Sunday, June 19, 2011

HATE, Regret and mistakes- Orthodox Judaism at it's finest

I haven't really been blogging. I haven't felt much like it. It seems like my blog is read by first off not so many people. Also the people who are on my side seem to have issues of their own. One of my hopes with the blog was encompassed by the guest post written by "David." The idea is that I am a real person and I'm not that different from all of you who may be FFBs looking down your nose at me. So, I was encouraged to read this story on the unpious blog which is a blog written by those  who have gone off the derech. Mostly, the guy starting it and most of the posters are FFBs from a Chasidic background. However, this story was written by a BT who went off.

Furthermore, I would like to QUOTE one of the commenters, as this story and then this commmenter encompass so much of my frustrations. Der Bik comments, "Emes Rocker sez, “Why let some close minded people in the frum world turn you off to Torah?”

According to its own laws and traditions, Judaism can’t be practiced alone.

Other faiths make a big deal out of hermits, or years spent in solitary prayer or meditation, or vows of silence.

Other faiths highly value people who deny themselves marriage, family, and even close, personal friendships, in the pursuit of spiritual goals.

But Judaism is an emphatically *communal* religion. You can’t just run off and live alone in some Himalayan cave and practice yiddishkeit in any meaningful way, or in any way resembling yiddishkeit as Jews understand it.

And so when Jews make life hellish for other Jews who want to practice yiddishkeit, their misbehavior is in many ways more destructive and farther-reaching than the misbehavior of, say, a Roman Catholic who makes life hellish for another Roman Catholic.

It is deeply dishonest of frum Jews to excuse the nasty behavior of other frum Jews by saying, “Religious Jews are people, too. You can’t expect them to be perfect!”

No sane, reasonable human being expects “perfection” of other human beings.

What people who’ve left frumkeit complain about isn’t *imperfection” among frum Jews.

What they complain about is frum Jews, again and again and again, knowingly and willfully and intentionally acting with full malice aforethought in ways that aggressively and grotesquely violate Torah’s most basic precepts in order to make life hellish for other Jews.

In other faiths, people believe that G-d judges and redeems them *individually*.
As Jews, we believe that G-d judges and redeems us as a *nation*, as a *people.*
In other words:
In Judaism, a few bad apples really can spoil the whole barrel."

Alll of this explains so much, my frustrations and difficulties with Judaism. Also, while I originally felt drawn to what I knew as the Old Testament or Torah, when you get into Judaism, you have all these rabbinic interpretations. I was lied to by kiruv people about the sexist nature of Judaism. I barely even have any frum friends. Most of my friends are either not Jewish or not frum. While I can't be upset at any one person that they did not become my friend, when I make friends very easily outside of Judaism, one has to wonder how I have not made made friends with FFBs other than a small number I met through school. Actually, not having made friends is only the beginning of the answer to a greater analysis of the situation.
The answer I believe lies in the FFB "in towner" mentality-culture-whatever you want to call it. It's the Brooklyn Arrogance that is not contained in Brooklyn. I live in a modern community in Queens where they all like to think they are Manhattan-types and I'm not good enough for them because I don't make good money. While ironically, most of the worst experiences I had came from Brooklyn in some way, it also seems all my friends are in Brooklyn.
There is a conflict of interest in the Brooklyn and Orthodox culture. While kiruv is pushed by some, the same group, as well as the non-kiruv types push this "FFB holier than thou" mentality. Now you can look at me and brush me off as a convert because you know, it's all my fault that I'm here and so on. However, Chavi Silver from this linked story is only one of so many who try to become observant and realize that Orthodox Judaism runs after them only to refuse to let them in. You bang your head against the wall. Finally, you wonder, "why am I here?" as I wonder. My many non-Jewish friends ask me, why I haven't just walked away. It's really a good question. The shul secretary lives a half a block from me and I see her walking her dog and used to stop and say hello, every time to segueway into a discussion of the fact that I should move. I get it. I'm not welcome in shul and you're telling me. I started walking fast by her so I she won't say hello to me. She seems to get that and no longer tries. I stopped going to shul. I am not welcome anywhere in the neighborhood. There aren't that many shuls and from each one, someone has let me know that I'm not welcome. It's obvious that the leadership has gotten together and made a pact that I am not welcomed anywhere. So, I stopped going. For a while I went away every shabbos, but around the tine I started back to school I slowed up on that. I started to stay home until now.
I don't really feel Jewish so much. Why should I when I meet people who spout off at the mouth that I'm "not a real Jew"? After all, my mother was not known to me to be Jewish. I was not raised Jewish and I had a Xmas tree growing up. Was I raised Xtian? NO. I mean I was raised about as Xtian as the twice a year pesach seder Chanukhah Jew who might even have bread at the seder... or more likely than that a bagel.
At every turn the Orthodox piss and moan about the intermarriage rates. They say, well, the only way to keep your kids Jewish is to raise them Orthodox. Yet, why should anyone? YOU WONT LET ANYONE IN!!!! That is, it is very hard to be let in to the schools and the community if you are not an FFB. Even a BT who has read this blog and is married to an FFB could not get her kids in to the schools she tried to apply to. The applications warn BTs by asking on them about your mother and grandmother... where did mommy go to Bais Yakov? 
The holders of the keys to the Orthodox world continue to piss and moan that people are intermarrying. Something theese people are just not getting through their thick skulls is that the Reform don't care about intermarriage so much. Actually, they don't care to know about what the Orthodox are doing so much as the Orthodox sit and watch and talk about what all the other Jews are doing... "Look that Avi Weiss in Riverdale and his woman 'rabbi', look at what they are doing." "Look at these women rabbis in the Reform movement, look at what they are doing." "The Conservatives are ordaining women now, too. Look at what they are doing." Why, WHY, OH WHY, do the Orthodox even give a you know what? They are laughing and pointing at others for violating rules that are not even in the Torah.
I'm just so sick of this gross lack of morals. I'm sick of the nastiness. When people have me over to a Shabbos meal for the sole purpose of being wretchedly nasty to me, how can I not feel like I made a mistake?
I am not welcome here, this so much has been communicated to me.


