Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How I went OTD and left the Jewish community for good: Part 2

Read Part 1, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6
After being grounded over the summer for meeting up with my no-longer-a-secret BF, I went back to school and called him from the payphone down the block from my school for a few months, but we didn't meet up in person again. Eventually we broke up when I heard he had been seen holding hands with another girl (awwww, young 15 year old me, so sad and convinced I would never love again).

After 4-ish months my parents finally un-grounded me. I still hung out with that group of friends my secret now-ex boyfriend had introduced me to in my town- a group of people my age who secretly were OTD. We started hanging out nearly every single weekend, and I got involved in NCSY (like they were) as well- we were the kids hanging out outside the building chatting with each other while the NCSY (brainwashing) "sessions" were going on inside. we were probably the ones they were referring to as "kids at risk" in the late 1990s.

At home I learned that if I turned the speakers off my laptop I could spend all shabbas playing video games and my parents would have no idea. My parents had no idea the extent to which I was not keeping shabbas. I kept counting down the days till I turned 18.

Years passed. When I was 17 and a senior in HS I met my ex fiance at an NCSY shabbaton (actually simchaton for those who know what that is). I was completely open with my parents about dating him, as I had been about another boy I had dated for a few months right after my 17th birthday. However my parents didn't like that my ex fiance was a convert, even after checking out his conversion papers and talking with the head (orthodox, very respected) rabbi involved. They tried arguing with me about it and even consulted with the rabbi about their rebellious teenage daughter who is always dating people they don't approve of. He advised them to 'ship me off to Israel' for a year (my mom's words). They had me talk to my grandmother, who told me she was praying for us to break up (also because he was a convert). I told her not to hold her breath. She didn't talk to me for several years after that as a result (although we eventually made up and she was remarkably accepting of B many years later).

At some point my parents put a tracing program on my computer that would track everything I typed. This program might have been on my computer for years, but I didn't find out about it until many months after I had started dating my ex fiance, when my parents confronted me about my plans to go away for a weekend with my him (which we had discussed over instant messenger). It was basically an exact repeat of what had happened at 15- I wanted to go away for a weekend and stay at someone's house, he was going to stay at someone else's house in the same area, and we would meet up for meals and to hang out. Only this time I got caught before it even happened.

After they confronted me on this, they decided that based on this weekend thing and everything that had gone down when I was 15 (or rather, everything they knew about), I must be a pathological liar (who only lies about weekends away with my bfs?), so they sent me to family therapy. I was a bit too old to be grounded again (almost 18), and it wouldn't have really worked out since I had a job after school I had to go to, so they told me they would stop paying for my flute lessons as a punishment for lying again, but that they would start paying for them again if I broke up with my ex. I ended up giving up on flute. Which was a shame, since my teacher had been encouraging me to apply to Julliard so I probably wasn't too bad. My ex fiance was also no longer allowed in my house, although he stubbornly kept coming to the front door to pick me up (my mom would look at him through the peephole and then go get me, leaving him standing on the stoop).

In family therapy, when I first went in to talk to the therapist alone, I told him I had secretly been breaking shabbas and kosher for several years and I didn't believe in the religion at all. He insisted I tell my parents this, during therapy. I was soo uncomfortable and scared, it was probably one of the scariest things I've ever done, but I told my parents "I'm not religious anymore." My dad started tapping his foot (the way he always does when he's freaking out, he never yells, only shakes with anger) and was like "What does that mean? Do you eat shrimp? Do you eat ham?" Of course I had to answer no, since at the time I was still only eating vegetarian non kosher food. My parents were so relieved, didn't question me any further, and they instantly dismissed it as a "teenager rebellion phase."

That was the last time we went to family therapy. But from then on we started having huge fights about religion almost every shabbas meal. Not about my level of observance per se, but about the things I thought were stupid and evil about religion, the things that didn't make sense, and the thing my dad couldn't come up with a good enough explanation for. When we weren't having fights it was because I had brought a book to the table and checked out of the conversation entirely while reading from my lap (which I did throughout my teenage years during shabbas meals after I started going OTD and which drove my mother nuts, she was always yelling at me to put my book away). In retrospect I can see I was going through the "angry at religion, lashing out at religious people" phase that I've seen several OTDers go through.

