My Family Abandoned Me When I Left the Hasidic World, But I Didn't Abandon Judaism

My Family Abandoned Me When I Left the Hasidic World, But I Didn’t Abandon Judaism


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We started Jew in the City to show the world the beauty in the Orthodox community and the riches of a Torah life. Our positive, meaningful content started attracting people who had seen the underbelly of the frum world. The people who grew up in situations where Torah was used as a weapon instead of the tree of life. They asked us to help them connect to Jewish observance in a positive way.

To answer this call we founded Project Makom. Our membership is growing at a rate we are trying to keep up with. At the same time, we are committed to providing our members with warm, healthy observant Jewish homes (from a range of Orthodox communities) they can visit and be welcomed in.

We are relying on wonderful volunteers who are opening up their homes, but these volunteers need to be trained to learn how to be inclusive and accepting of people coming from the backgrounds of our Project Makom members. We need to invest in the education of our hosts and volunteers in order to be able to serve our Project Makom members. We are raising $15,000 to do so. Please invest in us so we can make sure that every Jew has a chance to see and experience the riches of his heritage. Every amount helps! Click here to donate now.

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  1. great video but could really do with subtitles for Deaf people and Those with hearing loss.

  2. Jay "Yehudah" Berman : December 22, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Please help me understand how Torah can be used as a weapon?

    • Allison Josephs Allison Josephs : December 25, 2017 at 12:43 pm

      People being told that their not being perfect caused babies to die and people to get cancer. Boys being smacked by rebbes, using Mishlei as evidence that it’s a good thing. Abuse being covered up in the name of Torah. Parents having very strict punishments for kids failure to perform mitzvos perfectly. Couples getting bad information about intimacy before they get married. Not having access to mental health help for fear of ruining shidduchim. I had no idea about any of this before. I had only been exposed to healthy Orthodoxy across the spectrum, but by promoting the good, the people who have gone through the bad came to us for help. So now I am learning and we want to help these people see all that a life of Torah and mitzvos and relationship with Hashem can offer.

      • You really seem to do a great job promoting orthodoxy.
        I am really replying to your website generally (not this specific post, as I haven’t viewed this particular video), specifically whenever you mention Hassidism and people leaving the hassidic world.
        The reasons you describe of why people left hassidic life have nothing to do with Hassidism but with dysfunction.
        I have lived in various extremely hassidic communities and all these behaviours don’t represent Hassidism and the majority of ultra orthodox families but I have seen at times families using Torah as part of their dysfunction.
        What I would like you to be more careful with is not to associate hassidism with these dysfunctional behaviours every time you mention some story of somebody leaving.
        How would you like it if I would taint all of MO, Central/Right wing MO or whatever as being unhealthy because of a person leaving it for whatever reason. There are plenty plain orthodox families who have problems or are dysfunctional, it is just better understood that this doesn’t represent the ideology of it.
        Some people might leave hassidism because it is just not their fit, fine that is their right no big story. If somebody leaves because of the unhealthy behaviours mentioned above then I think it would be important to explain that this does not represent hassidism but unhealthy behaviour/dysfunction.
        I also think you should make more effort to get to know extremely hassidic communities if you keep writing about them. You will on the one hand understand better what motivates certain behaviours and on the other when it is plain dysfunction.

        • Allison Josephs Allison Josephs : December 26, 2017 at 7:55 pm

          Thanks for your message, Rivka. I very much understand that it is dysfunction and not hasidus that is causing the problem. I try to be careful about the distinction and also show many examples of healthy hasidim. If you search “hasid” on this site you will see all the positive stories we have highlighted through the years.

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Sara Levine

A former Hollywood script editor, Jerusalem event planner, non-profit fundraiser and professional blogger, Sara Levine is an accomplished writer and editor. After graduating from USC's School of Cinematic Arts, her first screenplay was well-received by story executives at major studios. As a journalist, her articles have been published internationally in popular magazines and websites. With over 18 years experience as a story consultant, her notes and critiques on novels and scripts have been used to select and improve material by top studios, networks, agencies and writers in Hollywood and beyond. She is currently at work on her first novel.

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