A young Bnei Brak man who left religion and made a series of very public demonstrations against the faith he was raised in has released a new video asking forgiveness for his past behavior and declaring his desire to return to religious observance.
Daniel Amram, 22, was raised in a haredi-religious family in the central Israeli city of Bnei Brak.
Earlier this year, however, Amram, who had left the haredi world, made a series of provocative videos and public demonstrations against Orthodox Judaism.
Amram first gained notoriety when he filmed himself burning the pair of tefillin (phylacteries) he was given by his parents as a child. Phylacteries, which contain portions of the Torah written on parchment, are traditionally worn by Jewish men during morning prayers.
“The rabbis are using religious symbols and objects to force religion on people in Israel,” Amram said while recording himself destroying the tefillin.
In other incidents, Amram tore up a Hebrew Bible in protest of what he called “religious coercion” in the name of Judaism, and carried an immodest poster down a street in the predominantly haredi city of Bnei Brak.
Last week, however, Amram released a new video via social media, expressing remorse over his past behavior and asking forgiveness from the religious community and his parents.
“I can’t believe that I’m about to do this,” Amram said in the video, “but I guess the time has come. Hi, I’m Daniel Amram. I’m the guy who burned his tefillin a few months ago. I’m the one that did a lot of things against religion and Jews in Israel and around the world.”
“I want to use the same forum [online videos] that I used [in the past] to say ‘I made a mistake. I did what I did, and I’m sorry for it. I want to express my deep regret, and to ask anyone who was hurt by [why I did] for forgiveness.
“I’m so, so sorry for what I did. By the way, I want to tell you how this happened. Lately, I decided to stop doing all of these things, these wars, and somehow I wound up at a religious place. And this religious place knows about everything that I did. Despite that, they decided to look past what I did and to treat me very well.
“I realized that I behaved inappropriately. The way I acted was twisted and hurtful and very wrong. It doesn’t matter how religious I am, if I’m religious at all, it matters personally how I acted.”