Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How I went OTD and left the Jewish community for good: Part 4

Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 5 and Part 6

I took sociology 101 having no idea what it was about, because it fulfilled a social sciences gen ed requirement and when I was trying to figure out my schedule for my second semester of college my friend said "Take Professor Battle's Soc 101 class, I had him this semester and he's really funny!" How different my life might have been if she had never said those words.

Professor Battle opened my eyes to a completely different way of viewing the world, a way that made SENSE and involved LOGIC and DATA and EVIDENCE and in which questioning was welcomed and respected. Quite unlike the evasive way my Rabbis avoided my tough questions in HS, I discovered sociology above all is about exposing the TRUTH about society, as best as anyone can measure the 'truth,' no matter how unpleasant that truth is, no matter how much it may challenge social conventions or make people uncomfortable. Professor Battle also made us all do an assignment where we looked up the application requirements for PhD programs in Sociology. And he shared some even more important information- the best PhD programs in sociology will pay YOU to go to school! (tuition/health insurance + a stipend).

At the end of the semester I went up to him and said "I'm declaring my major as sociology and I want to be a sociology professor." He kind of laughed and gently tried to tell me that not every sociology class will be exactly like his, and I should take more than one class before I made up my mind, but my mind was made up. I love learning about sociology, every day in that class was an epiphany, and the idea that I could actually make a (semi)decent living as a professor, learning about and discovering things no one has known about our society and the way it works, and then teaching them to other people, was the greatest epiphany of all.

I had recently discovered that I was actually good at school. After almost flunking out of high school I was shocked to make deans list my first semester of college, once I was able to take classes I actually was interested in taking and that were more challenging to me. I threw myself into school like I never had before, and throughout college I became entrenched in the mini-society that is academia. I served on the school senate as a student representative (a great place for people like me who love to debate/argue), on several school committees, was president of the sociology club, and took every sociology class I could. I got into the honors program and won several awards, both for academic merit and service to the school. I got a job as a peer adviser and ran student orientations and gave tours of the school to prospective students, and helped them register for class. In short, I fell in love with academia. The idea of being a professor fit right in with that.

To get into a graduate PhD program you have to have research experience as my Soc 101 Professor informed me. So the next year he helped connect me with another professor who was doing a project related to a topic I was interested in. And I started researching graduate programs for serious. My original idea of going to college, getting my degree and becoming a stay at home mom went out the window. I was going to be a sociology professor.

My ex fiance was not super thrilled by this idea. My parents weren't either- my dad (who also has a PhD) seemed genuinely confused by the idea of a woman having a career, and asked why I would want to go through all that training if I wouldn't stay in a career long term, and how I would ever be able to keep my job once I had kids and wanted to stay home with them. Cause the assumption in my household, and the one I had grown up believing in since it was so taken for granted, was that every woman wants to have kids, and wants to stay home with kids, and that the only women who don't stay home with their kids are the ones who can't afford to. He could not comprehend that not every woman wants to be a stay at home mom and was convinced I would later change my mind when my 'biological clock' kicked in. You know, cause every woman just drops their careers once they have babies- except for the 75% of them who keep working when they have kids.

But once I had broken out of that bubble and gone to college where people with a different set of assumptions about life, I thought more about staying home with kids all day, and the idea was not appealing at all. I mean I understand that some women like it, and that's fine, but I think I would go completely insane if I only got to interact with infants and toddlers all day long. My problem is not that some women are stay at home moms, but the assumption that EVERY woman wants to be one, and would be happy doing it. Once I began to question that assumption too, and thought about what being a stay at home mom would actually entail, the idea became very unappealing. I wasn't even sure if I wanted kids at all.

My mom also did not take my grad school plans very well. One of the first research projects I was an RA on involved stay at home moms, and I was more and more vocal about not wanting to be one myself once I graduated. My mom (who I don't think really understood what my research was about- she also called my field social work instead of sociology for YEARS) took the fact that I was doing research on stay at home moms to mean that I disapproved of HER being a stay at home mom (not true at all), and seemed to feel that I was rejecting her lifestyle by deciding to go to grad school instead of aspiring to be a jewish mother like her. After many years of being fairly close- in my teenage years my dad was the scary religious one and my mom was the one on my side- our relationships flipped. My mom started being kinda hostile towards me and we started fighting more and more. At the same time I got closer with my dad as I went through the application process and later grad school, since he had been through a PhD program himself and we suddenly had a lot more to talk about as a result.

Eventually my ex fiance and I had been dating 3 years and my parents kept 'gently suggesting' we should get married once I was done with school. So the summer after my Junior year we got engaged, had a le'chaim (engagement party) with all our family and friends and then started planning the wedding for the month after I was going to graduate college.

We started fighting more and more after we got engaged- I wanted to go to grad school and leave the area entirely, and then move on to who knows where after I was done with grad school to be a professor. Most professors end up moving to a random place anywhere in the country to get a job (which I did last year when I moved to the south), since colleges aren't all that common, and professorship jobs that fit our field and specialty are even less common, so we end up with very little choice over where to live until/unless we become more famous later in our careers. I was fully aware of this going in but I wanted to do it anyway- in fact the idea of moving off to random new places for grad school and then a job was thrilling to me (and in retrospect I'm very happy I did, everyone should try living in a different region of the country than they grew up in for at least a while). He wanted to stay in the same area and maybe have me move into his place, which I knew meant staying in the same Jewish community and going to shabbas and yuntiff at my parents house all the time, since he still was living 3 blocks from my parents. Although he was also OTD to some extent in practice, unlike me, he still believed in Orthodox Judaism, at least at the time (my impression is that he is completely OTD these days but we aren't really in touch anymore).

I also started having huge fights over the wedding with both my parents and my ex, frequently at the shabbas table. He and my parents wanted a completely orthodox traditional wedding. I did not. I was still in my "angry at religion and religious people" phase. I did not want to circle around him 7 times which I felt was like a dog circling its master's feet and challenged my dad to find a halachic (jewish law) source saying this custom was necessary to be halchically married, which he couldn't. I didn't want to have an entire ceremony in which I didn't get to say a single word. I didn't want my father signing me away to a binding engagement without me even being in the room in the chosson's tish. I wanted to give him a ring under the chuppah too. These were the main sticking points. I also wanted a simple ceremony somewhere outdoors like in the woods, with maybe a hippie jewish band (my choice was Soul Farm) but my parents refused to get that band and eventually talked me out of the woods thing too, cause you can't have a huge traditional jewish wedding with every relative in existence in the middle of the woods. We compromised by finding a hotel with an outdoor area for the wedding.

But eventually the fighting over grad school + the wedding was too much, and after he consulted with a few rabbis (but not me) my ex dumped me one day with no warning, the Fall of my senior year of college, the day after I sent out my first grad school application. I think that until then it hadn't been "real" to him, just something I had been talking about hypothetically for 3 years at that point and which we fought about all the time...or maybe he was hoping I would decide to pick him over grad school...but when I sent out my applications it became real and that was the final straw. This is pure speculation on my part, as he didn't really give me a clear explanation as to why he was ending our engagement. I was devastated that the relationship ended- for all our fights I still loved him very much at the time, enough to have committed to marrying him. Another important life lesson learned- love isn't the only important thing in a relationship. Having compatible goals and expectations about how you will live your life is equally important.

The breakup sucked majorly in a number of ways. Apart from breaking up just being hard and sucky in general, this breakup was PUBLIC. We had already had a le'chaim, gotten a huge stack of presents for the wedding, and my parents had put downpayments on almost everything for the wedding already. Like this wedding was PLANNED even though it wasn't supposed to be until around 7 months after that. My ex disappeared for a while after we broke up, leaving me to cancel reservations and wedding plans, return gifts and write checks out to people who had sent us money for a wedding present. Having to tell everyone I knew that we had broken off the engagement was humiliating and embarrassing and made me feel like a failure at life. The worst was the random people who didn't know we had broken off the engagement(/he had dumped me), and for months and months afterwards would ask about the wedding, which of course meant I had to tell all these people (lots of random strangers from shul) that we had broken up too.

About a week after we broke up my mom took it upon herself to inform me that "Now that I'm single again, I better not be bringing any non-orthodox men around the house and thinking that would be ok." We had a pretty big fight in which I basically said (again) that I'm not orthodox, I never will be again, and that I have no reason to date orthodox men who follow a religion I don't, so don't expect me to.

After my ex and I broke up, I had little reason to keep following Jewish laws. Until then he had been a conservative force on my OTDness since he still believed in everything even if he didn't keep it all, and wasn't comfortable with going 'further' than we were-- eating non-kosher vegetarian and dairy and fish (but not shellfish, like tuna and salmon), watching tv and playing video games in his apartment all shabbas long. A little over 2 weeks after we broke up I ate my first piece of non kosher chicken in Applebees in times square- it wasn't planned, we just happened to go there after me and my OTD brother and some friends couldn't get into a sold out pink floyd cover band show at BBKings, and I impulsively ordered buffalo chicken wings (with blue cheese dressing!) instead of my usual fish/vegetarian food. A few months after that I had my first non-kosher beef- a delicious empanada made by one of my dorm friends. The next year (when I was in grad school) I tried my first cheeseburger, and the year after that my first shrimp and the year after THAT bacon, crab, lobster, and scallops.

