I Am Not Allowed To Go To My Niece’s Wedding Tomorrow…

April 2016 was the last time I saw my niece. We weren’t allowed to talk to each other since April 2015 but we were both at an event and met there.

I’ll never forget the way both she and her older sister who were both young teenagers whispered to me when no one was looking that they would go to the bathroom and that I should follow a few minutes later.

I knew it would be a one off chance so I grabbed it with both hands. Looking around and making sure I wasn’t being followed I ran upstairs to the bathroom where both of my nieces were waiting for me.

I cannot begin to explain the emotions that went on during those next few minutes before we had to leave. They cried. I cried. They apologised for what was going on and promised they wished they were allowed to see me but had to listen to their parents

They hugged me tighter than I’ve ever hugged anyone knowing this may be the final time we met. The tears wouldn’t stop and I told them that I loved them and was the same person they always knew. I hadn’t changed who I was inside although I looked different. They knew I loved them. I hope they still know that.

I am fully aware of the rabbinic ruling given to their family making it very clear there was to be absolutely no contact ever again. And that stopped instantly. I tried to call and text and got ignored unti eventually I found out why.

I’m no longer angry with them.
I understand how much weight the words of a Rabbi carry.
I also know that they don’t know any different and for them having contact with me is categorically forbidden.

This niece is getting married tomorrow. I had no idea. Someone told me by mistake. I don’t think I was meant to find out. It hurts that I can’t be there to share in her special day…. And I have no way of contacting her.

I miss you…
I love you…
I wish I could be there tomorrow…
I’m sorry your parents have cut me out your life….

Mazel tov 🎉
Congrats 🥳

With so much love from your aunt 🥺❤️

#wedding #family #Rabbi #forbidden #niece #congratulations #ban #religion #cult

“If You Are A Racist English Fan, We Don’t Want You“

These posts are so powerful. The way Marcus Rashford describes how he feels is moving to say the least. The letters from young boys who look up to him as the hero he is, ie so touching. Why is my screen blurred??

#euros2021 #police #football #wembley #Rashford #penalty #family #racism #stop #EnoughIsEnough #bekind #england #italy #score #blacklivesmatter

Please Don’t Victim Blame 🥺

TW….. Domestic Abuse, Liz and Ed, The Single Life

.

.

.

.

.

I’ve just finished listening to a podcast for the second part of The Single Life, Tell All which airs on Discovery +

I was very moved by what the guys said at the end about Liz and how to support someone you know who may be in the kind of abusive relationship it seems she’s in with Ed.

They made a comment about not blaming or questioning why someone has stayed so long or keeps going back etc. It really touched me and I wanted to share why.

As a survivor of domestic abuse, aka Intimate Partner Violence, with the father of my kids whom I was married to for 17 years, I have these kind of questions asked of me all the time. I never told anyone what had been going on all those years so when it came out and he was arrested I felt like I was made to defend myself.

“Why did you stay so long”
“Why didn’t you tell anyone”
“Why didn’t you leave the first time you felt abused”
“I understand a year or two. But 17??”
“Why, why, why, why…..”

What people who haven’t experienced this personally or seen it close up don’t realise is the grooming, control, manipulation, ostracising you from everyone who cares about you, coercion etc etc that happens gradually over time. And if you are young, I was just 19 and he was older at 27, you don’t necessarily know what red flags are or what the warning signs are.

And once you are aware about what is happening you may have kids, you may have been told “I love you so much, you don’t need to learn to drive. I’ll take you anywhere you need” thereby ensuring you’re trapped if you want to leave quickly or get help.

The abuser may have disabled your phone or locked doors to trap you inside. They may have told you countless times how “you’re lucky I’m with you. No other man would want to be with a fat, ugly disgusting person” etc. You’re made to feel grateful that they’re with you because after all no one else would want to be. Or at least that’s what you’re made to believe.

I always feel hurt and defensive when I’m asked why I didn’t get out earlier and other things like that. I realise that I cannot explain why in a matter of a text or a short conversation. If someone asks then they just don’t get it. And I don’t need to educate everyone. There’s enough information online to educate yourself rather than put the onus onto the victim or survivor.

To me it feels like I’m being asked how stupid can you be that you allowed it to go on for so long…. how much of an idiot can you be not to have left after the first couple of times you were abused… and I know I’m not stupid. I was simply groomed and isolated, had my money taken etc.

