Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Where I stand

Got an email from a friend:

Hi Ayelet -- Sounds like things are going well. I am glad for you.

When you first starting seeing JV, you talked a lot about kashrut as an issue. Forgive me for being nosy, but out of concern for you, I wonder what other religious differences are there? Is he shomer shabbat? If not, does that mean flicking on a light switch or going to the office on Yom Tov? Are his kids in day school? Would he want a day school education for any kids you might have? (Do you want a day school education for your kids?) Is his home kosher?

If the only accommodation that he asked of you is to be more flexible about eating out, that is very livable. If a life together requires other compromises, please think more than twice. You don't have to answer to me; I just want this to work out for you forever, not just a few years. Love, Shalhevet

I just got out of a horrible meeting, in which I was viciously and passive-aggressively attacked by the co-worker who wanted my job before I got here. So I was pretty shaken up by all the vitriol slung at me. And I sat down and banged out an honest response:

Shalhevet, to be perfectly honest, at this point it's more important to me that I marry a person who loves and respects me, who is a moral person with high integrity, who treats people with respect and shoulders all his responsibilities, than it is to marry someone who is shomer shabbat and treats me and the rest of the world like crap. Which is basically what I'm faced with now, since no frum man even close to my age would consider marrying me, and everyone seems to think I should be thrilled to marry some loser 10 years or more my senior.

JV is the best person I know, and he's a 100% committed Jew in terms of hilchot bain adam l'adam. Too many orthodox Jews focus only on hilchot bain adam l'makom, and as a result we have Rubashkins and 99% of the frum men I dated (and both of the frum men you married).

JV's kids to go to Jewish schools, and he teaches them real Jewish values and history, like respecting people and taking care of their needs. To be honest, a big part of me regrets that you took me on those NCSY shabbatons in high school. I feel like I've wasted the past 22 years chasing a hopeless dream. I've never been accepted fully by the frum community, and the men I've dated have been bad, worse, and worst.

Probably not the answer you wanted, but it's an honest one.

So I guess that's where I stand. Maybe I should disclose a little more. On Saturday JV and I drove to an 85th birthday party for his uncle, in one of the traifest restaurants I've ever been in. Shrimp cocktails and prosciutto all over the table. And all kinds of nasty Russian salads that smelled awful.

What did I eat? Bread and butter. Fried potatoes with mushrooms. Some eggplant salad that wasn't absolutely disgusting. Pickled cabbage, plenty of dessert. I suppose I'm officially "formerly frum."
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

1 comment:

  1. I don't think that's an accurate assessment. It's unfortunate that we're all inculcated with this all-or-nothing guilt complex. You're not formerly frum. You're Jewishly observant, and your religious practices are none of anybody's business. If you're happy, then nobody else's real or perceived opinions matter.

    Earlier this year, on Asara B'tevet (a fast day), a guy came into my shul holding a cup of coffee. The guy is in good health and probably just forgot, or didn't care. And to my great joy, *nobody said a word* to him. That's the kind of Judaism we need to follow, and it's the kind that chaza''l advocated, as well. Anyone who says different is simply ignorant.