Here are a couple videos which seemed like good follow-ups to my previous post on religious fundamentalism.  The study indicated that “religious fundamentalism is, in part, the result of a functional impairment in a brain region known as the prefrontal cortex.”  However, I think often it is the other way around; that religious fundamentalism damages the brain.  It discourages curiosity, creativity, and open-mindedness to a degree that could leave the parts of the brain associated with those functions to atrophy.

Though coming from an environment of religious fundamentalism, the creative and bright young adults featured in these videos appear far from ‘brain damaged.’  Like any part of the body, the brain follows the ‘use it or lose it’ rule.  These people chose to use their brains instead of letting religious authorities do their thinking for them.

I especially like the first video below.  Perhaps because it demonstrates that leaving Jewish religious fundamentalism for a more fulfilling life doesn’t necessarily mean throwing away all aspects of ones Jewish identity.  Leaving the strict confines of their religious lives may have even given them the room to embrace what they love about it.

Published on Jan 8, 2014

When people contemplate leaving ultra-Orthodox Judaism, they often face a prophesy of doom and failure.

The prophesy is a myth.

The OTD community of former ultra-Orthodox Jews is filled with men and women successfully navigating a wide range of fulfilling and interesting lives.

Lives so strong and stable, not only can they enjoy the gifts of the wider world, they can also relish the pieces of the past that they still treasure.

Uploaded on Jul 10, 2011

COMING SOON: getsbesser.com featuring in depth stories of successful transitions.

IT GETS BESSER is a video project that compiles images of individuals who grew up in ultra orthodox Jewish communities (Hareidi/Hasidic/Yeshivish etc.) and have chosen to break of out of the confined lifestyle they were raised in to pursue their own individual goals and aspirations.
Each set of images was chosen by the person in the picture to represent the journey they have taken.
The journey between the “Before” and the “After” pictures were taken is unique to each person, but together they are testament to the struggles and success that many in similar situations face and can achieve.
IT GETS BESSER (BETTER in Yiddish.)

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