  1. I do read your blog when you do post an essay for the sole reason that I find your essays to be insightful and help me understand my own situation an little bit better. I am a BT that went to the Mir Yeshiva in America and then I married a sweet nice girl I had known in high school who also had become frum. And she had married me at the time I was at the Mir. I mention this because at the time I had only one profession--learning Torah. That is what I did 11 hours a day. But that really did not count as diligence since there were other bachurim who learnt 12 hours per day. But I want to make it clear that the whole yeshiva world at the time was stating openly the purpose of life is to learn torah all day. (Which does seem pretty clear from the Talmud itself. ---The yerushalmi talmud says all the mitzvot are not eqaul yo one word of Torah.") This was not my personal made up religon.
    When we got to Israel I continued in my path but did not attend a kollel since in Israel kollels were set up in the way of using Torah to make money. There it is considered a 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. job that you get paid for. It was not like the Mir.
    Afetr a period of time we retuned to California. Up to this time no rabbis were in any postion to hurt me our my family. If they had i could have bailed out with my wife.
    But at that time my wife was involved with the chasidut that claimed their rebbi is the messiah. They encoraged her to divoce me because I was one of them. But the amazing thing was all the orthodox and chareidi community including the Lakewood Kollel in Los angeles did everything they could to break up our marriage for the stated reason that I was only learning Torah and not working. (The real reason was i was aBT and no one of them. if I had neeb FFB they wouild have done evertuyning to help our family.)
    Later the community sexually abused all of our children while accusing me of their sins. plus accusing me of thinking I was the messiah. How ironic can you get. I was accused of all their sins. And let me just state for the record I am not the messiah--just in case you were wondering!!!

  2. It's nice to know that people think I'm insightful. I suppose this is what they mean when they told my bullshit meter is finely tuned. It seems like you are also fed up with "trying to join the club."

  3. Rosten,

    "for the stated reason that I was only learning Torah and not working."

    I have absolutely no idea regarding the specifics of your situation. However, if you'll read your Ketubah, it states you are obligated to work. "Which seems pretty clear from the Talmud itself" -- you've been shown a very selective set of quotes from the Talmud; I (or Michal or many other people) could quote you dozens of sources otherwise. Though the yeshiva world in which you'd been may live with that religious sense.

    Trust me that many "blue blood" FFBs have severe marital difficulties, and divorces happen there too.

    Very sorry to hear of the problems in your life; yet you claim that you were singled out strictly because you were not FFB; you have not made that case compellingly here.

