What Julia Haart’s Second Divorce Makes Clear

When “My Unorthodox Life” came out on Netflix last summer, Julia Haart became the latest spokes- woman for the Orthodox world — and not in a positive way. She spoke openly about how she left an ultra-religious community plagued with fundamentalism and oppression — that she wasn’t allowed to be educated, seen, heard, or even choose her own husband.

While issues in every community exist, and the Orthodox world is no exception, various former friends of Julia, from her communities of origin, have come out poking holes in the story she told so publicly and dramatically. Many more Orthodox women came out to express the beauty they find in Orthodox Judaism and that there was no way Julia was painting a full or complete picture of their world. While it seems that Julia’s life was riddled with insecurity and pain due to dysfunction in her childhood, the struggles she went through early on were a result of challenges in her personal life, not ones related to her religion.

Unfortunately, when people go through such struggles, they tend to look for a scapegoat and detach themselves from the place from which they came — which is exactly what Julia did. Now, with news reports coming out about her filing for divorce from her current husband of less than three years and all the messy legal proceedings around it, it’s clear that there is and was so much more going on behind the scenes that the show failed to reveal and that her issues have nothing to do with Judaism.

Apparently, according to the legal filing, Julia refused to let her husband Silvio Scaglia sell Elite World Group, the company they run together as well as their $65 million Tribeca apartment. Silvio wanted to do these things so he could raise money to fund his new business venture, SHS Asset Management but she claimed he had a history of failed investments.

Because of this, he allegedly fired Julia, cut off her corporate credit cards, shut off phone service to the marital home and fired Haart’s assistants even though she is CEO of the company.

He is saying she also took $850,000 out of company accounts, while at the same time, she is saying he did that too — took that exact amount of money out of the same accounts to put divorce lawyers on retainer.

It’s clear the situation is extremely toxic, and most likely has been for a while. While no one really knows what is going on except for those involved, and we only wish hurting people well and healing, it’s clear the relationship and the people involved are troubled — Judaism is not what is to blame.

Unfortunately, Julia brought the toxicity of her life to the Orthodox Jewish community in an extremely public way which further perpetuated the negative stereotypes the secular world has and almost no journalists were savvy enough to see her situation for what it is.

Schadenfreude is not a Jewish concept, in fact upon seeing the drowning Egyptians the angels were about to break into song when God silenced them declaring, “How dare you sing for joy when My creatures are dying” (Talmud, Megillah 10b and Sanhedrin 39b). So as a community we should pray for the healing of these hurting people and hope the media finally wakes up to their continued bias about our community.

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  • Avatar photo Pinchos Woolstone says on February 15, 2022

    The secular media did not want to see a nuanced view of this dysfunctional lady’s life.
    It suited them to paint the picture of a woman breaking away from her fanatical religious and archaic community, liberating herself from darkness and finding a new life of freedom in Manhattan liberal culture.
    How shallow main stream journalism can be, or were they painting a misinformed narrative to suit their own prejudicial narrative.

  • Avatar photo AG says on February 16, 2022

    “so much more going on behind the scenes that the show failed to reveal”

    I actually think any semi-intelligent viewer would pretty quickly pick up on her disagreeableness, her controlling behaviour and dictatorial style. Her materialistic and avaricious lifestyle is OTT and makes the average person cringe.

    Her lack of respect towards others who don’t share her views, nevermind the disrespect she shows her husband is quite glaring and obvious throughout the show too.

    All these unpleasant personality traits point to deeper underlying issues she is struggling with internally.

    No man will last long with her because such a self-absorbed person doesn’t know what a life partner means and is frankly unbearable. The show does a great job in demonstrating that I think.

  • Avatar photo Yehudis says on February 16, 2022

    I don’t understand why you would publish this post, which is nothing but lashon hara? The situation is sad all around, and spreading this personal family trauma around isn’t helping anyone, or the community.

    • Avatar photo Allison Josephs says on February 16, 2022

      Thanks for your comment. The post is not lashon hara as it is widely known information and its purpose is a constructive one. The constructive points are to ask the media once again to vet the stories they get told about our community and Julia has never been a reliable source and is clearly a troubled person. The second point was to tell people not to gloat and that our job should be to pray for the healing of the family.

      • Avatar photo Pinchos Woolstone says on February 16, 2022

        Let’s be honest, each time a person leaves a Charedi community and seeks to promote their “victimhood” through informing the media, the media gleefully highlights the biased narrative it is feed by the protagonist.
        Little effort is made to impartially research the story.

      • Avatar photo Marc Hess says on February 17, 2022

        Of course it is Loshan Hora. I’ve heard there was a dumb reality TV show named Unorthodox but never watched it and didn’t know this woman’s name. Now you’ve spread unproven allegations about her from a hostile divorce attorney, along with your own unqualified psychological speculation all over Jewish communal website, to the great possible embarrassment of her and her family. To top it off, you add your “wishes” from her well being and “healing”.

        • Avatar photo Allison Josephs says on February 17, 2022

          Thanks for your comment, Marc. We’ve written about this show several times as there was a ton of media attention surrounding it that required responses. We also had members of Makom write about how they see in her the same abusive patterns they escaped from. This is widely known information that being shared for a constructive purpose – to tell journalists and media to better vet the stories they feature. The wishes for healing and against gloating are completely sincere. This is a tragic tragic story but it was her personal story of growing up never feeling like she was enough. It had nothing to do with Judaism and that she blamed her pain on an entire community required a response from a nonprofit that exists to push back at unfair media depictions of Jews.

