Oct 14, 2018

Satmar girls converting to Christianity

I was completely shocked when I first saw a report about this and thought it can't be true...but now I am seeing it in a few places along with video. While it is still shocking, now it seems to be true..

It seems a number of young women from the Satmar community in New York have recently baptized themselves to Christianity. There is video of one of them, the daughter of a Hassidic Rebbe (the Dezher Rebbe) from Flatbush, Mindel Paneth - now going by the name Hayden Paneth, who went to school in the Satmar school system. A Satmar girl from Monsey named Leah Levy also did the same. Supposedly there are others - some say a total of four known who did it publicly and others say there are tens of these young women, many of whom did it privately.

I have no idea how many actually converted to Christianity. It does not really matter. Every single one is a Jewish world destroyed and even just one is a horrible tragedy. I have not heard a reason given, though some online are pointing to, and blaming, the extreme Satmar views against Zionism. It might be that or it might not be that. They have extreme views on a lot of things, not just Zionism, so without any explanation from these young women, it is really just guessing to point to one aspect of Satmar life and blame that. It also seems to be a trend, if it can be called a trend, within Satmar. I have not seen or heard about it among other groups.

I first saw it discussed in the Haredi news website Haredim10.  That made me start looking around and I saw it discussed in an online Haredi forum, and then found the following post in English (with video) about it. Then Ben Waxman posted a Maariv article about it on Twitter.



Very shocking and very sad.

Satmar educators are looking at these extreme acts and wondering if something in their education system needs to be changed. As one is quoted, it would be one thing if some girls just stopped living a Haredi life, went off the derech, stopped keeping mitzvos, even becoming fully secular, but converting to Christianity is a protest, an evil act, some sort of revenge against something...

I really hope the reports are exaggerated. Even though I am no fan of Satmar and would not have any problem with these girls, and many more, leaving Satmar if they don't like that lifestyle and instead adopting a different sect or stream within Judaism, it is very sad to see them leave like this.




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18 comments:

  1. Four girls out of thousands is not really much of a phenomenon.

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  2. Sure it is especially if it is up from 0

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  3. This just tells me that these girls have either no real Jewish origins (Jewish neshamot) and have reverted to their true roots and/or the 'extremism' found in many Satmar homes and schools can easily drive 'young & foolish' minds off the charts. Extremism in anything usually drives the pendulum to the opposite extreme, r'l.

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  4. In many Chassidic schools, especially Satmar, there are many types of questions that are forbidden to even ask, particularly questions related to Emunah.
    There are many accounts of Chassidic kids with questions they were unable to ask at school and searching for answers elsewhere, many went "off the Derech", or a adopted a different derech.

    It wouldn't surprise me at all if a small number of Chassidic kids with questions that are considered forbidden went to look for answers in forbidden but accessible locations, such as from a missionary at a subway station, and ended up with the wrong answers.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. As a full fledged Satmar graduate, I beg to differ. Growing up our teachers were very well equipped to deal with questions ESPECIALLY Emunah. Like every other school (I've been out there too), they have some that aren't. Kids will learn very quickly which teachers/Rebbis can deal with questions. Uneducated people like to point fingers trying to figure out what went wrong, they like the idea of having everything boxed and stored away in the form of blaming an entire sect. That's naive.
      People should keep in mind that the school system should have less than a 10% influence on kids. Growing up as a bright and deep girl the questions I had were directed to my parents mostly. Parents should not stop edifying, guiding, and helping their kids just because they go to school. School should never be a substitute for a healthy open discussion between parents and kids.

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  5. This is a man bites dog story. It may have happened once or twice (reports of it being more frequent are factually inaccurate), but it is excruciatingly rare. And, in fact, its occurrence in Satmar is less frequent than in other Jewish (Orthodox or not) communities.

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  6. If people know of girls or boys who need someone to speak to about these issues, please contact Jews for Judaism. We currently have two branches. One in Los Angeles and one in Toronto. Eli Cohen www.jewsforjudaism.ca

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    1. according to http://actualic.co.il/%D7%99%D7%93-%D7%9C%D7%90%D7%97%D7%99%D7%9D-%D7%A2%D7%9C-4-%D7%94%D7%A0%D7%A2%D7%A8%D7%95%D7%AA-%D7%9E%D7%A1%D7%98%D7%90%D7%9E%D7%A8-%D7%A9%D7%94%D7%AA%D7%A0%D7%A6%D7%A8%D7%95-%D7%A4%D7%A8/ Yad lAchim is now getting involved, as well as saying this isnt really a real conversion to convert out but just to make a provocative social protest... does Jews for Judaism also have a way to get involved in the situation out there?

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    2. When we are contacted, we do our best to assist.

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  7. Maybe they needed some answers to questions they could not even ask!

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  8. The Satmar (and other sects) must change and modify their ways and teachings. Their system right now is producing many children that are disillusioned with their beliefs and teachings. Where is their "emmuna"? Everything's in the dress code and not what's inside the mind and soul. We're not living in the dark ages. These kids don't know anything beyond the Chassidic Ghetto!

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    1. Growing up in the Satmar sect I can fully and absolutely disagree with your statement. I was taught all my life that while what you wear is important, what's more important is what is going on inside of you. We had great teachers who were well equipped to deal with questions (not all of course, but most) One of our subjects were Emunah. This girl did what she did for other reasons obviously. There are plenty boys and girls unfortunately, who leave the fold and don't convert. Christianity is a strict sect too and not at all welcoming. Just talk to some who converted to Judaism and have an open honest discussion. She must be hurting more than we can imagine.

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  9. I just watched a video that a Christian donor is pouring money into Satmar for the purpose of converting them hence I googled and came across this post.

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    1. interesting. I wonder why they would target Satmar specifically

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