. And certainly if and when there were scandals these were certainly unknown. This means most people went into these places [and other contributed to them] with a degree of ignorance. The result of some people finding these places to be sometimes very bad, and sometimes just less than what they had thought, led many to start blogs criticizing the Torah way of life; all based on scanty information. At least in the world of Hinduism and and ashrams the public was highly aware of the good and the bad.
Some people at that point became interested in the general phenomenon of cults and tried to see if and how much of cultism practices were common in Jewish Orthodoxy.
Obviously the desire to leave the rat race is not a bad thing. But it has led to bad things.
Sadly there has been more noise that clarity about these issues.
I do not claim to be very smart or spiritual. But I do claim that by following the Torah path for a small number of years one can come come to Enlightenment [though people in the Torah world will not call it by that name] . I think it is also safe to say that going to the land of Israel can be a great contribution to one spiritual growth.
But that these things do not seem to be immune to the types of abuse and problems one would normally have in any ashram of other spiritually minded environment.