Off the Derech: Why Obser­vant Jews Leave Judaism

Faranak Mar­golese
  • Review
By – July 16, 2012
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.

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