Report: “New York’s Chassidic Rebels Learn to Be Secular”


chossid-willyEditor’s Note: We are publishing the following disturbing article by Rebecca Schischa in the London Jewish Chronicle, titiled “New York’s Chasidic Rebels Learn to Be Secular, because it touches on one of the most sensitive and relevant issues affecting our communities today: kids-at-risk. Obviously, the behavior and tone expressed in the article are not condoned by any means, but they give us – the members of the frum community – a glimpse and a true feel for the struggles, the challenges, and the confusion experienced by an increasing number of our teens – and those, unfortunately, who are actually helping them away from the derech haTorah, rather than bringing them closer.

Rebecca Schischa reports:

Right in the heart of Manhattan is an unusual refuge – a place where New York’s ‘Chasidic rebels’ gather to socialise, meet and learn.

Footsteps, which runs the centre, is the only organisation that exists outside Israel to provide defectors from the Chasidic community with the practical and emotional support they need to make it in mainstream society.

“People don’t come to Footsteps for…drugs and rock’n’roll,” says executive director Paula Winnig. “They’re with us because they want to learn.”

Footsteps was set up in 2003 by Malkie Schwartz, a young woman from the Lubavitch community who, in the process of becoming secular, realised how much support others in her position needed. It provides career and college guidance and training in basic computer skills. It also provides peer support meetings, social events, and a library and computer lab.

Critics from the Chasidic community allege that the group tries to turn Chasidim approaching it away from religion. Ms Winnig denies this, saying, “we’re not trying to lure anyone away from their communities. We make participants see the real pluses and minuses they’ll face with leaving.

“We get fairly frequent calls from the UK and other countries,” she adds.

They are considering creating an online chat group to reach out to these Chasidic defectors overseas.

At least 550 people have used Footsteps’s services since it was set up in 2003, but there is no way of knowing how many Chasids are struggling to leave their communities.

However, it is clear that male “rebels” vastly outnumber their female counterparts. Ms Winnig says there are three men to every woman at Footsteps, and suggests this may be partly connected to the fact that Charedi men tend to be less educated in secular subjects than women. She adds that women may also be less able to access the organisation’s services which are open only to those over 18 – an age at which many Chasidic women are already married.

Sam is a clean-shaven, articulate 20-year-old university student and Footsteps participant. Just four months ago, however, he was dressed in full Chasidic garb, with peyot and a beard. Just four years ago, he barely spoke English, only Yiddish: “I was able to buy a bottle of milk, that’s about it.”

Hailing from Brooklyn’s Satmar community, Sam says his journey began five years ago. “I just wanted to read. I used to go to libraries, it was a good escape. But if you’d told me that libraries would lead to me going to university, I would have stopped.”

He came to Footsteps, unusually, through his father, a Chasidic defector himself, who moved over from Satmar to modern Orthodoxy. Nowadays, he hides his secular lifestyle from his mother (his parents are divorced).

He is relatively well adjusted, however, compared to Sholom, a 35-year-old former Skver Chasid, who used to attend Footsteps’s social events. Living in the strictly-Orthodox town of New Square in upstate New York, Sholom’s realisation that he no longer believed in God led to a messy divorce and estrangement from his five children.

He turned to blogging as an outlet, achieving minor celebrity status with his Hasidic Rebel blog. Matters came to a head when word spread that Sholom was having wayward thoughts. He was “summoned” to a rabbinical court and effectively ordered to leave New Square. “I’m now secular to the point of almost believing in nothing,” he says, “but when you spend your whole life immersed in religion, it’s very hard to find something to replace that.”

This is the struggle many former Chasidim face – they still feel strong cultural ties with their upbringing, but no longer belong. “I was born a Chasid, I’ll die a Chasid,” says Sholom. “It’s something that’s in you.”

{London Jewish Chronicle}

{Noam Newscenter}


  1. Please keep in mind when reading this, that the London Jewish Chronicle is leftist Jew-hating religious-hating rag.

  2. im sorry sir but this is so totally not a joke dos is hoillelelus machin of aserios matter it is an extremelely serios matter and making choizek is just adding to the chillul hashem

  3. Beware they are a dangerous group who have destroyed many innocent youts. 550 number is what they know about. It is so very sad. Baruch Hashem that they don’t have to many young woman. for those men who wish to learn a a good occupation there are other ways of doing so.

