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NandapriyA Sikdar: Choosing the Hare Krishna Lifestyle

Born in Chennai, India, Nandapriyā Sikdar, 27, has devoted her life to the teachings of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), or more commonly, the Hare Krishna Movement. Sikdar lives in Alachua, which has the largest concentration of Hare Krishnas in North America. She teaches music and art to teenagers at the oldest and largest Hare Krishna school, Bhaktivedanta Academy. Since the movement’s birth in the 1960s, it has attracted millions of congregational members around the world. Although Sikdar was born into the movement, she still sees it as a personal choice that provides her with immense fulfillment in all areas of her life.



Keely Lubin, 24, from Pembroke Pines is a pop surrealist artist in Gainesville who uses art to depict her personal journey. At first glance, her creations appear cutesy and colorful. However, the more you look, the more you will notice themes of a much different sort. For the first 17 years of her life, Lubin was in a sex trafficking ring. At 18, she fled to Florida State University to get as far away from her abusers as she could while still remaining in the state. But, art never left her side. “When I’m creating art, I feel powerful and focused and alive…. It’s the one constant I’ve had throughout my life,” Lubin said.

mana handel: an unstoppable voice

Mana Handel, 24, is a filmmaker and freelance video editor who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. As a teenager in Gainesville, she was enthusiastic about theatre. The stage was her home – until that unexpectedly changed. At 13, a surgery mishap caused her to have permanent vocal paralysis, noticeably altering the sound of her voice. She became immediately self-conscious and anxious about how others perceived her. Fatefully, in her senior year of high school, she discovered TV Production. This newfound passion changed the course of her life for the better, allowing her to create and tell her own stories.


avi matarasso: atheist (from fate of faith in america project)

Read full story HERE on the Fate of Faith in America website.

Q&A with rabbi david kaiman (from fate of faith in america project)

Read full story HERE on the Fate of Faith in America website.

Q&A with interfaith couple (from fate of faith in america project)

Read full story HERE on the Fate of Faith in America website.


Adam Grossman: The Unconventional rabbi

Rabbi Adam Grossman has been the religious leader and CEO at University of Florida Hillel since 2013. However, he is not your typical rabbi. He did not grow up connected to Judaism, and he rode out his teens and twenties recklessly. In 2008, he entered rabbinical school at the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem and was ordained as a rabbi. Ever since, Grossman has differed from traditional rabbis through his unique perspectives. “Less and less people are connecting meaningfully to Jewish organizations…. The biggest thing I bring to the table is my ability to provide a different framework to effect change and maximize engagement,” he said.

Elliot larkin: Finding solace by searching within

Upon leaving Palm Beach Gardens to start college at the University of Florida in 2008, Elliot Larkin, an eight-year resident of Gainesville, experienced the pain of feeling like an outcast, mentally and emotionally. “I was never relating to people and not allowing myself to get involved with things…. It created for a lot of misery,” he said. In his sophomore year, he took initiative to resolve his suffering. After visiting Buddhist centers in France, “journaling like mad,” meditating for up to 11 hours at a time and traveling to India to volunteer at Mother Teresa’s House of the Destitute and Dying, he begun to find peace with himself. 


caitlyn considine: devoutly religious (from fate of faith in america project

Read full story HERE on the Fate of Faith in America website.

Father david ruchinski: traditional religion in a digital age & spirituality is within us — why can't we see it?

Read full story HERE on the Fate of Faith in America website.


luis melendez: from computer geek to spiritual inquirer

Read full story and view all photos here.

David ponoroff: cemetery worker or budding philosopher?

Read full story and view all photos here.

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