Sunny Days in DC

Jack of All Trades, Master of 3-ish.

Jew, Too??

I used to have another blog, several years ago, and I had a tab on it called, “Ask A Jew,” because, let’s face it: at 1/2 of 1% of the world’s population, odds are high that MOST people will never meet a Jew.

And of those who MAY, I shudder to think that they’ll end up meeting some dickhole.

But on my previous post, I was asked why I still adhere to a religion that had a hand in ruining the marriage of my parents. And it’s a legit question. Why continue to participate in something that clearly negatively impacted my life? Or, religion at ALL, for that matter. After all, I’m a reasonable human being. I believe the theory of Evolution is probably as close as we can get right now to “truth,” but of course, it’s just a theory. Maybe another scientist will come along with something better; I’m open to it. And I believe in Black Holes, and physics, and I believe that Philosophy is worth learning, and that the person who reads lives a thousand lives before they die, while the person who does not read lives only one. 

I think I’m a fairly reasonable person. 

And I know there is NO factual basis for G-D. And I know that the G-D of the”Old Testament” (let’s be honest here) is a bit of an asshole. 

Yes. I just said He was an asshole. 

So… why be Jewish? Why engage in a faith that clings desperately to traditions, so frequently maligns women, and shrouds itself from outsiders?

And my answer to that question is…. Because I don’t think I believe the way other people do.

First (for anyone who hasn’t yawned themselves to death and passed out while trying to read this): I don’t believe the state of ANY religion is the fault of its deity. I think people are assholes, and generally will use whatever tool they have to continue their assholishness. Assholocity? Conjugate as you will. Religion is an easy tool, because it’s so ingrained in the lives of many people. But Judaism has some pretty fuckin cool shit. For example: You cannot take the eggs of a bird, if the mother bird can see you. You have to chase away the mother bird, and THEN you can take the eggs. Why? Because you have to consider how hard it is for her to lose her babies. She sees you take her children, and as a mom myself, I can’t fathom what that must be like.

EMPATHY. Not bad!

If you have pets, you MUST feed them before you eat, because they can’t provide for themselves. Your action of keeping them means that they are not in their natural environment, so they depend on you. Therefore, you have a responsibility to them.

Can you dig it? I can.

Now, none of that deals with the fact that, yes, in Brooklyn, 17 year old girls get married and have, like, 15 kids or some crazy shit. And guess what? We have child molesters, too. And in some synagogues, and I cannot go to these because I fucking lose my shit and start scenes, they make women sit behind curtains, or in another room, lest we tempt the men with our sexy, sexy double-x-chromosome-having-selves.

That. Is. Bullshit.

One time, I was six or seven,  my parents had a fight, and my dad grabbed me and ran out of the house. His Rabbi let my father take me to his house, and spend the night. The Rabbi SHOULD have counseled my father to take me back home, and work through the issue with my mother. He didn’t. You don’t let a parent run out of the house with the child, and terrify the other parent for HOURS.

But…. is that the fault of the religion?

Is Catholicism to blame for the Inquisition, or for child molesters?

I’ve been to Mass. I like Christmas (shhh… don’t tell the other Jews!), and you know what? No. It isn’t.

Those megachurches probably spend enough money, just on electricity, to provide hot meals to poor school kids in their district for a week. Is that the fault of Jesus? I don’t think so. Is G-D to blame because my father’s Rabbi was an idiot? No.

In my hubris, I would hold G-D accountable for a lot of things… but not the dickishness of people. I think I could do without a lot of the pain and suffering that goes on in the world… but I don’t blame G-D for that.

I think the greatest tragedy of humanity is that, for the first time in possibly the history of forever, we live in an era where all the global issues could be resolved; we finally have those tools… but we as a race choose not to use them. We could end hunger in Africa, but then what would the War Lords do for fun? The Muslims and Jews in Israel could live in peace, but then how would the arms dealers and local sheiks make bank?

I don’t blame G-D or religion for any of this. My religion teaches me that there is no Heaven or Hell; there is only what we create in this world, what we leave behind, and how we make others feel.

 

My hell is what I do to myself; my heaven is (I hope!) how my children remember me.

