Blog: For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Jews... Or, Much A-Blog About Nothing...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Oh Fundamentalists/Extremists...How I LOATHE thee!

Editor's Note: I have changed some of this post because I realized that I was being unfairly critical and not keeping in mind that there are indeed fundamentalists and extremists in every religion (at least the 3 "major" ones). Since this post I have written about my distaste for Christian fundamentalism and extremism, but I have yet to work up anything about Judaism. Don't worry, though, I've been gathering some great material, and I'll be scribbling something down pretty soon here.

Wow. Words cannot even begin to describe how appalled I am by this article (click on the title of the post)!!! Now before someone jumps down my throat accusing me of being a Muslim-hater, just hold on to your socks there, folks, and let me explain. I don't approve of fundamentalism, in any form. I strongly dislike Christian fundamentalists (see November archives). I am also very much against Jewish fundamentalism. I don't think that any time where people go beyond logic and reason and try to impose their idiotic beliefs on others can be considered righteous or moral, regardless of the faith I choose to follow or which faith issues the decree. I value all religions and all faiths, even if I do not hold the same views that they do. I also respect people first and foremost for what they are, humans. Shocker, huh? Yeah, I know...

So before anyone sends me hate mail, please note that I will be posting more of my opinions on all kinds of fundamentalism whenever I come across it. All in good time, folks, all in good time.

Original Post:
(I am keeping the following here because I feel that it is appropriate material for those who are unaware of what the main views of women are within Orthodox Judaism. Of course, this is not the fundamentalist viewpoint, which as I said above, I'll get to sometime soon.)
In Judaism, women are beloved. They are mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters who are cherished and protected. Some might think that they are not viewed as such because they do not understand the halacha regarding issues of tznius (modesty--in dress, conduct, and thought) and about why men and women are separated in shul (synagogue), why women don't participate in leading services/read Torah, etc. Of course, to someone on the outside, this all would seem anti-feminist in a way, but it is far from anti-women at all.

Judaism tells us that there are separate roles for men and women, and respects both of these roles deeply and equally. It recognizes that the Jewish mother is the pinnacle of the family, she is the center around which her family's world turns. She is not a piece of meat to be abused, mistreated, and degraded. She is not to blame for someone else's actions. Tznius requires modesty in both men and women, and it is ultimately the fault of the person who commits a crime (such as rape) and not the victim "just because she wasn't dressed modestly."

As someone who is very involved in the anti-rape and domestic violence awareness movement, this kind of article appalls me because it suggests that the reason men rape is because of sexual attraction to women that they cannot control. This is so far from untrue that it is almost laughable! Rape (sexual assault, if you prefer) is a crime of power and control. It has nothing to do with sex, except that sexual parts of the body are used as a medium to commit a crime. Women who are dressed provocatively are not at fault if they are raped. Nothing anyone does is a rape-able offense. We can't "make" people hit us, nor can we "make" someone rape.

I know it seems easier for us as a society to blame victims for something terrible happening to them, but to blame a person who has been raped really puts us at risk because we choose to believe that we can prevent rape. The sad truth is that we cannot prevent rape unless rapists stop raping. We need to stop trying to educate women about how to protect ourselves against predators who choose to take advantage of them, and start teaching our sons to be accountable, respectable men who respect women and do not objectify them (hmmm maybe we should just make them all live in Jewish homes??? hahaha)

Look at it this way: we wouldn't DARE blame the victims of terrorist attacks for going about their daily lives and "being in the wrong place at the wrong time," so WHY do we blame victims of rape for what someone else chose to do to them?!?!?!?

Just something to think about...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

So excited!!!

I really should be getting to bed because it's 3:45 in the morning where I am, but alas, I am online reading blogs and whatnot! I am sooo super duper happy excited about this upcoming weekend!!! It's time for the XYZ Conference in ABC Town, Anystate, USA!!!! LOL!!! Originally I had put the real name of the conference/location, because I thought well, that doesn't really say where I'm from only where I'm going but after thinking about it a bit more I realized that the majority of people who go to said conference reside within a pretty limited area here in the US of A, so I changed it. Sorry. If you reaaaaallly wanna know, e-mail me and I'll tell you. Although you could wait until I get back, because I'll more than likely post about the workshops I attended, which will probably give away what conference it was anyway...*sigh* hahahah

Anyway,I went to this conference last year and it was such a blast, so I am really looking forward to it again this time! Unfortunately not all the cool people who went from my school last year are going this year, but it will still be a great time and I am looking forward to meeting lots of new people!

I'm already mentally packing all my outfits! hahahah I know, sad...But hey, a girl's gotta have aspirations ;-) jk!

