Shulem Deen

Shulem Deen is the founder and editor of, a journal for voices on the Hasidic fringe.

Faith and Practice

Why I Am Not Modern Orthodox

Some time ago, I met a man named Avremel. Avremel was a Satmar Hasid, and when I told him that I too was once Hasidic but am now no longer religious, he did not know what to make of it.

“What do you mean, you are no longer religious?” he asked, shaking his head as if it was all some newfangled bit of nonsense, like naked yoga or a juice fast.

We had met at the Chulent, an underground weekly event in New York City for the non-conformist among the Orthodox: Hippie ex-Hasids mingling with weed-smoking, Lakewood yeshiva guys; Breslov Na-nach-nikim chatting up artsy young women from Borough Park or Monsey.

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