Ex-Hasidic woman jumps off NY rooftop bar to her death

Faigy Mayer, 30, leaps off building; victim had documented difficulties of leaving ultra-Orthodox community

Faigy Meyer (Facebook)
Faigy Meyer (Facebook)

A New York woman who has been identified as an ex-Hasid jumped to her death Monday night from a 20-story Manhattan rooftop bar.

Police said Faigy Mayer, 30, died at the scene. No reasons were given for the apparent suicide.

According to the New York Post, Mayer climbed a ledge and jumped off the building Monday evening during a party on the roof of the 230 Fifth restaurant and lounge in the Flatiron District, just south of midtown.

Some bar patrons continued to drink after Mayer jumped and police cordoned off the area, the paper said.

Police believed that Mayer jumped deliberately, although witnesses said the ledge of the bar was dangerously low. Onlooker Carlos Rodriguez told the New York Post, “They really need to be more careful up there. There’s nothing to keep you from jumping.”

Mayer grew up in the Belz Hasidic community of Williamsburg and Boro Park in Brooklyn, but decided to leave and adopt a secular lifestyle in her 20s.

In a 2012 National Geographic documentary about Hasidism, Mayer discussed the challenges she faced when she decided to leave.

“I wanted to transition out at a very fast speed, and it was so challenging emotionally, the whole transition,” she said.

Mayer said that growing up she did not feel comfortable in her Hasidic community and that she “always believed them [Hasidim] to be incredibly dumb.”

Faigy Mayer in a National Geographic documentary on Hasidism (Screen capture via Youtube)
Faigy Mayer in a National Geographic documentary on Hasidism (Screen capture via Youtube)

Her family did not support her decision, she said. “My parents were, point blank, you have to get out of here, we’re not supporting you,” she said.

Later, however, their relationship improved and at the time of filming the documentary, Mayer had moved back home.

The documentary showed Mayer attending a support meeting by Footsteps, an organization that helps former ultra-Orthodox Jews adjust to secular society.

Mayer, who worked as an iOS developer at Appton, identified herself on her Twitter feed as “Former #hasid who codes in #iOS. Love#coding, #beacons, #bacon, the#appleWatch and life!”

A corporate event was going on at the time of the incident, but it was unclear if Mayer was connected to the event.

JTA contributed to this report.

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