Sunday, May 22, 2011

Guest Post: Confessions of a Jew.... To Another Jew..

Earlier this week, I had an interesting surprise. After checking my blog and fnding some kind comments from new readers. I checked my Email. In my inbox I found the following (with a very mild amount of editing on my part). (Purple is for my female posters. I give him this deep green.)

A couple of months ago I was sitting with a classmate in the far end of the cafeteria, quickly going through my notes for a Classics exam that was to take place in short order. At the time, among the works we were studying, Plato’s ‘Trial and Death of Socrates’ was one of the texts. I had it out for test-prep.

That afternoon, for some reason, as you sat at the next table, minding your own business, occasion presented itself for us to exchange a few words. In short: you directed me to your blog and I wrote its address in the back cover of the Plato. I went to take the test; aced it and forgot all about the blog.

I’m generally not given to reading blogs because threads are very labyrinthine and my time to fiollow a thread is too limited to begin its journey, but I’m not averse to looking at some when they’re interesting, from time to time.

Anyhow: last week I had occasion to take the Plato out once more for the purpose of writing my final paper, and I came across the URL that I’d written those moths ago. I made a mental note to check it out because at the time we exchanged those few words, it appeared like you had something to tell, earnestly.

But as you know, as a student at the brink, together with everyone else, finals here in  ain’t no piece o’ cake. So I put it out of my mind for a few days. Yesterday, as I entered the library, and was passing security in the tight and crowded alcove area, we accidentally bumped into each other. I then resolved to remember to check it out; my curiosity burned.

Now, I find myself trying to calm myself from the outrageous things I read on your blog. Not only are your sufferance right, valid and correct, but I’m ashamed to read that such a deep disregard for other Jews—even to the basic human level—is the norm. Earlier, as I happened by one of the posts—and where I realized that you were, in fact, a convert—I commented to the effect that it’s crazy that such callousness exists among Jews. Now, hours later as I perused some of your posts, I realize that the reality of this situation is rampant and it disgusts me. As a born cynic, your stories should ordinarily strike me as exaggerated; but not these stories. I’ve seen them first hand too many times, to dismiss anything you say.

Now, I don’t hate my fellow Jew just because he/she is ignorant; but at the same time, it incenses me that the most noble and respectable Jew, the convert, is not respected.

I must point out: I may not be the type of person who socializes, in the first place; or I may not be a good schmoozer, much; but disrespect?! How can such a thing occur?!

Why, I wonder, does a conversation with you have to revolve around conversion, Judaism, theism, theology or anything like that? Why couldn’t it be about how one professor sucks and the other rules? About how Starbucks coffee is better than Dunkin Doughnut's (in my humble opinion)? That such-and-such an exhibit is coming to a local Museum, or that X,Y and Z? You’re human! If I’m to converse with you, I’d be conversing with a woman! Not some circus side-show…

If you wanted to discuss conversion and such, then you’d be doing that too—at your own volition; but why is it such a hot topic with FFBs? Sometimes the most embarrassing, insensitive, even gruesomely cruel questions are asked, and I can’t imagine what behooves them to ask them!

Of course you don’t have the answers, and neither do I; but as I said in my post response: my family has been blessed with our extended family, our Puerto Rican family. Unfortunately, due to my residence here in the five boros, and theirs outside the five boros, I don’t get to see them much; but are they in any way less my brothers and sisters than my biological siblings? No. in fact, I wouldn’t mind exchanging some of them…lol

But seriously: I read some of the episodes of the Hineini encounters; the Shabbos lunches; the keep-the-convert-at-arm’s-length attitude: and I hate it.

You’re just a simple, typical woman. You wake up in the morning like everyone else; you daven; you learn; you eat; you study; you have fun; you’re bored; you cry; you laugh; you wonder; you conclude; you love; you despise; you plan; you’re spontaneous; you win; you lose; you’re rich; you’re poor: you’re completely normal! So why the heck are you being treated like a lab rat?!

To put it another way: you're not a convert. You're simply a Jew. End of story.

I hope you find a man who deserves you; a sensitive, sensible, successful man, and one who’ll love you and you’ll love. And, moreover, I hope you find chein with people and you discontinue being treated like a diseased creature. You and you friends are nothing like that, and some of us are, boruch haShem, aware of that… I hope our numbers increase, as it's high time it did, and more of us come to appreciate you.


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