Friday, March 13, 2009

Be Honest With Us Already

In a recent discussion with an acquaintance, the issue of the Zev Brenner interview with the founders of Footsteps came up. Unsurprisingly, my friend expressed his disapproval of the organization and its goals. The objections he raised are ones I've heard many times in the past, and I'd like to publicly share what I told him in response.

While I find it entirely understandable that most chareidi people would be opposed to an organization which has as its mission the goal of assisting people who no longer want to be religious, I think that there is a very fundamental issue that needs to be addressed in regards to the chareidi world's attitude towards people who are no longer frum, and by extension towards the organization of Footsteps itself.

In my opinion, the chareidi world has refused to directly address the important question of "How should we deal with people who do not want to be frum?" I'm not referring here to the issue of people who are "questioning," but rather those who have clearly made a decision that they no longer want to practice Orthodox Judaism. The typical approach that one finds towards this predicament is for the frum person to reach out and make efforts to get the person to come back to being frum, or at the very least, to try to stanch the person's progress in that direction. But rather than concretely addressing the question, this approach simply avoids the issue, because ex-frum people don't want that kind of "help". The've consciously made a decision that they don't want to have anything to do with frumkeit, or with those who think it imperative that they follow halacha. They have no interest in being "helped" by someone with an agenda of trying to keep them from pursuing the life they want. Most formerly frum people would abruptly end all contact with a frum person "helping" them once they detect the ulterior motive at work. Offering support that is in any way tinged with kiruv is not an answer.

The fact is though that many of the people who decide to abandon religious life are wholly unprepared to step out of their protective shtetl and into the wider world. They desperately need assistance so that they don't end up falling into a degenerate and unhealthy lifestyle. So what does the chareidi world propose should be done about these Jews, those who have no interest in being frum, yet are in desperate need of assistance?

As far as I know, they don't have any practical and real answer for this dilemma. The chareidi world will never support, let alone encourage, a person in a path that leads them further from torah observance. By helping the person in any way they would be tacitly approving of the persons actions, and they couldn't ever condone such a choice. Yet, by not providing any assistance they are, in effect, condemning the person to face all the dangers that stepping out unprepared into general society brings with it. By their inaction they are, in effect, saying that they prefer such people be left to fend for themselves, and whatever may happen as a result... well, that's their problem. When a frum person expresses his indignation at the very existence of a venture which is dedicated to assisting people in their pursuit of a non-frum lifestyle, they are basically making the following statement: They prefer that ex-frum people struggle alone with all the challenges of leaving the frum world and of building a new life, and thereby inviting into their lives all the attendant risks that come with that path, rather than possibly succeeding on their journey out of the frum world and developing a healthy, independent non-frum life.

This is where Footsteps steps in (no pun intended). Footsteps exists to help and support a person who wants to pursue a path in the wider world, irrespective of where it may lead religiously, as long as it is based on some sort of healthy idea of self-development and growth. They take no position on the validity of those choices, as long as they are within the range of a healthy lifestyle. They just want to help the person get to where they'd like to be, and to do so with a minimum of pain and frustration. If the person wants to go to college, they can help with that. If the person wants to stop feeling guilty about driving on shabbos, they'll try to help with that. If the person is struggling to redefine his relationship with Judaism, they'll try to help with that. They don't ever make a judgement about the person's choice. They only say "if we are able to, we'd like to help you pursue your goal."

The chareidi world can wail and cry about how terrible Footsteps is - and I truly understand their ambivalence - but the fact remains that Footsteps is filling a need which the frum world refuses to address. There are people out there that desperately need help, and would love someone to offer it. That the chareidi world might be diametrically opposed to what it is that these people want assistance with is something that they have to deal with. But don't blame other people who see someone in trouble and try to lend a hand to ease their suffering. Unless of course, you'd like them to be suffering. Do you?

I really think this is a fundamental problem with the chareidi world's position towards Footsteps. Either they step up to help these people or they let Footsteps do the work. But if they aren't doing either of those then they should just be honest and openly state what their actions are implying: We don't want you to succeed in life if you're not going to be frum. That even though we do in some sense care about you, as long as you are pursuing a path contrary to torah, we will oppose anything which helps you succeed in the life you are choosing. And if this means objecting to something which helps you get your life on track so that you don't end up homeless, on drugs, and depressed that you made a horrible choice in life, we will be against that too, because if your life would have failed in that way it would have made you realize that you never should have left the torah path.

