When One Parent Leaves a Hasidic Community, What Happens to the Kids? | Larissa MacFarquhar

When One Parent Leaves a Hasidic Community, What Happens to the Kids? | Larissa MacFarquhar

November 30, 2020 – The New Yorker
(Print Edition – December 7, 2020, titled “Solomon’s Choice”)

“One of the most painful difficulties that leavers faced was the risk of losing their children. In the early days, the few who left had not attracted a lot of attention, and some got custody of their kids without much of a fight. But, as more people defected, communities alarmed by the prospect of so many children lost to Haredism mobilized to keep them. Secular courts were called upon to determine the best interests of children who were being torn between two irreconcilable ways of life: what to one parent was a basic human freedom might be, to the other, a violation of the laws of God. To many Haredim, the loss of a child to secular life was unbearable, because it meant that the child’s future, and that of all his descendants, would be ruined, not only in this world but also in the next.”

Read the full article here.

Unmasked: What COVID-19 Has Revealed About the Journey Out of Orthodoxy

November 19, 2020

What do you do when you leave ultra-Orthodoxy, but you can’t leave it all behind?

For those who maintain a connection with their ultra-Orthodox communities of origin, the journey out has become all the more complex and dangerous. What was already a high-stakes decision is even riskier against the backdrop of a public health and economic crisis.

In this Webinar, Footsteps members share what it means to be caught between two worlds in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. This virtual conversation was moderated by award-winning author and journalist Taffy Brodesser-Akner and features Footsteps members Dr. Schneur Zalman Newfield, author of Degrees of Separation: Identity Formation While Leaving Ultra-Orthodox Judaism and Assistant Professor of Sociology at Borough of Manhattan Community College (CUNY); and Beatrice Weber, speaker, writer, and Interspiritual Minister.