When You Walk Away from Ultra-Orthodox Judaism, This Group Helps You Find Your Bearings

Tomorrow’s New York Times Magazine includes a fantastic article by Taffy Brodesser-Akner about Footsteps, the organization that helps people leave the super-strict ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in which they were raised.


What kind of person wants to leave safety and start from the beginning, sounding different from everyone else, not knowing what to say, not knowing how to make a living — not knowing how to read past a sixth-grade level, because English is taught as an afterthought, if at all, in many of these schools?

Much of the article revolves around the 2015 suicide of Faigy Mayer, who jumped from the top of a New York City building because, it was said, she suffered from depression after being cut off from her family. It’s something a lot of former Hasidic Jews have felt at some point or another.

But that’s why this organization is so important.

… Footsteps is a lot like the organized religion it’s designed to help its members transition out of: Each exists to make sense of an utterly baffling world. But whereas religion seeks to reassure you that you’re not alone, Footsteps seeks to reassure you when you realize that you are.

Incidentally, we’ve written about former Hasids and spoken to them, too. Check out those posts to get a fuller picture about what they’re going though.

(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Scott for the link)

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