Thursday, April 17, 2008

my response from "messing w/yeshivish people"

Here's the original post and the comments that led to this:

messing with yeshivish people


I hear you, and I can understand, especially if you have children in yeshiva, why frontingdox is convenient — you want other people’s kids to be able to eat at your house, and for the other children to be allowed to play w/your kid. Believe me — I’m dealing with a similar thing as an adult, kashering my kitchen fully knowing that wanting to be able to feed my family, if they come over, is a major driver of this decision. Am I a poser? No. I’ll do it right or not at all. Would I bother kashering if they didn’t keep kosher? Probably not, I’d just stop bringing in nonkosher food and wouldn’t mix meat and dairy (changes I implemented months ago).

Emotionally, I’m not doing it for anyone but me and my desire to be able to have my family over. Right? Wrong? It is what it is. Would I rather be eating bacon? No one’s stopping me from doing that outside my home; inside, I’m the only one who would know if I did. But I’d know, and that means something, so I guess it is for me.

I understand orthofront if you’re divorced and you want to see your kid. I know someone who is orthodox when his kids are there. When his kids are with their mother … not so much … but in his community he maintains his front and I guess he parties elsewhere.

[a support group for those who leave the Faith.]

I think these are a good thing. Sometimes people have negative experiences with what other people do re: religion. Good to be able to work through feelings about that.

[But most guys are not willing to give it all up, and dont have the courage/chutzpa/nerve/want to break off from everything and everybody.]

I can understand that, even if I don’t agree with it.

That one would feel a need to break off from

everything and everybody, as you wrote, is, imo,

a gigantic chillul hashem and

not a good way to encourage people to become observant —

“Hey, become orthodox and you can

feel the heart-wrenching stomach pains from

feeling like if you choose to live differently than others,

you may choose to submit to what may feel like emotional blackmail

because the alternative is alienation

and feeling as if you are not loved unconditionally!”

And in the end, everyone's responsible for their own choices, and no one is emotionally blackmailed without their consent, but it's total bs that anyone would ever feel that they have to do as all others do or not be accepted/loved by their own families.

To me, that’s exactly what Judaism is NOT about!

And I find it reprehensible that I have seen people suffer emotionally because they don’t wish to live as every otherdox in the ‘hood does, or because their child(ren) choose(s) to live differently, or because they wish to not be as observant as their parents. The heartache is not logical (and neither is religion, but we know that).

And the isolation works both ways — I know people more observant than some other members of their families who have been socially isolated, as a result, too, unfortunately. The less observant aren’t necessarily poster children for tolerance, either, and I will defend with equal passion the need to respect more observant people, too (like having family gatherings on Sundays, not Saturdays; offering to bring in a kosher meal, if nonkosher food is being served; for examples; this is menschlichkeit 101, not who wears skirts or goes to shul. Imo, folks need to be more respectful of everyone and agree to disagree/practice differently and love each other, anyway.)

[So they stay “frum”, do the shake, go to shul, daven, dress like penguins, but when you sit down and have any meaningful conversation with them, you see they are totally empty.]

I’m sorry to hear that. I don’t “do” as much, but what I do, I love and it puts the sprinkles on my spiritual ice cream every day.

On a completely selfish level, that blows for people like me (single, not very observant [but not necessarily opposed to being more observant], but love and care about Judaism a whole lot and want to wind up marrying someone who also digs Judaism). Most times, when I see an observant guy, I don't bother saying anything to him, 'cause I don't think I'd he'd even consider dating me, since I'm not as observant. If I had known it all might be a front, I'd've said hi to a lot more people, over the years. Jeepers. I have no patience for fronts. --Friday morning-- actually, I want to be with someone who actually digs Judaism, so, whatever. I don't want to be with someone who's not observant if they also don't like Judaism, and I don't want to be with someone who puts up an orthofront if the joy of Judaism doesn't coarse through his heart like music or blood.

