Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The View From Out Here Is Pretty Fucked Up

Hey Generic Representatives of All Branches of Judaism.  I'm glad I got all of you in one place.  I've been meaning to tell you something:

Your religion has gone off the rails.  You are so far afield from where you started it's laughable.  Not to mention extremely frustrating for someone on the outside looking in and trying to see its beauty (which I believe exists).

Allow me to explain.

First some background.  I come from a religious family - what you generically might describe as "Yeshivish".  I went off the derech when I was 12.  I've lived a very not-religious life since then.  Recently, however, I've tried to find my way back into your fold.  There are a number of reasons for this which I don't really feel are important for the purposes of this conversation.  But suffice it to say, I have an advanced degree in Outside Looking In and that gives me a different perspective on your religion.

So I'd just like to address (skewer) each of you, Representatives, and tell you what I think of you for what it's worth (nothing) and in no particular order:

Modern Orthodox Man/Woman, in your 200 dollar Lucky jeans, your fancy shoes and North Face winter coats.  Look, I love how you put a premium on the outside world.  I dig how you pride yourselves on your education, your advanced degrees and your hedge fund jobs.  But is it really necessary to forsake so much to live that life?  And honestly, do your kids really need to be that cynical, watch that much tv and see whatever movies they want?  Do your daughters really need to dress so inappropriately just to show that they can?  Do your wives need to wear pants everywhere because heaven forbid anyone sees them in a skirt?  Is it really necessary to hate Chasidim or Yeshivish people because they believe differently than you?  Must you all be so damn cynical about EVERYTHING?  Don't you see that the more you take from the outside world, the less you have to give to your religion?  Soon you will be too far gone to come back.

And you, Chassidish Man/Woman, stop sniggering.  You really think you are any better?  You want to curtain yourself off from the rest of the world, go right ahead.  There is a certain beauty to the ay you live apart (to some degree).  But must you separate yourselves from your fellow Jews as well?  Why, because they are dressed different?  Think different?  They are your brothers! 

And you, leaders, the tighter you close your fist, the more sand slips between your fingers.  No books, no movies, no music - banning even Jewish music concerts.  Did you guys ever stop to think that people need release?  We aren't machines, aren't meant to deny ourselves all the pleasures of the world.  The problem isn't indulgence, it's over-indulgence.  You have lost perspective in your need to control every aspect of the people who look to you for leadership.  And seriously, government support?  Not every one of you is a Torah scholar, get a fucking job and stop taking Section 8 and food stamps from the truly needy.

Oh and also, stop covering up the molestation.  You are doing your community a giant disservice by allowing monsters to roam freely in your realm because it's too embarrassing to let them be seen.

I see you, Yeshivish Man/Woman, hiding in the corner and looking all pious. And it's 80 degrees in here, take off that stupid black hat already. Jeez. So let's get real. You guys have it all down pat. Not as loony at those Chasids, but not wild like the MO's right? You know what's really important. Like white table cloths on your Shabbos table, the boy's familial yichus and your appearance to the outside world.  You are uniquely situated - you get to look down on everyone.  MO, Chasidish, they all have it wrong. Only you know the proper way to live.  My favorite part?  You send your kids to the frummest schools, you only daven at certain shuls, etc.  But your wives wear far and away the tightest clothes of any other group (excluding Latinos) as tznios seems to only apply to unmarried girls, not women.

Conservative/Reform guy, what are you doing?  Judaism with no rules?  Seriously?  Religion has to have rules.  It needs to be harder than that.  Otherwise, what's the point?  If I can do whatever I want, why on earth would I be Jewish?  I might as well be a Hedonist.  Yes, your religious brothers and sisters look down on you.  Because they see you are the ones who took the easy way out.  While they work their asses off.  Are the pretentious and judgemental?  Of course they are.  They are Jews.  But are they really wrong?  Ok, you are dismissed.

And last, but not least, we hit the gaggle in the corner.  The OTD/Chip on their shoulder Jews.  You are non-observant.  Ok.  Judaism and it's tough standards aren't for everyone.  Maybe your teachers/parents/rabbis were too hard on you.  We get it.  I get it.  But stop hating.  Stop whining that Judaism sucks cause you had to sit in synagogue for 8 hours on Yom Kippur when you were 13.  Or that any religion which doesn't allow you to shave your face with a razor is stupid.  Just stop.  Stop blaming the religion for your problems.  That was allowed when you were "under its cruel thumb". Now you are "free".  You chose to stop being observant, in some cases to be Jewish - not us - so do us all a favor - move the fuck on with your life.

PLEASE NOTE:  I think there are many, many wonderful parts of Judaism.  I just think all of you have done your damnedest to make sure no one ever sees them or experiences them. 

You all need to remember, we are one big family.  We are our own worst enemy the way we fight.  We need to stop.  One god, remember?  One god, not one for each of you.

Otherwise you are going to lose the me's of the world.  For good.

27 comments:

  1. I wish you were wrong here, but you're not. I'm a new reader, so I'm going to go back in virtual time. Nice meeting you.

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  2. Yay, a new reader. Welcome, and thanks for reading. Nice meeting you too.

    C.

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  3. Great post. But... You missed out one of the key groups in Judaisim today: Chabad. It is a category of its own, not really fitting into any of the groups you mentioned.

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  4. Thus sayeth the Chabadnik? Everyone thinks they are special. Just fold them in somewhere between yeshivish and chasidish abnd u'll be ok :)

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  5. Nothing to do with being special, its simply that we dont fit with either of those groups. At all. Especially in the ways you described them :)

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  6. Honestly? I don't know enough about Chabad to have an opinion about them.

