About the book
A decade after the best-selling book Off the Derech became mandatory reading for observant Jewish families in chutz la'aretz, Faranak Margolese has written a new Israeli edition.
Based on extensive interviews with rabbis, educators, psychologists, and at-risk experts, this groundbreaking book reveals the multi-layered reasons for the defection and presents possible solutions to the growing problem.
As the first comprehensive examination of the causes of this phenomenon, Off the Derech serves as an indispensible guide for parents, teachers, psychologists, sociologists, social workers, and rabbis alike.
It is an invaluable resource, not only for the Orthodox but for all those interested in the issues of assimilation and Jewish continuity.
Praise for the Book
Off the Derech is an eye opener. Thousands of years ago, the prophet Isaiah said, "Surely you see, but you fail to know...The heart of this nation is fattened, its ears are heavy and its eyes are sealed (6:9-10)." We are losing too many of our youth. It is high time that we open our eyes, see, and know. You may agree with Faranak Margolese or disagree, but Off the Derech cannot be ignored. It is mandatory reading.
- Abraham J. Twerski, MD, Medical Director Emeritus, Gateway Rehabilitation Center, psychiatrist, author
The Rabbis of the Talmud understood that included in our mitzvah to love G-D is to act and to speak in such a way as to get others to love G-D as well. This fascinating book can serve as a Mussar Sefer for all observant Jews regarding how to act and to speak in such a way as not to turn others away from religious observance.
- Hershel Schachter, Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary
This is a courageous and necessary book. If Orthodox life takes it seriously, it will change all of Jewish life for the better.
- Dennis Prager, Best selling author and nationally syndicated radio talk show host
Off the Derech is essential reading for every Jewish parent and educator concerned with the alienation of our young people. It is an invaluable source for understanding why observant Jewish youth leave the fold and a priceless tool for preventing them from doing so.
- Natan Lopez CardozoDean, David Cardozo Academy
A probing book about a sensitive and rarely discussed topic; why people leave religion. Faranak Margolese seems to have considered this problem from every angle, interviewed everyone, and offers answer that can affect the future of Jewish life.
- Joseph Telushkin, author of Jewish Literacy, and The Book of Jewish Values
...I found Off the Derech so intriguing and compelling that I could hardly put it down. I also found it so upsetting, that I dared not stop reading...This book shatters many of our preconceived notions about why our children drop out of observance...In this study, Faranak Margolese calls the shots as she sees them, breaking new ground with her insightful analyses that are always right on the mark.
Off the Derech is a book that must be read, not only by educators who want to know where we went wrong, but also by parents and teachers who want to know how to avoid going wrong and what they can do to keep things right...It is must-reading for those who really care about Jewish future.
- Ephraim Z. Buchwald, Founder and Director, National Jewish Outreach Program
Sobering and required reading for anyone involved in any aspect of Jewish education - whether parent, teacher, rabbi, or citizen-representative of the Torah community. We are indebted to Faranak Margolese for studying so thoroughly a crisis too disturbing and painful for most of us even to consider.
- Lawrence Kelemen, Author of To Kindle a Soul: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Parents and Teachers