July 26, 2015

"Imagine not knowing that the sun is a star, or that there’s a solar system."

"Imagine not knowing what a human cell is, or what menstruation is, or, until you’re 18 and three weeks away from your arranged marriage, what sex is and how it works. Imagine never asking for a puppy growing up, because dogs bark, and that means they are beasts and demons. Imagine you have been told for your entire life that in the secular world, people mainly rape, pillage and murder, that it’s all a lawless meaningless free-for-all, and you are safe only in your little enclave, where these things do not happen."

64 comments:

PB said...

It takes a village...

Hagar said...

Sounds very much like Ayaan Hirsi Ali's accounts of life in Third World Moslem countries.

YoungHegelian said...

When a female rabbi explained sex to her three weeks before her wedding, “it was quite the shock,” she says.

Wait, what? A female rabbi in an ultra-Orthodox community? When I read something like that in an article I wonder just how tight the rest of the article is in its facts.

Yes, I know that there are some attempts, by the "Modern Orthodox" to include women, but not by the Hasidic sect that Ms Mayer came from.

Michael K said...

Islam is a Jewish heresy and this shows where it came from.

William said...

Good catch, younghegelian.........Many years ago I worked in an office that qualified Hasidics for financial assistance through the city. They knew how to play the game. I only spoke to the men. They dressed strangely, but they were sane and knew the world they were living in.......I'm sure their religion drives some of its members crazy and works for other members. Blowing up airplanes is not a tenet of their faith so I'm inclined to let them work out their destiny in their own way without outside interference.

Birches said...

Ask most people walking Santa Monica Blvd if the sun is a star....you'll be surprised.

EDH said...

"...but still producing thirteen children generally throughout her lifetime, working for cash only so that Uncle Sam can help with food stamps, Section 8 and Medicaid.”

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the difference with the progressive program is that children are forced to attend costly but deficient public schools in order not to learn all those same things?

Terry said...

Dante put Mohammed and Ali in the 8th circle of Hell, with the schismatics:

A cask by losing centre-piece or cant
Was never shattered so, as I saw one
Rent from the chin to where one breaketh wind.

Between his legs were hanging down his entrails;
His heart was visible, and the dismal sack
That maketh excrement of what is eaten.

While I was all absorbed in seeing him,
He looked at me, and opened with his hands
His bosom, saying: "See now how I rend me;

How mutilated, see, is Mahomet;
In front of me doth Ali weeping go,
Cleft in the face from forelock unto chin;

And all the others whom thou here beholdest,
Disseminators of scandal and of schism
While living were, and therefore are cleft thus.


Makes sense. Islam could be seen as a variety of Arianism.

Gahrie said...

....and the attacks on religious faith continue......except for Islam of course, that's a religion of peace!

Terry said...

The actor Jeremy Piven was raised in a Jewish sect that, as far as I can tell, believed in Jews but not in God. Do Jews even have heretics?

Achilles said...

I thought they were describing Afghanistan. The people in the opening blurb you have as a teaser are enlightened compared to them. They don't wait for the women to turn 18. As far as the sun the women rarely if ever even know there is something outside the walls they can't leave.

On the other hand there are a large number of women in this country that have convinced themselves white US males are worse people than the Muslim males that would beat them and stuff them in a burka. Soon you will get your wish if you keep this garbage up. Many of us regret protecting some of you people and your 1st world life.

Fernandinande said...

Birches said...
Ask most people walking Santa Monica Blvd if the sun is a star....you'll be surprised.


According to University of Virginia physicist James Trefil, "[t]he general level of scientific knowledge, even among educated people, is very low. There are a lot of people who don’t know the sun is a star’" (Detjen, 1995, p. S-60). A survey by Northern Illinois University reported that one-third of the respondents did not know what a molecule is, two-thirds did not understand what radiation is, and five-sixths did not grasp the basics of genetic engineering. In addition, 57% believed electrons are bigger than atoms, 63% said dinosaurs and humans occupied the earth simultaneously, and 73% thought lasers focus on sound waves rather than light waves (Detjen, 1995).

Fernandinande said...

YoungHegelian said...
When I read something like [female rabbi] in an article I wonder just how tight the rest of the article is in its facts.


