Blame it on Modernity Rather than Yourselves… Feige Greenwald z”l- Drug Overdose


Feigy Greenwald, daughter of the Puppa Rebbe of Monsey, Dead from Heroin Overdose. Community Blames Modernity. The “Pure and Righteous” Should be Blaming the Community.

At what point will the Hassidic community see that its behavior is the reason why children are dying? Modernity is not the cause, the apathy of the community is to blame.  When will the families of these victims – victims not of a modernity but a belief system gone wrong – understand that they and they alone are at fault for the deaths of their children? How many more children must die?

We hope that EVERYONE WITHIN EYESHOT of this Blog shows up at this poor child’s funeral. We hope that she is honored for the courage it took to leave the community; and that Feige Greenwals is mourned for the tragedy of familial neglect that caused her death. We truly hope that she has found peace and we are saddened by her death. For the Grace of G-d she was a child!!!

We want to tell the Hassidic community of Monsey that more will die by the hands of the chains that you and you alone are binding upon the heads of your children!

Tragedy: Hassidic Rebbe’s granddaughter dies at 22


The granddaughter of the Puppa Rebbe, 22 year old Feige Greenwald, died suddenly today (Tuesday), Kikar Hashabbat reported. She was the daughter of the Rebbe’s son, Rav Pinchas Greenwald, who is the rabbi of the Monsey branch of the Hassidic community.

According to reports, Feigie was hospitalized in the past few days at Maimonides Hospital after suffering poisoning from an overdose of a dangerous drug.

In the last few years, Faigie had left her parental home and acted in a more modern manner than is generally acceptable in the hassidic community. She was active on social media and according to her friends’ reports she used dangerous drugs even though they tried to dissuade her.

On the “Kol Puppa” information hotline the broadcaster announced to the Hassidim : “Our heartbreak is as big as the ocean. Death has come to our halls. Blessed is the true Judge. With great pain, we announce the passing of the descendant of holy and pure people, the granddaughter of the Admor [hassidic Rebbe], the dear important maiden, Faige, daughter of rabbi Pinchas Chaim, Rabbi of our community in Monsey.”

“May we henceforth only hear good and comforting news.”

Puppa Rebbe Grandchild, 22 year old Feige Greenwald, died suddenly, presumably from an overdose!

Image result for drugs
The granddaughter of the Puppa Rebbe, 22 year old Feige Greenwald, died suddenly today (Tuesday), Kikar Hashabbat reported.
She was the daughter of the Rebbe’s son, Rav Pinchas Greenwald, who is the rabbi of the Monsey branch of the Hassidic community.
According to reports, Feigie was hospitalized in the past few days at Maimonides Hospital after suffering poisoning from an overdose of a dangerous drug.
In the last few years, Faigie had left her parental home and acted in a more modern manner than is generally acceptable in the hassidic community. She was active on social media and according to her friends’ reports she used dangerous drugs even though they tried to dissuade her.
On the “Kol Puppa” information hotline the broadcaster announced to the Hassidim :
 “Our heartbreak is as big as the ocean. Death has come to our halls. Blessed is the true Judge. With great pain, we announce the passing of the descendant of holy and pure people, the granddaughter of the Admor [hassidic Rebbe], the dear important maiden, Faige, daughter of rabbi Pinchas Chaim, Rabbi of our community in Monsey.”


