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Not many people leave ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities. Most who do try to keep it secret, because, if everyone knew, the marriage prospects of their siblings could be irreparably damaged. The shame of leaving is very great. It is said that anyone who leaves must be a ruined person—penniless, homeless, probably on drugs, maybe a prostitute, living like an animal, for carnal appetites alone, like the goyim, or else mentally ill.
It’s true that leaving is traumatic. Many people do fall apart at first. There are suicides, and near-suicides. Some who lose their faith would give anything to have it back. Others who think about leaving can’t bring themselves to do it. Leaving means giving up everything you know, and a close, enveloping community where you are never alone, with little sense of what could replace it. Your spouse might divorce you, your parents reject you. You have to be desperate…Read More.