My reason why a topic about OTD - off the Derech- is simple: A Yid is a Yid, but apart from this I do like to create awareness about Hasidic Jews leaving their community and what we as a community can do to help. Struggling with problems or trauma can be the reason for leaving, however, this could be avoided by being aware and giving that helping hand. Find out what keeps this person busy and how we can get the right help.
HaShem chosen us from among all nations to be His people. Ahavas Yisroel means love your fellow Jew, like HaShem loves us, even the ones who leave the fold.
Last I year I had a topic OTD on my website, Friezel Vizel was one them, she is from Kiryas Joel and formely Satmer which we call OTD short for " Off The Derech ", but stil much involved in Hasidic life. Through Hasidic Tours which is not easy to start something like this as OTD, but years later Frieda is still on the streets of mainly Williamsburg and Boro Park. At that time I didn't know what to do with, but there is so much more to Frieda and her Hasidic Tours as I discovered recently.
Leaving the fold, is leaving life as you know and eventhough someone has very good reasons it is still a hard choice to make, often it leaving everthing befind and starting again away from what you know into the unknown of secular life. This can be so overwelming that many end up seeking professional help. OTD is a long road, very intense and with a lot bumps.
Frieda has a very nice and informative website, were she gives inside in Hasidic life, with the support of the video's which she made with so much love and warmth.
Frieda Vizel - Hasidic Tours
Part one and two are about Pearl, she is a lovely and warmhearted Satmar- Hasidic women from Williamsburg and a true Yiddish mame. What inspires me the most, is her warmth towards OTD and all she want to do is help. The more I listen to Pearl, the more I felt that HaShem guided me to watch, listen and learn from Pearl and be inspired by her.
Pearls youngest son Yoely left the fold, but before he did that he lead a sort off double life, still being Hasidic dressed went to the boiler room downstairs to change in Heavly Metal clothes, with this peyes tucket away under his cap, Yoely was part of a Heavy Metal band. As he was not really happy with his life, but caring enough not to want to hurt anybody.
Pearl speaks with so much love about her son, what she did for him, what her husband did in the hope to get him back into Judaism. She talks about what a shock it was, seeing your own child being so unhappy did hurt and she was trying to find way to deal with it, the many prayers to HaShem, the fasting, but what strikes me most about Pearl is when she is talking about HaShem and the Torah there is something about her, her eyes lit up and there is so much love and joy. Pearl educated herself, studied Talmud which is prohibited for women, but that didn't stop her doing some studying for herself, she also did a lot of reading and is still so humble about it, Yiddishkeit is very important to her and Shabbos so special as it is a gift of HaShem and should be treasured.
Pearl is an inspiration to us all and may HaShem bless her.
Pearl's reaction went viral ❣
I found this video sometime after I watched the amazing Pearl a Satmar Hasidic, who inspired me, but more so her reaction towards OTD and how the best way to deal with that
Clara Wasserstein left the Satmar community of Kiryas Tosh, and somehow this was different from other stories. Clara is sharing with us how life was for her the first two years after she left her community, and I'd like to share some of her videos here on my website.