Saturday, September 04, 2010


This wasn’t the first time he had tried. At first, he filled the bathtub with water and tried to drown himself. Later, he thought of entering the sea and never coming out, filling his lungs with water and sinking into eternal rest. But every single time, he thought of his children, who would be left fatherless. “I am suffering,” he told me when we first met months ago. “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about how I’m living a double life: A secular living under the guise of a haredi. It feels like Purim, only in my life, I am always in costume.”

Some two months after our first meeting in Tel Aviv, and after countless phone calls, his friend Racheli called me in the dead of night. “He did it,” she said. “Matan has committed suicide. He choked himself to death. I don’t know too many details, and I also have no one to ask, because his family doesn’t even know what he’s been through these past months. He has been suffering.”

Matan (a pseudonym like all names in this article) was an ultra-Orthodox Jew who stopped believing several years ago. “I don’t believe there is a God, but I also don’t really rule it out,” he said. “It can’t have an unequivocal answer. Our understanding as humans ends somewhere…Religion tells you exactly how to understand things, how to interpret them. This is exactly the problem.”

“We, like the Marranos in Spain (Jews forced to abandon their religion during the 14th and 15th centuries), are forced to lead a different lifestyle than what we believe in,” explains Moishi, a Hasidic Jew from central Israel. “I sobered up about religion five years ago, but I can’t change my life, because I am closed off tightly within haredi society, with family and children. Inside, I am completely secular, but because of the fear of hurting my family, I have to remain haredi on the outside.”


I am an example of one of the people in the above story.I am torn,lost,alone,afraid to speak out.
I only wonder how many others are out there.


This article appeared in the israeli newspaper yediot achronot 2 weeks ago. statsistically such people will always r''l exist, but they represent a very small percentage indeed!


If you are torn, lost, perhaps anonymously visit a distant Chabad.


There are very many people like this, belonging to the orthodox is a frightening thought. You can never voice your true opinion or ask questions. Even in Cheder as a child if questions are raised you are called a Shaigetz. You will not receive an answer, just a rebuking or even a slap. Leaving the orthodox world is a terrible stain on the entire family. It's just not fair, how can a belief, way of life, religion be forced on anyone?


Some nerve they have to compare themselves to Marranos who were persecuted for trying to keep yiddishkeit and had to hide so they could keep the Torah. These people are looking for ways out. They are not persecuted. It is a chutzpah and degrading to the marranos who kept the Torah at the risk of being burnt alive after being subjected to most horrific torture for these people to even think such a thing.


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