Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Orthodox Conundrum

Feb 27, 2023

There’s a phenomenon in the Orthodox world which is called by various names, though most commonly “Off the Derech” or OTD, and “Datlash,” short for “Dati Leshe’avar” - that is, formerly religious. For a community which prides itself on continuity and on passing the tradition from one generation to the next, the idea that people leave Orthodoxy is simultaneously painful and threatening. Why did he or she leave? What didn’t work? Why don’t they see what I see… or perhaps, if we’re being truly honest with ourselves, what do they see that I may be missing? And when the people who reject an Orthodox way of life are members of our family, the difficulties are compounded.

Rabbi Alex Israel has given a lot of thought to this issue and these questions, and his insights are humane, generous, and rooted in Torah. Rabbi Israel and Scott spoke about whether the terms OTD and Datlash - and even “dati,” religious - are helpful or misleading, whether the phenomenon of people moving away from Orthodoxy is becoming more common, how it may be different in Israel and in the United States, whether we should actively try to bring those who have left Orthodoxy back into the Orthodox fold, if an emphasis on dogma is partially to blame, how parents should navigate having a child who is less religious than they are, what we can learn from those who leave Orthodoxy, and more.

Please listen to and share this podcast, and let us know what you think on the Orthodox Conundrum Discussion Group on Facebook (

The Orthodox Conundrum is looking for sponsors - either to promote your business or organization, or in someone’s honor or memory . If you want to reach thousands of listeners every week, then write to us at

Thanks to all of our Patreon subscribers, who have access to bonus JCH podcasts, merch, and more - we appreciate your help, and hope you really enjoy the extras! Visit the JCH Patreon site at

Check out for the Orthodox Conundrum and other great podcasts, and remember to subscribe to them on your favorite podcast provider. Also visit to learn all about creating your own podcast.

Music: "Happy Rock" by