There are several classifications of off the derech- there are those that are just plain old off the derech and then there are those that are under cover off the derech, there are two separate classes of under cover off the derech. There are those that have gone off the derech but don’t actually tell people they are off the derech- these folks are commonly known as orthoprax, which is someone who wishes to stay within the community even though they are not religious at all. The other type is what this post is about these are the folks that went off the derech but don’t tell orthodox people they meet that they used to be orthodox.
One of my road trip partners was an ex chabadnick, anyone who’s been on a road trip with me knows that I don’t like to pay to sleep, unless it’s a donation form to chabad in the middle of nowhere. This kid would rarely say he was a chabadnick even when we were staying at a chabad house. He just didn’t want to deal with the “crap” that comes with being an ex-chabadnick.
I have met many people in my day who are under cover off the derech, they simply don’t tell orthodox people that they used to be orthodox. Its quite funny to meet some kid and translate terminology or events (such as shul to temple) over to the type that secular Jews understand only to be told that the person understands perfectly.
I was on time sitting in the kosher kitchen of a certain college campus and this kid was eating with me and my buddy and we were having some argument and this kid whipped out some fancy pshat or something that had us both shocked that he was ever orthodox.
I have met people who lok like ex-yeshiva guys and guys who have shed off all their frum looking traits. I met a kid who worked on looking more secular so he would never have to deal with the dreaded question “where did you go to yeshiva?” at the dreaded time.
Sometimes I meet folks who are off the derech and like the shock value of chiming in on conversations that are above their seemingly “new to Judaism” selves. Its funny when you take regular kollel type fellows and suddenly the jeans and t-shirt wearing guy without a yarmulke listening to their kiruv is playing Jewish geography with them because they mentioned they went to Peekskill or something.
Are you under cover off the derech?