"Footsteps" is an organization that helps ex-religious or ex-frum people navigate the outside world. Provides training, therapy, support and all.
I'm not promoting this organization, simply sharing my thoughts on these issues. I write and share some of my personal story, because we cannot continue to stay silent. People need to know they are not alone.
I honestly wish this organization "Footsteps" was around when I was 22 and lost. I had no idea how to navigate the world around me. I had many struggles, but never the struggle of coming back to Orthodoxy. That wasn't even an option. There was no room for me.
I felt like I was thrown out to sea, not knowing how to swim and without a life preserver. No one was there to guide me or help me navigate.
I know many who have abandoned it all, because they too felt abandoned. It was just too painful to be a part of. It breeds contempt for religion as a whole. The harsh judgement, the fear, the shame, along with the emotional damage it can cause is immeasurable.
Everyone needs to feel like belong somewhere. If you don't provide it, they will find it. It can come in the form of addiction, the wrong crowd, and worse. We must do our best to provide a more inclusive, understanding, and tolerant community. We need to work together to stop the bleeding. Being silent is no longer an option.
Imagine the Hasidim who only teach Yiddish to their children, in hopes to keep them in the ghetto. How could they ever leave if they have no skills, education, or even a common language with the world outside their village?
Moreover, they wouldn't have the ability or choice to shift from one version of Orthodox Judaism to another. I can't speak for them, but I can understand the pain and frustration many experience.
It took me close to 15 years to find somewhat of a gradually increasing Jewish religious connection. I had to leave literally everything to rediscover it on my own terms.
As much as one might say, why would one create an organization for those who left Orthodoxy or Judaism, it could have made my life much easier. Maybe I wouldn't have come so close to the edge of the cliff.
I understand why an Orthodox Jew would think of such an organization as a detriment to their world. I would have thought the same if I hadn't experienced what I had years prior.