Monday, September 30, 2013

A mothers suicide

Please note that I am copying this from a friend's Facebook page. I have not read through every link nor am I endorsing any viewpoint. It is important to read and come to your own conclusions.

Original Facebook Post

This week a young mother in the US committed suicide. Deb Tambor was her name. Apparently she took her own life due to the ongoing pressure from her former ultra-Orthodox community who did everything they could to deny her access to her children. Her alleged crime? Going OTD (Off the Derech) – becoming secular. Her own family turned against her. It has been claimed that even her own father testified against her.

It is important that people know the common struggles of leaving the ultra-Orthodox community. Since Deb’s recent death it is becoming clear that there are many others in her predicament. Which is why I can’t remain silent. We weren’t able to save Deb. Hopefully we can save others. There are never any grounds to justify this type of behaviour, especially when the name of religion is invoked.

The following are some articles about this sad story, which some have described as murder:

RIP Deb.

Please seek help – from family/friends/professionals – before it is too late.


  1. The community murdered twice! Once for embarrassing her and humiliating in public and in front of her children. Secondly pushed her to the edge that she should commit suicide. I have the two questions for the community. What happened with the aveira of making ones blood enter their head? What happened with mitzva of not passing judgment?

    Molly Rhodes

  2. You don't have to display my comments, as I just wish to convey my thoughts to you. You have 75,000 page views, obivously people care about you and what you write. More importantly, what you write can have an affect on people (for good or bad). What I want to know is why are you choosing to publish such negative stories about the frum community? While I agree there are people that have issues, there are good and bad in every group (religious or not). Having been on both sides of the frum (orthodox) world, I struggle to understand your intent. Even if I disagree with a lot of things people did or do, why the need to publicize? Do you want to become the next Failed Messiah who posts everything bad he can about frum yidden? Is the goal to turn people away from yiddishkeit or sway people to view frum yidden in a negative light? People ask me about that site that don't know any better. People that view your siite who are not Jewish or frum are reading a lot of negative material, and I know and I truly believe you know as well that there are a lot of good frum yidden and positive stories that are not coming across nearly as much as negatiive on this website. As I am sure you would like to have dignity and respect as a human being for your lifestyle, I believe the same should hold true about the frum community. Do we really know the whole story all the time? Again, there is good and bad in every group. Everyone has challenges in life (some bigger than others), and suicide happens whether religion is involved or not. Furthermore, I think it's easy to be orthodox when things are going well, and understand the struggle with staying frum when things are not going well. Many factors go into circumstances and just because some people in a sect do not behave properly, doesn't mean everyone in that group does. I have respect for you and feel for your struggle, but as a frum yid I feel I am being attacked on more than one of your posts. I have only had posiitive things to say to you from day one, but I feel I have to respond to the trend I have seen in your posts that I believe has been unfair. I wish you peace and true happiness and I hope you will consider posting some uplifting messages if you are going to put the negative out there. Thank you

    1. He was very open that he doesn't endorse every view point and its up to the reader to come to a conclusion.Sorry that you feel attacked. True not every one in the Orthodox community would act like that and true there are always two sides to a story.
      Of course its the person - in this case Deb Tambor has the ultimate choice to take her life but why should it even get to that point.I think this was posted not out of hatred or spite but to spread awareness that peoples actions have consequences. To think before you do or say something. I am taking this story as a lesson.
      Molly Rhodes


