News & Views

This Organization Helps People Who’ve Left the Orthodox Jewish Community | Molly Simms

June 18. 2019 – O, The Oprah Magazine

Imagine you’d never seen The Wizard of Oz. Or gotten sunburned at the beach. Or twisted apart an Oreo and made tooth tracks in the filling. Or pawed at your tenth-grade boyfriend in the back of a Honda Civic. Imagine you’d never learned how fun it was to stay at the Y-M-C-A, or taken scissors to your jeans to make short-short cutoffs. Or shaded in the bubbles on an SAT with a freshly sharpened number 2 pencil. Imagine you’d never heard the song “Imagine.” Or driven a car. Or celebrated Thanksgiving. Or learned that dinosaurs once existed.

Read the full article here.

Faigy Roth’s Journey To Independence | Kadia Goba

February 12, 2019 – Bklyner

Faigy Roth never felt at home growing up in a conservative ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.

“I just didn’t fit in,” she said. “I knew I didn’t want the community life—I didn’t know much more. But then when [I turned] 18 or 19—when they wanted to marry me off—that’s when I realized it’s now or I’m screwed.”

Read the full article here.

Footsteps & Helping Parents Leave Ultra-Orthodox Judaism | iHeartRadio

February 10, 2019 – iHeartRadio


Recently, iHeart Radio interviewed Tsivia Finman, Interim Executive Director, about the uphill battle Footsteps members face in family court. As Tsivia says, the community galvanizes around the people who stay, leaving the person who wants out — even if it’s the primary caretaker — to fend for themselves.

Listen to the full interview above or here.

They Were Sexually Abused Long Ago as Children. Now They Can Sue in N.Y. | Vivian Wang

January 28, 2019 – The New York Times

For more than a decade, victims of childhood sexual abuse in New York have asked lawmakers here for the chance to seek justice — only to be blocked by powerful interests including insurance companies, private schools and leaders from the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish communities.

But in November, Democrats won control of the Senate. And on Monday, both the Senate and Assembly overwhelmingly approved the Child Victims Act, ending a bitter, protracted battle with some of the most powerful groups in the state. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has promised to sign the bill into law.

Under the new law, prosecutors could bring criminal charges until a victim turned 28 [extending the period from age 23] and victims could sue until age 55. The bill would also create a one-year “look-back window,” during which old claims that had already passed the statute of limitations could be revived.

Read the full article here.

Inside the hidden world of Britain’s Hasidic ultra-Orthodox Jews | Trystan Young and Alice Porter

January 14, 2019 – BBC News


Would you be able to leave everything you have ever known behind in order to follow your dreams?

That was the choice Izzy Posen, a Hasidic ultra-Orthodox Jew faced when he decided to leave his isolated religious community.

He told BBC World Service how his life has been transformed since breaking free.

Video produced by Trystan Young and Alice Porter.

Watch the video here.

Do Children Get a Subpar Education in Yeshivas? New York Says It Will Finally Find Out | Eliza Shapiro

December 3, 2018 – The New York Times

In parts of New York City, there are students who can barely read and write in English and have not been taught that dinosaurs once roamed Earth or that the Civil War occurred.

That is the claim made by a group of graduates from ultra-Orthodox Jewish private schools called yeshivas, and they say that startling situation has been commonplace for decades.

Over three years ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration opened an investigation into a lack of secular education at yeshivas that serve about 57,000 students in the city, but the probe essentially stalled almost as soon as it began. The reason, advocates say, is the city’s politicians, including the mayor, are fearful of angering the Orthodox Jewish community that represents a crucial voting bloc in major elections.

“There’s no time to waste,” said Naftuli Moster, the founder of Young Advocates for Fair Education, which pushes for more secular instruction in yeshivas. “New York City has already been dragging its feet for three years.”

Read the full article here.