Each food was scary to eat the very first time- I had a physical reaction in which my heart would start beating really fast, my palms would start sweating, almost like a fight or flight reaction. I now use this as an example in class about what happens when people first break strong norms that they have grown up with. Norms are unspoken and spoken rules about how to behave and appear that are enforced through social sanctions, which are social rewards or punishments. Like when people look at you funny when you do something weird, you know that thing is "weird" and you don't want people looking at you funny, so you avoid doing it again. Norms are anything from "don't kill people" to "stand facing the door when you are in an elevator instead of facing the back wall" and "say sorry when you bump into someone" and vary from culture to culture. These norms then become embedded in your brain and neural pathways grow that tell you DO THIS or DON'T DO THIS, which are hard to change later on. Hence the physical reaction when first breaking major norms- that's your brain's way of telling you "WAIT, this is one of the things you learned NOT to do!! STOP or there might be social consequences!!" From such neural processes all of society and civilization is born. I still haven't been able to bring myself to try oysters, they are so foreign and disgusting looking and I can't get over that normative barrier in my brain. Maybe one day...

Getting back to the story, despite feeling devastated about the break up, I continued sending out my grad school applications. We broke up in November, I sent out applications and finished a very challenging Fall semester (I was taking 2 graduate level classes to help improve my grad school applications even more). I finished sending out applications in early January, after which I collapsed into a depressive episode for like a month since the break up finally 'hit me' when I didn't have work to throw myself into.

It was winter break and I stayed in bed most of the day and couldn't even bring myself to walk to the grocery store, so I lived off of muffins and ice cream from the dorm vending machines for a few weeks. I found a great cognitive therapist during that month and went to about 10 sessions in total, which in retrospect completely changed my outlook on life for the better. She helped me get over some major self esteem issues I had and taught me another important life lesson- that when people act like dicks, 9 times out of 10 it's cause they have some crap going on in their own lives, and it's not personal.

But being depressed for a while didn't matter, because all my grad student applications were out. And then I started hearing back. With (at that time) 2 years of research experience and high grades, I got into 8 out of the 9 programs I applied to, and every single school I got into offered me full funding. I could have moved as far away as Austin, Texas or Madison, Wisconsin, or stayed closer to home at NYU. In the end I chose to move to an ivy league university a few hours away from home, where I accepted full funding, including tuition, health insurance and at the time a $15k a year stipend.

I think going through that break up influenced my decision to not move TOO far away- Wisconsin all by myself with no partner seemed very scary, even though it was the #1 Sociology program in the country. The school I chose was only a few hours train ride to my friends/back home, but far enough away and expensive enough (over $100) that my parents couldn't try to force me to come home every weekend anymore.

I moved back to my parents house the summer after I graduated college for a very awkward few months during which I was now entirely open about not being religious anymore (although I still didn't openly violate any rules in front of them) and my mom told me not to talk to my youngest brother so I wouldn't be a bad influence on him 'the way I had corrupted my other brother' (really, me and my other OTD brother just went OTD together at the same time-he hung out in the same local OTD crowd I did, and he even ate non kosher meat before I did). My mother said after I left home at the end of the summer that was it, they wouldn't be giving me any more money help, and I couldn't move back home again, so I should go through everything in my room and take it with me because everything I left behind would be thrown away. I spent that summer biking everywhere to get out of the house as much as I could (would take long 10-15 mile bike rides), sorting through my entire life to decide what to move with me and what to throw away or donate, and getting ready to move to grad school.

After I moved my mom kept her word and threw away everything I left behind- my knee high steel toed doc martin lace up boots (those were expensive, mom!) and all my college artwork- I took a bunch of drawing classes in college for fun and took a class on figure drawing she disapproved of, which is why I think she threw all that stuff out. The next time I came to visit was Thanksgiving, at which point I discovered she had painted my entire room a different color and rearranged all the furniture, and as I said, threw out every single thing I had left behind. I felt like I had been erased from the house completely. The only thing to indicate I had ever lived there was my 8th grade class picture up on the piano.

To be continued...


One of my old figure drawings that I took a picture of before my mom threw it out.

130 comments:

  1. >> My parents weren't either- my dad (who also has a PhD)

    As an aside Abandoning Eden, you kinda hit on one of the fundamental immoralities of the orthodox community how the orthodox community in the United states has educational and economic opportunities while they condemn their coreligionists in Israel to a life of forced asceticism and and educational darkness.

    One of my old OTD posts on this matter.

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  3. SJ- forget israel vs. america, what about men vs. women IN america. It seems the only acceptable graduate degree for orthodox women (at least according to my experience) is OT, PT, art therapy or a teaching degree. While my male cousins were all pushed by their charedi parents to go to medical school, law school, and in one case (for the one not as smart as the others) to get an accounting degree, their sisters all became occupational therapists and now the third sister is being pushed in that direction too.

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  4. Wow, I am quite shocked at your parents' attitude to you going beyond a BA...

    I thought this was a thing of the past.

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  5. Is the same Professor Battle?

    http://www.amazon.com/Black-Sexualities-Passions-Practices-Policies/dp/0813546028/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1314203511&sr=8-1

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  6. person with a long string of numbers and letters- indeed it is! One of, if not THE greatest professors I've ever taken a class with- I hear his 101 class used to attract hoards of sociology majors each year (Sadly he later left the college).

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  7. I have a dirty little secret---I watch CUNY TV lol. He used to be on often and on discussion programs--still comes on occasionally. I think he's still in CUNY but not undergraduate. Though I can't be sure.

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  8. long string of letters- he's now at the CUNY graduate center, which only teaches grad students

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  9. It really varies according to the specific group and subgroup.

    In the "yeshivish" communities, women work, and may be the primary breadwinners while the husband studies in kollel. They get married fairly young and have kids quickly, though, so they look for careers that don't require endless schooling and that mesh well with children.

    In some Hasidic circles, men are more likely to work, so it's more common for women to be able to stay home with young kids, and higher education (esp. at secular universities) may be frowned upon.

    Modern Orthodox tends to see higher education as a good thing, although Jewish places like YU and Touro may be encouraged by some.

    OT, PT, speech therapy and teaching do tend to be overwhelmingly female, because they are seen as areas that allow a decent income while permitting maximum flexibility for those with kids.

    That said, I suspect that the gender difference that you see in Modern Orthodox really varies by region and the particular circle. My experience with "traditional" Jews in Canada is that BOTH men and women were pushed, and pushed hard, toward professions. I know and have worked with tons of Orthodox women doctors and lawyers, although there is a tendency to choose family-friendly specialties (not something unique to Jewish women - it's a big trend in the Indian community too, and among women in general). My kids got so used to me meeting other Jewish family lawyer mommies at shul or through their Jewish day school that they once asked, "Can men become lawyers too?" Quite frankly, we need the money to afford a Jewish area and day school tuition.

    It's hard to compare Israel and North America. I've heard many American "yeshivish" Jews complain that they really didn't fit in anywhere in Israel, because the Israeli yeshivish Jews had a completely different lifestyle and set of rules. There's also the army factor: the Zionist national-religious set go to the army at the age that American Jews go to college, while the non-Zionist haredim need to be in full-time yeshivah in order to be exempt from the draft. It's screwed up to have so many out of the workforce to skip the army, but it's a made-in-Israel problem, not something imported from the United States.

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  10. I can't pinpoint a specific very sophisticated philosophical justification for why I ate that first piece of non kosher chicken if that's what you're asking about, but I think years of disgust over the religion and religious leadership (chronicled in several earlier posts) + years of experimenting with religious groups and discussing religion with hillel and various college people set the stage. But what pushed me over the edge into saying "I'm not religious anymore" was the religious crap people were trying to force me to do when I was engaged (including learning about the wedding laws more in detail + the niddah laws). The more i learned about these rules the more I felt like as a woman, being orthodox meant being a second class citizen.

    The final straw might have been when my ex said he consulted several rabbis about breaking up with me over a period of a few weeks/months, but he had NEVER talked to me about even considering ending our relationship until he DID it, and none of the rabbis told him too either.

    So around then is when I started saying "i'm not religious, but I am jewish" and also completely gave up on things like kosher meat eating that I had been holding on to for years. However I didn't stop keeping all of jewish cultural practices (specifically holidays) until several years after that (which will be in my next post I think).

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  11. and to clarify about the ex point- it's not that I was like "rabbi's told my ex to break up with me so fuck rabbis!" It was more the idea of living in a community/dating people who consult rabbis about what to do instead of talking to their partners like equals.

    There was also a few other disgust-with-rabbis things that happened right around then, but I can't really share them without violating other people's privacy. Well actually I can share one I guess- Rabbi Baruch Lanner, the child molestor/dude beater from NCSy that was arrested my senior year of high school, who I knew and had encountered personally and was close friends with some of his male victims, and then my rabbi defended him extensively both publicly and in shul. That also contributed to my overall disgust with jewish leadership.

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  12. AE, will you please philisophocally describe and explain how an why you chose not to believe in the tooth fairy?

    we know you stopped getting the money under pillow...blah blah blah, but why dear, oh why....please expound on this deep deep revelation

    thank you.

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  13. I can see how defending Lanner would kill respect for your rabbi.

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  14. yeah for a while Lanner was even living in my Rabbi's HOUSE (after his ex wife kicked him out before he came up for trial) where my rabbi's daughter lived - who was in my grade in HS. And Lanner was of course accused of sexually molesting teenage girls. So fucked up. Finally sunk in around then that rabbis weren't all powerful people who know everything, and that sometimes they make awful mistakes. Until then they seemed much more holy and mysterious to me.

    Another thing happened around then with my rabbi making a horrible paskin against someone's doctors advice that could have had terrible medical/life costs if the person had followed his paskin (which fortunately they did not). But that's the private thing I don't really feel right sharing...I only knew about it cause my parents were good friends with the person involved.

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  15. JRKM,

    There's also a big difference between Modern Orthodox near NYC and other big "frum" Jewish cities and Modern Orthodox in smaller cities. I think the NYC MO are heavily influenced by the surrounding Yeshivish culture in subtle and not so subtle ways. One of them is the view that girls should always have an eye on motherhood and that it should influence their careers.

    When I lived in the Midwest, I saw far more MO girls graduating the Orthodox high school there heading straight for college and choosing a wide variety of career paths than when I lived in the NYC area. In the NYC area, the girls (and their parents) were far more likely to choose a year in seiminary in Israel and then a NYC area college studying one of the "therapy" professions and to get married young.

    I recently moved out of the NYC area again, and am enjoying the refreshing attitudes of the Orthodox Jews in my new community.

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  16. >When I lived in the Midwest, I saw far more MO girls graduating the Orthodox high school there heading straight for college and choosing a wide variety of career paths than when I lived in the NYC area.

    Ok. But are these girls NOT also putting an eye on motherhood when choosing their career? Meaning, yes, their job field is broader, but is motherhood not one of the factors they are using in deciding?

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  17. what's your point? that a lot of women take into account motherhood when making career decisions? That's fine with me, as long as the choice isn't between motherhood and a career.

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  18. I can't say that I know a lot of frum moms who would work as a war correspondent, for example.

    However, I do know some who are the primary breadwinners and will work longer hours if their husbands are available at home.

    I also know an increasing number of men who are looking to balance family responsibilities. Dh and my BIL both took parental leave, and my BIL is currently a SAHD and part-time student so he can be there for the kids and do therapy with the youngest one.

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  19. >what's your point? that a lot of women take into account motherhood when making career decisions? That's fine with me, as long as the choice isn't between motherhood and a career.

    No, the point was his distinctions in regions.

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  20. Ok I can't believe I have to explain this agian, but atheism isn't a religion or a religious group, it's the lack of one. So what other atheists do has nothing to do with me. We're not like a big atheist club with established leaders, although some atheists are more vocal than others.

    However rabbis ARE the official leadership of the jewish community, and many the things I have problems with in judaism include the specific tenants of judaism that leave women in an inferior social position. Some atheists might be assholes to their wives, to be sure, just like some jews are, but being an asshole to your wife isn't a "tenant of atheism" the way women not talking during their marriage ceremony and their dad's signing them away to their husbands, bedikah clothes, niddah, etc. are "tenants of judaism."

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  21. > the way women not talking during their marriage ceremony and their dad's signing them away to their husbands, bedikah clothes, niddah, etc. are "tenants of judaism."

    But that's not being an asshole either.

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  22. Atheism is to religion as bald is to hair or sobriety is to booze

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  23. HH- that was in response to JP saying "see, a bunch of atheist dudes treated their wives wrong so atheists treat women badly too!"

    There's a difference between individual atheists treating women badly vs. treating women who get their periods as impure/dirty/can't be touched or their impurity will spread, and saying women can't speak at their own wedding or sign their own engagement contracts, which is an institutionalized part of Orthodox Judaism.

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  24. >There's a difference between individual atheists treating women badly vs. treating women who get their periods as impure/dirty/can't be touched or their impurity will spread, and saying women can't speak at their own wedding or sign their own engagement contracts, which is an institutionalized part of Orthodox Judaism.

    But that difference doesn't make judaism an "asshole" religion either. Are women really being abused by going to a mikveh? Seriuosly!!?? I don't even know what you are even talking about regarding a wedding. Nobody talks under the chupa and anyone can talk during the reception. Do some charedi prohibit that? Sure, but so what? Why are you always looking at charedi attitudes to dump Judaism in general? Regarding impurity spreading: Yes, there are some opinions of old rishonim about that...but again, so what? I sit on the same chair my wife sits. I use the same soap she does. The torah lists EVERYONE (not just women) that can become tamei.

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  25. "Atheism is a set of beliefs about our origins and the afterlife and therefore is a religion."

    I think you meant science. Science is a set of scientifically plausible ideas about our origins and the afterlife based on empirical observations and evidence. And there is no evidence for an afterlife, and current theories of the origin of the world are in line with empirical evidence, unlike the torah's creation story,

    Atheism is merely thinking there probably isn't a god and that religion is man made. There are no specific tenants associated with atheism other than thinking there probably isn't a god and that religion is made made.

    All that other stuff about the origin of life is science, and while atheists tend to adhere to science rather than magical thinking, it is not the same thing as saying "atheism has these beliefs"

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  26. Is Judaism also an "asshole" religion due to the restrictions it imposes on cohanim vs israel? I mean, here you have a cohen, that absolutely cannot attend the funeral of his best friend or a non-immediate relative.

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  27. All atheism is, is a lack of belief in a diety. That's all. All other questions of what atheism might or might not lead to is a secondary question.

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  28. HH you need some reading comprehension skills, cause I'm clearly NOT saying judaism is an asshole religion, just that women are treated in a socially inferior manner according to the tenants.

    And yes men do say something under the chuppah- the very important line that starts "harei at mekudeshet le" that makes you halachically married along with giving an object of value to your wife and being together alone afterwards long enough to have sex. Those 3 things are the entire official rules of a halachic wedding.

    Anyone can talk during a reception of course, but the other thing I have major issues with regarding weddings is the tana'im. I'm not sure how charedi society does it, but in my family/community the way it's done is the men all go to the chossens tish, the women sit out in the shmorgesboard (Which the men go to too) they read the tana'im which is signed by the groom and the father of the bride and the witnesses, the groom breaks a plate to seal the deal, and the bride isn't even in the room. After which the promise to marry is binding. And the bride isn't even in the freakin room.

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  29. but speaking of assholes and religion, my ex and my dad used to joke about how many camels and goats I would be worth in the tana'im

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  30. YOu say:

    "Some atheists might be assholes to their wives, to be sure, just like some jews are, but being an asshole to your wife isn't a "tenant of atheism" "

    ie, being an asshole isn't a tenant of atheism but IS a tenant of Judaism. How is one to understand the inference there any other way?

    > And yes men do say something under the chuppah- the very important line that starts "harei at mekudeshet le"

    Yes, I can see how that is so abusive and morally reprehensible.

    >After which the promise to marry is binding. And the bride isn't even in the freakin room.

    Gevalt. And if she was in the room, something would change? Is this REALLY your problem? You do realize halachically, you are married if the man gives something of value in front of two witnesses and says the magic words? No tnaaim, no nothing.

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  31. >but speaking of assholes and religion, my ex and my dad used to joke about how many camels and goats I would be worth in the tana'im

    And you take this seriuosly?

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  32. "ie, being an asshole isn't a tenant of atheism but IS a tenant of Judaism. How is one to understand the inference there any other way?"

    Nope, as in, JP was trying to say that some atheist men are assholes so atheism doesn't treat women very well either in response to me saying that the tenants of judaism leave women in a second class position. I was saying being an asshole isn't a tenant of atheism, even if some individuals are. But that treating women as second class are in many cases the tenants of judaism.

    Maybe you don't understand how it affects women to be told other men will be signing away your future without you in the room, and I know my ex/dad was joking about the camel things, but the fact that they could even joke about it is a reflection of the very real tenants of judaism. And those jokes reinforced the idea that being a woman makes you lesser in judaism than men, just like the tana'im and not being able to say a word and take an active role in marriage the way men do, also makes me as a woman feel like judaism treats women as lesser than men. I'm not like "OMG jokes are awful" but that it's a reflection of the overall assumptions underlying these practices.

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  33. *that assumption being that women are property to be bought and sold in marriage, and don't even have to actively do anything to be "married" just have to NOT actively prevent the groom putting a ring on your finger.

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  34. No JP, this was not about individual men treating people badly or well or having big cocks or whatever, but about the institutionalized lesser position of women in orthodox judaism.

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  35. oh and HH- you realize if the tana'im are signed you need to get a GET in order to break off the engagement, so yes, it's a pretty big deal that it can signed without the bride even being in the room.

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  36. >Maybe you don't understand how it affects women to be told other men will be signing away your future.

    My opinion, is that the vast majority of women don't even care. Your future isn't sealed at the ktubah, it's sealed when you accept that ring. So you are the one sealing your own fate. The ktubah is so largely symbolic anyways. It used to be of a great service to the woman. I am not sure about that so much.

    >fact that they could even joke about it is a reflection of the very real tenants of judaism.

    No, its not about that. It's about Men being men. If it wasn't the ktubah, we would make fun of you in a different way. Men make fun of women. If men weren't like that in the first place, they wouldn't be using the ktubah as a means to make fun of you. But you look at it the other way. You first see Judaism as an immoral religion, causing great abuse to women which CAUSES men to do this. Sociology indeed!

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  37. >oh and HH- you realize if the tana'im are signed you need to get a GET in order to break off the engagement, so yes, it's a pretty big deal that it can signed without the bride even being in the room.

    You might be right. I have to check. But again, I think all this is just pigeon holing. As if any of these little reasons are really the reasons anyone ever goes OTD.

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  38. We did the compromise position where dh gave the ring with the harei at line, the ketuba was read, and then I gave his ring while saying ani l'dodi v'dodi lee.

    Today, it's not really an issue in Jewish communities, but AE is right that binding a bride to a groom without requiring her presence or consent can be a problem. It IS a current problem in some Islamic societies - read "Infidel" by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

    Re Niddah: This is an odd issue, because it can be interpreted in either feminist or anti-feminist ways. The traditional translations of "tumah" are horrible (another thing to dislike about Artscroll). On the other hand, I think it's really significant that Judaism had a model that didn't just see women as the sexual property of men. At the very least, the woman couldn't be touched until SHE had taken the steps of checking herself and going to the mikvah. Historically, that's a huge swing in the sexual power balance. By contrast, a husband had the legal right to rape his wife in Canada until 1983.

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  39. BTW - it's tenets, not tenants.

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  40. AE, I don't believe there is anything barring a woman from being present at the signing. She just isn't a witness. IIRC, I think I have seen pictures of weddings on facebook where the bride was there.

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  41. I believe you mean "tenets of Judaism," not "tenants." See here.

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  42. >signed by the groom and the father of the bride

    father of the bride does not sign the ketubah.

