Jewish Atheist

An agnostic atheist perspective
from a once orthodox Jew.

Survey for “Off The Derech” (OTD) Jews… From Religious Jews

So I stumbled upon this website for and by jewish “frummies” (really religious folk) asking no-longer religious Jews about their history and why they left. Honestly, I was actually pretty happy to see a frum person try to understand where we’re coming, and so I rather eager to fill it out.

Then I saw the questions.

Honestly, I think this terribly designed survey tells us more about its author than the people it’s meant to understand. Here are some gems:

"What was the first mitzvah {commandment} you broke?" - Even religious people break mitzvahs all the time. And it starts as soon as one is born and stops when one dies. How can you ask what the "first" one to break was? Just ridiculous.

"Please identify which of the following you think are the three most ultimate values in life: Happiness, Freedom, Truth, Goodness, Love, Family, Growth, Other." How can you pick just three? What major difference is this hoping to discover between OTDers and the frum world? (Though I sorta suspect the author is hoping people will choose "freedom" in the top three and use that as some sort of point about people wanting to escape responsibility.)

"Growing up, were you exposed to the following (please check): TV; Secular Music; Secular Books; Socializing with non-Jews; Socializing with non-frum Jews; Socializing with the opposite sex." And the next Q. "Did it bother you that you were not exposed to more?" Firstly, how does one gauge these things, like whether they were exposed to "socializing with non-jews"? I mean, I knew one or two non-jewish kids. We might have hung out on rare occasion, does that count? I started listening to non-jewish music in high-school, does that count as "growing up" with it, when I really grew up with mordechai ben david and shlock rock?

"[Did you ever have] Teachers who were dishonest… / not well educated… / poor mentors… etc." - Everyone’s had shitty teachers at some point. This doesn’t mean that’s what caused them to stray. And asking afterward "did any of these relationships effect you" is way too broad. Honestly, this guy would’ve been better off with a qualitative survey instead of trying to pigeonhole OTDers into the boxes and categories that the frum think are important.

Which is another point: They are approaching apostasy in judaism as it’s own animal, without consideration of the similarities it may (and likely does) share with other religions and apostates. I highly doubt that mormons who left their church did so bc they were “exposed to non-jewish friends”.

Ugh. I’m thinking of drafting my own survey which would have open results (except for any possible personal info). I’ll let you all know if that happens. - It happened.

  1. logic-and-art reblogged this from jewishatheist and added:
    "How would you define your high school?" Secular, Modern Orthodox, Chassidic, Black. facepalming to the moon and back
  2. jewishatheist posted this