Brooklyn, NY – My View: The Death Of Faigy Mayer A”H


    An undated  facebook photo shows Faigy Mayer in the Willaimsburg section of Brooklyn. Mayer a Charedi woman from Brooklyn jumped to her death from 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar in Manhattan on July 20, 2015.Brooklyn, NY – Sadly, there have been too many weeks this year that we have lost a young, precious soul that was clearly lost and in pain, but never before has a loss of this kind, in our community, been a front page story, grabbing newspaper headlines and focusing the media spotlight on the difficulties that we face.

    Like most of you, I never met Faigy Mayer. I never even heard her name before, but yet, she is my sister, your sister. She is one of us. I can’t speculate on what compelled her to take her own life, because obviously I don’t know any of the facts. But I do know this. She is no longer with us and as we mourn the loss of the Bais Hamikdash this week, we mourn the loss of another young life and future generations that will never be born.

    Media accounts have been buzzing with speculation and are quick to point the finger of blame. How she was rejected by her family and ostracized by her community. How she felt stifled in her upbringing from the earliest days. None of this is productive. Each of us walks our own path in life and makes our own decisions, some good and some bad. We may not approve of decisions made by others but at no time do we ever have the right to judge anyone but ourselves.

    As the old ada ge goes, you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Sadly, the large majority of our troubled youths find themselves met with scorn and ridicule when we have seen time and time again that a warm smile and a kind word is far more effective at touching the heart and possibly opening up a door that will guide these lost souls back onto the right path. We have an obligation to love our fellow Jew, no matter how they dress, what they eat or what kind of life they lead.

    There are no words that will ever bring Faigy Mayer back, but perhaps there are lessons to be learned from her death, which are particularly applicable to us now that we are just hours away from Tisha B’Av.

    We need to love each other. We need to support each other. We need to look out for one another and help those that we see struggling in any way that we can. Those who suffer from mental illness or were abused, either physically, verbally or sexually, all need more of our time and caring, not less. Those who are lost need support and compassion, not criticism and derision.

    I daven that Faigy Mayer’s tragic and untimely death will be the catalyst to better ourselves and that this new positive direction should be a zechus for her neshama and be a source of nechama to Faigy’s family and friends.

    Zvi Gluck is a well known community activist and the director of Amudim Community Resources, an organization dedicated to helping abuse victims and those suffering with addiction within the Jewish community and he has been heavily involved in crisis intervention and management for the past 15 years.

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    8 years ago

    0. So so sad… I’m crying ūüôĀ

    8 years ago

    “….we have seen time and time again that a warm smile and a kind word is far more effective at touching the heart and possibly opening up a door that will guide these lost souls back onto the right path.”

    This quote, in my opinion, goes to the heart of the problem. When you talk of guiding lost souls back “onto the right path”, you are demonstrating your hidden agenda, which is to convince them they are WRONG and you are RIGHT !! These “lost souls” might not be so lost. PERHAPS those of us on the “RIGHT” side need a bit of a soul re-orientation. Maybe the protest of the “lost souls” is really a wake-up call to us to find OUR way back from the institutionalized, forced spirituality and hypocrisy that these “lost souls” detect in us.

    8 years ago

    This article says it so well! Let us all mourn for Faigy and, yes, put her past behind her. It’s so horribly sad that such a beautiful Neshoma and girl is no longer with us. May her parents and family find Nechama and only remember the good times they had with her.

    8 years ago

    thank you Rabbi Gluck for bringing this to my attention, as a resident of NJ I was unaware of this tragedy.
    may her soul find the peace it needs,
    looking forward to the day when sorrow and tears is wiped away.

    to those who attack Rabbi Glucks words- I caution you , please respect others and if need be disagree respectfully, he is entitled to express his educated thoughts that come from his experience in these matters,

    to #2 – the opinion you express- sounds like you are unhappy and hurting – I urge you to find yourself a honest path of happiness and satisfaction.

    8 years ago

    And that goes for gay children also. I can’t tell you how many parents I know who have gay kinder whom they disowned. These kids from the time they were toddlers appeared to be “different”, like boys wanting to play with dolls and wear dresses, or girls who only wanted to play with trucks and wear helmets. Why shun a kid you gave birth to because of being gay? When these kids commit suicide, blame our way of thinking and don’t blame the media.

    8 years ago

    Shaming her memory by posting an apparent ◊ó◊ô◊ú◊ē◊ú ◊©◊Ď◊™ picture on a Yiddish website.
    Please reconsider.

