All Who Go Do Not Return

All Who Go Do Not Return National Jewish Book Award WinnerA moving and revealing exploration of Hasidic life and one man s struggles with faith family and communityShulem Deen was raised to believe that questions are

  • Title: All Who Go Do Not Return
  • Author: Shulem Deen
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 372
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • 2015 National Jewish Book Award WinnerA moving and revealing exploration of Hasidic life, and one man s struggles with faith, family, and communityShulem Deen was raised to believe that questions are dangerous As a member of the Skverers, one of the most insular Hasidic sects in the US, he knows little about the outside world only that it is to be shunned His marriage at2015 National Jewish Book Award WinnerA moving and revealing exploration of Hasidic life, and one man s struggles with faith, family, and communityShulem Deen was raised to believe that questions are dangerous As a member of the Skverers, one of the most insular Hasidic sects in the US, he knows little about the outside world only that it is to be shunned His marriage at eighteen is arranged and several children soon follow Deen s first transgression turning on the radio is small, but his curiosity leads him to the library, and later the Internet Soon he begins a feverish inquiry into the tenets of his religious beliefs, until, several years later, his faith unravels entirely Now a heretic, he fears being discovered and ostracized from the only world he knows His relationship with his family at stake, he is forced into a life of deception, and begins a long struggle to hold on to those he loves most his five children In All Who Go Do Not Return, Deen bravely traces his harrowing loss of faith, while offering an illuminating look at a highly secretive world.

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    One thought on “All Who Go Do Not Return

    1. Yitzchok Lowy

      Shulem Deen might be the star of OTD writers, but what struck me in this book was how little of it can actually be said to be the telling of an OTD narrative. It read so much more like a Chasidic coming of age story, the story of almost every boy or girl growing up in such community. There’s not one element of the story that any average Chasidic man over thirty can’t identify with. Every single part of it. And can perhaps be applied even more universally, although I have little knowledge or [...]

    2. Kressel Housman

      The author of this book would probably be flattered to know that he shook my faith in G-d a little bit and because of that, I consider his book somewhat dangerous. I have no doubt that it is being banned in many Orthodox Jewish circles, and I can understand why. But I think it’s worthwhile to hear the criticisms of people who left the path, and since this book is quickly gaining a reputation as the most eloquent ex-Orthodox memoir around, I figured it was a good one to start with. Aside from t [...]

    3. BlackOxford

      Inside the American Shtetl. Captivating. Most people outside of New York City will not know anything about the various Orthodox Jewish communities that thrive there and in its hinterland. And even most New Yorkers will not know that the primary purpose of these communities is not just to re-create the physical mode of living of the Eastern European shtetl-culture which was annihilated by the Holocaust, but more importantly to re-create the essential ethos of this culture: the continuous recognit [...]

    4. Loes Dissel

      " I wondered about that circle of hippies and my odd attraction to them, and I realized, after a time, what it really was: what I longed for was not the tisch of my past but a return to a time and place when ideas moved me even if they didn't make perfect sense, a time when I allowed myself to be fired up with passion for something, anything, because it held a "truth" that had made itself evident during a moment of inspired consciousness." ( page 299)

    5. Hannah

      This book is heartbreaking. Shulem is in a league of his own. He's funny and emotional and well spoken (Or rather, written, ) throughout. A worthy read.

    6. Abigail

      I'm a bit  concerned about writing this review because I don't want to cause any further harm to the author on the off chance he's actually reading this (and if you are Shulem, know that as I was reading your story, especially the period when you were newly alone and broken, I wanted nothing more than to offer my friendship and support- my criticisms are not personal - they are directed at the way certain facts were presented) but here it goes- I will tread cautiously.About two years ago, I rea [...]

    7. Eli Mandel

      All Who Go Do Not Return will be read two hundred years from now, just as Solomon Maimon's memoir is still read more than 200 years after its publication. Its value lies in its honest portrayal of struggle - posing the question most are too afraid to ask themselves: what do we do when we exercise the right we are told we have to ask questions, and when do we do when we find that right denied us? And what do we do when the stakes of asking those questions are so high? Asking those questions will [...]

