Yiddishe Kinderlech – Need to Be Rescued from Education – E-rate??? NO!

 

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WHO IS USING THE E-RATE MONEY? 

As a follow-up to our previous post regarding the e-rate program, we thought we would post this picture. It tells the whole story.

If 500 Yiddishe Kinderlech need to be rescued from public schools, those not “rescued” are not going to benefit from e-rate dollars.

None of the children within the “Yiddishe” community, except perhaps the 500 in the public school system, really ever benefit from access to the e-rate dollars.

 

Satmar Support Hillary – But not Her Face in their Newspapers…

 

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‘Friend of the Jews’ Hillary Clinton Endorsed by ultra-Orthodox Satmar Sect

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/world-news/u-s-election-2016/1.751424

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A day after Ivanka Trump visited the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s grave to gather spiritual support for her father’s presidential campaign, another ultra-Orthodox sect gave an endorsement to his rival, Hillary Clinton, called her a “longtime friend of the Jews.”

The large Satmar sect includes has tens of thousands of followers worldwide, the majority of them in the New York areas. Since 2006, the community has been divided into two factions, led by rival brothers and rabbis Aron and Zalman Teitelbaum. Members of both sects are anti-Zionist, believing that it is sacrilege to create a Jewish state before the arrival of the Messiah.

The statement calling on Satmar followers to support Clinton, which came from Rabbi Aron Teitelbaum’s branch, declared that Satmar leaders “endorse and hereby order all registered voters, in our community, to come out and give the vote for the longtime friend of the Jews, Hillary R. Clinton, former New York State Senator and Secretary of State. (She) is known for her rare rich career of grand achievements, with special sensitivity and understanding to the needs of our Jewish brothers, in particular with very delicate cases of pidyon shevuyim (liberation of Jewish prisoners) and hatzalot nefashot (saving of lives.)”

The announcement is signed by the “brotherhood” of community organizers.

It’s not the first time in the 2016 election season that Clinton has won the Satmar endorsement. In April, both factions gave her their blessing in her primary race against Bernie Sanders. At the time, one Satmar newspaper ran an editorial declaring that, “It is important to demonstrate our ‘Hakarat Hatov’ (the Hebrew term for gratitude) for Mrs. Clinton, whose help for Jewish interests had far-reaching effects back when she was First Lady in the White House.”

The reference to “liberation of Jewish prisoners” in the Satmar endorsement may have something to do with the fact that on his last day in office, January 20. 2001, the same day he infamously pardoned financier Marc Rich, President Bill Clinton also reduced the prison sentences of four ultra-Orthodox men, members of the Skverer sect, whose rabbinical leader is the brother-in-law of Satmar’s Aron Teitelbaum, who had been convicted and imprisoned for federal fraud.

That pardon raised eyebrows due to the fact Hillary Clinton, in her first Senate run a few months before the pardons, received an overwhelming percentage of the vote from the Skverer’s sect’s home base in New Square – more than 100 times than that of her opponent, Republican Rick Lazio. An investigation was initiated by the Manhattan U.S. attorney into whether, as the New York Times reported  “the village leaders aggressive courting of the president and Mrs. Clinton before and after the 2000 Senate election raised questions of whether the men’s sentences were reduced in exchange for votes.”

The 2002 Times story quoted the attorney for the Southern District of New York who announced the closing of the investigation saying that he had “determined it wasn’t appropriate to bring charges against anyone in the case.” That attorney was a man who would go on to play a key role in the current election race – FBI director James Comey.

While Satmar may be endorsing Clinton’s candidacy, it is not exactly known for empowerment of women. Women don’t hold leadership roles in their strict community and if Clinton should win the presidency, her photograph wouldn’t be featured in their newspapers, which refrain from running any images of women – particularly in Clinton’s trademark pantsuits (one report  tells of a 2006 meeting with between Clinton and a Satmar rabbi which was stymied because the then-senator was wearing pants. The situation was resolved by her agreement to “wear a long raincoat over her pants.)

In August, it was reported that the sect had issued a decree that higher education for women was “dangerous” and “against the Torah,” and that “no girls attending our school are allowed to study and get a degree.”

