Monday, April 27, 2015

Happy Accidents

    So often when things don't go according to the plan I am quite disappointed. In this case I was more fortunate. I forgot that I was on the number 1 train and ended up getting off the the train at Penn Station instead of Herald Square and was able to take these cool photos..... Enjoy!







Sunday, April 26, 2015

Taking My Own advice

      I always hate forums of men and women complaining about dating together. In my mind there are always issues men will have with women and issues women will have with men whether they are real or imagined. Usually I try to keep my mouth shut and try to change the subject when these issues appear.  Not this Shabbos. I realized that even when someone (male)  is just complaining about dating in a non- gender specific rant it still bothers me. I suppose its my issue to let this bother me . None of this conversation had anything to do with me or even my dating standards.  I have to really remember to take my own advice and opt out of the conversation and just tune out like its a sports convention. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Holy Stories

         As a kid I remember hearing a story in school about how one married woman was so pious that she never uncovered her hair. The four walls of her home never saw her hair. There also was a rav who did not marry because he felt his love for Hashem was so great that he could not love  a woman as much as he loved Hashem. There were also some rabbis who had very little sleep because they were so immersed in Torah study. Rabbi Akiva's wife spent many years alone while her husband was in yeshiva. I always thought that these stories were to be inspiring but they all seemed so superhuman that I did not think that anyone was expected to emulated them. Sometimes I feel some of the chumrahs that have been imposed are unrealistic. Its like someone has listened to these stories that are meant to inspire and they made them requirements. Not everyone is capable of such stringency. One can still be frum without being superhuman. Keeping the 613 mitzvos keeps us busy enough.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Belief

      Part of being a grown up is deciding what it is you believe in. Some people end up changing everything they believe in but forget that just because they have changed not everyone around them wants to change. I think a person needs to come to terms with the fact that though one's convictions are good for one's self other people will be less evolved than you are and thats just how it is. It really should not matter what others do if you are truly comfortable with your beliefs.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

How a Jew Fills Out a College Application

    I love this.  There are those who say Jews aren't white even if they are light skinned because they are Jewish. I never quite understood that when I first heard this, but now I do. I know Latinos who look like they are black but they identify as Latino, not black. Due to anti-semitism we do not reap all the benefits of having lighter skin if we are Jews from European countries. We are a different kind of other. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Jewish Community Watch

      http://youtu.be/wffN3mYWCCw.  I think this video speaks for itself. I am so sad that any child would have to endure sexual abuse in the frum community. What a brave young woman. I applaud the work of JCW.

Monday, April 6, 2015

All Who Go Do not Return

      I just finished reading Shulem Deen's memoir All Who Go Do not Return .It is the first  of the recent batch of off the derech memoirs that I have not found offensive. Perhaps it is because Deen was a little older when he left frumkeit that his story is a little more palatable. Perhaps it is because his book tells his story and lets the reader form his or her own opinion of his situation. I am not convinced that he feels so civil about the aftermath of his leaving his community but I appreciate his attempt nonetheless. After reading Deborah Feldman's juvenile first book and Leah Vincent's attempt at the National Enquirer Deen's book is a welcome change. If his children ever read his book they will not feel ashamed even if they do not agree with the path he has chosen.
     Shulem Deen is the son of former non observant Jews who became frum  and Hasidic as young adults . Deen grew up non denominational Hasidic in Borough Park, Brooklyn and at 13 chose to be a Skverer Hasid and eventually moved to New Square , married and had 5 kids. Somewhere along the line after realizing he had not been given the skills to support a family and slowly becoming more aware of the outside world via books and computer he realizes there are other ways of life . He lost his belief in G-d and in yiddishkeit.  He tries to stay within the fold because of his children but eventually he feels he must be true to his convictions and leave. At first he and his ex wife have an amicable child custody agreement but eventually that crumbles. He felt that he chose the life he had to but naively did not anticipate what the fallout might be.
       At the end of the book he briefly mentioned that his mother and siblings have not abandoned him  despite his lack of religious affiliation. I wish he would have includ more about his grandparents and other non frum relatives and if and what kind of relationship he had with them as a child.
        I hope that my review of this book does not seem as too much of a spoiler. That was not my intention . I actually had heard of Shulem Deen's story through the grapevine and had read parts of his blog hasidic rebel and unpious periodically before reading his memoir. It does not spoil anything .What makes the book interesting is reading his point of view and the way he tells his story. It is important to note in the afterward that he states that his book is not meant to convince anyone that his path of belief is the only way merely that it's the path he has chosen for himself. Whether or not this is what he truly believes I do not know but I would say that this is what the tone of his book portrayed. It truly is the story of why he left not the story of why everyone should leave. I hope he finds peace.