Around this time I was also figuring out what my college plans would be. I grew up in a household where education was highly valued and everyone had a college degree, and most men have a graduate degree. The women in my family have always gone to college. They have always gone to college, worked a few years, gotten married, and then become stay at home moms when they had either their first or second child. So that was what I assumed would be my life. I would go to college, finish my degree, get married and get some crappy job, and eventually become a stay at home mom when I had kids.

When it came time to picking a college, my parents really wanted me to go to Stern. Actually, they really wanted me to go to Israel for a year, especially after consulting their rabbi about me dating my ex. But I flat out said to them "I'm going to be 18 by then, you can't force me to leave the country against my will, and I'm not going." I think my dad was partially relieved because it was so expensive. So they told me to apply to Stern college and maybe Touro and a few local backups. I begged my parents to let me go AWAY to college, but they said they would only help me pay for college if I lived at home.

So my dreams of escape when I was 18 were put on hold. I didn't know much if anything about student loans- I thought you could only get financial aid if your parents were poor, and my parents weren't poor, so I figured I wouldn't be eligible for anything. I had a job at the time, but it was for minimum wage, and was part time besides, and there was no way I could just leave my parent's house and set up my own apartment on that level of income, especially not in the NY area. And I had no idea how to get a better job. And I couldn't NOT go to college, that's what everyone in my family did, and like going OTD was before I was 15- it just didn't occur to me as an option. But I wasn't particularly thrilled by the idea either. Once I knew I wouldn't be able to move away to go, college seemed like just something else to get through before actually starting my life. At least until I got there.

I applied to Rutgers, CUNY and NYU. I didn't get into NYU (not surprising since I skipped a bunch of my jewish studies classes in my junior and senior year of HS, so I had a whole bunch of Ds and Fs in those topics on my report card). I got into Rutgers and CUNY, probably purely based on my unusually high SAT scores- scores that came as a complete shock to me and every administrator and teacher in my HS. I told my parents I was applying to Stern College, and even filled out an application to show them, but I never mailed it out. I really didn't want to go there, so I made sure it wouldn't be an option. By the time they found out about it, it was too late to apply.

My choice was between Rutgers, closer to home- but which would make me more dependent on my parents since I would need their help paying for a car to drive there, or Hunter College- CUNY, which was a 2 hour commute each way by train/path train/subway, but I could walk to the train from my house and would not need a car at all (I also got into some other CUNY schools but they were even further away). Plus it was in Manhattan! The big city!

I chose Hunter.

To be continued...

56 comments:

  1. ". I was completely open with my parents about dating him, as I had been about another boy I had dated for a few months right after my 17th birthday."

    And the saga continues. Boys, boys, boys. Great reason to drop out.

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  2. it's not boys boys boys, these relationships were important to my life and shaped my experiences. But I'm sure you know nothing about that, to you relationships are all about sex.

    I'm not giving the REASON I dropped out in the story, this isn't about that, this is just HOW I left the jewish community.

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  3. but yes a large part of my struggles with my parents were related to me dating people they didn't approve of for various reasons. They have never approved of anyone I have dated, which I think in a way made it easier to marry someone not jewish in the end- since they hated EVERYONE I might as well just go for who I wanted and not take their feelings into account at all.

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  4. How did they attempt to justify their opposition to a genuine convert? AFAIK, that's not only something without a genuine religious basis, but something that's actually AGAINST the Torah. The only limitation for marriage is that a male kohen can't marry a convert.

    Did the rabbi they consulted know of the reason for them not approving of your ex?

    [We dealt with a situation in the family where the father initially disapproved of his son marrying a Russian girl with a Jewish maternal grandmother. It was resolved when we got our rabbi involved and he verified that she, under halacha, was undoubtedly Jewish.]

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  5. I'm waiting with baited breathe for the deep philosophical discoveries which revealed to you life's true meaning. I really am.

    So far it sounds like "my parents and rabbis didn't want me sleeping around, I did, so goodbye parents and rabbis".

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  6. jrk- Justify?? :) I think in their minds he wasn't 'really' a convert, his whole family had converted when he was around 7 years old with a reform conversion, and then re-converted a few years later with an orthodox conversion, and he reaffirmed he wanted to be jewish at his bar mitzvah or something like that. So since he had converted with his family as a child, instead of on his own as an adult, they I guess were questioning whether he was "really" a convert or just went along with it cause of his parents? I think? I mean, they never outrightly said that, but I think that was the sticking point for them...