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  43. HH- I was talking about the tana'im not the ketubah. The ketubah isn't signed by the groom or bride I don't think.

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  44. and everyone who is correcting my spelling needs to seriously get a life :)

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  45. HH- at least in my community and my family, women are not allowed in the choson's tish. No women. And the bride is definitely not there- she is sitting at the shmrogesboard greeting the guests while sitting with her mom and MIL in a big fancy white chair, awaiting the bedecking. Even one of my cousins who is a big feminist and changes a lot of the wedding rules and had her own "kallah's tish" with dvar torahs, was not in the room when the tana'im were signed.

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  46. >I was talking about the tana'im not the ketubah.

    Then I am confused. What are the tana'am? Or am I misunderstanding your hebrew

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  47. Holy Hyrex- As if any of these one little particular reasons is THE reason, no. This was definitely a combo of many reasons which is why this story takes 6 posts instead of a paragraph.

    But these were the major things I spent several months fighting about with my parents and my ex shortly before giving up most of my religious practices, and it was a major source of anger and disgust for me at the time. Learning about beddikah clothes and the mikvah and what my parents were expecting me to do when I got married and afterward, learning about the specifics of the jewish wedding laws and the obvious gender dynamics behind it, made me start to hate the religion and believe it was definitely wrong instead of just not being particularly interested in it and not really observing it, but still thinking it might be right as I did earlier.

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  48. OH KAY NOW. I think I understand what you were talking about. Are you talking about something at engagement party?

    Not everyone does this. I did not do it. None of my friends ever did it.

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  49. HH- The tana'im (I don't really know how to spell it) is a binding engagement contract that is signed in judaism,that stipulates the terms of the dowery and some other stuff (I'm not clear on all the details about that, but you can look it up online). Since it is binding and requires a Get (divorce papers) to break, nowadays it is signed right before the wedding, at the chosson's tish (party for men at the very beginning of a wedding), while all the women are at the shmorgesboard. When they sign the tana'im they break a plate, similar to breaking a glass after the marriage ceremony. In the olden days it was signed a few weeks or months beforehand and was accompanied by an engagement party. It's signed by a representative on behalf of the groom and bride, usually the groom himself and the father of the bride as a "representative of the bride" in addition to two witnesses.

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  50. Ok, I'm sure there are plenty of jewish communities that don't follow every rule or whatever, but that was definitely the way people got married in my community and family, and it was definitely going to be part of my wedding if I had gotten married to my ex, despite my objections.

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  51. Im reading a little about the whole tenaim. But from what I understand, the groom is not signing anything either. It's the parents and their obligations, and they break the glass. I recall doing a symbolic kinyan at the ketubah, but there was no meeting between me and the father in law discussing terms. I have a feeling that the way you describe it is not halacha.

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  52. Ok, so there is a shtar tna'aim, but from my experience, this is just tacked on literally right before the ketubah signing. This is probably why I lifted the kercheif up and down. I am guessing there is no halacha that something has to be stipulated way in advance. (If it is done in advance, it's the mothers that break the glass, not the groom)

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  53. JP, not that if you were telling the truth you'd have a point, but you're dead wrong on the role of women in communist regimes.

    Ever hear of Jian Quiang, Mao Zedong' wife? Mao would have been irrelevent and toppled by Deng Xiapoing and the reformist movement in the party (as his movement eventually was in the 80s) if it wasn't for his wife. Read before you make comments.

    And this isn't mentioning the Hungarian Communists!

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  54. It does not matter what happened post-Mao. As I explained before, there were always people out to get them in the party.

    Was she a high ranking member of a communist regime? Yes. She was responsible for the deaths of millions of people in the Cultural Revolution.

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  55. I don't mean to be rude (maybe I do), but your mom is kind of a bitch.

    I can't put my finger on it exactly, and obviously I've never met your mom, but something about your discussion of her makes me think that she has an underlying depression.

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  56. That's because she was behind the scenes---she propped up Mao as a cult figure. She did not build herself up.

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  57. >That's because she was behind the scenes---she propped up Mao as a cult figure. She did not build herself up.

    So, she was a chinese version of Haman's wife eh?

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  58. HH--I'm not sure. Mao was becoming irrelevent in the late 1950s. She was able, through her experience in the arts etc., to make him have some sort of people to younger communists--who were the driving force of the cultural revolution.

    Sure she would not have been in her position if she didn't marry Mao, but she was still feared by fellow communists.

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  59. "Abandoning Eden Leaving Orthodox Judaism, and what came after"

    Abandoning Sanity Leaving Reality and what came after

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  60. "many the things I have problems with in judaism include the specific tenants of judaism that leave women in an inferior social position. "

    That doesn't explained why you rejected non-Orthodox Judaism, in which women aren't in that inferior social position.

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  61. "and everyone who is correcting my spelling needs to seriously get a life :)"

    How would you respond if a student of yours made that kind of comment when you corrected their academic work? You make the claim of being an academic with an advanced degree, and paying attention to stuff like spelling and grammar would seem to me to be an important part of that.

    Especially when most web browsers have spell checkers built in.

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  62. I would say that for all your complaining, you've so far had a very happy and successful career. That's not typical for those who aspire to academia. Most people with PhDs flame out and end up doing stuff like driving cabs after a couple of post-docs. That's might be a reason why your parents weren't so hot on your pursuing such a degree, but rather do something that has a greater likelihood of long-term success, even if the success is more modest.

    As it is now, your career is totally at the mercy of the level of support for academic research, and if you don't become an academic superstar, you might find yourself without a job with the alternatives for an unemployed sociologist being pretty grim. If you had become a physical therapist, or an auto mechanic or learned another trade, you can find work anywhere on fairly short notice. Thus, it's possible that despite your parents' neurotic behavior, they really had your best interests in mind, and you've been hurting them as much as they've hurt you.

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  63. can't respond to everything as I have to get ready for class, but conservative- as for alternative careers, I happen to specialize in the type of sociology that has a lot of associated non-academic careers, because I specialize in statistics and quant data analysis. A lot of the people I went to grad school with arn't working in academia (I was the only person from my year to get a tenure-track job straight out of grad school), but they aren't cab drivers either- they have jobs at places like the census, the CDC, population reference bureau, etc. In fact I would be earning a lot more money if I went for one of those jobs, but I prefer academia even though it pays less, since I love the teaching aspect.

    But don't worry about me- even if I don't get tenure (unlikely, since I already have several publications in top sociology journals) I can always use my statistical skills to get one of those jobs. I'll be fine. :)

    JP- Actually right now B is unemployed and being my househusband. I have nothing against housewives either, as long as that's their CHOICE and as long as it's equally socially acceptable for men to do so. I just have no interest in being one.

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  64. I hated oysters too until I had them breaded and fried.

    But how can vegetarian food be non-kosher?

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  65. >But how can vegetarian food be non-kosher?

    I would guess perhaps the oils, or the pans they use, may have been used with non kosher meat products

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  66. Who knows, it didn't have an "OU" on it, that's what I was taught every food had to have on it. I'm not talking actual vegetables and fruits (Which do not need a seal of approval) but like muffins, bean burritos, etc, processed vegetarian food.

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  67. conservative- you may surprised to find out that they don't test your spelling as part of the requirements for a PhD :) And yes, if my student said that it wouldn't be a good idea, but there's a difference between formal academic writing and quickly responding to things on the internet, in which typos and spelling mistakes do tend to occur. When I'm submitting things to journal editors or putting up things on powerpoints/handouts for my students I'm a lot more careful.

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  68. Vegetarian food would be non-kosher if it wasn't cooked in a kosher kitchen. If a veggie burger is prepared on the same grill that a non-kosher hamburger was prepared on, then it wouldn't be kosher. Even if there is no grill-sharing, there needs to be a mashgiach supervising the preparation of the food to make sure everything is done correctly.

    Also, cheese, which is seemingly vegetarian, may contain rennet, which is lining from the inside of the stomach of a calf. Rennet is used to give cheese its form. A lot of cheeses don't have rennet, particularly cheeses made in America, but people who keep kosher strictly won't eat cheese without a heksher.

    Basically, there are lots of things that can go wrong in the preparation of food, even if all of the ingredients are vegetarian. So, any food that isn't like, a free standing fruit or vegetable, needs a heksher.

    Some people distinguish between cold food and hot food, and say it is okay to eat cold vegetarian food (but not cheese!) that was prepared in a non-kosher kitchen. For example, you can eat a salad.

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  69. Re vegetarian food:

    Think of the difference between a food intolerance vs. severe allergy.

    For someone like my niece with a peanut allergy, it's not enough for me to merely buy a cake without peanuts. I have to get one with the peanut-free label, so that peanut products were never used on the machines and there is absolutely no chance that a stray peanut or bit of residue could have contaminated the cake.

    My gluten-intolerant nephew, however, is fine if bread is on the table and in my kitchen. He just knows that eating it would cause him stomach problems. A stray bread crumb, though, isn't an issue.

    Being 100% strictly kosher is similar to the peanut allergy (and in fact I know people with severe seafood allergies who rely on kosher products). You look for certification with foods that you don't prepare yourself, or you need to ask the right questions, do some investigating and REALLY be able to trust the prep (since a careless answer has been known to cost lives).

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  70. JP don't worry about me, I have a 4 year initial contract, so there's no way I could even legally lose my job until 3 years from now, and that would only be if I majorly majorly fucked up. Then I don't come up for tenure until 5 years from now and even if I don't get tenure I have an extra year to find a job. If by 6 years from now the federal government is still not hiring anyone...well we're probably fucked either way by that point. But there are plenty of non government jobs too. Worse case scenario there are always plenty of jobs over at the "dark side"- market research.

