Atheists v Hasids

American Atheists were going to give the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn a very nice atheist billboard. Dave Silverman says they get emails from atheists there who feel very alone; AA wanted to let them know they’re not alone.


Silverman was at the site with the advertising company to erect the giant sign atop a residential building.

But landlord Kenny Stier refused to allow workers from the advertising company Clear Channel into the building, said Silverman. He told The Brooklyn Paper that he believes powerful rabbis in the largely ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jewish area persuaded Stier to block the billboard.

“It has been very disconcerting to see that the traditional victims of religious bigotry have become the purveyors of religious bigotry,” said Silverman, who was raised in the Jewish faith.

I’ve been reading Deborah Feldman’s Unorthodox; lots of religious bigotry there. Jesse Kornbluth reports that the Satmars (the branch of Hasid-ism [is that a word?] that Feldman was raised in, and left, and wrote a book about) have been needling him for writing a favorable review of the book. He also says they’ve been straining at a gnat while swallowing a camel.

What’s fascinating to me in all this is that the Satmars only want to engage on the smallest points:, like where Feldman went to school and the technicalities of her mother’s divorce, I’ve received not a word of protest about the conclusion of my review, which was, I thought, the most damning:

The real issue is sex. Not the act, but what it signifies — male control of women. That old story. We see it in far too many places; dehumanizing women is a key component of fundamentalist cults, from hardcore Muslims to certain Republicans.

Men who oppress women — they say they love them, but it seems more like they fear and hate them — haven’t been taught that sex is our reward for making it through the day. Like their women, these men have been sold the idea that sex is just for procreation. No wonder they feel like they’re the ones who are oppressed.

There are claims in this book that Hasids have disputed. I can’t tell what’s true. But I’m sure of one thing: Men who can’t live equally with women aren’t worth living with.

Why didn’t the Satmars take me on about the blatant sexism that oppresses both women and men in their community?

Because what could they say?


  1. Captaintripps says

    Hasidism is most definitely a word. As well, as an atheist Jew, I like to point out the Hasidim in Brooklyn as an instance of unenlightenment when fellow New Yorkers congratulate themselves about how tolerant we are here.

    I love the concluding quote from Kornbluth: “Men who can’t live equally with women aren’t worth living with.”

  2. says

    Sorry, can’t give a link because it’s on an “only members can read” forum. But I am currently looking at a post that describes these atheist ads as “strident”.

    I’m having trouble imagining what “non-strident” would be.

  3. So sure, huh. says

    “Men who can’t live equally with women aren’t worth living with.”

    Men living in modern society (the bulk of men around today) who expect to get serviced by the women they date, in order to continue the relationship, and expect the women to comply or they look for greener pastures, are way less worth living with!

  4. Gullible goose? says

    I get emails from rabbits cohabitating with tigers, while drinking tea and swinging from chandeliers, written in perfect English.

  5. Jake says

    Hi Ophelia, you should read more about Deborah Feldman on the website of the “heretic” (he was officially excommunicated and stigmatised as such by the Habad hasidic movement) Shmarya Rosenberg, I haven’t read “Unorthodox” and I suspect it is a fairly authentic portrayal parts of the ultraorthodox world, but Feldman’s credibility and integrity have been seriously called into question.

  6. Jason says

    Feldman has NO credibility after she was caught fabricating many of the evens, Feldman was kicked out from a more Modern Orthodox school in her younger for speaking about SEX, yet her aunt was nice enough to accommodate Deborah into Satmar school, it sounds like Feldman had a very loving and caring Aunt.

    Also note that on shmaray Rosenberg from Failed Messiah Blog, there is a Poem written by Deborah Feldman when she was 8 years old, which means she fabricated the story that she had a 4th grade education, please google Deborah Feldman to find out the truth.

  7. says

    When I was a young boy and also did not know the way the internet labored, or even had a computer, all of us played in outside fields coupled with fun with one another, today it all happen online, its technologies and in some way a good thing, these days it have become the life of several, sitting by yourself in front of the screen feeling you’ve got friends in cyberspace, its kind associated with sad, however we simply must live with this kind of, its the so-called long term…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *