Sara Silberstein in her Midwood apartment.
Silberstein, 26, left her [Hasidic] Bobov sect more than 10 years ago. She recalls babysitting through her teens, which provided her the extra income to purchase DVDs. “Every chance I got, I’d go to Best Buy or Circuit City,” she says. “I come from a big family, so it was hard to focus on one kid. I think I slipped through the cracks, but they would try to discipline me, so they would raid my room and confiscate my DVDs.” (Non-Jewish movies, music, and books are forbidden in many ultra-Orthodox sects) By the time she entered high school, she began to isolate herself. “I was trying to stay a step ahead,” she says. Silberstein currently works in an office and is also a personal trainer. Aside from two of her siblings, who she sees perhaps once a year, she does not speak with her family.