Yit’gadal v’yit’kadash sh’mei raba (Cong: Amein).
May His great Name grow exalted and sanctified (Cong: Amen.)
b’al’ma di v’ra khir’utei
in the world that He created as He willed.
v’yam’likh mal’khutei b’chayeikhon uv’yomeikhon
May He give reign to His kingship in your lifetimes and in your days,
uv’chayei d’khol beit yis’ra’eil
and in the lifetimes of the entire Family of Israel,
ba’agala uviz’man kariv v’im’ru:
swiftly and soon. Now say:
(Mourners and Congregation:)
Amein. Y’hei sh’mei raba m’varakh l’alam ul’al’mei al’maya
(Amen. May His great Name be blessed forever and ever.)
Yit’barakh v’yish’tabach v’yit’pa’ar v’yit’romam v’yit’nasei
Blessed, praised, glorified, exalted, extolled,
v’yit’hadar v’yit’aleh v’yit’halal sh’mei d’kud’sha
mighty, upraised, and lauded be the Name of the Holy One
(Mourners and Congregation:)
B’rikh hu.
Blessed is He.
l’eila min kol bir’khata v’shirata
beyond any blessing and song,
toosh’b’chatah v’nechematah, da’ameeran b’al’mah, v’eemru:
praise and consolation that are uttered in the world. Now say:
(Mourners and Congregation:)
Y’hei sh’lama raba min sh’maya
May there be abundant peace from Heaven
v’chayim aleinu v’al kol yis’ra’eil v’im’ru
and life upon us and upon all Israel. Now say:
(Mourners and Congregation:)
Oseh shalom bim’romav hu ya’aseh shalom
He Who makes peace in His heights, may He make peace,
aleinu v’al kol Yis’ra’eil v’im’ru
upon us and upon all Israel. Now say:
(Mourners and Congregation:)


Boro Park Drug Death Shocks Area
Staff Writer
The apparent drug overdose of a chasidic teenager in Brooklyn two weeks ago has sent shockwaves through the small but growing community of at-risk Orthodox youth, their families and the network of organizations struggling to aid them. Moshe Feiner, 19, was found dead in a Borough Park apartment on Dec. 15, the victim of a suspected heroin overdose. Sources say Feiner had undergone drug rehabilitation as many as seven times, and was well known to Jewish anti-drug programs. The death is the latest sign of a burgeoning crisis among Orthodox youth. A study commissioned by the Metropolitan New York Coordinating Council on Jewish Poverty, released earlier this month, found that as many as 3,500 Orthodox teens (more than 3 percent of the local Orthodox community) are considered “at-risk,” engaging in petty crime, sexual promiscuity and/or substance abuse. Similar trends are reported in other major cities. Feiner’s was far from the first drug-related death in frum, or Orthodox, circles. “In a short period of time there have been a number of cases of kids overdosed: as many as four, all unrelated,” said Borough Park Assemblyman Dov Hikind, an activist against drug use in his community. But because Feiner came from a relatively small family that was (by all reports) functional, highly respected and made every effort to cope with his troubles, the case has reinforced concerns that such tragedies are not limited to broken homes and inattentive parents. “Our phone hasn’t stopped ringing,” said Ruchama Bistriczky Clapman, founder and director of Mothers Aligned Saving Kids (MASK), an Orthodox group formed to deal with the Orthodox teen problem. “Our hotline has been overwhelmed. Instead of the 10 to 15 calls we usually get, we are getting 30 and 40,” she said. Whereas parents have previously called the group after children demonstrate disturbing behavior, says Clapman, they now call at the first hint of trouble. “If there is just a slight change in the child, they call for preventive reasons, to make sure it doesn’t go further,” she added. Signs that area youth were overwhelmed by the tragedy were evident this week. Feiner was apparently well-known among troubled Orthodox teenagers. When David Mandel, director of Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services, put out word that those who wanted to discuss their feelings about Feiner’s death could meet him at a Borough Park kosher restaurant, 24 kids showed up. “The mood was one of grief and a sense of ‘this can happen to me,'” said Mandel. “They described him in such a nice way: a good, kind, nice kid. Happy, friendly, outgoing, always with a smile. “But the most important thing to ask is, will this change anything? We believe that such a serious incident will at least help one kid understand that this is not an escape,” he said. A less subtle tack was taken by the operators of an Orthodox-supervised recreation center in Midwood, who brought a group of teens to view Feiner’s body before his funeral in an attempt to shock them about the reality of drug use. “The kids were shaken up, but how long it will last nobody knows,” said Rabbi Yitzchak Mitnick, a force behind the kosher pool hall, known informally as Our Place, which keeps a low profile and shuns media attention. “Almost everybody knew [Feiner]. He tried very hard to quit. Everyone tried to do whatever they could.” According to a law enforcement source, Feiner spent his last night at the home of a female friend on 51st Street in Borough Park. A male friend, of Flatbush, joined them there after Feiner called him. It is unclear whether any adults were in the house. The two friends, who are not suspects, reportedly told police that Feiner was depressed, but that they did not see him take drugs. Around 4 a.m., the friends called 911 and said Feiner was unconscious and bleeding from his mouth. He was dead when police and paramedics arrived, according to police. The results of a toxicology report are still pending, according to the law enforcement source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, but the presumed cause was heroin use. “The indication is that it was from heroin,” said the source, who said a syringe was recovered by police at the scene. “We don’t know if it was too much heroin, bad heroin or whether his body just couldn’t handle it.” No arrests were made, and police have not determined who provided the drugs, said the source. Feiner’s family declined, through an intermediary, to comment until after the 30-day mourning period. The family did not conceal the nature of his death at the funeral, where hundreds of mourners crowded into the Shomrei Adas chapel in Borough Park. The parents, joined by community leaders, expressed hope that the tragedy would foster awareness and save other lives. “What’s important in this tragedy is that the family is not hiding,” said Hikind, a Democrat, who attended the funeral. “The father said to me that he is determined to do everything possible [to ensure] that this does not happen again. “We can’t be ashamed and embarrassed to be examples,” Hikind said. “Enough is enough.” While social service providers are inundated with anecdotal evidence of an increase, at least one observer doubts that incidence of drug use and other misbehavior in the Orthodox community is an emerging phenomenon. “We are finding out about it now, but it may have been happening for a long time,” said sociologist Samuel Heilman of Queens College, who has written extensively on Orthodoxy. As for the Met Council survey of at-risk teens, Heilman said there is insufficient data for comparison. “We don’t know what the baseline is,” he said. “This is a snapshot in time.” But there is clearly an increased demand among parents for programs and resources. Clapman, who founded MASK in 1997 with 28 other parents, said chapters are in formation in the Five Towns, Queens, upstate Monsey, Baltimore and Toronto as families fear their children are leading secret lives. “There is a whole underground,” says Clapman. “When we go to sleep at 12, that’s when these kids start their days. There is a whole slew of kids out there doing drugs and alcohol.” The organization, currently run by volunteers out of their homes, has held two highly attended symposia for parents, and with Hikind’s help, will meet with Gov. George Pataki next month to discuss a potential grant from the state’s Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services, said Clapman. But for many, Feiner’s death brings home the reality that no matter how extensive the network of resources, some young people will not be helped before it’s too late. For this reason, the chief narcotics prosecutor at the Brooklyn district attorney’s office, Avery Mehlman, insists yeshivas and community leaders must break the taboo of involving the authorities if other avenues are fruitless. An alternative program initiated by Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes allows non-violent drug offenders to avoid jail if they enter a rehabilitation program, said Mehlman, himself an Orthodox Jew. “If the only way to get a kid into treatment is having him arrested, perhaps that’s the route the community might consider as a last alternative,” said Mehlman.