  4. unfortunately i can relate to some of these feelings… although if you would see me you would think im your typical frum yeshivish person…
    i wish there would be kiruv keroivim…i can use some kiruv…it’s funny when ppl ask me to do kiruv just because i’m an FFB.
    i envy baalei teshuvos since they have so much more understanding, beleif and sincerity then many FFB’s like myself.

  5. There is a misconception that when people leave the fold, the only other lifestyle is drugs and bumming. This org is trying to help build self esteem through teaching daily living skills to those who have already left. Is it a bad thing? If the alternative would be drugs, then no. But if it prevents the person from teshuva because they see they can function well in the secular world because of this org, then maybe the org also creates a problem.

  6. #7….there is no need for you to continue struggling with questions and doubts. B’H there are many fine talmedei chochumim, even lay people with knowledge and an understanding heart who can help you through your struggles. Whatever question you have could be adddressed and help you to come to a clearer understanding.
    Why don’t you first attempt to go to your rosh yeshiva…I am sure he would be more than willing to help you out and put you back in a place where you would be joyful and happy and proud to be who you are…..
    Don’t just sit around envying the baalei teshuva…do something….find help for yourself. DO YOUR HISHTADLUS AND HASHEM WILL HELP YOU….DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME WITH A BROKEN SPIRIT!!!!!

  7. There is a book called- UNCHOSEN- the hidden lives of hasidic rebels– which discusses why hassidim would go off and why its so hidden. was interesting to read even though im not chassidish… did anyone read it?

  8. To Struggling –
    You’re right. In the yeshiva world, there is not always a way to connect to someone who can guide you when you have questions. There really isn’t always someone to ask, someone who can handle the questions, kal vechomer the answers.

    However, the truth is that there are people who are great in our generation. There are people that can handle these turbulent times, understand them, and can help to guide you. The nisayon is, just like the rest of us, you need patience and bitachon that Hashem will help you and guide you to your yeshua. May it come soon. Hatzlocha vebrocha.

  9. This organization is a farce. One doesn’t have to become secular to read, get a college degree or work. Those who leave the fold do so because they have psychological issues. The same problems that kept them from sitting still in Yeshiva and making wise choices during bein hazmanim continue to haunt them through their secular odyssey. Most of them are dumb-even if they seem to be book smart or street smart and look for their elusive happiness in materialism.

  10. To Struggling –
    By the way, there are some yeshivas that do keruv keroivim. They are not the famous ones, or the aleph shiur ones, but they do exist. Hatzlocha vebrocha.

  11. This is not a new phenomenon.

    The Jewish books described in the Matzav video are mostly full of kfira and sinas Hatorah and Yiddishkeit. They poisoned the populace against the Torah which led to the mass defection which was to many Gedolim the cause of world war 2 and its impact on the Jews.

  12. Thanks for publishing this article. The crux of the issue really is that in order to address the problem we have to stop brainwashing our children that everything is pasul and asur. We do this cause we dont want them exposed, but when they are inevitably exposed when they go out to the world they cant handle it. They thing that everything out of the norm they grew up in is treif. This leads them to becoming totally non frum. Imagine this, a chassidic bochur is told that we are machmir and grow beards and sidelocks and if lubavitch we do chumra x or chumra y, but if you dont do it you are still erlich and you still get olam haba….so maybe the bochur has an option all of a sudden. Whats better, being a person who rebels to the point of chillul shabbos and eating treif chas vachalila or being a modern orthodox so-called jew who is shomer shabbos but trims or shaves his beard and eats chadash but goes to minyan 3x a day. this does not mean every chassis should do this, it just means we open vistas of relief for those who dont match the chassidic lifestyle. The same by the way is true for the litvish yid too, the examples here are only based on the article using chassid as the example. Struggling…its okay you can be an erlich yid and not keep all the chumros today, and tomorrow you can keep even more chumros when you are ready…

  13. To struggling
    Please don’t despair there is much help available in this area for 1 if u want to take out a sefer . Look into kovataz mammorim from r’ elchonon wasserman chalek alef first mammar
    Also there is a person by the name of rabbi Daniel mechanic who will b more then happy to help . But the main thing is that u want to try & want to b helped
    Trust me I deal w/this on a daily basis .your being driven more by lust then questions in emunah
    Don’t think your alone its a struggle that a lot of ppl struggle with . But that’s life its full of struggles . Don’t think that those ppl don’t have struggles . They also have later everlasting regret on this world
    I’m talking from experience seeing first hand over & over
    Hatzlocha Rabbah

  14. I’m surprised such an ignorant comment made it past moderation. Most people who go off are naturally smart, deep, emotional, talented, intellectual and idealistic kids who have real questions that never get answered. Yes most kids in the class are not that inquisitive, but the inquisitive ones are always “shut up” until they are older and get fed up and say I don’t need this empty life. They are right, to someone who can be great and to have to suffer through a mediocre education it is an empty life. Our yeshivas are geared towards mediocrity.

