The Schmooze

It Was an Un-Orthodox Year

Photo copyright George Baier

Books by and about Jews who leave Orthodoxy have been around for years now — centuries, really — but in 2014 they reached a critical mass.

With new memoirs by Leah Vincent and Deborah Feldman, an academic study by Lynn Davidman, and scores of essays, articles, films, profiles and trend pieces, 2014 became the year of the “off the derech” story.

Will readers grow bored of the ex-Orthodox tell-all? The books are still being published for the time being, including a forthcoming memoir by OTD pioneer Shulem Deen.

Even if the publishing phenomenon has peaked, however, these stories illustrate the considerable and lasting impact of Orthodox defection on the Jewish cultural landscape.

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It Was an Un-Orthodox Year

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