Thursday, January 8, 2009

My brother is brainwashed.

I just got a call from my brother E, who is in Israel. This is the first time in his life he has ever called me. And he called from Israel.

What was so important you may ask? That was my question too...was something on his mind? Why was he calling me for the first time from a different country? (and he's coming back next week, it's not like he's going to be there all year).

He started going on about how he went to a lecture with a very important rabbi, and was talking to the rabbi afterwards about me. And the rabbi said something that he had to tell me, and he didn't want to tell me, cause he thought it would make me very mad, etc. etc.

Of course I thought that the Rabbi had told him that he couldn't ever talk to me again. So I get all nervous as I hate confrontation.

Then more preamble: He wants to tell me this thing the rabbi said, but I have to agree to listen to all of it first and try not to get mad. He wants to tell me 2 things first: 1. My parents did not put him up to this, and he never talked to them about me at all and 2. That he didn't want to make me mad, but he felt that he had to tell me this, even though he didn't want to.

And what did this Rabbi say that was so important my little brother called me for the first time ever, from a different country?

The Rabbi said that one of three things will happen with me and B. Either B will fully convert to Judiasm, or we will break up, or B will die within a year.

Let me repeat that. A big fancy Rabbi in Israel told my little brother that unless his big sister's fiance converts or breaks up with his sister, his sister's fiance will die within a year.

I shit you not.

So which is worse: That the rabbi said this, or that my brother, who I like to think is an intelligent human being, believed it enough to call me (long distance) for the first time evar?

I wonder if when we still get marred, B doesn't convert, and he doesn't die in a year...will my brother finally realize that these rabbis he so blindly follows are full of shit?

My response you ask? I burst out laughing when he said that, since I thought it was going to be a him-cutting-me-off speech and it took me completely off guard. And I tried to calmly explain to him that it didn't make me mad, because I didn't believe that he would know that, cause how could he know that? If I told him that unless he converted to atheism he would die within a year, he would laugh at me too because how would I know that either? And that while I completely am ok with him being religious if that's what he wants to do, that I don't think religion is for me.

And then he asked me about other stuff going on in my life. I told him about trying to adopt a dog (we filled out another dog application today for a basset hound rescue place, although we haven't completely given up on the other dog and will call them again tomorrow). He asked what I would do with my cats, since he thinks cats and dogs are natural enemies. I explained that that's not true, plenty of dogs get along with cats, we're just going to try and specifically look for one that does. I asked him about what it's like staying in Israel during the war, and he tells me that there are soldiers everywhere, but that no one would ever send a missile to the old city, where he is staying. I hope he's right. He comes back next week, and I told him to be safe. It was a pretty awkward, but overall not horrible conversation.

Eerily, and I never noticed this before (probably because we never talked on the phone before), my brother on the phone sounds a LOT like my dad on the phone. Like, not the way he speaks (and I know it was my brother, cause he has a very different speech pattern than my dad). But the voice is almost exactly the same. It definitely threw me off balance once or twice.


  1. Crazy.
    Hearing things like this make me angrier and angrier at religion.

  2. Typical. It's funny, I just posted a little something on social cohesion tactics myself.

  3. I dont know who this "rabbi" is but you know enough to know that he doesn't represent any stream of Judaism's position on intermarriage. There are no Jewish sources to support his ridiculous claim. Sharing what he said on your blog is pure religion bashing in the lowest form. If you want to make religion look bad quote George Carlin-at least he has an intelligent critique of religion.

  4. ha, so I should just not talk about what happened to me because it makes religion look bad? I just tell the truth, if you don't want religion to look bad you should be going after this rabbi, not me.

  5. Besides, I know this rabbi, and he's a VERY popular one.

  6. Any reason not to name the Rabbi?

  7. For refusing to reveal his name.

  8. Oh, I figured AE would decide whether or not she felt comfortable revealing the name.

  9. yeah I don't think I want to go about publicly denouncing rabbis for things based on hearsay...seems like that would cause problems for me.

  10. but did you ask your bro how the rabbi knows this???

  11. Eden, I'm so sorry. It's disgusting enough that this rabbi is judging you without ever having met you (I've had the experience myself). But for him to say such a stupid thing! I apologize on behalf of the human race.

    I dont know who this "rabbi" is but you know enough to know that he doesn't represent any stream of Judaism's position on intermarriage.

    Anonymous, you're delusional. This is par for the course.

  12. The Candyman-I never said that there aren't stupid people out there who say dumb/evil things. All I said is that this crazy does not represent any stream of Judaism's position. If you think that is delusional I challenge you to find any source in any text from any denomination that represents this man's ridiculous/dangerous views. No real rabbi would make such a statement because it simply is not true based on Jewish theology. Judaism is somewhat responsible for Jews saying irresponsible things even if they do not represent the faith. So AE Id be happy to "go after him" and let him know that he is misrepresenting Judaism in all of its forms.

  13. I know you'd be happy to go after him anon, but the rabbi that we highly suspect is the one who said this to my brother happens to be a very powerful and respected rabbi in Israel (he is the former chief rabbi of a very well known area that rhymes with "the cold pity"), and I'd rather not even be on the radar of such people

  14. AE,
    LOL! Weren't we taught back in the days of day school that there are no prophets in modern times? That our generation is too lowly or something like that?

    If you haven't read "Who by Fire" by Diana Spechler - would highly recommend it. Your post made me think of it.

  15. How do you know that none of those 3 scenarios won't come true???

  16. Abandoned, I myself am a "very big Rabbi" and I can tell you with absolute certainty that either your fiancee will convert, or you two will break up or he'll die within the next 85 years. Of course it's possible that I read the dog shit wrong but that's never happened before. I predicted 9/11 and it came precisely when I said it would, after 9/10 and before 9/12.

    You have been warned.


  17. AE

    If I would be you I would start reicting tehillim/psalms. Not for B. but for your brother....

    Its sad but there are rabbis who speak like that and sadder that people buy it...

  18. So, essentially, this important rabbi put a curse on B, personally, and on your marriage. What part of the middle ages is he living in?
    (Nonetheless I'm glad to hear that your brother isn't under missle attack because I know that would make you worry.) I just can't believe that people living in the 21st century believe this crap, but there are a lot of crazy Christians (in my opinion) who speak in tongues and play with snakes as part of their religious beliefs.
    I hope you get your dog. I think you need one.

  19. Yeah that's just embarrassing. Wow. Wow. You need to accidentally slip him some special brownies someday and try to talk some sense into the boy. Makes your other brother the frickin bomb! Love that one!

  20. It's ultimately so sad that your bro would buy into this. I hope he figures out what's what before that rabbi does worse damage.

    I'm sorry. It's funny to hear about because of its ridiculousness, but it sounds as if it's pretty hurtful too. I would be sad if this were my bro.

  21. You don't feel this could be considered a threat? How powerful IS this rabbi?

  22. Its things like this that make me, AS A FRUM PERSON, mad. This rabbi couldn't have gotten that message, we don't have prophecy anymore! Its people like this that give the rest of us a bad name and make people like OTD hate religion.

  23. @ My Other Blog:

    "but there are a lot of crazy Christians (in my opinion) who speak in tongues and play with snakes as part of their religious beliefs."

    Yea because wrapping (in a PRECISE and codified way) your arms, fingers, and head with straps of leather (that are constructed in an EXACT manner) makes so much more sense, right?

    (I'm referring to the practice of making and wearing tefillin if the reference wasn't trasparent.)

  24. The "Rabbi" is some wackadoodle mekubal. AE, if you are comfortable doing it, would you please email me privately ( with the name of the "Rabbi?" I'd like to do a little research on this sort of crap.

    The mekubal stuff in Judaism is simply out of control. It's silly magical crap. I'm sorry your brother was prey to it. There are charlatans in every religion/discipline who take advantage of gullible people.

    Sorry about the dog adoption. I know you'll get one soon. BTW, see "Marley and Me" this will love it.



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