Monday, October 31, 2011

75 % of religious runaways find their way back to Teshuva

Today's article in the Israeli paper MA'ARIV

Photo: Miriam Woelke

There is hope. Also for me ?

According to the latest poll among formerly religious Jews who left the fold, the vast majority (75 %) find their way back to religion after a while. This is what the Israeli daily MA'ARIV publishes today.

Please note, that the 75 % stand for national religious runaways only. Nothing, whatsoever, was mentioned about haredi Chozre'i be'Sheelah (Haredim becoming secular). Furthermore, the figure mainly refers to national religious runaways leaving religion while they were teenagers or pretty young in their early twenties. 

Some years ago, when I had this haredi drive becoming part of haredi society, something just blocked me all the way. I knew the haredi was the right way, as national religious society had never meant anything to me. Nevertheless, something kept me away even from being haredi. First of all probably my former flatmate who had become a religious "Vishnitz custom keeping" fanatic. Secondly, my own far too exaggerated, expectations. My body wanted but my soul just became a mess.

For the time being, I am neither defining myself as national religious nor as haredi. I look chiloini (secular) but don't really behave this way. Fanatic seculars see in me a religious fanatic from Mea Shearim, Sima Zalcberg who spied on the Toldot Aharon even accused me on the phone of being a Toldot Aharon spy. This was quite funny, as the Toldot Aharon wouldn't really accept me as their spy. Certainly not in my jeans camouflage.:-)

Haredi society, however, doesn't know to put me into a category. Not as soon as I start talking to them. "How come a woman in pants knows about haredi society, Rabbis, Torah, Halacha and even Talmud ? This can't be that someone from Tel Aviv understands great parts of the Yiddish language and knows haredi vocabulary".

Rabbi Akivah found his way at the age of 40. I am a bit older and still looking for my way. But, never give up hope ...


  1. I share your pain. Me, female, at 56 years of age, have tried to return to the faith of my family, but the more I study, the more alienated I become. Am now taking a much needed break from the studying and taking time to enjoy life itself. All that stuff that all those people (men) wrote all those centuries ago just does not jive with my neshama. No matter how hard I could try, I would always be stuck behind the curtain, never a participant. But that's just me. Good luck with your quest.

  2. B"H

    It is just the opposite with me:

    I study all the time and I love it. I will always continue doing so because all the Sifrei Koidesh (Holy Books) are very precious to me.

    My problem is rather the realization that I don't really fit into haredi society but would love doing so.

  3. B"H

    Where you do feel you fit in now?

    You are indeed the furthest thing from being Chiloni.

  4. B"H

    I think that I am not made to fit in. Following only one Rabbi is not my cup of tea. I like it here and I like it there.

    Sometimes I even don't know where to live. There are times when I prefer Tel Aviv and times when I want to return to Jerusalem.