A man descended from a Hasidic “dynasty” is transitioning into a woman — enraging members of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community she left behind.
Srully Stein — who now goes by Abby — recently came out as a woman and said she’s finally living as her true self — something she said was impossible to do growing up in her restrictive household in Brooklyn.
“In the community that I was raised in, Trans did not exist, neither was it ever discussed,”the 24-year-old writes in her blog.
“I was therefore convinced that I have to be crazy, and that I have to get this ‘stupidity’ of feeling like a girl, out of my head.”
Stein — who some say has “royal blood” coursing through her veins because of her grandfather, the prominent Rabbi Mordechai Stein — began hormone replacement therapy Sept. 4.
The results have been “amazing,” she kvelled.
“The road is long, but with the support of some amazing friends and professionals, for the first time in my life I feel like I am getting to be my real self,” she wrote in a recent post, which received more than 20,000 hits in just a couple days.
Stein’s roots trace back to Rabbi Yisroel ben Eliezer, believed to be the founder of the Hasidic Judaism
Her grandfather, Mordechai, was born in Fălticeni, Romania, and her father was born in Israel.
Her ancestors are part of several Hasidic sects, her grandfather’s mother was part of the Twersky family, a “very famous” old dynasty from the Ukraine, she said.
Stein recently broke the news to her father — and hasn’t heard from him since.
“I think right now it’s shock more than anything,” Stein told The Post. “He doesn’t know what to do.”
Others took to social media to spew hate-filled messages about her transition.
“And family is nothing?” one member of the Lee Avenue WhatsApp group wrote. “The lowest scum of earth live with deficiencies with lifelong pain not to hurt their family. I saw your father today in synagogue, he is going to die of the shame you have caused him.”
The person continues: “No human in the world puts his pleasure in front of the pain of his loved ones. What kind of animal are you?”
Another added, “It’s all the devil, the evil inclination that says there is such a thing a man can be born in the wrong body.”
But Stein said she’s prepared for the backlash.
“My main goal is to get people to talk about it,” she said. “I don’t care how hateful the reaction might be within the Orthodox community.”
Stein added that many of the Orthodox people she’s heard from are in “denial” about transgender people.
“For most of them, they don’t even know what this is, they have no context for it,” she said.
Stein said she hopes that will change and that her story will reach other transgender Orthodox teens who’ve been battling similar conflicts.
“Since I’ve gone public, 17 people have reached out to me who still live within the community and struggle with similar things,” she said. “Most of them didn’t know there’s help.”
Stein said that while she felt like a woman for many years, she couldn’t even consider taking action until she left her Orthodox community.
Initially, she followed the traditional path of most in Hasidic Williamsburg. By 18, Stein was married, and soon had a son.
“I was raised in an extremely sheltered community,” she said. “No Internet, no TV and no movies — not even Jewish ones.”
“My family and community was so sheltered that up to around 14 I thought that most of the world is Jewish and most of the Jews are ultra-Orthodox,” she added.
With an intense desire to pursue a college education, Stein divorced, and ultimately left the Orthodox community about four years ago.
Being part of a famous Hasidic family made that split even more difficult, Stein said.
“My family had more restrictions than most families even in Williamsburg,” she explained. “Like men were expected to work only in Jewish scholarly jobs, not drive, and I was constantly told that we ought to be role models.”
Now Stein is a second year student at Columbia University’s School of General Studies, where she’s taking courses in political science and gender studies.
Adjusting to a secular scholar’s life wasn’t easy, but she said she’s found comfort in the campus’ strong Jewish community and trans support group.
“Culturally it took me quite a while to blend in, and until [now] there were so many basic references to popular culture that everyone ‘just knows’ and I had no idea what they are talking about,” she said.
Stein is interested in someday working in the nonprofit world, advocating for other transgender people from similar backgrounds and shaping public policy.
She’s currently raising money for her own transition on her blog.
“But my main goal is to raise awareness for trans people within the ultra-Orthodox community,” Stein said.
She added: “It’s been totally ignored until now.”