    8 years ago

    Great article. I would like to add: alcohol and rooftops don’t mix. This isn’t the first death this year from drinking and rooftops. We don’t make the best decisions under the influence of alcohol. Certainly being on a rooftop itself is a risk. Together can be horrible tragedy. Yet more importantly many people are at risk struggling. Whether it’s because of upbringing or otherwise. We need to be there for our friends and help them if they struggle with suicide or otherwise.

    8 years ago

    Nebach. not everyone is cut out to be frum, even more so Belz. Hasidim need to do what the Bal Shem Tov did when he started and that is RESPECT and love your fellow JEWS.

    8 years ago

    The signs on the Tappan Zee and GW bridges are not there for nothing. This is the ultimate mental illness that is almost impossible to detect. Check out “How Do You Get That Lonely” from Blaine Larson. It’s still the nine days and this is music but when I view it water wells in my eyes, so I think it’s not inappropriate

    8 years ago

    To #3 -“In NY”- What exactly did you mean when you stated that “Suicides happen every day, but there are non among religious Jews”. Were you somehow speaking against the deceased, because she left her community? You think that there is no mental illness among religious people? Years ago, a Lubavitch represented told me that he had just returned from Maimonides Hospital, where he saw many religious people, who were suffering from mental health issues. Mental health issues (whether depression or other mental diseases), strike everyone, whether they are orthodox, ultra-orthodox, modern orthodox, conservative, reconstructionist, reform, etc . Don’t be so quick to condemn someone for not being as religious, as you might like them to be!

    8 years ago

    this sad story is more about mental ilness than anything else – torah is mesamchei lev and this story shows that most people that leave yidishkeit have deep emotional issues and are the way they are DESPITE people trying to help ( as a godol said at the levaya that these neshamos are klippos “- not to infer that the parents are at fault – i feel for the parents their guilt & shame all these years may her missa be a kapara & hopefully the neshama had its tikun

    8 years ago

    very well said,
    i have heard from a friend that goes to visit people in jail when he passed by a broken jew that nebach maid a mistake and doing his time, my friend smiled to him and said How are you Yankel ? he replied to him if someone would smile to me like this when i was young i wouldn’t be here let’s just think in depth of this story how many people we can just smile to them and how powerful and far it can go

    8 years ago

    agree but sometimes easier said than done ,while i dont wish misbehaved children on anyone ,its sometimes unbearable to keep them home

    8 years ago

    In response to Yossi (comment #2 ), I would argue that guiding people who are “lost” does not have to mean guiding them back to the specific religious path I follow, but rather helping them find their own way – and not just in a religious sense. When someone is hurting and “lost” they need compassion, acceptance, and friendship. Helping someone become healthy and strong doesn’t mean pushing my “agenda” on them. I don’t have to agree with their every choice in order to offer support.

    8 years ago

    Faigy wanted nothing to do with this community, and proudly insulted our way of life. We should honor her wishes by burying her in a cemetery of non believers. We should wrap her in the bacon she so proudly shared on Facebook. Her friends from Footsteps should pay for her funeral.

    I am sick and tired out being told we need to accept this. No we don’t. The same way they don’t need accept our traditions and can go on tv to denounce them, we have a right to same. No one forced her, and she was free to believe what she wanted. As a community we have no obligation to support those that denounce us and our way of life.

    Faigy’s parents were supportive of her getting an education and going out to the modern world. It was only when she started with her public ridicule, with the “support” from Footsteps, that they made clear that if she so hates it she might be better living elsewhere.

    When she struggled on her own, with keeping down a job, paying rent, where were her friends that are all over Facebook supporting her now. Did any of them attempt to help her put a roof over her head.

    Tzvi, I admire all you do for the community, but in this case you’re wrong. As long they’re struggling and show some respect to our traditions, we need to be supportive, when you publicly denounce them, it goes both ways.

    This is also a big problem for all the sex abuse victims advocates, as in this case there are no allegations of abuse, yet she committed suicide. This is contrary to their cause.

    8 years ago

    All this fold is footsteps they are whom to blame, they taking away our precious children, if anyone can close them down will have a big zciya.

