A profile of New Square, the small and insular village in upstate New York, and its rebbe, David Twersky, who exerts extreme control over his followers. Winner of 2015 Ippies Award, and nominated for a 2015 reporting newspaper award from The Deadline Club.
Lipa Schmeltzer is a Hasidic pop star, but he's also a student at Columbia University. And his path there wasn't an easy one given his lack of a secular education. Raised in the insular village of New Square, Lipa faced insurmountable challenges to achieve stardom and academic success. Listen to my story for PRI's The World.
A personal essay on how I — a Satmar Hasidic woman with a non-accredited high school diploma whose proud achievement in life, aside from producing and raising two beautiful children, was being a great balebuste, or housewife — landed at artsy-fartsy Sarah Lawrence College.
Tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews joined together in a rally in Manhattan to protest Israel’s efforts to draft haredim. But, not everyone was on the same page.
A Mother's Day tribute to my mom, or mamme, the stoic woman who birthed and raised twelve children and is the inspiration for much in my life.
I was 23 years old when I first started to drive. It’s not that I was afraid; I wasn’t allowed. Because I'm a woman. Listen to my radio story for PRI's The World .
My response to the documentary One of Us, a film that follows three individuals seeking to leave their Hasidic communities. The film is a searing indictment, not of a community and its flock, but of an indoctrination that is so vast and so deeply ingrained in a peoples’ mindset that nothing — not even a mother’s right to her own flesh and blood — can override it.
A review of "All Who Go Do Not Return," a raw and riveting memoir by Shulem Deen. The book details Deen's loss of faith, how he left the insular Hasidic community of New Square, and how, in the process of transitioning, he lost the hearts of his five children to the cunning of the community.
For most Americans, a solid high school education is a stepping stone to college. But Hasidic boys and girls who choose to pursue a higher degree do not have this foundation to build on. Listen to this audio documentary, originally produced for The Forward, about individuals who took the leap from a rudimentary Hasidic education to college.
A profile of a well-known con artist who presents himself as an Orthodox Jew, and has been ID’d by more than a dozen Orthodox victims. They say he tricked them into giving him money with tales of woe.
An essay on shaving my head as a Hasidic woman. "The morning after my wedding, three months after my 18th birthday, my mother shaved my head, and I felt absolutely nothing. Was I supposed to feel sad at this loss? Was I supposed to feel violated? I did not. "
You can tell a lot about a Jewish male by the type of yarmulke, also referred to as kippah, that he wears. In an effort to demystify the yarmulke, here is a basic guideline to the current yarmulke trends, with a focus on Orthodox Jewish men in America.
You can tell a lot about an Orthodox woman by the type of wig or other head covering she wears. In an effort to demystify the sheitel (wig), here is a list (a taxonomy, if you will) of the various wigs American Orthodox women wear, and what each head covering signifies about the woman’s family and community affiliations.
An audio mockumentary on Kallah/Chosson teachers, an integral part of sex education and marriage in ultra-Orthodox and Hasidic Jewish cultures. Because the sexes are strictly segregated, these teachers are THE sex educators - teaching young brides and grooms about the birds and the bees.
My coverage of one of the most high-profile cases in Rockland County: A Hasidic man from New Square was accused of sexually molesting a young boy from the age of eight until shortly after his bar mitzvah. The man was acquitted.