Like this? still producing thirteen children generally throughout her lifetime

"On average, Orthodox Jews are much younger and tend to have much higher fertility than the overall Jewish population – an average of 4.1 children among Orthodox Jews in the survey ages 40-59, compared with 1.9 children per Jewish adult overall.

Anonymous said...

Religion teaches some people a lot of goofy ideas. Imagine being told your entire life that a corporation is a person, a zygote is a baby, and that gravity is just a theory.

tim maguire said...

I too thought this would be about an Islamic community (and about a boy--how could a girl go to 18 without knowing about menstruation?).

It's not news that life is very hard for the "Unchosen" as they can't function in the modern world. They have to rely on a small number of friends who usually did not carefully consider what they were getting into when they counselled their orthodox friend to escape. Oftan nobody is prepared to give them the help they need.

Just an opinion to YoungHegelian--I doubt there are significant mistakes in the article, the Daily News and many of its readers are in a position to know what orthodox society is like.

tim maguire said...

Edit: after reading Ferdinande's statistics, I should note that we are using Orthodox not quite accurately. What we're really talking about are Hasidim, who are extreme even by Orthodox standards.

Michael K said...

"a corporation is a person, a zygote is a baby, and that gravity is just a theory."

When I incorporated, I went to a lecture by a corporate lawyer who explained that a corporation could do everything a living person could do except one thing. He said, "A corporation can't go to jail. Only the officers can do that."

A zygote has the same number of chromosomes and genes as the adult. How many cells do you require for a person ?

Please post your evidence that gravity is not a theory.

Gahrie said...

"a corporation is a person, a zygote is a baby, and that gravity is just a theory.

All true. What is your point?

Gahrie said...

Do Jews even have heretics?

Yes..they're called Christians.

Fernandinande said...

tim maguire said...
Edit: after reading Ferdinande's statistics, I should note that we are using Orthodox not quite accurately. What we're really talking about are Hasidim, who are extreme even by Orthodox standards.


Well, in that case:
Hasidic Jews marry at age 18, 21 while Yeshivish marry at ages 21 - 24. Both have large blessed families, with averages of 10- 12 children with some even having close to twenty.

Fun fact! An anagram of "Hasidic Jews" is "Jew id is cash".

Anglelyne said...

madisonfella: Religion teaches some people a lot of goofy ideas. Imagine being told your entire life that a corporation is a person...

I'm trying to remember the name of the religion of those ignorant fundies who believe that the legal concept of corporate personhood originated with Citizens United. Help me out here.

Fernandinande said...

Michael K said...
Please post your evidence that gravity is not a theory."


Now it's three theories

Terry said...

"Imagine being told your entire life that a corporation is a person"
Imagine believing that people who work together stop being people. How many times have Liberals foolishly proposed that unions resent people while corporations represent money?
Unions are corporations.

Anonymous said...

The idea that it's possible to suppress speech without suppressing the speech of a person strikes me as a good deal more bizarre than anything the Hasidim believe.

FleetUSA said...

Simply amazing in NYC too.

Anglelyne said...

Fernandinande: According to University of Virginia physicist James Trefil, "[t]he general level of scientific knowledge, even among educated people, is very low. There are a lot of people who don’t know the sun is a star’"...

Yeah, that's why I don't put much stock in those "ha ha, look at how stupid Group X is" polls. Most people are pretty ignorant about basic science. E.g., Ivy Leaguers are apparently as likely as creationist rubes to believe that it's cold in winter "'cause the earth is farther away from the sun then", and, surprise, surprise, the European person-on-the-street is just as clueless as the fabled 'Merkin igmo when a pollster sticks a microphone in his face for a pop-quiz.

Coupe said...

It could be worse. She could have been circumcised.

In Egypt, about 90 percent of girls are cut between 5 and 14 years old. However, in Yemen, more than 75 percent of girls are cut before they are 2 weeks old.

MayBee said...

I bet a lot of people are reading this while eating their gluten free, non-gmo muffins.

David said...

Gotta admit that I do not understand the "redirection" tag, especially after reviewing earlier examples.

SukieTawdry said...

Remember when Bill Clinton granted sentence reductions to the New Square Four during the Great Pardon Fiasco on his way out of town? New Square is a New York Hasidic community and four of its members had been convicted of defrauding the government to obtain social welfare benefits, grants and loans. Hillary visited New Square during her Senate campaign and the community delivered what amounted to a block vote to her, so naturally since it was the Clinton's, everyone questioned whether there was quid pro quo involved. Good times.

