The Shmooze

A Video Message to the Ultra-Orthodox: ‘It Gets Besser’

By Renee Ghert-Zand

  • Print
  • Share Share

If you are a gay or lesbian young person, then “It Gets Better.” But if you a Haredi, Hasidic or Yeshivish Jew yearning to leave your ultra-Orthodox community, then “It Gets Besser.”

Taking a cue from LGBT Orthodox Jews who are increasingly taking pride in who they are and staking claim in the Jewish community, young ultra-Orthodox Jews who have left their insular communities are speaking out in growing numbers. The “It Gets Besser” video campaign is one such statement, aimed both at the general public and at young Haredi Jews who feel that they don’t fit in.

The video features a set of “before” and “after” photos showing individuals as they looked while living their ultra-Orthodox lives and then how they appear now as secular or less observant Jews. There go the payes, here come the male ponytails. Out with the long skirts, in with the short shorts.

The video is produced by Leah Vincent and Samuel Katz. Vincent is the associate editor of Unpious.com, “an online journal for those whose roots are in the Chasidic world but have left it in body or spirit.” The website caters to what it calls “fringe-Chasidic culture.”

In less than two days, “It Gets Besser” has garnered more than seven thousand page views. Some seventy-five comments posted on the video essentially fall into three categories. Some are written by viewers critical of ultra-Orthodox education and upbringing and who applaud these individuals for bravely following their hearts. Others (ostensibly from the Haredi community) wish these young people well, but denounce them as druggie dropouts who bring dishonor to themselves and their families. Still others point out that as visually striking these “before” and “after” images may be, they fail to convey the nuanced and undoubtedly difficult journey that took place between them.

Watch ‘It Gets Besser’:


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Leah Vincent, It Gets Better, It Gets Besser, Unpious.com

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.