All Who Go Do Not Return

All Who Go Do Not Return

A Memoir

Book - 2015
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Shulem 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.
Publisher: Minneapolis, Minnesota :, Graywolf Press,, 2015
ISBN: 9781555977054
1555977057
Characteristics: 310 pages ; 21 cm

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Harriet_the_Spy Dec 15, 2016

Honest, insightful, sad, and beautifully-written memoir about fanaticism and personal conscience.

s
s390325
May 02, 2016

This was a moving, heartbreaking memoir. I admired the author's courage to ask questions and explore the world outside his tightly controlled Hasidic community. I also admired his objective handling of several incidents where he may have thought he was "in the right" at the time judging by the standards set by his community, but perhaps not judging from a different perspective. I am glad that he was able to get away from such a controlling, abusive environment. I thought it was heartbreaking that he lost his children and (it seemed) most or all of the faith that at one point had been a comfort or inspiration to him, all because the leaders of that faith demanded blind obedience.

i
IV27HUjg
Jan 17, 2016

I'm had a great deal of problems with this read. For me it spotlights that every belief system is loaded with high-minded righteousness, professed hate for everyone not in step, total intolerance. No wonder we're in the mess we're in. Days after finishing I still thought about this read, feeling very sad for his losses despite his great efforts & loving attitude.

Cynthia_N Dec 28, 2015

Fascinating book! Shulem Deen practiced Hasidic Judaism. He slowly began exploring the outside world and slowly lost his faith. Great read!

MaxineML May 17, 2015

A powerful memoir about all-encompassing faith and the communities that make it difficult (if not impossible) for people who think differently to leave with their lives intact.

And a sobering reminder that much of what 'we' take for granted in the West isn't on offer to many within our borders.

Deen's journey is as much an interior philosophical journey, as it is a physical journey from Hasid to secular american. Truly a wonderful, yet heart-breaking read.

r
rpavlacic
Apr 25, 2015

It's hard to believe there are religious sects out there who never teach their kids about sex, nor how it's done even after an arranged marriage takes place; forbids access to TV, radio or the Internet; the banning of any association with anyone who is not of that group's religion. Not to mention not teaching some of the most basic skills, such as written English or math. Yet such was the experience of Shulem Deen, a member of the Skverers Hasidists (even more isolationist than the Lubivatchers or the Satmars, among other sects) who when growing up as a teenager was starting to question the status quo or the Bible's supposed teachings (regarding the "Young Earth" theory; and the Passover, which Deen believed from a young age was actually the mass genocide of Egyptians, to name just two) only to be told "that's how it is." Eventually, he began reading books which challenged his thinking about the world and his faith, and in time grew to be an atheist, much to the chagrin of his wife who had just bought into the village mentality. What is shocking about this book is that, among other things, many Hasidists actually believe in kidnapping children who have been "influenced" believing they can operate outside of the law. Deen eventually found, through his blog. a lot of other formerly far right wing Jews who were fed up with the status quo and were asking the same questions. This is a book about his struggles, especially his epic battle with his ex-wife for custody of their five children. Whether you believe in God or not, this is a frightening book but one that is well worth reading.

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Harriet_the_Spy Dec 16, 2016

Harriet_the_Spy thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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