Discussion by: GPWC
have been in contact with a 16 year old (let’s call her Y) who is a member of
the ultra orthodox and insular Jewish community “The Chassidim”. She is
appealing for help and advice but cannot do so herself as she fears for the
consequences if found out. She has only recently had access to the internet and
despite having her usage monitored has managed to access RD.net. She does not believe in God and is desperate
to escape her sect. Here are some of the things that are going on in her life:
she came out as an atheist she would be kicked out of the community and she has
nowhere else to go. She wants to get into college, but the community do not believe
in further education and the private Jewish school she attends do not teach
evolution or the big bang. Students are not allowed to have
internet access, nor do they take standardised tests. Whilst she does have
chemistry lessons, she is only taught censored earth science and biology.
She only managed to break some of these barriers a couple of months ago,
and she has good reasons to believe that she is the only student who has.
Needless to say the school spends hours every morning on religious indoctrination,
and one teacher actually threatened her with her fist to declare belief in the
thirteen principles of Jewish faith. If her principal knew she planned to
attend a normal university, she’d be sent home.
home life is also very difficult. The community and her family are very
restrictive and she isn’t even allowed to the library on her own and she
wouldn’t openly be able to research anything she liked. Naturally, she feels
all alone, though she can, of course, “look forward” to an arranged marriage.
long ago there was a thread on escaping Conservative Laestadianisma. Without
seeking to take anything away from Halla’s problems, I think G’s problems are
quite a bit worse as she can’t mix with “outsiders” much and when she does she is supervised.
wonders: what are her rights under US Law; what might she do to get a public
school education so that she can ultimately go to university; who could she
contact in New York for help right now?
she should be able to read this thread (at least for a while) and, if she feels
emboldened to contribute, she will identify herself.