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My Ex-Orthodox Life Isn’t Glamorous, but My Story Should Be Told

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(JTA) — Numerous reviews of the Netflix reality series “My Unorthodox Life” have been written by Orthodox Jews, who complain that it presents a negative and one-sided view of Orthodoxy.

I write from the perspective of an ex-Orthodox Jew, and while my reasons may differ from those of Orthodox people, I agree that this show is a travesty.

But while many object to its depiction of Orthodoxy, my complaint is with its treatment of the ex-Orthodox. Presumably a story of ex-Orthodox empowerment, it has exactly the opposite effect.

Let’s start with truth-telling. In depicting Julia Haart’s life as a fashion mogul, the show provides details about the Orthodox community she left but without appropriate context, and sometimes with outright lies. Conflating her non-Hasidic community in Monsey, New York, with Hasidic communities is typical of these distortions.

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For half a decade now, I’ve been involved in efforts to counter negative stereotypes about ex-Orthodox people and promote openness, understanding and acceptance between those who leave and their families and communities.

Those who leave the Orthodox community are often subject to accusations — often from gatekeepers of the life they left behind — that they lie or exaggerate about their upbringing in order to garner the sympathies of secular audiences. This is untrue for most ex-Orthodox people, who simply want a chance to tell their truths.

Telling authentic........

© The Jewish Week

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