by Ilana Kurshan

Stumbling Upward

A convert’s mid-faith crisis

In the Israeli society of which I am a part, there is an entire lexicon devoted to those whose religious practice is different from that of their parents and upbringing: from baalei teshuva (masters of repentance) who grew up secular and “returned” to Jewish tradition, to hozrim b’she’eila (returning with questions) and datlashim (datiim l’she-avar, formerly religious) who abandon their religious observance for a secular lifestyle. As these terms reflect, it is increasingly common to challenge or change one’s religious identity, though few experience the seismic shifts documented in the spiritual autobiographies of Lauren Winner.

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