I am not too concerned with what is written about the conference, I am more concerned about people knowing I was there. Everyone who attended agreed to keep my attendance confidential and I sincerely hope, for my families sake , that you continue to do so. I have read your article, and I am happy to report no mention of my name was made. Thank you!
It is true that many people who leave the Orthodox community are in pain, however many who leave the community do so not out of pain, but because they no longer wish to part of the hypocrisy. Your article seems to suggest that Orthodox Judaism is the only way a normal well balanced person should live his or her life, and if someone Chas ViSholom goes OTD they must be in pain or they never would have done so. It treats OTD like an STD, and turns it into an unwanted disease. OTD is not a disease, and many people lead a very productive fulfilling life, or would, if they weren't dealing with the vitriol and contempt from the orthodox community. Nowhere in the Torah does it say its a mitzvah to hate OTD people and treat their children like pawns and their relatives like a pariah.
Changes need to be made in how the Orthodox community perceives the OTD community. People who are OTD are your own children, brothers, sisters, and best friends. They are not some foreign group who is trying to take away your home, rape your women, and tempt your children to do drugs. They are regular people who choose not to believe for various reasons in your religious beliefs. To be honest, people treat their non Jewish neighbors with respect, they very least that can be done is not to hurt, and ostracize the OTD community.
The Orthodox community has a huge and well funded "Kiruv" operation which tries to find people who have never been Torah observant, and convince them to become "frum". It is mitzva to treat these people well, invite them into our homes, feed them, and be nice to them, all so that they see the light of yiddiskeit. Why not do the same for OTD people? Instead of hurting them, throwing their children out of schools, forcing their spouses to divorce them, the Orthodox community should be inviting them into our homes, be friendly to them, or at the very least, just leave them alone!
The Orthodox community should feel pained. They should be pained that they are hurting their brothers and sisters. They should be pained that they are doing next to nothing to help people who are abused and tortured by their own families and Rabbis. They should be outraged that there are people who are treated as subhumans, all in the name of "Daas Torah".
It is unfortunate that only the OTD people at the meeting felt the pain. If the pain was felt as acutely by the On The Derech members of the group, we would already have made significant strides to rectify these hurtful issues.
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