Thursday, October 7, 2010


While trying to sort out my issues with Judaism and sort of reinvent myself I have been asking myself about how involved I should be with my community, how involved I want to be with my community, whether or not I want to raise my children with Jewish theology. My initial thoughts are that I do indeed love the communal aspects of Orthodox Judaism. I love being in a community that seems to be close with one another and looks after each other at times. This is one of the main reasons I wanted to be frum, that and get connected with my "ancestral roots" whatever that might mean. To learn about the culture of my more religious brothers and sisters and to build a system in my life that would perpetuate Jewish culture in my family for generations.

These are in my mind good attributes of a frum lifestyle but they are all aspects that require us to be separated from general society in some way or another. However, I know that when all is said and done, all I want is for my children to be happy and thoughtful, and if at all possible having a similar perspective like me. One thing that does end up bothering me is my children getting involved in Christian theology. To me I have a strong aversion to it and I honestly feel like if my children were to convert it would be very painful to me, same goes if they simply married a believing Christian, don't care so much if they just happen to be from a Christian family though. This may just be me returning to my tribal attitude which I feel might be a pretty vile attitude after all. I mean, why should I care what my children believe, as long as they are happy. I feel that way if they were to be believing Jews, why should I care if they became believing Christians? I don't know what it is about that idea, but it makes me almost want to throw up a bit.

I have such an aversion not only to Christian theology, but also to practices like Christmas and Easter. I couldn't imagine going to a Christmas party even. It just feels wrong for some reason. Maybe it has to do with the historical connotations that Christmas and Easter have, with the murder of Jews and so on. Maybe it has to do with how I was raised. I remember wanting to celebrate Christmas one year and my father, by no means frum, said that is out of the question "We are Jews. We don't celebrate Christmas." Not in an angry tone mind you, but a gentle one. I was still pretty upset though. Maybe this has something to do with it. Or maybe the kiruv brainwashing dug a little too deep with this one.

Anyone else feel the same or similar or am I just nuts?


  1. You're far from the only Jew who has a hate on for Yoshke. Don't sweat it.

  2. You can do what we did.....move to Israel.
    YOur children may or may not be religious, but they won't be marrying Christians.

  3. I sort of feel the same way but I can appreciate Bach and Mozart's religious music and can listen to most non-religious Christmas music without feeling I'm compromising-except for "I'll be home for Christmas", which is a hopelessly stupid song.

    I can't understand why any Jewish person would have a Christmas tree or how they can call it a "Chanukah Bush." On Christmas I usually head to the local Jewish book store.

  4. A2 - I guess I never thought of Bach or Mozart's music, even the religious pieces as being really religious. I guess I always hear them and think they are secular for some reason.

    What Christmas music isn't religious? Isn't it religious by definition if it is Christmas music?

  5. I don't feel that way at all. I've been to plenty of Christmas parties and I'm more comfortable there than I probably would be at a Chanukkah party, just because Christianity DOESN'T have the negative baggage for me that Judaism does. (I still think it's false and often a source for evil, but come on... a Christmas party?)

    I lived with a roommate who had a Christmas tree once. It was nice -- it smelled good and it was pretty during the dark, cold winter.

  6. JA - Good for you. I am glad you can enjoy them. I have nothing against Christmas parties, I just feel very uncomfortable with them.

  7. SR,
    Same anon as 10/8 2:23

    The difference is whether it deals with Jesus or Santa Claus.

  8. I actually don't have negative feelings towards Jesus. I think he was a nice rabbi, and after his death, people hijacked and perverted his teachings and it formed into a new religion, which, if he were alive, he'd oppose. If he were alive today, he'd go to shul.

    I do, however, have negative feelings about the way Christians have deified him, and how some of them feel if you don't worship him as a divinity, you're destined for hell.

  9. Not to make this a Jesus bashing post or anything but I just happen to disagree very strongly with your summation.

    If you read the NT the mythical character of Jesus says and does some very nasty things. I don't think that Jesus was the nice Rabbi people try to make him out to be, but rather a fanatical theocrat. He encouraged people to hate their families if they didn't follow him, he encouraged people to give up all of their livlihood and follow him blindly, he hypocritically called his opponents vicious names while before he said that name calling would send you to hell. He himself said that if you didn't follow him you are destined to hell.

    Sure the character of Jesus also did some good as well. Regardless the character of Jesus written in the NT was mostly made up, although may have been based on some similar figure. This character seems to be very flawed and at times nice, loving and merciful, and at other times vengeful, hateful and cruel. I see the character more of a fanatical lunatic than anything.

    However, even ignoring this point, I don't really care. I feel the same way about most of the religious figures of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Mormonism, etc. most religions really. I don't buy the happy picture those religions like to paint about their religious figures. Just look at their own documents about them without preconcieved notions about who they were and what they were about and you will find a much nastier picture.

    My main problems aren't the figures of their religious beliefs but rather the history and connotations related to certain places, dates and ceremonies. Some of them I find highly distasteful but don't begrudge anyone if they choose to enjoy them.