If people want to form closed societies, that's their right. Such communities, however, are not economically viable and taxpayers should not be expected, or required, to subsidize their members' religious and lifestyle choices.

That being said, there are elements of that article that don't ring true.

ken in tx said...

Islam is not a version of Arianism. Arians believed that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost were three separate divine beings. Islam is more nearly a version of Unitarianism, (or Socinianism,the older term) like Islam, Unitarians accept Jesus as a prophet but not as the son of God.

BTW, the Vandals who sacked Roman territory were Arian Christians.

Hagar said...

Gravity exists, and so is not a theory.
How it works now, about that there are several theories.

Sammy Finkelman said...

female rabbi

I believe I know what she is talking about, but the word is completely wrong.

Either the person who wrote this is extremely ignorant, which is actually impossible
for Faigy Meyer, even if she deliberately flunked Yiddish in school.

OR

She has adopted terminology used by other people.

OR

This was actually ghostwritten, by someone who talked to and listened to her, but didn't get some details right.

===========================

What she is talking about is that they are taught absolutely nothing about sex. (this was so bad that one time a sex abuser was able to talk some girls scheduled to be married into having sex with him, not knowing that it was sex, or at least they didn't know how to stop the "examination" once it started.)

But before they get married, but not so early that anybody would be tempted to experiment, (and to prevent any kind of experimental premature sex about-to-be-married couples are also kept apart in the period immediately before the wedding) this is all explained to them.

It has to be explained before marriage because there are rules about when and under what circumstances a woman is allowed to have sex. They can't for five days after menstruation starts, then are added an extra 7 clean days, during which she tests herself with a clean cloth, and then there is immersion in a mikveh. (ritual bath)

It actually works out to, for most women, that they will have intercourse at her most fertile point in the cycle.

Now only a female will explain this to a female. This is known as a "kallah" (Hebrew for bride) teacher.

Somehow this teacher (another word for teacher could be morah) was transformed into a "Rabbi."

I don't know if Feigy Mayer did that, or somebody else did that.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Lots of thinking people are religious. I go to a church where my masters is looked upon like Wolowoitz's in The Big Bang Theory. Just today my wife and I were speaking to a fellow church member and she mentioned her son was soon going to graduate from his Ph.d program soon. One of the people on the church council had to resign because she working full time, had two kids, and was working on her Ph.d and did not have enough time to devote to the position. Masters and Doctorates are common where I go to church. And these aren't humanities degrees, nope were talking STEM.

People who insist that only the unintelligent and/or unthinking can believe in God are indulging in their own brand of fundamentalism.

Michael K said...

"Now it's three theories"

Now, just leave Inga alone. She is trying to figure out how many cells a zygote has to have before it is a person.

Larvell said...

This author better watch out -- when Ayaan Hirsi Ali said much less provocative things about Islam, she was read out of civilized society by the left, which was angrier at her than against the people trying to kill her for her apostasy. I imagine this author will receive the same treatment, right?

The Godfather said...

Like all the other readers of Althouse.com, I know that the sun is a star, that there's a solar system, etc. I know all the things that the writer says she didn't know. None of it makes a difference in my life, so who cares? Yeah, the part about not learning about sex until marriage is a little problematic. Much better to have huge numbers of children born to unmarried mothers and absent fathers, right?

We live (thank God!) in a free society, and if your community's values don't work for you, you're free to opt out. But don't think that means you've moved up to a higher plane of knowledge: Different, yes; higher, not necessarily.

Original Mike said...

"None of it makes a difference in my life, so who cares?"

Knowing my place in the universe means a very great deal to me.

The Godfather said...

@bigmike: How and why?

Original Mike said...

@The Godfather: I don't know that I can provide an eloquent answer. It's emotional, not logical. I find myself "here" and I want to know where "here" is. I'll never know that in detail, but what I can know is important to me. Existence (my own, and the universe's) blows me away. That's not unusual. (BTW, Big Mike is a different commenter.)

Sammy Finkelman said...