37 Comments »

Thou Art G-D.

Twenty points if you know the reference.

I’m feeling beat down and exhausted. Not necessarily in a bad way, just in that, “I could really use a week long vacation” sort of way. Some place warm. With sun. And umbrellas because I’m fucking pasty as hell and burst into flames in direct sunlight. True story.

Anyway, the hubs and I are at something of an impasse. For the past two years,we’ve had these friends who have been sliding down what I consider to be the very slippery slope of religion.

This won’t be a long post because, again, I’m completely done in, but suffice it to say that while I consider myself a relatively “religious” person (I… you know…. no, ok, maybe not), I don’t trust other “religious” people.That’s a terrible thing to say… but I’m ok with it.

These friends have begun putting more and more pressure on us to join them, and their merry cult of faithful. I have zero interest. I don’t mind Friday night dinners, and I don’t mind celebrating holidays, but when you start telling me that G-D has a vested interest in whether or not I wear a skirt, you’ve lost me.

Until now, however, the hubs and I have had a detente of sorts, where I just don’t attend the more religious services, and he goes, but just hangs out with our friends.

Enter: The Peanut.

However, now with our son, I’d like to go to services as a family. That presents a problem, because as our friends continue their descent into the abyss of graceless obedience, I’m left standing on the edge, and feeling like a party pooper.

Image

*SHUT UP, HOUSE! JUST BECAUSE IT’S TRUE, DOESN’T MEAN IT’S NICE TO SAY OUT LOUD!*

Why can’t I be ok with going to a “Women’s Section” of the synagogue, while my husband hangs out with the men? Why can’t I just wear skirts, cover my hair, keep a kosher home, and obsess over not using electrical appliances after sundown on Friday night? I think, in so many ways, my life would be easier if I could stop fighting against the river of Faithful that surrounds me, and float along, buoyed by apathy and compliance.

But then, that isn’t me. I don’t like being sidelined. And as much as my husband thinks he likes these people, let any one of them have a gay child, and we can all sit back and watch just how “welcoming” the community is then. Or a transgendered child. Or even just a kid who’s different.

And I LIKE being different. I like wearing pants, and I like cursing, and I’m going to tell my son that masturbation and sex are ok, and hanging out with non-Jews is not only perfectly ok, but he SHOULD. Because the world isn’t made up entirely of our community, and there’s a richness to different perspectives.

And it’s sad to me that some people neglect to throw themselves into the world and experience it from as many angles as possible, choosing instead to withdraw into a community of exclusively like-minded folk.

At the end of the day, and in all honesty, I believe each person really has a responsibility to themselves to learn, and do, and see as much as possible. You can’t grow every aspect of yourself if you shut down everything that doesn’t fit in with a group. And how sad is that? To not live up to your potential as a human being. To not do everything you can, when the possibility is there?

Wow. I’m pretty fucking tired.

Forget I said all that.

4 Comments »

I’m The Reason You Can’t Have Nice Things

The thing is, I never really feel MORE Jewish than during the Christmas season. On the one hand, I totally love the lights, the music, the evergreen trees everywhere (but not having to deal with needles in my carpet, or cleaning up after them!), and the general festivities of the winter time. On the other hand, unlike most of the country, I will not be out spending insane amount of money on family and friends right now, because the only person who could want presents from me is six months old…

…and also I’m broke as hell. I don’t know if I can emphasize that last part enough. Though, after two months without a dime, Unemployment DID finally come through. I splurged, and bought groceries. WATCH OUT! BIG SPENDAH!

Anywho, it’s nice, because I do really get a feeling of happiness and goodwill toward people. It’s pervasive. It’s in the air. Like a nerve gas.

But I’m not Christian. So, while people are decorating their homes, I’m actively reminded of the fact that we will NOT be decorating. Which, let’s be honest, kinda sucks. I mean, you get used to it, but those twinkly lights are festive as FUCK, y’all! I want to throw potential fire hazards all over my house, and have people “Ooooh” and “Ahhhh” as they drive by.

You know what my options are? I get a giant menorah to put out front, if I’m SUPER religious. Which, if you haven’t really picked up on it by now: I am not.