36 thoughts on “Blame it on Modernity Rather than Yourselves… Feige Greenwald z”l- Drug Overdose

  1. Last year at Thanksgiving, I had the pleasure of meeting a charming, luminous young woman, the late Feige Greenwald. She joined my family for Thanksgiving dinner, the guest of another family member, a friend of his from Cliffside in Malibu. Feige looked pale yet lovely in her dark hair and perfect makeup, pretty lavender dress and heels. She ate very little, only a few bites, but she wasn’t quiet or downhearted at all. She seemed in good spirits that day, very funny and sweet, open and engaging, extremely bright and intelligent. I remember thinking how much potential she might have, if only she could put down the needle and find a more ‘sustainable high’ as she, or rather her counselor, put it to her. To that end, I suggested nature, amongst other things, the idea of finding beauty and peace in the natural world. She wasn’t convinced. I could see that, sadly. She spoke of how much she loved….loved, mind you… heroin. It was like there was no greater feeling or experience or escape in the world to her than what this particular drug had to offer. It made me sad to hear her speak of it so, and it makes me sadder still to know she followed that bliss unto to her death. I thought of her this year as I prepared and sat down to dinner, and she’s on my mind yet today. I’m thankful I got to meet Feige, however briefly. She made an impression. My heartfelt prayers and condolences go out to those who knew and loved her well. In her honor, let us put aside our differences and blame, and remember this beautiful girl with love and forgiveness for her, for ourselves and for all others.