Larvell said...7/26/15, 4:50 PM

This author better watch out

The purported author is dead. She committee suicide on Monday, July 20, 2015 just after she had posted childhood pictures on Facebook saying:

"My family refuses to allow me to have my baby pictures, so finding these pics were cool!"

She then went to a rooftop bar at 230 Fifth Avenue (at about 27th St) asked for directions to the outside view, and then went over the ledge. On purpose. She was at the point of being evicted by her roommates, and maybe also didn't have a job or was losing it or something.

This writing comes from a "close friend" who says she sent it to her on Sunday, July 12, 2015.

Freeman Hunt said...

For thousands of years people got on without knowing about stars or cells. Weird these days for sure, but I don't know that it should ruin your life.

R. Chatt said...

"Sounds very much like Ayaan Hirsi Ali's accounts of life in Third World Moslem countries." That's the intended conclusion I suspect, that all religions are the same. Very much the same except that the most religious Jews don't practice female genital mutilation, don't marry their 10 year old daughters to 50 year old men, don't have multiple wives, don't tolerate domestic violence, don't honor kill their children for leaving the faith, don't slaughter girls for going to school. On second thought, maybe they aren't that much alike.

Deb said...

"What we're really talking about are Hasidim, who are extreme even by Orthodox standards".
And even within the hasidim there are extremes.

Bill said...

One recent poll showed that 26% didn't know that the earth orbited the sun, so there's that. And they likely do just fine.

Coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr Weevil said...

Fun fact! An anagram of "Fernandinande" is "Fanned Ani Nerd" and "Ani" is the plural of "Anus".

Bob R said...

I always love the "people don't know the earth orbits the sun" trope. Most people who say this could not explain why a heliocentric view of motion is "right." They certainly could not square this with the fact that every map or globe they have ever used is geocentric (therefore "wrong.") More people should be cautious of whom they refer to as an "ultra-orthodox sect."

YoungHegelian said...

@Bob R,

More people should be cautious of whom they refer to as an "ultra-orthodox sect."

Perhaps you, too, should learn to read more carefully, since you put in quotes a line that was not used as you quoted it in my post.

Is the term "ultra Orthodox" seen as an insult by the Jewish communities to whom it is often applied? Maybe they don't like the term, but it's in wide usage. Also, let's not kid ourselves that these Jews are not judgmental about the standing of their Jewish kindred in almost every other variety of Judaism except themselves. If the Hasidim would like not to be judged, they might want to start by granting that indulgence to their fellow Jews. Yeah, I know --- fat chance.

As for the word "sects", it is a neutral term for divisions within & without of religious communities, e.g. "sectarian violence". If I wanted to be insulting I would have used the word "cult", which I would never do with any Jewish community. Hasidism is factually obviously not the whole of the modern Jewish faith. It is, as a subset of modern Judaism, a "sect".

Paul said...

Israel has a big problem with ultra orthodox Jews to. They refuse to serve, game the welfare benefits, produce huge families, and form enclaves cut off from all others. Recently Israel got real pissed at all this and are now trying to force them to, you know, carry their own weight in society instead of being leaches.

Even alot of other Jews don't like them.

JackOfVA said...

Sherlock Holmes as described by Watson in "A Study in Scarlet":


His ignorance was as remarkable as his knowledge. Of contemporary literature, philosophy and politics he appeared to know nothing. Upon my quoting Thomas Carlyle, he inquired in the naivest way who he might be and what he had done. My surprise reached a climax, however, when I found incidentally that he was ignorant of the Copernican Theory and of the composition of the Solar System. That any civilized being in this nineteenth century should not be aware that the earth traveled round the sun appeared to me to be such an extraordinary fact that I could hardly realize it.

Holmes then explained why:

I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skillful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that this little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it, there comes a time when for any addition of knowledge, you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.

gerry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gerry said...

"...that it’s all a lawless meaningless free-for-all, and you are safe only in your little enclave, where these things do not happen."

Sounds like life in Detroit.

gerry said...

Yes..they're called Christians.

That made me smile, especially since the only places where sacrifices are now offered to God on altars is in Catholic and Christian Orthodox churches.

When the temple is rebuilt in Jerusalem, that will change, of course.

Bobby said...

Paul,

My Israeli sister-in-law (whose family claim to have the last seven generations born in Israel- or I guess we'd say what is now Israel, for the first few gens) hates the Haredi (ultra Orthodox).

