At the age of 13, author Lynn Davidman knew in her “gut” that she had left Orthodox Judaism. At that tender age, she saw the “hypocrisies” in her Orthodox milieu; then her mother died of cancer, at the age of 36. That personal tragedy “can be seen as a major biographical disruption that predisposed me to leaving Orthodoxy,” she writes in Becoming Un-Orthodox: Stories of Ex-Hasidic Jews (Oxford Press). Davidman, the Beren Distinguished Professor of Modern Jewish Studies at the University of Kansas, interviewed 40 former Hasidim for this book. Davidman was disowned by her father, who never reinstated contact with her before he died; and many of her informants tell of similarly painful experiences in leaving the Orthodox fold. — M.S.
(American Jewish World, 1.30.15)