Sunday, September 30, 2018

A Black Square

Use a black square as your profile.
Show the men what the world is like without women.
It's a project against domestic abuse.
Do it for one day.

I hate mass forwards.
I do not like to jump on the bandwagon.
I wonder what these things accomplish.

And then I wonder about who needs solidarity.
I wonder who feels alone.
I wonder who feels that nobody else has to deal what she has to deal with, the manipulation, control, loss of autonomy, breaking down of will, belittling and minimizing of needs and wants, isolation, entrapment, being stuck and feeling stuck, with the only window to the outside world being Facebook and mindless scrolls through everyone's perfect life.

I hate perfection because it is always covering up something messy and ugly.

But I also worry about the ultraorthodox world where women already do not exist, where their pictures are already erased, where their voices are not heard ( and no, I do not mean singing, I mean being able to open your mouth and speak your mind). I worry that men are already too comfortable in a world where women are covered up by black squares, erased, removed, silenced and deemed not able to participate because "they are too busy raising families and keeping a heilige home".

Don't go to shul, you are not chayav.
Don't take your daughters to shul, they are not chayav.
Don't go beyond inspirational ladies' classes. You are not able to focus/don't have the skills/do not need the skills/teaching girls is wasting time.
"Are you ready for Yom Tov?" means have you stressed about the menu and tablescapce enough and not whether you have spent mental energy on preparing spiritually.

In the end, the desire to show support to those struggling with abuse won.

I do not think one black square will do it.
I do not think one day will do it.
I do not think men will wonder, or miss us, or care in a way that will produce lasting change.

Men like action. That's why pink hats march gets them riled up more than silent protests.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Erev Yom Kippur thoughts

There is a sunrise every single day. And every single day it feels like a sin if I am not there when the sun is rising, when the sky starts to turn colors, when darkness changes to light, when a new day dawns. I need to see it, to feel it, to experience it, to acknowledge it. I want to spend at least a few sunrises of my life at the shore of a body of water, on a mountain, somewhere where the skyline is not obscured by roofs and trees and the debris of everyday life.

I have a hard time arranging my life in a way where I can voice my needs, have my needs heard, and have my needs met.

I have even harder time with finding like-minded individuals. I am blessed with quite a few friends who have held my hand through fairly major storms, but all of them, without exception, live a very real distance away, so all the hand-holding was done virtually, through phone calls and messages. It is a sin that somehow I cannot manage close and vulnerable relationships without putting a physical distance between us.

I do not know how to atone for these sins.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018


I am grappling with these questions:

  • What is the rabbi's role? For clarification's sake,  I mean in an orthodox North American shul. Is he just there to give a sermon on Shabbos and to show up for bris, bar mitzvah and funeral? Is he responsible for the well-being of his congregation? For its safety? For its children's education?
  • What is the shul's role? To be a convenient location to discharge one's obligation of group prayer? A social shmoozing ground? A place of spiritual growth? A place to further Jewish learning?
  • What is the community's role? To nod heads to each other in Kroger? To supply baby and mourner's meals? To have a gathering of like-minded individuals? To have a colorful diversity? To be a beacon of morality? To be insular, and divide the world into "us" vs. "them"?

If I hear another lovely sentiment of כל ישראל ערבים זה לזה followed by "but not like this!" I might puke. So please, give me your real answers. Give me what you think it should be. Tell me what it is. And help me brainstorm how to make it better.