Thursday, May 10, 2012

Saving Our Souls One Rule at a Time - Part II And a Goodbye to Some of You

Disclaimer:  I have a certain background and that causes me to have certain negative feelings towards orthodox Judaism and it's leadership.  So anything I say should be read with that in mind.  These are my opinions only.  But each and every opinion set forth here is based upon conversations I've had with people in all worlds.

Disclaimer 2:  I think the internet is a wonderful tool.  I also think it is a dangerous tool.  I do not disagree with that assertion.  I have seen bad things, discussed bad things and even done bad things on the internet.  And what's true for me is undoubtedly true (in some form or another) for each and every one of you. And not only bad things - also simply wasteful.  E.g., David is a Tweeter - I've seen his twitter feed.  Between his friends and sports writers, he follows like 70 people.  There is a constant stream of information on his page.  If he were to follow each tweet, he'd literally do nothing all day.  So from these perspectives, I get why certain Jewish leaders believe the internet can be a dangerous place.


This was the front page otfthe New York Times this morning.  Now I would be the first person to opine that the New York Times has a very liberal agenda, one which does not include Israel of orthodox Jewery.  Anyone who knows me in real life has heard my anti NY Times rants.

Now as bad as the internet is, where is the public outcry in the Chasidish world about child abuse?  Molestation?  Sexual abuse?  Wouldn't we be MUCH better off if the Jewish leadership sat 40,000 people down in Citi Field and explained to them that these problems are significantly worse than looking at porn on the internet?  Am I crazy to think that way?

A couple of stories I'd like to share with you.  These are real life stories, told to me by the people they happened to.  You can choose to believe them or not.

Story one - This is one I've heard from at least half a dozen chasidish guys and "confirmed", if you will, by several more who say they've seen  but not participated.  There is a decent percentage (no I do not have a number nor do I want to guess) of chasidish males who are having their first sexual experience with other males in their yeshivos.  Each and every one that I spoke to states this as if is completely normal.  After all, they have no contact with females when they are hitting puberty so they use what's available.  Interestingly enough, each of the people I spoke to speak negatively about gay people and homosexuality, and seem to draw conclusions that what they experienced was somehow not a homosexual experience.  Not judging this one way or the other, I'm merely setting forth a fact.

Story Number Two - I have an email correspondence going back and forth with a reader who is, wonderfully enough, getting married in a few weeks.  She is 19 years old, from a very frum (yeshivish) community and is marrying a seemingly wonderful guy.  She wrote to me because a) her kallah teacher talks about sex as if it is some sort of Holy Episode and, from the way Teacher describes it, it sounds to the poor kallah like Teacher is talking about something she's never herself actually experienced.  It's like a theoretical exercise out of a sefer.  And b) the one married friend she talked to about it (and the only one she felt comfortable enough discussing it with) described sex as follows "it hurts at first but you get used to it".  (IT HURTS AT FIRST THEN YOU GET USED TO IT?????????  Bites down hard on tongue.)  So this poor girl, who has never experienced any sort of physical relationship, emailed me because apparently it's been intimated that I've had sex before (how you fuckers saw through my "tennis analogy" is beyond me.  You all are so clever) to know if sex was some magically holy act which hurt and wasn't in any way enjoyable.  My response to her is irrelevant for this discussion.

Story Number Three - I was sexually  abused.  Not by my parents (that was simply emotional abuse Mom, don't worry), my creepy uncle, my third grade Morah or a stalker in the mikvah.  I was abused by guys, some kippah wearing and Shabbos observing, who knowingly preyed on my weaknesses and my needs and my addictions to get what they wanted from me.  Partly my fault?  To some degree, yes. And yes, I know it isn't the same thing as family or teacher or leader abuse, nor am I comparing the same, but I am making an over all point below.

Story Number Four - I'm not telling you story number 4.  But I will only say I heard it from the abused person, it's horrible, and, last I heard, the victim of this crime is currently unable to function in society without the aid of illegal drugs.  I still cannot think of this without getting sweaty and feeling uncomfortable/ill in the pit of my stomach.

What's my point?  My point is simple - and not original in any way. 

Giant rallies against the internet, and internet filters, are like putting lipstick on a pig.  The ugliness is still there. 

Can anyone really tell me that the "internet problem" is more severe than the abuse issue?  Or the fact that so many walls have been put up regarding sex in the Jewish community that it's viewed by our young people as "evil" and shameful - two very CATHOLIC ideas.

People, the problem isn't the internet.  The internet is simply a symptom of a much bigger problem.  And making more and more and stricter and stricter rules won't help.  There will always be a way.  Take away the internet and people will just do what they will do in "real" life.  Take away girls and boys will find boys.  Take away information and candidness about sex and you will make sexually dysfunctional marriages.

And for fuck's sake, stop protecting abusers of the innocent!!!

And now - my goodbye to some of you - specifically those of you who will be putting filters on your internet.  I'm pretty sure this blog isn't going to make the "cut"  - especially if this guy's blog didn't.  So to those of you who will be filtered, I say fare ye well.  I enjoyed having you here and I shall miss you!

At least until you leave your house, log on at work or on your wireless, filter free devices.


  1. Still here. And I can definitely relate to you on point number three.

  2. want to know my opinion? ;)
    i am very well acquainted with stories 1-4 and then some...and each of them have their own stadium worth of thoughts to go through. I don't profess to know what this thing is all about, and from my understanding it didn't happen yet anyway, but I do know that in order for me to live a happy, content life, I need a filter in my head so that I can choose what I should focus on and throw out information that is irrelevant or damaging to me. problems in the community - I can help that by doing what I do. Problems with the leaders of the community - can't do anything unless I get a sex change, become dynamic and social, and then try to vie for that position...although becoming dynamic and social is probably going to be the thing that holds me back:)
    Personally, I am doing my best to contribute to the bettering of this world. I can live with that.

  3. I voiced my opinions on the matter today as well.