  2. Jay,
    Your objective response is a breath of fresh air is this blog that cant be honest about its agenda.
    I would highly doubt that suicide or drug use is an “epidemic” or higher in the Ultra Orthodox world.It is actually probably lower since it is getting so much coverage ala man-bite-dog.
    As to Janci…, if you ever chance upon the archives of failedmessiah, you will see for yourself if he needs to be addressed

  3. It’s so very easy to point, to blame, to lie, to accuse… so why not?
    First of all its nobody’s fault why she or anyone died in her case but herself/oneself…. Life is a choice… (onless it’s a murder/shooting/stabbing situation)..
    I’m sick and tired of hearing it’s the schools fault, it’s the Rabbi’s fault, it’s community fault…. Bull sh!!!!!! The very first time who put that first cigarette in ur mouth!? Who put that drug in ur mouth for the very first time!?!? Not your school!! Not your parents!! Not your Rabbi!! Not the minority!!! Not chassdic community!! Nobody but yourself!!!
    the blaming game is so overrated….
    So if somebody wants to do sh
    do it for all I care….but don’t go pointing fingers for ur poor choices in life..
    Yes theres issues that need to be addressed and taken care of …. Molesting and all …. But drugs??? Drugs is a choice when taken for the very first time!

    My heart goes out for this kid and for those who were in or still in her boat…. For the pain she’s been carrying around until now… no parent shld have to go through this ….no parent shld have to bury there child… parents should be ashamed and pained like that…. And no child shld have to go so young in life… in peace child!

    • Narcissistic World, the parameters of your diatribe seem to be missing the question of nature v. nurture. If your theorem is correct, then the community would not be so insular because of course, there would be no outside forces to “blame” for the choices of the children. Think again.

    • Lets see, which “choice” should we blame her for then:
      – being born into a family that meant she lived in a goldfish bowl
      – being born into a cult that deprived her of, well, just about anything you can imagine
      – being a victim of mental illness perhaps?
      – having an unreliable dealer
      – saying the first lechaim
      – the second, third, fourth,
      – moving onto another substance. After all the Besht probably did so.

      And so on.

      There are few things more disgusting than the frumma combination of (im)moral certainty and blithering ignorance of reality.

      • Jay
        Gold fish bowl?
        Wow….. Is that how it felt by u?…. U must be in a lot of pain and confusion …your in my prayers “to find happiness”
        Because as far as I know
        I wasnt burn in a fish bowl, I wasn’t Deprived (in fact I’m so spoiled …spoiled as it gets!)
        And a Cult?!? That’s how u see Jewish religion? a cult??… nobody is forcing…. Even G-D says: u are not forced to do anything it’s ur choice to make the right decision…….
        I was bully by my school… I was bullied by the higher upers… my principles, teachers, mothers of the school where told to keep there kids away from me….I was put to shame, I was publicly destroyed….
        One thing I won’t ever do is point fingers!!!!!! It’s a choice what u want to do with ur pain….. I chose to prove them all wrong!!! I chose to learn and practice and understand the rules of this beautiful religion u so call CULT!! because life’s a choice!!!
        And then your gonna say it’s not a choice?….
        Get ur head out of ur text books and look around…. Cause ur gibberish has gone to a whole new level…. Facts my friend …why all the hatred? …learn to love

        • Goldfishbowl – she was in a prominent family which meant shexwas even more closely under scrutiny than your average haredi girl (who is anyways watched like a hawk from a pretty young age if you know anything about how shidduchim work).
          Im not really talking about gashmius here. By deprivation many are poor. Some are not. But growing up in that world deprives one of education, freedom, information and lots oof choices. Zein nisht kein tipish.
          In my view most haredi groups are cult like. They try deprive people of the ability to survive outside of it and pressure people to conform and stay in the group. Like anything its a question of degree. Im sure there are plenty happy enough haredim just like there are jehovas witnesses.
          Theres plenty to love and enjoy about yiddishkeit, my gripe is with the fundamentalists who pervert and ruin something that can be great if you want it.
          Im sure you dont appreciate the irony of much of your post but it amused me sufficiently to respond.
          A gutten shabbos.