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/world-news/u-s-election-2016/1.751424

66th Precinct – What’s the Going Rate for a Corrupt Cop?

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Lt. Michael Andreano Joins the Ranks of those Alleged to be in Bed with the Epidemic of Corruption within the Ultra Orthodox Community of Borough Park and Beyond…

 

NYPD lieutenant stripped of badge, gun over ties to bribery scheme

http://nypost.com/2016/10/24/nypd-lieutenant-stripped-of-badge-gun-over-ties-to-bribery-scheme/

A high-ranking Brooklyn cop has been stripped of his badge and gun over ties to a key figure in an alleged $1 million NYPD bribery scheme, The Post has learned.

Lt. Michael Andreano of the 66th Precinct in Boro Park was put on desk duty as part of the wide-ranging corruption probe that has already resulted in pending charges against three NYPD bosses, sources said.

Andreano is suspected of having improper dealings with Alex “Shaya” Lichtenstein, a leader of the Boro Park “Shomrim” patrol who in April was busted on bribery and conspiracy charges involving pistol permits, sources said.

“This guy was tight with Shaya and would go out of his way to accommodate him,” a source said.

Andreano served as a community-affairs sergeant in the 66th Precinct before getting promoted to lieutenant in 2015 and transferred to the 60 Precinct in West Brighton.

He was transferred back to the 66th after “a month or two,” sources said, and put in charge of Special Operations there.

Andreano’s return was announced at a Community Council meeting in September 2015, according to the KensingtonBK blog.

Lichtenstein was allegedly recorded offering a whistleblowing cop $6,000 a pop to “expedite” approval of pistol permits for members of Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community.

During that conversation, Lichtenstein used a calculator to show that 150 permits would be worth $900,000, according to the feds.

He also allegedly bragged that he had already scored 150 permits for clients who paid him up to $18,000 each for the service but said he had lost his connection in the NYPD’s License Division.

Earlier this month, a prosecutor revealed there had been “continuous discussions” for Lichtenstein to strike a plea deal, and a judge gave both sides until Nov. 3 to come to terms or proceed with the case.

The cop who secretly recorded Lichtenstein, former License Division member David Ochetal, secretly pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with authorities after admitting that he had accepted “lunch money” from Lichtenstein.

To read the article in its entirety click here.

Future Top Cop – In Bed with the Borough Park Corrupt – Community Board 12

Ringel and Community Board 12

Community Board 12, Yidel Perlstein… Bringing our Old Friends Back to the Forefront…

 

Community leader boasted about snagging favor from future top cop

http://nypost.com/2016/10/24/nypd-lieutenant-stripped-of-badge-gun-over-ties-to-bribery-scheme/

A Borough Park community leader bragged on a taped phone call how he pulled some strings to get future top cop James O’Neill to transfer a friendly lieutenant back to the neighborhood, The Post has learned.

Community Board 12 Chairman Yidel Perlstein wanted Michael Andreano returned to Borough Park’s 66th Precinct from the 60th in Brighton Beach, where the cop had been shipped following his promotion.

Perlstein, speaking in Yiddish, describes in the secretly recorded conversation how he approached NYPD Assistant Chief Steven Powers at a September 2015 breakfast meeting in Williamsburg and asked that Andreano be moved.

Perlstein claims that he offered Powers dinner at a local kosher steakhouse to grease the wheels for the personnel move, with Powers then talking to O’Neill, who was the NYPD’s chief of department at the time and happened to be at the meeting.

“I told Powers, ‘I will take you out to The Loft for supper,’ ” Perlstein says on the recording.

“So I told Powers, go over to O’Neill, to tell him to make an exception, to have Andreano back. So Powers and others went over to O’Neill and made the request to O’Neill and O’Neill said, ‘No problem, permission granted,’ with a big smile on his face.

“And [Andreano] was already the next day at work,” he adds.

The phone call was taped by a community activist who shared an excerpt with The Post. New York law permits people to secretly record conversations in which they take part.

Captains-union President Roy Richter said the commanding officer of the 66th put in a request to retain Andreano as soon as he was promoted — though he did not return until after the September meeting.

