For Ex-Orthodox, More Than a Game

For Ex-Orthodox, More Than a Game

By Josh Nathan-Kazis, June 24, 2012 – The Jewish Daily Forward

In a crowded meadow in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, a group of 20-somethings swarmed a soccer ball like a bunch of sixth-graders at recess.

A few knew how to dribble, but some could barely kick. One tried to tell the goalie that he wasn’t allowed to pick up the ball. Errant passes peppered nearby groups lounging on the grass.

The players looked pretty much like any other group in the park on a balmy Sunday evening. The difference? The pick-up game players are all former ultra-Orthodox Jews making up for lost time.

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Footsteps into a New Life

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By Eleanor J. Bader – The Brooklyn Rail, June 4, 2012

When Chana was in her teens, she told her mother that she wanted to go to college. Her mom’s response was immediate and vitriolic. “She told me she’d have me locked me up in a psych ward if I applied,” she recalls.

Now a 33-year-old Manhattanite with a family of her own, Chana says that she was ashamed, but not surprised, by this reaction. In the insular ultra-Orthodox (or Hasidic) Jewish enclave in which she lived, college attendance was unheard of.