    8 years ago

    Thank you for writing this article.
    I was horrified reading online how the ultra orthodox community is complicit in her death. Most, if not all, were written by people who have left the fold. These are the same people, who now turned liberal, posted all over facebook a few months back how we need to stop racial discrimination and that all black lives matter. I completely agree and think we need to stop stereotyping and judging others… but PLEASE practice what you preach! Stop stereotyping and stop spreading hurtful rumors because of your pain and anger. No, not all parents of OTD kids kick them out. No, not all Rabbis are molesters. No, not all frum people steal. No, not all parents abuse their kids. No, not all parents force their agenda on their kids. Just because you went through that does not mean all frum people behave in that manner. Most dont. I’m so sorry that you’re hurting and that the ppl who should have cared for you betrayed you. I truly feel for you. I know plenty of ppl who have left the fold who were not kicked out and have great relationships with their families. Please stop the hate and start treating every human with love and compassion… even those from the ultra orthodox community.

    Mark Levin
    Mark Levin(@mark-levin)
    8 years ago

    She was involved with Footsteps. Let it be known that they are an EVIL organization. They are ◊ó◊Ė◊ô◊® ◊§◊ô◊° through and through. They help pull AWAY these lost neshomas by claiming that shedding their past will be better for them. I’ve checked their social media pages and you see people who did the most part are dressed normally, within degrees of tznius, and that’s the way they stay. Footsteps encourages them to dress normally while leading lives contrary to halocha.

    The organization pulls and pulls by manipulating them into thinking this is correct and things will be wonderful when that is usually FAR from the case.

    I hold Footsteps, the rodfim at that agency, 10000% at fault here!

    8 years ago

    It is Tisha B’av – there are different forms of sonei yisroel – here it was for a child – and we ask why Mashiach hasn’t come ūüôĀ
    The community throws out the runts of the litter – sadly they have no time for the different – if you don’t fit in to the mold – out with you – perhaps she did have issues but is your job as a parent just to give birth to a child and ………Baruch Dayan Emes
    May your family know of no more sorrows – and may they not sweep your memory under the rug

    8 years ago

    1) Can someone please post her name and her fathers?
    I intend to learn some Mishnayos for her., and a Kaddish derabonim.
    Although I’ll have to keep it secret people shouldn’t think I’m a nut case. 2) Can some one please post coordinates of R’ Gluck?
    Shabbat shalom and easy fast.

    8 years ago

    The bottom line is. Every human being is free to choose their own path in life.
    Just because you believe that their path is leading them to hell….means nothing to that person.
    We need to respect that.

    If we can’t respect the freedom that others have then what value do our choices have?

    8 years ago

    Footsteps has been filling the vacuum created when our brothers and sisters seek alternatives to yiddishkeit. Initiatives like MAKOM show that possibilities exist within Torah- true judaism that may align with their choices and let them stay frum.

    8 years ago

    To Rabbi Zvi Gluck . I admire all the work you are doing whether in Chevra Kadisha or helping people who have lost the way like abuse cases. Do not be affected by people who talk against you. They were put there just so you will have more merit. Keep on doing the good work that no one else does. Chazak

    8 years ago

    So heartbreaking.

    I do agree that Footsteps is a terrible organization. Is happiness found from eating pork? Cheeseburgers? Is happiness found from sexual promiscuity? No, no, and no.

    If someone feels cloistered by their community, there are options of having a secular education, engaging in mainstream culture, but not resorting to eating on Tisha Bav, eating outright traif and mocking everything holy to the Jewish people. You can be modern and stay true to yourself and tradition.

    I wonder if this young woman was pushed to the brink by her ‘friends’, who encouraged her to way out, to a foreign life, a life that her sweet and delicate neshama just could not handle.

    Her friends can cry and go back to their selfish life as they try to encourage even more young Jewish people onto a self-destructive life, without a care to the emotional havoc these choices make.

    My heart goes out for this girl. She clearly is bright, edel and refined. She could have been a successful professional, enjoyed modern culture and still been a Jewish woman who observed the mainstays of jewish life, taharat mishapcha, kashrut and shabbat.

    8 years ago

    Footsteps tries to integrate the OTD people into the secular world. There is no way they can educate these people during a few discussion meetings. You can’t learn what they’ve been missing out on in their years of ignorance. Question: Once they learn who the Beatles are or who Tony Bennet is, does their lives suddenly become more intelligent, better, happier, more content? They still are at a loss in the secular world because they can’t catch up with all the years they’ve been left out of the secular world. It’s a fallacy to think this will solve their problems! You don’t have to go OTD to know who the movie stars, singers, actors, etc., are. You can be frum and know it all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    8 years ago

    Too all of you bashing footsteps, let it be known that they do not educate the person on becoming secular but help guide anyone seeking advise to integrate into secular society.