    8. Michael Fishman

      One of the most highly anticipated memoirs in the OTD-sphere, All Who Go Do Not Return is a memoir by celebrated blogger, heretic, and all around righteous dude Shulem Deen. For many years, Shulem has been a fixture in the nouveau-boho-exChusid scene, which auxiliarly includes formerly-Modernishes such as me.My first exposure to Shulem was an article in the Village Voice, The Sharer of Secrets. This was in the summer of 2003. I was working a McJob working a concession stand at Giant's Stadium fo [...]

    9. Nichole Smith

      This autobiographic account of an Orthodox Jewish man's crisis of faith and his subsequent departure from his culturally isolated Hasidic community was fascinating to me as I possessed virtually no knowledge of this community. Deen does a fantastic job painting the picture of his upbringing, relationships within the community, inclusion in the extremist sect that he personally chose, and eventual questioning and departure from it all. The most prominent notes -- what struck me the most -- was th [...]

    10. Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship

      This is a fascinating and well-written memoir of the author’s life within (and after leaving) an extreme sect of Hasidism. From other reviews, I see that there is a whole subgenre of ex-Hasidic memoirs, which is news to me; I can say that this one is accessible even for those who know little about Judaism, much less Hasidism.Shulem Deen joined the Skverers as a teenager, having grown up in a somewhat less restrictive family in New York City. He reluctantly agreed to an arranged marriage, and s [...]

    11. Mimi

      Heart breaking! At First I wanted to know about the Hasidic life, all the different sects. But when Shulem started his quest for the outside world, I was going to give up! Really this book was emotionally draining and struggling for the family And all the lives involved! But I find Shulem to be an amazing father, husband, son, brother and friend to all he meets! Very interesting book

    12. Tessa

      This is an amazing book. Terribly bittersweet but really worth reading. Cults are scary.It amazes and saddens me that there can be such enormous differences within types of Judaism.

    13. Frieda Vizel

      As someone who has left the Hasidic community and continues to be fascinated by how much nuance this insular community hides, I'm especially interested in literature that comes from insiders - and often, of course, they will have the bias of those who left. I read this book at about the time of its initial release, but didn't analyze it too closely. Now, after some time and having heard many people base their knowledge of the Hasidic community on this book, I thought it's time for a second, more [...]

    14. Judy

      "What happened?" -- That is the question Shulem Deen was asked whenever he had to show his ID, and the bank teller or highway patrol officer did a double take: the ID photo showing a Skverer Hasid (beard, payot, and beaver hat) versus the clean-shaven, bare-headed guy in jeans who over time lost his faith in his community and even in God.Deen's memoir is the answer to that question, and it is deeply engaging, sometimes funny, and increasingly sad. As someone who grew up secular and wrestled for [...]

    15. Shlomo Dayan

      Despite his protestation, Shulem's story is a fight for a narrative. There's a clear audience for this book, and that is his estranged kids. In it you can read the makings of the man, what caused him to have a family in that senseless world, and what caused him to walk away from it - or in his narrative, forcefully removed from it. Reading it will certainly gain sympathy from humanity, and perhaps even fair judgment from acquaintances. However, as the modern Jew knows too well, sympathy is for l [...]

    16. Marilyn

      I've read several books about individuals leaving the Hasidic community but All Who Go Do Not Return by Shulem Deen was by far my favorite in this genre. Perhaps it is because I live fairly close to New Square in Rockland County. Although I was aware that the people residing in New Square were more fanatical than those living in Monsey and certain places in Brooklyn it still surprised me to learn the many details of life there. Shulem Deen did an excellent job of opening my eyes to the life a Ha [...]

    17. Joseph

      Powerful memoir, written masterfully. Shulem Deen lets you into his head for his journey, and it's a harrowing, fascinating ride. More generally, this book makes you think about the ethics of memoir. The people he wrote about are out there, being affected by what he writes and affecting him in turn, and he wrote delicately, yet still revealed much.

