Off-road Jews: A helping hand for those who stray from the Ultra-Orthodox path, By Deborah Nussbaum- Cohen

Off-road Jews: A helping hand for those who stray from the Ultra-Orthodox path, By Deborah Nussbaum- Cohen

November 29, 2013 – Haaretz

A spontaneous cheer rose up at the Skyline Hotel when Malkie Schwartz introduced several of her siblings at the 10th anniversary gala celebrating Footsteps, an organization that supports people leaving Haredi communities. Her brothers and sisters were in the audience at the midtown Manhattan venue two weeks ago, but didn’t want to be photographed for fear of repercussions in their own Haredi communities.

Read the full article here.

Critically Examining the Hasidic Community, By Adam Sacks

November 24, 2013 – Beyond the Pale, WBAI

A three segment radio show around a single theme: critically examining the Hasidic Community of New York. Featuring three broad angles: a. history and religious practices, b. sex abuse scandals and relationship to civic authorities, c. educational deprivation the struggle to leave the community.

With Rachel Berger of Footsteps, we considered the challenges and isolation facing those who leave the community, not to mention the utter lack of college ready scholastic skills. The show closes with the moving personal story of Yossi Schwartz who became a truck driver after leaving the community and still bemoans his elementary reading level in English.

Listen to the show here.

Outcast Mother’s Death, and Questions About Jewish Sect’s Sway Over Children, By Joseph Berger

November 21, 2013 – The New York Times  

Abe Weiss came home on the last Friday in September to find the lifeless body of his girlfriend, Deb Tambor, on the bedroom floor of their ranch house here….

Former Hasidim seeking child custody arrangements find that rabbis, community leaders and Orthodox Jewish family therapists line up with money and witnesses behind the Hasidic spouse. Such influence is especially powerful in a place like Rockland, a county near New York City where one-third of the residents are Jewish.

Lani Santo, executive director of the decade-old Footsteps, an organization that has offered support to more than 800 Hasidic exiles, called Ms. Tambor’s death “a tipping point.”

Read the full article here.

For Those Seeking A New Life, A Safe Space: Footsteps Celebrates 10 Years of Helping the Formerly Ultra-Orthodox Navigate a Secular World, By Tova Ross

November 20, 2013  – The Jewish Week

A 10-year anniversary deserves a night out, and the milestone marking a decade’s work of Footsteps — the New York-based nonprofit helping formerly ultra-Orthodox Jews master the tools to succeed in secular society — was no exception.

Read the full article here.