  10. You're a disgusting hypocrite.

    How would you feel if someone made a blog that said "Jews sicken me, their practices are abhorrent, their Torah says you can have sex with babies, I don't buy the picture Jews paint of a happy community because I know paedophilia, poverty and fraud are rampant. They also say it's ok to let non-Jews die"

    Would that anger you? Nobody chooses the religion they're born into. Jews are not special, or chosen, or superior to Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus etc. If you were born into a different religion you'd believe in their tenets and scriptures. You do not get to criticise others until people are free to critique Judaism without being branded as anti-semites.

    I was charedi. I was married off at 17 to a second cousin of mine. By nineteen I had two kids, could not get a cheter for birth control from my Rov, even though we were penniless. My 'husband' beat me, sexually abused me, forced me into sex during niddah and then blamed me for it. My children were literally starving. Did my community help me? No. They told me I needed more emunah, that I was a bad wife and mother, that I should beg Hashem for forgiveness.

    I eventually escaped, and you know what I found? Other people are not demons, monsters, or on Earth to be our slaves. I found out (despite what I'd been taught) that Jews are not special, or elevated, just people. The cry "Oh but he's a good Jew!" means nothing if he's a bad person. I have seen frumma yidden defending murderers, rapists, thieves, because they are 'Good Jews', and those same 'G-dly people' defame goyim, purely because they weren't born Jewish.

    When I left my husband and community I was shunned. I was told my kids were mamzerin, their names were printed as Girl & Boy bas Niddah in the community paper.

    Who fed me and the children, housed us, clothed us, even brought us CY food? Muslims, Christians, Atheists, PEOPLE. I'm not bruised and bleeding any more, or hungry, and the scales have been shed from my eyes. The world outside our modern day shtetls isn't evil or corrupting. My children are being educated now, my daughter has a future beyond that of brood mare, my son will be able to support himself instead of relying on welfare. They are literate, and happy. B"H they remember little of their lives before we fled, and I'm gradually shedding all the lies, the 'training' I endured, the torture, the admonitions to pray more, or fast, or to just be a better Jew. Small things remain, but hopefully I will outgrow them eventually, just as I outgrew the propaganda I've been fed all my life.

    I was with you until I got to this post (I read your blog backwards)

    I find so much of my former religion distasteful. The elevation of boys over girls, the assumption that women should do all the work with none of the benefits, that women are dirty and polluting, that we mutilate baby boys to 'celebrate' their birth, that we do not have ceremonies to celebrate the birth of girls, that we teach our children to hate and fear anyone not Jewish.

    There was no 'happy picture' in my world. Just fear, pain, and the backward notions of a bunch of 18th Century hypocrites.

  11. Formerly Chana,

    I am pretty wierded out by your lengthy comment. I never said that any non-Jews or Jews even sicken me. I have no problem with Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Atheists, Mormons, etc. Many of them are my close friends. I don't beleive I have painted them anywhere in my blog as vile or evil people or that they have evil beliefs and practices.

    I may have been critical about the characters in their books such as Jesus, but I said he did many good things as well as bad. Also I mentioned that I believe the same about Jewish historical characters being not entirely good or bad either. Judaism tries to paint a happy picture of Jacob being perfectly righteous and Esav being totally evil. From the book of Bereishis itself I wouldn't agree with that assesment. The same goes with the Christian assesment of Jesus being perfectly good as well, from the text of the NT itself I feel that Jesus is not entirely good, but not entirely vile either.

    Funny you say that I am not allowed to criticize other religious groups if I won't criticize Jews, because most of my blog itself is devoted to criticizing Jews and Judaism. Honestly I really have no idea what set you off to think that my blog or this post was meant to paint any non Jews as being bad people or to paint all Jews and Judaism as being totally good.

    What happened to you was horrible and I condemn it fully. I have no special place in my heart for the disgusting treatment of women by many frum men and I blame the community itself for allowing these things to go on unchecked and unpunished. It is a horrible reality and I fully condemn the Jewish community for it. I have never said anything to the contrary and I will never defend it or try to rationalize. It is evil, pure and simple.

    Again I am very sorry for you and I am glad you were able to get out of the horrible situation you were in and seek help. It gladdens me greatly that many non Jews were there for you to help you and that you saw that being Jewish doesn't make you good or nice and being not Jewish doesn't make you evil or mean spirited.

    In my community where I have established myself I don't feel put down or oppressed. I have experienced that there are those in my community who say and do disgusting things to others based on their race and/or sexual orientation. I have never condoned such words/acts and I have always said to those who perform them that what they are doing is totally unacceptable. But for the most part I enjoy being part of my community and there are many open minded, generous, gentle, interesting and all around good people where I live.

    I have no problem whatsoever with Christians or other non Jews. I am simply just not comfortable being involved with their rituals and practices. That is not to say I oppose anyone who does enjoy them or is involved with them. I am happy others can enjoy a Christmas celebration. I have no problem with those that can, personally I just can't, at least not at this stage in my life.

    For those who are in a community that is simply not right for them for whatever reason, I fully support that they leave and try to lead a happy and fulfilling life.

    I am sorry if my position on this topic had been unclear.