    What can certainly happen is that sadly, when a marriage breaks down, people pull all sorts of nasty dirty tricks. Those who are better-connected with the community are often able to pull nastier and dirtier tricks using their connections (e.g. in a he-says she-says situation, even the most well-meaning rabbi may unconsciously give more credence to someone who looks and sounds like a native part of his community). It's a serious problem.

  4. Michal,

    (Do you prefer Nicole at this point? Per previous comment response.)

    Wow that's a lot of pain. So sorry.

    The Torah says you can't have two different measuring units, one for buying and one for selling. Sometimes it feels like the Judaism we "sell" to outsiders and the Judaism we "buy" for insiders aren't the same.

    Have you heard the story of Elisha ben Avuyah? He heard a Heavenly voice say "come back, wayward children. Except for Elisha ben Avuyah." Then every sign he saw after that looked like he wasn't wanted; finally he walked away from Judaism. That might be how you're feeling now. I have no good answers or magic solution for you; just noting that people can be in a situation where every sign they see looks wrong.

    That you've kept with Shabbos, Kashrus, etc. despite all of this says a great deal about your personal strength and conviction, yasher koach.

    I hope and pray your situation improves soon.

  5. If you don't mind me asking, which shuls did you go to? I was just wondering what type they are. thank you.

  6. While I haven't had the negative experiences you have I agree with the general sentiment you're pointing out. On one hand you're told "we love BT's and/or Gairim", then when you're an insider you get treated like a second class Jew.

    The Yeshivah where I live only admits FFB's. There's no way BT's and Gairim can be expected to respect this place, much less give tzedakah to it.

  7. btw. are they questioning by any chance your conversion? as long as you had an RCA conversion they don't have any right to do so. However, it seems the vaad conversions are questioned:
    I'm sorry that you have to go through challenging times and I hope you are able to overcome these unfortunate things that are happening.

  8. Last anon,
    I blogged about that. I live in Queens and so they would not have accepted an RCA conversion in Queens. There's something wrong with that article because the girl who converted the same day and me married in Israel and they didn't even pick up the phone. They accepted her paper work on the spot (her now mother-in-law walked it in).

    I don't think they are questioning my conversion. I've never heard such a thing. They just keep telling me to move and that people here don't want me here. The shuls I tried to attend were modern. The neighborhood is modern. The one Chabad place was also unfriendly. You can tell me all you want that Hashem wants me. The fact is that I'm not throwing myself at people who have communicated ever so clearly that they don't want me here.

    Kew Gardner, Yes I have blogged and can quote about how a man is supposed to support his family. However, I understand exactly what Rosten is talking about. There is a double standard in Judaism that puts the FFB on some sort of almighty pedestal. When I blogged about the hoochies skirts the girls wear, I was jumped on. After all, we can't drive those precious fucking little FFBs whores away from Judaism. We must cater to them for fear of losing them. However, when it comes to the BT or EVEN WORSE, us total intruders, the converts, they feel they must do everything in their power to be nasty and drive us away. This is more than just, "people aren't perfect." When someone invites you over for a Shabbos meal for the sole purpose of letting you know that you are not welcome in the neighborhood, it demonstrates a level of viciousness. The TORAH actually says that we should question the Judaism of those who don't exhibit compassion for others. Shouldn't we more question those who seek out those they consider vulnerable for the sole purpose of attacking them?

    I'm not going to be a verbal punching bag for those who don't follow the Torah. I want to tell anyone who considers becoming BT or convert what it's really about. I tried to tell one girl and she got mad at me. She'll find out. She's been running around with Chasidic men who've been nice to her. She'll find out when she tries to actually deal with someone not after her "skirt."

  9. Let me ask you this, since they don't question your conversion, and they only have issue with you being in the neighborhood, do you think that if you were to simply stop going to shul all together (at least for a while), they would consider that you are sinning b/c you're a Jew who doesn't go to shul? If this is a Queens neighborhood, then the neighborhood is not theirs b/c there are a bunch of non-Jews who also live there and they don't go around telling those non-Jews to move out, do they? So it's your right to stay.

  10. also just wanted to say if anything there are also reform and conservative synagogues who may be more welcoming and you have an orthodox conversion which is recognized across the spectrum.