  15. This is a rehash of an old story they had published in New York a long time ago.

    Mr. Struggling, Project Chazon is designed sprefically to help people like you. There are also many wonderful kiruv books available to everyone. Or take the plunge and call a kiruv organization to set you up with a chavrusah you can talk to…

  16. TO STRUGGLING…. Please get in touch with me… I am a baal teshuva… would love to speak with you!! Made special email for you to reach me!

    DONT BE AFRAID!!! we all need chizuk, would love to get to know you!!

    simcha and hatzlocha

  17. there are people who are naturally “shtark”. They dont have questions, or if they do, the are “shtark” with themselves and they push the problems away. they would never walk away from yiddeshkeit becasue of a problem. they are “shtark”.

    THese types of people are not qualified to deal with people who struggle with emunah issues, because they dont understand that there are people who will just walk away from yiddeshkeit because something seems wrong about it to them.

    There are 2 ways to deal with emunah problems.
    1. Deeper and more sincere learning lifts the neshama and changes a persons perspective, to the point that things just bother us less, and we can go on.
    2. You have to find someone who can deal with your questions. There are plenty of people who can.

    If you dont do one or the other, then the problems will grow. NO question, it will get harder and harder.

    The funny thing about the frum is that they are embarrassed by questions. I dont know why. whatever bothers you in life, your emunah, your marriage, your job, you need to find a real person you can talk to. When you do you find yourself again and you never look back.
    The people who go to footsteps have never found that type of person. That is all.

    Dont vilify they newspapers. its important that people know about this so we can make asking questions less emabarrasing and momre normal. when we do, it will put these bad guys out of business.

  18. to all the people who are responding to struggling, please don’t think that this is limited to yeshivish young men. I am a FFB middle aged married woman born in boro park and currently living in a heimeshe area in Brooklyn. I have felt the need for someone to talk to for a very long time!!!!!!

  19. #20: I was the most inquisitive in my class. Therefore I learned science and other topics on my own, as well as plenty of Hashkafa Seforim.
    The one boy who did stray was always wild, insensitive to others and disobediant. I also know plenty of people who wanted a higher education and went to college. That had nothing to do with dropping Yiddishkeit.
    Whoever I knew to be more inquisitive than the rest of their class, only turned out greater. Did you notice that anti examples in this article refer to broken families. There lies the real answer, like anyone remotely in the field knows.

  20. Dear # 24

    I am also a middle aged married woman and can relate to the difficulty in finding someone to talk to. However, the same does hold true for you, there are still real people around who can handle both questions and answers. I also set up an email account if you want to connect,

    Hatzlocha vebrocha.

  21. Seems to me there are some major factors contributing to the situation in the article and adults at risk in general:
    1) we may not be able to keep the bubbles we want going. Sure, any responsible parent will have some level of insulation and editing but even with our own best efforts, we can’t guarantee the insulations of our villages, no matter who seemingly cohesive. Parents have to be alert to the possibility that their children will want something else and may have to broaden their acceptable parameters. (But like the saying goes, it’s good to have an open mind but not so open that your brains drop out.)

    2) We need more hashkafa in schools. Our kids may (or may not) have great halacha curricula and lots of general knowledge on Tanach, etc. but without knowing WHY and feeling a strong connection, it’s hard to keep going.

    3) I’ve always felt that the 11th commandment should be, You shall not be cynical. (Rabbi Frand has a great tape/essay on leitzanus.) But SOOOO many people make it SOOOO hard for the rest of us!

  22. I had it both ways – dysfunctional family and full of questions about Yiddishkeit. I can honestly say there is no excuse for dropping out. The answers are out there IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THE TRUTH, NOT IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR AN EXCUSE.
    The search for the truth is hard, but the answers are there.
    I have found that the majority of people who do not beleive in Yiddishkeit is because they don’t want/ can’t be bothered to do some research- the outside world becons to them and they are running towards it with excuses.

