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Hasidic

This Woman Left Her Strict Ultra-Orthodox Community–Here’s Why

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Frieda Vizel rebelled. She grew up in Kiryas Joel, which is a Hasidic community in upstate New York. It’s so cloistered from the outside world that she didn’t watch a lot of TV or read mainstream magazines.

A few years ago, however, she started living more on her own terms–she started reading the newspaper, watching Magnum P.I. “on a contraband Dell computer” and began blogging at Shpitzle Shtrimpkind–under a pseudonym.

“Hope you will do better than this piece of crap,” one early commenter from within the community kvetched.

Then, once Frieda became a mom, she made the choice to leave her Hasidic community and officially left when her son was 5.

Now she owns and operates a tour company called Visit Hasidim, where she takes visitors on walking tours of Hasidic Williamsburg in Brooklyn.

Frida tells more about her journey leaving the Hasidic community she grew up in this podcast episode over at The Longest Shortest Time. We highly recommend taking the time to listen.

“I was undoing lots of ways of thinking,” she says as a guest on the podcast.

By tangling with her commenters and trying to argue with them, she ended up changing her mind about many issues–and sowing the seeds for her own departure from the community. Her burgeoning rebellion–refusing to shave her head, for instance–led to deep conflict with her husband, threats against her child, and eventually her departure.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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