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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.