    As for your continued insistence that I give a motivation that is acceptable to you. First of all, I've given plenty of reasons, if those reasons aren't "Good enough" for a psychopath like you, well frankly I don't give a shit, they are my reasons, and we all know there is nothing anyone can say to convince you you are wrong, so there is no possible reason that will be good enough for you. Second of all this isn't supposed to be a story about "why you should go OTD like I did!" and "the development of my philosophical ideas." The point of this is to describe HOW I came to leave the jewish community and the process by which I extracted myself from that religious life.

    As for whoring myself out...well why don't you try it? Cause of the two of us, only one of us actually has a job, and it's not NOT me.

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  71. AE, at the risk of sounding a little like JP here (*retching in disgust at the very idea*), I AM curious as to your philosophical journey. Obviously your disgust at the hypocrisy, etc, of your experience in Orthodox Judaism made you disenchanted with organized religion.

    But what made you decide that God doesn't exist? At what point did you come to the conclusion that there was no supernatural invisible creator?

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  72. JP, I can't decide if your desire to have sex with AE (and Tova) is conscious or subconscious. You're practically salivating at the idea of her being an escort.

    You remind me of those hypocritical conservative homophobic politicians who are always getting caught with men. You obviously obsess over other people's sexuality because of your own deviant urges.

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  73. AE wrote:

    "Another important life lesson learned- love isn't the only important thing in a relationship. Having compatible goals and expectations about how you will live your life is equally important."

    We agree on something!

    Since you didn't have the same goals, it was probably best that he broke it off. Being told that you might need to move wherever, whenever IS hard on a relationship. I went through it when my dh told me that he was interviewing across the country for his residency, and then for his fellowship. Luckily, he was able to stay here, but it meant stress for me and also meant that I couldn't invest in my practice for several years.

    Re your family:

    The recurring themes that I see are:

    1. Differences in opinion/lifestyle choices were interpreted as personal attacks.

    2. There wasn't - by either side - a framework for tolerance.

    3. Somehow, the love that was there wasn't communicated. Maybe it didn't feel like it was unconditional, or maybe the stress of conflict eclipsed it. [The part of the story where you didn't want to come home for Shabbats is an image that I can't get out of my mind. Friday night has ALWAYS been the family time in our families, even though there's a total range from atheist to frum, precisely because it's about family. So, when you talk about not wanting to go, the lack of bond is what jumps out at me.]

    4. Your parents seemed to be in panic mode and worried about losing control of you.

    5. Because of 3 and 4, almost anything that your parents did do came across to you as an attempt to control and/or a lack of love. In turn, some of your reactions come across as ungrateful or entitled. [For example, I don't think it's unreasonable for a parent to stop paying for music lessons for an 18 yr old, or to expect that a child whose room and tuition you are paying will come home once a week, or that an adult child take their junk and not expect their childhood room to be kept as some sort of permanent hotel room/shrine, but you saw all of these as controlling or a sign of rejection.]

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  74. Let me ask you this:

    What if the conflict with your parents had been about hair?

    Imagine that your parents had a very fixed idea about how you should wear your hair. You started to ignore this as a teen, had them freak out because you looked like a hippy, and couldn't stand the constant comments like "when are you going to get a haircut?" or "X looks so pretty when she does her hair, why don't you do the same thing?" as an adult.

    Finally, you move out and shave your head, much to their horror.

    Was there something wrong with hair itself? Or was it the family conflict over the hair that was the problem?

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  75. Didnt "feel" unconditional?????!!!!

    How can one say that i love you unconditionally, unless you choose a different path inlife than i have chosen FOR YOU

    Thats sick. What kind of parents would do such a thing

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  76. Ksil - it's pretty clear that AE didn't feel like she had unconditional love from her parents.

    I'm not inside their heads, I've never met them and they aren't posting here, so I can't really draw any conclusions except about what AE herself was feeling.

    Professionally, I deal with parents and spouse all the time who have no idea how to relate to each other, and have maladaptive behavior. Even abusive parents can love their children - but they can't figure out how to overcome their issues and treat their kids properly.

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  77. A mass murderer?

    Thats an absurd comparison to someome who does not believe the fairy tale nonsense her parents are trying to force on her, and that she views as sexist

    A better comparison would be if one of these murderers (illogical, irational unethical lifestyle) shunned one of their kids because they did not deem it appropriate for them to follow in their parents footsteps

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  78. hey JP you and my mom have something in common- you both have now compared being an atheist to being a murderer. :)


    JRKM- I think part of the reason I see some of those things as controlling is because they specifically were trying to change my behavior (flute lessons as a punishment for dating my ex and to try to get me to break up with him, college coming home because they knew I wasn't into religion and wanted to make sure I was keeping it anyways). In a different context these would all be reasonable things of course, but in the context they were in which they were enacted, they were a method of control.

    Also I know a LOT of college students, and I have never heard of a parent expecting their kid to come home every weekend from college! I know plenty of students who go home on weekends out of homesickness, but that's completely their choice, not their parents.

    As for the erasing everything from my household/asking me to get rid of everything- again it was the context, my mom was like 'since you're not religious you aren't welcome here anymore.' My brothers both moved out of the house later, but my mom didn't throw out every little thing they forgot at home, and she didn't tell them they could never move home again or get any money, and in fact both my brothers (one is 23 and one is 27) have continued financial support from my parents today, while I was basically out on my ass at 22. Which is why that still stings a bit.

    That hair metaphor is funny cause they also freaked out over my hair (I dyed my hair hot pink when I was 19 and my mom marched me to a professional hair dresser to re-dye it a natural color the next day).

    But I'm not sure what you are trying to say with that metaphor, are you trying to say that even though there was family conflict over religion, it's not the religion itself that was the problem, but the conflict over it? Cause the whole reason for the conflict was my disagreeing with their religious views, so I'm not sure that's a great metaphor. Or I'm just confused by what you are trying to say. :)

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  79. just to try to quell all the whiners, I just went and edited my next post (to be posted Monday) to have a bit more philosophy in it. :)

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  80. JP my mom is happily married and I thought you were too, shame on you. See, the more you talk, the more you make clear that your version of judaism has nothing to do with morality, you're just some creepy old dude who wants to cheat on your wife by doing my mom, who is also married. Morality fail. Isn't not coveting your neighbor's wife one of those ten commandments you claim to believe in? Serious serious fail.

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  81. "even if I don't get tenure (unlikely, since I already have several publications in top sociology journals)"

    Don't count your chickens before they're hatched. My brother had numerous publications in top journals in his field, and he was denied tenure. (Of course, you might get special consideration in order for the school to make it's "diversity" goals.)

    "A lot of the people I went to grad school with arn't working in academia (I was the only person from my year to get a tenure-track job straight out of grad school), but they aren't cab drivers either- they have jobs at places like the census, the CDC, population reference bureau, etc."

    And those sort of jobs don't require a PhD either, although employers like to hire PhDs because there's such a glut of them on the market. And they don't need to worry about massive layoffs, either, for all the posturing from the politicians, even the most firebreathing tea-hadists aren't going to defund the census, especially since it's required by the Constitution. Political conservative are such obvious hypocrites, it makes me want to laugh. They get all worked up about Federal sepndinguntil it's time for them to cash the checks being spent in their districts or states.

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  82. "But how can vegetarian food be non-kosher?"

    Produce that is grown in the Land of Israel needs to have some special tithes and such.

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  83. ok mr. naysayer conservative, I don't get why you feel the need to try to tear me down and doubt myself. But honestly, I went on the job market on the worst academic job year in decades (even last year was better) and got a job, I have a great pub records and many more things in the pipeline, and all the feedback I've gotten has said that I'm good at my job, so I don't sit around obsessing about how I might not get tenure 5 years from now. If it happens, it happens. And those census jobs may not NEED a phd (although, actually, many do), but they sure do pay a lot more if you have one. :)

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  84. "conservative- you may surprised to find out that they don't test your spelling as part of the requirements for a PhD :)"

    Actually, AE, I happen to have a PhD, and believe me, my professors cared very much about my spelling ans grammar and such. And that was years before they had spell checkers (or even word-processors, for that matter). I won't tell you how many rewrites of my dissertation were triggered by typos and misspellings and such. I certainly hope your mentors were as strict with you on those matters as mine were with me.

    "And yes, if my student said that it wouldn't be a good idea, but there's a difference between formal academic writing and quickly responding to things on the internet, in which typos and spelling mistakes do tend to occur. "

    Not knowing the difference between "tenant" and "tenet" is a little more than a dyslexic typo, and it's something that a presumably educated person should be able to catch without thinking. I wonder if I would want my kids studying in one of your classes.

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  85. "Could someone give me a really deep philosophical or scientific reason for apostatizing?"

    Yeah, because the truth claims of Orthodox Judaism are total bullshit (to use technical scientific jargon).

    -Conservative Apikoris, PhD

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  86. "ok mr. naysayer conservative, I don't get why you feel the need to try to tear me down and doubt myself."

    I don't want you to doubt yourself, I just want to sensitize you to the need to show a little humility about yourself in public. You sound like you feel the need to prove something. Fine, you're a talented academic, I'm just telling you that I've seen lots and lots of talented academics over the past 3 decades, and academic talent plus $3.50 will get you a latte at Starbucks. That doesn't negate your intrinsic worth, which is independent of your prowess as an academic. In other words, don't be so self-congratulatory and full of yourself, it can rub people the wrong way.

    "But honestly, I went on the job market on the worst academic job year in decades (even last year was better) and got a job, I have a great pub records and many more things in the pipeline, and all the feedback I've gotten has said that I'm good at my job, so I don't sit around obsessing about how I might not get tenure 5 years from now. If it happens, it happens."

    OK, well good. But your colleagues who failed in their attempt to get academic jobs might be just as good. Like I said, a little humility will make people have a better opinion of you. You tend to come across as a little conceited. If I were on a selection committee, I'm not sure I'd recommend hiring you, despite your positives. Like I said, there are lots of talented people around, so what's really important is that the new hire can fit into the team without antagonizing people.

