This OTYCD entry originally posted in July 2017.
Help people who leave Jewish ultra-orthodox communities by supporting the work of Footsteps, an organization that helps people transition to secular life.
Leaving an extreme fundamentalist community is exceptionally difficult by design. These groups try to make themselves as immersive as possible, so that leaving means leaving behind everything you know and love–your family, your neighborhood, your school, your place of worship–absolutely everything. Unsurprisingly, people who leave are vulnerable to deadly despair.
Ultra-orthodox Jewish communities in America make things even harder through their effective shunning of those who go. The authoritarian level of control that prevails in these areas maximizes the pain of breaking away. And those who leave have to face a bewildering new world which they are ill-prepared to navigate.
Footsteps is a New York-based entity founded in 2003 that helps people who have left ultra-orthodox Judaism behind. It assists leavers who are at every stage of the coming-out process with resources, confidential services, and community-building programs. It has helped over 1,100 leavers to date, about 20 percent of whom identify as LBGTQ.
Visit the Footsteps website:
Read its FAQ:
Donate to Footsteps:
Read a New York Times Magazine piece on the ex-Orthodox and how Footsteps helps them:
Learn about the high stakes faced by people who leave ultra-Orthodox communities: