They live conspicuously pious lives in a secular world, especially in enclaves and suburbs of New York. Ultra Orthodox Hasidic Jews observe the strict rules of the Torah, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, and its 613 commandments.

Their structured lifestyle seems to work for the majority. But, for some, the lack of choices is too rigid, so they choose to leave, even though doing so can be very painful. Hasidic groups remain some of the most insular religious sects in the U.S. Sol Feuerwerker knows, he was one of them.

Video courtesy Religion & Ethics Newsweekly

Watch Leaving Ultra-Orthodox Judaism on PBS. See more from Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.

Categories: Beliefs


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Sally Morrow

Sally Morrow

Sally Morrow joined Religion News Service in March 2012 as Photo/Multimedia Editor. She is a photographer and editor based in Kansas City, Mo. Morrow has worked as a multimedia editor and photographer at Newsday, The Des Moines Register, and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

1 Comment

  1. A report about a community via interviewing disgruntled people who have left.

    Not one person spoke who likes being in the group.

    That’s not proper anthropological methodology to discover what a group’s goals, interests and motivations are, interviewing those who are disgruntled with the group. The professor’s book, Defenders of the Faith, is a neutral, and therefore good read.

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