    I'm not sure what the rabbi knew, I wasn't there for that meeting, all I know is that my mom said something about how he had recommended shipping me off to israel when they got back from it.

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  7. JP- i hate arguing with you cause I know it will never change your mind so there's no point. But I had plenty of sex while I was still living in the orthodox jewish community. So I didn't need to leave it to get sex. And I didn't leave it to get sex.

    I think most of the philosophical stuff came later, in college, during which I was trying to sort out whether I didn't like ORTHODOX Judaism or whether I didn't like Judaism at all, and whether or not I believed in god at all(I didn't decide on "not" until the beginning of grad school actually). My next post will be next Monday and will start talking about college. :)

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  8. To Abandoning Eden and the rest of the good people here:

    Bullies like Jewish "Philosopher" crave attention and control. Denied this they either go away and find someone else to torment or degenerate into obsessive (erotomanic?)stalkers who can be turned over to the police. The less attention paid to them the better.

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  9. Thanks for responding.

    I'm trying to figure out if it was *really* a genuine religious objection, or more of a tribal gut-reaction. The involvement of your Holocaust-survivor grandmother makes me suspicious that it may be the latter.

    For example, I know of another case (a friend of the son from the first example) where the control-freak father basically disowned his son because he married a girl whose mother was Jewish and whose father was German. Despite rabbis telling him that the girl was Jewish and that there was no valid objection, he just couldn't stand the thought of German family members and used Holocaust guilt-trips. Knowing what I do about that family, father was a control-freak, period. Religion was a bad excuse, but not the cause of his actions. He thought he could control his kids through a combination of guilt and the family business, but his son called his bluff, became a doctor, married his wife and earned his own money, and doesn't really have a relationship with the father.

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  10. "But I had plenty of sex while I was still living in the orthodox jewish community. So I didn't need to leave it to get sex."

    You did if you wanted it without hiding or guilt.

    Incidentally, evidence and common sense suggests that chaste women are happier, so perhaps your sense of victimhood and your desire to "help others leave" is a little distorted.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/07/opinion/07douthat.html

    "Bullies like Jewish "Philosopher" crave attention and control. Denied this they either go away and find someone else to torment or degenerate into obsessive (erotomanic?)stalkers who can be turned over to the police."

    Maybe I'm having a catharsis? Only atheists like AE get to have a catharsis? 

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  11. JRK- it actually wasn't my holocaust survivor grandmother, it was my other grandmother. Only one set of grandparents were holocaust survivors (the paternal ones)- and those were the ones who were conservative/traditional. It was my maternal grandmother who is charedi (or as we called them 'black hatters' and which I think are now called "snags" cause they are misnagdim).

    Yeah maybe it was a gut tribal racist thing or something. I mean he also had strawberry blond/reddish hair, an upturned nose, basically looked very NOT jewish, which I'm sure didn't help.

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  12. AE - do you think all this is bad? Wrong?

    Act II
    Girl acts badly, breaks household rules, parents react poorly (and weirdly sometimes), further alienates girl, she acts out more, feels more distanced from them & their religion.

    Doesn't seem all that strange or new to me, does it to you?

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  13. For what it's worth, I think boys are a pretty good reason to get fed up with the OJ community. Dating, exploring romantic feelings, and being physically intimate (with or without sex) are a HUGE part of being human. They are a huge part of adolescence. I think not allowing to explore that side of you is a perfectly good reason to leave a community.

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  14. Chaim- do i think what is wrong? What my parents did? what I did?

    I'm not trying to say this was "wrong" or "bad" or whatever, I'm just trying to explain my story and motivations throughout the story. Yes it's a fairly typical story as you point out. :) But it's all part of the story...

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  15. Yes AE, just a simple question, not a trap or philosophical argument.

    Is what your parents did wrong? Very wrong or did they do the best they could?
    Is what you did wrong or did you do the best YOU could?

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  16. I think we're all human and we all did the best we could. Maybe. I go back and forth from thinking my parents were/are control freaks who need to lighten up vs. that I was a terror to deal with as a teenager (and I know I was). But they are human, and humans make mistakes, and I don't harbor any anger over stuff that happened when I was a teenager. Nowadays I pretty much focus my anger on the continued rejection of me and my husband. :)

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  17. AE - "I think we're all human and we all did the best we could. Maybe."

    Does that "maybe" apply to you too? Unless there's a case of specific abuse, the 'blame' is probably shared.

