Monday, May 6, 2013

Confessions of a Jewish Cultbuster, A Revised Version of an Old Best-Seller

Another great book that just came out is Confessions of a Jewish Cultbuster by Rabbi Shea Hecht. It is a revised reprint from the 1985 edition with many additions. It starts off discussing cults with various episodes of how R' Hecht or his father helped people break-free and towards the end of the book, R' Hecht ties in intermarriage. The underlying connection is the appreciation of our heritage or lack of it. Here are some preview pages, so you can gauge the style.

Confessions of a Jewish CultbusterJudging the Book by its Cover -  a first glance review:

The word that came to mind when seeing this cover is - enticing. The side profile of Rabbi Hecht with his trademark red yarmulke looking into the distance makes you wonder what he has to share. The title beginning with the word "confessions" follows that intrigue. 

Some Details I Liked:

This is a rich book. It contains a wealth of experience and knowledge. It is presented in a clear and interesting manner, with each chapter introducing a different case. 

The philosophical perspectives are easy to understand and absorb. Whether dealing with a brainwashed cult victim or an adult that is caught in a harmful relationship, R' Hecht and his team lays out the facts and helps the individuals get back on track towards a healthy lifestyle.

I also liked that this book has stories that prove points. Points that a lot of people miss. Like Intermarriage generally does not work, even if it seems to. Or bringing up a child without an appreciation of his Judaism or connection to G-d, will create a void that they will yearn to fill, in whichever way they can.

Who This Book is For:

Personally, I would say that this book is recommended reading for anyone that:
  1. has any sort of educational position, 
  2. has any community leadership positions, 
  3. is not sure why intermarriage is so bad, 
  4. thinks cults are an extinct phase, 
  5. is looking for an open-minded book that gives you a clear picture of what is happening to the Jewish nation.

Who This Book Isn’t For:  

If you want to remain sheltered or are in denial that cults exist, then don't read this book. R' Hecht goes through details of what members of cults do to prove their loyalty. Many of the examples are not pleasant, such as physically pushing limits or largely deviating from accepted social norms.
The book also doesn't beat around the bush. If a strategy of a specific cult is to lure potential members with attractive females, that is what it is. If the ideals of a cult are based on something non-ethical, it is also in there.

What I Didn’t Like Book/Would Have Made it Better: 

This is a true toughy. The only thing that I can think of, is that I would have enjoyed reading more after the last page. :)

In Conclusion:  

This is a serious book. One that is an important read on many levels and enjoyable at the same time. 


I received this book for the purpose of reviewing it, but that it no way changed the way I read it and reviewed it.