I binged-watched the new Netflix series “My Unorthodox Life.”
Julia, your family, your surroundings and your financial success are beautiful. May you always have mazal, bracha and simcha.
I am not going to be like many influential social media bloggers that label the series and your story in black and white. I believe it’s no better than the black and white interpretations of the lifestyle you left.
Nothing is black and white, and nothing represents it better than your home decor and closet. You love color- and so do I.
Let’s start with the positives. Your story of no college education and a complete start over after the age of 40 is nothing less than influential and inspiring. It gives this 50 plus woman hope.
When you actually embraced a young woman who was lost in Monsey like you and offered her support and encouragement, it was a highlight of the series. Perhaps your kids’ thoughts on the makeover were accurate, but your intentions were pure “Aishes Chayil.” (a woman of valor)
I personally would love some of your wisdom, especially given my chosen professions.
I can relate to your change of life adventures. While your tagline is My Unorthodox Life, mine is This Cat Has Nine Lives.
I, too, have had two husbands and my children are my life besides me. I have had career changes, not always by choice and lots of times pushed on me by outside influences.
I also love fashion. I’m not a size zero or two, I don’t own a business or two in the fashion world, but I have sat front row and in fact stood backstage at New York Fashion Week.
I do host my own celebrity-oriented radio show on not only multiple podcast outlets streaming internationally, but Cindy’s Celebrity Corner can be heard on two AM and one FM stations throughout the all-important Tri-State area.
I love the fact that you help others, and that includes people of all ages, backgrounds and locations.
When the Nigerian model expressed her desires for professional growth, you embraced it.
Thanks for showing the world Orthodox Jews are not racists. I sacrificed my finances, reputation and professional past life helping Black and minority families, especially small children. I exposed injustices and unlawful acts of Black educators only to be harassed, threatened, illegally retaliated against and eventually fired for exposing the harm in failing public schools.
I am still fighting the battle like a David versus Goliath in a questionable system and wish a warrior like you took on the battle of education with me, since I agree with you, some yeshivas and non-Jewish schools need improvements in teaching courses for meeting qualifications in subjects like English grammar, math, science and accurate history.
Another life I am involved in is politics. I ran for Congress as the first Modern Orthodox Jewish woman from either major political party. And, while my name recognition and grassroots support is well respected, leadership chose white WASPY men.
We have to work double, if not more, to succeed.
So, Julia Haart, that part of the story you told must be shared repeatedly and with a goal to unite women of all backgrounds.
On the flip side, Julia, we need to talk. I wasn’t brought up Orthodox. I was brought up traditionally and have a lot of knowledge of Halacha (Jewish law).
I also raised children. I understand your need to tell your story. But, in the age of rising anti-Semitism, did you really need to possibly instigate more Jew hate, even unintentionally?
You make Monsey, New York like the Warsaw Ghetto. Not every religious Jew has a horror story. Many love their lives, in fact many,like myself, chose a more religious lifestyle.
I used to eat lobster and bacon. I ate oysters Rockefeller in Brennan’s and I used to be in Saks Fifth Avenue every Saturday. I still have my first Sonia Rykiel sweater set that I bought as a teen.
Life changed. As a mother, I chose synagogue over sales and reading a book over riding a car. I chose neighbors over strangers and kiddush gatherings over business meetings.
When I had to attend New York Fashion Week over Shabbos, the fashion designer and I coordinated food, lodging and walking distances.
Many of my non-Jewish friends are envious of me “taking off” every Friday night, eating at a table set for a special holiday and always having simchas to attend.
I ran for Congress as the first Modern Orthodox woman from any major party. While I did not win, I won the admiration of many non-Jews and built coalitions for Jews to work with Blacks, Hispanics and Asians that are still active today.
There are many who are unhappy like you. They aren’t lucky enough to leave and rebuild themselves. Yes, there are organizations and leaders that definitely have questionable motives for how they lead and mislead.
We do need some changes. But, every religion has people who struggle with similar issues from other religious experiences.
Maybe My Unorthodox Life should be a series and include seasons from other religions.
Julia Haart, we need to have some wine together, kosher, of course!