“Sarah” is a 23-year-old atheist living in Jerusalem. That wouldn’t be newsworthy except for the following:
… there is no shortage of atheists in the world, but precious few of them were born into the family of a conservative rabbi and raised in what many would consider a stifling domain, the austere, God-fearing world of the haredim, as ultra-Orthodox Jews are known.
Sarah is a rarity in Israel. She is a “yotze,” the term used here for someone who has left the haredi world behind.
It’s extremely courageous for Sarah to come out as an atheist when you consider the strict world she’s leaving behind. She is refusing to have an arranged marriage at a young age, she is refusing to have a quiverfull of children, she is refusing to wear mandatory headgear, and she is refusing to obey any rabbi.
It’s a lot to say no to, and it’s admirable that she’s done what so many other women in her position might not be able to do.
While her family didn’t completely abandon her, they weren’t happy with her decision:
… her departure was a wrenching affair, and she went for several years without communicating with her parents.
“I just stopped talking to them,” she says. “It was easier for everybody.”
She has since gotten back in contact with them, and they’re working things out.
I really hope other girls in Sarah’s position get a chance to read this and see that, even though it may be rough, it is possible to leave the faith. You don’t need religion dictating your lifestyle. Having the freedom to do as you wish a beautiful thing.
(Thanks to Orson for the link!)