    • Avatar photo Y says on February 16, 2022

      When you criticize someone who grew up in the community and point out all the faults of that person, it just seems like the same old story of Jews fighting against Jews.

      • Avatar photo Allison Josephs says on February 16, 2022

        To be fair, she made a career out of bashing Jews. I still have compassion for the entire family.

    • Avatar photo SHMUEL says on February 18, 2022

      Seriously, Lushen Hurrah? When was the last time you learned the Halachot of Lushen Hurrah? If you did, you have to practice the Hilchot again. When the show came out, I assume you did not have any problem with Lushen Hurrah. If there is a problem with Lushen Hurrah, the show has the issue. Personally I did not have any case with the show, simply because anyone watching the show recognizes that Julia Haart is a narcissist. The way she manipulates her children is ridiculous. In a certain sense, I pity her children more than anything else. I hope that her children will recognize their mothers’ disorder and get help and help their mother too. Now you will probably say hay, Lushen Hurrah, but since Julia made aware for everyone that she is mentally disordered, I do not think I may not discuss such information.

    • Avatar photo david says on February 20, 2022

      There is no ‘Issur’ or Loshon Hora about someone who is not ‘Oisa Maaseh Amcho’. In addition where a person is actively trying to reduce peoples observance there is a Mitzva to show them up for what they are. I don’t think it needs any effort to put this person into this category.
      Loshon Horah is used by the anti religious to show up any failings of Frum community, where it is warranted we should use it too.

  • Avatar photo y says on February 16, 2022

    You ever heard of the serenity prayer?
    GD grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change all I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Everyone in our community would benefit if the focus
    Can be on what our community can do to help make families healthier, instead of trying to get the focus on what the people outside our community are doing wrong.

    • Avatar photo Allison Josephs says on February 16, 2022

      We should for sure be doing whatever we can to help hurting people. But when someone has used their platform to slander a large segment of the Jewish population, that information needs to be corrected.

      • Avatar photo Y says on February 16, 2022

        “Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly”. Helping the community become healthier is beneficial not just for people who are victims. When unhealthy things are happening to some people it affects the entire community. ” It takes a village to raise a child.” When a child grows up hurting and unhealthy, the community is accountable for that.

        • Avatar photo Allison Josephs says on February 16, 2022

          I agree we need to find ways to help hurting children. Breaking into inter generational family dysfunction isn’t easy but as we understand more and more we have to do whatever we can. And there are more mental health resources in the Jewish community than ever.

  • Avatar photo DZ in TO says on February 17, 2022

    It is so sad. She really messed up her own life.
    Just a nebach on everyone involved.
    And you make a good point that the sad ending highlights that she was not a reliable source to inform on our community.
    May Hashem heal al the broken hearts and bring them all close to him.

  • Avatar photo Jonathan Taub says on February 18, 2022

    1) The notion the “Jews don’t do schadenfraude” is tenuous at best; the notion that said tenet is learned from the angels at the red sea is a myth that needs to be exploded into oblivion [see links below for further explication, but for brevity’s sake, note that while G-d slienced the angels, the Jews sang Az Yashir, which we have done in perpetuity on daily basis ever since–and the language in the song is chock full of “schadenfraude”: According to Rabbi Elazar ben Rav Yossi (TB Pesachim 117a), upon emerging from the Red Sea, Moshe and the Jews not only sang Az Yashir, but Hallel as well. The Chavos Yair (225) even notes that, according to the midrash, the angels joined in singing Az Yashir with the Jews]. If one really wants to use a more accurate baseline source for “”Jews don’t do schadenfraude”, start with Mishlei 24:17-18 and Avot 4:19. [But also see Mishlei 11:10.]

    2) …in light of the fact that despite [or maybe because of?] the divorce and fraud allegations, the show has been renewed, one can safely assume that an apology/remorse for the ongoing insults to the targeted communities will not be forthcoming; until then, a counter-targeting involving public opprobrium and disdain is not inappropriate [it’s both personal and business.]

    Sources as to why the mass drowning of the Pharaonic retinue was/is to be celebrated:

    *Basil Herring: Should Jews Rejoice When Their Enemy Falls? Tradition 32:2 (Winter 1998)
    *Zvi Ron: The History of an Interpretation of Sixteen Drops of Wine at the Seder. Hakirah 19 (2015)
    *David Golinkin: Why Do We Spill 16 Drops of Wine While Reciting the Ten Plagues During the Seder? Responsa in a Moment 10:6 (April 2016)
    *Ari Z. Zivotofsky: What’s the Truth About…Hallel on Pesach? Jewish Action [Spring 2000)

  • Avatar photo Susan says on December 6, 2022

    I was intrigued, but also found so many holes in the story. How would she be able to sell insurance given the circumstances that she described? You need to be licensed and you typically sell to your personal network which in this case would have been forbidden. How do you start a shoe company without money. I get that you can have designs and ideas, but it rqeuires a lot of money and connections to start this type of company. The show tells very little about the insurance and the shoes (the real crux of the story). She only bencame CEO of Elite because of her husbands ownership. The scene where she does a makeover on the woman who wants to escape Monsey is also very silly since her trip to NYC was secret and she has to go back to that life and not have hair, makeup and new revealing clothes later in the afternoon. It would have been better to talk to her about steps she should take to prepare to leave and why she feels compelled to leave….


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