          • @Is this the same Jay that has corrected our knowledge of events so much? Your point? The fact that she lived in a goldfishbowl is argument for why addiction should have been impossible. The argument you are making is circuitous and frankly we have read your comments and there must be more than one of you. In our view, if she was surrounded by people who were paying attention, they would have seen her addiction. She lived in a community that buries its head in the sand as commonplace and then blames others – modernity – for its failings.

      • You are missing the point, Jay. We don’t believe that any of it was a choice. We believe that the community is to “blame” for her death. We are saying the same thing. You just don’t like the path we take to get to the same place. To put it bluntly: whether it was suicide or an accidental overdose we believe she was effectively murdered by her community, those entrusted with her care. We believe that the denial and secrecy are dangerous and that trying to wipe her death “clean” for the purposes of protecting the community puts others like her at risk.

  4. Jay-you wouldnt know the difference if an article is accurate or fair if it hit you in the face you just keep rehashing your own nonsense ,that the ultra orthodox have a much highter rate of suicide is a no brainer i live among them and know thing you wouldnt beleive suicide is a taboo by them they will never ever report a death as suicide.

    • Funnily enough, as a former haredi and now a university professor who has left that world I might just be in the position to know the difference. I dont know about you, but I am published in peer reviewed medical journals on the topic of mental health.

      • Jay, that’s good. Perhaps you could send us – by way of our gmail address – something we can publish, an article, a study, some of your mental health knowledge. Perhaps you can write something about your experiences as a formerly haredi university professor. Perhaps you have insight into education the community that one embraced you. Perhaps you could give us your medically trained insights on suicide, heroin and drug abuse and the chance for survival of loved ones in the former and rehabilitation in the latter. So much time, so little to do… (Gene Wilder – Willy Wonka)…

  5. I personally knew Faygee and know that her family was super supportive of her!!! I am not Chasidish and have nothing to do with Pupa. Please take down this article! The problem is real and needs to be discussed but to blame it on her family is a disgrace. Do some fact checking before posting please! Some professionalism will help!

  6. I have been part of the “modern” world all my life. I went to public schools, and worked and lived with people from all walks of life. I don’t know anyone that used heroin.

  7. The frum AND REBBE’S CHILDREN do take drugs heroin, cocaine and more …
    Do not wonder , they know where to take the drugs , better than me . I don’t .
    Even if I want to take drugs, I would not know where to get it . They do as frum as they are .
    They don’t even go to PS or to College and they don’t mix with non frum ppl or secular Jews or with goyim . So, where can they get the drugs from ?
    I am baffled .

    • M – in one of the earlier articles we wrote, it was a second hand account of a student who said that the boys are drugged in school to keep them obedient and willing to sit still for hours on end. We took the steps to publish it because we had already heard whispers of this practice. While we do not suggest that the children in the schools are injected with heroin, we would suggest that they are provided with bridging drugs which simply make life more bearable. Whether or not the girls are enslaved the same way, we cannot say. People were very critical of that article, one of our first. Perhaps it is time that people take a second look.

  8. People die from substance abuse problems in every community and all walks of life. Blaming it on frumkeit is as stupid and ill informed as blaming it on modernity.

    I would also caution against using the tragic death of a young person to further a political agenda which strikes me as extremely tasteless.

    Poor poor kid 😦

    • Jay,

      “Blaming it on frumkeit is as stupid and ill informed as blaming it on modernity.”

      Perhaps not. Insulated frum culture is more likely to maintain ignorance of topics such as drug use and its associated risks. The more modern a culture is, the more streetwise they tend to be.

      They’re in such fear and denial of the outside world that they can’t even report what the substance was:

      “after suffering poisoning from an overdose of a dangerous drug”

      These people have a lot of catching up to do with the real world. Just look at the description of Faige:

      “With great pain, we announce the passing of the descendant of holy and pure people, the granddaughter of the Admor [hassidic Rebbe], the dear important maiden, Faige, daughter of rabbi Pinchas Chaim, Rabbi of our community in Monsey.”

      It is mostly all about who she is related to, and what their titles and credits are.
      And did Faige have a mother? If so, they don’t mention her.

