Published On: Tue, May 26th, 2015

The Journey Out: Peril And Promise In Leaving The Ultra-Orthodox Jewish World

Shulem Deen’s first steps away from Hasidic Judaism were in the direction of a radio.

Defying his community’s express rules against following the secular media, Deen waited until his wife and children had gone to sleep. Then he leaned in close to the small tape player in his home — the one whose radio he hadn’t had the heart to disable. He turned it on and began to listen.

“I switched the dial from one station to another, commercials for medical malpractice attorneys, car dealerships and department store blowout sales filling me with forbidden pleasure, ” Deen wrote in his recently released memoir, All Who Go Do Not Return. “I was like a visitor from a different era encountering our modern one, captivated by its very mundaneness.”


By Talia Levin

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