Even money I got from doing private lessons would have to be hidden in a drawer away from him. But sadly when I was in hospital for years on and off for months at a time, he found the money I saved to leave him and stole it. He proudly told me about it as I was hooked up to machines in hospital unable to move. That’s how vile these people can be.

So please, please don’t blame the victim and make them justify why they stayed with their abuser for a certain amount of time or why they keep going back. The mental abuse and the feeling of needing to be with them because you’ve been brainwashed to believe you can’t live without them is so difficult to comprehend.

Just be a support. Tell them you’re there when they are ready to leave. Ask what it is that might be keeping them, such as financial issues, and see if you’re able to help. Make sure they know they are not alone and you’re not judging them and they’re done nothing wrong other than to fall for the wrong person. Give them contact information for charities or shelters that can help them when they’re ready.

I hope this helps someone understand more about people they care about. Of course this post is my own experience only but it’s an insight into how it might be for someone you care and worry about.

#DomesticAbuse #abuse #defensive #parents #alienation #kids #Coercion #control #manipulation #support #bekind #compassion #charity #shelter #refuge

The Thoughts I Was Brought Up With In The Orthodox Jewish World Regarding The Middle East

I need to vent. The whole Israel/Palestine situation is driving me insane. As someone who identifies as an Atheist and an Ex-Jew I have so many feelings I’m working through.

I was born into an Ultra Orthodox Jewish family and I’m ashamed to admit the kind of mentality I was indoctrinated with. It took one specific incident that made me see things in a different light, and change my views.I was in a world where absolutely everyone I knew hated Arabs and Palestinians.

I’m using the word “hate” because I want you to see behind the niceties they want to portray the world. So the words I’m going to use are authentic to what I was taught.The indoctrination was so deep rooted.

We were told how we are “The Chosen People” and that we were special and better people than anyone else. Black people were referred to in very derogatory terms, using words in Yiddish which are comparable to the N-word.Anyone who wasn’t Jewish was called derogatory names, and Muslims, and even Caucasian people weren’t spared this.

I knew there was conflict in the Middle East but I wasn’t told exactly why this was happening. All I was told was that the Israelis were the victims and the Palestinians were the oppressors who wanted nothing more than to kill all the Jews around the world.

When 9/11 happened this continued at a rapid pace and it was like a stamp that what they’ve been telling us was true, that Muslims were “barbaric, murderers, animalistic, haters” etc. So, all my life these were the kind of beliefs I was brought up with. At one time there was a Jewish family that were attacked by a Palestinian man and someone was tragically killed. Of course that it horrific. No one would say otherwise. I was no different.

I was angry that this Palestinian man had thought it was okay to kill an innocent person, but then I heard about the way the family would be punished. That in itself made no sense. Why do they bomb the homes of the people who attack Israelis? Why are the families the ones that are now targeted? It didn’t make sense to me.

The perpetrator and victim had both been killed that day. Yet the family of the murderer would face so much simply for being related to the killer. Yes, the IDF generally give the families a warning that they were planning to bomb their homes, but why is that protocol? It doesn’t make much sense to me now, but at the time I felt it was justified. After all, they did kill that man. No?

A few days later I was reading an Orthodox Jewish Newspaper where this whole incident was reported, including the final part where the family’s home was bombed. What I then read made my blood run cold. They reported that several members of the family had not been given the warning and had not managed to leave the home when it was bombed.

Several members of that family were killed, including a new-born baby girl. I asked those around me how that was in any way justifiable. The response I got back then sends chills down me, even decades later. I was told bluntly that ALL Muslims hate Jews and want them wiped out, and that killing any of them would, in the long run, be beneficial because it’s one less Muslim, and “one less Terrorist” in the world.

When I asked about the baby, I was told that she too would become a terrorist when she grew up, or that she would have children or a husband who would kill Jews one day. That is how they tried to rationalise it to me. I wasn’t satisfied with this answer and I kept questioning how killing a tiny baby was okay in their eyes. I saw how they looked at babies who aren’t Jewish as “less than” and in some way subhuman. So the fact that they had no compassion for this family who had lost several family members, including a tiny baby, didn’t shock me.

They openly talk about how “other people”, meaning anyone who isn’t Jewish, don’t have the same feelings about their children. Their own kids were top of the hierarchy in terms of importance of human life, and there was absolutely no value to the life of a Muslim baby. After all, they would grow up to be a terrorist and would kill Jews, so one less was a blessing.

