The Varieties Of The Orthodox Experience

* Those Orthodox Jews who burn with passion. These amount to no fewer than 25% of the frum Jews I know.
* Those who have never experienced any other way of living. All of their friends and family are Orthodox. They likely feel they have no choice (because of God or social sanction). They may have invested so much in living frum they won’t consider changing.
* Those who wanted to slough off an unwanted self and begin again. These are converts and baalei teshuva and are frequently high in neuroticism. These are the type of Orthodox Jews who are most likely to leave, about half of them do in my experience. Many of those who stay have never succeeded at anything until they found Orthodoxy and so they stay Orthodox because it gives them self-esteem.
* Those who like the Orthodox way of life.
* Professional Jews aka Jews who make their living from Orthodox Judaism.
* Pragmatic Jews who stay Orthodox for the sake of their marriage, their business, their friendships, their family relationships.
* Those who are temperamentally Orthodox, they live best under its strictures. They may have OCD.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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