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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Formerly religious Jews: Can there be a second generation?

Formerly religious Jews: Can there be a second generation?

Dear Reader, As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall.

The Day Izzy Left Orthodox Judaism

The Day I Left Orthodox Judaism

Today – the 12th of July – I celebrate my fourth anniversary of leaving the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. I have never written before about my story in detail. If I ever decide to publish a memoir of my journey, this is what a first draft of some chapters might look like.

Footsteps on Oprah Magazine

This Organization Helps People Who’ve Left the Orthodox Jewish Community

Imagine you’d never seen The Wizard of Oz. Or gotten sunburned at the beach. Or twisted apart an Oreo and made tooth tracks in the filling. Or pawed at your tenth-grade boyfriend in the back of a Honda Civic.

Why I went Off-the-Derech

by NS

My journey from an extremely religious ben Torah to an atheist was long and painful. Over a few years, I transformed from being someone who loved nothing more than connecting with the Torah to facing the realization that I had devoted my life to a lie.

My questions started innocently enough, subtle incoherencies in the Rambam and the Ramchal, but the deeper I dove looking for answers, the more questions seemed to surround me. Problems with Chazal, historical inconsistencies in Tanach, the impossibility of the Mabul, for two years I became cripplingly obsessed with trying to resolve the questions that haunted me.

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Melissa’s Story

Melissa is 37 years old and lives in Ottawa, Ontario with two cats 🙂

Hi Melissa, thanks for agreeing to do an interview. What can you tell us about your religious background?

Melissa and her boyfriend

Hi, thanks for having me! I grew up as an evangelical Christian, and was with the Baptist Church from birth until I was about 18 or so. Around the time I moved out on my own for the first time I started to question what I was raised to believe, and realized that Christianity wasn’t for me. I did some reading and researching, and I remembered taking a religion course in high school that really interested me, specifically the unit we did on Judaism. I didn’t know at the time that my parents were on their own journey, and eventually the three of us ended up deciding to convert to Judaism together.

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Rachel’s Story

Rachel (pseudonym) is in her forties, and is an attorney-in-law. She lives on the east coast with her two sons.

Hi Rachel, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed. Please tell us something about your family’s religious background and why you know Russian 🙂

We came here when I was relatively young from the former Soviet Union. My parents were not religious but they soon became enamored with the local Chabad, which tried to involve them in every way possible. Several years after we arrived, our home was kosher, and I was attending a Chabad elementary school, and lighting shabbos candles. After high school, I moved to Crown Heights for seminary and employment, as well as college. Although college was frowned upon, I received a bracha from the rebbe at the time to go to college, which allowed me to remain accepted – relatively- in the Chabad community while also enhancing my secular education. Looking back now I see how these unique circumstances shaped my life and freedoms.

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