Ask Heshy Fried, the 29-year-old blogger behind Frum Satire, one of the most interesting websites about Orthodoxy, and you’ll get a complicated answer.
“I would venture to say that I didn’t even know what satire really was when I started the blog,” Fried explained. “I merely liked the ring of ‘frum satire,’ but the name has stuck.”
Fried started his blog when he lived in Albany in 2006. His first posts were merely observations of Shabbat meals, synagogue services and weddings, but eventually the blog came to be reflections on living an Orthodox lifestyle, an ironic yet tender look at the way he and other Orthodox Jews make their lives. No topic is too sacred, and Fried reflects on shidduch dating, shomer negui, Kollel and his hatred of hockers — well-connected members of the community with Bluetooths in their ears.
Eventually, as the scope of his pieces expanded, Fried adopted the tagline “It ain’t always frum and it ain’t always satire.”
“What’s the deal with Staten Island?” Fried wonders in one post. In a later one, he declares that when his father moved to Far Rockaway, “G-d knew I would hate Far Rockaway,” which he sums up in a line.
“Far Rockaway is like an affordable Brooklyn,” he wrote, before coming around to the community’s finer aspects.
And Fried doesn’t shy away from more serious topics though. “But having dated a convert, why not keep an open mind towards divorcees?” He asked in another post. “ A Jew is a Jew, and we all possess the potential to create a bais neeman Yisrael, no matter what our personal backgrounds may be, even if those backgrounds include horrible personal experiences.”
The blog’s popularity has also surprised Fried. “I never thought I would be where I am today,” he said. “Believe it or not, I work as a professional cook due to blogging.” A fan in California suggested a job for Fried in Mountain View, cooking at the Kitchen Table, the Silicon Valley’s sole kosher establishment.
“I finally found what I want to do for a career,” he said. ”I’ve met hundreds of people through blogging. People want to host me for Shabbos. I hung out with a fan when I was in Turkey, of all places.”
“I think it works because his satire doesn’t stray too far from the actual truth,” said Elimelech Yisroel Lubin, 21, a Forest Hills resident.