    To play armchair therapist for a minute (and I HAVE done social work with at risk teens), you have to SHOW them that you are healthy, happy and have a strong moral code before you can hope to break this impasse - if you WANT to.
    They will NEVER be happy with some of the choices you made nor will you with some of theirs. But to move forward, you have to give up the anger and share the blame to a degree, ALL conflict has 2 parties & mistakes were certainly made by both sides. How can they be happy with you and your choices when they feel beat-up? Whether they are right or wrong, they see conflict and place blame on what's easiest - Jewish stuff. (And vice versa too.)

    I'd have to agree with HH's opinion that there doesn't seem to be a purpose to all the blogging and rehashing and looking for affirmation that's healthy.

    Maybe there is.

    I don't know, just my 2 cents.
    Whether I'm right or wrong, it's just advice from experience and I certainly wish you the best of luck.

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  18. "Dating, exploring romantic feelings, and being physically intimate (with or without sex) are a HUGE part of being human."

    So is chastity and modesty.

    This may come as a bit of a shock, however science has discovered that sex produces babies. A baby needs two parents to care for it for about twenty years. Therefore, people of the opposite sex socializing or being alone together without being in a publicly committed very long term relationship is incredibly cruel, selfish and irresponsible. There is no excuse for it.  

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  19. It is quite an irony that your parents did not want a ger for a son-in-law and ended up getting someone who is not a ger... and asking him to do a giur...

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  20. @chaim

    This situation looks pretty much like a classical greek drama: no-one really did evil on purpose, but all are prisoners of what they want, and what they want is not compatible.

    The parents apparently cannot stop blaiming AE for marrying a non-jew and stopping being religious, but AE very rightly says that this is within her civil liberties to do so.

    She did not leave religion to spite her parents, her parents do not want her to be religious to spite her, it is just an incompatibility of aims.

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  21. Lisel I think that is a good way of looking at it.

    I know harboring anger isn't good. Ironically I just sent an email to my dad last night about how harboring anger isn't good- we've been emailing back and forth a bit more than usual the last couple of weeks and he is angry about the way his father was treated by the hospital he died in last year.

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  22. On Shabbat, was it YOU who was initiating these arguments, or your parents?

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  23. It was usually my parents initiating the conversation about religious topics (shabbas dinners/lunch at my house was only talking about religious topics), and then me arguing when they said something ridiculous sounding.

    But I also went to my dad's gemarah shiur during the time, and there it was everyone arguing, and me arguing along with them, and this one jackass friend of my dad calling me "princess" in this snotty tone whenever he didn't like something I said.

    My family is VERY argumentative in general, my mom's side are all lawyers...

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  24. Apparently, autobiographical writing is a problem for some people.

    Look, there are three basic cases here.

    1) AE was the primary bad actor, and she is writing about her own bad actions.

    2) Neither AE nor her parents were bad actors (modulo normal fallible human behavior), this was fundamental beliefs in conflict.

    3) AE's parents were the primaruy bad actors, and she is writing about what they did to her.

    In none of these cases do I find this writing blameworthy. In the first two, the parents were not at fault, so they are hardly being "shamed" (unless you are of the "cover up any variation from what is supposed to happen" school of thought, in which case, you have bigger issues). In the last case, we would have the victim writing about her experiences, and while that might shame the bad actors, that isn't a bad thing.

    I'd much rather read someone writing about their own experiences than telling me what kind of Muppet they'd be.

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  25. Reading your story, your parents may have been strident or argumentative, but I don't think that most other Orthodox parents would have been less controlling.

    From what I see, most Orthodox parents are extremely concerned that their children turn out Orthodox, and if their children turn out not religious or significantly different in their religious practice, the parents feel that this is a very serious threat to their religious principles.

    In many communities, a girl who wears pants or talks to boys is likely to be considered a "bad girl", accompanied by considerable handwringing, even if she sincerely continues to observe Shabbos, kashrus, etc. As another commenter pointed out, this is often a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    So I don't think your parents are extreme, unfortunately.

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  26. the thing is..my parents raised me in a MO community, where talking to a boy wasn't considered out of the ordinary, and hanging out with boys wasn't either.

    To my parents it was ok if I hung out with boys (and my closest friends from my teenage years are both men and both came over to my house a LOT when I was a kid )as long as those visits were supervised, I was home by 11pm, and we hung out in groups rather than "pairing off" as they called it.

