by Lynn Davidman

Seeking a Way Out

It's different for men and women

Leah, an articulate, outspoken, professional 40-yearold woman, left her Hasidic family and community at the age of 19. While her brothers had received a very intensive, serious education, Leah, like other girls in her community, went to a school where she was taught ‘”Judaism lite.’ We just learned the Torah over and over and over again. There was no Talmud at all. And, they taught us only their particular interpretation of the Torah and did not expose us to the entire real thing. I think when I finally read the story of Tamar [who, in Genesis 38, disguises herself as a prostitute and sleeps with her father-in-law] I was like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe this!”

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Leaving the Hasidic World

The articles in this special section:


by Malka Schwartz

An immigrant to the wider world adjusts her compass

“Yearning to Breathe Free”

by Hella Winston

Behind women’s masks of perfection ("My kids are wonderful. My life is happy. Feminists are wrong.") having to keep even tiny transgressions (like reading books in English, or flirting in a bar) from the eyes of the neighbors.

Seeking a Way Out

by Lynn Davidman

Some Hasidic men, despite no newspapers or T.V., learn to question. Escape routes for women follow a different path.