Online via Zoom – October 14-17, 2022

Early Bird Tier 1 ends April 10 at 11:59 ET!

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Religion & Amish Education: 50 Years of Wisconsin v. Yoder

The Amish Heritage Foundation’s 3rd Annual Conference

October 14-17, 2022

Virtual via Zoom

Become a Sponsor

Call for Speakers (Application)

Press Inquiries

What Past Attendees Say:

A huge thanks to Torah Bontrager for creating a transformative space for the invisible exiters of worlds to meet, see each other and connect.

I had the privilege of attending a historic and transformative conference (first of its kind in 300+ years!), organized and hosted by The Amish Heritage Foundation, where I learned so much, heard amazing and inspirational stories, and met so many fascinating people.

It seemed like many of us were worlds apart — former Ultra-Orthodox Jews, Amish, Mennonites, Muslims, etc. However, over the course of the conference, I came to realize that we had more similarities than differences. All of us had left a rigid, structured, prescribed, cookie-cutter, and cult-like lifestyle in order to live our own truth, to live authentically, and to have choices in life.

Past Keynote Speakers

It’s my view that Wisconsin v. Yoder is the single worst decision by the United States Supreme Court on the free exercise clause for child protection.

Prof. Marci Hamiltion

University of Pennsylvania; Founder & CEO of CHILD USA

Keynote Speaker (Day 1) at our groundbreaking 1st Annual Conference: Disrupting History: Reclaiming Our Amish Story

Keynote:

“What About Children’s Rights? Overturning Wisconsin v. Yoder”

Most people think that children have a right to an adequate education under the US Constitution. But the federal courts have never held that there is such a right.

Prof. Michael Rebell

Columbia University; Executive Director of the Center for Educational Equity (Teachers College)

“Flunking Democracy: Schools, Courts, and Civic Participation”

Keynote Speaker at our 2nd Annual Conference: Overturning WI v. Yoder: Making Education a Federal Right for All Children

Discovering where you belong is the first step toward being set free. – Keynote: “A Revised Understanding of God, Belonging, and Freedom”

Galen Guengerich

Member of Council on Foreign Relations (CFR); Senior Minister of All Souls Unitarian Church

Keynote Speaker (Day 2) at our groundbreaking 1st Annual Conference: Disrupting History: Reclaiming Our Amish Story

About the Event

Religion & Amish Education: 50 Years of Wisconsin v. Yoder

We’re looking for sponsors, speakers, volunteers, and members of the press to help make our 3rd annual conference a success.

An Amish girl wearing a Pennsylvania-style cap is working at a store or restaurant.

All the speakers for our 3rd annual conference will be women and LGBTQ+ (except the Support Services Spotlight portion) as a response to the fact that Wisconsin v. Yoder was created, argued, and decided by all males. The Supreme Court justices, attorneys, witnesses, experts, and defendants in the case — other than one teenage female — were male.

This year’s conference calls for speakers and research addressing 50 years of Wisconsin v. Yoder, decided in May 1972.

The conference will be centered around how to make education a federal Constitutional right, so all US citizens have the right to learn. Currently, no citizen has the federal right to learn how to even read, write, and speak English.

With this in mind, we’ll take a sweeping look at the ways in which Wisconsin v. Yoder and the intersection of religion and education have affected (and continue to affect) the lives of children, women, LGBTQIA+, politics, and policy up through 2022.

An Amish girl wearing a Pennsylvania-style cap is working at a store or restaurant.

Themes & Special Focus

One segment, Support Services Spotlight, is dedicated to resources for people who are questioning religion or wanting to connect with others who don’t identify as religious anymore. It will feature organizations that provide secular peer support groups, licensed mental health therapy, licensed trauma-informed (religious and sexual) therapy, and trauma-informed coaching. 

This part of the conference will feature any speaker/presenter/panelist (not restricted to women and LGBTQ+) representing their respective organization.

Leading experts and voices on insular and fundamentalist religious communities will discuss the following themes:

Theme 1: Education as a Right

The impact of educational deprivation on children inside those communities and how to join AHF’s movement to make education a federal Constitutional right for all US citizens

Theme 2: Models of learning

New approaches or alternative models to learning that can better bridge the culture, language, and literacy barriers of native-born Amish and similar religious refugees

Theme 3: Community & Belonging

Solutions to challenges facing youth and adults from those backgrounds who wish to transition into and integrate with mainstream American society

Theme 4: Rural Educational Equity

Actionable education policy and legislation ideas that result in economic mobility and educational equity in a knowledge-based economy, especially for those from under-educated, underserved rural areas

Not sure if this conference is for you? Check out our sections below with more info to help you decide . . .