    • Jay, what you don’t realize is that the suicide rate in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community is staggering, utterly staggering. It is also preventable. The rates of self-harm of any kind is also disproportionate to the rest of population. The statistics are available. The ultra-orthodox community’s numbers are consistent with numbers of other ultra-orthodox and fundamentalist groups but not mainstream populous. For you to find reason to overlook this is one of the reasons why the problem continues. We are not using this as a political agenda. We are using it because we are fed up with hearing about children dying and the community involved blaming it on “modern influences.” It would appear that you are prepared to be equally as apathetic.

      • I’d be interested to see the statistics please.

        I’d be hesitant to decide it was a suicide here without seeing the toxicology and police reports. People do OD accidentally too.

        There is no call to insult me as apathetic, I too am sick of the abuse of kids in our communities, whether its educational, physical, sexual or emotional.

        But clear, accurate and fair reporting is crucial because otherwise you lose credibility and that means that the people within the community you address have an easy excuse to simply dismiss otherwise legitimate criticism.

        • An overdose, whether accidental or otherwise is still the result of a choice, an intentional choice. If they admit it was suicide, she cannot be buried in a Jewish graveyard. We will get you the statistics. Your willingness to write this off, whether you like it or not, is either apathy or denial.

          • I’m not writing it off. I’m saying that substance abuse is complex and cannot be easily explained by agenda driven soundbite type reports. I don’t know why she died and actually, neither do you.

            • Our focus was on the response of the community – blaming modernity. When taken with the totality of the circumstances, it is hard to ignore that she is likely more than 76. See the follow-up article.

        • Jay, rather than provide you with the statistics, which are hard to come by in current numbers due to underreporting and secrecy, we figured we would provide you with some reading: The page also has a number of videos. They are worth your time. Suicide and druge abuse within the ultra-Orthodox community is an epidemic. Either it can go ignored or this poor girl’s life can mean something and her death can come with exposure of the problem. This is not political. This is a child who died unnecessarily.

          • As you will see from my response to Janci above! I know the haredi world. Quite well actually. A leading yeshivah. Many years. Some parts of my wider family are still within it. I am no longer haredi by a very long shot but as an academic with an interest in mental health i am interested in the issue and accuracy rather than wild claims.

            Don’t promise statistics you cant deliver or draw conclusions that cant be substantiated because you do more harm than good that way.

            Harddim are drawn to magical thinking and nonsense like many uneducated people. Give them one reason to dismiss you and youve lost the chance to help people find a better way. The task ks simply too inportant to not call out people on bad practice.

            You wanna help people or just fling dung at each other like chimps in a zoo?

            • First off, Jay. The statistics are deliverable. They are, as you well know, inaccurate. The Haredi who once embraced you are not big on reporting the inconvenient truths. There are no conclusions here that cannot be substantiated. You sound much like the Rabbi in the follow-up article who does not want to talk about suicide because the discussion is contagious. Above you state that you are published in medical journals. Below you refer to yourself as an academic with an interest in mental health. Which is true? For an academic, you are very liberal with your typos and grammatical slips. What do you know about suicide, Jay? What can you tell us about the possibility of an ultra-Orthodox person recovering from drug/heroin addiction. Does an ultra-Orthodox Jew severely depressed have a chance in hell of surviving? Likely not. Or, is that wild speculation. You see, sir, you are flippant and self-aggrandizing rather than “helpful.” We suggested above that you provide us with an article, your know-how, a medical journal publication, perhaps. Something you have written would be nice. What about a part of a lecture you have given to a class? If you want to be helpful then help.

              • Then deliver the damn things. Like you said you would.

                Lets take your epidemic based on 75/6 claimed suicides. No source supplied to the numbers. Is it global. US, Israel, both, what? Have the numbers been collated over years because statistical anomalies occur. You actually cannot draw a conclusion without information.

                Why the heck do you think I would entrust my stuff go a bunch of faceless people with a penchant for sloppiness in thought and method and a tendency to insult when you read stuff you dont like?

                As to credentials, both are true as happens. Some of us work across disciplines. I could be a trauma surgeon who is interested in why some of my cases are there. I might be a lawyer with an interest in medico-legal work. So try not to be arsey, its not a good look.

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