    2. Facts;
      1) A cousin and I were abused as young children continuously in sleep away camp. The administrator did nothing when told. The abuse continued.
      2) I struggled with emotional abuse from various individuals in my life.
      3) I at times get depressed. In the past it was deep depressions that expressed itself in very difficult ways. Currently I am doing a ton better and very proud of my progress.
      4) I struggle with reconciling my frumkeit with my homosexuality. This has me struggling with frumkeit in general. Mostly on a theological and philosophical level.
      5) I support frum organizations, kollelim, chesed organizations, yeshivas, special needs children etc throughout the world. Tens of thousands of dollars going to frum organizations for Torah and Chesed. Practically a chomesh of my income. From the most Chasidic institutions to the ultra orthodox etc...
      6) I have personally saved people’s lives through my blog (I won't get into how) but I am talking literally. I also have been a huge support to many who struggle similarly to me.
      7) I am confident that 80% or so of my readership is frum. The statistics on google show me that on shabbos and yom tov my readership drops by over 80%.
      Items 1-4 is what my blog is about.
      I have gone back to my posts since 2013 and there are no posts that don’t meet the criteria above and my explanations below.
      I will defend abuse victims even at the risk of the non orthodox or Jewish people learning about it. This is because my abuse was suffered 35 years ago and there has not been much progress. You may even say we have digressed as a community in this area.
      I do not believe I arbitrarily point out random negativity about the frum community. It is not Failed Messiah. I don't need to defend myself against that. That was sensationalism on your part. If you disagree, please let me know.
      As it relates to my posts about personal observations and feelings that I have inside of me which seem to be critical of yiddishkeit; they are typically coming from a deep and painful place in which I believe many others in our community feel but cannot articulate. They feel it deeply and painfully. They need to know that others feel the same way and have similar questions. That it's alright to have these questions. It's alright to have anger. It's alright to express it. Kol hamaztzil nefesh achas k'eelu hitzil olam malay (I paraphrase). People are saved when they see others sharing a similar burden.
      A thought of mine is that you may be insulting peoples intelligence. You point out over and over again that there are two sides, there is good and bad, suicide happens etc... Do you think Catholics, other Jewish people and other religions don't know this? Do you think any reasonable person does not know this? Do you think people don't know that there are 2 sides in every aspect of the world? For the 20% that read my blog that come from that denomination I think I can rely on the fact that most understand this. For the frum people that read my blog it is critical that they understand the things I write about.
      I do agree with that there is an amazing side to frumkeit. Tzedaka and chesed is probably unparalleled within our communities. Maybe I should create a balance so that people can see both perspectives. It would be off topic though. I can see why I should do that for points that you make.
      In summary; no, I am not trying to sway people. I have absolutely no interest in seeing anyone leave frumkeit. I support yiddishkeit and frumkeit in so many different ways. I write from the heart with only an agenda to empathize, educate and improve. It sometimes comes from hurt, pain and anger and may seem accusatory or hurtful. I cannot help my emotions. I sometime repost other peoples writing. It is then up to the reader to come to their conclusions. I wish I could reconcile yiddishkeit and my homosexuality and have a balance. I often speak with Rabbonim and spiritual advisors about my struggle. Maybe one day. I don’t know.
      Thank you.

  3. I very much appreciate your comments and critique. I will reply in depth over the next few days.

  4. Thank you for responding to me Molly, but I believe I am looking at things a little deeper. Even if someone says it's up to the reader to come up with their own conclusion, it seems to me that there may be another reason this was posted. To your other point about spreading awareness, my question is awareness to who? If you want to discuss with people of the community where this tragedy took place, that would be foremost. If you want to discuss with people in your own community, fine. You appear to be a well- intentioned person, and I am happy that the story made an impression on you or you learned from it. But why post here, where as I stated, there are a lot of readers who are not frum or even Jewish for that matter? How does that make an impact for them? I feel sorry for this woman, and hope for the best for her children. If you read my comments again, I was not only talking about this post. I believe that there is a trend in general in society about over posting pictures or information on Facebook or other social sites that could have damaging or unintended consequences, Again, I am not sure what the intent is here, and if negative comments are going to continue to be made about the orthodox community, I think it is important for readers to know that there are many special positive attributes about the orthodox Jewish community as well. For example, helping people with financial assistance, organizations who help the elderly and sick, groups that cook food for families that just had a baby, so on and so forth. Additionally, there are plenty of Jewish "news" websites where people can read the good the bad and the ugly about different communities. So again, why here? Lastly, I appreciate the response by FGM and I look forward to your next reply. P.S. I am trying to live and love and see the best in everyone.

  5. ok, thanks for reply to me FGM.
    I am sorry you had to and have to deal with those issues. I also had people in the community say or do things to me when I was younger. I hope you can reconcile it all the best way possible and I think it is amazing you are still involved in worthy organizations. You are better than those that hurt you. I was not trying to insult anyones intelligence. I believe saying there are two sides to a story is an expression that sometimes needs to be said, and I know for a fact that there are people that jump to conclusions after hearing one side and I have experienced that. On the failed messiah comment, I was not looking for sensationalism. Yes, I disagree. while your site is nowhere near that site, I hope it never gets to that point. Without looking back at all posts, there are a couple that come to mind that I believe do not serve the purpose of this site that you mention. One was related to a person in the community that ran into someone you work with that is not Jewish. The other is about someone calling you for a donation. How are those related? If it was just out of anger, everyone has those days. I get it. I just wanted to bring to your attention that you may want to wait a day or think twice before posting as there are a lot of readers here. I know you're a good person and I am sorry if I said anything to hurt you. I wish you and your family the best. Good shabbos

  6. So sad, I read some of these articles. So unnecessary :(

  7. Doing good adds meaning to life.

  8. No court will allow children to be taken from their mother unless it could be proven that the mother was either abusive towards the children or that she was mentally unstable,or both. To say that the court kept her kids from her because she wasnt orthodox is simply ludicrous. There must be more then simply saying that "the community kept her kids from her". Thats called kidnapping and you can call the police. On the other hand, if the court kept her kids from her...then her kids probably should have been kept away from her. Most cases of suicide are usually accompanied with serious mental health issues. This plays in well with the fact that the court kept the children away from her. Just applying some logic instead of some emotional gut reaction.