    I just don't know if that was realistic given what I know about teenagers and their hormones. :)

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  27. OK, your parents do seem overly restrictive, but look how modern orthodox parents panic when they think that their kids might be texting on Shabbos! Even if the kid is honest, polite and a good student, that kid is tarred as a "bad kid". You would think modern orthodox parents would understand that there are different ways of keeping mitzvos and being Jewish (especially since it's hard to say that texting is a real Torah prohibition, even though it's treated that way), but NOOOO. It's all or nothing - frum (good kid) or not (bad kid).

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  28. >Even if the kid is honest, polite and a good student, that kid is tarred as a "bad kid"

    You actually know a MO family that have called their kids bad because they texted on shabbat?

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  29. This may come as a bit of a shock, however science has discovered that sex produces babies. A baby needs two parents to care for it for about twenty years. Therefore, people of the opposite sex socializing or being alone together without being in a publicly committed very long term relationship is incredibly cruel, selfish and irresponsible. There is no excuse for it.

    This may come as a shock for you, JP, but science has discovered something called "birth control." Thus, it is possible for a man and a woman to have sexual intercourse without having to produce babies. In fact, even without birth control, most sexual intercourse does not result in babies. And since when is "socializing" the equivalent of sexual intercourse? No wonder AE gave up on being Orthodox, her parents were being completely unreasonable.

    What I find interesting is comparing AE's milieu to that of my college-age daughter. We're not Orthodox, and, while we counseled her not to be sexually active when she was in high school, we also gave her the information she needed to make a rational decision one way or the other. I know she wasn't obsessed with boys, and she certainly never came home pregnant.

    Now that she's in college, away from home and our supervision, she has told me she's not bothering with relationships, as she wants to apply herself to her studies. Not that she doesn't socialize, but I have to take her at her word, she gets good grades and she still hasn't come home pregnant.

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  30. "Thus, it is possible for a man and a woman to have sexual intercourse without having to produce babies."

    Talk about denying reality! Each year about two million American women who are sexually active but do not want to become pregnant, for some amazing reason become pregnant anyway.

    http://www.thenationalcampaign.org/resources/pdf/fast-facts-unplanned-key-data.pdf

    This means that each year, one in every 30 American women of childbearing age gets pregnant even though she didn't want to.

    Tragically, our nation is producing millions of fatherless children, who are at a high risk of poverty, abuse and neglect and eventually filling our prisons and homeless shelters. Besides the million and more each year who are killed before birth.

    "And since when is "socializing" the equivalent of sexual intercourse?"

    One thing frequently leads to another. According to your thinking, why do we have laws about seat belts, speed limits or driving under the influence? Plenty of people have a few beers, drive too fast, don't buckle up and arrive home perfectly fine. Just because of a few crashes here and there you have to get all paranoid?

    So let me just repeat: people of the opposite sex who socialize or are alone together without being in a publicly committed very long term relationship are incredibly cruel, selfish and irresponsible. Sorry to be such a huge party pooper, however there is no excuse for it.

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  31. This is going off on a tangent, but the stats quoted do NOT indicate that these women were using appropriate birth control at the time of conception.

    The United States lags significantly behind other countries in providing comprehensive birth control education, and has teen pregnancy rates that are significantly higher.

    Here's some interesting data, discussing the fact that the teen pregnancy rate is 6x higher in the United States than in the Netherlands:

    http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/storage/advfy/documents/fsest.pdf

    To get slightly more on topic - the big difference in the Netherlands approach seems to be information and openness. Teens are given tons of information and taught to be prepared. Parents realize that the decision is in the hands of the teen, and they talk about it. There's no culture of mixed messages, with parents avoiding the issue and teens acting in the moment instead of planning.

    That seems similar to the general dynamic bewteen AE and her parents: lack of openness, lack of preparing her to make important life decisions on her own.

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  32. JRKmommy oh so true in the lack of preparedness, I was one of the classic religious girls who didn't use a condom the first time I had sex cause having a condom would have meant preparing for sex in advance.

    There have been studies done on abstinence only education and "virginity pledges" which show that those kids who go through such programs are EQUALLY likely to have sex, but more likely to get pregnant when they do.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1054139X07004260

    "Teaching about contraception was not associated with increased risk of adolescent sexual activity or STD. Adolescents who received comprehensive sex education had a lower risk of pregnancy than adolescents who received abstinence-only or no sex education."

