Sunday, October 24, 2010

Responding to an Email...

Note: I've tried to post this twice on the Yoseph Robinson thread, but it wasn't taking....perhaps it's too long. So, I've sent it to you direct. DES


I wrote the original comment asking you to look at the Emes V’Emunah blog piece, as well as to comment on Yoseph Robinson. Although you now have opened up discussions on both topics, in neither case did your discussion go in the direction I was hoping it would go.
Harry Maryles noted your ‘deep pain’ over the bias you endure from the frum community. You too describe that bias….often, and in no uncertain terms. However, what emerged from Yoseph’s death was a picture of someone similarly situated – who probably experienced the same bias, and more – who remained an incredibly positive person (I too knew him personally).
I was hoping you might consider how Yoseph was able to maintain such a positive attitude, in spite of the adversity he faced. Alternatively, and even harder to do, might be an exploration of why and how you have become so swamped in negative feelings….the ‘deep pain’ that is very clear from many of your posts.
I felt that discussing these issues might help you in the long run.

However, your post about the Maryles blog was limited to your back and forth with ‘chaim1’…..hardly helpful, especially given how limited this guy’s capacity is to come to an acceptance about geirim and geirus. Why bother with him? Yet, that give and take absorbed not one, but two recent posts, and the message of the Emes V’Emunah blog was totally lost in the shuffle.

And now, in spite of the incredible inspiration to the community at large that resulted from Yoseph’s murder, you focused instead on the dribble of some few and far between mindless fools. And you ran with it. Any review of the events surrounding his murder will yield the unmistakable conclusion that the Orthodox community’s reaction was AMAZING; hundreds packed his funeral, and an entire group of rabbis and activists accompanied him – to Jamaica, no less – for burial. Hardly the stuff for negative spin.

Whether you like it or not, you and Yoseph share a huge commonality. He took his struggles and challenges, and worked to inspire. He did so during his life, and he certainly did so in his death. I envy his portion in the next world…..few can accomplish so much, in so little time.

Your blog, OTOH, is a chronicle of your personal pain, much of it against our community for failing to live up to your expectations of us. You’ve chosen to share that pain in a public forum. Like Harry, I feel your pain, and wish it were better. It certainly could be better, but your negativity about the situation is, IMHO, less an indication of the situation, and more a spotlight on you.

At the end of the day, each of us can't change the world; only our own respective Daled Amos. That holds true for all of us, you too. So, I will again suggest that it’s time to take an overdue look at your reactions to life’s challenges. I think it’s time to consider how your own pain may be fueling the difficulties you’re encountering with life as a Jew.

Good luck. If anything, be aware that there’s many – like me – out here in the blogosphere who are supporting you through this tough spot in your life. I really hope it works out. I don't, however, agree with BeeZee: no one has the ability to "make sure things turn out right". Life can be tough...there are no magic cures for that.



I would like to turn the tables for a moment and point something out. I have posted countless posts that are not Jewish. My blog is not a "chronicle of animosity towards me" because of these posts. However, no one seems to read any of those posts. I get very few comments on those posts, with exception of some of my friends and regular readers. The vast majority of posts that people seem to actually read are those Jewish posts. If those Jewish posts seem like a "chronicle of animosity," I don't know what to tell you. The reality is that my process wasn't even that bad. However, once I converted, I have gotten a bit of animosity from the community. I guess they failed to make me aware that constant harassment is a part of being an Orthodox Jew.

When I first converted, I wasn't in college and of course I wasn't dating anyone. I was harassed to try to get married and I was harassed to go back to college. Trying to meet someone involved more harassment to get my bachelor's, so I decided to take a break from trying to date and I went back to college. As soon as I went back, I was under pressure to drop out. In fact, a woman told me to drop out and then I put on my Facebook status, "I most certainly will not be dropping out of college." She had the nerve to make some comment as if she were not one of the people who told me to drop out. Yes, I'm sick and tired of everyone. I know some people who have converted have had a nice warm fuzzy experience, but I have not. To a large degree, I have withdrawn myself from the community and I exist in a bubble. I have accepted that the Jews who I thought of as my friends are not. What friend, tells you not to do your best? I will continue to push myself to do my best in college and anyone who tells me not to, I don't consider a friend.

As for Yoseph Robinson, what I saw was the negative reactions. I saw the nasty comments online, I came across Facebook comments saying "NO ONE Jewish should go to this." That's what I saw. I call them like I see them.

I'm swamped in negative feelings, huh? I don't know about that. Like I said, to a large degree, I'm removed myself from the source. I stopped trying to interact with Orthodox Jews. That pretty much took care of any negativity I had in the past. I have one or two friends left, but, I'm not bothering with new people.

"I really hope it works out. I don't, however, agree with BeeZee: no one has the ability to "make sure things turn out right". Life can be tough...there are no magic cures for that." You quoted BeeZee wrong. No maybe no one can make it turn out right. However, when people go out of their way to see my situation and then they have me over for a Shabbos or a Yontiff and verbally attack me, I'm supposed to feel happy about it?  If a person or a group of people keep kicking you, you don't go back for more-unless something is wrong with you. You guys seeem to expect me to just keep going back for more verbal attacks. The fact is that the Orthodox community seems to enjoy being mean to me. I'm not going to subject myself to it.

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