Friday, August 30, 2013

Separate From The Community...

This post is inspired by the blog:

Pirkei Avos teaches us not to separate ourselves from the community. I, too, am someone who is tormented by the community. Similar to AztecQueen when she started her blog, I'm not really interested in leaving the NYC area. I have also resolved to live in a certain bubble. I avoid most people like the plague. The problem isn't the actual Torah. It isn't that keeping Shabbos or Kashrus is too difficult.

The problem is with the community. I can't help but wonder what community meant when that passage was written into the Pirkei Avos. I only know what it means now.

Now this means being surrounded by groupthink in quite an extreme form. It means that when enough people in the community don't like your decisions, they will hound you and come after you. These decisions do not involve violating the Torah. How many times have we overheard or been told by members of the community, "it's just not shayich," as in that it's just not the way people do it. For example, a single person might be told that they HAVE TO wear a sheitel when they get married-make no mistake I did NOT say they have to cover their hair, I said they have to wear a sheitel. Many will give a woman a hard time for wearing a tichel or a hat with all hair tucked into it. Even while single, a woman might be told this. The excuse for this is that well hey it's just not what people do. I think an even greater issue is the pressure to marry-someone-anyone for a woman is even more telling. We even belittle single female with the designation of GIRLS. Oops, excuse me, you can be 99 years old but if you aren't married/divorced, you are to be called a girl, not a woman. No wonders why some women marry for a month and get divorced without having any kids.

See, one of the biggest problems with the community is this idea that people can tell others what to do. Also, why does it seem like the community is bossing around the women far more than the men?

Now, I'm asking the community a question, when the community is driving you nuts, when you repeatedly set up "boundaries" with your frum friends which they do not honor, what should a person do? The accepted advice is that if friends or relatives are toxic, they should be cut out. When the whole community is toxic, what would you have people do? Do you really presume that adults should tolerate the bullying that is served up courtesy of the community?

I am asking because I would like a better answer. I would like to be able to live my life my own way and make my own decisions. So, I really need a resolution as to how this can be done without going into hiding from the community.


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  3. Well, you said you don't want to leave NY, but I think that these sorts of problems are most prevalent in New York (frum) Jewish communities, so honestly... if you don't like these attributes (and who would??), leaving NY is probably your best bet.

  4. Actually, I don't buy that. Nevertheless, I didn't come to NYC to be Jewish. I came for other reasons and I'm not going to be BULLIED into leaving by some people from a religion in which I believe.