Uncovered

Uncovered

Author: Leah Lax

Publisher: She Writes Press

Published: 2015-08-28

Total Pages: 400

ISBN-13: 163152996X

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Uncovered is the only memoir to tell of a gay woman leaving the hasidic fold. Told in understated, crystalline prose, Leah Lax begins her story as a young teen leaving her secular home to become a hasidic Jew, then plumbs the nuances of her arranged marriage, fundamentalist faith, and hasidic motherhood as, all the while, creative, sexual, and spiritual longings tremble beneath the surface.


Uncovered

Uncovered

Author: Leah Lax

Publisher:

Published: 2015

Total Pages: 0

ISBN-13: 9781631529955

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A naïve lesbian teen in Texas is drawn into a group of Hassidic Jews with their offers of refuge from her troubled family and promises of eternal love. She becomes one of them, but ultimately, as a forty-something woman, comes to reject everything she has lived for three decades in order to be who she truly is.


Cut Me Loose

Cut Me Loose

Author: Leah Vincent

Publisher: Penguin

Published: 2015-05-12

Total Pages: 240

ISBN-13: 0698192672

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In the vein of Prozac Nation and Girl, Interrupted, an electrifying memoir about a young woman's promiscuous and self-destructive spiral after being cast out of her ultra-Orthodox Jewish family Leah Vincent was born into the Yeshivish community, a fundamentalist sect of ultra-Orthodox Judaism. As the daughter of an influential rabbi, Leah and her ten siblings were raised to worship two things: God and the men who ruled their world. But the tradition-bound future Leah envisioned for herself was cut short when, at sixteen, she was caught exchanging letters with a male friend, a violation of religious law that forbids contact between members of the opposite sex. Leah's parents were unforgiving. Afraid, in part, that her behavior would affect the marriage prospects of their other children, they put her on a plane and cut off ties. Cast out in New York City, without a father or husband tethering her to the Orthodox community, Leah was unprepared to navigate the freedoms of secular life. She spent the next few years using her sexuality as a way of attracting the male approval she had been conditioned to seek out as a child, while becoming increasingly unfaithful to the religious dogma of her past. Fast-paced, mesmerizing, and brutally honest, Cut Me Loose tells the story of one woman's harrowing struggle to define herself as an individual. Through Leah's eyes, we confront not only the oppressive world of religious fundamentalism, but also the broader issues that face even the most secular young women as they grapple with sexuality and identity.


Here and There

Here and There

Author: Chaya Deitsch

Publisher: Schocken

Published: 2015-10-13

Total Pages: 240

ISBN-13: 0805243186

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A heartfelt and inspiring personal account of a woman raised as a Lubavitcher Hasid who leaves that world without leaving the family that remains within it. Even as a child, Chaya Deitsch felt that she didn’t belong in the Hasidic world into which she’d been born. She spent her teenage years outwardly conforming to but secretly rebelling against the rules that tell you what and when to eat, how to dress, whom you can befriend, and what you must believe. Loving her parents, grandparents, and extended family, Chaya struggled to fit in but instead felt angry, stifled, and frustrated. Upon receiving permission from her bewildered but supportive parents to attend Barnard College, she discovered a wider world in which she could establish an independent identity and fulfill her dream of an unconfined life that would be filled with the secular knowledge and culture that were largely foreign to her friends and relatives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. As she gradually shed the physical and spiritual trappings of Hasidic life, Chaya found herself torn between her desire to be honest with her parents about who she now was and her need to maintain a loving relationship with the family that she still very much wanted to be part of. Eventually, Chaya and her parents came to an understanding that was based on unqualified love and a hard-won but fragile form of acceptance. With honesty, sensitivity, and intelligence, Chaya Deitsch movingly shows us that lives lived differently do not have to be lives lived apart.


Off the Derech

Off the Derech

Author: Ezra Cappell

Publisher: State University of New York Press

Published: 2020-08-01

Total Pages: 454

ISBN-13: 1438477260

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In recent years, many formerly ultra-Orthodox Jews have documented leaving their communities in published stories, films, and memoirs. This movement is often identified as "off the derech" (OTD), or off the path, with the idea that the "path" is paved by Jewish law, rituals, and practices found within their birth communities. This volume tells the powerful stories of people abandoning their religious communities and embarking on uncertain journeys toward new lives and identities within mainstream society. Off the Derech is divided into two parts: stories and analysis. The first includes original selections from contemporary American and global authors writing about their OTD experiences. The second features chapters by scholars representing such diverse fields as literature, history, sociology, psychology, anthropology, religion, and gender studies. The interdisciplinary lenses provide a range of methodologies by which readers can better understand this significant phenomenon within contemporary Jewish society.