On Monday, The Post exclusively reported that Andreano had been stripped of his badge and gun over his ties to Alex “Shaya” Lichtenstein, a leader of Borough Park’s “Shomrim” safety patrol.

Lichtenstein was busted by the feds in April on charges he offered nearly $1 million in bribes to score pistol permits from the NYPD’s License Division for clients who paid him up to $18,000 a pop.

Andreano’s transfer back to the 66th was highly unusual, because protocol dictates that cops get moved following a promotion to avoid animosity from former colleagues and to prevent corruption, a high-ranking NYPD official said.

To read the NYPost article in its entirety click here.

D.A. Kenneth Thompson and the Child Sex Abuse Cases You Swept, Sweep Away… PART II

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GUEST AUTHOR: ERIK AIKEN, www.protectjewishkids.com

 

How the Brooklyn D.A. covers-up Orthodox child molesters, 2 of 2

This is the second in a 2-part series

In my first article, I wrote how a year and a half ago I made a public record request for the photos and arrest reports of 15 Orthodox men convicted by the Brooklyn D.A. The D.A. refused to give me any of the information that I requested.

Last week, I made a new Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request to the Brooklyn D.A. (Brooklyn D.A. FOIL request) I asked for the photo, arrest report, case disposition (the court’s decision) and length of jail time served (if any) of 29 Orthodox individuals arrested for, or convicted of, child sex crimes by the Brooklyn D.A.

The following day, the D.A.’s office sent me a 3-page letter denying every request, for every individual. They refused to reveal to me a single case disposition or tell me how long a convicted Orthodox child molester spent in jail or even if they went to jail.

In 80% of the more than 3 dozen Orthodox convictions that I investigated in Brooklyn, the molester received probation or only a few months of jail time.  By contrast, even though Federal child sex crimes are not necessarily more severe or heinous than the ones prosecuted by the Brooklyn D.A., every Federal conviction of an Orthodox child molester that I could find resulted in jail time, usually for many years.

As to my request for the molester’s photos, the D.A. told me that they would make me wait 6 months before releasing them to me. I filed an appeal of this ridiculous stonewalling and the D.A.’s office rejected my appeal.

New York’s public records law requires that documents be given to the requester within 20 days or “within a reasonable period” – Public Officer’s Law 89(3). Having public access to governmental records is a fundamental right of American citizens. This is the only way we can know what our government is doing and be able to hold officials accountable.

There is nothing “reasonable” about withholding photos of convicted Orthodox child molesters for 6 months. There is no justification for refusing to release conviction information about Orthodox child molesters or informing me of how much time they spent in jail, if any. In the time it took the D.A.’s office to write their 3-page laundry list of excuses of why they aren’t going to comply with the law, they could have instead provided me with the records that I requested.

Kenneth-Thompson-picture-with-rabbis.pngNot only does current Brooklyn D.A. Kenneth Thompson refuse to release public records of Orthodox child molesters requested under FOIL, Thompson is also ethically-challenged in other ways.

Just last week, Thompson was fined $15,000 by the New York City Conflicts of Interests Board for using New York City police officers as his personal waiters and delivery boys to buy him thousands of dollars of meals, all at taxpayer expense.   http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/25/nyregion/ken-thompson-brooklyn-district-attorney-conflict-of-interest-case.html

Kenneth-Thompson-picture-4.pngWhen Kenneth Thompson ran for office, he promised to change the corrupt ways of his predecessor, Charles Hynes. “For his part, Thompson openly criticized Hynes’ record on crimes committed by the ultra-Orthodox. “Every community in Brooklyn has to be treated the same,” he said. “When I become Brooklyn DA, I’ll make sure there’s equal justice for everyone, under the law.” The Daily Beast – 2013

 

Charles-Hynes-photo-with-rabbis.pngAmong other things, Hynes was notorious for refusing to release to the public the identities of Orthodox child sex predators that he convicted, in contravention of standard practice by other D.A.’s. The covering-up of Orthodox child molesters by the Brooklyn D.A. allows rabbis to pretend that there isn’t a rampant child sex abuse crisis in Orthodox synagogues, schools, yeshivas, summer camps and mikvehs.

