Family members held a traditional funeral for the ex-Hasid who jumped from a rooftop bar in midtown.
Faigy Mayer received a traditional Orthodox Jewish funeral in Borough Park, Brooklyn, by the family who had mostly stopped speaking to her. Mayer’s father gave a eulogy in Yiddish, crying into microphone, reports PIX11. He reportedly said in English, “I’m in pain. I can’t get out of the pain.”
Mayer, 30, jumped to her death from a 20th floor ledge at the 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar Monday evening, said police.
She had been born into the Hasidic community in Brooklyn, but left the faith several years ago, reported the Daily News. Afriend told the Daily News Mayer had a history of mental health problems.
“She was hospitalized three times for depression,” said Chaim Levin. “She was having some trouble.”
Mental illness is not uncommon for people who leave the Hasidic community, said Lani Santo, executive director of Footsteps, an organization dedicated to helping people leaving ultra-Orthodox Judaism adjust to secular life.
“We’re mourning a tragic loss,” said Santo. She added that Footsteps has a policy not to comment on specific members in order to preserve their privacy.
“A majority of our members have suffered from a combination of anxiety, depression and suicidality,” Santo said. Footsteps provides services like short-term counseling, educational resources and most of all, a community of people who are undergoing the same transition into mainstream society.
Santo listed various reasons people leave an ultra-Orthodox community, including being LGBT, having experienced abuse, or simply having lost faith.
“Undercutting all those reasons is a sense of feeling very different,” she said, explaining that the highly structured life in a Hasidic community like Mayer’s values the group over individuality. Living in such a conservative environment discourages personal doubts, which Santo said causes intense mental health challenges for some.
For her part, Mayer certainly used her individual freedom outside Hasidism to explore her own interests — coding and development, and often using apps for social good.
Mayer was working on an app to help LGBT homeless youth, and had previously worked on a variety of apps including a tip calculator, a parking app and one called All About Hasids, reported the New York Post.
Santo said there has been a 150 percent increase in the number of people coming to Footsteps seeking aid in adjusting to secular life in the past three years.
“A tragedy like this is a reminder for the important work that lies ahead and encourages us to work even harder,” she said.