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Blog about growing up in pseudo-Jewish cult


Soldier of the One

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This blog is by a thoughtful, brave woman with quite the story: her father founded an ultra-patriarchal pseudo-Jewish cult in which he abused his children, including her.

He married her off at 12 to a 15 year old boy and finally the two of them ran off.

 

She is now an Orthodox woman in a normative Orthodox community and she is describing her path to healing and self-discovery while at the same time trying to navigate her conservative worldview.

 

One of the things that made my head explode was her story of how her father would force her mother to wear a face veil - even inside the house.

Her father also made her mother kneel every time he entered the room. It's a horrible, tragic story but one with a happy ending, I hope.

 

http://marriedat12.blogspotDOTcom

 

I am breaking the link because I don't want her to feel watched or want her to flounce. I only wish her the best.

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I have been reading her blog too. I found through this post (which snarks on Anna T!): http://www.amotherinisraelDOTcom/submis ... age-women/

Dina is still quite a wreck and in some blogs her husband sounds...well, not quite there yet. I am hoping the whole family will heal from this experience.

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Soldevi,

Yes, that's how I found the blog - through 'A Mother in Israel'. Judaism may have its own gender stuff to deal with, but one thing Judaism does not promote: submission. I'd wager to say that the large majority of Orthodox Jewish women would laugh at the idea. I think No Longer Quivering also has a post on Jewish marital ethics versus Fundie Christian marital ethics.

I don't quite 'get' Anna T. So much of her rhetoric sounds so alien to Judaism. I wonder if she finds a sounding board in her community.

I really hope this family makes it through.

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Just read several of her posts. I hope they come to healing, but it sounds like it will be a very long process. Sounds like her husband is still finding his own way and she struggles with that.

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I enjoyed the post about how she perceived her experience as child bride while in the midst of the group and how she perceives it now after experiencing a different cultural expectation. It was very insightful to recognize her own feelings at the time and compare them to her feelings now. I think they both have a long, difficult journey ahead of them with all sorts of pitfalls their ubringing has left them vulnerable to. She still seems obsessed with modesty and submission but she is beginning to question why she feels as she does and to define the boundries for herself. I actually think hair covering would be very convenient at times, like today when my hair is out to there, and I would enjoy some cool snoods for those days. I cannot however imagine that doing so would make me feel more pious, only less obligated to tame the mane. I hope she and her husnad are able to negotiate new ways of being together. I don't feel like she is snark worthy, but worth watching to see how she evolves in future.

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She's definitely not snark-worthy, but for sure worth the watch.

Her views are still pretty extreme but I am struck by her openness to examine her position and to learn more about what makes her tick.

I also find her surprisingly eloquent, especially for a woman who probably was denied a solid education in her formative years. She's a smart lady.

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I read all of her posts, and I'll be honest - I am having a hard time believing it all.

It's not the horrific abuse that is hard for me - I weep for those who face that sort of thing.

But, something about the way she writes and things she says make me feel like something's off. I almost feel like she is going to reveal at some point that she and "eli" "got saved" and joined vision forum or something..

I dunno... I could be totally off.

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You know, I can kind of see what you mean. Like I wrote before, I find her eloquence both intriguing and surprising. There's something about the way she writes... it's an almost journalistic style. In any case, I am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. I doubt that she'd be a secret Christian parading as an Orthodox Jew. I think she's genuinely Jewish.

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I read all of her posts, and I'll be honest - I am having a hard time believing it all.

It's not the horrific abuse that is hard for me - I weep for those who face that sort of thing.

But, something about the way she writes and things she says make me feel like something's off. I almost feel like she is going to reveal at some point that she and "eli" "got saved" and joined vision forum or something..

I dunno... I could be totally off.

This one is pinging for me, too. I hope it's fictional and not a tale of a real person's hardship.

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Part of my hesitation to fully accept this blog at face value is that she says all of the right key phrases. And she has told us in 3 or 4 entries that she is quitting her job per her husband's request. I don't know, I can't place my finger on what is throwing me off.

Now, that said I was VERY similar in my writing style, and the things I said were true. I would spend entry upon entry lamenting on how I wanted to be "free in Christ", but felt the need to wear a headcovering, and should I wear this one or that one? Should I could the top of my head or all of my hair? Is it legalism to want to cover every inch of hair or am I just showing the most devotion I can? I mean Jesus did die for me, so I can at least cover my hair, right? :roll: :oops:

That really was how I wrote. So, perhaps she really is genuine and just in a lot of confusion.

I am a conservative Christian (who does not wear a headcovering :)), and don't hold to Orthodox Judaism, but I wish I knew some good Orthodox people to point her to. I think a HUGE thing for them is going to be community. It seems like there is already a large start to that and that is GREAT! I just hope Eli doesn't try to close the family off to "outsiders" 'cause then they will just be back in the same boat they were in. I want to know if Eli was abusing their girls until they left the compound.

Yeah know, that really is the main red flag for me. They haven't been "out" for very long, and yet she writes like someone well educated and very knowledgeable of "the world". And yet, at the same time still naive. I dunno, we'll see.

BTW, I really don't mean to judge. And if she is genuine I fully feel for her. I just couldn't help posting my wonderings.

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In what state is it legal to marry a 12-year-old, even with parental permission? Or is she not in the US?

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In what state is it legal to marry a 12-year-old, even with parental permission? Or is she not in the US?

It was a spiritual marriage, not a legal marriage.

That being said, I think in Alabama it was legal to marry at 12 up until maybe 10 years ago.