 

The Brooklyn D.A.’s failure to stop rabbinic witness intimidation

 

Kenneth-Thompson-picture-3“…witness intimidation, a problem in the ultra-Orthodox community that District Attorney Charles Hynes himself has acknowledged is worse than anything he has seen even in organized crime and police corruption cases.” The Jewish Week – 6-26-12

“Hynes claims that his office has received numerous “allegations that some rabbis were actively counseling, intimidating and harassing victims of sexual abuse, coercing them from reporting abuse to authorities” The Jewish Week – 5-17-2012

 

Kenneth-Thompson-picture-5.pngThe office of the Brooklyn D.A. publicly acknowledges that rabbis violate the law and coerce, threaten and punish victims to prevent them from testifying against their Orthodox abuser and that it’s worse than the Mafia. Nevertheless, Thompson has not prosecuted a single rabbi or their surrogates for witness intimidation.

 

 

 

 

Here’s how the Brooklyn D.A. protects Orthodox kids from sexual predators

 

Moshe Spitzer - picture 2Moshe Spitzer was charged with 135 counts of abuse, pleaded guilty to 16 counts of sodomy, was sentenced to 2 years in prison and was released after serving 3 months.

 

 

 

Andrew Goodman - photoAndrew Goodman was charged with 114 counts of abuse. He was sentenced to 2 years in jail. When released, Goodman took one of his former victims across state lines and sodomized him. Taking a child across state lines to abuse him is a Federal crime. The Feds convicted him for that one act and got Goodman sentenced to 10 years to life.

 

 

Shimon Benisty - picture 2Shimon Benisty was convicted of molesting 2 young girls and deemed a “sexually violent offender”. He was only sentenced to 11 months in prison. Upon release, he was deported to Israel where he was convicted of abusing 11 more children.

 

 

 

Menachem Tevel - picture 2Mendy Tevel was charged with 37 counts of child sex crimes, some of them felonies that could have sent him to prison for life. He was sentenced to just 1 year in jail and was released after serving 7 months. He is not on the NY sex offender registry and reportedly now lives in Beverly Hills, CA. He was recently videoed roaming the halls of an Orthodox children’s school nearby.

 

 

Baruch Lebovits - picture 3Baruch Lebovits was sentenced to up to 32 years in prison for child sexual abuse. Due to the Brooklyn D.A.’s bungling of the case, Lebovits spent less than 16 months in prison.

 

 

 

Yonah Weinberg - picture 2Yona Weinberg is a convicted, level-3 child sex offender (the most dangerous tier) who is wanted by the Brooklyn D.A. on additional charges. Weinberg sent me a letter (Yona Weinberg lawyer letter and Israeli lawyer) from his lawyers that insist that Weinberg is not wanted by the police. (Note the unauthorized FBI watermark on the first and second pages). I spoke to NYPD fugitive task force Detective Kevin Lapin (who has Weinberg’s case) on 6/15/2016 and he told me that Weinberg is wanted and has been wanted since 9/10/14. Weinberg flew to Israel the next day. According to several victim advocates in Israel that I contacted, the Brooklyn D.A. is doing nothing to extradite Weinberg.

 

Gershon Kranczer - picture 2Rabbi Gershon Kranczer and his son, Asher Kranczer, both fled to Israel 6 years ago before they could be arrested on horrific child sexual abuse charges. Kranczer’s wife was reported to have driven them to the airport. The D.A. didn’t prosecute her.

Rabbi Kranczer has another son, Yechezkel, who didn’t escape and was charged with 72 counts of child sexual abuse. Yechezkel was convicted and given probation.

I asked the D.A. why they haven’t extradited either Kranczer from Israel and they told me it was part of an “ongoing investigation”. Really? Doing nothing for 6 years constitutes an ongoing investigation?


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Meilech Schnitzler was convicted of throwing bleach into the eyes of child victim advocate, Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg. Schnitzler didn’t serve a day in jail. Thompson defended the total absence of punishment by saying that Schnitzler “will have to take an anger management class” New York Post, 6-18-14.

