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All Who Go Do Not Return, by Shulem Deen

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 eighteen 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.


“A provocative subgenre... Shulem Deen's All Who Go Do Not Return is the best of the lot.

The new York Times

“the most lyrical... also the most searchingly spiritual of the “ex-frum” memoirs.”

The New Yorker

Eloquent and heartbreaking.

The Wall Street Journal
National Jewish Book Awards Winner - Gold Seal

2015 National Jewish Book Award Winner

Myra H. Kraft Memorial Award for Contemporary Jewish Lift and Practice

Other Awards

  • Winner of the 2017 Prix Médicis (Essai) for French Edition
  • Winner of the 2016 Great Lakes College Association New Writers Award for Creative Non-Fiction
  • Finalist for the 2016 Housatonic Book Award for Nonfiction
  • One of “42 books to read before you die” by The Independent (UK)
  • Finalist for the 2016 Housatonic Book Award for Nonfiction

Rebecca Goldstein

Author of 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction

Shulem Deen has a fascinating story to tell, and he tells it with exquisite sensitivity. All Who Go Do Not Return gives us not only an insider's glimpse into a shrouded world few outsiders get to see, but also a movingly told narrative of one man's struggle toward intellectual integrity. The setting may be the world of Hasidic Judaism, but the drama and the insights are universal.

Joshua Henkin

Author of The World Without You and Swimming Across the Hudson

On the eve of his marriage, at eighteen, Shulem Deen knew how to slaughter an ox in Jerusalem’s ancient temple, but he knew less than most seven-year-olds do about sex and movies and technology and literature—about the world that lay only miles away from him.  Among the Skver Hasids, all who go do not return, but in writing this memoir, Deen has returned, and brought us, his lucky readers, with him.  This is a heartbreaking book, and an important one, about the consequences of being true to yourself, and about a world and a community few of us know.

Tova Mirvis

Author of The Book of Separation and The Ladies Auxiliary

All Who Go Do Not Return is a deeply honest and moving story about a man’s decision to do something both so simple and so radical – to live in accordance with his own beliefs. Shulem Deen has written an enormously powerful and important memoir about faith, doubt and freedom.

Also Available

French / Français

French (Mass Market) / Français (Poche)

Spanish / Español

Italian / Italiano

Polish / Polski

Czech / Čeština