    I have a friend who is frum, but ex-chabad - she felt extremely smothered by them.

    And my dad tells me that people write that their comparisons of the rebbe as messiah borders on blasphemy. But ur right, they are probably perfecto :)

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  7. With regards to point two, that happens with any group.

    Re point three, Ive written about that at length. Not to be dissing anyone, but people that feel its blasphemy draw parallels which are non existent and display simple ignorance on the topic. The topic of Moshiach is something which outside chabad circles is really not studied. Therefore, many people outside of chabad are simply ignorant and scared of the topic and therefore make ignorant statements...

    And nobody is perfect.

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  8. So I take it you are a Moshichist? And from my experience you can never win an argument by saying "the other guy doesn't know what he's talking about, only I do" is usually NOT the way to go.

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  9. I happen not to like that word cuz its taken on all these weird meanings... Do I believe the Rebbe is moshiach, unequivocally yes. I addressed the topic at decent length here http://bit.ly/uRlDvH

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  10. I didn't even need that degree in Outside Looking In to have seen all of that. You're absolutely right, unfortunately.

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  11. I'm sure it's a good read. I, however, am not sure I wanna go down that road. i have enough issues trying to work out with Judaism without introducing that firecracker into the mix.

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  12. Damn my point was made for me. Ya i was gonna say u forgot chabad. And not knowing much about it doesn't mean it deserves no mention. Anyway i dont feel like elaborating. However i will say that while you have some valid points, which group do u fall into that you feel the need to patronize everyone else?

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  13. Altie - I'm sure every person associated with Puppa would say Puppa is different. And every single other sect of chasids would say they are different too.

    I'm in the group of outside looking in. i'm, looking to find a place in Judaism and watching all the jews and thinking "WHY exactly do I wanna belong to THIS?

    And I dont thnik I'm being patronizing at all. You point out where I'm wrong./ i'd love to be wrong. i'm making observations of fact.

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  14. You mention Puppa because of my post...

    Here's what i think: you are looking in the wrong place for the answers. Ask yourself who is Runnin the show? Not me or you or MO or chabad or yeshivish. If u wanna serve Gd then do so. It really has nothing to do with any other Jew. Let us say, for arguments sake, that many Jews these days has effed up Judaism for everyone else. So what. That argument doesnt fly as none of these Jews created Judaism and you are not serving them. So find your own path and do ur own thing.

    And i say patronizing because u might think that u are isolated, a group unto ur own, on the outside looking in. 1st of all in connection with what i said above u are a Jew no matter what so ultimately you are and always will be 'one of us'.

    And lets give an example of a classroom: the teacher steps out and all the kids misbehave. Is it YOUR job to point out everyone's faults? Who appointed you to that job? That is what i mean.

    And you may not understand it but chabad IS different in many ways.

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  15. Re: Your first point. very nice, but completely factually untrue. NO ONE respects the idea that you can worship god in your own way. You have to follow the "rules" - the question is, whose rules? No one respects "i just follow my own rules". It's impossible position to take. i can't make my own rules.

    2. This is my blog - this is where i go to to make my observations. Is it my job? No. but this is where i write uot my thoughts to try and figure things out. if not here, then where?

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  16. Unfortunately as with the case of reform, some ppl think they can. Speaking from a place of being comfortable with how i was brought up i guess i cant relate so well. And yes there are rules but you can choose not to label yourself at all and just follow halacha. You dont have to call yourself anything. Just a Jew.

    And point taken.

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  17. Re - reform -that's my point exactly. This post was never about labels - thus the "Generic".

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  18. Cymbaline - you're right; you can't make your own rules. That's what Reform is all about. :-) But on a more serious note, the problem isn't halacha per se, but more hashkfafa (I hope I'm using the right word)and how community standards have reached the level of halacha. It's not only a problem between chasidic groups either but appears to be a problem in the dati world in Israel.

    I've never been inside the cloud of the frum world as you have, but I do see the problems. And as beautiful as Judaism is, I ask myself if I really want to behave like that.

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  19. Someone once told me "Don't judge Judaism by the Jews". :)

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  20. You asked for it - you got it! (accidentally but still).

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  21. as a holder of the Outside Looking In Degree, possibly a doctorate in that exclusive field, i can tell you all the ins and outs of trying to fit what life experience has taught me into one or two or all of those fields. and it ain't pretty. so what we do is throw all labels out the window and have an understanding that we cannot afford to compromise our beliefs for anything - even though it means living life misunderstood. obviously it's vague but if you really want to know how we did it, i'd be happy to oblige.

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  22. how true wrote im frum and chasidish and this is the real truth i would love to leave but need some support if u can help me please hit me up jewishfun2 @ gmail.com

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  23. Rabbi Hillel once said, "VeAhavta LeReacha Kamocha, everything else is commentary." Love your neighbor like yourself.

    The wisdom is there, and there are reflective people out there just trying to live principled, thoughtful lives based on that wisdom.

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  24. Colloq - We should definately talk/share.

    Yael - I agree that people as a whole need to be more decent to each other.

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  25. I generally enjoy your posts, but this one seems a tad harsh. Maybe you can try to see some small positive in each of the groups whose flaws you point out?

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  26. MB - I think each of those groups has positives - in fact, I've stated a few of them here. And I'm no expert on ANY of them. My point is this - an outsider looking in would be horrified by the way jews treat each other. if that is harsh, so be it.

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