 

Mr. Thompson – Meilech Schnitzler doesn’t need an anger management class, he needs jail time.

 

Kenneth-Thompson-picture-7.pngKenneth Thompson’s campaign promises of equal treatment under the law turned out to be empty. It appears that Thomson cares more about getting re-elected than prosecuting those who abuse Orthodox children. In Brooklyn, to get re-elected as D.A., you need the Orthodox bloc-vote and their campaign cash. That only happens when the rabbis see that you do their bidding by covering-up Orthodox child molesters and allowing rabbis to punish victims who go to the police.

Eric Aiken is the owner of http://www.protectjewishkids.com and an advocate for Orthodox victims of child sexual abuse. “The List” is the world’s largest database of Orthodox child molesters.

Naomi and David Bodner, Elm Street, Haredi Housing Scam, Christopher St. Lawrence

 

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ELM STREET, ROCKLAND COUNTY – NOT AFFORDABLE HOUSING, BELOW FAIR-MARKET INVESTMENT STEALS!

In 2011, the Ramapo Local Development Corp (think Christopher St. Lawrence and Aaron Troodler, et.al. SEC complaint) began selling units in a housing project referred to in social circles as the “Rockland Affordable Housing” project. The development was allegedly intended to be purchased by people who wanted homes but could not afford them and by design the target buyer was ultra-Orthodox. What in public was billed as affordable housing in private was nothing more than below market investment properties which would eventually yield buyers profits in the millions when they decided to sell.

The homes were purchased in large part by numerous LLC’s, many of which were and continue to be untraceable non-profits and tax-exempt entities. The homes were not purchased by the downtrodden.

One of the names among the owners is the family of Yossi Gestetner who lives in one of the Elm Street properties. He is one of the founders of OJPAC, a Political Action Committee heavily involved in endorsing the same corruption that makes up the fabric of Rockland County’s ultra-Orthodox Jewry, particularly as it connects to the Borough Park community. His ties to Dov Hiking and Boro Park’s elite Shomrim are no secret.

It also comes as no surprise that David and Naomi Bodner were among the first “buyers” of the property when the LDC started selling it. You know. The same Bodners who are involved with Marty Huberfeld and Platinum Parnters. The same Bodners who have more money than they could spend in a century of generations of lifetimes, much of it we surmise was amassed in less than savory transactions.

For your review we have included the SEC Complaint against Christopher St. Lawrence and his accomplices naming the Elm Street properties voraciously. We have also included articles picked up by Failed Messiah and a number of others.

This Elm Street properties are one family of the CSL LDC properties among many that heavily tie Rockland County’s Hasidic and ultra-Orthodox community (and its leaders) to Boro Park, and to some of New York’s dirtier politics. They also tie Rockland County to family Bodner and many of its family foundations. We expect there are more treasures to be found beyond what has been named over the years. 

FURTHER READING:

 

Feds Uncover Alleged Ramapo Haredi Housing Scam – FailedMessiah.com

http://preserveramapo.com/Elm%20Street/call_to_investigate_elm_street_c.htm

http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2012/03/feds-uncover-alleged-ramapo-haredi-housing-scam-678.html

https://www.sec.gov/litigation/complaints/2016/comp-pr2016-68.pdf

Steve Lieberman

Police, Courts and Investigative Reporter

2 years ago

Ramapo’s Elm Street housing ‘below market,’ not ‘affordable’  http://lohud.us/1uhLX6f  via @lohud

Steve Lieberman

Police, Courts and Investigative Reporter

2 years ago

Steve Lieberman

Police, Courts and Investigative Reporter

2 years ago

Trouble? Ramapo Elm St. housing ‘below market,’ not ‘affordable’  http://lohud.us/1uhLX6f  via @lohud

Akiko Matsuda

Multimedia Journalist

2 years ago

TruthSquad on Ramapo Elm St. housing: ‘below market,’ not ‘affordable’  http://lohud.us/1uhLX6f  via @lohud

Akiko Matsuda

Multimedia Journalist

2 years ago

Ramapo Elm St. housing: ‘below market,’ not ‘affordable’  http://lohud.us/1uhLX6f  via @lohud

