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Recommended Reading

Learn more about the experiences of Footsteps members and the worlds they come from with the below resources:  


Kissing Girls on Shabbat, by Dr. Sara Glass

A moving  memoir about one young woman’s desperate attempt to protect her children and family while also embracing her queer identity in a controlling Hasidic community.

All Who Go Do Not Return, by Shulem Deen

A moving and revealing exploration of Hasidic life, and one man’s struggles with faith, family, and community.

Hidden Heretics: Jewish Doubt in a Digital Age, by Ayala Fader

A revealing look at Jewish men and women who secretly explore the outside world, in person and online, while remaining in their ultra-Orthodox religious communities.

Unchosen: The Hidden Lives of Hasidic Rebels, by Hella Winston

An exploration of Hasidic Jews struggling to live within their restrictive communities—and, in some cases, to carve out a new life beyond them.

Degrees of Separation: Identity Formation While Leaving Ultra-Orthodox Judaism, by Schneur Zalman Newfield

In Degrees of Separation, Newfield interviews seventy-four Lubavitch and Satmar ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jews who left their communities.

Becoming Eve: My Journey from Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi to Transgender Woman, by Abby Stein

The powerful coming-of-age story of an ultra-Orthodox child who was born to become a rabbinic leader and instead became a woman.

Cut Me Loose: Sin and Salvation After My Ultra-Orthodox Girlhood, by Jericho Vincent

A raw and electrifying memoir about a young person’s journey from self-destruction to redemption, after cutting ties with their ultra-Orthodox Jewish family.

Uncovered: How I Left Hasidic Life and Finally Came Home, by Leah Lax

Lax’s story begins as a young teen who left her liberal, secular home for life as a Hasidic Jew and ends as a forty-something woman who has to abandon the only world she’s known for thirty years in order to achieve personal freedom.

films and documentaries:

One of Us

In the wake of trauma and abuse, three Hasidic Jews face ostracism, anxiety and danger as they attempt to leave their ultra-Orthodox community.



Should Jews Criticize Jews in Public?, Identity Crisis – The Hartman Institute

Footsteps Webinars and Panel Discussions:

Bias and Barriers: Fighting for Custody While Leaving Ultra-Orthodoxy

Footsteps hosted a virtual conversation about the challenges parents face when they leave insular ultra-Orthodox communities — both in the courtroom and in their communities of origin.

Report from the Field: Footsteppers Facing New Realities

As we emerge from the confines of the last eighteen months, a changing landscape with new realities for the formerly ultra-Orthodox has taken shape. What does the journey look like today?

Member programs:

Clinical Support

The transition from ultra-Orthodox life to secular society can be daunting. Our one-on-one counseling services offer personalized support, while our peer support programs give members the chance to learn about the larger world and make supportive connections.


Footsteps members can meet with our staff to discuss educational scholarships, connect with volunteers, education coaches and peer study buddies, and obtain resources to navigate educational settings.

Career Services

Footsteps helps members secure gainful employment by providing personalized career coaching, referring them as viable candidates for available work opportunities, connecting them to career mentors, and providing them with financial support if they are participating in unpaid internships or vocational training.

Family Justice Initiative

Navigating the legal system while transitioning out of the ultra-Orthodox community can be overwhelming. We help families through processes of divorce, custody, and more, including: access to legal representation, individual counseling for emotional impacts of divorce and custody proceedings, and peer support groups.

Community Engagement

Footsteps offers many different opportunities to connect with fellow travelers, including: holiday and milestone celebrations, social events, cultural experiences, as well as funding to host your own.

Communications + Field Building

Footsteps provides opportunities for members to participate in our online communications, storytelling workshops, educational webinars, and events and conferences related to the experience of leaving insular religious communities. We also train clinical and organizational partners in cultural competency.

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