Sunday, July 20, 2008


According to my brother (who still lives at home- the non religious one), my parents haven't said a word about my engagement to him. If I hadn't told him, he said, he would have no idea I was engaged. I'm guessing they haven't told anyone else in the family either.

Which leaves it up to me or word of mouth I guess. My first cousin is going to be in my city this week for a business trip, and called to ask if I wanted to meet up. I doubt he has any idea that I'm dating anyone, let alone dating anyone not Jewish, let alone engaged to that person (or living with him for that matter). This is actually one of my few cousins who, while orthodox, I actually really respect and think is a pretty decent person. So I'm kinda dreading telling him about B.

It's not that I'm ashamed or not proud of being with B. It's just that I know how family members will react, and I know it will be painful. I'm willing to endure all that I guess, but do I have to tell each member of my family one by one in person so that they each can give me a long lecture/tell me how disappointed they are/act like I'm personally killing the jewish people? I know it's not true, and that they are brainwashed to act that way, and that they're exerting social pressure to maintain their way of life, which they themselves have been socialized to do, but come's bad enough when random internet strangers are telling me how evil I am, and I don't even respect or care about their opinion! Even though I feel like they are wrong for reacting the way they do, that stuff gets under your skin.


  1. hey, i'm ex-orthodox, too, and i know its hard to tell ur fam stuff like this, even if u firmly believe in ur choices. just remember that u are not responsible for how they choose to react. you do ur part, and if they cannot handle the truth, then they need to develop better coping methods, but u gotta live ur life and tell the truth as u need to.
    good luck, and be strong. i'm with you.

  2. well, i am sorry to hear about the hard times you are going through, when "ideally" marriages should be celebrated. i saw the post you did re which letter to send to your father; have to say i'd rather advise against both. depending on how things run (ie. if you and your future husband have children, etc.) they may come around. if not, then i must caution that by marrying this man, it is a risk you will take. as a side note, even though you are atheist, you are (still) no less of a jew than the rest of us. my advice to you would be to analyze this problem in worst-case-scenario terms (ie. you get exiled; or they never talk to you/mr. b/your children ever again) - is it worth it? lastly, i am not taking sides on this matter, it is after all your life, but please do be more understanding of your family, and in doing so i hope they will do the same.

  3. Long live denial! (that's eguezactely what my parents (the anti-religious ones) do to me). So I loved your reactions to your fathers letters.

    As far as telling your cousin is concerned.
    1) The more often you do it, the simpler it becomes. You kind of get used to it.
    2) It does not always have to take the form of "I want to tell you something:
    a) You can either show up with B (I want to introduce you to my future husbund), than it is his problem how he reacts or, if B is not free
    b) drop a remark just "en passant", and than your cousin can choose whether he picks it up or not.

    Just act as if it were the most natural thing in the world. Anyway, you are used to the lecture and all this ostracising stuff, and what worse can there be?

  4. PS: I wanted to thank you for your blog, it has contributed a lot to appease my relationship with my (anti-religious) parents.

    They still don't speak with me, but I am not angry at them any more. I think: if they do not want me, if what I became does not please them, it is their "democratic right" (freedom of opinion), and I do not resent it any more...

  5. I agree with Shoshi - bring B along to meet your cousin! But email or call him first so he won't feel ambushed.

  6. A thought occured to me - How often does your cousin call you to get together. If it's not all that often and it's suddenly happening now, maybe your parents asked him to speak to you because they know you respect him and think you might listen to him.

  7. DYS- my cousin mentioned to me a month or two ago (when I was at my parents for a memorial day bbq) that he would be coming to my city for a business trip around now, and that we should meet up. I doubt my dad has mentioned anything to him, but I could be wrong.

    I don't think bringing B to meet him would be feasible, as he wants to meet up in the middle of the day (so I would meet up with him by my office, which is near where the business thing is).

    But who knows, you may be right, he may be coming to lecture me or something. I doubt it though. If it's hard for me to tell family members about this, and I am happy about my decision, how much harder must it be for my dad to tell people about a decision of mine that he doesn't agree with?

  8. AE,

    In that case, you're probably right - sorry, didn't mean to throw another worry your way.

    Hope it goes well!

  9. AE,
    See you found my post on DovBear. I just discovered your blog via Frumsatire. So many of your posts completely echo my life - to the some of the exact phrases that my parents have used! Though I am a few years further down the road - and though my religious decisions and how I am raising my children are the cause for the unrest, since I managed to find a likeminded ex-OJ to marry - (so while I didn't have the intermarriage challenge )- we have two OJ families with their criticisms and their denial to deal with. It gets easier, I promise. Just not for a while, and there will always be the rough times.

    Anyway. . .if you ever need a shoulder to cry on. .

  10. I think some phrases are just canon in the jewish orthodox anti-OTD vocabulary. :)

    Yeah, a friend pointed me to the Dov Bear post on friday, but I've been trying to stay out of debates there and at jewish atheist (i've been posting more at frum satire), cause it's a bit overwhelming to have so many people analyzing my life choices ..but I had to defend my honor when someone said I was taking off a term to plan my wedding! (Not true!) :)

    Do you only post at dovbear? I added it to my blogroll, but if you have another blog, I'll add that too...I love hearing about other people in the same situation as me, even though most of them seem to prefer to be completely anonymous.

  11. it's not just brainwashing. Bear in mind the "mischat", basically the massive flaming death cannon from above that was destroying everything in its path because the daughters of moav were seducing jewish men (on orders of bilam) and it was only Pinchas' zealous actions of stabbing a jewish prince and moabite woman while copulating and parading their dead bodies did the firy death cannon end. Moses praises Pinchas.

    ...That is if you believe everythign in the Bible...


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