 

 

 

Enslaving Ultra-Orthodox Children through Ignorance

Orthodox ‘Dropouts’ Still Tethered To Faith

http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/new-york/orthodox-dropouts-still-tethered-faith

Orthodox ‘Dropouts’ Still Tethered To Faith
 08/16/16
 Jonathan Mark
 Associate Editor

The Orthodox fascinate and defy the number crunchers. No group is growing so prodigiously: Seventy-four percent of Jewish children in New York are Orthodox and Satmar’s school system is now larger than all but three public school systems in New York State. And yet, of American Orthodoxy’s 530,000 Jews, perhaps more than 10,000 Orthodox Jews have dropped out to varying degrees, according to Nishma Research. Modest numbers, perhaps, but each of those 10,000 likely could tell a story of sadness and disappointment.

Demographer Steven M. Cohen of Hebrew Union College, an adviser to Nishma’s project  — “Starting a Conversation: A Pioneering Survey of Those Who Have Left the Orthodox Community” — said in a statement about the study: “We live in an age of enormous religious fluidity … but there is little quantitative research on Jews who have left Orthodoxy.” This study by Nishma, a new research firm that financed the independent but non-scientific study, is “particularly significant if we are to understand the future of Orthodoxy and American Jewry,” he said.

What becomes of these lapsed Orthodox, referred to in the report and in the vernacular as “off the derech” (road), presuming that there ever was a single derech in the first place? Several OTD memoirs and even suicides speak of severed relationships and estrangement from their communities. Or is that simply the experience of those authors and a tragic few?

As Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach used to say, people left Orthodoxy not because it was too much but because it wasn’t enough. His maxim was verified by Nishma’s study, which reports that most OTDs felt “pushed” off the derech, disappointed by the Orthodox community, rather than “pulled” or seduced by the “outside” world.

Dropouts have always been part of the Orthodox story, but the Pew Research Center’s most definitive 2013 study found dropouts have fluctuated with the generations, the older generation dropping out with far greater frequency than the younger one. Pew states that there was “a surge [78 percent] switching [out of] Orthodox Judaism from the 1950s to the 1970s, followed by a higher retention within Orthodox Judaism in recent decades.” The retention rate is now soaring among young Orthodox adults (aged 18-30); 83 percent of those who were raised Orthodox still are. That means, however, that 17 percent have left.

Well, not all actually left, a finding that casts a fog over any numbers or conclusions. Unlike Christianity, where belief in Jesus provides a fairly definitive line of religious demarcation, Judaism defines religious fidelity not by belief but by action. Religious Christians don’t “somewhat” believe in Jesus, but Nishma found that 45 percent of the dropouts remained “somewhat” Orthodox. It is interesting that 33 percent of OTDs still believed in God, but it is more pertinent to Orthodoxy that 31 percent still kept kosher, 53 percent still lit Shabbos candles, 68 percent still participated in Shabbos meals and 66 percent still felt an attachment to Israel (and the people of Israel). If one keeps Shabbos (to whatever extent) and kosher, when most Jews don’t, how is that person “off the derech”? And yet, in a highly judgmental community, “with Orthodoxy’s exacting standards,” the study noted, “a respondent could consider himself or herself lapsed and still be more religious than most.”

The respondents still wanted Orthodox-literate children; 70 percent send their children to yeshiva or day school, with only 9 percent sending children to non-Orthodox Jewish schools.

And yet, the more liberal Orthodoxy became, the more it disappointed. Modern Orthodoxy, which has done considerably more than any other Orthodox groups on behalf of women’s Torah study, agunot reform, women’s prayer groups, and women’s lay leadership in synagogues and organizations, nevertheless had more Modern Orthodox women dropouts (22 percent) citing the “status of women” as the No. 1 reason they left. Across the quadrants of the survey (chasidic, Chabad, yeshivish and Modern Orthodox), 20 percent of all female dropouts agreed, the status of women was a problem, but only 3 percent of the male OTDs thought so.

