But anyways, one of my friends, actually one of my best friends (who is not Jewish but is into Judaism + married to a Jewish guy), in response to something I said, replied "It is beyond sad to me when family of survivors of the holocaust, whether or not they're religious, are quick to side against their people."
I got really really pissed off about this statement. So upset that I think I sent a semi-mean email to my bff that I hope she is not too pissed off about. But in writing this email I think I was able to articulate what it is that pissed me off so much, so I thought I would share some excerpts with you:
Holocaust shaming? Really? It's bad enough I get that crap from my own family. Just because my grandparents lived through the holocaust doesn't mean I can't criticize Jewish practices (any more than it means I have to be religious or marry a jewish person).
That statement about the family of holocaust survivors was really dismissive and really really pissed me off. It makes me feel like you are joining the Jewish conformity factory that always tries to pressure people to support israel/jews/the jewish community no matter what their personal opinion or personal experiences. Which is part of the reason Jewish Orthodox communities are so fucked up IMO- because they squash anyone who doesn't conform to the 'right' opinions (which is why I never fit in) and cover up anything that would make the community look bad (like child molesting). And holocaust shaming is one of the most frequent methods of squashing that they use.
It's probably years of getting shit from my community/parents about how I have to be religious /not marry B/ never buy a Volkswagen or visit Germany/ not trust non-jewish people/ etc. because of the holocaust that is making me overreact to this, and I know this is an overreaction, but please think twice before invoking the holocaust in any kind of argument, at least arguments you are having with me.
Anyways I don't have any hard feelings or anything, and I hope this doesn't upset you either, but I wanted to let you know how I felt about that, cause you bringing up the holocaust as an argument tactic did really upset me, even though I know you didn't mean it that way. In fact any time someone says my opinion or my actions SHOULD be some way because of something out of my control (like something that happened to my grandparents) it really upsets me, because I've spent the first 2/3rds of my life being told I SHOULD be a certain way that I wasn't or think a certain way that I didn't based on things completely out of my control (like gender, and the religion of my ancestors).
What say you readers? What has been your experience with Holocaust shaming? Maybe it's because I am a direct descendant of survivors (both my paternal grandparents were in the camps), but the shame was thick in the house I grew up in, and it was one of the most common reasons used as to why I had to act a certain way that I didn't want to. "Your great grandparents died so we could be jewish" "Why are you finishing what the nazi's began?" "Did your grandparents live through the camps so you can do what the nazi's would want?" Familiar anyone? Come to think about it, I got a WHOLE bunch of shit like that on this very blog, back when I was engaged to B.
Other than disowning people (or threatening to disown them), holocaust shaming seems like one of the main mechanisms of social control used by the Jewish community. But it may just be something from my particular household since we did grow up with the holocaust. Not that we grew up DURING the holocaust, but growing up with two survivor grandparents who love to tell stories about concentration camps means it is always present in your lives. In fact, here's a picture of a huge painting that used to hang in my grandparent's living room, painted by my grandfather:
That's what I grew up with. Literally hanging in my grandfather's living room, watching over us whenever we were there.
Personally my thoughts on this are...my ancestors died for religious freedom. They died for the freedom to practice Judaism. Yes, some would say those in the holocaust died whether or not they themselves were religious- but the reason they died is because THEIR ancestors kept practicing Judaism and didn't convert, even under enormous outside pressure over thousands of years. To me this is not a story about the importance of keeping Judaism per se alive, although it's been interpreted that way by many Jewish people. To me this struggle is about the importance of being able to practice any religion you want, or none at all. And yet now their deaths are used to try to pressure people who don't want to practice their religion, to keep practicing that religion. How messed up is that?