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Author:  gitty
E-mail:  gittygiggles@gmail.com
Date:  9/22/2005 12:18:00 PM
Subject:  Thanks!
Message:  I just wanted to write a separate post to thank you for everything! You have reignited the spark of Judaism in my life.

For the past few years, my family and I have lived in a Jewish community that has steadily (or maybe rapidly...) been becoming more radical. People like you describe all the time. My friend calls it the "frummie olympics" to see who can ge the gold medal for having the blackest hat or the longest skirt.

Anyway, I feel out of place. I feel like no matter what I do, I can't and wont be able to fit in because the only reason people will accept me is if I do things like them. It seems that to be Jewish anymore you have to get rid of your personality. I actually had someone tell me that "it is such an extra bracha that you found a husband because usually people with personalities like yours dont end up getting married because they're too unique." Funny, here I am thinking that unique is what makes you WANT to marry someone...

Anyway, so it got steadily worse. I was not raised frum and my husband is a ger, so we've always been accepting of everyone. I tried to make friends, Rabbi, but I couldn't handle it. When I would go to playgroups with my son, the other women would talk about what their husband was learning in kollel and about how "out of hand the shvartzes are getting". That kind of prejudice is unacceptible to me. I will not raise my children with bigotry and I refuse to be in a situation where they will be blatantly exposed to it. I also can't quite understand how these kollel wives have nicer furniture, clothes, cars, sheitals, etc than me and my husband makes a good salary working! It's very lonely. I spent most of the time in my house refusing to leave because I couldn't stand it anymore.

We've practically become vegitarian because I can't handle going to the kosher grocery stores. The people there are too obnoxious and rude. It makes me want to cry everytime I go there. When i was 9 mo pregnant with my first child, a woman ran into my stomach with her shopping cart full of her kids and didn't even acknowledge my presence. It was getting to the point where I didn't want to be Jewish anymore. I know to separate the religion from the people, but it's very hard to do that when all you've ever learned is the "pain and suffering" "halacha" that everyone flaunts.

My husband and I finally cracked and bought a house in a non Jewish area. We can still walk to our shul, the ONLY orthodox shul in our CITY that accepts EVERYONE who wants to come. Including people who aren't frum yet who may drive to shul. Our house is outside the eruv in an all black area and from the "outcry" of our peers you'd think we were moving to Iraq or something. The first quesiton we hear is "are there any Jewish people there?" It's a mile and a half from where we were living before!

Right now the house is being rennovated so we're in limbo and living with my in laws. The point I'm trying to make is that your website has made Judaism "fun" again. It's not a burden and something that I do because Gd wants me to suffer. You've made it livable. Your explanation of Kashrus is the first time kashrus has ever made sense to me in my life. Your guide to eating at non kosher places...Rabbi this truly has made a difference! I never would have thought about it before if I hadn't read about it on your site, but now I wonder why I never did. I suppose because "the system" beat it out of me. "They" say that Gd gives you free choice, but in order to be "frum" the people in power take it away?

The more I read on your site, the more I feel good about Judaism and being shomer shabbos. I REFUSE to call myself frum, just because of my experiences. Your information on Pesach, how it doesn't have to be a holiday of pure torture, one CAN enjoy it. I dont HAVE to own a tin foil factory.

You make Judaism livable. I am not a perfect person. I never will be. I just want to do what Gd wants me to do and do my best. And I want my kids to be raised with Judaism as a joy and not a burden. It's still lonely. I still feel like when I get an ice cream from Mc Donalds the OU police are going to swoop down on me and take it away. But I'm actually able to enjoy it.

I'm sorry for rambling! I just dont quite know how to get all this out! I am glad there are sane Rabbis out there (my personal Rabbi is great too, but he's an "outcast" in the community) who aren't just blindly creating halacha where they see fit.
   
Reply:  Don't be so hard on yourself. You can call yourself "frum". Just call the others "krum".

If the OU police ever come by, offer them some. They may take you up on the offer. They know it is kosher.

CYA

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