It's erev shabbos and I'm sort of studying. It's getting late (for me, because I'm boring and go to sleep really early) and I've been stalking some old friends online. It's kind of strange to see what they're up to when I haven't spoken to them in 3 or 4 years. I know, it's creepy, you don't have to tell me.
I've been reading this book called "Off The Derech" by Faranak Margolese, and it's really insightful. I think every religious parent, teacher, or any religious person who deals with people in general should read this book. It has some very important lessons. However, because of the way it's written, obviously aimed at those who are religious and are wondering how to keep others from losing their yiddishkeit, it's completely inappropriate for someone who doesn't have a solid footing in Orthodoxy. Someone reading this from an outside, non-religious perspective would grow very resentful of the community at large. I even felt myself resenting most of the people in the stories she relates. It's very upsetting. And unfortunately, the stories she tells are not isolated incidents. There are severe problems in the communities, and that is why people should read this book. It not only explains the phenomena of observant Jews leaving Judaism, but offers suggestions for prevention. This is imperative reading for anyone who expects to work with Jewish children or teens. (That's why I'm reading it!)
I hope one day that books like this won't be necessary. Bimheira b'yameinu, amen.