    I’m sorry but opening our childrens minds to the shmutz of the outside world is not an answer. We are opening them up to a culture where only the strongest and smartest can withstand the temptations because kids and teens cannot make smart choices (some adults have a problem with that too).
    We must remember two things:
    1. bechira and freedom of choice to lead the life we choose was and is always an option and therefore
    2. Jewish history is full of examples of Jews who dropped their Yiddishkeit and unfortunately there will always be those who choose the wrong road.
    The only thing we can do is choose to make the right decisions for ourselves, pray for our children and develope a strong relationship with them, so if they come to us with questions or want to have discussions about the outside world they will respect our hashkafas and choose to follow, of their own free will, what we know to be the truth.


    the jewish cronicle is a trustworthy newspaper!?
    NO!! its an anti semetic newspaper just like all the other ones! they PROBEBLY CHANGED THE STORY TO MAKE IT LOOK WORSE FOR JEWS!!


  24. It should totally go without saying that our Torahdike communities, both Chassidishe and Litvakishe and Sefardishe, must all keep full contact with all of these, Rachmana Litzlan, rebelious people and do everything they possibly can to bring them back to our Torah!

    Regarding that man from New Square who had to be expelled because he wanted to, Rachmana Litzlan, deny HaShem, the Square community needs to send him to (for example) one of the appropriate programs of Yeshivas Aish HaTorah. The founding Rosh Yeshiva of Aish HaTorah, Rav Noach Weinberg, ZT’L, had set up in the yeshiva an excellent course of study in which the student learns in detail the numerous proofs of the Existence of HaShem.

  25. One doesn’t have to become secular to read, get a college degree or work.

    As demonstrated by the excellent command of the English language in evidence here.

    Footsteps is performing a service that’s needed desperately. Your world is collapsing, and many of you realize it.

    If this comment makes it through moderation, I urge anyone who wants to leave the Chareidi world to contact them. You don’t have to stay. There is meaning and purpose beyond the narrow confines in which you’ve been brought up, and you have the right to live a life of your choosing.

  26. Footsteps, and the person who started it yemach shemom, are attempting to take away young adults from the ways of the Torah.

  27. To all the passionate commentators:
    Many of you wondered why Footsteps participants don’t go to places like Aish HaTorah or Arachim.
    I can’t speak for the organization, but I can speak for myself and say that I did go to Arachim. At the request of my Rosh Yeshiva, I met for two full four hour private sessions with Archaism’s senior lecturer Natan Rosen (I believe his full name is Rosental or something, but he calls himself Rosen to sound more sophisticated.) I spoke to him for a total of eight hours, and thank you all for the recommendation but I don’t plan on doing it again.
    I also had a private session with Hillel Weinberg (now Rosh Yeshiva of Aish Hatorah, I believe.)
    I also spoke to my Rosh Yeshiva, one of the most prominent Rosh Yeshiva in Israel, and these discussions weren’t productive either. It basically consisted of him telling me how much he loves me and how much better it would be stay.
    So dear Matzav readers, I heard what they all have to say. I gave it a shot, it failed.

    Footsteps never convinced me to leave; I came there after I made my decision, and they have helped me tremendously. Amongst other things, they provided me with a tutor for college algebra, trigonometry, and college writing. This enabled me to start calculus in college and my grade in the end was in the top two percent of my course (which had over 900 students in it) and I passed the basic writing requirement. So to all of you calling Footsteps members low lifes, tell me, what did you score in your calculus class?

    As for the allegation that we all were drop out even during the time we were in the community, think again. I attended one of the top Yeshivas in Israel for two years (I won’t mention its name for its own sake,) I was the editor of the journal (“Koivetz”) of my Yeshivah Ketanah, I finished most of Shisha Sidrei Mishnah before my Bar Mitzvah, and in my Yeshiva I received the honor of doing the “Hadran” at the siyum for those who knew the Mesechta (Mesechet, if you’re a Litvak) bal peh. I had my try, I gave it all a shot, but sorry it didn’t work out between us.
    In college I learned the popular break up line: “It’s not you, it’s me.” In this case however, I think “it’s not me, it’s you.”

    And for all of you thinking of perhaps joining Footsteps, be it for any sort of educational, emotional or social motive, I encourage you to give it a try. If you are afraid that Footsteps might coerce you into doing something you don’t want to, I assure you that as far as I know, they always go to extra lengths to ensure that they don’t do that. It will always be your choice, but they might be able to help make it easier or faster, and you will have found a community that understands and supports you.

  28. The organisation is not trying to make people secular – all you guys are missing the point!!!
    it’s just a service to help people who are already looking to move outwards from the haredi community and helps them to get an education/training etc. Stop being so melodramatic!!!

