I have been in contact with a 16 year old (let’s call her Y) who is a member of the ultra orthodox and insular Jewish community “The Chassidim”. She is appealing for help and advice but cannot do so herself as she fears for the consequences if found out. She has only recently had access to the internet and despite having her usage monitored has managed to access RD.net. She does not believe in God and is desperate to escape her sect. Here are some of the things that are going on in her life:
If she came out as an atheist she would be kicked out of the community and she has nowhere else to go. She wants to get into college, but the community do not believe in further education and the private Jewish school she attends do not teach evolution or the big bang. Students are not allowed to have internet access, nor do they take standardised tests. Whilst she does have chemistry lessons, she is only taught censored earth science and biology. She only managed to break some of these barriers a couple of months ago, and she has good reasons to believe that she is the only student who has. Needless to say the school spends hours every morning on religious indoctrination, and one teacher actually threatened her with her fist to declare belief in the thirteen principles of Jewish faith. If her principal knew she planned to attend a normal university, she'd be sent home.
Her home life is also very difficult. The community and her family are very restrictive and she isn’t even allowed to the library on her own and she wouldn’t openly be able to research anything she liked. Naturally, she feels all alone, though she can, of course, “look forward” to an arranged marriage.
Not long ago there was a thread on escaping Conservative Laestadianisma. Without seeking to take anything away from Halla’s problems, I think G’s problems are quite a bit worse as she can't mix with "outsiders" much and when she does she is supervised.
She wonders: what are her rights under US Law; what might she do to get a public school education so that she can ultimately go to university; who could she contact in New York for help right now?
Finally, she should be able to read this thread (at least for a while) and, if she feels emboldened to contribute, she will identify herself.