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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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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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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    4 out of 5 stars
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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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Superb!

What did you love best about All Who Go Do Not Return?

This book is unflinchingly honest which is why this memoir reads as a novel.

What was one of the most memorable moments of All Who Go Do Not Return?

Anything I could write here would be a spoiler.

Have you listened to any of Shulem Deen’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I am not aware of other narrations by Deen.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There is a huge denouement in this book. Just listen/read

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I savored every word!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I'd highly recommend this book! It was very well written and written. It was so interesting. I didn't want it to end.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The writer was my favorite character. No one can compete with this central character.

Which scene was your favorite?

My favorite scene was Shulem's wedding night.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I was moved and disturbed when Shulem was ignored by his children when they came to visit him.

Any additional comments?

I hope Shulem will publish another memoire from where he left off to today.

  • Overall
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Poignant,

Very compelling, descriptive and authentic account of his formation in and then abandonment of his faith. He is sensitive to those he left, and narration was good.

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very moving book

this book was very insightful and moving. I laughed, I cried, I wanted to read it again right away.

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lyrical, heartbreaking, understated

Really lovely memoir about leaving the faith of his birth. Not only a story of leaving one's faith, but also a story of becoming a full time aware adult.

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5 stars plus

One of the best books I've read in years. Recommended to everyone. Very well written and read. (Found through unorthodox podcasts).

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Totally enthralled

Where does All Who Go Do Not Return rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I was captivated from the start. Loved the narration, the poetry of the writing stayed with me. I listened to passages over and over. Beautiful

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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.