  29. Hi, I’m Shalom talked about in the story.

    While Footsteps convinced my Orthodoxy is not for me, I must give them credit for opening my eyes on how to be non-Orthodox. My thanks to them for this shall be eternal.

  30. #35…PLEASE enlighten me….what is it that didn’t work out for you?Please share with me, what was it that you were looking for that the Torah world deprived you of???? I want to understand you. I am not mocking you. I just want to gain a better understanding of what you think went wrong that you had to leave. What was your frustration? What were the questions you had that didn’t get answered. Perhaps you should have gone to someone else, until you found the right source for you. Not every Rosh Yeshiva is the right one for you, just like not every doctor is the right one for us. We have to have a rapport with people, people we connect to who understand us.It hurts to hear that you made your hishtadlus only to be frustrated at not getting the answers you were looking for.
    And by the way, I’m happy you scored well in calculus…if that helps your self esteem, but it is not important to everyone as you may think in order for them to have a true Torahdig life or bring them happiness in any way. If it adds an extra dimension of joy to your life, fine…but your question insinuates that the rest of us out here are lacking knowledge because we are not so invested in the secular part of the educational system. The Torah offers anything and everything to make us happy and serene. We just have to have the right frame of mind when approaching it. There is no greater joy than Torah, and for those who are not fortunate to find fulfillment there…I sincerely pray that Hashem guide you in your endeavors…
    It may look like the grass is greener for now…but one day you may look back and find that you wasted a lot of your precious time on things that gave you a temporary lift, fleeting moments of joy and tranquility, only to be looking once again for tha elusive thing we call Happiness.
    I truly wish you real happiness in your life…and it pains me that someone so accomplished like yourself need to look to other pastures, when in reality, what you are looking for is right here in your own backyard. And one day, my dear child…you will come home….looking for what you left behind only to find that you wasted so much of your precious time pursuing what you thought was going to make you a happier and fulfilled human being….and that time has passed you by, time to connect to the one source that continues to give if only you seek it out.
    Hatzlocha rabba…

  31. Sam/Sholom
    You are thankful to Footsteps, but your thanks will not be eternal. Eternal is Hashem and His holy Torah.
    If you are living a life that is devoid of eternal values, a life that focuses exclusively on the physical, on the here and now, it’s preposterous to talk about eternity.

  32. #37. my heart bleeds for you…truly…
    Maybe you ought to get in touch with people who were on the other side and came to join us and they can give you the real prospective on what it’s really like out there in the secular world. And having been there and finding the joy in Torah and yiddishkeit….maybe you need to connect with people like Gavrial Sanders, and others like him….people with a compassionate heart who will understand your dilemma and listen to a heart seeking the truth…which in reality, is what we are all looking for….even though it may not be evident to us…A yiddishe neshuma is always seeking to connect to its source….and that source is Hakodosh Boruch Hu. You may not know it or feel it, but that is your quest.
    My dear brother…father of children you left behind….Have rochmonus on the neshomas you brought into this world and the pain they are being put through. You have a responsibility to your children….you did bring them into this world, didn’t you?
    Think about the people you have hurt on your way down…There is a famous line that says: Remember the people on your way down, you may need them coming up!!!!!
    don’t abandon the people who truly love you, don’t loose contact with them. Repair you relationships with the people nearest and dearest to you…One day….when the pain of lonliness at the other end of the spectrum beckons deep inside…you will still have a shoulder to cry on and an ear that will listen.
    As a yid, I will never abandon you…
    Please….don’t abandon us.

  33. @hurting for you: Perhaps you should have gone to someone else, until you found the right source for you.

    How many should he have gone to? A dozen? A hundred? How many before you would be willing to say, “You’re right; we don’t have the answers for you. I guess this way of life isn’t for you.”? Of course, the answer is that it would never be enough. You would always find a way to rationalize his “defection”.

    And, naturally, it’s followed by this gem from Love being Jewish and Frum Time, who assured everyone earlier that “I had it both ways – dysfunctional family and full of questions about Yiddishkeit. I can honestly say there is no excuse for dropping out. The answers are out there IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THE TRUTH, NOT IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR AN EXCUSE.”:

    You are thankful to Footsteps, but your thanks will not be eternal. Eternal is Hashem and His holy Torah.
    If you are living a life that is devoid of eternal values, a life that focuses exclusively on the physical, on the here and now, it’s preposterous to talk about eternity.

    In other words, you’re going to gehinnom. As with evangelicals, there’s the inevitable threat. You’re terrified they may be right, so you console yourself by telling yourself they’ll suffer in the afterlife, or be deprived of it altogether.