This is really what the chareidi world is saying by their opposition to Footsteps. That if the person is not going to be frum, they'd prefer if his life ended up a flaming wreck of despair, rather than him growing into a healthy, independent, successful, and confident person.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well put! This is similar to Rush Limbaugh's rooting for Obama to fail.

I'm someone who has left as well, and I did have some people within the community, including family, tell me openly that they wished I fail in whatever endeavor I entered so I would return begging for re-acceptance. It sounds ugly (and, naturally, drove me further away from them), but at least they're being honest about it.

Anonymous said...

What you are saying is indisputably true....sad, but true. The attitude that you describe naturally follows from the Chareidi worldview which places ones observance of Torah above all other concerns. I think we need to cut them some slack in that their position naturally flows from their religious fundamentalism. We who have left, however, can be thankful that we are no longer imprisoned by their silly dogmas.

The Hedyot said...

Anon 1 -
Great point! Indeed it is very similar to Rush's statements. I actually was going to make that comparison in the post, but was afraid it would get the discussion sidetracked (as political issues tend to do).

Anon 2 -
I agree that they should be cut some slack, and that's why I said "I find it entirely understandable that most chareidi people would be opposed to an organization...", and "I truly understand their ambivalence", but I won't cut them any slack for being disingenuous and not presenting their view honestly. If they came out openly and made such a statement like Rush did, I'd still disagree with them, but I wouldn't consider them dishonest. But the fact is that they would never come out openly and say this, because they know how awful it would make them look to express such a view (kind of like how awful it made Rush look).

GoingGoingGone said...

What I find so interesting is the blindness and one-sidedness that much of the chareidi world seems to hold while not realizing it one bit.

Footsteps does not go out and recruit people to become non-observant. It merely helps those who have already chosen to follow the path of not being observant, which is desperately needed by so many due to the fact that their very unbringing has sheltered them from so much of the world.

Contrast this with the many chareidi groups whose mission is to recruit and cajole people to leave the world they know and to convince them to pick up and choose a completely different lifestyle. In many cases, they do provide some support in adapting to this new world; in some cases, they don't. But ultimately, they engage in much stronger and even deceptive recruitment strategies than anything Footsteps would ever even consider thinking about. Why is this ok but what Footsteps is doing not? Simply because chereidim have decided that they are right, which is subjective at best.

During my process of becoming more observant, I encountered quite a few non-observant people who were diametrically opposed to the tactics that were employed by kiruv organizations. These people were outraged by the fact that Orthodox organizations would go out and try to persuade people away from the way they had grown up, to transform into someone they couldn't recognize. The fact that some kiruv organizations even encourage a disconnect with one's family and a refusal to participate in many family functions further inflamed the outrage of many who ended up losing connection to their family members due to a "connection with their heritage."

The failure of these organizations to see the parallels and even the differences between the two is, honestly, not terribly surprising, but does seem quite hypocritical.

kisarita said...

very insightful post about a mentality that's very common in the frum world.

Margo said...

I agree and I particularly like where you state that helping with kiruv-tinged motives is NOT the answer, as I can testify that there is nothing more disappointing and betraying than realizing that a "friend" is only your friend because he/she is attempting to do kiruv on you. Once a frum person tries to do kiruv on me, I'm done with them. Finished. To me, it shows utter lack of respect for who I am and it is quite dishonest to befriend me with the ulterior motive of convincing me of something that they know full well that I have rejected. I do not discuss my atheism at length with religious friends and I certainly do not try to convince them that their religion is wrong, and I expect the same courtesy in return.
Also, if caring for a fellow Jew applies to Jews, it applies to ALL Jews, not just the ones who share your ideology/theology. (Of course, I think that non-Jews are equally important as Jews, so I'd include them too, but I know chareidim don't like and even fear "the goyim".)

Ezzie said...

Just to establish a baseline of some sort, would you understand the Charedi position of choosing to not help such a person? i.e. can it be agreed upon that it is perfectly logical and fine that the Charedi world choose not to help a person who has chosen to "leave their camp", as they are certainly no longer their responsibility having made a conscious choice to leave?

