You Don’t Have to Buy the Book: Wonders of the Way Back Machine
There’s a lot of hullabaloo about Deborah Feldman’s book, what she says or doesn’t say, what she claims or doesn’t claim. Well we can all thank the way back machine that you won’t have to actually buy the book to read some of the more controversial parts, you can read them in Deborah Feldman’s own words. While she may have shut down her old blog, Hasidic Feminist, in order for people not to be able to read what she said, and more importantly what she meant, which is expressed more thoroughly in the comments, unfortunately for her, this is the internet, nothing you post every truly goes away, not with the Way Back machine.
For instance you can read her thrilling account of her first and only Kallah lesson, the night before her marriage. Never mind halakha, never mind that she was actually educated in public school and spent her spare time at Barnes and Noble, never mind that… well you get the idea. You get to read about how she discovers that she has lady parts on the night before her arranged marriage, with a groom she had never met(despite dating him for three months before agreeing to marry him). You can also read her admissions in the comments that she fictionalized the account for effect. I guess that part didn’t make it into Simon and Schuster’s version.
Likewise you can read about how she was monthly tormented by the sexual predators that man the mivkah, because you know only perverts and deviants would give there time to work in such a place. Again the comments are equally compelling where you get to hear how she has no actual proof and despite the obvious libel, she stands by it because it is compelling reading. Now don’t dare call this a Chillul HaShem because the more left leaning amongst us will accuse you of hypocrisy. Whether or not it is a Chillul HaShem in terms of what is defined in the Gemarra, I’m not going to venture to prove. However, accusing every mikvah attendant of being a homosexual-pervert-sexual predator, definitely is a motzei shem ra(without some serious proof). I will leave it to you dear reader to decide whether or not falsely vilifying another Jew, or as in this case an entire subset of Jews, is a Chillul HaShem.
You can also read about the murder cover up, which she is now back peddling to say that she isn’t entirely certain if it happened. You know the murder that the State Police and Coroner both ruled a suicide. The man who was 20 not 13. You know that one. The one she is now not so certain happened. Again I say check her comments, you will see that when questioned, she is most assuredly certain that this took place exactly as she reported it(despite it being an odd hearsay). There’s no equivocation there(but then there is no media outlet there claiming to have the official documents).
So you don’t have to read her book to make up your mind, you just have to make use of the Way Back Machine.