Friday, May 27, 2011

Interesting Interview with Michael Jenkins of Footsteps

Footsteps is a unique organization. Founded by Malkie Schwartz in 2003 to assist former Charedim in exploring the world beyond their former insular communities, Footsteps is part social club, part therapy-house, part educational laboratory. Members gather for a bite to eat from its well-stocked pantries, to read the latest issue of the New Yorker, or simply pop in at the end of a day’s work or schooling to meet with others of like mind, to “hang out,” to laugh over the latest absurdities in their lives, past and present. They also come for more formal discussions: free-flowing drop-in groups, dating and sex talk, and educational lectures. They might stay for five minutes or five hours. And Michael Jenkins is always there to greet them with his easy cheer.

Along with Executive Director Lani Santo, social worker Alix Newpol, and a dedicated group of volunteers, Michael organizes the organization’s programs, facilitates many of the discussion groups, and provides members with one-on-one counseling.

The interview. Unpious, by the way, has some of the best writing I've seen from formerly Orthodox people.