Assuming that the answer to that is Yes, then the issue is merely whether they should be opposed to *others* offering that same help. I understand your position in the post that being against an organization seems as if they are specifically trying to make such people become failures, but I don't think it's necessarily true. I think they view the existence of such an organization as a gateway that allows others to consider taking that same path off, and therefore a threat. They don't oppose Footsteps because of how it helps any specific individual, and would be perfectly content if the individual sought out their own personal assistance to avoid ending up a failure. At the same time, as an organization, such a gateway would be opposed because of the ease at which allows people to make the final decision to go off, having a support network available to fall into so easily.

It's a similar argument to those regarding teaching abstinence vs. sex education - those who wish to focus more on abstinence feel that sex education encourages greater promiscuity in general, which they wish to stop. It's a different goal - less sex vs. less pregnancies and STDs.

In this case also it's different focuses: Less failures in life vs. less people leaving the religion.

It's grossly unfair to claim that a group with a focus of less people leaving the religion means that they would "rather" a person be a "flaming wreck of despair" than succeed. You've made a pretty large jump. What's far more likely to be true is that they don't view the decisions a person makes after becoming non-frum as their responsibility, but they will try to ensure that such a path is one that a person will really not wish to take in the first place.

The Hedyot said...

> Would you understand the Charedi position of choosing to not help such a person?

Ezzie -
I said it three times already - "I understand their ambivalence."

> ...[they] would be perfectly content if the individual sought out their own personal assistance to avoid ending up a failure. At the same time, as an organization, such a gateway would be opposed...

It sounds to me like you're saying that they wouldn't mind if people tried to get help, but you would mind if any people did actually help them. Do you realize how ridiculous that sounds?

The Hedyot said...

> It's grossly unfair to claim... What's far more likely to be true is that they don't view the decisions a person makes after becoming non-frum as their responsibility...

That's fine, but then don't complain when someone else (e.g. Footsteps) is willing to step in to take responsibility.

The Hedyot said...

> At the same time, as an organization, such a gateway would be opposed because of the ease at which allows people to make the final decision to go off, having a support network available to fall into so easily.

I do agree with you that this is one of the reasons they are opposed to it. But the reality is that (to the best of my knowledge) knowing about Footsteps doesn’t affect the decision to actually stop keeping halacha or believing in god. It only affects the decision of if the person should take the step of leaving the community or not. After all, knowing that there is a support network to help you doesn’t affect your judgment of what you believe or not.

Being opposed to Footsteps because of the fear that "it makes it easier for someone to leave" is like trying to block a doorway which someone is trying to walk through. You're just forcing them to be somewhere they'd rather not be.

shoshi said...

I think the chareidi position is even more ambivalent.

If someone has success in his life, he will be respected, regardless of his religious beliefs, and if he gives tsdaka, they will take it....

So on the one hand, they are very strict, on the other hand they make exceptions where it suits them.

I thought we could once draw up a map of "moral values" and try to see which ones are kept by the chareidi communities and which ones are not.

So there would be plenty room to be "melamed sechut" even if a person wants to leave chareidi society...

shoshi said...

As for the people who want to leave, it's the same as for chozrei bitshuva: Independence is the master word.

Do not get married (to someone who wants to live a frum life with a frum husbund/wife), try to learn a profession and work in it...

And here we are: Some people who go OTD learn easily and will make their place in life. But what about those who are not good at learning or not willing to learn, who barely speak/write english, etc????

How much can Footsteps help them? Are they not doomed for failure anyway????

The Hedyot said...

> Some people who go OTD learn easily and will make their place in life. But what about those who are not good at learning or not willing to learn, who barely speak/write english, etc????

Firstly, the support FS provides is not just about educational and vocational support. Having people who support your decision to build a new life, who you can speak to openly about your struggles, and who encourage you to pursue a path that you want but which you have been indoctrinated to believe will not work out for you is as important as learning how to write English.

Secondly, with the right encouragement and environment everyone can find something that they're good at, which hopefully they can use to earn a living and gain some satisfaction from.

Thirdly, many people would be perfectly fine learning things outside the curriculum of religious studies, but since that's the only area of education they are offered, and they aren't good at that, they are labeled unsuccessful at learning. Give them a chance to learn something they want to, and you'll see them flourish.

Apikores said...

I think that some frum people actually believe that it is not possible for someone who goes OTD to have a happy and successful life (of course the evidence proves them wrong, but what else is new). So maybe they don't actually want the person to fail, they just don't believe the alternative is possible.

Anyway, I'm glad Footsteps exists, and I wish there were similar organizations in other cities. I wasn't living in New York when I went OTD and it would have been quite helpful to have someone to talk to about my situation.

nsker said...

