Nearly a year ago, my youngest brother E called me from Israel to tell me that he had talked to his Rabbi about B and I, and his rabbi told him that one of 3 things would happen within a year; either B and I would break up, B would convert to Judaism, or B would die.
Clearly none of those 3 things have happened, and I'm pretty sure they are not going to happen anytime soon (although I suspect that one day B will die...but if all goes well that won't be for decades). I'm not sure if he meant within a year of us getting married or a year after talking to that Rabbi, so I'm waiting until our first year wedding anniversary to send him a letter pointing out the stupidity of that phone call.
Meanwhile, I found out today that for the second year in a row, my brother will be spending his entire winter break (about a month) in Israel, learning with this very same Rabbi.
I wish there were a book or something I could send to him that he would read and suddenly magically realize that religion is a crock, and that these people are leading him wrong. I know I will get flack for that because blah blah blah respecting other people's beliefs blah. But really. I feel like my brother has been preyed upon by these people. I feel like he has been brainwashed by a bunch of people who do not have his best interests in mind. He has given up all his hobbies and things he used to enjoy in order to learn all the time. He used to be a huge movie buff, and would make his own short films. Before he went to Israel for a year, he was planning on going into the film industry. Last year (right after he got back) I sent him a dvd of animated short films, the type of thing he would have been all over before he went to Israel. When I talked to him around 6 months later he told me that with his schedule he hadn't had time to watch it. He also told me he was thinking of becoming a rabbi. A rabbi!
Now readers, you don't know my brother, but last I heard being a rabbi involves public speaking, which is the exact opposite of a job my brother would be well suited for. My brother is extremely shy, and a little...well, when he was a kid there was a question of whether he was on the autistic spectrum or not. Only they didn't have words like "autistic spectrum" back then, and my dad managed to find some shrinks who said he was ok so that the school wouldn't leave him back. Had he been born 10 years later, I think he would have been diagnosed as on that spectrum.
Which makes him perfect for these brainwashing asshats, who seem to prey on people like this- people who don't have the best social skills, who don't have things entirely together. Maybe for him religion is actually a good thing, since it gives him structure. But I don't know. I really worry about him going off to these places and having his head stuffed full of lies. I worry that he has given up the things he used to love, what made him unique and awesome, to have more time for religion. I worry that my parents are complacently letting this happen because since me and my other brother ended up non-religious, they think that enabling my other brother become a fundy (because who else is paying for his trips to israel and his yeshiva fees in the states?) is the only way to keep him jewish. I worry about how our relationship will be going forward, and I worry about him, because even if we have no relationship going forward, he is still my brother, and I love him, and I worry that he is being led astray.