Menorah

*”Shmuli! Get me the EXTRA long marshmellow roaster! Dammit, these things are a bitch to make s’mores with!”*

Don’t get me wrong; I am SUPER proud to be Jewish. And I encourage everyone to be proud of what and who they are. You don’t have to resent someone else to be proud of yourself. I can be thrilled to be Jewish, without thinking there’s anything wrong with Christianity. But let’s be fair: when it comes to decorations, gifts, and a general monopoly on this upcoming month, Christians take the cake.

The delicious, delicious, possibly fruit cake.

So, getting to the point, the husbinator and I have been invited to a Hannukkah party tomorrow night at Chabad, which I guess is like the “hippy-dippy, love-everyone, come join us and sing along,” group of Jews.

To which I replied: k.no thnx.

“Why not?!” asked my ever-patient husband.

“Look, seriously, I don’t want to sit around with a bunch of super religious people, eating fried latkes (potato pancakes), and socializing with ONLY women, because the men are too busy ONLY socializing with men. I always feel like it’s the 1950’s up in there.” This part is totally true. The women chat with the women, and the men chat with the men, and that’s just not me. I don’t MIND chatting with other chicks, but I don’t like being pigeonholed into one group, simply because my genitalia are internal. Honestly, it seems almost as arbitrary a line to me, as if you said “everyone with green eyes sits at this table, and everyone with brown eyes goes over there. We don’t mix.” Like, what?

“We don’t have a lot of options around here, hun.”

“There are the Chinese.”

“I…. what?!”

This is probably why my husband and I don’t have conversations about religion anymore. I feel like Hindus and Buddhists and those folks can relate. We could totally start our own group, and just hang out with a bunch of cool, non-Christian folks this time of year, and I won’t have to put on a skirt.

Not that all of this is a push-back so that I don’t have to put on a skirt.

…all of this might be a push-back so I don’t have to wear a skirt.

Jesus, I make my own life hard!!

FP

2 Comments »

These are my Whore-Pants

You know what’s nice about being a part of a sub-culture? You can kinda walk between the dominant culture, and still make fun of your own culture.

That’s the experience I had this past weekend when my husband and I took Max to visit my dad and step-mom. They’re orthodox Jews. From Brooklyn. That’s like, Heart of Darkness shit right there.

Now, as many know, moms actually use our kids as ice breakers (whatever! Don’t judge me! I’m socially awkward!), by basically taking our mute children up to each other and having pretend conversations.

“Awww, and what’s YOUR name? I’m Max, and I’m five months oooooold….”

“Hi! I’m Bobby-Jim, and I’m three months ooooooooold…”

Then someone throws up. D’awww.

But when we met my dad and step-mom for lunch in a kosher restaurant, I was treated to a reminder that I may be Jewish, but not as Jewish as…

There sat a woman, her (shot in the dark, here) husband, and three boys. The youngest looked to be about Max’s age, so I went over to do the customary “allow me to waggle my child in your child’s face.”

“D’awww! How old is your boy?” I asked, pretending to be interested, but let’s be fair, most kids kinda piss me off except for my own and a select few others.

“Eight months,” she said, without making eye contact.

“Oh. Uhhh. Cute! And what’s his name?”

“Yitzchak.”

“Um….. ok. Well, HI Yitz! This is Max!”

“…”

“Uhhh…. right.” And I walked away.

“What did you expect?” my husband asked. “She’s religious! She could be chastised for even associating with you.”

“But we’re both BREEDERS! We both have bebes! We should bond over that. FEEL THE LOVE!!!! I’M EVERY WOMAN!! DRINK COKE!!!”

“She didn’t like you because of your whore-pants,” my friend added, later.

“My….?”

“You were wearing pants, right? That’s enough for them!”

So there you have it. My whore-y pants came between me, and a possible friendship that will never get the chance to blossom. Max and Yitz will never play together because… I don’t know. Something about G-D and long skirts.

Image

*Not pictured: all the whoring this woman does on her off-time*

Shit like that makes me want to ask her what her favorite brand of nipple clamps is. You know, just to break the ice.

5 Comments »

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