Why Do Jews Leave Judaism?

Jews need to make informed choices about their Judaism. Don’t be afraid to learn.

Comments (7)

(7) Imelda Pearce, October 31, 2017 9:18 PM

what can you talk about to a congregation?

I wish I were hearing your talks about the mitzvoth. I went on the Aish.com pilgrimage to Jerusalem last April. It changed my life. I took on 3 mitzvoth; kashrut (as much as I can in San Diego, California), avoiding lashon hara, and Shabbat. For me, fairly difficult. You are right about Jews leaving because of what we don't know. When I found out from Aish all these wonderful things about Judaism, I gave up trying to find spirituality in all kinds of "new age" teachings and became committed to Judaism:)

(6) Anonymous, August 31, 2016 11:22 AM

There is another painful reason people go off the derech

My son was picked on in Hebrew School. He is now 25 and sadly I only learned about this fact recently. The other boys in his class were very cliquish, much like girls tend to be. He gets angry and says that "you and dad made me go to Hebrew school when I didn't want to go." On the other hand, he loathes anti Semitism. He also has Asperger's Syndrome, and was the first special needs child in that school to have a Bar Mitzvah. He did well in his studies and very well in reciting his Haftarah portion. I have been lighting candles on Friday nights for many years and started learning Hebrew a few years ago. (I come from a Secular background.) I hope I am a good role model for him.

(5) Rafael, February 26, 2016 12:05 AM

Evette from Aish gave us the answer in an article

Yvette Miller writes many articles for Aish and in one of them she answered this very question . She spoke of Asian ( oriental) JUDAISM disappearing because of the lack of Anti Semetism .
The Borsh Belt in the Catskill mountains NY is a Ghost town compared to the 1900's through to the mid 1970's . The Jews no longer cling to each other and embrace their freedom and affluence in the USA .
JUDAISM was a safety net for many non religious Jews . They clung to it for security and support .
It is hate for the Jews ( real or invented) that would make all Jewish denominations close ranks .

(4) Anonymous, February 25, 2016 8:15 PM

Hebrew School

I ran a Sunday School art program and taught pre school at our Synagogue.My daughters 4th grade teacher told her that her 3rd grade Sunday school teacher and her mother were stupid because we spelled her name wrong.Even if that was so, who says that to a child? I was tapped to teach Hebrew School when a teacher they picked because he read Hebrew duct taped an asthmatic child. Hebrew School is one reason people leave.Kids need to be exposed to Jewish Values, the practice of Mussar and Jewish Spirituality not just history and holidays. The Teachers should be picked because they are good examples of Jewish behavior. I was able to stay a lesson ahead of my B'nei Mitzvah students and some have befriended me on facebook, after more than 20 years.

(3) StanleyT, February 25, 2016 2:24 PM

Thank you!

I always enjoy these talks, but this one in particularly made my day. Yes, it's an old joke, but you told it so well. And then to give me an 80% grade! Thank you. Seriously though, you encapsulated it all so well when you said "Jews don't leave Judaism because of what they know. They leave because of what they don't know."
When I've shared what I do know with others, they are so often astounded. They really don't know some of the basic aspects and that means they cannot appreciate the beauty of Judaism.

(2) Mike, February 23, 2016 12:58 PM

Good Point

I attended a reform synagogue for over 10 years and the rabbi never discussed keeping kosher or going to a mikvah. We spent more time discussing politics and the Phillies than how to observe Shabbat. After I joined an orthodox shul, the whole Jewish world was revealed.

(1) Jewish Mom, February 22, 2016 1:07 PM

Beyond one's comfort zone

Whoever comes to a class on applicable mitzvot presumably is thinking about living more Jewishly, else he'd go to a philosophy class! So where's the discomfort? It's being pushed beyond your comfort zone - even when on some level, you want to grow. 'No pain, no gain' - Are you willing to deal with the discomfort of guilt feelings, even if you're told it's not all or nothing? When dieting, we don't feel great eating that sliver of delicious cheese cake, even though it means that we're exerting self-control by not eating a big slab. Why so? Since we feel we *shouldn't* be arousing sugar cravings with that sliver, we don't give ourselves the credit we deserve for whatever level of self-control we are exhibiting. A Jew coming to Lori's classes might squirm because he feels he *should* be keeping kashrut even if he doesn't feel ready to keep all the details just yet. We shoot ourselves in the foot by not taking pleasure in small increments of growth. or worse, we avoid growth because the process is tough - and painful. Let's be proud of our first baby steps of growth! E.g. studying the laws of shmirat halashon/kosher speech to stop speaking or listening to gossip/slander, trying to judge others favorably rather than finding fault: before reaching some level of control, the added awareness helps you notice each time you slip - right AFTER you slip! OUCH!! It's tough to change bad habits, but gathering courage to go through a painful growth process is worthwhile. So let's give ourselves encouragement for each step - including the very significant first stage of awareness before real change takes place.


Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.

  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment

Receive Weekly Spirituality Emails

Sign up to our Spirituality Newsletter.

Our privacy policy