    "And those census jobs may not NEED a phd (although, actually, many do), but they sure do pay a lot more if you have one. :)"

    Actually, the the Federal Agency I used to work for, they brought in the BS students at a GS-5, the MS students at a GS-9, and the PhDs at a GS-11. However, unless you went into management, you topped out at GS-12. In other words, after about 3 years, I was making more than newly hired PhDs with only a Masters. I eventually got a PhD in my spare time, as I thought it would give mey research some more credibility (which it did to some degree), but I got no additional salary for it. To go higher, you had to go into management, and very few of the managers had advanced degrees.

    In my current Agency, all the professional peons are GS-13, and that includes a lot of folks with just a bachelors. Again, to make more money, you have to go into management, in my mind a fate worse than death.

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  87. "I personally in 1986 predicted the fall of the Soviet Union. "

    In 1986?

    What are you, some kind of clairvoyant? Hashem speaks to you?

    In 1986 my 5-year old nephew could have told you that the USSR was going down the tubes. I'm rather less than impressed with your alleged abilities to predict the future. Surely Hashem can do better than that.

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  88. good thing you're not on a selection committee. :)

    Listen, all my life people have told me "oh you know you should apply to a bunch of backup schools, those schools you are applying to are very prestigious" "oh grad school is super hard and a lot of people drop out and don't make it through" "oh it's so hard to get a tenure track job even when things are good, it'll never happen in this market." "oh well you're not in the clear yet, your committee might require you to do a bunch of revisions on your dissertation before they let you graduate." (they didn't, despite my spazzy spelling on the internet).

    I thought now that I finally finished grad school and got the job people might give it a rest, but now it's how I should be careful I won't get tenure. When do I get to just enjoy my accomplishments and not have people warning me about why I should be anxious and worried about the future?

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  89. AE - I realize that dh and I may not have totally typical families, but not only were we always there for Friday night dinner during college, but we even came up every week after we were married, even though it involved shlepping for well over an hour in rush hour traffic, and we continued to do this crazy drive until our daughter was 3. Ironically, one of the challenges we had when we became more religious was breaking it to them that we wouldn't be coming over for Shabbat dinner or holidays anymore. [They got over it when we said "but you can come to us instead!", which is why it's not unusual for me to have 16 people for dinner on Fridays and up to 40 on holidays. It's easier than our old shlep.]

    Yes, I was wondering if the family conflict itself was the issue, not the subject of the conflict.

    With controlling parents and headstrong teens, plus an inability to express unconditional love and a tendency to have hurt feelings all around - you can have conflict over ANYTHING. Hair, food, weight, school, jobs...you name it.

    I actually had a weird deju vu reading some of this, and then realized why it sounded familiar. I've heard similar stories from some baal teshuvas (Jews who suddenly turn Orthodox)! This one says that her parents constantly criticized and controlled her, that one says that she was previously depressed, another is in pain because her mother will never be happy about the fact that her husband is Hasidic, many dread seeing parents who either see the child's new religious observance as a put-down or feel the need to start religious arguments, some complain about being shunned or having parents openly prefer the non-religious siblings, etc. The parallels are quite uncanny.

    Try to picture this alternate scenario for a moment: you come home for Shabbat with your family. Everyone`s happy to see you, and asks about school. Dinner not only tastes great, but everyone`s relaxing and talking. Some are joking around, some are in a deep philosophical conversation, some of talking about their week. People have different views and practices, and it's a lively and interesting discussion. Nobody is getting offended or laying guilt trips. Those who are less observant put the phones on vibrate, and step out for a moment if they get a call. After enough wine, someone starts singing, and people join in.

    Even if you were questioning your faith, would you find that sort of Shabbat so hard?

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  90. JRKM- that scenario you put forward sounds great! In fact it sounds exactly like thanksgiving and christmas and various other random trips at my in-laws, which is probably why I love going there so much. :) It was actually quite shocking to me how well my husband's family interacts with each at their dinner table when I first met them- I wasn't used to parents talking to their kids the way adult friends who genuinely like each other talk to each other. In my house it was always about everyone (everyone being me and my OTD brother) hiding what they really were doing and feeling all the time because of the constant waves of disapproval. They have their disagreements too- my MIL is very religious and my husband is also a huge atheist, but they can even talk about religious stuff without it devolving into hurt feelings and people telling each other they don't want to hear them talk anymore, the way things happened in my house all the time. Even when they fight it's different somehow.

    But that's not a shabbas thing, that's just a big family/friends dinner thing. You can get what you are talking about through friendly shabbas dinners, or through just any family/friends dinners. I did get some of that at the reform shabbas potluck dinners I used to go to in grad school (um, which are in the next post I think), and B even came with me a few times, but then my reform friend (who was in medical school at the time) stopped having them cause he started being an intern and working all the time so couldn't have them anymore. And now I've moved to a place where I don't really know any other jews (except the local reform rabbi who I met last year at a grateful dead cover show, ha!). But I get a similar thing from the dinner parties me and my colleagues have all the time too.

    I see a lot of parallels with me and BTs too.Also me and gay people whose parents aren't accepting of their partners (I've read a few books/articles on gay people coming out to their parents and how their parents treated their partners, and wow do I relate). To me it seems it's all the same problem- people not willing to accept that their adult kids will make their own decisions that aren't necessarily the same decisions their parents would make, not respecting their right to make those different decisions and trying to change their decision whatever way they can, through everything from fighting to cutting off social support. If my theoretical kids become BTs I will not treat them the way my parents treated me.

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  91. "I thought now that I finally finished grad school and got the job people might give it a rest, but now it's how I should be careful I won't get tenure. When do I get to just enjoy my accomplishments and not have people warning me about why I should be anxious and worried about the future?"

    You really don't understand how the world works, do you? Do you realize what a privileged position you have, and how there are at least 100 people out there, each one at least as qualified as you, and who would like your job? Why should you think that the rest of your life is going to be as successful as what you've had until now?

    When I was your age, things were going almost as well for me. The first time I hit a bump in the career road, it was sure a nasty shock. Then when my first wife left me, that was another one. You do get over it, but you need to be prepared for the disaster that can strike at any time. And one way to hedge your bets is to not be conceited, to be able to take criticism, and realize that your work will never be perfect, so when someone calls you on it, not to get too defensive. Reaching the truth in scholarship involves some rather bruising back and forth arguments and a willingness to admit that you might be wrong. In some ways, it's like the argumentation of the yeshiva, so if you didn't like the society from which you've fled, you might have picked a wrong career choice. You know the old saying, "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen?" That applies to academia, especially in these days of shrinking budgets. Your past accomplishments are pointless, all people will care about is future potential. You will always be looking over your shoulder until the day you retire.

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  92. JP, you are so full of fecal matter, you might as well drive down to your local waste-water treatment plant for a cleanup.

    Big deal, so one CIA analyst make a wrong prediction about the collapse of the USSR. All the other entries in the article you cited were analysts who were busy predicting the obvious. Who knows why Gates said what he did? There's a distinct possibility that it was a political opinion, designed to protect CIA funding. Anyway, by 1986, everyone knew the USSR had serious problems.

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  93. "By the way, census bureau is already being cut.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/26/opinion/dont-republicans-want-to-know-about-the-economy.html

    I would not count on new hiring over there. Truth is, even cab driving jobs are probably scarce at this point."

    JP, you need lessons in reading comprehension. Even the House Republicans are not proposing to eliminate the Census Bureau. And there's not reason to believe that the House Republicans are going to get everything they want, anyway.

    As for the scarcity of jobs, it might not be as bad as all that. I was just out on a road trip, and every trucking depot I passed had up billboards announcing they were hiring drivers. Wal-Mart had a big sign in the store announcing they were hiring. The supermarket in my neighborhood is hiring. These aren't the world's greatest jobs, but the situation is not as bleak as you are trying to make it out to be.

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  94. AE,

    Not sure why you think all orthodox Jewish women go into OT/PT/Speech etc.

    I'm an engineer. My friend is getting her PhD in Middle Eastern studies (focusing on Islamic culture). Another got her PhD in Psychology (is that too common?). I have plenty of friends who went to medical school, became scientists and other "non-traditional" womens fields. Maybe not marine biology because that is usually impractical for Jewish lifestyle, not because they are women.

    Today I don't know what you can really call non-traditional for women.

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  95. Shira- I don't think ALL orthodox women do those jobs, to be sure. Just that they are very very common among the orthodox jews I know, and those are basically the only careers that women in my family have, if they have a career at all. Of the around 30 women I graduated high school with, the majority seem to be stay at home moms and the few that aren't work in jewish foundations, OT, PT, AT, Nursing, Counseling/social work, Real estate- all things that are modern day jewish women careers- and only one other person from my grade has what I would consider a non traditional for a jewish woman career (she's a journalist, and she's not very religious anymore either).

    Again it's not EVERYONE you can always find exceptions to anything, but statistically I think these jobs have a high prevalence among jewish women.

    But if I recall correctly, when you got back in touch with me a few years ago didn't you yourself say you are very different than most other jews, and have a very different marriage compared to most other jews, etc.? :)

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  96. "but you need to be prepared for the disaster that can strike at any time"

    Thats a rotten way to go through life!!!

    AE, dont take advice from him! Keep doing what you arw doing,,,,,its working

    I am so glad that someone pointed out that parents should use "tough love" if their kids get into some bad stuff....all you parenta out there....if any kiruv organizations try to rope in your kids and brainwash them and pull them into their cult....get involved!!

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  97. @AE

    I really enjoyed reading your series; looking forward for the next parts!

    @JP
    Could someone give me a really deep philosophical or scientific reason for apostatizing? Blogging is getting boring.

