Yid Lit: Janet Reitman

By Allison Gaudet Yarrow

Published July 27, 2011.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Though Scientology is a religion according to the United States government, to others it is a corporation, even a cult. Once best known for its famous followers — Tom Cruise and John Travolta among them — today Scientology is more noted for lawsuits and allegations by former members of censorship and extreme punishments.

Investigating a Movement: Janet Reitman’s new book takes an in-depth look at the founding of Scientology and the controversy surrounding the religion.
Deborah Lopez
Investigating a Movement: Janet Reitman’s new book takes an in-depth look at the founding of Scientology and the controversy surrounding the religion.

Janet Reitman, a Reform Jew, was assigned by Rolling Stone magazine to investigate Scientology after returning from covering the Iraq War. Out of her research came “Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), which tells the story of the Church of Scientology and of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, whose book “Dianetics” originally positioned itself as self-help and went on to become the seminal text of a new kind of religion. Scientology has 25,000 members. It is rooted in educational courses and confession called auditing. Reitman spoke with the Forward’s Allison Gaudet Yarrow about Scientology’s parallels with Judaism; the group’s volatile leader, David Miscavige, and her predictions for Scientology’s future.

Listen to the interview above. To read an excerpt of the interview click here.

Click here to subscribe to Forward podcasts on iTunes


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • BREAKING: Was an Israeli soldier just kidnapped in Gaza? Hamas' military wing says yes.
  • What's a "telegenically dead" Palestinian?
  • 13 Israeli soldiers die in Gaza — the deadliest day for the IDF in decades. So much for 'precision' strikes and easy exit strategies.
  • What do a Southern staple like okra and an Israeli favorite like tahini have in common? New Orleans chef Alon Shaya brings sabra tastes to the Big Easy.
  • The Cossacks were a feature in every European Jewish kid's worst nightmare. Tuvia Tenenbom went looking for the real-life variety in Ukraine — but you won't believe what he found. http://forward.com/articles/202181/my-hunt-for-the-cossacks-in-ukraine/?
  • French Jews were stunned when an anti-Israel mob besieged a synagogue outside Paris. What happened next could be a historic turning point.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.