An Amish girl wearing a Pennsylvania-style cap is working at a store or restaurant.

Some Conference Logistics:

 

  • Virtual via Zoom
  • October 14-17, 2022
  • Live Q&A sessions (via Zoom)
  • Talks, Panels, Films & Workshops
  • Group rates & military discount

 

More questions? Check out our FAQ section.

An Amish girl wearing a Pennsylvania-style cap is working at a store or restaurant.

About the Amish Heritage Foundation

 

Founded by Amish escapee Torah Bontrager, The Amish Heritage Foundation is a history-making nonprofit committed to empowering Amish women and children through education past the 8th grade, so they can exercise their human and constitutional rights to create and choose their futures.

Who This Conference Is For

Religion & Amish Education: 50 Years of Wisconsin v. Yoder

is for you if:

  • You’re passionate about learning and believe that every child should have the right to a quality education that prepares them for citizenship and encourages them to contribute to the global community
  • You want to connect with or hear the stories of people from various insular and fundamentalist religious communities (e.g., fundamentalist Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, Ultra-Orthodox Jewish, fundamentalist Islam, fundamentalist Christian, Anabaptist, cults, New Age communes, etc.) who have been negatively affected by educational deprivation
  • You’d like to see an increase in civic engagement in rural disadvantaged populations
  • You’re interested in the tension between religious liberty and individual rights and how that plays out behind closed doors in the Amish (and similar insular or fundamentalist groups)
  • You want to successfully advocate for underserved, underrepresented, educationally deprived or disadvantaged populations that typically are inaccessible to social workers, educators, legal and health professionals, and policymakers
  • You want to accurately portray the Amish population in your educational or creative projects

What Past Attendees Say:

This kind of space, in which almost everyone there carried an invisible history and world inside them, but an invisible world made visible just by showing up, enabled a profound kind of generosity around learning and sharing, the likes of which I have not experienced in the wider intersectional world.

Who This Conference Is Not For

Religion & Amish Education: 50 Years of Wisconsin v. Yoder

is not for you if:

  • You believe that a child’s human and constitutional right to an education is less important than a parent/guardian or religion’s right to prohibit the fulfillment of the child’s right
  • Education and children’s rights are not important to you
  • You’re not interested in learning about the hidden crises within the Amish population (e.g., sexual abuse, violation of women’s, children’s, and LGBTQ+ rights, poverty, mental health, PTSD, etc.)
  • You’re not interested in hearing the stories of people from various closed, insular, and fundamentalist religious communities (fundamentalist Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, Ultra-Orthodox Judaism, fundamentalist Islam, Anabaptist, fundamentalist Christian, cults, New Age communes, etc.) who have been negatively affected by educational deprivation
  • You don’t want to stop exploiting Amish children and women in your educational or creative projects

Did you know?

The Amish Heritage Foundation provides educational services to Amish people; develops and delivers cultural literacy training to agencies, institutions, and individuals; and fosters public awareness about the crises hidden in Amish society.

Join us for 4 days of Talks, Panels, Films & Workshops

Early Bird Tier 1 ends April 10 at 11:59 ET!

Day(s)

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Hour(s)

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Minute(s)

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Second(s)

October 14

Fri

4 Speakers

1 Panel

1 Workshop

1 Film Screening

October 15

Sat

4 Speakers

1 Panel

1 Workshop

1 Film Screening

October 16

Sun

4 Speakers

1 Panel

1 Workshop

1 Film Screening

October 17

Mon

4 Speakers

1 Panel

1 Film Screening

Closing Reception

Book Your Seats

Early Bird Tier 1 Pricing Ends April 10

Contact us for group rates.

Religion & Amish Education Conference

2022 Plenary Speakers

Interested in speaking or presenting? Apply here.

Check this section frequently for updates as we confirm our speaker line-up.

