Off the Derech: Where are they now?

I think that someone should make a VH1 edition of “off the derech where are they now?”

Whatever happened to all the kids who went off the derech in the hey day of the kids at risk crisis curing the middle and late 90s, these kids would all be in their mid to late 20s by now and I wonder what happened to them. Of course I know what happened to some of them, after all I went to one of the prime off the derech creation yeshivas.

Many of them ended up at places like Niveh, Ner Jake, Priority One or the learner earner program at IDT. Then those who didn’t get brainwashed and frum out, came back to New York City to start their lives at Touro, Queens or Brooklyn Colleges or work in the 3 major off the derech fields of work, which are mortgages, real estate including property management or construction- which of course are all interrelated and which means that the housing market is a racket controlled by ex druggies who frummed out in Israel, but didn’t quite make it to kollel.

Of course you have a whole slew of off the derech kids who never made it, or shall we say made it, but didn’t make it how their Rabbis wanted them to make it. These include all of the bright off the derech kids who ended up in art schools or Ivy League schools- I know quite a few of these and they tend to be the ideologically off the derech types rather then the too lazy to keep shabbos and kosher off the derech types.

Let us not forget the off the derech kids that did in fact frum out and stay frummed out- the rarest of the bunch. You see off going off the derech is a big commitment that many kids cant handle. They tend to go off but still retain contact with their frum friends and family and even don their hats and yarmulkes when in the hood. So many kids who go off the derech fluctuate, they go off, go to Israel come back on only to go off again or become wishy washy with what they actually want to do. This situation sometimes repeats itself for several years, its expected that when someone goes to Israel they will frum out after the prescribed time of 3 months, then in the summer they go off again. Finally they get their bachelors of Talmudic law after several years and come back to work in construction, computers, real estate or a fathers friends warehouse.

But a few of those who go off and come back on actually become Rebbes and kollel yungerliet. I would call it post off the derech crowd- you know how people describe these folks. “Oh remember him, he’s so different now, so frum” but they say it in a way that denotes their past, says that we know exactly who you are- no fooling us with that wife and kids, we know about all the sex and drugs.