Hi, I just wanted you to know that I read your book in a single sitting and it was amazing.
I work as an FDNY paramedic in Bed-Stuy and Williamsburg on a unit that patrols the area you were raised in, and for years have been frustrated by our interactions with the Hasidic community. Your book shed a lot of light on things I had long wondered about concerning that very insular society, and it pains me greatly to have my suspicions confirmed that we, as 911 responders (EMS, Police or Fire) are looked down upon by people that we only ever try to help. However, it is heartening to think that there are individuals like you who choose to think outside of the box you were raised in and seek out your own answers on matters of faith, family, love, happiness and society.
Way back in 2005 (possibly 2006) there was a huge springtime fire in a Hasidic building due to a holiday tradition of leaving ovens on overnight (I’m sure you know which holiday, but I do not). The kitchen wallpaper had caught fire and (as the windows were barred) many people in the first apartment were unable to escape. When my unit arrived onscene, two children, young boys, were in cardiac arrest. I remember standing, flabbergasted, as the adult men tried to prevent the female paramedic from entering her own ambulance to resuscitate one of the children (they didn’t succeed from keeping her out, but the boy was unable to be saved). From that day on, I have always wondered: what exactly do these people think about women that is so horrible that they would sacrifice the life of a child? After reading your book, of course, I know. Thank you for that.
I hope you and your son are doing well, and that you enjoy all the success that your book is sure to bring you. Congrats.
- DonnaMarie SanSevero