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Descriptions du produit
Revue de presse
Complex and heart-wrenchingly compelling. --Caroline Leavitt, Boston Globe
"Winston . . . builds fascinating case studies, inviting readers into her interviewees' conflicted, and often painful, lives . . . show[ing] us a Hasidic underworld where large families and a lack of secular education have resulted in extreme poverty and some serious at-risk behavior among youth. Her story of courage and intellectual rebellion will inspire anyone who has ever felt like a religious outcast." --Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Good for Hasidim, non-Hasidim and every reader who responds to one of the oldest plots on Earth-the need of some people to leave the community that raised them, and figure out the world for themselves." --Carlin Romano, Philadelphia Inquirer
"Dives fearlessly into a fascinating topic . . . Winston channels the exhilaration of her subjects' newfound freedom, without losing all compassion for the disappointed—even angry—community they are leaving behind."--Holly Lebowitz Rossi, Dallas Morning News
Présentation de l'éditeur
Honorable Mention in the 2012 Casey Medals for Meritorious Journalism
When Hella Winston began talking with Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn for her doctoral dissertation in sociology, she was surprised to be covertly introduced to Hasidim unhappy with their highly restrictive way of life and sometimes desperately struggling to escape it. Unchosen tells the stories of these "rebel" Hasidim, serious questioners who long for greater personal and intellectual freedom than their communities allow. In her new Preface, Winston discusses the passionate reactions the book has elicited among Hasidim and non-Hasidim alike.
Named one of Publishers Weekly's Ten Best Religion Books of 2005.
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
86 internautes sur 100 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
explore this book with an open mind10 novembre 2005
- Publié sur Amazon.com
This is an easy to read book, with important true-life stories. Told well and honestly. I recognize many of the characters from my own experiences in the litvishe yeshiva world. If you want to gain insight into the complexity of a wonderful but imperfect community -- read this book. It is not condemning, and it does not mean that all Hasidim are sad and wanting more. The author is quite matter-of-factly about what she found. And many of the accounts and stories made me laugh. Although the topic as a whole is challenging. There is a good story here, one that is hopeful, especially with people like Malkie, and others who humanize these people. Read it, think, hope, and maybe even help out. See others as people, real people with real issues. Don't be fooled by the garb. There are real people in the black coat, some happy, some sad, and many are quite wonderful.
25 internautes sur 29 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Interesting, but she doesn't really follow it16 juin 2008
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Unchosen is interesting, just because it takes on a subject no one else has thought of, but the author doesn't actually come to a conclusion. The writing is good enough, and what she writes is interesting, but she leaves out any sort of analysis. She stumbled upon a fascinating subject, but she didn't do anyting with it. All she does is record the stories of half a dozen rebels and then drop it. She can't even say the extent of the phenomenon, because of course there's no way to find that out. So there's not much to get out of this, besides encouragement to doante to Footsteps, a charity organization she profiles. It was interesting, and worth reading I guess, but I was pretty let down at how little she did with the material. She didn't write any of her own ideas.
For something better, I reccomend "Mystics, Mavericks, and Merrymakers" by Stephanie Levine. She interviews and analyzes Lubavitch girls, and comes up with some fascinating insights. And she includes some "rebels" in the girls she profiles, and I think does it a lot better.
And by the way, all you idiots out there saying Unchosen is just an excuse to critisize Judaism, she says like ten times that of course this isn't how most people feel about the religion, and even the rebels she interviews have things they loved about it. And I'm Orthodox Jewish, and I didn't think it was biased at all. So there.
48 internautes sur 61 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Wonderful and informative21 octobre 2005
Bradley T. Appell
- Publié sur Amazon.com
For a modern-day tale of the triumph of the individual in the face of a closed society that demands conformity, please read this book! This book documents the hidden stories of people, mostly young, who struggle to find their own identities within the ultra-orthodox Jewish communities of Brooklyn. As the author points out, these communities demand strict adherence to their perceived concept of Jewish Law. But as we see, this embodies much more than just religious practices; this adherence affects every single aspect of these Jews' lives, from the bedroom to the bathroom to eating to shopping to who one can talk to, who one can marry, in short - everything.
