All Who Leave: the Insular World of the Hasidim and the Journey Away from It
Among Hasidic Jews, outside culture is shunned, secular studies are avoided, and questioning
fundamental beliefs is considered dangerous. What happens to those who find themselves at
odds with this traditional but heavily restrictive lifestyle? Shulem Deen will discuss his former life
among the Hasidim, the faith crisis that pit him against the rabbinical authorities in his community,
and the heavy cost of extricating himself from his former world.
Shulem Deen is the author of All Who Go Do Not Return (Graywolf, 2015), a memoir about
growing up among and then leaving the Skverers, one of the most insular Hasidic sects in the U.S.
He is a columnist for the Forward, and his work has appeared in The New Republic, Salon, and
Tablet Magazine. In 2015, Deen was included in the Forward 50, an annual list of American Jews
with outsized roles on political and social issues. He serves as a board member at Footsteps, a New
York City-based organization that offers assistance and support to those who have left the ultra-
Orthodox Jewish community. He lives in Brooklyn.