    Especially when it comes to education, I have met many who through footsteps where able to get their education in order some of these fine young men and women will be graduating law school and other career choices. Please don’t be fooled by the notion that every OTD is depressed or suicidal! Of course a lot of them feel betrayed because their only family they knew their entire life disowned them, it can take a toll. So how about show some compassion and not everything should be about kiruv or religion. If God loves and forgives so can we

    8 years ago

    ◊ô◊Ē◊ď◊ô ◊ź◊£ ◊Ę◊ú ◊§◊ô ◊©◊ó◊ė◊ź….

    8 years ago

    #27 “We should wrap her in the bacon she so proudly shared on Facebook”
    What a disgusting thing to say amongst the other disgusting things you said. Maybe one of your Rebbe’s abused her as a child and she didn’t want to have anything to do with Yiddishkeit.

    8 years ago

    This “my way or the highway” attitude is why the churban came. Harmless Lipa Schmeltzer they made him cancel his concert it cost him $700k. Oisgavarfener yiddishe gelt. He is going to Columbia to earn a safe living unfettered by radical rabbinim. This is not the yiddishkeit Dovid Hamelech O”H observed. He davened for his wayward son Avshalom who was even moraid bmalchus. Love is the strongest drug known to man says Dr Yaakov Mermelstein A”H. Practice love!

    8 years ago

    On this night of Tisha B’av, can we all swallow our opinions and sit silently in pain for Faigy’s family and her own neshama. The differing opinions above speaks to the range of emotions that course through our community due to the different experiences that our fellow Yidden live through on a daily basis. “Seyug lechochma – shtika” – the gateway to wisdom is silence- for only through listening and absorbing another’s pain and not giving reflexive answers , can we allow our neshamas to influence our behavior in a fashion that can help heal a tzibbur in pain. HaMakom yenachem eschem b’soch shar aveilei Tzion V’Yerushalayim.

    8 years ago

    It is a shame for the Belzer Rebbe that he has chassidim like this who don’t care for their children and disown them if they become frei. Both the rebbe and the family should be ashamed!

    8 years ago

    It’s very sad what happened, and very tragic when a mental illness goes untreated. One issue is the illness that she had. The other issue is people going off in general.

    In regards to illness, we should try to be more aware of anyone who needs mental help, and help them find the treatment they need so they can be healthy and happy.

    With the issue of going off, there are many factors. One thing people should never do is make people pressured and like they are in a prison. Hashem wants Torah to make our soul happy so we serve Hashem with joy. When a person feels pressured and doesn’t see the beauty and joy, they search for it somewhere else, only to find empty materialism. Our soul needs Torah and Mitzvos so we can connect to Hashem, bring light to the world, and bring redemption.

    8 years ago

    Once these children feel “out of the machne” ,theyare dislodged and cut off from their families and communities. andexist are in a no mans land- they have to be convinced they are ar still loved for who they are and that they can have a future . It is so complex. There cannot be too many organizations like that out there.when dealing with addictions ,a smile is not enough tho and probably a bit late.Youneed trained experts to step in.

    8 years ago

    My father sent me this letter today… I just wanted to share it, I wish more people would do things like this.
    I decided to post this publicly after I shared it with some people who really needed to see this and it was well received… ‚̧

    My dearest Suri,

    As I fasted today, I sat and reflected on what our fast is all about. Why was our beautiful home in Yerushalayim destroyed? Why did the presence of Hashem leave us? What did we do to drive ourselves into this long bitter golus?

    I always knew the answer, but I don’t think I understood it as well as I do right now. It was destroyed because we were judgmental of those who did not ACT the way we wanted them to act. We were embarrassed of those who did not DRESS the way that we wanted them to dress. We looked down at those that did not TALK the way we wanted them to talk. And our misplaced ego caused us to think that we are better then they are. This is what caused us to destroy ourselves completely. Without having a ayin tovah, a favorable and understanding eye on those around us, we are not deserving of having the divine presence of Hashem live among us. We threw ourselves out with our self-righteous mindset.

    Which group of us c

    8 years ago

    Cont2 Which group of us caused the destruction? The ones ‚Äúon the derech‚ÄĚ or the ones ‚Äúoff the derech‚ÄĚ?

