I just finished reading “All Who Go Do Not Return” by Shulem Deen. It is his true life story about leaving his insular world of Hasidic Judaism, the only world and life he knows, for the secular world once his faith and belief system starts to crumble down around him. He starts to have questions, which later to turn to doubts, as he ventures into the forbidden world of the “goyim”, the world of cars radio, forbidden reading materials, computers, TV,and other media. His Hasidic world is tightly regulated by the local Rebbe, who is almost idolized in a cult-like status, like a spiritual guru or prophet, even a demi-god, and who’s rules and rigid authority is to be followed to the letter and without question. The community is kept in line with fear of shaming, shunning, and even intimidation, which at times has even incl. mob violence, incl. beatings and vandalism.
The author grew up in an Orthodox Jewish home but became more Hasidic in his teens and adult YRS and studied at a Yeshiva, which taught only the Torah( which we know as the Old Testament) but neglected core subjects such as English and math and students grow up having no basic education or knowledge and without a highschool eqivalent and are sheltered from modern society, very much like the Amish, and adhere to strict rules and rituals which control every aspect of their daily lives and yet they remain ignorant of most other things, for example, right before his wedding night( marriages are arranged by a matchmaker and he had only met his future wife for a few minutes prior to their marriage) the author was schooled on the basics of human anatomy and reproduction.Most in the community only know basic English, if that, and speak only Hebrew and Yiddish.
The story tells of a restrictive life within the community and how the author struggled with his secret that he no longer believed and no longer felt he fit in or belonged which eventually came out and he was kicked out. This caused a strain on his marriage which ended in divorce and him moving out on his own, hardly to see his 5 children. He struggled to find employment, had to get a highschool education and then college by night classes and fumbled and struggled as he navigated his way thru a foreign world that was so alien to him it reminded me of living with Asperger’s trying to survive in a world where you are an outsider and just don’t know the rules and find it hard to adapt and adjust. At one point he became suicidal as he struggled financially and with his family but he never lost the support of his mother and siblings and in time he grew stronger, adapting to his new life, much like a new immigrant would, and even started a blog and a community service group that helps other ex-Hasidim who have left. I was surprised that he completely turned the opposite though; I was expecting maybe he’d end up a conservative or reformed Jew or something but he basically became a complete atheist and no longer keeps kosher, and no longer attends synagogue, or even prays! He gave up so much though; all his friends and his community; I hope it was worth it and I hope he did find the happiness and the answers he was looking for.
As well. I’m pretty sure my incisions ARE infected now; it still hurts( quite a bit now, actually!) and it’s a dark red and feels hot to the touch, but I see the surgeon for a post-Op check up so he’ll likely give me a prescription for antibiotics and that should clear it all up. I’ve never gotten infected after a surgery before, though. I also had a dream I was away on holiday for a week and my cousin was watching Buddy for me and when I came back he came bounding over to me, tail wagging like he always does only he could TALK and he was upset saying, “I thought you told me that you’d never leave me?” and I told him, “I didn’t LEAVE you, I came BACK, didn’t I?” and for a family reunion instead of visiting and talking with everyone I just went off by myself playing with Buddy. That sounds pretty much like something I’d do though; with my Social Phobia I’m very uncomfortable with chit-chat and prefer to be on my own.