Apply to Speak

Or recommend someone

Description:

We’re looking for experts, educators, writers, researchers, and journalists who can talk about the legal, educational, religious, or political aspects of 50 years of the Wisconsin v. Yoder case

or

the intersection of religion and education, specifically in terms of the ways in which the rights of individuals (children and/or adults) in insular and fundamentalist religious communities are being compromised or violated as a result of the higher status given to religious rights

Health Professionals (Medical, Mental, Dental, Social Worker)

Apply to speak

Description:
We’re looking for health professionals including social workers, medical, mental, and dental to share the challenges they encounter serving an educationally deprived population (e.g., Amish, Ultra Orthodox Jewish, Jehovah’s Witness, Muslim, etc.)

Recovering From Religion: Meeting the Unmet Need of Religious Trauma

Eric Wells (he/him)

RfR Support Group Director, Recovering from Religion

Description:

Recovering from Religion offers hope, healing, and support to those struggling with issues of doubt and non-belief.

Eric Wells is the Support Group Director and Online Programming Director for Recovering from Religion. He served as the Activism Director and Executive Director for the Springfield Skeptics in Springfield, MO and has organized hundreds of community service events and volunteer activities, including the 2017 March for Science rally in Springfield, MO. He was the State Director for the American Atheists fighting to keep church and state separate in Missouri.

Film Series: The Price of Religion Freedom

Apply to screen your film

Description:

We’re looking for films that deal with religious trauma, religious fanaticism/extremism/brainwashing, and educational deprivation. Ideally the film is a documentary or based on a true story, but we’re also open to fiction if the script is aligned with our conference and AHF’s mission.

Panel: Nontraditional First Generation College Students

Apply to be on this or 4 other panels

Description:

The Nontraditional First Generation College Students panel will feature four individuals from an educationally deprived background, or culture in which a college education simply for the sake of learning was not valued.

The panel discussion will focus on each person’s educational journey and shine a light on the specific struggles that students who don’t have family and/or financial support go through.

Support Services Spotlight

Apply for this segment

Description:

Support Services Spotlight is dedicated to resources for people who are questioning religion or wanting to connect with others who don’t identify as religious anymore. It will feature organizations that provide secular peer support groups, licensed mental health therapy, licensed trauma-informed (religious and sexual) therapy, and trauma-informed coaching. 

This part of the conference will feature any speaker/presenter/panelist (not restricted to women and LGBTQ+) representing their respective organization.

Past Speakers Include

Interested in speaking or presenting? Apply here.

Mormon Educational Comparisons: Warren Jeff’s FLDS vs. Mainstream LDS
Dr. Mica McGriggs

Director, Diversity Equity & Inclusion at The Ethical Culture Fieldston School

2nd Annual Conference speaker

Childhood Education in a Queens Islamic School

Noura Embabi

Co-founder, An-Nas: Humanists Rising from Muslim Communities

2nd Annual Conference speaker

Education & Women’s Equality

Mary Spicher

Beachy Amish

2nd Annual Conference panelist

A Few Anthropologists’ Lessons About Amish Studies

Prof. Michael Billig

Franklin & Marshall

1st Annual Conference speaker

#ExposeChristianSchools: How America’s Lax Education Laws Allow Radical Evangelicals to Indoctrinate Children and Harm LGBTQ Folks

Chrissy Stroop, Ph.D

Writer, Commentator & Journalist

2nd Annual Conference speaker

What Past Attendees Say:

What I got from this event is a feeling of not being judged. Everyone, speakers and attendees, were so amazing. To me, the Amish Heritage Foundation is about being nonjudgmental.

Tickets & Registration

We’re looking for sponsors, volunteers, and members of the press to help make our 3rd annual conference a success.

Early Bird Tier 1: $87 ends April 10 at 11:59 ET
Early Bird Tier 2: $150 ends May 30 at 11:59 ET
Early Bird Tier 3: $200 ends June 13 at 11:59 ET
General Admission: $250 starts June 14
VIP Pass: $397

4-day early bird

Tier 1: $87

Tier 2: $150
Tier 3: $200

 

Includes Early Bird Gifts:

1: Physical Conference Materials (if located in the US)

2: Priority over General Admission in Q&A sessions of talks

4-day general admission

$250

 

Includes:

Physical Conference Materials (if located in the US)

4-day VIP pass

$397

 

Includes Early Bird & General Admission Gifts, plus:

1: Physical Box of Amish Goodies handpicked by Torah & AHF staff

2: Invitation to Speakers Meet & Greet Reception (virtual and/or in-person)

3: Priority in Q&A sessions of talks

Did you know?

