Who says only Christians can spread the good news? Here are two pieces of wonderful news:
1) The Jewish community in Lakewood, New Jersey, is one of the largest and most religious in the world. The community provides a lot of wonderful resources to those within it, but unfortunately does not provide wonderful resources to help those who decide that observing traditional Judaism is not for them – until now.
A courageous young lady named Chaya has started a group for such people to hang out with and support each other. In Chaya’s words:
“The purpose of this group is to facilitate meetups and events for those of us who … would like to benefit from and provide support to others in similar situations.”
PLEASE think for a moment: Do you know anyone, or do you know anyone who might know anyone, who lives in or around the Lakewood area who might benefit from such a group? If so, please tell them they can join the group through Facebook by using the following link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/LakewoodOTD/. If Facebook isn’t good, please have the person E-mail me (my gmail account is freethinkingjew), and I’ll connect the person with Chaya. (I don’t know if she wants me posting her E-mail for all to see.)
2) A few years ago, another courageous young lady named Malkie decided that the Hasidic upbringing with which she was raised was no longer for her, and she needed support in pursuing her own path. Desperate to find others in a similar situation, Malkie put up signs around her college campus where she was a student, and 20 people showed up to her first meeting.
Ten years later, the organization she founded called Footsteps has helped over 850 people seeking to choose the life they want by providing bi-weekly support groups; helping those deprived of a secular education earn their diplomas/GEDs, get into college, and find employment; advocating for parents torn away from their kids simply because the parent has left religion; and generally creating a community where none would likely otherwise exist. Footsteps’ logo sums it up:
Your life. Your journey. Your choice.
Footsteps recently celebrated its 10th anniversary with a large gala dinner attended by over 400 supporters. While the organization’s mission is to help people in the NY area, its officers very kindly offer their time and expertise to advise those wanting to start similar groups in other cities. Footsteps (www.footstepsorg.org) has grown exponentially (that means each year more people join than the year before), partly due to the international attention it has received. E.g.:
The Katie Couric Show: http://katiecouric.com/tag/leah-vincent/
And many others: http://footstepsorg.org/media.php.
The more we spread the good news about organizations like Footsteps and Chaya’s new Lakewood group, the more quickly we’ll see the day when children will no longer be raised to believe they have no choice on how to live their lives.