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  33. There are many factors involved in the likelihood of an unwanted pregnancy. The country with the second lowest rate of teen pregnancy is Spain. And Spain is apparently very far behind the US in sex ed and teen use of contraception.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epidemiology_of_teenage_pregnancy#Europe

    http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1939703,00.html

    http://www2.hu-berlin.de/sexology/IES/spain.html#9

    Also, "typical use" of condoms still has a failure rate 17%, the pill 9%.  

    http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_contr_use.html

    My point is that saying "Hey, what's wrong with casual sex? So long as we encourage contraception everything should be great." is probably like say "Hey, what's wrong with driving after a few drinks? So long as we make sure cars have airbags everything should be great."

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  34. JP- our country isn't producing a single fatherless child, every child has a biological father, the failure is in those fathers who do not live up their responsibilities as a father.

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  35. Mom's at fault too in 90% of the cases. Did she really think the guy she met two hours ago at a party was going to stick around for the next 20 years for her and her kid? Good luck with that if the condom breaks, or if they're too wasted to bother with one.

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  36. Ok maybe you didn't read this part JP: "Teaching about contraception was NOT associated with increased risk of adolescent sexual activity."

    Also "typical use" includes people who don't use it every time. The way they calculate typical use rates is by tracking people who "typically use" condoms as their primary birth control for a year and seeing how many couples get pregnant. Typical use does not mean using it every time or using it correctly. Which is why coprehensive sex is necessary! So that typical users DO use it correctly and every time, at which point condoms are 98% effective and the pill is 99.7% effective.

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  37. the statistics you have are only about pregnancy, not childbirth. 54% of unplanned pregnancies end in abortion, and the ones who keep the baby are overwhelmingly in long term relationships, including marriages.

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  38. You can dream up all kinds of solutions to the tragedy of unwanted pregnancies. Maybe we need to legalize prostitution so that when men or boys need to "blow off steam" they will be encouraged to visit a professional who, being a professional, will of course make sure she doesn't get pregnant. Maybe every high school and college should have on premises a free brothel for student use (financed by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Our tax dollars at work.) Hint - the Netherlands is famous for its legal Amsterdam Red Light District. And has fewer unwanted pregnancies.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Wallen

    But anyway, the right way to handle this is the way every traditional society has handled it - men and women don't have contact unnecessarily except for spouses and immediate family.  

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  39. >JP- our country isn't producing a single fatherless child, every child has a biological father, the failure is in those fathers who do not live up their responsibilities as a father.

    I think that's what is meant by "fatherless child"

    Anyways, Boxedwhine is waiting for you people to discuss her garden.

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  40. AE,

    I really appreciate you writing all this. For me, its a way to look at the "at risk teens" side of the coin and see it.

    I want my kids to remain orthodox, but not at the expense of their overall happiness.

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  41. >> So I don't think your parents are extreme, unfortunately.

    There's extreme in a statistical sense in which AE's parents probably are not extremists but probably in the middle of the bell curve in the orthodox community; and there is extreme in an absolute sense and in that sense AE's parents seem like nightmarish mother fuckers.

    (begin sarcasm)
    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh ohhhhhhh nooooooooooooooooooooooooo she kissed a guy it's the eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeend of the world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DEATH TO YOU!!!!!!!!!! OK fine not death, YOU ARE GROUNDED!!!!!!!!!!!!! kissing a guy will lead you to eating pork!!!!!!!! (end sarcasm)

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  42. They should have applauded her for putting herself at risk of producing a fatherless basterd (sarcasm).

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  43. JP, you operate on two faulty assumptions: One, that every act of unprotected sexual intercourse leads to pregnancy, and two, that every (or even most) acts of unsupervised socialization between young people of opposite genders leads inevitably to sexual intercourse. Both of these assumptions are nonsense. The policy recommendation of obsessive prevention of intergender socialization is not necessary to achieve the goal of preventing unmarried people from having sex, and even if some people do have sex, the consequences aren't going to destroy society. The chances of getting pregnant from an act of unprotected sex is about 3%

    http://www.sexinfo101.com/sh_pregnancyodds.shtml

    If you add contraception on top of that, your chances of getting a fertilized zygote are negligible. And man, if not most, fertilized zygotes are not viable pregnancies and spontaneously abort. This has worked for me in my life-experience. My first wife and I f___d regularly as horny college students for a year without using any birth control aside from coiutus interruptus. Foolish? Of course, but she never did get pregnant.

