NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Writer and activist Leah Vincent will talk on Thursday, Nov. 20, in Scarsdale about her experiences being cast out of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish family.
She will give the talk at the Bendheim Performing Arts Center, 999 Wilmot Road in Scarsdale.
The talk will be moderated by Lani Santo, executive director of Footsteps. The organization is dedicated to providing social and emotional support, along with educational and vocational guidance for former ultra-Orthodox Jewish men and women exploring the world beyond their communities.
Vincent's father is an influential ultra-Orthodox rabbi in Pittsburgh. When she was 16, she was caught exchanging letters with a male friend, a violation of religious law that forbids any contact between members of the opposite sex before marriage.
As per tradition, her parents paid for plane tickets and sent her off, cutting off ties. Ending up in New York City, she was unprepared to cope with the freedom of secular life. Vincent used her sexuality as a way of attracting the male approval she had been conditioned to seek out as a child in an ultra-Orthodox family
Eventually, Vincent earned a Pforzheimer Fellowship at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where she earned a master’s degree in public policy. She was able to turn her experiences into a memoir, titled “Cut Me Loose.”
Vincent has also been published in The New York Times, Salon, Unpious, ZEEK, the Daily Beast and The Jewish Daily Forward.
The event is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Tickets are $15 and $18, and can be purchased online at jccmw.org .
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