Thursday, August 30, 2007

4/6/2007: response from my dad

In reading the letter you sent the other day I was impressed (if that's the right word) with the high level of pain, disappointment, resentment and hostility that was coming across between the lines. Regardless of this particular issue, perhaps you need to try to live happier. Otherwise, it is easy to get bitter and resentful but it adversely affects the quality of our lives. Do you want to be an angry person going through life? Despite my many disappointments in life or any abuses I took from authority figures, most people see me as a happy person with a smile on my face and a quick (if corny) joke always waiting to be said. My whole day is involved in hearing the pain of others. Yet, I strive to stay happy.

And by the way, if dating is like buying a house, Mom and I looked at more than 40 houses before we found one that was worth pursuing. Aside from JDate, I am sure I could advise you on other means to meet decent Jewish men, if you like.

You are a smart cookie and have an answer for the various points that I summarized from the book I sent you. Yes, we want to have as best a relationship as we can with you. Yes, we want to be open and honest. Yes, we want you to be happy and responsible. But there are some lines we will not cross. This is one area that I can never see myself compromising in. We will not acquiesce to the idea of your dating or marrying non-Jewish men.

We don't reject you as a daughter and you are always welcome to be as close to us and included in the family as you want to be. But we reject this sort of behavior or attitude.

You may have had bad experiences in the past but you are a member of an elite people and family. Be careful not to disown your special heritage, your family and your God.

May Hashem bless you with an open mind and good "seichel" so that you make good choices in life.

Shabbat Shalom.


aww so i make a decision he disagrees with, so it must be because i'm unhappy. Well I have to admit, I AM unhappy with the jewish community and the religion in general, which is why i've made the decision to distance myself from them. And maybe my dad has a biased opinion of my happiness cause i'm usually not too happy to see him. But I'm used to his tricks by now, i only wonder why i'm still suprised at the levels to which he will stoop.

I was happy before i met b and am even happier since i've been with him. The only thing i'm unhappy about is my parents general douchebaggery, so to be even more happy I should probably think about cutting them out of my life...i feel like i've given it a fair shot, and it's time to move on from the poisoness relationship i've had with them. Not that i'm taking any drastic steps at this time...but it's coming up on the horizon.
Some responses to his response that I never sent him:
False Starts...
Dear Dad,
I'm glad to hear you care about my happiness. However, I think you have a somewhat biased view of how happy I am, given that every time i talk to you, I'm talking to you, which is when i tend to be unhappiest. As such, given your advice to try to live happier, I've decided to cut out the prevailing source of my unhapiness; that is, you.

Dear Dad,
I think you are confusing cheerfulness and happiness; i might not always have a smile on my face, but that doesn't make me unhappy

Dear Dad,
I don't know why you think you can judge my overall happiness based on a letter i sent to you, especially given that part of what the letter was saying was that you know little to nothing about me, and I'm tired of hiding significant parts of my life; the parts of my life that i feel compelled to hide from you are the parts that make me happiest, and the parts you would disapprove of the most. I also find it interesting to note that parts of my life that make me happiest and parts of my life that you dissaprove of seem to have a significantly high correlation. I'm not sure what direction the causality runs though; do they make me happiest because you disapprove of them, or do you disapprove of them becasue they make me happiest? Or is this merely a coincendence born of the fact that we have such different value systems?

Dear Dad,
I'm an adult now, and as an adult I have the right to choose who i do and do not associate with. This extends to dating and marriage and any relationship I have with you. If you'd like to continue having any kind of relationship, I welcome you to stop telling me how you would never accept my relationship with B; I have a strict policy on not associating with judgmental people who try to convince me to live my life the way they want to instead of the way I want to, and I'm sorry to inform you that this policy now applies to you.

