How is life with Orthodox parents

JudaismAnd suddenly everything is different

Hanni Karp comes home from school in the afternoon. "How are you?" Asks mother Mina. "Everything's fine," replies the nine-year-old. She wears leggings, a T-shirt and colorful sneakers, her curly brown hair hangs open over her shoulders. The normal look of a nine-year-old, even in Israel.

Two years ago she looked different. In a dark, almost floor-length skirt and long-sleeved blouse, her hair tied up - that's how Hanni went to school, every day. She grew up ultra-orthodox in the religious city of Modiin Illit and attended a girls-only school. And they have to dress modestly in the world of the ultra-orthodox. Hanni had no television and no access to the Internet. Until her parents decided to leave all that behind, move about 60 kilometers south to Ashkelon and live a secular life.

Hanni Karp says: "It's like entering a new world without knowing anything about it. Imagine you're going to China. Do you know people there? Do you speak the language? Can you find your way around? No! It is difficult."

Her mother Mina asks: "What was the most difficult?" "The clothes. Before that, you dressed the same way every day, according to strict rules. And suddenly everything is different."

An exit in installments

The Karp family walked together: mother, father and four children. Hanni, her younger brother and two little sisters. It was an installment exit. First the doubts came, then the rule breaks: They turned on the lights and the stove on Shabbat, bought a computer. Then they lost contact with friends and relatives who no longer wanted to have anything to do with the dropouts. The two oldest children in particular no longer understood the world.

Mina Karp: "The children were influenced by the school and their environment. They were all Charedim, everyone kept quiet on Shabbat. Only suddenly we weren't like that anymore, had a computer at home and even watched TV on Shabbat. They couldn't understand what was going on. They thought we were crazy. Our oldest daughter wanted to keep wearing her long skirt, my son didn't take off his kippah. We gave them time. "

Mother Mina had long before thought: How about out there, in the secular world? But doubt is taboo among the ultra-orthodox. Married couples do not discuss life plans, they are dictated by religious rules. "Our marriage was arranged when I was 17 and a half. I had already tried to look into the other world back then. It scared my family. So they married me quickly so that I could stay here. And at first it actually got me off I was more religious again. But I still had a lot of questions and no answers because when you ask people look at you as if something is wrong with you, as if you have problems. But I have saw that my husband was not so strict either and did not strictly obey all the commandments. I asked myself: Why are we doing all this? If it does not satisfy us! Just because we grew up like that? Then I started this new one To explore the world and have met with dropouts and read on the Internet. "

It cannot be taken for granted that Mina and her husband have lived together to this day. He was not her dream man, she says. But they have pulled themselves together.

A practical test for marriage

Avi Neumann from the Hillel organization supports the former Charedim in their new life. He sees the dropping out families as a new, unusual phenomenon: "They have more access to social networks. And if one partner discovers that, the other can become part of this development. There was no such thing in the past. We don't have exact figures, but I do see this as a new phenomenon. "

Mina knows she was very lucky. Because if one of the partners stays, it will be difficult for the dropout to take the children with them. Above all, the religious courts decide in favor of those who continue to live Charedisch.

"If my husband hadn't come with me, I might have stayed, too," she says. "Because when you get out, you not only leave the husband, but also the children. Yes, you can fight to get them out too, but it can take years and the emotional pain is huge. I don't know if I was up to it would."

She is currently staying at home for the children, her husband is working in his old job as a study advisor at a religious college. You live in a secular neighborhood and cooking has long ceased to be kosher. Mina wears a hoodie and jeans. You don't see the past in her.

To the beach on Shabbat

But the family first had to learn what seculars take for granted: What clothes do you wear? Which films are showing in the cinema? And what do you do on Shabbat, now that you can use electricity and drive a car? Mina Karp says: "When the weather is nice, there is hardly a Shabbat on which we do not take a trip to the beach. We only drive a few minutes. I remember our first visit to the beach together. It was so strange. I would have it Don't let me dream of being on a beach with no separation. " Because Charedim are only allowed on beaches with gender segregation, because of chasteness.

And so the Karp family is constantly getting to know new things. For the parents, however, this also means the loss of parental authority. Suddenly they can no longer explain the world to their children. In bio lessons Hanni learns about animals and plants and how the human body works. This is out of the question in Charedian schools. So Hanni has to cope alone. "They know almost nothing and can hardly help us. Their level of knowledge is lower than ours. By the time they have understood a task, I have understood them too," she says of her parents.

Even if the new life brings difficulties: the Karp family lives more freely today.

Many other Charedim have no doubt that it is the right way to live according to the strict religious rules. They are happy with it and do not want to look at the world outside. The Karp family, however, have chosen a different path. And it has only just begun.