  34. I didn’t realize Sam and Sholom are two seperate people so my post #37 was intended for Sholom.
    Sam, having the brains for academics is not what makes a person smart. It is the ability to see ahead, to see the eventual outcome of the choices that we make that brands a person smart or dumb.
    In addition it beats me why a person can’t combine a respectable secular career like a doctor or laywer and still not throw away your cheilik l’Olem Habah?
    Obviously people who throw away their Yiddishkeit is because they choose to follow the narrow path of the Yetzer Hora and don’t see the vistas open for them.
    I know that some people choose to make narrow-minded choices and close their minds to the fact that they will later regret their decisions- sorry you guys- don’t think you’re smart- you guys are DUMB.
    Sorry, all you people who banebach them- I don’t. They have made their own choices and will pay for them.
    Now for all the bunt out frum people who need to air out a bit- there are all sorts of KOSHER entertainment such as IMAX theaters -(like in museams ) that have beatuful nature movies. Or how about relaxing in a resturaunt with family or freinds- even if it’s not exeptable in the communities that you live in – it’s still kosher and it beats getting burnt out any time.
    In addition, and I might get flak for this, but some woman get burnt out from having too big families that they can’t handle emotionally and physically. They feel they must have more kids than say the seven that they already have because they live in a community where they have 15. While these are major decisiions that need to be discussed with a Daas Torah, you need to find a Rov or Daayan that you are comfortable discussing your issues with and they may not necassarily be in your own small circle.

  35. JDE, why should I be terrified they might be right? I’m living a beautiful life, not because I got what I want (being secular will not get you whatever is on your wishlist either, I hope you realize that), but rather I appreciate the life and gifts Hashem gave me in addition to being secure with my Olam Habah.
    If I want to I can work towards a career anytime. But should that be the cause for giving up the precious gift of a Torah life? No, it’s living a life of immorality and deviant behaviors that makes one ruin their lives IN THIS WORLD. Immoral people may fake it, but they sre empty and shattered and unhappy.
    JDE, it sounds like the terrified one is you.
    You are putting in effort to be comfortable in this world and you are very unsure about the next.

  36. I’m fascinated by the level of hostility in some of the comments here. Footsteps is doing work that needs to be done. Whether or not you think that these people should be leaving the chassidic community, someone needs to help them do so if they are going to leave. I’m curious if people commenting in this thread would rather they leave and then have miserable lives.

  37. I agree with Joshua. Footsteps is doing needed work. Orthodoxy is not for everyone. Footsteps helps those who it isn’t for, leave it.

  38. To #19 –
    “a modern orthodox so-called jew”? Exactly, what does that mean, and to make a statement under the defensive guise of “Anonymous”, belies your belief in self. If I may suggest, the word “Jew”, needs capitalization.

    On another note, in particular for the women who have written a comment, there seems to be a need for an on line chat room within the community.

    From personal experience, I can tell you that we, who are raising grandchildren, have found such a tool most helpful and beneficial. Perhaps you will too.

  39. @Love being Jewish and Frum
    Time: In addition it beats me why a person can’t combine a respectable secular career like a doctor or laywer and still not throw away your cheilik l’Olem Habah?

    Sorry, all you people who banebach them- I don’t. They have made their own choices and will pay for them.

    … but rather I appreciate the life and gifts Hashem gave me in addition to being secure with my Olam Habah.

    You’ve made these threats of afterlife consequences repeatedly throughout this thread. Your entire belief system is fear-based.

    JDE, it sounds like the terrified one is you.

    That’s called “projection”.

    Obviously people who throw away their Yiddishkeit is because they choose to follow the narrow path of the Yetzer Hora and don’t see the vistas open for them.

    No, it’s living a life of immorality and deviant behaviors that makes one ruin their lives IN THIS WORLD. Immoral people may fake it, but they sre empty and shattered and unhappy.

    Yes, of course – everyone who disagrees with you is immoral, and is giving in to the “Evil Inclination”.

    Your statements are ridiculous. You only show yourself to be a very small person.