Dear Dad,
What the hell man. Why can't you just be cool for once, and not try to control every aspect of my life? You must realize by now that since I don't depend on you financially for anything, the only compelling reason for me to keep talking to you at all is a relationship that i get something out of...and the only thing i seem to be getting out of a relationship with you is stress and anxiety dreams. That's fucked up. You're my dad, and if you don't accept the decisions I make in my life, feel free to shut the fuck up about it. You seem to think that I have some obligation to keep talking to you just cuase we're genetically related You have some idea that we once were close...let me tell you, we were never close...the only time we were close in fact was before the time I was old enough to make decisions for myself that went against what you wanted. Once I started making my own decisions (around 14 or so) that marked the breaking point in our relatinship, and we haven't gotten along since then. Well i have a suprise for you...just cause I'm your daughter doesn't mean I'm your puppet, and it certainly doesn't mean I'm obligated in any way to talk to you.

Dear Dad,
Feel free to contact me when you feel you can have a conversation with me that doesn't involve you telling me what to do

Dear Dad,
I know you think that just because you are the breadwinner of the family you can treat your wife and your kids like personal slaves who must do your every bidding. Well, unlike everyone else in our family, i've finally escaped from your financial rule. Contributing money and no time to a family doesn't make you a good father. I know you thought that working 80 hours a week to earn that extra vacataion/new car each year was a good idea, but at what cost did that come? It's not suprising both me and D (and soon E most likely) have rejected the idea of being a slave to a job we could earn a lot of money at, and have chosen professions where we are happy, if less financially successful than we probably could be. You screwed that one up, and trying to establish a relationship with me as an adult is not going to fix that. Also, trying to tell me what to do all the time is not going to help you establish that relationship.

Dear Dad,
Why can't you say things like "I love you no matter what you do" and actually mean it? Why does your love come with strings attached? Why are all our conversations superficial, and when they're not it ends with you telling me how wrong I am? Why can't you ever just call and ask about meaningful things in my life (like somethign besides school ever!) and actually care about my response? Why does everything you do teach me what not to do if I ever have a kid?

Dear Dad,
I'm almost 25. Stop treating me the same way you did when I was 15.

Dear Dad,
It's true, there's been times in my life when I was unhappy. But sometime last year I decided to make a concentrated effort to change everything that was making me unhappy and that was within my power to change. I quit smoking (ciggerettes, mostly), switched advisors, cleaned up my apartment more, stopped procrastinating on school work, looked at the good side of life instead of the bad, and spent a hell of a lot more time with my hippie friends. And you know what, it worked! It was only after becoming happier in general that I felt i was ready to be in a relationship, since I'm a firm believer in the idea that other people can only love you as much as you love yourself. And I love myself, and the way my life is going. A few months later I met B, and I'm ridiculously happy with him. I wanted to share that happiness with you, but it seems that any time I tell you anything real about my life, you try and tell me why that's a bad thing. Well I'm not having that. Better luck next time.

Dear Dad,
There really is nothing I can write that'll make you change your mind, so what's the point in trying.


  1. So touching and sad.

    Be careful not to disown your special heritage, your family and your God.

    Funny how the Orthodox pretend that it's those who go off the derech and/or intermarry who are doing the disowning, not the other way around.

  2. OMG - I can completely relate to you and your situation. I am 37 years old and been married to a non-jew for 15 years. My parents refused to attend my marriage ceremony, they snuck in a rabbi at one of my son's operations and basically, I don't have any relationship with my sisters or family anymore. This was their choice. 2 of my sisters married rabbi's and the other, a lawyer. After my mom died, my father remarried less than a year later and moved to Israel. I have a new son, who he's seen twice. Judaism promotes bigotry and racism and I'm truly sick of it.

  3. same anon: Any religion which promotes pretending that a family member is dead because they fail to have the same beliefs is abhorrent to me. To become so drenched in the minutia of orthodoxy as to neglect one's child and grandchildren reeks of sub-standard morality. Why is the perpetuation of the dogma more important than ones flesh and blood? This is cultish mentality.

    Please keep us informed of your situation. I, also, have written those "Dear Dad" letters which I never sent.


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