I just stumbled across this show on BBC IPlayer and am in middle of watching it now. If you get the opportunity to watch it, please do! It shows so many different forms of Judaism, and some things are truly eye-opening.
It’s not just about orthodox Jews, it shows converts, Reform Jews, and the rituals, celebrations, births, deaths, etc. There is so much to see that will make you smile, become educated, and sometimes cringe!! In general a great documentary.
Trigger Warning ⚠️ losing contact with parents and siblings.
It’s been so long that my mother called me instead of calling her friend!! I can’t imagine phoning someone else instead of my own child…. just because we have the same first names!
Oh and yeah… thanks but no thanks for the invite. I’ve not seen “family” since 2015 so I’m assuming the Purim messages were sent to everyone and not to me in particular 😏🤷🏻♀️😳
Please, please, please do not tell me “It’s the thought that counts” or “isn’t it nice she’s invited you”? etc. No! Absolutely not.
If she genuinely cared about mending our relationship she would start off with an apology for the most disgusting names I was called. But as she said when I told her how much pain she caused me, her response was “I meant every word so I can’t apologise as I feel the same way. Nothing has changed.”
Sometimes unfortunately we have to think of our own mental health and start considering ourselves, and stop feeling guilty for things we didn’t do or for living our truth. If we don’t do that things can spiral out of control very quickly.
And sometimes someone does or says something that is so painful that we have to say I’ve done enough. I cannot keep being put through all of this anymore.
I don’t wish anyone any harm, and I wish things were different. But while I have no control over what others say and do, I can control whether I engage or remove toxic people from my life.
Taken from @hasidiminusa on Twitter. I love this!! We need more men like this in the world. People who give a damn about others. Thank you young man 💜
“The rain during yesterday’s shoot with brought me to an incredible, never seen before scene, and a moment of inspiration.
I had seen an enormous street puddle accumulated by the rain 20 minutes earlier, and decided to go back to that puddle hoping to capture some children playing in the puddle, but instead i saw a very bizarre scene.
A young Hasidic man in the the puddle in his shoes and clothes digging in and out the water with a snow shovel upside down 😮
After first snapping a few shots I asked him if he lost something there?? “NO i’m just trying to unclog the storm drain, so the old people can cross”
I was completely shocked by his response. For a person to get down and dirty, get his shoes and clothes soaking wet in the dirty water so that strangers can cross!
It was a true moment of inspiration..
I’m so glad i was there to document this so I can share it with you all.”
How wonderful and how kind is this? I’ve never seen this before. I hope people can look at this and see there are people who are happy to do this to keep others safe.
This isn’t going to be an easy post to write or read. And yes there will be people who will call me names for saying what I am. But this is my opinion and I need to speak up.
Before I say what I want I’d like to mention that the community I come from which is hasidic and Ultra Orthodox is incredibly racist. They don’t see black people as the same. They’re looked at as less than. As sub-human. The same way the Palestinians are looked at as sub-human.
The things I heard growing up are about as racist as anything you can imagine. There will be those who will say this isn’t true. But I lived that life and know for a fact that it is absolutely the case. Jews I was brought up with are some of the biggest racists. The inflammatory language used about black people is vile.
Even now as the world sees how unfairly black people are being treated there are Jews who justify it by using terms such as “they’re animals” or “they are tigers escaped from the zoo. What do we do to tigers who escape? We kill them”. And so many more that I cannot possibly write here.
I am in no way condoning the looting or rioting, much of which has been done by white people. What I’m talking about are regular black folk going about their lives and being constantly targeted simply because they’re black.
Over the last couple of weeks as people worldwide have been protesting the murder of a black man in broad daylight by 4 police officers. Feelings and emotions are high and there’s been a lot of anger at the police brutality particularly in America but indeed across the globe.
What has infuriated me are the number of Jews who have somehow made this about them. It’s not about YOU. Guess what? There are things that affect others. It’s not always about Jews.
I’ve had countless conversations, some very heated, where jewish people have tried to say that they understand racism because they have experienced antisemitism. Antisemitism and racism are so different. And to compare the two is ridiculous.
I’ve been accused of being antisemitic for using the Black Lives Matter frame on my Facebook page. Why? Because apparently this movement is antisemitic. I’ve asked several times for proof of this or links to data but as yet haven’t received any. That’s because this is nonsense.
I’ve also been told that jews have suffered more because 6 million Jews were killed in 6 years whereas that hasn’t been the case for black people.
This isn’t about who has suffered more. It’s not a competition. Yes Jews died in WW2. But that hasn’t got anything to do with what’s going on right now in 2020. Police brutality against the black community, for decades, does not affect Jews.
There are reports of a synagogue and kosher shop being targeted. This isn’t okay. But that’s done by bad people who are using this opportunity to be hateful. They are not the people who are protesting because they want long term changes to be made.