  40. Joshua, the abrasive comments and real hate can come from people who have left the fold. Sometimes what they wright on blogs leaves me speechless when I see the depths of their hate, which is caused by the pain over their dropping of Yiddishkeit.
    Now this is a frum website and people who do not like the way some of us, who live Yiddishkeit with a passion, who are inspired by the martyrs of our nation who did not give up Yiddishkeit through the pain of death, will answer those who dropped out with the pasion we feel.
    Have you no common sense to expect such replies to the comments of those who defend Footsteps and their decisions to leave Yiddishkeit? Do you think that we Torah true Jews will pat you all on the heads and say how commendable you are for not hanging out on the street overdosing on drugs?
    While it is perhaps better for those who leave the community to aquire a degree and a fulfilling career as opposed to bumming around on the streets, overdosing on drugs, in the long run it makes no difference. A life devoid of Yiddishkeit is a life devoid of true meaning.
    Yaakov, Yiddishkeit is for each and every Jew. There are different paths you can take, other than the one one was born into, but Judasim is for each and every Jew.
    I have one message for all of you who left; Hashem is waiting for you.

  41. Thank you, Der Alter for your suggestion. Having extremely big families is beautiful, every child is a precious gift, however everyone has different kochos and a woman should not feel obligated to have more than she can handle. This is an issue that needs to be disscussed with a Daas Torah that the woman is comfortable with. Major decisions cannot be made by ourselves because as humans, we cannot see objectively, rather we need an Odom Gadol to help us make the right decisions through the lens of the Torah. However, each person needs to know the extent of their kochos – we cannot give more than what we were given.

    JDE, I definitely believe in afterlife, I do not beleive that I am only a body, that myself, my essence, will vanish the minute my heart stops beating ( after 120 – gezinta yoren, please G-d )
    So therefore, yes, I strive to do the right thing work towards FEARING the oinesh of sin and FEAR of Hashem. I definitely work towards FEARING to do against the will of Hashem.

    And by the way, JDE, I am not threatening anything. You know as well as I do that a life of Torah is based on fulfilling the commandments of Hashem, otherwise there will be repercussions. The threat of punishment is recorded in the Torah itself (the threat of punishment in the Torah pertains only to this world)as well as the words of Chazal which explains afterlife, or after this life, I should say.

    In any case you don’t need to answer to me, but after 120 years, you will need to answer to the Judge, Hakodosh Boruch Hu, who breathed life into you, who gave this amazing body to be able to do the will of Hashem and the Torah to be the Guidebook of life for your precious Jewish soul. Unless you beleive you are only physical matter, you beleive that your thoughts and feelings, ideas and aspirations are mere physical acts and after a 120 years – gezinta yoren…( is that with a please G-d as well?) you will be reduced to mere dust, then kol hokovod, eat, drink and be merry.
    I know that life is not a free for all – life is bigger than that.
    You conveiently skip over the fact that I am enjoying life as well and that is because not only do I FEAR G-D , but I LOVE Him and TRUST in Him with my whole heart and soul. Life for me is fullfiling. I love G-d, I love His Torah, I am a proud Jew of the Am Hanifcher, and I would never, never give up Yiddishkeit.

    Explain yourself by what you mean “projection”. I am not projecting anything, just expressing my thoughts, but I seem to be touching on a sore point. I feel ess stecht dich in de kishkes. So therefore, how about you become totaly relaxed with the subject of schar v’oinesh if you don’t believe in it? Why are you so uptight about my belief, or rather the Torah’s view of punishment?

  42. You know as well as I do that a life of Torah is based on fulfilling the commandments of Hashem, otherwise there will be repercussions.

    I know no such thing, and neither do you. You have a belief, and that is all you have.

    Why are you so uptight about my belief, or rather the Torah’s view of punishment?

    It isn’t the Torah’s view; it’s the view of rabbis living centuries later who had been influenced by ideas from other cultures.

    And I’m “uptight” about it because imposing this repressive belief system upon children is a form of abuse, and it’s self-replicating, generation after generation.

    In any case, your blanket generalizations about people who leave are ridiculous. You’re simply trying to convince yourself you’re right. You really have no idea of what you’re talking about. Thank you for validating every frei Jew’s idea of what a frum Jew is like – arrogant, angry, condescending and utterly clueless. It’s because of people like you that so many leave, and the frei Yidden have absolutely no interest in adopting your lifestyle. You’re a living stereotype.

    Go ahead, have the last word. Your kind always feels the need to.