It seems that FS cannot claim any more neutrality on religious issues than a haredi organization would.

As far as their educational services go, whatever they do is very well and most commendable. However, as they think of themselves as victims of haredi upbringing, open-mindedness on these issues is impossible. And here they cannot possibly claim the moral high ground any more than a kiruv-type vocational service would.

Or, let me put it like this: for people who know what they want to achieve (say, one who knows he is interested in learning Chemistry and pursue a career in it), Footsteps may or may not be of good service, a college with remedial programs will probably do better.

But someone who does not know what he wants, what professions, arts and sciences exist in our civilization, who is illiterate (being otherwise healthy), is indeed a victim of parental and educational incompetence at best and criminal negligence at worst. People who are guilty of this negligence can no longer be trusted to "help" him (or perhaps anybody else for that matter). But the other victims of this wrongdoing are not necessarily the people to turn to.

Which brings me to the main point... Why does the literacy problem have to be tied to frumkeit? The chinuch establishment has decreed that one excludes the other. Why do their victims have to follow this decree? Footsteps themselves seem to believe in it. They just do not sound natural talking so much about observance neutrality, kosher sandwiches etc, and not the immediate problems of their clients. At best, Footsteps sounds condescending towards their more observant proteges, at the same time showcasing them as examples of openness. It smacks of an insult to the intelligence of people genuinely seeking their educational services while still being observant. And so it precludes such people from benefiting.

It seems the Footsteps founders themselves have not overcome the problems that they are trying to cure. That's all right, they are still searching for their path. But it does not yet qualify them to lead and show "the way" to others. They will claim this is not what they are out to do. Yes, but no, they do. They can't help it.

The Hedyot said...

> It smacks of an insult to the intelligence of people genuinely seeking their educational services while still being observant. And so it precludes such people from benefiting.

If people want to receive educational services while still being observant, FS is not the right place for them. It should not be thought of as primarily an educational organization that caters to various backgrounds. It is an organization that helps people who want to leave the frum world, and which offers, among other services, educational assistance.

As to the general claim of the neutrality of FS, I wrote about this in a recent post here. FS does not claim to be neutral in regards to everything related to religion. They only claim to be neutral with regards to whether or not they will recommend a particular value choice (in regards to Judaism) to one who comes to them. In that regard they are very differnt from kiruv organizations because unlike the way those institutions operate, FS does not try to make anyone not frum. It only wants to help people who have already decided that this is the direction they want their lives to go in.

The Hedyot said...

> ...for people who know what they want to achieve (say, one who knows he is interested in learning Chemistry and pursue a career in it), Footsteps may or may not be of good service, a college with remedial programs will probably do better.

For that specific purpose, you're absolutely right. But how will the person know how to apply to college, get financial assistance to pay for it, and deal with all the myriad challenges that parents and friends help with for someone who is going through that process? (Not to mention get himself to the required academic level to even be accepted to a college with such remedial classes!)

> People who are guilty of this negligence can no longer be trusted to "help" him... But the other victims of this wrongdoing are not necessarily the people to turn to.

Based on this logic, anyone who suffered from some negative experience should not be the person to help another one who suffered from the same experience. Indeed, it's often exactly the opposite, that the one who suffered from the experience knows better than anyone else the pain and struggle of this person, and how to help them overcome that. Rape victims are consulted in order to know how to best help other such victims. Abused women who have escaped their abusers create shelters. Cancer survivors start support groups.

Joe said...

Recovered alcoholics "sponsor" (i.e. support, advise, and mentor) new AA members.

imush said...

Based on this logic, anyone who suffered from some negative experience should not be the person to help another one who suffered from the same experience. Indeed, it's often exactly the opposite, that the one who suffered from the experience knows better than anyone else the pain and struggle of this person, and how to help them overcome that.
True, but generally only after they are fully "recovered". My point is that they are not. They display the same symptoms and behaviour as their equally well-meaning "kiruv" adversaries.

Alcoholics and other such support groups are different. Those are people who know exactly what they need to overcome. FS have a claim on leadership in giving direction.


But how will the person know how to apply to college, get financial assistance to pay for it, and deal with all the myriad challenges that parents and friends help with for someone who is going through that process? (Not to mention get himself to the required academic level to even be accepted to a college with such remedial classes!)