Jews can leave their homes and not have to worry that they will be a target by racist police. Black people have to be aware of this ALL the time. Never has there been a police officer who has strangled a Jewish person to death on the streets of America.
The fact that all this has to be said saddens me. Why would we need to discuss this as a black/Jewish issue. It’s not a Jewish issue.
Imagine for a moment that every time you go into a shop you’re followed around as though you’re a thief. Imagine being stopped several times a month as you drive purely because you’re black.
Imagine not being able to run for the bus because running in the street is seen as you’re running away or towards a crime. Imagine being in Central Park and bird watching and having the police called on you for being “an African American” knowing full well that that could end in a fatality.
Imagine dropping a parcel into a home and having your van blocked in and questioned why you’re there because you “don’t fit into the demographic of the area”. But you’re just a delivery driver!
Imagine a 12 year old child playing with a toy gun and the police shoot him dead…. Tamir Rice would have been 18 now.
Imagine going to a Mercedes Benz showroom and having your car blocked from leaving because the staff didn’t believe you’d be able to afford their cars and wanted to interrogate you as to why you’re there. There are so many more examples. These are just a few.
There are those who say that George Floyd did commit crimes in his past and that does indeed seem to be the case. However this isn’t about that. No one deserves to be strangled to death by white cops for having a fake $20 bill.
The protesting is no longer about Mr Floyd. It’s about the bigger picture. It’s about the targeting of black people for the colour of their skin. Period. And this is just unacceptable. It’s been going on for hundreds of years from when black people were taken to America as slaves and abused in every possible way. This has to stop.
We need to educate ourselves about why this has become as big as it has and why there’s so much passion and frustration among those this affects on a daily basis. We need to listen. We need to believe and not compare.
Jews have no Eric Garners, no George Floyds, no Breonna Taylor – to list just a few murders of black people by racist officers. Until we understand that Black Lives Matter, we can’t say All Lives Matter.
I wrote this back in October 2017 but didn’t feel comfortable sharing it. Now is the time to do so – however difficult it is.
A very honest post which many of you will no doubt relate to.
I posted a while ago about a LDR I was involved in. I explained how he would call me repeatedly and expect answers as to why I didn’t pick up the phone. Saying “I was busy” never satisfied him.
Many of you replied saying run and red flag alert.
However I didn’t.
Stupid I know. But a part of me hoped he loved me enough to change and give me space.
I was wrong.
I have now found out there are things he lied to me about which I obviously wouldn’t find out as the LDR thing means he was able to hide basic things from me.
He knew I had suffered domestic abuse for 17 years and he promised he would never hurt me in any way.
I want to explain what happened over the past few months.
He expected me to stay on the phone to him for many many hours a day. The average time we would be on the phone would be around 8 hours a day or more. When I hung up he would then text me repeatedly how much he loved me and couldn’t live without me.
Stupidly I fell for his bullshit imagining this may be my happily ever after….
He said it was because he loved me so much and couldn’t live without me.
He wanted to “fall asleep with me” every night. That meant I had to be on the phone while we both fell asleep and in the mornings wake up to each others voice.
And then there was the insisting on phone sex. Often he tried to do it on video but I wouldn’t entertain that. Again this was because he loved me so much and if he couldn’t physically be intimate with me this was second best.
Yet again I fell for it.
He kept saying I love you. Over and over again. Maybe he was insecure. But although I was flattered at first it began to become a pressure.
As time went by things began to get too much for me. I had a check in with him the whole time, telling him where I was going and how long I would be.
He wanted to know everything about me. All my finances. My weight! Personal information etc. The list goes on.
Like I said at first I was flattered. Then I felt strangled. I wanted my space. I told him that and he sulked but tried to make changes. It was hard for him.
Then things started going wrong. He began to get frustrated at me for very small things. He didn’t like the way I spoke to him. Said I was too blunt. Said I was critical and never validated his feelings.
I knew I was not happy but he kept sucking me back in with his nice side. I kept going back. He made me cry so much every time he told me how I made him feel.
I tried to change. Be softer and nicer but things didn’t improve.
When we were physically together he wanted sex constantly. Definitely every night. “I have a high libido”.
“Sex is a 2 way street. We must both want it and then it will happen on its own. There shouldn’t be rules” I tried explaining to him.
“Okay if you’re not interested in sex and I am what can you do for me? Hand job? Blow job?”
Shocked. “I’m not a whore. If there’s love between us intimacy will happen organically” I said annoyed.
Things came to a head recently. He didn’t like something I said so totally blanked me for 2 days. No eye contact. No talking. Turned his back on me in bed. Walked 100 feet ahead of me in the street.
It was all too much. I’d had enough.
I suddenly saw with clarity what he was like and at one point when we got to the airport I left him there and went home.
That was a few days ago. It’s been bloody painful. He’s blocked me on Facebook after I blocked him on watsapp. And that’s been the best thing.
Right now I’m trying to find myself again and get back to being me… without having to check in with anyone.
