Faigy Mayer was suddenly in the headlines after seemingly taking her own life. She was pronounced dead after reportedly jumping from a rooftop bar in Brooklyn.
The headlines pointed out that she was formerly hasidic. She even appeared in a National Geographic documentary. But her friends are adding more details about her interesting and tragic life. Those who loved her are trying to make sense of her sudden exit and what lessons, if any, can be learned.
Faigy wrote, in March:
In November of 2009 I attended a Thanksgiving celebration at Footsteps, the non profit for ex hasids, where I met many ex Hasids for the first time. The funny thing is that I was told they would help me become Modern Orthodox, not leave the faith which is what they do.
On March 26, 2010, my parents and I had a discussion. Probably through a “spy” at Footsteps, my parents knew that I had decided to leave the faith. They asked me if I’m going to Chulent, a place where some Jews smoke weed on Thursday nights. I wasn’t. My mom asked me if I ate ham. I hadn’t tried ham or bacon by then but they knew that I had decided to leave! That was the start of my journey away from the life I knew.
The next five years were incredibly hard but also incredibly rewarding. I’ve sort of lost all my family but I’ve made many amazing wonderful friends instead. I am so grateful for the life I have and the blessings therein! I hope to blog to share my story. I am learning a language called Python so I can create my own blog. I hope to be an inspiration for others who leave, although given my story, I’m not sure I recommend it for everyone.
It’s been 5 years and I’ve made it!
Side note: FB has a pic section for this “life change.” Here’s the background story as to why I couldn’t do a before and after pic:
I think my parents knew that I’ll be strong and manage to leave despite my personal obstacles. My dad in 2012 casually said he thinks I’ll write a book about my experiences. That is probably the reason why they are withholding my photos of my life up until 2012. I do not have any baby pics of myself. I don’t think it’s human to withhold your daughter’s photos from most of her life. I’ll figure this out!
The following are some interesting videos and responses from across the web.
Speaking with National Geographic about leaving the Hasidic world:
Interviewing a kid that made an Arduino device:
On her way to a Shabbat dinner:
Mayer’s startup, Appton, appears to have been a one-woman operation. On her LinkedIn, she wrote:
Startup founder and iOS developer looking to apply my expertise in iOS app development, social media strategy, and public speaking. Adept at analyzing technology needs for diverse groups of people. Skilled at generating unique product ideas, satisfying demand in a wide variety of markets. Currently engaged in development of multiple apps and sites. Experienced in building and managing motivated and productive teams to reach client and organizational goals. Willing to relocate to Berlin/California.
If you are experiencing suicidal feelings, call the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.
If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide: do not leave the person alone; remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt; and call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.