Monday, October 07, 2013

'Vilified': Death spotlights plight of parents who flee Hasidic communities 

Deb Tambor couldn’t live without her children.

Tambor, 33, who was raised under the strict religious tenets of the Skver Hasidim in New Square, apparently killed herself Sept. 27 in the New Jersey home she shared with her boyfriend, who also left the New Square fold.

Her death has drawn attention to the plight of women from the Hasidic community who have lost their children in custody battles after leaving the religious community. Tambor — who had three teenage children — also complained to community leaders that she had been abused as a child, her friends said.

Her boyfriend, Abe Weiss, 38, said religious leaders, her family and her ex-husband’s family tried to destroy her.“She kept saying how much it hurts to have her children pried away,” Weiss said. “Her children were her life. They took away her life and, in the end, she couldn’t deal with it.”

A private memorial for Tambor was held Thursday night in Monsey for her friends and supporters, who said they were not permitted to attend her funeral. They said community leaders refused to allow Tambor to be buried in New Square.

New Jersey State Police are investigating her death, but found no evidence of foul play, Lt. Steve Jones said. He said test results could take several months before police can determine if she overdosed on drugs.

Weiss said he and Tambor began their relationship nine months ago after meeting on Facebook and learning they had a lot in common, including mutual friends. He said she never talked much about the details of the custody fight several years ago, saying it was a “sore subject with her.”

Tambor spent much of her time trying to help people who lost their children in custody battles and who were sexually abused, her friends said.

A memorial Facebook page for her has received sad, angry and loving posts from friends and supporters, some of whom raise issues regarding the ultra-Orthodox community’s treatment of dissidents and people who want to leave. Ari Mandel, who grew up in Brooklyn and has family ties to the Skver Hasidim, said Tambor left the community because of the restrictions and she “decided life wasn’t satisfying for her.”


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