When you buy a ticket to this conference, you also instantly create meaningful change in the world.

With every purchase, you support an Amish woman or child in need because all proceeds of sales go to The Amish Heritage Foundation.

Current & past conference media mentions:

Conference Producer

Meet The Amish Heritage Foundation

Founder & Executive Director

Torah Bontrager

 

I’m nonpracticing and culturally Amish (born and raised traditional Amish) and I still speak the Amish language. At 15 years old, I escaped in the middle of the night so I could go to school past the 8th grade (as well as get away from other abuses).

Education really is me. I just love to learn, share my knowledge, and teach people about my culture.

Since graduating from Columbia University in New York City, my life’s work has been to shed light on Wisconsin v. Yoder and do my best to make education a federal Constitutional right for all US citizens.

Photo copyright: Torah Bontrager, All Rights Reserved. Me at age 15, two days after my escape.

continued…

 

The fact that the US federal government — and religions such as the Amish — say that a child (and an adult, too) doesn’t have the right to learn, can be forced to stop going to school, and can be prevented from even learning how to read and write English is something almost no American is aware of.

I’m committed to changing that.

Education is the key to freedom, and my passion is to help people experience the magic and transformation that comes from experiencing new worlds, thoughts, and ideas.

Whether you’re from an educationally deprived or elite academic background, I know you’ll come away from the conference surprised, inspired, and equipped with the tools to take meaningful action to make our world a better place for children.

Torah

Amish Culture Educator, Speaker & Author

Did you know?

The Amish live in rural North America, often in health professional shortage areas (HPSAs).

Register Now!

Contact us for group rates or military discount.

 

  • Early Bird Tier 1: $87

    • ends April 10 at 11:59 ET

  • Early Bird Tier 2: $150

    • ends May 30 at 11:59 ET

  • Early Bird Tier 3: $200

    • ends June 13 at 11:59 ET

  • General Admission: $250

    • starts June 14

  • VIP Pass: $397

October 14-17, 2022

4-Day Schedule

Check this section frequently for updates as we confirm our speaker line-up and schedule.

Fri, Oct 14

Opening Keynote Speaker, Plenary Speakers, Workshops, Panelists & Film Screening

Sat, Oct 15

Speakers, Workshops, Panelists & Film Screening

Sun, Oct 16

Speakers, Workshops, Panelists & Film Screening

Mon, Oct 17

Closing Keynote Speaker, Plenary Speakers, Workshops, Panelists & Closing Reception

Did you know?

The Amish Heritage Foundation envisions that one day education will be a federal Constitutional right for everyone in the US, and Amish children will have the right to learn beyond the 8th grade — including the right to learn about STEM (science, technology, engineering, math), civics, law, philosophy, and the arts.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the conference start and end?

The conference runs from October 14-17, 2022 and all times are Eastern Time (New York City). Check the schedule for exact start and end times for each day’s agenda.

Can I get conference tickets by phone?

Yes, but we ask that you call or WhatsApp us at 1.212.634.4255 as soon as possible to place your order, so we avoid last minute tech issues. We do have a limit on the number of attendees and we won’t be able to increase that number from the tech side of things if you wait until too close to the conference.

What if I miss a talk?

We encourage you to plan to attend and participate in the Q&A sessions and workshops just like you would if this were an offline conference. Our tickets don’t include the recordings of the talks.

What equipment or technology do I need to attend the conference?

The conference will take place in real-time via Zoom. You need to have a phone, tablet, or computer (or access to a device) that can handle Zoom. You should also have a strong internet connection in order to watch and ask questions, if you’d like to participate.

I want to attend but don't want to be photographed or recorded.

Photographs and video footages will be taken throughout this 2022 AHF Conference. The photos and footage will be used by the AHF team for marketing and publicity purposes on our website, social media, and/or other public forums. If you have concerns, or don’t wish to be recorded, please don’t proceed with the purchase of a ticket for this conference.

What is your refund policy?

If you’re unable to participate in our historic 4-day virtual conference October 14-17, 2022, we unfortunately can’t issue a refund. However, we’ll still send you your registration gifts (if applicable).

Have Questions / Need Help?

Wondering if we’re the right sponsor fit for you?

Have questions about group rates?

Self-schedule a Zoom meeting with us.

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