Brazen

Brazen

Author: Julia Haart

Publisher: Crown

Published: 2022-04-12

Total Pages: 425

ISBN-13: 0593239164

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WALL STREET JOURNAL AND USA TODAY BESTSELLER • From the star of the Netflix reality series My Unorthodox Life, a riveting, inspiring memoir of one woman’s escape from an extremist religious sect and an extraordinary rise from housewife to shoe designer, to CEO and co-owner of the modeling agency Elite World Group “An irresistible read . . . Written with great intensity and rare candor, Brazen is a story of longing for more and manifesting that vision.”—Tommy Hilfiger Ever since she was a child, every aspect of Julia Haart’s life—what she wore, what she ate, what she thought—was controlled by the dictates of ultra-Orthodox Judaism. At nineteen, after a lifetime spent caring for her seven younger siblings, she was married off to a man she barely knew. For the next twenty-three years, her marriage would rule her life. Eventually, when Haart’s younger daughter, Miriam, started to innocently question why she wasn’t allowed to sing in public, run in shorts, or ride a bike without being covered from neck to knee, Haart reached a breaking point. She knew that if she didn’t find a way to leave, her daughters would be forced into the same unending servitude that had imprisoned her. So Haart created a double life. In the ultra-Orthodox world, clothing has one purpose—to cover the body, head to toe—and giving any thought to one’s appearance beyond that is considered sinful, an affront to God. But when no one was looking, Haart would pore over fashion magazines and sketch designs for the clothes she dreamed about wearing in the world beyond her Orthodox suburb. She started preparing for her escape by educating herself and creating a “freedom” fund. At the age of forty-two, she finally mustered the courage to flee the fundamentalist life that was strangling her soul. Within a week of her escape, Haart founded a shoe brand, and within nine months, she was at Paris Fashion Week. Just a few years later, she was named creative director of La Perla. Soon she would become co-owner and CEO of Elite World Group, and one of the most powerful people in the fashion industry. Along the way, her four children—Batsheva, Shlomo, Miriam, and Aron—have not only accepted but embraced her transformation. Propulsive and unforgettable, Haart’s story is the journey from a world of no to a world of yes, and an inspiration for women everywhere to find their freedom, their purpose, and their voice.


Becoming Eve

Becoming Eve

Author: Abby Stein

Publisher: Seal Press

Published: 2019-11-12

Total Pages: 272

ISBN-13: 1580059171

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The powerful coming-of-age story of an ultra-Orthodox child who was born to become a rabbinic leader and instead became a woman Abby Stein was raised in a Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn, isolated in a culture that lives according to the laws and practices of eighteenth-century Eastern Europe, speaking only Yiddish and Hebrew and shunning modern life. Stein was born as the first son in a dynastic rabbinical family, poised to become a leader of the next generation of Hasidic Jews. But Abby felt certain at a young age that she was a girl. She suppressed her desire for a new body while looking for answers wherever she could find them, from forbidden religious texts to smuggled secular examinations of faith. Finally, she orchestrated a personal exodus from ultra-Orthodox manhood to mainstream femininity-a radical choice that forced her to leave her home, her family, her way of life. Powerful in the truths it reveals about biology, culture, faith, and identity, Becoming Eve poses the enduring question: How far will you go to become the person you were meant to be?


Exodus

Exodus

Author: Deborah Feldman

Publisher: Penguin

Published: 2014-03-25

Total Pages: 164

ISBN-13: 1101603100

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The author of the explosive New York Times bestselling memoir Unorthodox (now a Netflix limited series) chronicles her continuing journey as a single mother, an independent woman, and a religious refugee. In 2009, at the age of twenty-three, Deborah Feldman walked away from the rampant oppression, abuse, and isolation of her Satmar upbringing in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to forge a better life for herself and her young son. Since leaving, Feldman has navigated remarkable experiences: raising her son in the “real” world, finding solace and solitude in a writing career, and searching for love. Culminating in an unforgettable trip across Europe to retrace her grandmother’s life during the Holocaust, Exodus is a deeply moving exploration of the mysterious bonds that tie us to family and religion, the bonds we must sometimes break to find our true selves.


Rupture and Reconstruction

Rupture and Reconstruction

Author: Haym Soloveitchik

Publisher: Liverpool University Press

Published: 2021-09-10

Total Pages: 158

ISBN-13: 1800858213

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The essay that forms the core of this book is an attempt to understand the developments that have occurred in Orthodox Jewry in America in the last seventy years, and to analyse their implications. The prime change is what is often described as ‘the swing to the right’, a marked increase in ritual stringency, a rupture in patterns of behaviour that has had major consequences not only for Jewish society but also for the nature of Jewish spirituality. For Haym Soloveitchik, the key feature at the root of this change is that, as a result of migration to the ‘New Worlds’ of England, the US, and Israel and acculturation to its new surroundings, American Jewry—indeed, much of the Jewish world— had to reconstruct religious practice from normative texts: observance could no longer be transmitted mimetically, on the basis of practices observed in home and street. In consequence, behaviour once governed by habit is now governed by rule. This new edition allows the author to deal with criticisms raised since the essay, long established as a classic in the field, was originally published, and enables readers to gain a fuller perspective on a topic central to today’s Jewish world and its development.


Orphan #8

Orphan #8

Author: Kim van Alkemade

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Published: 2015-08-04

Total Pages: 0

ISBN-13: 9780062338303

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New York Times and USA Today Bestseller In this stunning new historical novel inspired by true events, Kim van Alkemade tells the fascinating story of a woman who must choose between revenge and mercy when she encounters the doctor who subjected her to dangerous medical experiments in a New York City Jewish orphanage years before. In 1919, Rachel Rabinowitz is a vivacious four-year-old living with her family in a crowded tenement on New York City’s Lower Eastside. When tragedy strikes, Rachel is separated from her brother Sam and sent to a Jewish orphanage where Dr. Mildred Solomon is conducting medical research. Subjected to X-ray treatments that leave her disfigured, Rachel suffers years of cruel harassment from the other orphans. But when she turns fifteen, she runs away to Colorado hoping to find the brother she lost and discovers a family she never knew she had. Though Rachel believes she’s shut out her painful childhood memories, years later she is confronted with her dark past when she becomes a nurse at Manhattan’s Old Hebrews Home and her patient is none other than the elderly, cancer-stricken Dr. Solomon. Rachel becomes obsessed with making Dr. Solomon acknowledge, and pay for, her wrongdoing. But each passing hour Rachel spends with the old doctor reveal to Rachel the complexities of her own nature. She realizes that a person’s fate—to be one who inflicts harm or one who heals—is not always set in stone. Lush in historical detail, rich in atmosphere and based on true events, Orphan #8 is a powerful, affecting novel of the unexpected choices we are compelled to make that can shape our destinies.