Prof. Solomon Schimmel’s Story

My Personal Struggle with Unreasonable Belief –

For years, I have been studying Orthodox Judaism and exploring the question of how it is that modern, highly educated people can make unreasonable faith claims.[1] Specifically, how is it that Modern Orthodox Jews, in the face of overwhelming evidence and logical arguments, believe that God revealed the entirety of the Pentateuch, word for word, to Moses at Sinai and/or in the wilderness?[2] How do these people deal with the facts and arguments that challenge this central religious belief of Torah-Mi-Sinai?

Prof.Solomon Schimmel

Podcast about Off the Derech by Jonathan Gabay

Off the Derech – The choice to leave the Chosen People. A documentary about Cults and power – Thought and Leaders

Cults in 2020 are closer to home than you assume.Rather than being exceptions, cults are becoming sub-cultures of the world’s major Judea-Islamic- Christian faiths. In such closed communities, leaders believe that strength lies in similarities rather than differences. To protect perceptions and i…

A New Book on Leaving Judaism

A new book has come out on the topic of the OTD Phenomenon, called Degrees of Separation, Identity Formation While Leaving Ultra-Orthodox Judaism:

Zalman Newfield’s book is called Degrees of Separation: Identity Formation While Leaving Ultra-Orthodox Judaism. Using this link, you can read the first chapter of the book for free.

Ruth Borovski, OTD, from Jerusalem

She’d never seen a smartphone or heard a radio before she fled. She’s racing to catch up.

JERUSALEM – Ruth Borovski, doing a bit of homework, sat in a library and Googled “phosphate” on her smartphone. That could not have happened 19 months earlier, when Borovski was a 27-year-old living within one of Israel’s cloistered ultra-Orthodox Jewish sects. Then, she had never heard of phosphate. Or of smartphones.

Elul is a Mindfuck

by Natan Stern

Can we all agree that Elul—at least in the litvish/ashkinazi iteration—is a mindfuck?

I am one of those people who has no malice or anger towards the frum community. But I have little doubt that Elul scarred me. On paper Elul may sound like a good idea – we can all use a time to reflect on our life path and acknowledge the wrongs we may have committed against our fellow man – but that is not how Elul plays out in real life for your average yeshiva bocher.

Who will find his end and who will not…
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Josh’s Story

Josh is in his thirties, lives together with his non-Jewish girlfriend, and works in IT. 

I met Josh on, an excellent resource for people who left the Jewish faith.

Hi Josh, what can you tell us about your religious upbringing?

Josh ‘before’

I grew up on the east coast of Canada, so there wasn’t a real Orthodox shul around. For whatever reason, my mother was hell-bent on us having a Jewish identity. She was the main driver behind us going to shul, going to Hebrew school after regular school, and so on. She didn’t grow up religious but my dad did and had left it. They’d come to my school (I was the only Jew there) and do presentations about the holidays and what not. Anyway, I went to a not very religious summer camp (shout out to Camp Kadimah), had a bar mitzvah, and the whole deal. We also randomly went kosher one summer. 

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