Articles that I wrote on other sites:
There is a quote from the Mishna (2nd century rabbinic literature), that I constantly heard growing up, usually used out of context. The rabbis have a saying when they have to talk about something where there is no right or wrong, “Oy (roughly translated as bad) if we say it, Oy if we don’t say it.” Sometimes there is no right way to say something. Yet, it is still important that we talk about it.
This is how I feel about what I am about to write. In the last few years, I found myself constantly in uncomfortable positions because of my opinions, from both sides. However, I strongly believe in speaking out. The more complicated and awkward it is the more important it is that we do talk about it.
Abby Stein grew up in an insular, Hasidic community in Brooklyn. When she realized she wanted a different kind of life, she contacted Footsteps, an organization that helps formerly ultra-Orthodox Jews integrate into mainstream society. It turns out, that would be only her first transition.
Abby Stein grew up in an insular, Hasidic community in Brooklyn. When she realized she wanted a different kind of life, she contacted Footsteps, an organization that helps formerly ultra-Orthodox Jews integrate into mainstream society. It turns out, that would be only her first transition. This story begins with Part One.
GLAAD: What is your relationship to your faith?
Abby Stein: I currently identify with the liberal, humanistic, Jewish Renewal Movement, where Judaism is seen as a personal spiritual guide towards being a better human being, rather than following commandments from a divine presence. Personally I also identify as a Jewish Atheist, which is that from a philosophical perspective I think that there is no reason to claim that the world has a divine creator, or divine providence. However in ways of relating to something more than surface human level, I connect to an idea of deeper understanding, a connection between all of humanity, and a universal connection with everything in existence. In my experience, the Jewish Tradition as well as the Hasidic Tradition (a mystical Jewish movement founded by my ancestor the Baal Shem Tov in the 18th century) via the Neo-Hasidic teachings, offers a lot of insight. In terms of the Ultra-Orthodox faith that I was raised in, I currently fully reject their theology, way of life, and more. I do love their food though...