Hats off to Ms. Margolese for thoughtfully and courageously tackling a subject that has, for too long, remained behind closed doors! Off the Derech provides not only compelling analysis of why observant Jews leave Judaism, but also insightful and pragmatic approaches to resolution. Written in a narrative style that easily captures the reader’s attention, the book reflects years of intricate research and includes interviews with many of the top figures in Jewish life including Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and Dennis Prager. It is certainly worth noting that many works of this genre — books that examine the challenges of the Orthodox Jewish world — are written with an underlying tone of disdain and contempt for this very special community. Margolese does none of this. She writes with a deep reverence for this community, a clear and well-rounded understanding of Jewish law and tradition and an unusually profound sense of Jewish values. Biblio., endnotes, gloss.
Arielle Listokin is a freelance writer and reviewer living in Jerusalem.