Monday, October 12, 2009

Better, I guess

I wasn't hit by any cars this Simchat Torah. By default, the year's going better so far. I didn't spend much time in shul, but I did spend a fair amount of time with Miriam and her guests, which was a lot of fun. And a lot of time missing JV. Out of habit I scoped the unfamiliar male faces, but nobody really attracted me.

I found myself experiencing a great deal of antipathy, though, toward the "frum community." It started Thursday night, when I was shopping for kugels to bring to Miriam -- I didn't feel up to cooking. The kosher grocery store was crowded with unfamiliar faces and heads in yarmulkes. And I felt alienated. I don't know why. I just didn't like all the people I saw and wanted to get home as soon as possible.

Friday night, dinner with Miriam and 8 of her closest friends. Some of them I liked, some I didn't. Walking to and from her apartment, seeing all the unfamiliar MOT strangers, I felt annoyed and disconnected. Except when I saw Eric being dragged home by his energetic 4-year-old son. I like Eric and Ahuva; I respect them. I don't know if JV would.

Saturday night I went to a big oneg at a local synagogue. Saw more friends, and plenty of men I've dated and/or slept with. Some people whom I like, more whom I don't. Met up with Miriam & co. From there we went to another big party, where a group of men passed around shots of Scotch and toasted their divorces. Pathetic? Creepy? I don't know anymore.

Sunday, big meal at Ozer's. Included a guy I dated back in 1993 and his wife and four kids, two of whom are 8 months old. I got to hold the babies a fair amount -- to the point where if other women demanded a turn, the baby would cry and reach for me. Always nice to be the babies' favorite. Had a nice chat with the guy. Wondered what would have happened if I'd given him more of a chance back then, since he seems to be a pretty good husband and father. Ah well, regrets are pointless.

Sunday night, out to dinner with JV. Who's still mad at the way I've been treated by the frum community, and the frum men I've dated.

"I hate to say it, but it reminded me of a dog that's been kicked, and kicked again, and instead of biting tries to lick the boot that's kicking it," he said. Russians have such a flair for metaphor.

And engineers love statistics. He thinks the chances of me finding happiness in the frum community -- i.e., a husband and children -- are quite low. And he wants me to be happy.

"Before we reconnected on Facebook, I always hoped you'd found someone," JV said.

"What did you feel when you realized I was still single?" I asked.

"Sorrow," he said. "Surprise. And part, 'I'm single, you're single....'"

I should probably just marry him and give up on being frum. Except he might not even be in a marrying frame of mind. He's been divorced three years, but maybe for him that's not enough. I just don't know. I just. Don't. Know.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"


  1. I should probably just marry him and give up on being frum.

    Are you sure the two are mutually exclusive?

  2. He doesn't want to buy kosher cheese because he thinks it's a bullsh*t racket (and he might not be wrong). He doesn't want to be limited to kosher restaurants even in NYC. The question is, would I rather be single and orthodox or married and still Jewish?

  3. The question at this point isn't whether you should marry him or not, the question is whether you should pursue the relationship which might lead to marriage, knowing that your lifestyle differences might clash.

    He has to be willing to compromise with you, if he loves you that much. Such as keeping a kosher home according to Orthodox standards, even if he eats non-hechshered products outside the home. You can't be the only one willing to compromise, otherwise this is doomed to failure.

    I'm still unemployed, with plenty of time on my hands, so if you want to talk, feel free to call anytime :-)

  4. Sorry - just realized that sounded half-hearted - call anytime - wouldn't matter if I was busy or not.

  5. agree to disagree, respect the differences and enjoy the bond. Marry him, make a baby, worry less, be happy. Aaron

  6. Aaron: so I should admit that the past 20 years of my life were a mistake? and that being frum did not improve my life? feels kinda hypocritical

  7. Making a change does not mean that previous behavior was necessarily wrong.

    Circumstances change.

  8. I agree with Dave - life is a journey rather than a straight line towards a goal. Most people don't reach their original goals, but if they accept it's about the journey, they're happier.

    Still, you shouldn't give up all your religious ideals - if you can compromise, so can JV.

  9. Agree with DYS on all counts.


  10. I agree that both parties should be willing to compromise. I also think this JV guy sounds great. Thoughtful, kind. That kind makes a good husband. Just make sure that he is willing to respect your values and is willing to make compromises for you too.

  11. I think compromise is key, but I also think that it's very hard for us to judge which is the bigger mitzvah: Getting married and having children, or making sure there's an OU on your cheese.

    There are tons of books and articles you can find to 'prove' or 'disprove' the necessity of kosher supervision on cheese. There's one very simple and very compelling mitzvah--plus a couple of supporting verses--right there in the plain text of the Torah that say you're to get hitched.

    Let's take it further. JV's Jewish, right? So you're *already* 99% of the way there! Seriously!

    I can't speak for God, but I think He'd approve. And if you believe, with a full and complete faith, that He expects you to eat kosher and keep shabbat, too, so do it. And maybe find a community - regardless of its relative orthodoxy - in which JV can experience some positive Jewishness, and maybe maybe start healing.

  12. There are so many couples that I know that differ in religious observance to atheists who refuse to go to shul and eat lobster married to shomer shabbat, kosher eating folks to OJs who marry CJ female rabbis. It can all work.

    The two people involved have to commit to working together to make it work and if they want to have children, commit to coparenting in a way that satisfies both. Don't count him out. If you fall in love, want him to be your life partner, the two of you together can figure out the rest. As long as he is a good enough guy as to care enough about what you want to be willing to work with you and accept you for who you are and visa versa.

    Nothing is ever perfect. Finding love, a life partner is itself a miracle. Don't overthink it.

  13. As to the cheese, if you do end up compromising, you can always insist on rennetless cheese, even if it doesn't have a hechsher, such as Horizon brand cheese.