  11. I really want you to listen to this shiur I'm going to send you by Rabbi Wallerstein-link below, and you can take the message of it and tell it to all those who pick on you:

    It says in there (in regards to how the Jewish people ended up wandering in the desert for 40 years) that if you perceive yourself as a grasshopper, then you're a grasshopper When others tell you you're a grasshopper, when you perceive yourself as one, you are doommed to be one. It's about attitude which defines your perception of who you are. So if you perceive yourself as a Jew, regardless of what all these other people are telling you, then you are a Jew and you are welcome in any place and any neighborhood, regardless of how unwelcome others may want to make you feel. And tell people when they pick on you that by the same token, the Jews ended up wandering in the desert for 40 yrs because of what the spies said. And they're assuming the wrong attitude towards you b/c you're a Jew and end of story.

  12. I stopped going to shul. I haven't been in over a year. People think I left. I don't care. I'm not going to go where I'm not welcomed.

  13. Didn't you write though before that you went for 2 Shabbos meals invites though? i thought that was through the shul though? or when you went they only invited you to make you feel unwelcome?

  14. You need to move to a community that you can be apart of.

  15. First off, I'm going to stop approving Anony comments. You guys better come up with a screen name of some sorts. I want to know and my other readers may want to know, which anon person is which.

    Two good meals, yes, one of them they invited college kids to sell them the nabe and I think they wanted to parade any young people they had around. I have lived in this apartment since early in my process over FOUR YEARS ago. Having me for one meal then not speaking to me again doesn't cut it. I'm not going to say it's anyone's responsibility to have me over but, when even the shul leadership (the rabbi) won't have you over....

    As for MOVING, why should I think that another community will be any different? I've had some outrageous meals in other places. One guy (a rabbi who pretended not to be) Emailed me and lied and said he talked to the Bais Din and they never heard of me. When my rabbi called him he told the rabbi, "I hope your kids marry one of your converts." We are NOT wanted. Now, if I say it, everyone tries to act like we are.

    Someone said to me once, "didn't so and so have you over once?" just like you just did. Well, I've kept Shabbos once or twice.... I've eaten Kosher once or twice.... I'm sorry why is that not good enough for you? Double standard!!! Just as the act of eating comes around frequently and Shabbos comes around once a week. Furthermore, when I know that many FFBs don't keep Shabbos-Kosher and make brachas, and after all, they are the almight high and holy Jews, how can you expect me to get all excited? I'm fed up with the FFB attitude that they are better than converts and BTs.

  16. A real heartbreaking post.
    I hope that things get better for you soon.

  17. We are NOT wanted. Now, if I say it, everyone tries to act like we are. - I've noticed that one too. It sounds like you need to move to a different community, not all of them and all FFB's act like the ones where you live. You can't assume that everyone is like the people where you live.

  18. Ouch. Vicious and scathing. Unfortunately though not a lot I can disagree with. Coming from a different perspective here (as an ex-chusid who left Bklyn and went RWMO) I had to move out of NY to gain some measure of sanity. Mind you, I can't say that I feel as if I 'belong' here (I get funny looks, no one has really befriended me, etc), but I have always been a loner and I cope.
    I wish you hatzluche rabba, and that you find happiness in your ultimate derech.

    EX Bklynite

  19. The Curmudgeonly Israeli Giyoret says:

    "As for MOVING, why should I think that another community will be any different?"

    Because this is not the experience of most converts. As you said, I think it is a NY-in-town kind of thing. Why throw out the baby with the bathwater? (True, there appears to be a LOT of bathwater...)

    Besides, as Michael Corleone put it, "Just when I try to get out, they pull me back in again!"

  20. I am not moving. I came to NYC to work in a field that is more active here than anywhere else. I should throw away a career I'm just starting for a religion that doesn't even want me?

  21. (Hayyim `Ovadya)


    I don't that this can be facilely attributed to "in-town" versus "out-of-town." The second half of my conversion took place in New Haven, CT, but my social circle consisted mainly of in-town types. This summer I've been in Brooklyn, and this sounds like NOTHING I've ever seen. Heck, I go to Syrian places with the "Edict" displayed prominently on a plaque and I don't get treated like this.

    And as a Black convert, I definitely stick out, even among the "tanner" segment of the Sephardi population. (To be quite frank, this makes me a bit ancxious re: future shiddukh possibilities.)

    Maybe there's a gender element? But even there, the giyoret whom I know from New Haven (who wasn't converting for a boyfriend) didn't go through anything like this.


    I'd be interested in knowing what, other than the lesson plan, your conversion experience was like. How were you integrating into the community then? Did things take a turn after you finished the conversion?