Leaving a life based on bedrock religious beliefs is full of little shocks. In the latest installment of his series of columns, Shulem Deen explains how accidentally stealing a book from a Washington D.C. hotel gift shop helped him see a new way forward.
How do you relate to your Jewishness after leaving ultra-Orthodoxy? In this 13-part series (one for each month of the Jewish year), Shulem Deen will attempt to answer that question, starting with his discovery that Jews like Theodor Herzl and Sigmund Freud could be just as important as Rashi or the Baal Shem Tov.
It’s easy to point fingers at ultra-Orthodox groups for the death of Faigy Mayer. Shulem Deen writes that the entire Jewish world must start pushing for freedom within the Hasidic world — or else we all share the blame for tragedies like hers.
Shulem Deen says those who’ve left the ultra-Orthodox world have a key worry: They don’t know how to fit into the American mainstream without ever having listened to pop music or put on a tie to get a job.
As a young dad in the Skverer sect, Shulem Deen took the one job open to him: teacher. He was shocked to find that punishment was the bedrock of education at the New Square Yeshiva.
It’s goyish for men to push baby strollers — or at least, that’s what a Hasidic newspaper ad wants Jews to believe. Shulem Deen explains why the ban will never stick.
Why are Hasidim expected to greet every gawking tourist with a smile? Shulem Deen slams a psychologist who describes them as ‘dead-eyed’ and ‘creepy.’
It’s debatable whether the Satmars have gained the respect of the world. But their rebbe’s ideology of separatism has proven effective at preserving the Hasidic lifestyle — and attire.
‘Division Avenue’ is a play about the battle over bicycles in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg. It’s also about the fight between Hasids and hipsters as gentrification meets the urban shtetl.