Jewish Demons

Written by my 17 yo daughter….

Jewish Demons

It’s frosty out, but still we sit outside under the stars

Laughing and enjoying Mommy’s fresh cooked meal, munching on challah slathered in honey.

Eight small beacons of hope twinkle in the window

And excitement is in the air as the sound of presents being opened mingles with guitar.

It’s perfectly silent as the sound peals through the air, ushering in the new year.

Everyone’s faces are pressed into their siddur, or their eyes are closed in concentration and thought.

When did all that beauty turn into something so ugly it scarred a beautiful girl for life?

When did it start mattering if she wore black knee socks or pink ones, if her bag was a Kipling?

Why did asking questions have to be met with dirty looks and “‘because Hashem said so, that’s why’?”

Why is wearing pants so big a sin that the fabric gets stares all the way down the block?

What can anyone possibly say to justify peers throwing her possessions off her desk onto the tile?

What is the purpose of lecturing her simply because she dares question, because she dares to have ideas?

Judaism is beautiful in so many aspects, with fascinating stories and magnificent traditions,

But it is so ugly to anyone who struggles.

It can rear its ugly head at anyone who does not fit one or another mold.

Judaism is awe-inspiring, but Judaism can also cause inhumane cruelty and wickedness

Almost anyone who sees that chooses to ignore it

And this is the biggest problem that needs to be urgently corrected- immediately.

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  1. FellowSeeker December 26, 2017 at 12:00 am

    I hope so much as your daughter grows and continued to question and explore that she will be able to find some the amazing spots of community I’ve found. Particularly for young Jews, there’s so many of us feeling the way she is and a lot of people coming together to form our own sorts of spaces and communities. I wish I could invite her to some of these spaces in fact. There’s some amazing young adult minyans and gatherings where people are Torah observant and traditional but asking questions, able to find their space in Judaism. And most seem to be lead by folks in their 20s or so. So I hope that she’s able to find a space like that. Because they’re there if you look.

    But beyond that just wanted to say how much do this hits home. For me at her age, and a little older too. At 27 now though I’ve been so blessed to find those spaces and places I mentioned above. I think a lot of us younger people are feeling those struggles and pains even if most don’t say it out loud. And maybe the struggle is necessary to grow and find your own place. Maybe. Either way it’s rough though but it gets better. And not all of Judaism is like that. I promise her that. I was her age when I started seeking hard, seeking something better, somewhere I could be myself. It took time. I’m still ironing it out really but it’s gotten better and I’ve found some amazing likeminded people. They’re out there. That’s what I want her to know most of all. And I hope with time she continues seeking and struggling till she finds it.

  2. A fellow sister December 27, 2017 at 11:25 pm

    Judaism is beautiful. People are ugly

  3. Susan M. December 29, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    What you wrote went deep into my core. I’m struck by “Judaism is awe-inspiring, but Judaism can also cause inhumane cruelty and wickedness.”
    Your words are the words I felt growing up. One example, I didn’t understand nor do I understand why my being female is the justification that I couldn’t study Talmud and instead had to study Mishna. In school I was made to feel unworthy and questions were not allowed. Growing up there was one way of Jewish observance and I learned post high school that there are many ways to express Judaism and it is not up to me to judge. My role is to live the best life possible with the gifts that were given to me and those that I have learned.

    You are right, the type of Judaism you describe needs to be corrected.

    There are eyes that do not see and there are eyes that choose not to look.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. They are more than worthy of discussion.


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