Imagine not knowing that the sun is a star, or that there’s a solar system. Imagine not knowing what a human cell is, or what menstruation is, or, until you’re 18 and three weeks away from your arranged marriage, what sex is and how it works. Imagine never asking for a puppy growing up, because dogs bark, and that means they are beasts and demons. Imagine you have been told for your entire life that in the secular world, people mainly rape, pillage and murder, that it’s all a lawless meaningless free-for-all, and you are safe only in your little enclave, where these things do not happen.
To most secular New Yorkers, it seems incomprehensible that even the most devout, observant ultra-Orthodox Jews would be so cut off from the modern world — after all, they walk the streets of New York, are exposed to advertising and storefronts, to the subways and roads, to the shared outside stimuli.
Yet the ultra-Orthodox do all they can to insulate themselves.