From existing on the fringes of Jewish society only a few years ago, ex-Orthodox Jews are increasingly organized and speaking out via newly published memoirs and other media, reports Forward.com (May 30).
The number of books and media detailing the “de-conversion” of Orthodox Judaism, usually Hasidism, includes Leah Vincent’s memoir “Cut Me Loose,” Shalom Auslander and Deborah Feldman’s “Exodus,” documentaries such as “Leaving the Fold” and “Unorthodox,” and even the podcast on post-Hasidic life called “The After-Life.”
Ezra Glinter writes that the ex-Orthodox movement—known as OTD—“has come out from underground. It is responsible for events, organizations and publications and has a lively presence on social media. When the Orthodox hold rallies . . . the OTD world shows up to protest. This transformation, from a scattered collection of individuals to a broad social movement, is the OTD story writ large.”
Glinter adds that there are two kinds of OTD accounts: One stresses the above activist route out of Orthodoxy, while the second kind explores how ex-Orthodox people try to find their own paths and create new lives. These accounts follow a familiar plotline of starting with hardship and oppression and contine with challenges to be overcome, then conclude with the author’s success in the secular world. These stories “play to outsiders’ curiosity about the Orthodox world, to Jewish anxieties about demographically resurgent Orthodoxy and to Orthodox feelings of vulnerability in regard to the larger culture.”