10 Prerequisites for Going OTD

off the derechThe frum community has a very defined list of requirements for those who would consider themselves part of the community; one has to keep Shabbos, kosher, taharas hamishpacha (that’s the set of rules that governs having sex through a hole in a sheet) and in most cases wear black and white.

The OTD community, too, has a set of requirements for inclusion into its community, and they are arguably even more extreme and are applied in a more heavy-handed manner.

  1. Do not call yourself or your fellow OTDers “bums” or “at risk”; those terms are so 90s. The OTDers of today didn’t exist back when the Jewish Press was wringing the community’s hands about kids at risk. Todays OTDer doesn’t do drugs, doesn’t have sex, and doesn’t wear a keyring with 500 keys
  2. While frum Jews often take pride in claiming to have emunah pshutah, no self-respecting OTDer would admit to having kefirah pshutah; s’possed nisht. If you haven’t read Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion or Christopher Hitchens’ books, especially God is Not Great and done chazarah on them, then you’re not OTD, you’re just an ignorant bum
  3. Similarly, while you don’t have to be a huge talmid chochom, you do at least have to know your Aryeh Kaplans, Avigdor Millers and hopefully Amnon Yitzchaks; you can’t be a complete am ha’aretz, there’s no glory in going OTD from that position of weakness
  4. You have to have a college education, and if you don’t have one, you have to pretend to be working towards it. If not, forget it, you’re like the kid that brings bananas for snack; you’re a nebich case
  5. If you didn’t vote for Obama in the last two elections then don’t bother going OTD until 2016 – you’ll be shunned if anyone finds out your shameful secret
  6. You have to be very, very open-minded; you have to leave behind all your frum-induced closed mindedness and be open to criticism of Israel, Agudas Yisroel, all rebbes, all roshei yeshiva, all yeshiva rebbeim and even your kindergarten morah. In fact you’re expected to contribute some criticism yourself to prove how open-minded you are
  7. If you were molested by your rebbe, you’re not allowed to admit it, because that makes the OTD cause look bad; a true OTDer went off the derech for pure ideological reasons.
  8. Although the OTD gadol, Ari Mandel, admitted to Heshy that he likes Jewish music, he’s been in the doghouse ever since then and the lesson has been learned by the common OTDer; do not admit to liking anything less than death metal
  9. The modern OTD person listens to NPR, and nothing but NPR (except maybe a little BBC). If they want to get a taste of nostalgia they have to hide in the bathroom and wear earphones while listening to Rush Limbaugh or Michael Savage, just like they did when they were frum and wanted to listen to NPR
  10. When one goes OTD they have to gain at least ten pounds, otherwise they’ll be accused of not having visited the minimum required number of McDonald’s. After doing the fast food thing for a bit they’re expected to become food connoisseurs and start eating exclusively in such upscale establishments as TGI Fridays, Applebee’s or Cracker Barrel

Anyone who doesn’t follow these rules is suspected of being a frum spy looking to convert innocent OTDers back on the derech.