Blaming the Orthodox Community for a Tragic Death

A few have argued that the Orthodox Jewish community is to blame for the tragic suicide death of Faigy Mayer. The aspiring entrepreneur was 30 years old and reportedly left the Orthodox Jewish fold at age 24. May she rest in peace.

When blaming "the community," does it refer to the father running to his job 7:00 AM or does it refer to the mother juggling the care of her children and a part time job? Does the blame fall on the teens in Yeshivah; kids in school; seniors in homes; volunteers changing tires midnight? These groups more or less comprise the Orthodox Jewish community. It seems odd to blame them.

Rabbi Yesoscher Katz took to the Forward claiming the whole Orthodox Jewish community is "somewhat complicit" in the death. The Rabbi brought up the Eglah Arufah, writing that "the Bible prescribes a communal cleansing ritual for when someone in the community dies under questionable circumstances." But more accurately, the ritual refers to when a visitor is found dead outside the city. The elders of that city - not the whole community and not the elders from other cities - need to say yes, we should have escorted out the visitor for protection and given him food too, but no, we are not complicit in the death and we did not see it coming.

Rabbi Katz reports that Ms. Mayer was now part of the Ex-Orthodox community. Using the Rabbi's un-American tool of spreading collective blame, the community Ms. Mayer was part of in recent years should - again, using the Rabbi's wrong reasoning - reflect on how they could have stopped it. Rabbi Katz - an elder in the community of ex strict Orthodoxy - should (using his own standard of blame) ask himself if he is not to blame for what happened.

A tragic death is not an opening to generalize and defame a community. Instead, every person should strive to do things better individually and collectively for the vulnerable, irrespective the way of life they lead.

The mission of the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council (OJPAC) is to counter the defamation of the Orthodox Jewish Community, and to champion civil rights and civil liberties. Please consider supporting our efforts by following us on Twitter/Facebook (@OJPAC); by sharing our content and by donating funds via our Donate Page. Your support is appreciated!

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