From Publishers Weekly
Baffled by her own experience as well as those of friends, Margolese explores the phenomenon of yeshiva-educated children from observant homes abandoning their tradition, or "going off the derech path." Interviews with formerly observant Jews, as well as rabbis, educators, therapists and program directors uncover the emotional and intellectual complexity behind the phenomenon. "Most observant Jews seem to have left, not because the outside world pulled them in, but rather because the observant one pushed them out," she concludes. "They experienced Judaism as a source of pain rather than joy." Margolese, who returned to a religious lifestyle, views her findings as a wake-up call to reshape the observant world so it remains inspiring and inviting. Though some of her observations hardly break psychological ground-healthy parent- and teacher-child relationships ground self-esteem, for instance-they can have startling results when placed in the context of the religious world. She advocates focusing on meaning instead of on rules, and placing a child's emotional needs above his Torah observance. Though Jewish readers may be most interested in Margolese's subject, her conclusion will resonate with those of all faiths: "God cannot be confined to the narrow path we walk... neither can his people."
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About the Author
Faranak Margolese is a freelance writer and editor. She received her BA in Philosophy from Stern College and a Master of Fine Arts in Non-Fiction Creating Writing from Columbia University's School of the Arts. She subsequently served as an adjunct professor of writing at Yeshiva University and Queens College; as a contributing editor to the Los Angeles Jewish Times; and as editor of Freedom in the World.
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