Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Cut Me Loose

Sin and Salvation After My Ultra-Orthodox Girlhood.
Leah Kaplan grew up in a close knit Yeshivish community, a fundamentalist sect of ultra-orthodox Judiasm in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She and her 10 siblings lived in a strictly observant Jewish household with her beloved Rabbi father and warm nurturing mother. Leah went to a local religious school where female students studied specific religious subjects along with a sprinkling of limited, minor academics. This was all Leah knew. Without ever having traveled or viewed any t.v., movies, books or listened to secular music, Leah's world was a small safe haven in which only those alike were allowed to enter. Girls were raised to be disciplined future mothers and homemakers while their counterparts studied and interpreted Jewish texts and laws. Perhaps she endured a childhood of wondering but most likely her AHA! moment came when she finally traveled to England to study for one year and then later to Israel. Along the way Leah's eyes fly wide open to the world, the diverse people in it and opportunities she has been sheltered from her entire life. Leah questions herself, her abilities and as an adolescent girl she is curious and attracted to the opposite sex for which she is wholly unequipped with any social skills whatsoever and as it turns out a deep rooted desire to be accepted and loved, even cherished. Leah's parents immediately cut off emotional and later financial ties. She finds herself back in NY, confused, penniless, and desperately lonely. She has been set up for failure because she does not know she can depend on herself. This mesmerizing memoir was heart wrenching, well written and a small look into a world that is unknown to the average person. Leah's brilliance, kindness and beauty help her follow the difficult path to success and you will cheer for her the whole way through. A must read!!

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