Ever since the first of many successful Stuff Jewish People Like was posted on this blog I have gotten dozens of emails, facebook messages, tweets and even a few phone calls begging me to write something about what Off the Derech people like, but alas I can’t because it’s just too complex. How complex can writing about a group of people who abandoned the life of orthodoxy for a life of free schooling, all you can eat salad and soup at Olive Garden and mamish kefira? What I’m about to say may shock some of you, but in my opinion there are different madreigas within the off the derech category.
It’s unfortunate, but many mainstream frum people think that once you go “off the derech” (I put it in quotes because the term implies that there is one right way to practice Judaism) I don’t think there is anything to the term “authentic Judaism” mostly because the Shtetl Judaism that the yeshivish and Chassidic world practices is only a few centuries old and was brought about as a response to the Ghetto’s created in Europe, almost as a way to justify the Jewish Ghetto plight – so anyway – off the derech is a misnomer and mainstream orthodoxy tends to lump all folks that left orthodoxy together. So while you have those yeshiva rebel types who leave orthodoxy because Friday nights are a drag and they want to smoke up, listen to Metallica and get laid – there are those who left for intellectual reasons, political reasons, logical reasons (I could never equate Judaism with logic, even though I believe) and dozens of other reasons.
While I asked on my Facebook page for ideas concerning Stuff off the derech people like, I really wanted to show a point that not everyone who left the path of orthodoxy or Judaism itself is created equal. I know people who left because they were molested by Rabbiem, they don’t necessarily like Sizzler, screwing shiksas and going out on Friday nights. Then I know people who left because they are scientists who just couldn’t find any proof of God or a reason to keep up with a religion that seemed archaic to them. I know people who left orthodoxy because they are lazy, they stopped going to shul, moved out of the frum community and eventually realized it was so much easier to just be Jewish. Then I know people who left for financial reasons, it’s expensive to be frum.
So basically what I’m saying is that I want you people to write your own list of what off the derech people like. I could technically do it, but I would have to do specific lists like stuff off the derech chassidim like, or yeshivish, or intellectually off the derech, formerly frum atheists, socially frum non-believers (they do it for the food and community) aka orthoprax. Then of course there is a big difference when it comes to the length of time someone has been off the derech, the level of orthodoxy they came frum, which sect of chassidus they practiced and whether or not their family is accepting of them. I just have no mind for it, however I may do one for Chassidim – since I have hung around my fair share of off the derech chassidim.
For now I invite you all to start bickering about religion being logical or not, whether there is any form of authentic Judaism or just have some fun and tell me and everyone else what you think off the derech people like.