If one thing stands out from this outstanding book is that so much of the survival of insular religious communities depends on an unspoken fear of 'standing out' and not being accepted. This fear is enforced by a group mentality that is instilled by community leaders, rabbis, teachers and parents. Any challenging of the rules results in sharp condemnation and a rebuke to 'get back in line.'
The heroes and heroines of this book refuse to live by medieval ways of living. They want to explore scientific ways of thinking , they want women to have equal rights as men, they want to find their friends and partners on their own, they want to engage with the society in which they live, they want to see the world outside of their protective cocoons. In short, they want to be individuals!
Thank you Ms. Winston for telling their stories, and I hope the romaticized view we have of such communities will become more nuanced as we are exposed to the silent suffering of good and decent people who are struggling to find themselves. After reading this book the old saying which resonated with me so strongly was 'to thine own self be true.'
51 internautes sur 66 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Interesting description, but needs context17 novembre 2005
- Publié sur Amazon.com
In this attractively-written little book we learn something that may but should not surprise us: not all of these black-clad Hasidim that we encounter in the streets of Williamsburg, Crown Heights, or Borough Park are happy in their skins. Some seem to be desperately unhappy, wishing, somehow, to escape into the larger American (or American Jewish) landscape . But, not surprisingly, such an escape is not easy for someone who has spent all his life in the closeted, chaperoned, cosseted world of Hasidism.
Hella Winston calls these escapers or would-be escapers "Hasidic rebels." She has talked to quite a few such people, and their stories make interesting enough reading. And these stories are no doubt important. But there is a question that needs elucidation: important for what ?
Winston's book is based on research that she did for her dissertation in sociology, but the book is not the dissertation itself. That work, it appears, remains to be completed. When it is, she will no doubt give us social and historical context, and it is such context that will clarify how and why these "Hasidic rebels" have something important to teach us.
A consideration of context can take any of a number of forms:
1) Hasidism has a long history. These current "rebels" are not the first in this history. How do they compare (or contrast) with earlier ones ?
2) As Winston points out, there are a number of Hasidic groups -- the Satmar and the Lubavitch are two of many. How do the "rebels" fit into the internal politics of each ? How, in other words, do the different groups differ (or resemble one another) in the treatment of such dissidents ? This question could give us important information into the variety that is today's Hasidism.
3) American non-Jews also have a number of similarly cosseted religious sects. The ones that come immediately to mind are the Bruderhof people, the Hutterites, the Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Closed Brethren. Each of these groups have "rebels," if we are to believe the lively "rebel" websites that exist for each of these groups. A comparative study of such groups and their "rebels" would give valuable insights into the more general phenomenon of small religious groups.
These are just three of many areas of context that Winston could take up in her further work for her thesis. In the meantime, we can be thankful for the first steps she has taken in this important work.
37 internautes sur 48 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
A Great Read21 octobre 2005
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Reading Unchosen made me think that even a non-Jew could cook an
authentic Cholent, something I never believed possible. What is
sometimes referred to as a homogeneous body, "Chassidic Jewry" is in
fact splintered into many different factions. At times, these
factions are indistinguishable from each other, and at other times
they are unrecognizable as belonging to the same religion. Sadly,
most Chassidim--especially those descended from Hungary--live as a
close-knit community and have little or nothing to do with the
outside world, not even with their Jewish bretheren, as the Lubavitch
Chassidim do. Lubavtichers are extremely different in their outlook
and interaction with the "outside."
Hella Winston chose to write about this less well-known majority of
Chassidim, focusing on the "unchosen," or rebles. A hard, laborious
task considering the closeness of the community and the tight-lipped
members of Satmar and other lesser-known branches of Chassidism.
Unchosen will make an excellent read for Jews who are not affiliated
with Orthodoxy--which, today, is most Jews. Every secular, Reform or
Conservative Jew descends from an Orthodox ancestor not too far down
the line and this is a fascinating way to re-live a great
grandfather's quandary, an ancestor's pain and misery in leaving a
tradition or way of life, or to understand the love/hate relationship