In discussing Faigy Mayer’s suicide, Hannah Dreyfus mentioned Footsteps, a group that helps “rebellious” charedim transition to secularism (“We Tried To Be There For Her,” July 24).
I would ask why no similar group exists that would help them find less restrictive forms within the Orthodox rubric. That would seem like a win-win situation, as these recalcitrants would discover that one can attend college, date, be clean-shaven, etc., and still conform completely with halacha. The various sects within the charedi world establish norms which they consider sacrosanct, but the function of these norms is not to bring their minions closer to God, rather it’s to force communal conformity.
While each group has every right to develop and foster their particular mores, they have no right to demand compliance if such demands will drive out even a single member of the flock. Authentic Judaism has so much to offer. Whether it’s Talmudic study, philanthropy or acts of chesed, a Jew’s DNA is hardwired so that he can’t properly function unless he’s expressing the will of Hashem. It’s frightening to think that some Jews, in the name of “piety,” actually turn off their brothers and sisters and even their own children by insisting that they deny their own identities for the sake of the so-called common good.