The Satmar Chainsaw Massacre, Or, the Adventures of Liar McPantsonfire
Based on a fake story.
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.
Even “The Forward,” which is a loud cheerleader of anything which is unfriendly to the Hasidic community, finds this “memoir” too much to swallow.
While everyone has the right to choose the lifestyle and faith they wish to lead, Ms. Feldman’s silly antics are embarrassing to those with more compelling, and more truthful stories to tell. There is much resentment against her, not only from the community that she so cheerfully maligns with sensational, made-up gossip, but from others who have more legitimate complaints, who feel that she has discredited them all.
There are people who have left the community after being molested, after suffering from bullying attacks, who have even lost dear friends to suicide due to doubts about sexual identity and anti-gay bullying. These are serious issues that need to be addressed, but this sensationally stupid fake “memoir” is making a mockery out of other people’s genuine pain as well as feeding genuine anti-Semitism.
Another question being raised, is, how did Ms. Feldman land a big fat publishing contract from Simon & Schuster and a gig on “The View” when other writers of greater talent and more compelling stories to tell have only piled up rejection slips? Who did she know and who did she blow?