She's extremely passionate about Israeli national security (to which the vast majority of Haredi contribute in no way whatsoever, as they are exempted from military service) and a dedicated entrepreneur (to which the heavy taxes required to subsidize the Haredi lifestyle is compounded by their general lack of participation in the economy), and sees them as worse than leeches. She can rail for hours- literally- about how Bibi's decision to get in bed with them is the worst possible thing for Israel's future, and can't understand why American conservatives can't understand that.

Interestingly, she views the extreme ultra Orthodox as more pathetic and doesn't seem to despise them nearly as much.

Static Ping said...

To refer back to my original comment, my rule of thumb still stands. I still ignore the philosophical advice of those who commit suicide barring some mitigating factors. After reading this article I do feel sorry for this woman but it is still foolish to go beyond that.

The group she left sounds much like an extreme version of the Pharisees in the New Testament. I do not approve.

Larvell said...

This author better watch out

The purported author is dead. She committee suicide on Monday, July 20, 2015


Maureen Callahan committed suicide on July 20? And then wrote an article for the New York Post on July 26? That's incredible.

Thorley Winston said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thorley Winston said...

Faigy Mayer, the woman featured in the article, committed suicide. Maureen Callahan, the author, is still alive AFAIK.

Rick said...

“I feel as though Hasidic Judaism shouldn’t exist at all,” Mayer wrote.

This reminds me of the Elian Gonzalez affair. In both cases the individuals faced extremely harsh and life-limiting conditions in their birth environment. I think most people see this and are conflicted, we don't like people making such limiting choices for others (even family) but there aren't good solutions either. But I don't recall anyone on the left being conflicted over sending Gonzalez back to Cuba. In fact they seemed giddy over the opportunity.

Robert Cook said...

"For thousands of years people got on without knowing about stars or cells. Weird these days for sure, but I don't know that it should ruin your life."

Nature abhors a vacuum: Ignorance about the workings of the material world leads to the invention of fantastic beliefs to explain those workings, and the more one is willing to believe "knowledge" that isn't rational or true, the more one is an irrational being. A society of irrational beings leads to witch hunts and the killing of individuals for "sorcery," and other such horrors. You know, like the dark ages, (which much of the world still resides in to greater or lesser degree).

MikeR said...

"My Israeli sister-in-law (whose family claim to have the last seven generations born in Israel- or I guess we'd say what is now Israel, for the first few gens) hates the Haredi (ultra Orthodox)." Well, yes. Israel is very conflicted right now, and the Chareidi and the secular Israelis there (Chiloni) have very different views on what the country should look like. If you're a secular American, don't be surprised if you're more likely to side with the secular Israelis. You probably won't be sympathetic to the sincere belief of the Chareidi that their yeshivos and elementary schools are more important to the defense of the land than the IDF.
You're less likely to hate them than a secular Israeli, who has to deal with the fact that they are a hefty proportion of the population and growing rapidly.
But secular Israelis are really upset with the non-ultra-Orthodox over there as well, mostly represented by the National Religious Party (Mizrachi). Those are the ones building settlements across the Green Line in the belief that they are defending that part of the Holy Land.
In short, emotions run high in that part of the world, and your sister's point of view is unfortunate but pretty common. Doesn't make her right; these other groups have been in the land all along too.

Sammy Finkelman said...

The quotation came from Faigy Mayer. The starft of the article is mostly a quotation from her. And that's who said the provacative things, and that's whom you would compare to Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Re: "Female Rabbi"

I had a better idea. It could be a translaton of "rebbetzin" Faigy Mayer may have decided on that some time before.

A Rebbetzin is (in Yiddish, and also in English) a Rabbi's wife. In Eastern Europe in the 1800s and later and earlier, a Rabbi's wife would also be ateacher to the women, guiding them in prayer when they came, and telling them common things that weren't so known to all the women. So I think in her Hassidic community they called a teachers of women about to get married a "rebbetzin. They way they call a teacher of boys (of Jewish subjects) in school a "Rabbi" even though they might not be a Rabbi.

Now in this kind of a case Faigy Mayer couldn't call a "Rebbetzin" a Rabbi's wife, because she wasn't necessarily a Rabbi's wife. Ergo: Female Rabbi.