In another counterintuitive finding, although Modern Orthodox schools and rabbis are the most liberal in allowing and even encouraging an open exchange of ideas, Modern Orthodoxy had the most dropouts (9 percent) complaining about the “closed atmosphere” of “no questions, unanswered questions, [or] lack of openness.” That was a higher percentage than among the formerly yeshivish (6 percent), who theoretically were living in a more cloistered, ideologically uniform environment. Indeed, none of the divergent educational methods in Orthodoxy proved to be more successful than any other as a bulwark against “general doubts, [or] loss of faith,” a problem shared by dropouts from the chasidic (15 percent), yeshivish (14 percent), Modern Orthodox (11 percent) and Chabad (10 percent) communities.

The goal of surveying those “off the derech” was to “give this group a voice,” said Mark Trencher, Nishma’s founder and lead researcher (and former president of his local Young Israel). He told The Jewish Week that the survey was not scientific, as there was “no hard data” and “no master list” to gauge the OTD population. The survey, therefore, was crafted, said Trencher, as an “opt-in” conversation, with 885 respondents. Most of the respondents were solicited through nonprofits such as Footsteps and Makom (which helped coordinate the survey), agencies dedicated to assisting OTDs.

Although OTD memoirs often discuss family rejection, the survey found that time heals: familial understanding rose from 15 percent, at the time of leaving Orthodoxy, to more than 40 percent after 10 years. Women reported having a harder time with their families than did men. After leaving, a majority (54 percent) of the lapsed Orthodox felt a void in their non-Orthodox communities, with one of the biggest problems being dating and relationships (24 percent). “I haven’t found a community of likeminded individuals,” wrote one respondent, “and don’t feel as connected as I would like in terms of socializing.” Forty-three percent of respondents agreed. Despite the attention given to the difficulty of being Orthodox and single, the so-called “shidduch crisis,” only 5 percent of women and less than 1 percent of men cited it as a significant factor in their decision to leave. Dating on the “outside” could be harder, not easier.

Men were more likely to say that they left because of intellectual issues, with complaints about the “learning and thought processes,” or religion’s absence of “proof.” Women shared those intellectual issues but were more bothered (9 percent) than men (3 percent) by communal “rumors, judging, and gossip.”

LGBTQ Jews left after coming to the conclusion that they would never be accepted within their communities. “My identity as a transgender person was ignored and denied by all the rabbis I reached out to,” said one. “I had many LGBTQ friends and struggled with reconciling that part of my life with my yeshiva life.”

Some OTDs lived a double life, questioning internally, acting Orthodox externally. These “double-lifers,” Nishma concluded, “are not ready to emerge publicly and may never do so,” although 39 percent say they likely will go public, someday.

The survey didn’t indicate that some “double-lifers” happily embrace their ambivalence. Jay Lefkowitz, an attorney, writing in Commentary, explained that he is a practicing Modern Orthodox Jew, though not a believing one, because “I’m a Jet,” like the gang in West Side Story. When you’re Orthodox, you’re “never alone … never disconnected.” Between shul, schools, interests, Shabbos meals, he felt “home with your own” and surely “company’s expected.”

Lefkowitz defined his group as “social Orthodox.” Religious practice, he explained, “is an essential component of Jewish continuity,” so “social Orthodox” Jews “are observant — and not because they are trembling before God.” He puts on tefillin, eats vegetarian in non-kosher restaurants, and yet theological questions “weren’t particularly germane to my life as an observant Jew.”

He’s not alone. The Jewish Week has reported that a substantial number of Modern Orthodox teens might go to shul on Shabbos, but also text on their phones, part of a phenomenon known as “half-Shabbos.” Nevertheless, they consider themselves Orthodox. Others do the same and think of themselves as lapsed.

Lefkowitz attends an Orthodox shul, sends his children to an Orthodox school and sent his daughter to the Israeli army. “I would appear to be the very model of an Orthodox Jew, albeit a modern one,” he writes. In the end, “We behave as Jews so we can belong as Jews … so we will not be disconnected, and we will never be alone.”

Jonathan@jewishweek.org

Read more at http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/new-york/orthodox-dropouts-still-tethered-faith#AalRCMEvGFGk6vEt.99