From the book jacket: Rumspringa
is a fascinating look at a little-known Amish coming-of-age ritual, the rumspringa - a period when Amish youth are allowed to live outside the bounds of their faith, experimenting with alcohol, premarital sex, trendy clothes, telephones, drugs, and wild parties. By allowing them such freedom, their parents hope they will learn enough to help them make the most important decision in their lives - whether to become Amish.
I was interested to read Rumspringa
because I've long admired the Amish for maintaining their simple ways in a complicated world, and particularly admired the concept of rumspringa
, which gives teenagers the opportunity to live outside the community, both physically and morally, while they explore the world and decided whether or not to be baptized into the Amish community....
Beyond the Book
A Brief History of the Amish
The Amish are direct descendants of the Anabaptists of 16th century Europe who rejected infant baptism and believed in the separation of church and state (which were entirely conjoined at the time). They became known as Mennonites after the Dutch Anabaptist leader Menno Simons (1496-1561). In the late 17th century there was a schism over the issue of how and when to enforce the "meidung" (shunning of non-confirming members) which led to a group breaking away under the leadership of Jakob Ammann, which became known as the Amish.
The first significant group of Amish arrived in America in about 1730 and settled in Pennsylvania. At the turn of the 20th century there were believed to be about 5,000 Old Order Amish in the USA but by...