The Long Road: Children On and Off the Derech

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Dr. Ruby Wolbromsky,
Leah Malamet,
Rabbi Jeremy Stavisky,
Tovah Leah Nachmani

Recent studies have indicated that a significant number of children raised in dati homes eventually leave the path of religious observance. Some estimates range from fifteen to twenty percent per year of the students in the religious high schools, the yeshivot tichoniyot, both boys and girls.

But children are not statistics and life is complicated. 

Why are some children alienated from Judaism? What is the role of schools/shuls/ families/modern culture? Can children be raised and educated in loving and sophisticated ways and still ultimately reject yahadut?

How do parents balance off openness to the world with protecting the values of Torah? What are some of the better approaches available to help children negotiate the world of halacha and yet maintain their own identities? What does the presence of such children suggest about traditional Judaism as it is currently being practiced?

In this frank and nuanced panel discussion, we bring together educators, psychologists, parents and children who have been intimately involved with this issue.