    As for intergender socialization, I don't know where you get the data to support your assertion. It flies in the face of common sense and my personal experience.

    Your appeal to the horrors of unwanted fatherless children is thus out and out nonsense, and is not a valid argument against intergeder socialization by young people (or anybody, for that matter.) This extreme version of purdah is not a traditional expression of Judaism, but is something that has entered into Orthodox society over the past 30 years. I know this from personal experience. I suspect that that it entered via Israeli hareidi exposure to Islamic culture. That might be an interesting research topic for you, AE.

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  44. I'm going to weigh in here as a parent (of college-age children, for what it's worth.)

    While it's true that by AE's own account, at times she did not act in the most mature matter, I don't necessarily condemn her as she was, at the time an immature teenager. Thus her reactions aren't unexpected. When I think about my maturity level when I was her age.... I've read letters I wrote when I was a teen and in college, and hell, even up to the first couple of years after I got out of grad school, and I cringe.

    I save my lack of respect for her parents. They have only themselves to blame for the fact that their daughter (and maybe their son as well, from what I've read here) has abandoned all connection with Judaism, something they held as an important part of their life.

    One of the main lessons I learned as a parent of a stubborn and rebellious child was "pick your fights." AE's parents clearly picked the wrong fights. They were more worried about outward behavior than the internal attitudes their daughter was developing. They reaped what they sowed. This, from what I can gather, is because the Orthodox world puts so much stock on these outward behaviors. This is ironic, because Jewish tradition teaches "don't look at the bottle, but rather the wine that is contained inside." (Pirkei Avot.) If they had laid off, and chilled out, their daughter might still be Orthodox, even if not 100% observant in their manner.

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  45. "The policy recommendation of obsessive prevention of intergender socialization is not necessary to achieve the goal of preventing unmarried people from having sex, and even if some people do have sex, the consequences aren't going to destroy society."

    This is what works: abstinence education, based not on hygienic reasons but on a fear of God, together with complete segregation of the sexes as much as is reasonably possible. This is what the orthodox community does, and has been doing for a few thousand years. The result: about 95% of all children are raised to maturity by both biological parents, which is exactly what any psychologist would recommend. Very few poor single moms, deadbeat dads, creepy stepdads, fetuses dumping in abortion clinic trash cans or STDs.

    Your attitude toward sex is very similar to the woman who put a baby in a stroller in the back of a pickup truck.

    http://www2.wspa.com/news/2011/aug/19/1/woman-put-baby-stroller-back-pick-truck-ar-2296666/

    Nothing happened, so what's the big deal? Somehow, the judge didn't agree.

    "This extreme version of purdah is not a traditional expression of Judaism, but is something that has entered into Orthodox society over the past 30 years."

    That's just sheer ignorance. It's clear from the earliest rabbinical texts. 

    http://www.torah.org/learning/pirkei-avos/chapter1-5b.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirkei_Avot

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  46. This is what works: abstinence education, based not on hygienic reasons but on a fear of God,

    Which God? I'll leave it to AE to difg up the studies that show that religious abstinence education is worthless.

    together with complete segregation of the sexes as much as is reasonably possible. This is what the orthodox community does, and has been doing for a few thousand years.

    Except that the Orthodox weren't doing such nonsense 30-40 or more years ago. Don't argue. I know, I was there. This is personal experience for me.

    The result: about 95% of all children are raised to maturity by both biological parents, which is exactly what any psychologist would recommend. Very few poor single moms, deadbeat dads, creepy stepdads, fetuses dumping in abortion clinic trash cans or STDs.

    I give up. You just assert that boys and girls socializing together leads to creepy stepdads. Do you think we're all as dumb as the typical brainwahsed BTs? And don't you have anything better to do on Motzei Shabbos than write poorly argued responses to my comment posts? Doesn't your community have a melave malke or such activities so that you can be inspired by words to Torah rather than having to read my apikorshe writings? Do you even belong to a community? Are you even really an Orthodox Jew?

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  47. Possibly if your life had been ruined by the irresponsible, selfish and reckless behavior of your parents, as have the lives of many millions of Americans, you would look at this a little differently. Just saying.

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  48. "Except that the Orthodox weren't doing such nonsense 30-40 or more years ago."

    Modern orthodox weren't, which is why that community is now just about extinct.

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  49. "This extreme version of purdah is not a traditional expression of Judaism, but is something that has entered into Orthodox society over the past 30 years."

