taking their wives out? Who do you think frequents the hundreds of kosher restaurants in NYC enabling them all to stay in business? Certainly not the modern-orthodox who eat out (only fish and vegetarian, no meat) in non-kosher establishments.

And now that Feldman dragged her ex-husband down and he too is marginalized in the community and not too religious-- when asked if there could be a reconciliation, she tugs at your sympathy and says "we were essentially strangers." As if the boyfriend in New Orleans whom she met online isn't more of a stranger and he has more in common with her????

This woman is messed up. Her 15 minutes of fame will pass -- much like those before her... has anyone heard of Pearl Abraham (Romance Reader). No doubt Pearl is fuming (just like Madonna toward Lady Gaga) and saying -- hey, this Feldman girl is a copy-cat and that was my idea, that was my act.

But I just want to know why is the view into the chassidic world always highlighting the sex? Didn't these women have any other enlightening experiences they could share? Guess they were just really boring people with bland lives... and all they had to sell was sex.

I've been wondering all the same things. Not about her mother but about SL. I went to one of the most liberal highschools in NYC. Laguardia HS for Music and Art and I had not heard of SL untill my best friend applied to the school. How did she hear of it? How did they come to except her. I understand she learned a lot on her own. Reading, etc. I am sure the admissions people felt she had a compelling story and much to offer to the diversity of the school. However, something is missing. I would love to be filled in on it.

Even I, whom Ms Feldman accuses of having a poor education can spell Accept the right way...
Sorry...had to point out the irony.

I do know from personal experience that nobody in the community would ever go to the police even if it were true for in the Hassidic tradition no Jew testifies against another Jew.

You've rebutted nothing. Feldman claimed to HEAR something, that's kind of hard to rebut.

You, however, make substantiatable claims. A police report is often a public record, you do us a disservice by not posting it. Same with the death certificate. (Those are occasionally sealed, I know, is this the case here?) Not knowing the name of the victim makes it difficult for me to do any of my own research into the matter, you'll forgive me for not taking your word on it.

Family privacy is important, I know, but even if this was a suicide, it will be for the benefit of the public for it to be publicized. Talking about suicides can prevent further suicides. (Mental illness has enough of a stigma among Chassidim already...)

Interesting how you don't mention this comment from her blog "Every hatzolah member in Monroe and some in Monsey know of this story. I was able to verify this story within 24 hours of reading it here." Now that doesn't prove anything, but your not including it here is telling. (We all have our agendas. I know mine, what's yours?) [You don't even provide a link to her now defunct blog post, I will: http://web.archive.org/web/20101018062902/http://hasidic-feminist.blogspot.com/2008/12/i-know-things.html]

In conclusion: OH YEAH? PROVE IT!

You are mistaken. A death certificate is not publicly available; only members of the immediate family may obtain a copy. Proof of identity is required, along with proof of the relationship to the deceased. As far as this tale goes, it could be true, it coulkd be false, or a tissue of truths-and-falsehoods. I would not be at all surprised that the Hasidic community in Kiryas Joel could prevail upon the police to file a death certificate which states "suicide," instead of "murder" but, on the other hand, it is very difficult to credit Feldman's account of "partial decapitation by chain saw," whatever that means. I grew up in a Modern Orthodox home, and I know the power and influence of the Hasidic communities, especially where they are large in number; just last week the NY Times revealed that the Bklyn District Attorney, Charles Hynes, was treating Orthodox child-molestation suspects very differently than others. They wield an immense amount of power, especially in the New York area.

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