    On this day I sit and cry… my eyes fill with tears… the epiphany just hit me like a ton of bricks: It was not the ones wearing the jeans (as an example) that caused the destruction, rather, it was the ones not wearing jeans who then looked down upon those who wore the jeans! WE are the ones who destroyed the beis Hamikdosh and we have not yet corrected our sin! In fact, with Torah and mitzvos being so strong… we have perhaps even strengthened our sin… we have taken it to a higher level.

    I look at myself… am I not part of the group who uses our beautiful religion to look down at others? And if so, am I not the one responsible for our current exile? What good is my fasting and sitting on a floor if I cannot face the truth that ‚ÄúI‚ÄĚ am currently responsible for this tragedy?!

    I now fully realize that it is not you and your friends who are preventing Moshiach from coming… it is me and my friends!

    I wrote my own kinniss: Woe is to me for I have repeated and repeated the original sin that caused the churban! Woe is to me for I have stabbed my own flesh and blood!

    8 years ago

    cont3 Woe is to me for I took the holy Torah that is supposed to be sweet and peaceful “dirachehuh darchei NOAM vichal nesivosehuh SHALOM” and I used it to form a dagger which I then used to stab you – and others – over and over again!!

    And so after a long day of fasting and contemplation, I look back at the way that I treated you and for this I now sit and cry. My dear sweet beloved Suri !! How can I ever take back the pain that I caused you? How can I ever repay you for the smiles and hugs that you so deserved… but didn‚Äôt get from me because I was too busy justifying to myself why it is OK for me to look down at you‚Ķ to judge you harshly‚Ķ and to actively destroy the Bais Hamikdosh? How can I give you back the lost years?

    My dear Suri, a long long long time ago, I looked into the future and dreamed about the day that you would grow up, mature, learn right from wrong, wake up from your selfishness and finally come ask me for forgiveness‚Ķ but after alot of inner searching… ‚ÄúI‚ÄĚ grew up, and ‚ÄúI‚ÄĚ matured, and ‚ÄúI‚ÄĚ learned right from wrong, and now ‚ÄúI‚ÄĚ finally finally woke up from MY selfish, haughty, egotistical, judgmental attitude! And now on this painful day I turn to you

    8 years ago

    cont 4:
    And now on this painful day I turn to you and I ask you ‚Äď no, I BEG you – for forgiveness!!

    I accept upon myself to shower you with love and affection, with hugs and kisses, and to do everything in my power to always be there for you through thick and thin! I pledge to work so so hard to make up for all of the pain that I caused you. I pledge to never look down at you, your friends, or on ANY JEW ever again. I am DONE with the negative attitude! I am DONE with being the judge and jury to another Yid! I am DONE with thinking that I am BETTER than ANY other Jew in Klal Yisrael. I am DONE being a part of the problem… and I pledge that as of right this moment… I will become a part of the SOLUTION!!

    My Suri, please open your heart to me… please open your arms to me… hug me, hold my hand and let us build the beis Hamikdosh together‚Ķ

    What do you say?

    Your loving Totty

    8 years ago

    this is response to the post written by someone who claims to be representing foosteps yimach shimo. I was involved with you guys the fact that you make lawyers or doctors out of someone doesn’t take care of emotional or psychiatric issues. today I am a mentor for otd kids. first and foremost we need to recognize she suffered from mental illness. the fact that she affiliated with footsteps they only made things worse. I CAN PERSONALLY ATTEST TO THAT. BUT MENTAL ILLNESS REMAINS ILLNESS. HOW DARE WE BLAME THE PARENTS. WOULD YOU BLAME SOMONE FOR THEIR KIDS BIENG A DIABETIC? THE FACT IS TRAGIC AND WE MUST DISABLE FOOTSTEPS BY HELPING PEOPLE OUT AND RESPECTING THEM. THE VAST MAJORITY OF FOOTSTEP MEMBERS WANT RESPECT AND LOVE AND WIIL PLEASE ANYONE THAT GIVES IT TO THEM. INTRESTING MOST PEOPLE AGREE IF THERE WAS A OPTION TO HELP THEM STAY FRUM EVEN CHAREIDI THEY WOULD. “JUST RESPECT E AND HELP ME AND I WONT CHANGE MUCH OF YIDISHKIET”. “I WANT TO BE GOOD BUT AM NOT UNDERSTOOD”. LETS TOGETHER DISARM THEM BY HELPING THEM WITH THEIR ISSUES AND REMEBER CHANOACH LENAR AL PI DARCO. KLAL YISROEL IS THE BEST!

    8 years ago