That was the moment that I felt my beliefs waiver. I couldn’t understand how the value of a newborn Jewish baby was seen as something so special and everything had to be done to keep this baby safe. And yet there was no sympathy or sadness for the families losing their babies because the Israeli Army were killing them, and had no compassion for them.

None of this made sense. Life moved on, things happened, and decades passed. When I left the faith 6 years ago I wanted nothing to do with anyone who had these kind of abhorrent views. I felt very much alone until I found a whole world out there who accepted me for having strong opinions about this subject. I wasn’t judged on my background. It was about my views. So I kept speaking out, often facing brutal backlash.

There were times I had dog sh1t on my doorstep, my tyres slashed repeatedly, crowds of Hasidic teenagers chanting outside my home and harassing us that the police had to be called several times, etc. And the hate continued online, and has been going on all this time.

Sadly now it has gone up a few levels. The name calling, the threats, the vile messages, emails, comments, and voice notes I have received in the past couple of weeks has been unbelievable. My social media platforms keep being reported as they want to shut me up and not allow me to speak my truth. Yet I will never stop.

Just today I have been called a Nazi, an antisemite, someone who is worse than the Nazis and who wants the ethnic cleansing of all Jews not only from Israel, but worldwide. In all honesty all I want to scream is can’t you see the pain in the faces of these Palestinian families who are grieving their loved ones… and why do you not seem to care? Oh, wait, I forgot. It’s because an Israeli Jewish baby is “worth more and has more value than Palestinian or Muslim babies”…. That hurts even to write it.

I am in no way saying that the 10 deaths in Israel are not horrific. Of course that is tragic, and I have cried for those people who have lost their lives so tragically. At the same time I see most Jewish people seem not to care about the 200+ people who have been killed in Gaza, including over 60 CHILDREN….. But that is referred by people I know as them “being in the wrong time and place”, and that sickens me. Every death is something that cuts me deep.

This is an example of what I’m referring to.

“Horribly disappointed in you. That your reaction to the bombs falling on Israel by the thousands is a desire to see “free Palestine”. You want the terrorism to secure a free Palestine? Really? You want from the river to the sea Palestine be [Jew] free? Ethnic cleansing is your new cause? You bleeping kidding me? And I don’t even want to hear fallacies, because we all know that Israel’s number one import is holiness. Every religion calls it the Holy land. Under Israel the Christians, Jews and Arabs all have 100% freedom to visit any holy site of their choosing. Including the cave of the patriarchs, the temple mount etc. So you want the land of Israel to be Judenrein (best case scenario apparently is that you wish them to flee and not be slaughtered?) and only the Muslims to have access again to holy sites?”

I never said I wanted ethnic cleansing of anyone at all! The way this person talks to me about my views is outrageous. I just never said or alleged any of those things. I don’t want anyone to be removed, killed, “ethnically cleansed”, “Judenrein” and to get all Jews out of Israel and for the country to be for Muslims only. I simply questioned how anyone is okay with what the Israeli Government and the IDF are doing in Palestine. I specifically stated that this was not a Jewish-Muslim discussion. I reiterated that this was a right wing Zionist and Israeli Government and Palestinian issue, and the discussion has to be based on facts not emotions. Every face I see, regardless of whether they are Israeli or Palestinian breaks my heart….

What the Israeli Government are doing is unacceptable, but that doesn’t make me antisemitic. I can criticise them without being accused of being an antisemite. But sadly some people cannot differentiate between the two. I am someone who is passionate about people, about humanity, and won’t focus on what religions people have. Seeing what is going on in this world, and seeing people being hurt, being killed, being targeted for what others have done is not something I am willing to keep quiet about.

Despite the fact that I was born into the Orthodox Jewish world, I have now left that behind and can see things clearly and have been working out how I feel about all sorts of topics, including this one. Yet now I feel lonelier than ever as almost everyone I know has different views to me. I am careful about who I speak to and am wary of even opening this conversation with most people around me. Fortunately my boyfriend is just as passionate about this but I tend to have to keep my opinions to myself. I can’t afford to lose any more people in my life….

This Couple Dance To Raise Awareness For Domestic Abuse Victims

There’s not much to say. Just watch this incredibly powerful performance.

#domesticabuse #violence #abuse #awareness #couples #survivor

“Free Palestine” London Protest 11 May 2021

Protests today in London’s Downing Street for the plight of the Palestinians. The atmosphere was one of united strength, a desire for change and passionate discussions and speeches.