    That's just sheer ignorance. It's clear from the earliest rabbinical texts.

    http://www.torah.org/learning/pirkei-avos/chapter1-5b.html


    I'm well aware of the particular passage from Pirkei Avot. I'm also aware that a lot of stuff is written in the classical texts that is disregarded in actual community practice. I have been observing the Orthodox Jewish community for almost 40 years/ They are my neighbors, and some of them are even friends. I can tell you for a fact that all this gender separation nonsense didn't start to gain traction among the Orthodox masses until the 1990s. Yeah, the yeshiva people might have followed this stuff, but nobody expected it out of the rank-and-file.

    And even today, and I mean today as in August 20, 2011, I had occasion to be enjoying a hot kiddush at a shul in celbration of someone's bar mitzvah. Who should come and sit at our table, but a frum family! I mean, we're talking black hat yeshivish. Definitely fish out of water. The were neighbors of the bar mitzvah boy's family, and I'm sure Papa davened somewhere else than our House of Apikorsus. My point is that even though Papa made sure that he and not his wife was sitting next to me, he quickly got up to get some food for the family. Which left me in the company of his charming wife, and he had a very pleasant conversation. When Papa returned and saw me talking to his wife, did he throw a fir and challenge me to a duel or something? Obviously not, because if he had, it would have had to wait until Motzei Shabbat, and here I am writing this comment. His wife introduced me, and we all had a very nice time. In other words, they behaved pretty much like any other American couple at a similar event. By the way, I also chat with my neighbor the frum rabbi's wife, and her husband has not beaten either her or me. Obviously, this quote from Pirkei Avot is not to be taken literally.

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  50. "Except that the Orthodox weren't doing such nonsense 30-40 or more years ago."

    Modern orthodox weren't, which is why that community is now just about extinct.


    The Orthodox people I know aren't (and weren't) modern Orthodox.

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  51. And they had coed schools, synagogues with mixed seating and mixed dancing? Whoever is doing stuff like that isn't following orthodox Judaism, whatever they call themselves.

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  52. The great wave of Eastern European Orthodox Jewish immigrants to North America that arrived between 1880 and 1914 did indeed go to co-ed schools: Jewish day schools were pretty much non-existent so they went to public schools and Talmud Torahs (including Rabbi Avigdor Miller).

    There was a mechitza for davening in shul, but no total separation for socializing. We have family photos, accounts from older relatives, and other documentary evidence. One of the best family histories in print is "One Hundred Years in Canada: The Rubinoff-Naftolin Family Tree" by Bill Gladstone. See also http://www.cjnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=17564&Itemid=86 - the Jewish "resort" (aka shacks in the country) at Joliette served new Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, kosher meat came via a shochet, and there was a dance hall with mixed dancing.

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  53. yeah see JP is a convert, so all he knows is the BS revisionist history that is put forth in orthodox communities these days, he doesn't have older relatives to tell him otherwise like those of us with several generations of frum jewish ancestors who know it wasn't like this at all until relatively recently.

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  54. "The great wave of Eastern European Orthodox Jewish immigrants to North America that arrived between 1880 and 1914 did indeed go to co-ed schools: Jewish day schools were pretty much non-existent so they went to public schools and Talmud Torahs (including Rabbi Avigdor Miller)."

    And almost every single one of those kids stopped being orthodox.

    Again, if they had coed schools, synagogues with mixed seating and mixed dancing they weren't following orthodox Judaism, whatever they called themselves.

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  55. 1. Some are still Orthodox today. In fact, I recognized some prominant frum families in the book that I mentioned.

    2. I'm not going to argue about the definition of Orthodoxy, but will point out that nobody could have possibly been Orthodox under you definition, since even your Rabbi Avigdor Miller attended a coed public school.

    For anyone looking at the historical picture - I'm referring specifically to documentary evidence from family histories, where the families immigrated to Canada between 1900 and 1910 from Eastern Europe, where they were involved with Orthodox synagogues in Canada, where they lived in Jewish enclaves and spoke Yiddish, and where they cared about keeping kosher and went through the effort to shlep kosher food and even a shochet out of town.

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  56. I love this story its soo true and real, and I really like how you dont butter it up for people who just have a problem with everything you say because you dont share the same religious views :). Although I am a christian i dont know this story is just so intriging... And the name so cool. I actually thought "AE" would be a book or somehing...

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