The Hellers, before leaving the community. Courtesy of the family

For Israelis Who Flee the ultra-Orthodox Fold, a Brave New World

A flood of ugly rumors were the final straw that pushed Yisrael Heller to flee the strict, ultra-Orthodox community with his family, in the dead of night. The Hellers are part of a wave of Israelis who are severing ties with the Haredi world.

Evening was beginning to fall on the playground that one sees from the balcony of the Heller family home in Beit Shemesh. Six-year-old Pini entered the house excited, his cheeks flushed. “Mom, I played with...

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