    JP, I tried to do that with you, on your own blog, but you preferred not to have real philosophical discussion...

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  98. "have completely disowned me"

    i said GET INVOLVED! its too bad they didnt try to rehab you before you got brainwashed....oh well!

    we are SO LUCKY to have you.''LOL

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  99. "the primary decision makers should be men"

    we are glad you think so

    ROTFL

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  100. JP said:
    Hugo, seriously no offense, however your arguments sounded like the ramblings of someone learning impaired.

    Coming from you I think this is actually very flattering. It means that I was able to write in such a way that you cannot even understand what I claim. Good to know, if I ever want to discuss with you again I will try to dumb down my ideas...

    I don't like to brag about academic results in order to support my points but I think it is appropriate in this case, just to show why my arguments were probably not like those of a learning impaired individual.

    I did the GMAT test recently and, just to give you a quick overview in case you don't know, the GMAT consists of 3 sections:
    1) We need to write 2 short essays that test our ability to support a point of view and analyze an argument.
    2) Quantitative (Math) section; not really relevant here.
    3) Verbal section that includes 3 sub-categories: reading comprehension, critical reasoning and sentence correction.

    Obviously, since you just insulted my capability to write and argument, I think it's relevant to mention that I got a 6/6 for the 2 essays and placed in the top 5% for the verbal section. I did not do as good as I wanted in the math and placed in the top 33% but that still yielded a very good overall result at 710 (top 8%) since it works a bit like a triathlon: the overall score is not an average of the two sub-section.

    So, thank you JP! :-)

    Now, the only point I really wanted to make is this: you never make "true" philosophical arguments for Orthodox Judaism. The only thing you do is point out how "morally right" Orthodox Jews are. What you fail to understand is that this is entirely irrelevant when it comes to determining if God exists, and it surely has nothing to do with AE's beliefs.

    Let me put it another way. In my personal context, religion never was a problem. Therefore, all these silly arguments about how people leave Judaism only because they want to "sin" or have sex, do not apply to me. My childhood religion was not, and would not, prevent me from doing anything I wanted to do. Yet, I still realized after some time that I did not believe my religion's claims regarding God or an eternal soul. So, why did I come to these conclusions if it's not to be a "rebel"? Well, it's simply because I was interested in learning what's true...

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  101. Yeah, I'm atypical in many ways :-)

    But career wise, I'm not really abnormal.

    I think the more MO you go, the more diverse the career path.

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  102. Shira- that is definitely true, part of the problem is that even though my parents call themselves MO they both spent most of their lives in the yeshivish community, and had a lot of yeshivish attitudes/ideas as a result, including this idea I think that women don't want to have careers and only care about raising cihldren. Which is why I call them "right wing" MO.

    Also, my cousins who are all OTs and PTs are all yeshivish, not MO. :)

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  103. @Conservative: Why are you such a whiny Debby Downer? "Ohes noes, you won't get tenure". I'm sorry, I think I missed your entire point in this argument, was it that AE's parents were right the whole time because she might not get tenure? So are you telling your kids to get a job cleaning toilets or maybe being a nanny because you know, they might not get tenure with that PhD and will have to end up doing that anyway? Have you ever heard of intellectual curiosity?

    @JP: Motive motive blah blah blah, another whiner. Why does she need a motive that satisfies you? Why do people need to believe in your imaginary God? Does he not exist if AE doesn't believe in him? I see how that makes you a pathetic slobberer.

    You guys are so boring for over 100 comments.

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  104. Hey all--

    Did you know there is a HURRICANE coming this weekend?

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  105. hey long string of numbers- I don't live in the northeast or near the coast down here in the south, but good luck to those who do!

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  106. the difference between obesity and religion is that obesity has been scientifically linked to health outcomes, while religion has been scientifically nothing and is based on pure speculation with no empirical evidence in any direction.

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  107. >the difference between obesity and religion is that obesity has been scientifically linked to health outcomes, while religion has been scientifically nothing

    You're not comparing this properly. If you are linking health issues to obesity, you should be linking some sort of affect of being religion. So for example, is their a link between being religious to be happier? or giving charity? etc etc. This is irrelevant if its true or not.

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  108. yes but if there is a link between religiousity and those things you say (which to some degree they are), that doesn't not necessarily imply religion caused them.

    First rule of statistics, Correlation != Causation

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  109. Well said AE; the analogy failed on so many levels... nice try JP. See you when you get evidence and sound arguments based on it.

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  110. Why become an apostate?

    Simple. The process degrades the foundations of revealed religion and tears down the edifice. It doesn't matter whether the religion is Vedic Vaisnavism, Orthodox Judaism or Islam. They all fall in about the same way.

    When you permit yourself to ask questions even if you don't like the answers it follows as the night the day. First, the archaeologist's pick and the historians books demolish the historical claims. Since revealed religion depends on the reliability of the revelation and a "chain of custody" of the evidence back to the beginning any serious holes are fatal if the religious person is intellectually honest. And the Vedas, the Torah, Quran and pretty much every other scripture is full of them.

    Then the philosophers get hold of it. No matter how the fundie - anyone's fundie - twists and turns he breaks his teeth on theodicy and ends up guzzling the contents of Russel's Teapot. Begging the question, appeal to consequences, appeal to authority, moving the goalposts, special pleading, argument from authority, appeal to tradition, No True Scotsman and argument by assertion are considered serious flaws in real discourse. To the Believer they are the ground on which he stands. Enough of that and thoughtful people get disgusted and leave.

    That's before the serious philosophers start in.

    Then there's the big one, Science. Science has been tearing up revealed religion for thousands of years. In the last five hundred it has taken to ripping out huge bloody chunks.

    Part of it is, once again, that pesky infallibility. Once revealed scriptures are shown to be in error, no matter how small, the basis for their authority behaves like a balloon with one small bite taken out. Oh, theology around the edges can change. But when you get down to the essentials any real flaw is deadly.

    It's not just particular scientific results or theories. It's the fundamental nature of these two ways of looking at the world.

    Science is self-correcting, however imperfectly. Built into its very nature is the notion that everything can and will be superseded as better tools, better data and better understanding are developed.

    It also rests on a radical honesty and iconoclasm which is completely foreign to religion. If you're right, you're right. If you're wrong you're wrong no matter what your reputation or status.

    Religion, on the other hand, is based on the denial of reality so that belief can be preserved (Thank you Tim Minchin). Everything revolves around unimpeachable authority. If errors are detected they must be explained away and shown not to be errors or the speaker must be silenced whether by cherem or death.

    The most pathetic sort of revelation-loving religionist is the sort who claims Science "proves" his faith. If he happens to be wrong he looks like a fool, and his religion takes a body blow. If he happens to be right he can be smug right up until scientific progress makes his "proof" obsolete. At that point he has to admit his "proof" was no such thing and looks foolish or he has to deny the results of this progress or he has to furiously backfill and come up with some variation of "I meant what I said, but what I said wasn't what you thought I meant". All of these lead to bad Science and worse religion.

    In short, Science is happy when a child points out the Emperor isn't wearing any clothes. Religion takes the kid off somewhere and shoots him.

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  111. Jewish Philosopher: you are such a negative, hateful person, I don't know why you continue to read AE's blog and comment so negatively. There is definitely a screw loose in your head, your elevator doesn't go to the top floor, you're a couple sandwiches short of a picnic, etc.
    AE: waiting for Part 5, next time I won't read the comments, though.

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  112. Whoa, looks like I really jumped in late in the game here!

    AE- I don't know if you and my sister had anything to do with each other (same high school aside). Her wedding, she was there during the tana'im and ketubah signing. she did a lot of things differently. Before the wedding, she even consulted with a bunch of Rabbis to make sure that these things were permissible by halakha. She made it clear that she doesn't want to hear about "it's just not commonly done" or "it's frowned upon"; she wanted to know black-and-white if there is anything halachikly wrong with these things.

    Her wedding ended up being as feminist as possible and still called an Orthodox wedding. But the painstaking efforts she went through to find out--some Rabbis even slammed the door in her face and refused to have a discussion with her.

    Now my views are very different. If I ever get married, it will not be a Jewish wedding. There will be as little planning as possible involved, it will just be a nice relaxing gathering. But I still salute her for sticking that fork up Orthodox Judaism and its misogyny--esp. wedding related.

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  113. Re: Lanner. I thought I knew him too. I admit, I had heard closet rumors about his shenanigans in high school, but refused to believe them. When I first read "Stolen Innocence" by Gary Rosenblatt (the article that started the whole madness), I felt like someone had taken a wrench to my stomach and twisted hard. And mind you, this was when I was just back from Shana Bet and still as frum as I would get.

    That week in shul, Rabbi Yudin threw into his sermon that the article should not have been written. That they should have handled it by other venues (when the article CLEARLY mentioned that a Beit Din was called in 1990 but did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING). My father approached him during the kiddush, pulled him aside, and nicely explained to him that it is not in his interests to be defending Lanner. He told Rabbi Yudin that a big furor was about to erupt, and that he did not want to be tarred with the same brush as Lanner. I'm not sure if Lanner was living with Rabbi Yudin back then or not (probably was). But as we both know, Rabbi Yudin remained a defender of Lanner ad aras. He even made a point of that when my father was doing time--that he didn't abandon Lanner, a fortiori he would not turn his back on my father. My mother didn't know what to make of it; I explained to her that Lanner is now a total pariah in the MO community; my dad was only guilty of mail fraud, and no one was seriously fucked over by his actions. So that Rabbi Yudin would stand by such a man who for over 30 years hurt many people, let this be a sign that he doesn't turn his back on any Jew (and he even said to me at my father's sentencing that I am welcome by him anytime--I haven't taken him up on it).

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  114. @Conservative: Why are you such a whiny Debby Downer? "Ohes noes, you won't get tenure".