I had the midterm from hell on Friday morning, but at least now things will calm down a bit for awhile...Yay for having my life back! Hahaha yeah, right, not for long!!! *sigh*

Other than school, not much is going on at the moment...Hope everyone is doing well! Look forward to reading all of your updates soon!


Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Chag Sameach!!! Hope everyone is enjoying Sukkot!! Shabbat/Erev Sukkot was such a great time! Had a lovely service that I actually got to help with, which was such a joy! We had some students from a group on campus that basically study other cultures/religions to learn about them and help with multicultural relations, so I got to speak with them and explain some of the customs of Shabbat, as well as the whole Sukkot business. It's funny that I was one of the people to speak to these kids, 'cuz often I feel like I don't know nearly as much as the rest of the people at services, but they keep telling me that I know more about Judaism than they do, so go figure! Either way it feels good to share the beautiful parts about Jewish life with another person!

Tonight we had Hebrew convo class w/ our Israel Fellow...He is SOOOO funny! I can't help but laugh when I'm around him---bless his heart, his English is so cute!!! And his girlfriend is just adorable! I can't get enough of the two of them!

After the class, I skipped back to shul for hookah in the sukkah....So much fun! We had a really great turn out, too!

Things are going well here. Lots of school work to keep up with, but I'm feeling pretty good about it all. Working on getting in better shape/losing weight hasn't been going so great lately with all the holiday food I've been eating, but hopefully I'll be back on track soon! I hope everyone is happy and healthy!


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Yom Kippur, etc...

Gmar Chatima Tova! I hope everyone had a safe and easy fast. While I don't want to come off sounding like I'm bragging, I want to say that I am very proud of myself because I did manage to fast the whole time this time! I won't go into detail, but that's a big big big deal for me because I have some serious medical issues that require I take medicine which in turn requires that I eat, but after careful consideration I decided I would try and get through it and only eat if I absolutely had to (don't tell my doctor, he'd shoot me!) *evil laugh*

Anyhooooooo....What's new? Well, besides the fact that school=my life right now, not much. Learning more each and every day, trying to be a better person, etc. You know, the usual. Reading everyone else's blogs while not updating my own. I have to admit I'm not as techno-savvy as I thought I was! Darn.... Definitely need to read up on HTML coding, etc...

Oh, in good news, I have requested my official conversion application form---yes, this is it people, I'mma do it now!!!! :-D I have been wanting for so long to actually start the official Orthodox conversion process, but so many things seemed to be standing in my way. That changed this Rosh Hashanah, however, when I was introduced to someone (who shall of course remain nameless) who took the time to guide me in the right direction and help me get things sorted out that I needed in order to begin my "real" journey. See my first post as to why actually starting the official process would be/is difficult for me. (Main problem being lack of Ortho community around where I go to school/live---long drive to nearest place and I don't have a car) Baruch Hashem someone amazing who is on the same path as I am (has been practicing Judaism/exploring it for a bit of time but hadn't actually made the formal attempt to convert until now) has offered to let me accompany her on trips to the city-where- ojews-actually- live for Shabbat/classes. How amazing I feel about this!!! I cannot even describe it to you. I know some of you out there do not understand why anyone would want to convert to Judaism, and Orthodox Judaism in particular, and I can appreciate that. I did not understand that it was what I wanted myself when I first started studying religion. All I can say is that my soul truly feels at home among the Jewish people, I identify with the culture, the community, and most importantly, the religion. I have never felt so genuinely at peace than when I am davening and when I am at shul/amongst Jews. To those who read this and feel that I have no right to ask to be accepted among you, I ask for compassion to understand a "lost soul" who is making her way home. I in no way want to offend anyone, and if I have done so, or ever do so, please correct me.

*pause to wipe eyes* Yikes...See, this is what I mean, I get SUPER EMOTIONAL when I try and articulate my feelings about Judaism. I have never felt this before (and I wasn't raised without religion at all---quite the contrary, actually) I believe my soul was present at Mt.Sinai just like every Jewish soul that ever was or ever will be. I know it is true because my soul sings when I am among Jews, when I daven, when I perform every mitzvot of daily life. I am truly in awe of Hashem and I am so excited to be on this journey. And wow do I sound like some evangelical Christian whacko right-wing nut job on TBN right now!!! Wow, please excuse me. It's just my emotions are so overwhelming and this is where I choose to let them flow. So please understand. Or don't---that's your choice :-)

So, uh, yeah, anyway, I really feel like Hashem is opening up new doors for me in the form of the amazing people that are being brought into my life, and the wonderful things that have happened to me just in the past week or so. I am hoping to live up to the expectations he has for me, and to do my best to honor all of my commitments in the coming year. I hope everyone will be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life for a healthy and prosperous year!