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Yes, again: her eloquence is what pings her for me. She sounds as if she attended college or something. But then again, we don't know whether she was able to self-educate or what kind of education she received in the interim or whether she's just very, very bright and talented. It's a hard judgment call; we also don't have enough information. But it is probably not uncommon for people to fabricate histories, especially not if you can receive validation through the Internet.

Another thing that pings for me is the 'veiling face' and 'kneeling before husband' story of her mother. It if is real, it is absolutely horrific. But it sounds so out-of-this-world. Also, just to play devil's advocate: if she and her husband escaped from a cult, wouldn't her story have received press coverage?

Then again: I wouldn't want to invalidate her experiences or accuse her of fabrications if her story was real. Then she deserves our compassion and respect. I have decided to err on the side of caution and go with the compassion and respect.

P.S. She and her husband probably didn't have a legal marriage but just a religious ceremony performed by an elder (her father?) in the community.

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This to me does not sound that far out of the realm of possibility. I knew of a girl in high school whose parents were raised in a cult and left when she was young, and the things you can rationalize are amazing. She's discussed how lucky she was to be as educated and having taken classes online.

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Hm...I never want to doubt abuse stories, but I'm feeling very raw after the Amina and Lezgetreal hoaxes. I'm curious if she saw the discussion here, her latest post says she's ill and thinking of going private, but if you know her or have a blog let her know so she can invite you to her private one. Hm.

Too much.

I am having complications with my pregnancy. Everything should be okay, G-d willing, but I am supposed to rest and greatly reduce my stress until my babies arrive. Caring for all of my children is hard enough (even with the help of my husband who is going above and beyond) when I'm supposed to spend much of the time in bed, but a friend has also convinced me that this blog is adding to my stress greatly. The issues writing about this stuff brings up for me, plus the responses from readers (and various e-mail exchanges I've become involved in), is not contributing to me being restful and calm during this time.

So I am considering deleting my blog or setting it to private. If you are someone who I know (online or off) or who has a blog I can see to verify their not being interested in my story only for titillation purposes, please feel free to leave your e-mail address or at least your blog address so I can send you an invite to my private blog if I end up going that route.

s!

hmm

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This one feels fictional to me. I don't know, I just don't buy it. The child marriage, the weird cult...dunno. It's like she's already been THROUGH it. I'm Jewish, and I'm sure there are pseudo-Jewish cults, but the submission thing is so not Jewish. It feels like she's writing a book. Something.

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When I read the April Rose blog I got this really skeevy feeling that I couldn't pinpoint as to why. I got exactly the same feeling reading Dina's blog. There's this too perky voice behind it. I don't buy it either.

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Hm...I never want to doubt abuse stories, but I'm feeling very raw after the Amina and Lezgetreal hoaxes. I'm curious if she saw the discussion here, her latest post says she's ill and thinking of going private, but if you know her or have a blog let her know so she can invite you to her private one. Hm.

hmm

Kelya, just for your info, she had posted that *just* before I posted her blog here, so I am pretty sure that it is unrelated. As far as we know, she might not know about this thread.

Edited because Alecto already made the same observation.

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I don't buy it either. I think it's weird that she translates every Hebrew word instead of just writing naturally - like she's obviously writing for an audience. Also the homeschooling thing - very odd for Jews, especially religious Jews, I also feel like an extreme Jewish cult, including physical and sexual abuse as well as child brides, is SO rare it should have made the news somewhere.

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Kelya, just for your info, she had posted that *just* before I posted her blog here, so I am pretty sure that it is unrelated. As far as we know, she might not know about this thread.

Edited because Alecto already made the same observation.

Yeah, I got the timestamps wrong. : ( my bad. But I'm still suspicious of this one.

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Guest Anonymous

I read through her blog, and I think it's for real. Some things made me wonder if she grew up in Texas. Anyone know?

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What convinces you it is real? It would be interesting to hear someone argue in her defense :)

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As someone who was raised as, and is currently an Orthodox Jew, I'm calling BS on this journal.

There are these little things, that if you grew up in my world, that seem TOTALLY off. I only had to go as far as her profile to see the blogs she was reading. A number of them are pseudo Jews practicing Messianic Judaism (such as our dear friend Lina). An Orthodox Jew would NEVER ever associate with that sort of thing.

Orthodox Judaism functions in a community. You will very rarely find an Orthodox Jew living alone in the middle of nowhere. The community in part, serves to set standards and check behavior. Some of Dina's behavior, like the type of garments she has her kids to wear, falls way outside of the Orthodox Jewish norms. You can go to Flatbush in Brooklyn and see every 10 year old, is basically dressed in a very similar manner, none of them would dare wear one of those fundie dresses Dina has for her kids.

Another flaw I found was that she mentions several times in her blog that her husband wants her to show a tefach (a biblical measurement, roughly 2 inches) of hair but wants her to only wear opaque tights. Those two things never go hand in hand. Women who show a tefach of hair, usually fall under the Modern Orthodox (slightly more liberal strain) umbrella, while women who will only wear dark opaque tights are members of Chasidic Orthodox Judaism (significantly more conservative). There is no such thing as a Modern Orthodox Chassic Jew. Period.

She goes on and on about dress, almost to the point of obsession, this is something typically a young person pretending and trying to show off would do. And really only a hypothetical situation. Real grown Orthodox women really never get into tznius (modesty) to that level.

I've only browsed through her blog, but I'm sure if I read more in depth, I'd be able to find dozens more inconsistencies.

Another thing that bothered me, outside of the Jewish things, is the fact that she is pregnant with twins. It's more dramatic. It just seems really fake.

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