    You have me wrong. I think it's fine that she had her ambitions to be a professional scholar. If I were her father, however, I would be concerned that she didn't seem to have a good Plan B if she hadn't been lucky to get a tenure-track job. And as far as I'm concerned, her success is pure luck. (Check out "black sawn theory" or Nassim Taleb to see what I mean.) Unfortunately, AE seems to think, that her success is the result of her superior academic skills. I'm just trying to give her a dose of realism. And she needs to make sure she knows the difference between "tenet" and "tenant."

    "I'm sorry, I think I missed your entire point in this argument, was it that AE's parents were right the whole time because she might not get tenure?"

    No, As I read Ae's account, her parents were opposed to her academic career because they wanted her to have a career that would allow her to be a stay-at-home mom when the kids were young.

    "So are you telling your kids to get a job cleaning toilets or maybe being a nanny because you know, they might not get tenure with that PhD and will have to end up doing that anyway? Have you ever heard of intellectual curiosity?"

    You can satisfy your intellectual curiosity without having to get a PhD and have an academic career. When I was a kid, I has a scoutmaster who was a carpenter, and he was one of the most intellectual guys I've ever known. Plus being an ex-marine who smoked unfiltered Camels and told us the greatest WW2 stories. I don't know what would be the best career for AE to allow her the financial independence she needed to make the break from her parents. She seems to be doing OK now, but I hope she has a plan B if she doesn't get tenure.

    My personal interest in this is that I have a college-age daughter, and I want to give her good advice about how to secure financial independence. And I don't think that aspiring to an academic career is the best route.

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  115. >yes but if there is a link between religiousity and those things you say (which to some degree they are), that doesn't not necessarily imply religion caused them.

    That seems to contradict itself. Then why use the word "link"?

    Regardless, I don't want to get into that conversation. I was just pointing out your analogy was off.

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  116. >Her wedding, she was there during the tana'im and ketubah signing.

    Why are these such high achievements? Doing the tanaaim at the wedding RIGHT before the ketubah is pointless anyways since you are getting married within the next few minutes anyways. So its not like anything was achieved. She really showed them didn't she?! And the ketubah? Woohoo, the woman was there. It's not like either partner is signing anything anyways.

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  117. Conservative, you seem to be projecting your own career failures onto me, and you are projecting your feelings about your kids onto my father. My father couldn't care less if I had a plan B or had a good career, my parents wanted me to aspire to be a stay at home mom.

    I'm sure it's just luck that I got an ivy league phd in a program that many people flunk out of (with a 5% acceptance rate), a tenure track job in the worst job market in years, that I did the best of anyone in my grad school year, and that I've been published in 3 of the top 10 sociology journals and several other top journals in other disciplines.

    Or maybe it's that I make my own luck. There are not that many people like me who are not doing well on the job market, because I made sure to be in the top group of applicants by working my ass off for 10 years and going above and beyond what everyone else was doing. Something I continue to do in my job.

    I know not everyone gets tenure. I also know in my department, everyone who has met the requirements for tenure has gotten it, and just like in grad school, I've been working on going above and beyond those requirements. And so far I've been pretty consistently successful in publishing and getting grants and getting a lot of work done.

    So why should I sit around worrying? If you had sat around worrying about your career failure 5 years before it happened, would anything have changed for the better?

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  118. >> You can satisfy your intellectual curiosity without having to get a PhD and have an academic career.

    As a political conservative myself, telling someone that they can't achieve something that they are obviously able to achieve and has done so is antithetical to what conservatism stands for.

    AE does good work instead of sucking on a government tit, and also my understanding is she's married, TO THE OPPOSITE GENDER also!!! I assume her husband works too. And presumably, they'll have a kid one day.

    As a conservative I see nothing wrong with the way AE is living on any level.

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  119. "Conservative, you seem to be projecting your own career failures onto me, and you are projecting your feelings about your kids onto my father."

    AE, you're a sociologist, not a shrink, so don't violate the law by practicing without a license. :)

    First, I don't consider my career to be a failure. I make a 6-figure salary, I'm respected by my bosses, I get to satisfy my intellectual curiosity, and I'm not saddled with "publish or perish or having to a rainmaker with research grants.


    The main reason I'm 'bugging' you is that you come off as being very conceited about your abilities. ou really think that your success so far is due only to your abilities? I'm just trying to be the voice of experience -- after all if I'm put off by your expressions of conceit, I'm sure some of your colleagues are, too, even if they're not telling you. (And you really need to consider that part of the reason for your success is that you're a woman, and your institution might be trying to increase their "diversity." Oh, don't try to deny it, either. I've been involved in enough hiring decisions to know how things work. And remember, I'm not suggesting that you're not competent (although you do need to learn to care about the distinction between 'tenet' and 'tenant'), I'm just saying that many of the people less successful than you are just as competent and talented as you. This is something you don't seem to want to acknowledge, which I would count as a mark against you.

    "My father couldn't care less if I had a plan B or had a good career, my parents wanted me to aspire to be a stay at home mom."

    From what I read of your account, it seemed like what your father wanted was for you to be a stay-at-home mom when your kids were young. He probably also wanted you to get married and have kids right away. Thus, I suspect that he wanted a career for you that would allow you the flexibility to drop it when the kids came and the be able to resume it once they were old enough for you to get back to work.

    Your father may be neurotic (OK,so we're all neurotic, but more tha average), in thrall to an unreasonable ideology, and been a bit of a hocker on top of that, but from what you've written, I think he really cares about you, and you may have hurt him as much as he's hurt you.

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  120. "As a political conservative myself, telling someone that they can't achieve something that they are obviously able to achieve and has done so is antithetical to what conservatism stands for."

    That's why political conservatism is bullshit. We can't all achieve what we're capable of achieving, because there are only so many high level positions needed in society. There are probably hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Americans capable of being President of the United States, but there can be only one President at a time, and they only hold elections every four years. This sort of dynamic is true for all sorts of high status positions. That's why they're high status. The political conservative cant that everyone has an opportunity is a load of bullshit that works very well in keeping lots of talented people from working hard to overthrow the system. In other words, this political conservative ideal is just BS designed to keep the peasants in their proper subordinate place by giving them an unrealistic hope that they, too, can advance.

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  121. "AE does good work instead of sucking on a government tit,"

    I believe that AE is working for a state university, and even if she is working for a private university, much of their funding comes from the public sector.

    " and also my understanding is she's married, TO THE OPPOSITE GENDER also!!!"

    What does that have to do with the topic of this exchange?

    "I assume her husband works too. And presumably, they'll have a kid one day.""

    Actually, AE has stated that her husband is currently unemployed.


    "As a conservative I see nothing wrong with the way AE is living on any level."

    What do you mean? She doesn't believe in Judaeo-Christian Religion. If you think that's ok, then you're not a real conservative. :)

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  122. "So why should I sit around worrying? If you had sat around worrying about your career failure 5 years before it happened, would anything have changed for the better?"

    Hey, I didn't spend my career worrying. I just saw that academia was a scam, and so I took a different career path. I'm fine. I also have some humility and a realistic view of my talents and shortcomings. I also know that a large part of my success was being in the right place at the right time, not because I was some sort of superior being.

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  123. Conservative thanks for your concern and all, but the way I talk to people on the internet is just NOT the same way I talk to my colleagues. Just like I hope you aren't as patronizing and paternalistic when you talk to your colleagues.

    As for being a woman giving me help- I was hired at the exact same time as a white guy in department, and my department is half women already. I'm not in a field like engineering where women are a minority of graduates- in fact we have more female graduates than male graduates in my field. And out of the 90 applicants for my job, there were plenty of other women they could have gone with. I got hired because of my CV, not my gender, but thanks for playing.

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  124. >> I believe that AE is working for a state university, and even if she is working for a private university, much of their funding comes from the public sector.

    AE provides a service. It's not welfare.

    >> What do you mean? She doesn't believe in Judaeo-Christian Religion. If you think that's ok, then you're not a real conservative. :)

    To some people conservatism is about religion. I am a social & economic & foreign policy conservative. I never make religious arguments to support my viewpoints.

    Fact is some people are de facto more conservative than they are willing to admit. AE could be one of those people ;D XD

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  125. *would also like to point out while my husband is unemployed, he does not collect unemployment benefits.

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  126. I am orthodox... and your story sickens me.... how can parents be so closed minded???? I dont blame you for being OTD!!!!!!!

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  127. dear numbers and letters person,

    you are orthodox and you dont know how people could act this way?

    i challenge your claim that you are orthodox

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  128. "in fact we have more female graduates than male graduates in my field."

    You are correct, so I withdraw my allegation that you were hired because of your gender.

    " I got hired because of my CV, not my gender, but thanks for playing."

    No, you got your first interview because of your CV. You got hired because you developed a superior rapport with the members of the selection committee. If your CV was everything, they wouldn't need to hold interviews, they could just hire people sight unseen, after doing the due diligence of a background check. I'm sure that many, even most of the unsuccessful candidates, even some who didn't get interviews, had CVs as impressive as yours.

    "Just like I hope you aren't as patronizing and paternalistic when you talk to your colleagues. "

    Have a little trouble taking criticism, do you? That's not a good quality to have in the academic world. They're a bunch of cutthroats, after all, there's an increasing number of researchers angling in a decreasing pool of research grants. And your competitors are the ones who get to peer-review your publications. I really think you're going to be learning some hard lessons as your career progresses.

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  129. "AE provides a service. It's not welfare."

    OK, I see that you're one of those conservatives who distinguishes between government service and welfare.

    "To some people conservatism is about religion. I am a social & economic & foreign policy conservative."

    Oh, you must be an Obama supporter. :)

    " I never make religious arguments to support my viewpoints."

    Well, then you're certainly unusual amongst conservatives. :)

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