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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Former Satmar Girl asked if she wants to be the 10th at a Minyan

The author (left) and her son at the Museum of Natural History in New York // Courtesy of Frieda Vizel
by Frieda Vizel (former Satmar Monroe "Vaabel)

On Saturday, I was walking on Amsterdam Avenue in New York City, crossing over to the other side with my son Seth when a man with white stubble and a New Jersey accent stopped me and asked: “Do you want to be a tenth to minyan?”
I was shocked. I looked at him and asked: “Me?”
“Yes, why not?”
I was caught so off guard; I wore nothing that gave me away as Jewish. Just black leggings and a red shirt; boots. An ordinary outfit. I felt so integrated into the New York City weekend scene. But my eight-year-old son, who often chooses to be more religious than me, had his yarmulka on, so he gave me away.
I never thought anyone would ever ask me to be a part of a quorum for prayers. According to Jewish tradition, the presence of God descends to where there are ten men. Only in egalitarian synagogues women are also counted. I’ve watched men look for a tenth for minyan many times, because I grew up Hasidic and the men needed a minyan three times a day. When my grandfather was old and frail we held prayers in our house and finding ten men older than 13 who could make it was often a problem. We called the extended social network; cousins and neighbors and far away relatives who would make the effort for the sake of the grandfather; but I would never be called. I often helped get the men by running after younger brothers and knocking on neighbor’s doors to ask if someone could come be a tenth. After I got married at eighteen, I could help by sending my husband to be part of prayers when there was a need for minyan, but that was the only extent to which I could participate. Then I left the Hasidic community and began to explore small, tentative ways I can express my Jewish identity and be part of the Jewish community.
I stood there on this rainy Saturday and looked at the kindly Jewish man in astonishment. A part of me wanted to remind him that I was a woman and couldn’t be part of the minyan even if I wanted to, and a part of me was so deeply touched that this man valued me for religious services as much as he would a man.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

It must have been the red shirt and black leggings

Anonymous said...

now what relevance has the fact that she is a 'former satmar veibel' to the basic idea, that a female was asked to be the tenth so that there will be quorum ie a minyan, however its totally in line with the main tenet of this blkg, 'when ever derby has a chance to bad talk satmar' or other authentic yidden, he'll pounce on that, relevant or not, that's besides the point, for he is obssesed to the point of insanity, to toot his horn, grind his axe, spread his dread (drech), being a motzi shem raa, on erliche yuden, also note, there is no difference whether its chodesh Adar, or chodesh elul or tishrei, he keeps on regurgitating his apikorsus & leitzanus without letup.

Dusiznies said...

To 6:02
I see You used my word "regurgitating", next time you comment ... use your own yeshivish babble, don't use my words or I'll delete your comments...
got it?
As my litvisher Melamid would say
"Sheitah She'Beoilim"

Dusiznies said...

By the way ...
She said that a man called her over with a New Jersey accent!

what's a "new jersey accent"?

Anonymous said...

I am impressed by the tremendous achdus that anonymous has. Hearing such beautiful words, so tinged with repect, made me want to cry.

Dusiznies said...

to 6:02
The fact that she was from Satmar (with a Shpitzel" by the way) is only important, because she herself brought it up ...
"I left the Hasidic community and began to explore small, etc"

Anonymous said...

Haaaaaaaah !! , Bwa...haaaaaa..!!

He don't let up , dooo he??




Derby..... Eating "Tayg" & "Necht" at Fetter Shmilu's house .. Bnai Bayis don't let me in till I bring home a bucket of iced bawsht.. I only wish I could even "regurgitate" the "food" he's making me eat.

Anonymous said...


"...erliche yuden,..."

Sind Sie Deutsche?

"... spread his dread (drech)...'
Please use Spellcheck, you misspelled a word.
Hint : It's not "spread."

..."'when ever derby has a chance."..... He listens to "Ich Hub Dich Tzufiel Lieb", an Olshanetzky Yiddish classic.

Can we be friends before Rosh Hashana? Seriously..

the Derby... Cheers ,and have a wonderful evening.

Joisey said...

A NJ accent is probably blue collar / low class sounding. There was a movie that parodied this shnit called Jersey Girls.

It's like in England where the accent of the low class is strikingly different than the upper class.

Well Done said...

This post is truly newsworthy and grabs every Frum Jew's interest. It has a picture which is certainly a Mitzva to see, and a message which glorifies the idea of going OTD. How wonderful and exciting. I'm just wondering how this matches with all of the Glorifying of Ehrlicher Yidden like Rav Kook. Unless anything is good as long as is spreads hate of some sort against Satmar or any Jews who follow the older traditional Frum styles.

Well done!

Anonymous said...

.. I'm just wondering how this matches with all of the Glorifying of Ehrlicher Yidden like Rav Kook..."
Rav Kook would've dann her l'kaf zchus, as you well know . Would've tried to get to the root of the problem and would've done some introspection and asked us to do the same, which is a thorn in your .. ummm.. elbow..
But carry on......

derby...

Anonymous said...

Nice job of changing your style, eliminating most of the DorHaflagaBabble and sleeping through the night without getting up about 3:00 AM..
As you were saying.....

derby

Anonymous said...


At this time in the AM, I've already had 3 strong coffees, so trying to sneak a pseudo-new writing style by us is like trying to sneak a sunrise past a rooster... Ain't happenin'..

I think you're shaking a little in your shitta, else why be here all day and post away the same 'ole insipid. tired junk?
Come on over to our side, we could use people like you..Over time, once the Malaga brew wears off, it'll happen yet..

Have a wonderful Shabbos... and don't forget to stop by at my Bessarabian- Yiddish pal with the slichis balalaika and " geshmuke luttkes' ( geshmake latkes) " " geshmuke, mumilige baschitt mit lekvar" ( mamaligah ( corn dish) covered in prune jam)

derby.... Join us, friend... Make it happen...

Anonymous said...

to well done,
who says she's OTD? Just because she doesn't want to be Chasidic doesn't mean she'e otd.

Well Done said...

'Rav Kook would've dann her l'kaf zchus, as you well know . Would've tried to get to the root of the problem and would've done some introspection and asked us to do the same'

Oh, so your understanding of dann l'kaf zchus means to capitulate to the one who breaks the rules. If you can't beat 'em join 'em.

My understanding is Judge the 'person' favorably even if what they are doing is categorically incorrect. In other words, we don't judge an incorrect 'action' l'zchus, only the 'person' is judged l'zchus. This is done by understanding the difficult circumstances that the person had etc. in order to reduce his culpability.

Anonymous said...

"...This is done by understanding the difficult circumstances that the person had etc. in order to reduce his culpability...."
Exactly my understanding.
Guess you know her personally & her life and
therefore won't apply same.

Don't give the hungry to eat .. check rules first.
Don't be dann lkaf zchoos... check rules first.
Practicing what I'm preaching, I'll dann you lkaf zchus while you're breaking your rabbis issur against the Internet. Maybe you have(had) difficult circumstances that make you break the issur. Yeah... that's what I'll do... judge your action, not you..
That's why I'm begging you to join us, you're a good Jew at heart and we need you. You're obviously reading all the posts, probably in order to be convinced.

Come on Over.. !! Anybody wanna mess with you, will have to see the gang first.. You got our backs.. !!

derby... Shabbot Shalom... Done.