No one was hurt and the police handled it all pretty well. There were a couple of times they shouted at the protestors not to be too close to them, and obviously they immediately moved.

And just to clarify, I can criticise the Israeli Government and what they are doing without being labelled an antisemite and a Nazi. I have not said anything about Jews. This isn’t about the Jewish Community. It’s about the radical right wing Zionists. It’s a very different thing. You can look at my last few posts and see that I have a balanced perspective.

Regardless of your opinion and where you stand on this issue I would ask you to stop sending me dm’s with hate, threats, voice notes, and your thoughts on why I’m wrong. You’re entitled to your own opinion, just as I am. I will continue ignoring them all and blocking those that overstep the mark.

israel #london #protest #downingstreet #palestine #freepalestine #march #together #united #uk #police #safety #security #gaza #alaqsa #mosque #zionism #islam #jerusalem #ramadan #army #idf #netanyahu #government #bekind #sheikhjarrah #soldier #guns #bullet #rocket

RIP Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, 1921-2021 💔😭

It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.

Rest in Peace 💔🇬🇧

#princephilip #COVID19 #facemask #Queen #RIP #uk #buckinghampalace #royalfamily #support #army #veterans #soldier #london #bekind #TikTok #husband #patriarch

This is My Own Personal Freedom 💚

As the Jewish Community get together with their families and friends to celebrate the final moments of Passover, I celebrate with them.

No, I don’t celebrate Passover. I celebrate my own personal freedom and reflect on the journey I have gone on during the last 6 years.

I am no longer a wife but I am a happy woman with a supportive boyfriend who loves me and appreciates the real me.

I am no longer Jewish although I am still the same person with the same heart.

This journey has been hell at times and at times I’ve almost wanted to give up. But I knew that I couldn’t. I wanted to be a strong woman who would be someone others can look up to and ask advice from.

I wanted to be the woman I needed when I was leaving. Someone to listen to me, someone to advise me, and someone to understand the emotions I was going through.

And I can proudly look myself in the mirror and be proud of who I am today. I am a support to countless people and have shared my story in countless media platforms to empower others who want to leave.

I am still the same person I always was and sadly that’s not something that people from my past are able to see. They choose to judge me and threaten me. But I choose to ignore and move on.

I am free – from an ex-Jew on the final days of Passover – this is my moment to smile and be proud of the life I have.

Nothing is worth more than living a life where I am able to choose how I will live and what I will do. It’s not always easy but – for me personally – it’s been the best thing I’ve done.

I am not angry. I am not bitter. I am content.

#passover #Pesach #freedom #free #atheist #religion #faith #cult #hasidic #unorthodox #Netflix #custody #beyou #stamfordhill #London

Sadiq Khan Joins London Family’s Seder

“Sadiq Khan was an active participant in a Zoom family Seder held by Hampstead couple Noeleen and John Cohen.”

“Mr Khan had also discussed the Jewish roots of his first name.

“He understood what a tzadik was and that’s where his name comes from. And obviously there was some connection because he’s a Khan and we’re Cohens.”

https://www.thejc.com/community/community-news/sadiq-khan-joins-london-family-s-seder-1.513658?fbclid=IwAR2OJGnvnqcEGLPz_CwZU2ODsuD-CbWDb3rR3-0Mg9u_A66CcHi2AY2uI0U

#Jewish #Passover #seder #mayorofLondon #sadiqkhan #family #learn #JC #JewishChronicle #freedom #religion #Zoom

Forced marriage and the importance of RSE – Podcast Link Below

“In this episode, Emma Park speaks to Eve Sacks about arranged and forced marriages in the Haredi community. Eve is a board member at Nahamu, an organisation which aims to counter religious extremism within Britain’s Jewish population.

Eve argues that the crucial problem with forced marriage is that it deprives participants of their autonomy, as well as putting them at risk of more concrete harms.”

Once again Eve has explained the issues of forced marriage within the haredi community. Of course some more modern communities do the typical arranged marriage.

Sadly, however, there are hundreds of weddings going on every year in London alone and the bride and groom will have met perhaps once or twice and got engaged and met again the next time at the wedding itself.

#Hasidic #forcedmarriage #arrangedmarriage #illegal #orthodoxjews #London #StamfordHill #haredi #frum #coercion #wedding #marriage @secularism.org.uk #Secularism #humanist

https://www.secularism.org.uk/podcast/2021/03/ep46