What does all this have to do with their Judaism observance?

By remedial classes I mean exactly the classes designed for disadvantaged students to catch up to levels required from regular freshmen. Many schools have these, even major universities do this for some students (it is usually for the "athletes", but there are other exceptions, fow which most of FS crowd would probably qualify). Then there are prep classes, admissions guidance, libraries, I don't think it is hard to find resources for a determined student. Not to say that it is easy, a support network surely helps. But again, it does not need to be so focused on observing (or not observing) Judaism.

It seems as if the FS founders grew up as children of Chabad shluchim, and are now thinking of themselves in familiar terms after a change of direction. FS resembles a Chabad house too much. They may teach English and arithmetic, but they attach a way of life to it. Just like a Chabad house... all of which is very well for either the moshel or the nimshal, but it is sometimes mis-advertised.


In that regard they are very different from kiruv organizations because unlike the way those institutions operate, FS does not try to make anyone not frum. It only wants to help people who have already decided that this is the direction they want their lives to go in.
Sorry, I don't buy that. How do they qualify who is decidedly "OTD"? It is impossible to be objective in these things, and it is especially suspicious when they claim impartiality.

The Hedyot said...

> True, but generally only after they are fully "recovered". My point is that they are not. They display the same symptoms and behaviour as their equally well-meaning "kiruv" adversaries.

I'd love to know what you're basing this on. In my experience this is totally unfounded. Please point out in what way they behave like a kiruv organization. Do they proselytize? Do they pressure the people who come to them to adopt a certain lifestyle? Do they encourage people to stop having contact with their families? Do they lure people in under false pretenses and then try to pressure them to get more involved than they are comfortable with?

The truth of the matter is that the primary people in Footsteps who work in a professional capacity with the participants are actually not people who came from frum backgrounds (some aren't even Jewish), so the whole premise of your objection is erroneous. That being said, at what point do you feel people would be "fully recovered" in that they are able to be supportive of other individuals who are going through similar transitions as they did? How can such a thing even be quantified?

> They may teach English and arithmetic, but they attach a way of life to it.

Again, you're missing the point of Footsteps. They aren't an educational organization which is insisting on people having a certain lifestyle. They are an organization for people who are looking to develop a certain lifestyle which helps with lots of things, among them education. If you aren't looking for that lifestyle change, Footsteps is probably not right the place for you. Footsteps doesn't want people who wish to remain frum to be coming to them for help.

> What does all this have to do with their Judaism observance?

Nothing. I wasn't implying it did. I was just trying to say that if someone simply has the desire to go to college, that's nice, but often not enough. There's a lot more to it than just wanting it, and therefore a support network goes a long way. Sure, like you said, a determined person can do it on his own, but many people would be held up by all the obstacles that can be thrown in their path. (I can personally attest to this, as I wanted to go to college, and even tried to numerous times, for several years, but did not actually successfully do so, until after I been a member of Footsteps for some time.)

> Sorry, I don't buy that. How do they qualify who is decidedly "OTD"?

You don't have to buy anything. Why not call them up and ask them?

nsker said...

Ok, then I missed the point. Footsteps, as you say, is an organization for people who are looking to develop a certain lifestyle. Or, rather, some non-observant lifestyle.

I only looked at their website. It says:

Footsteps provides educational, vocational and social support to those seeking to enter or explore the world beyond the insular ultra-religious communities in which they were raised. People from the ultra-orthodox and Chasidic communities who choose to enter mainstream America currently do so as new immigrants in every sense. They face cultural disorientation and isolation coupled with a lack of practical and marketable skills. Founded in December 2003, Footsteps aims to assist individuals who choose to make this difficult transition.

From this I inferred that they are mainly trying to remedy educational deficiencies. It seems they aim for more than that.

And therefore any discussion with frum organizations, talk shows and community is useless. There is a fundamental values difference. Why would they even want to explain themselves?

I thought they are trying to explain that they do not "take kids OTD". It seems that I was wrong. They are putting it in a different light. Their argument is that they are helping kids that are lost to the "derech" anyway. Very well, but then what is there to discuss with the frum community at all?

The Hedyot said...

There isn't anything to discuss with the frum community really, except as to correct any misconceptions about Footsteps, and to counter any propaganda that is put out there which opposes what Footsteps does. And also to get the word out to people who would be interested in availing themselves of their services.