    18. Patricia

      A deeply thought provoking memoir. Deen was raised as a Hasidic Jew, in the Skverers sect, in the village of New Square, New York thirty miles outside NYC. Deen gives the reader a critical view into the customs, culture, religious beliefs and ancient rules of the Hasidics. In many ways the archaic traditions and beliefs enforced in the Hasidic community and faith is similar to the rules imposed in the Mormon faith and in the Mormon compounds with multiple wives where the young men are forced out [...]

    19. Kevin

      Shulem Deen found his home among the New Square Hasidim in his teens.They provided him everything a good Hasidic boy wants: acceptance, family, guidance, home. But not answers. Moving into adulthood, embracing an arranged marriage and a lifetime of Torah study, he found millennia-old dogma unsatisfying. And when modernity intruded upon his obstinately unchanging community, his boyhood faith slipped away. So one day, amid ordinary ritual and family life, Shulem Deen found himself expelled.Hasidim [...]

    20. Channah

      "All Who Go Do Not Return: A Memoir" by Shulem Deen is an excellent look inside the world of the world of Hasidic Jews, the extreme Ultra-Orthodox version of Judaism. This is not the world of all Jews. The biggest difference that stuck out to me was the issue regarding questioning your faith or anything about it. From what I know about being a Jew, you want to question. It's okay to doubt and wonder and debate the fundamentals of what you do or do not believe. To not question and blindly do as y [...]

    21. Maggie Anton

      As usual for my reviews, I won't detail the plot - you can get that from the other reviewers. What I can tell you is that this story is both exquisitely written and unbearably sad. I read it in one sitting, hoping against hope that more things wouldn't go wrong for Shulem. If you are like me, and prefer books with happy or at least satisfactory endings [time is too short and there are enough depressing things I can read in the newspaper], don't read this one. What a tragedy for this naive young [...]

    22. Nancy Sharp

      Beautiful, painful, and evocative all at once. Deen is a gifted writer whose story will resonate with anyone who has ever questioned his or her faith, or who fears extremism of any kind. I was riveted by the story and turn of events, and how, in Deen's quest to find himself, he loses all that he once loved. “I would remember the words of Reb Hillel, and wonder if indeed something was changing, and I would realize that Gitty was right. Something was being lost, an innocence slipping away while [...]

    23. Barbara

      For one not schooled in secular subjects Shulem Deen certainly overcame that omission to become a very fine writer. The story he tells of his growing away from the Chasidic life he was immersed in to the secular life he now leads is one of bravery as well as extreme sorrow. The loss of his children will be pain that he will never get over. Very good book

    24. Jenny

      I respect Shulem Deen for the way he tells his story- simply, honestly, and without pointing fingers or laying blame on others. It shows remarkable restraint and maturity. He's a skillful writer, and I couldn't put this book down until I had finished the very last page.

    25. Marilyn

      Most fascinating. This book fulfilled the wow factor hopefully attained by reading all books--the ability to transfer the reader into a world previously unbeknownst so oroughly. This story of an amazing transformation was intimate and compelling. Great great writing.

    26. Ruth

      Mixed emotions. Well written but dragged towards the end. Sadness mixed with happiness for the author's choice and the hardships it brought upon him. Intriguing glimpse into the world of New York's Haredi community. Wondering how it reads to non Jews.

    27. Dawn

      Moving and unlike a lot of memoirs of people who have left their ultra orthodox lifestyle. He doesn't bad mouth anyone. He just goes through his struggles and does it in a moving way.

    28. Patricia

      Oh, how I loved this memoir! It's the story of Shulem Deen, a Hasid of the Skverer sect (his choice, at age 13), and how he was raised in the faith and then how, ultimately, he lost his faith and family and regained self-authenticity. It's beautiful and painful and very relatable.I first learned of Shulem Deen a month ago, when John Dehlin linked to Shulem's most recent Facebook post about having seen his two oldest daughters for the first time in 8 years. It was so moving, so heartbreaking, tha [...]

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