Easter was the only time of year that I was allowed to have shredded wheat. While the adults went hungry all morning, I crushed big pillow-shaped bales into my stainless steel bowl.

If you’d like to know how to celebrate the Easter holiday the Amish way, I share my practicing Amish experiences of various aspects, from the Easter bunny to Easter egg hunts to church services, below.

(Click here for the video version of this post.)

Good Friday

The Amish Easter tradition celebrates Good Friday (as the story goes, the day that Jesus was crucified) with a fast all morning…

Children are human beings, not property owned by adults who gave birth to them. We need a movement that acknowledges and enforces the Constitutional rights of Amish and other children, such as Ultra-Orthodox Jewish, fundamentalist Christian, Jehovah’s Witness, and Native/Indigenous.


The prevailing secular political force that continues to influence the educational system of the United States is democracy, the form of government upon which the U.S. Constitution was founded. During the post-war or cold war era, democractic ideals such as freedom and equality, and a concurrent goal to advance global citizenship, have conflicted with ideologies influenced by communism and…

The educational and economic fates of Amish children don’t enter the public consciousness. Amish children aren’t part of the equation in the economic future of the United States.

Part 2 of 3 — See This Is How to Grasp What Education in America Is Really About for Part 1


Economics is another social force that influenced the educational system in the United States. For example, the advent of industrialization meant that companies needed a workforce that was punctual (showed up to work on time), sufficiently competent in certain skills, and followed orders (didn’t challenge the company’s objectives) (Schrager, 2018).

The very first law about education in what is now the United States was all about making people literate enough to read the Christian Bible.


In order to understand what education in the United States is really about, take a close look at the history, philosophy, and sociology of American education. In this post, I’ll discuss how three (3) social and political forces — religion, economics, and democracy — have shaped the educational system from the Puritans to now. My hope is that with some historical context, you’ll see how those forces relate to or might affect Amish education…

For the Amish, the 1972 US Supreme Court case Wisconsin v. Yoder disputes were about retaining the ability to force a child to work for free and to keep the child ignorant of their rights as a US citizen. Making it about religion was a convenient cover. …

The 1972 US Supreme Court case Wisconsin v. Yoder, which specifically denies Amish American children the right to go to school past the 8th grade, is hailed as a landmark victory for religious liberty. But it actually strips children of their Constitutional rights, in the name of religious freedom for adults. Among other things, the right to not educate enables child abuse among the Amish. Here’s my response to the crisis (and how you can help).


When I was fifteen years old, I was forced to escape in the middle of the night in order to flee a childhood of…

I spotted it after church services were over. Laura was playing with it. The white miniature-sized, plastic English doll with delicate features looked so pretty. I admired its tiny, beautiful brows with open eyes, its dainty nose and lips, and its cute defined hands and feet, the tiny fingers and curly toes. She was exotic, a non-Amish doll dressed in proportionately scaled-down Amish clothes-the first time I saw an English one in our clothes.

I played with a set of white cloth twin Amish dolls. My mother had crafted them from scratch when I was too young to remember. They…

I have no photographic evidence of my existence as an Amish child. Many years later, I learned that graveyards serve as the pictures of my history. They’re the photos of my past, the proof that my ancestors existed.

Amish graveyard

Several years ago I happened upon a drive-through cemetery lying in an evergreen forest along the Connecticut River. The grass looked like a freshly vacuumed verdant carpet, perfectly tailored to fit around the base of each soaring tree, not a pine needle out of place. The firs, unmoving and formidable, stood like palace soldiers overlooking and guarding the remnants of the dead.

From rumspringa to language to identity, here are the lies you’ve been told

Myth #3: Those who exit are “ex-Amish” or no longer Amish.

The term “ex-Amish” is widely used to refer to those of us who have exited the Church, but there are many problems with that label. “Ex-Amish” implies that we’re no longer Amish, and that’s false. A change of clothes doesn’t erase our Amish identity. “Nonpracticing Amish” or “culturally Amish” are terms that accurately represent those of us who are outside the Church. “Amish” is a culture, language, religion, ethnicity, and minority group.

The belief inside the Church is that one must remain religiously Amish for life. Rejecting…

From rumspringa to language to identity, here are the lies you’ve been told

Myth #1: Amish teens have the freedom to choose whether to remain inside the Church; that’s what rumspringa is for.

Rumspringa as portrayed in pop culture is a myth that does untold damage to those of us stuck inside who want a different future. We don’t get a choice to not leave the Church; and we’re not officially allowed to party or break the rules. Just as in big cities, the more teens there are, the harder it is to control them and the easier and more likely it is that teens can get together and defy socially acceptable behavior and laws. …

Torah Bontrager

Amish escapee & Columbia University alumna. For the right of Amish kids to go to school. Get chapters of my book Amish Girl in Manhattan @ TorahBontrager.com

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