Last week Josh Gleason reported for Vox Tablet on Luzer Twersky, a young man who spent the first twenty three years of his life in Satmar communities, only to break away two years ago. We got a lot of feedback on the piece, some praising, some extremely critical.
Mr. Twersky response, which he posted in the comments, is below.
To all of you who have expressed your support for your fellow human being, Thank you. It’s nice to know that there are still people out there who are capable of empathizing with a person whose views they don’t necessarily agree with. Your comments gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. May the feeling you gave me be upon you, and if you believe God exists and likes and rewards those who make other people feel good, then…
To those who decided to enter a “Who’s Angrier?” contest with me, sorry to break it to you, I win.
On a serious note. This piece was recorded over the period of one year beginning in February of 2009 (approximately 6 months after my divorce). During that time I received no financial support from my family – besides the occasional pack of cigarettes from my brother (I love my brother, he’s awesome) – or any of my Hasidic friends. The only support I got at that time was from Footsteps. To this day I haven’t received a single phone call from my parents inquiring about my well-being. It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom when an old Hasidic friend offered his help, which I accepted on the condition that he will not infringe on my lack-of religious practice. I am indebted and extremely thankful to him for that.
Even though I am confident with my skeptic views on religion and superstition, I probably should have better prepared for my journey into the secular world and I urge my fellow struggling Chasidim to contact Footsteps and plan an exit strategy.
I did not throw the baby out with the bathwater. I only threw out the baby, the bathwater was fine.