Saturday, September 28, 2013

For Deb: A Very Special Eulogy

The following post is going to be a different kind of eulogy.  Usually, a eulogy is delivered by those who knew the deceased best.  However, the circumstances behind the expiry of Deb Tambor deserve attention of even those who knew of her, or barely knew her at all.

I only met Deb Tambor in person once.  I knew her mostly from Facebook.  She and I were part of several groups that are for formerly religious Jews.  From her posts, I could tell that she was a kind, sensitive, and thoughtful person.  She clearly suffered much in her life.  Whenever others were suffering, she would offer kind words of sympathy.  She even would try to help them through with it.  She was a very special kind of friend.

The one time I did meet her in person was at a Vietnamese restaurant.  The occasion of this rendezvous was also bittersweet.  Another member of my Facebook circle had just gotten out of the hospital.  He was visiting his parents in New Jersey.  After that visit, he was planning to move to Vietnam.  But those plans were delayed due to a reckless driver.  He and his parents were walking home from synagogue, and this car hit him and his parents.  He was severely injured, and his parents were killed.  So the circumstances of this meeting were celebrating said friend's recovery, but also sad that he now had to live the rest of his life an orphan.

Deb showed up toward the end of the meetup.  We did not really speak much.  I'm pretty sure I introduced myself to her.  But one thing about her did stick out--her smile.  She had these dimples, and they made her smile very contagious.  She spoke rather quietly, but there was a certain impact to her words.  I could see that she was a very gentle person, but could be tough when she needed to be.  I regret now that I did not get to know her better.

When I heard the news last night that she passed away, my heart sank.  Although I barely knew her, I still felt very saddened.  But then, little by little, the circumstances behind her death became known:
While I do not know all the details
While most of what I know is heresay
this much is known

She had been fighting a very harsh custody battle with her ex-husband and losing.

Now I understand a mother being barred from ever seeing her children if she was abusive.  I understand if she is seriously mentally ill.  I understand if she is unable to care for herself or her children.  And I especially understand if she is a criminal.  These are good reasons for a child to be barred from seeing their mother.

But to the best of my knowledge, DEB TAMBOR WAS NONE OF THE ABOVE!

It is my understanding that Deb Tambor's only crime was that she is no longer a religious Jew.  And this crime was so egregious, that her own FATHER testified against her in custody court!  And the community that her ex-husband lives in all ganged up on her.  They arranged for legal fees, they did everything they could to make sure that these children would never know their mother again.

And even worse.  They vilified her.  That's right, her kids were told that their mother was evil.  They were told to hate their mother.  Their mother, who carried them for 9 months.  Their mother, who loved them.  Their mother, who wanted nothing more than to be a good mother.  To fulfill her biological matriarchal role.  But because she turned away from her faith, she was robbed of this opportunity.

She, a person whose only crime was losing faith in the religion she was raised with--TREATED AS IF SHE WAS A HARDENED CRIMINAL!  

I feel thus compelled to speak out for her, as her own voice will never be heard again.

To those who feel alone in this world.  To those who feel as if they have no companion.  You are not alone.  There are numbers you can call, people you can see, and plenty of help you can receive.  Some of it may even be cheap, if not free.  I may post in the comments (if anyone here is interested).

To anyone who thinks a friend is suffering silently.  BE THAT FRIEND.  Sometimes a simple hug may do it.  But if you know someone who needs help and they're not reaching out themselves, be that friend that reaches out for them.  They may hate you at first.  They may even decide they don't want to be your friend.  But trust me.  Better to be hated for being a good friend than being liked for being a bad friend.

And most importantly, let Deb Tambor not have passed on in vain.  Let us spread the word of why Deb felt compelled to prematurely end her life.  Let the whole world know about the scourge going on in this community she was raised in.  And let us band together and try to end this injustice once and for all.

For Deb Tambor.  For her family.  For her friends.  For everyone that loved her.

And for all the other men and women out there who have wrongfully lost custody of their children.

This post is for you.  All of you.

One member of the group I'm in was very close with her.  He has said that Deb only wanted to help others.  She wanted to make others happy.  Although she was dealt a bad hand by this world, she did not take it out on others.  Let us all follow in her example.  Let us make the world a better place in her memory.

For Deb Tambor.

All my love,
   L'etranger Acher.


  1. that was beautiful and necessary. and more than anything, i wish it wasn't necessary.

  2. bloggers are coming together to write about Deb Tambor. << Abandoning Eden writes "The Death of an OTDer" <<My post: "Turning Parents and Children Against Each Other is Unacceptable"

  3. As I just posted on bec's blog, that world is evil. Subjecting children to it is a form of child abuse, and should no longer be tolerated. Gradual change is impossible; it must be forcibly dismantled.

  4. It's amazing that a religion could possibly consider itself moral and then do these types of things in the name of the religion. It's so sad that some of them are so blind.

  5. So sorry to hear this sad news. A friend of mine shared your blog with me. I am very interested in joining the FB group. Could u please share the name of the group so that I can join? Thank u.

    1. Private message me on Facebook. My name is Michael Fishman. My picture looks like a kid with a goatie painted on him.

    2. thank you for expressing all of Our feelings, I grew up in a Hasidic community,
      I identify with her pain and hopelessness,this is a wake-up call for all of us Who Left an abusive community and toxic people, to Survive,To form our own support system,So a person like Deb would have a community support. Joel

  6. The truth needs to be told - I think most posters here might be missing an important point:

    This isn't a story about treatment of "OTD" members of the community.

    New Square / Skver acts this way to ANYONE that...

    1) Once belonged to the community, and ...

    2) Dares to publicly express doubts about their false version of Orthodox Judaism.

    It his nothing to do with going OTD. Really.

    They did the same parental alienation thing to me - a STILL 100% ULTRA-ORTHODOX JEW.

    I was punished for getting disgusted by the ongoing moral lapses, financial shenanigans and deceptions that constantly go on in the upper echelons there. I knew what was going on, since at the time I was affiliated with several of their organizations and - at one time - a confident of the Rebbe.

    I knew that the Rebbe was (and IS) a fake, because he supported - and continues to support - frightening ethical & moral lapses, INCLUDING SERIOUS HALACHIC AND HASHKAFIC LAPSES.

    When I refused to stay silent, a campaign of demoralization, deception, dehumanization, and "gaslighting" followed.

    They're experts at "blowing off" any concerns that don't fit their agenda, and making you feel like trash. Tearing families apart? Fair game.

    There is nothing sacred in their book, once you dare to expose their failings. They will do EVERYTHING to demolish you, including spreading false rumors of the worst kind.

    Ms. Tambor writes:
    My very own father,
    Not only has he betrayed me
    He made up lies

    They betrayed me, too - BECAUSE I REFUSED TO STAY SILENT!

    Many INSIDERS feel as I do, but they would never dear to speak up, because they know that their whole social support network and life-long affiliations would be DEMOLISHED.

    So... let's call a spade a spade, ok?

    1. Thank you for speaking up. I am sorry if my post made you and others in similar predicaments feel disenfranchised.

      Yes, I understand that even the slightest defecting from the community results in censure. I am aware of one Mr. Rottenberg who had his house burned down--perhaps on the Rebbe's orders--because he decided he wanted to daven by an old age home with his interred father instead of by the main minyan in NS.

      I am sorry if I made it sound like I was pigeonholing this issue into something for OTDs, Datlashes, Yotzei L'She'elot, or however formerly frum people self-identify these days.

      I hope the day comes that they learn to love their children more than they love being insular.