How do people eat at each other's houses, if there are tons of people who don't really care? Is the only place you can be sure anything's really kosher in bp one's own house or a restaurant with a mashgiach? Or have people agreed unspokenly to all keep kosher well and equally, and just be shells of people who don't feel spiritual fulfillment for the sake of communal pretending? I don't get it.

[Living in BP, I know hundreds of such ppl, seriously, and life goes on. Is it sick?? you bet it is, but thats life.]

I guess I’m just lucky. My BP days were fun and full of noodles with pot cheese (and I was a wee lass, too). Lol And being observant was a beautiful, magical thing. And when I am, it’s still pretty cool (don’t get me wrong, I didn’t believe in God for many years and I’ve walked a long and super-windy road to get to where I am today).

[And s(b), being a regular poster, you should know how not to judge why so many ppl do it.]

With all due respect, to say “you should know how” related to why people do stuff makes no sense whatsover. I’m not here to judge why. I’m trying to understand why. My opinion doesn’t matter. “You should” is my problem with people and religion. There’s plenty of “you should” in religion without other people laying more on top of those. If I want to know something, I SHOULD ask questions, which I do. Will I judge someone for fronting? There but for wanting to feed my family in my home go I. (no.)

[Will it change? I doubt it. It will only grow and grow.]

I hope you’re wrong, for Judaism’s sake.

[And yes the Crisis that all frum ppl are moving to lakewood, is true, except if you are connected somehow to a community, there is no reason you should live among Hot Chani’s and Escalades.]

For whom is it a crisis that frum people are moving to Lakewood, other than the local non-Jewish Jersey shore population?

There’s “you should” again. Who are you to say why or where people should live? Who is anyone to say that for anyone but themselves? If you don’t want to live among hot chanis and escalades, move to the part of Amish country where they don’t use cars. I’m sure there are still attractive women there, but you won’t see escalades.


  1. Hey I didn't even know you had this- its showed up on my referrals. You may want to throw up a blogroll and start leaving your URL in the little box when you comment- so people can click on your name to see what you have written.

  2. Wow, i feel overwhelmed for many reasons. Primary one, for not fully understanding your response, and it made me feel like i missed something, or not on your level of intelligence, which i have no issue in accepting.

    I will have to reread a couple of times, to give you a proper response.

    I am touched that my inner ramblings (and sometimes my true feelings) were disected and bisected by one like you.

  3. I'm sorry -- I realize, especially with the edit from Friday, that it could be confusing.

    Hopefully you understand why I took this to a blog of my own (it just got way too long).

    I'm actually a pretty mellow, gam zu l'tovah kind of person ... but I do take yiddishkeit and stuff seriously, even if I disagree with people a lot or don't understand things, sometimes.

    Intelligence? I don't know what level I've got; if I had been born a boy, I'd've become a rav, but I didn't, 'cause ortholand wouldn't take me seriously 'cause I'm a woman. This bothered me, at one point, but now it doesn't.

    By the time I realized that I don't have to care or that I could become a yoetzet halachah, I had encountered a health issue with makes me having a day job with good health insurance a priority. So I learn what I can in my spare time. If you can recommend something you find meaningful, great.

    Thanks for your response. If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask. If you don't feel like asking in public, make an email address and post it and I'll get in touch with you that way (or on myspace or facebook, if you're on either of those).

  4. mmmm pot cheese...i miss that stuff. Is that a jewish thing? cause I've only ever seen it at a glatt kosher supermarket...

  5. Nope. You can achieve the same effect by buying whipped cottage cheese, though. (that's what I use) Friendship and Axelrod both make a whipped variety. Not sure what your local brands are.

    I grew up on elbow macaroni with cottage cheese and margarine being what mac and cheese is. I was surprised, in college, to learn that for the rest of the world, mac and cheese is usually made with a yellow cheese(s). Raised on another planet, for sure. :)

    In high school, at my mom's house (not a kosher home), we had velveeta shells and cheese and other pasta w/cheese sauce-type things, but never any bright orange powdered cheese in a packet.