But you are correct, there is a fundamental difference in values here, and they really have no interest in engaging in discussion with the frum community, except for the purposes I just mentioned. In fact, the radio show was not initiated by them.

imush said...

Very well.

But then you can never "counter the propaganda" because the differences are not reconcilable.

And, for some reason the show struck me with the irony of some symmetric similarities between "kiruv" and Footsteps. The reason I wrote at such length is to share that feeling.

The Hedyot said...

To the degree that the propaganda is lies, you can counter it with the truth. To the extent that the frum world is taking a position with certain implications that they prefer to deny, you can point that out. But no one is really expecting any frum person to give Footsteps his bracha.

Actually, the truth is that FS doesn't usually even bother doing that (addressing the lies that the frum world says about them), unless pressed to. But it's what motivates me to set the record straight. I don't appreciate people saying false things about me, about why I left, about how I live my life now, and about the people who were so helpful in getting my life on track to where it is now.

kisarita said...

i disagree with you all. even people who want to stay frum need footsteps.

you tell me where a young frum adult who just wants to go to college and where a different style clothes, and socialize with members of the opposite sex, but whose parents are dead opposed, will find someone in the frum world to help them. They don't exist. I know because when I was younger, I looked and looked.

Zev Brenner says, oh why dont they just become modern orthodox? guess what zev, even if they just want to become modern orthodox, they still need a place like footsteps! modern o is still another society with different culture and different norms and different everything!

Anonymous said...

another thing about footsteps that some people confuse with frum organizations:

frum organizations are top down. meaning they are run by official staff members who decide what the programs are going to be about.

footsteps is bottom up. it's agenda is member driven, not organization- staff driven. it was started by people looking to mutually support each other. even now, the paid staff is there to facilitate and keep things organized.

so yeah, you're going to here a lot of bitterness about frumkeit, becaues many of the members are bitter. that doesn't mean as an organization, footsteps is out to promote bitterness against frumkeit.

The Hedyot said...

> ...even people who want to stay frum need footsteps.

Kisarita - You're right. They do need an org that can help them like FS could. And ideally, I'm pretty sure that the founder of FS would like to be able to help people like that (I recall hearing her say once that she'd like FS to be able to serve anyone and everyone who needs assistance), but practically speaking it's too complicated to have frum people included.

Beardjalopy said...

Hahaha...

Forget about how the current members would feel, but imagine how the frum crowd would react if Footsteps allowed frum people to participate!

Anonymous said...

someone asked
"how do they qualify who is OTD?"

they don't. they offer help to anyone who asks for it without discriminating based on religion (which is illegal). they leave it to you to define yourself.

if footsteps were to offer services ONLY to OTD they would be in effect pressuring people to become OTD in order to continue obtaining these service. But that's not their business, so they don't.

Ezzie said...

I said it three times already - "I understand their ambivalence."

Was just double-checking to establish the baseline.

It sounds to me like you're saying that they wouldn't mind if people tried to get help, but you would mind if any people did actually help them. Do you realize how ridiculous that sounds?

You're twisting my words. There's a difference between hoping someone pulls out of something and having an organization set up which allows people to feel that they have the 'rope' to try something, and if it fails, there's an organization there to help. See the examples I compared it to.

That's fine, but then don't complain when someone else (e.g. Footsteps) is willing to step in to take responsibility.

They're not complaining; they're saying "don't you see what you're doing? You're giving people a boost in doing something which they shouldn't be doing (in our view)!"

I do agree with you that this is one of the reasons they are opposed to it.

I would say it's the *primary* reason.

But the reality is that (to the best of my knowledge) knowing about Footsteps doesn’t affect the decision to actually stop keeping halacha or believing in god.

That's most likely because most people have yet to hear of it. The more it's heard of, the more likely it is to have that effect. Anytime there is a cushion and the person knows it, it makes them much more willing to take the leap and see what's there.

Being opposed to Footsteps because of the fear that "it makes it easier for someone to leave" is like trying to block a doorway which someone is trying to walk through. You're just forcing them to be somewhere they'd rather not be.

No - it's more like saying "hey, you really don't need to put up signs that show a person how to go out that way, when they'd be better off coming out this way". There's a difference.

The Hedyot said...

> That's most likely because most people have yet to hear of it. The more it's heard of, the more likely it is to have that effect.

What effect are you talking about? Leaving or not being frum? Like I said already once - No one stops keeping halacha or believing in god because they heard about Footsteps.