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All Who Go Do Not Return

A Memoir
Narrated by: Shulem Deen
Length: 11 hrs and 9 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (261 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A moving and revealing exploration of Hasidic life and one man's struggles with faith, family, and community.

Shulem Deen was raised to believe that questions are dangerous. As a member of the Skverers, one of the most insular Hasidic sects in the US, he knows little about the outside world - only that it is to be shunned. His marriage at 18 is arranged, and several children soon follow.

Deen's first transgression - turning on the radio - is small, but his curiosity leads him to the library and, later, the Internet. Soon he begins a feverish inquiry into the tenets of his religious beliefs until, several years later, his faith unravels entirely. Now a heretic, he fears being discovered and ostracized from the only world he knows. His relationship with his family at stake, he is forced into a life of deception and begins a long struggle to hold on to those he loves most: his five children.

In All Who Go Do Not Return, Deen bravely traces his harrowing loss of faith while offering an illuminating look at a highly secretive world.

©2015 Shulem Deen (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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An eloquent and fascinating look into a secretive world

Shulum Deen is a very gifted writer and his reading was both powerful and pleasant. He was telling a story, not reciting a text. Ironically, it was probably the upbringing that he escaped that allowed him to craft such a beautiful story as he comes from a culture with a strong textual and oral tradition. His story is much more of a Bildungsroman (personal growth tale) than a juicy tell-all. I highly recommend this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Gorgeously written, fascinating

Bravo! I couldn't (in the audio sense) put it down, and hope for a sequel. I recommend this eye-opening, poignant, heartfelt, honest memoir wholeheartedly.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Very well done

Any additional comments?

I'd quibble with the Publisher's Summary on the Audible page, because I didn't come away from the book feeling like Shulem was "raised to believe that questions are dangerous."
It sounded/read to me that he chose, for very personal reasons, in his teen and early adult years, to join a community that believed that questions are dangerous. And that this was the community he was married and had a family in.

The trajectory of his loss of belief is a very tragically beautiful read, as he desperately looks for answers to the questions that his community doesn't want him to ask. He seems to have specific answers in mind that he needs to hear, and when he doesn't get the answers he wants, he takes it very hard.

The tragedy is in the community's response, and what happened with his exwife and his children in response to his personal evolution. The beauty is in his birth family's (his mother's and his siblings') unconditional love and acceptance, as they remain believers (notably not in the same community that he chose to live in).

The audio performance is very well done.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great book!

I was engaged and interested from start to finish. The author tells his story in a balanced and well thought out manner. He is such a good story teller; objective (as humanly possible) and poetic.
The author narrates the book which was a bonus in this case.
I highly recommend!

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Thank you

So wonderful to hear your story. Hoping that you find a new life which will help to heal you. I pray that the children return to you

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Amazing, gripping, beautiful and heart breaking

I rarely write reviews but this one I must recommend. Shulem’s story is rich in emotion and colour, and it will hold you long after it’s over. Clearly Shulem was meant to be a writer and I’m glad that’s what he does now.
I look forward to more from him.

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Not perfect but worth a listen

Okay, so another memoir narrated by the author ... a mistake, but does not detract much from the text, which is not polished. The author’s account, however, is honest and compelling, and well worth a listen.

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Beautiful prose. Sad but redemptive memoir

Lovingly and exquisitely written. Lovingly delivered. A sad but informative memoir about an inexplicable world hidden from us revealed.

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The Imperfect Finding of Yourself in the Tech Age

Achingly true, beautifully written biography of the poignant tensions of a modern man looking for individuation, intellectual freedom, and his place in community. Although the setting is Hasidic-Judaism, those of any background who have sought independence or authentic satisfaction can readily relate. The author’s experiences have breadth; this book can be used for reading groups. We all are at risk for community disruption, isolation, shame, second-guessing, ostracism, parental alienation, divorce angst, and intolerable emotions. Behaviors or cultural designs that may have been adaptive in the past can be impossibly slow to change. The spiteful ones who perpetuate control in those designs seem desperate more than wise, cruel more than nurturing, anxiety-driven more than optimistic, and habitual more than logical. At the same time, I do think a few of the heart-centered details of the author’s experience were unnecessary and were likely inflammatory for his relationships; sometimes we defend ourselves with the wrong words when people do not understand us or do not speak the love languages we need. The author’s total losses hurt all involved; to ostracize and shame someone does not improve those who do the ousting or the shaming. Bigger societal issues are unanswered and screaming; how do we build healthy micro-communities within this technologically driven society? How can we build identities that are authentic but not homogenized? The scrupulosity of extreme faith satisfies some, but, to the author, the heretics move and shake the universe.

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interesting- informative and heart breaking

beautifully told story. very informative and raw. a glimpse inside a private world. cannot imagine being a parent myself. a must read for those wanting an insider experience into a mysterious world.

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  • Louise
  • 01-19-18

Very interesting

This is such an interesting and heartfelt book. It really lifted the veil on a community that I knew very little about. The fact that it is Author-narrated lends credence to the storytelling.

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  • Hannah
  • 05-02-16

Nuanced, sorrowful, tender and true

I am grateful to Shulem Deen for writing this book, for choosing to describe the experiences that led him to have to leave a community that, while full of love and faith, would not allow him full autonomy in love or faith or the seeking of knowledge and personal fulfilment. As someone who left a more permissive community and lost my faith for similar reasons to Shulem, and has only recently regained it in a more free form, I am immensely grateful to him for writing everything he wrote. This book made me feel less alone. I hope it helps people of faith and without faith understand the experience of losing faith and losing community, so that we can build better communities in future.