As a teen, Sara Glass — then known as Malka — she had accepted her calling as a servant of God: to become a dutiful wife and bear children while growing up in the Gur Hasidic sect of Brooklyn. However, she had questions. Hardest of all was to understand why she so deeply and powerfully felt a love that she was taught to hate.

In Kissing Girls on Shabbat: A Memoir, which was released on June 11 by Atria/One Signal Publishers ($27.99 hardcover), Dr. Sara Glass tells her coming-of-age, awakening, and survivor story. With honesty and courage, the author takes us inside the community and family in which she was raised, her two troubled marriages, and her struggles with shame, guilt and the dread of losing her children.

At 19, after flirting with a young woman named Dassa, Malka accepted her fate and arranged marriage to a young man named Yossi.  Malka remained mired in ancient traditions about a woman’s place, purity, and marital duties. Sex with Yossi was an ordeal, dictated by rules and rituals.

Author, Sara Glass, 2024

After giving birth to her son, Avigdor, Malka found joy as a mother yet yearned to continue her education beyond her teacher training. She enrolled in Rutgers University to pursue her master’s in social work. For college, Malka decided to use her second name, Sara. After a difficult second pregnancy and life-threatening labor, she gave birth to her daughter, Shira. Sara loved her children but enough was enough.

Kissing Girls on Shabbat: A Memoir, Dr. Sara Glass reveals her life within the confines of an extremely insular branch of Hasidism steeped in oppressive ancient traditions toward women. She ultimately broke free from the sect, came out as a lesbian, and fought to retain the custody of her children.

Glass is a therapist, writer, and speaker who helps members of the queer community and individuals who have survived trauma to live bold, honest, and proud lives. She lives in Manhattan, New York with her three children. Find out more at     

—From staff reports