fbpx

You Don’t Like My UnOrthodox Life? Try An UnOrthodox Education.

If you have come here for spoilers on My UnOrthodox Life, you’ll be disappointed because I haven’t watched it. But this post isn’t about My UnOrthodox Life per se, but about the reaction from Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox leaders, writers, and influencers to the show.

Some of those writers and commentators hadn’t watched the show either. Because these criticisms weren’t really about the content of the show. They were about the audacity of Netflix to share the story and experience of a woman who is unabashedly critical of various aspects of the Haredi system.

And that’s something we have a lot of experience with.

For years, as we have advocated for the tens of thousands of children who are being denied an education in hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Yeshivas across New York, we have been belittled and dismissed. Media outlets that gave us a platform were accused of being anti Orthodox and antisemitic. We were even accused multiple times of causing various horrific antisemitic attacks against Orthodox Jews.

These weren’t isolated cases, either. Just last week, a Chabad rabbi from Kentucky accused Yaffed along with Netflix of causing the stabbing of another Chabad Rabbi in Boston. Attempting to blame activists, who are oftentimes members or former members of the Haredi community, for antisemitic violence is a reprehensible tactic used to silence dissent. 

Now some people are criticizing the My UnOrthodox Life show for inaccuracies about the star’s life. Some argue the way they claim they didn’t get an education is untrue and that other portrayals of Haredi life are invented as well.

Still, what even some critics of My UnOrthodox Life would likely agree with is that the majority of Hasidic boys do not receive a basic education as required by New York State law. In fact, even Haredi and Hasidic rabbis and leaders have openly acknowledged it.

Yet those critics have attempted to silence us as well.

So if you are not into reality TV, or if you think My UnOrthodox Life doesn’t portray the community, or even the star’s life accurately, that’s OK. But let’s agree to allow people who have legitimate grievances to tell their stories without being demonized or told they are causing antisemitism.

Coincidentally, an independent producer has recently completed a draft of a documentary that has already been more than a year in the making, entitled An UnOrthodox Education.

It’s not reality TV, it’s definitely not salacious, it does not portray the community in a bad light, and it doesn’t sensationalize the facts. It’s about telling the story about secular education in Yeshivas, and about Yaffed’s efforts to bring about reform. Yeshiva graduates and parents control the narrative, speaking their truth and telling their stories.

As luck would have it, on July 28th, at 7pm,  we are doing an exclusive screening of this film to mark the six year anniversary since the New York City Department of Education launched their investigation into several dozen Hasidic Yeshivas. That investigation later found that 26 of 28 Yeshivas they investigated failed to meet minimum standards.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion, featuring Yeshiva graduates and parents.

Use this link to sign up for the exclusive screening, and we look forward to seeing you there.

And feel free to spread the word by inviting your friends to this Facebook event.

Leave a Comment

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

Stay Informed.

Sign Up For Our News & Alerts
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
WordPress Image Lightbox Plugin

Send a Letter

It is imperative that the people who hold the power to affect change, do. And your voice can help inspire education officials and political players to take action. Click below to submit a letter to NYC Council Education Committee Chair Rita Joseph. 

Invite Us to Speak

Awareness is the first step to achieving change. Please invite us to speak at your synagogue, club, community, center, etc.

Join a Network

You’re invited to band together with a community of individuals from your own area of expertise or personal interest to help advance Yaffed’s mission drawing on your personal experience or professional interests. 

Follow Us

You’re not going to want to miss our content! We’ll keep you posted on everything from media headlines and political players’ stance on this issue, to the real-life stories of individuals who have attended Hasidic Yeshivas.

Donate

A gift to Yaffed goes a long way in instilling meaningful change. With your financial support we can: amp up our advocacy efforts, launch strategic new initiatives, expand our reach, and place extra pressure on the people who hold the power to move this issue forward. 

Subscribe

We’d love to send you the latest news and information coming from Yaffed. Enter the following information below to be added to our mailing list of regular updates:

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

join a network of lawyers, educators, communal leaders, and others

  • Please let us know your availability to appear in person or virtually at events in which we need members of the public to speak out.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.