  43. The truth is, that although I love hashkafa discussions and checked back here to see if someone posted something interesting, I was not in the mood of blogging here again. However, I have to admit to you ,JDE, that you baited me with your last sentence, to go ahead and have the last word. I took up your bait and am posting again, although I don’t know why I’m doing this as you will not be influenced by my words and me not by yours, as that is Hashem’s plan in the world He created ; the ability to choose the path a person wants to lead. People have free will-bechira. But I will take your bait and answer this time, after all “this is what my kind always feel the need to do.”
    Chazal’s words of punishment and reward in the Wolrd to Come were written before Christianity was formed as a religion. And as everyone knows, including the Christains who admit it and the Moslems who don’t, that these religions were founded on the prinicples of the Jewish religion, not the other way around. The Christians and Moslems took the basics of Judaism and twisted it to suit their needs. Therefore, their idea of punishment is an angry god who is not forgiving if a person doesn’t follow their religion, while the Jewish religion, non-Jews only need to be good people to deserve Gan Eden and for Jews the gates to repentance are open forever. But if you say the Rabbis took the concept of punishment from other religions then you got it all wrong. I suggest you study history to get the facts straight.
    In the Torah itself there are are numerous places where we see how Hashem punished the Jews for their sins, such as after the eigel. Moshe Rabbeinu gave tochecha to the Yidden on his deathbed and tells them the wrath of G-d will be upon them if they do not follw the commandments of Hashem. And he lists all the curses the Yidden will incur if they sin.

    If something is told over and over again, for generations and generations, the concept and knowledge stay strong dar achar dar, despite the efforts of forced conversions, the bloody programs, the thousands of years of pain and suffering under the yoke of the brutal regimes, the Haskalah,the Holocaust and the pull of the outside world in this generation, then this is becuase its the truth. Only the truth can last in the face of so much opposition. The truth that yesh din vyesh Dayan and this purpose of our lives is perpetuated forever.
    Which leads up to my next point which I want to make that those who do not follow the Torah and it’s Rabbis are ultimately lost to the Jewish people. Look at the intermarriage rates of the secular, Reform,Conservative, etc. They are so far gone that they are giving mixed marriages sholom bayis classes.
    Those who give up Yiddishkeit, give up their identity. And if your identity will not be lost because you have known Yiddishkeit, then your childrens or grandchildren’s, Jewish identity will be lost. Don’t just come with another post hocking what I just wrote as “projection” because the FACT remains that without living a Torah True life we get swallowed up by intermarrige.
    Just as you chose the secular life, if I would want that I could do the same. Nobody is keeping me tethered in chains or holding a gun pointed to my head, or threating me not to leave Yiddishkeit like Hamas does if someone doesn’t want to comply with their demands. Staying and being frum is my choice, just as being secular is yours.
    I need not convince myself I am right for as a person who is inquisitive by nature, I do not listen to people who say “do as I tell you”, am not interested in being a frum robot, but I research, I read, I think and I deliberate. And I have found that a person who wants to know the truth, who will not try to convince herself/himself that which they want reality to be reality (or history to be history), but see the truth as the truth is, will be led back to Hashem and His Torah, to a life of true happiness and fulfillment.

  44. wow. there was a lot to read and think about here! everyones opinions, emotions…

    im just writing my humble opinion-
    although being frum and learning torah is the ultimate, there is (if NEEDED) a possibility-you can still be frum and be in college too. just because you learnt calculus doesn’t mean that you have to stop keeping shabbat and the rest of the torah!
    yes a full torah life for those who can deal with it may be ideal, and if u can, you must strive for it!!!but just because u got turned off by some thing that you grew up with, and you were lead to the secular world chas veshalom- dont just drop it all! maybe that is why Shalom still feels the emptiness!

    for the yeshiva boy- you seem to be a good boy searching for the truth. the college option prob is NOT for you!!! you just need to find a good kiruv krovim program! dont be embarrased in the community to find the help you need. i hope by now a lot of your problems are resolves. good luck!

    anyways, everyone has their own opinions and emotional baggage, no one can REALLY judge any one else! everyone has to just look at THEMSELVES honestly, subjectively, and see if what they themselves did was right!
    and be thoughful to your fellow Jew!
    and whoever does need help, there are many orginazations to contact if you search hard enogh. if it means enough to you. good luck!

    one more thing- not every thing is black and white. as much as we all argue, there is no one answer for any thing. as long as you follow the torah. there IS an ideal- but there also is the concept of chanoch lna’ar al pi darco.
    for the one who said that there is no exuses…or they have issues if they go off…- lets say, chas veshalom, it would be ur son- YOUR judging them like that would just make it worse! yes, they do have to stand up for their own actions, but kids are kids, and even adults cant always make the right decisions- but YOU gotta do your part to help them stay!
    i liked the idea of if the community would send someone out, it should be to aish hatorah, NOT to the streets!
    may G-d bless his whole nation and may everyone find the light, and right, true, path in life!!