So thank you for all the advice you gave me back then and I fucking regret not listening. But now I’m done and am moving on.
I implore you to take the time to read the propaganda put out by my old community. Notice the wording used when it comes to the parent who is still religious. They use words such as loving, being brave, and sobbing with pain, when her children had to go to their irreligious father is so wrong.
And what kind of language is used regarding the father who has left the faith? Interesting that just because someone has left, the assumption is we are bad parents. Phrases such as the father took off the child’s kippa, that he had the tv on… that “tatty doesn’t have a beard anymore” etc are incredibly insensitive and dangerous. And incorrect.
What message is this sending to their community? That because you’re religious you’re a loving parent who sobs into a prayer book when the kids go to the other parent? That because one isn’t religious one is automatically going to be doing things and involve the kids in their new life?
I know so many people who have left their ultra Orthodox communities who would never do anything to confuse their kids. Granted they may have cut their beard or uncovered their hair. But they go out their way to ensure the kids eat kosher and wouldn’t put the tv or internet on or show “funny things on the computer”. I know men and women who keep a kosher kitchen for the occasional visits from their religious kids. They absolutely do NOT take their kid’s kippa off their head or force them to do anything they know their children don’t do with the other parent.
This kind of literature, which is plastered all over the Stamford Hill community, is so destructive and wrong. And asking families who are living in abject poverty to give £500 or to set up a direct debit for 2 years is so manipulative and conniving.
Money raised to alienate kids from loving parents is wrong. Period. There’s laws around parental alienation and this is such a blatant case of this happening today, in London, in 2020!
Please share to raise awareness of what’s going on. Thank you ❤️
This is the second post about questions I’ve been asked about the community and the life I left.
“Did you feel that your education adequately prepared you for the secular world?
Were the women in your community expected to work to help support the family or stay home with children?
What’s one thing you would change about your community? What’s one thing you loved and miss about it?”
Once again my disclaimer. This is MY perspective only and from what I saw and lived for the first 35 years of my life.
In general the education we received was very basic. I went to a single sex school where I had the chance to do GCSE’s. Most students did around 6-8. I did 8 GCSE’s. I know that the hasidic schools generally don’t do many at all. The satmar type schools do perhaps 2 whereas the Beis Yakov’s do more.
All books, and ultimately exams, are carefully checked for “inappropriate content which could be sexual or anything that goes against the Torah and atheism”. Large chunks of study books, especially the sciences, are blanked out with black marker pens. So when it came to taking the exams there were times we had no possibility of answering the questions as they were blacked out.
Most girls go to seminary at the age of 16 and a few, like myself, stayed on an extra year to do A-Levels. The course is a two year one but there is no option of doing it in 2 years. We had to do it in 1 year which means inevitably your results will be lower than you’re capable of had you done the full 2 year course.
Straight after that you go to seminary and the only thing that is important is how to be a good young woman ready to be a wife and mother. Religious studies are the main focus of the day and many days start early and end at 10pm.
Whilst I did all the education that was offered to me, I still do not have the education the average person has. I wish I had had the opportunity to do a degree so that I would be able to get a better job.
Unfortunately whilst I know I can be an asset to a company, my CV is poor. Time taken off for the years I had my kids. Time taken off dealing with my divorce etc. I have a lot of resentment towards my past life as I know I could have done far more if only I had the right education.
There was never any encouragement to do well. Education isn’t seen as important because “what’s the point if I’m going to get married and have kids”?? The important things back then we’re sewing, baking and typing.
“Were the women in your community expected to work to help support the family or stay home with children?”
The women are the ones who go to work. The men tend to go to a kolel (religious establishment for newly married men) for the first couple of years while the wife is the one who works full time and is generally pregnant and has to do all the cooking and housework as well.
Some men do go to work after a couple of years. Because they don’t have the education the girls receive they’re ill equipped for the working world and so they do whatever job they can to get by. Once they have 3 or 4 children the wife tends to be a stay at home mum. She will often have a job from home to supplement the income. This will be things like music lessons, sewing and alterations, as well as other things.
And finally. What’s one thing you would change about your community? What’s one thing you loved and miss about it?”
The one thing I’d change is giving everyone the education they need and deserve because through that they’ll understand critical thinking and asking questions and not just accept what they’re told.
What did I love? The kindness towards each other. The way people go above and beyond to help each other in every way possible. When I was very ill for 3 years there were organisations and people who took care of so many things to help us out. The amount of charity and love to help others is astonishing. However, once you’re not one of them this will not be the case.
The thing I miss is my family. My siblings. I haven’t seen them in over 5 years. And it breaks my heart how they’ve cut me out their lives. I miss what we HAD. I miss the people they WERE. But I know that although I will always love them they will never accept me. And I have come to terms with that…. through my tears and broken heart… I can’t make them want me in their lives.
I miss the times we would excitedly get ready for weddings or bar mitzvah’s. And now not only don’t I know when they are, I don’t even get invited.