We Want The Zionists, Not the Jews, Dead

English: A Hamas supporter at pro-Hamas, anti-...

English: A Hamas supporter at pro-Hamas, anti-Israel rally in San Francisco. The sign on the car reads: “Jews are terrorists” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In this latest round of conflict between Israel and Hamas I’ve been extremely upset at the way people view Jews. Either we’re some superpower elite that’s running the world through the Rothschild’s or we are playing the victim to get sympathy to commit genocide against the Arabs in Gaza.

Some of the theories as to why this conflict started are coming from Arab propaganda sites. In fact, here’s a timeline of coverage of these stories and how the grapevine changed the story from one news outlet to another.

However, I think the most disturbing is the comments coming from people who live in the US and other western-style democracies.

I’ve known for some time that the antisemitism has risen to levels just prior to WWII but I think you have to see it to believe it. When you tell these people they want Jews dead, they say ‘oh no, I don’t want Jews dead. I just want Zionists dead.’ :(

Shouting Atheists

You’re not out of the closet of your religious faith on the internet until you get an atheist that comes after you to tell YOU what the Torah means. Oh, no, the Old Testament.

An atheist, hereafter known as Mr. Shouty, decided to take on the lowly Reform Jew and let me know that I’m in a Patriarchal religion. The reason he’s on this kick is because I had the nerve to tell the atheist community how inhumane and ridiculous they are over Rebecca Watson.

Rebecca is a well known atheist who was at a conference away from home when a man she didn’t know followed her out of the hotel bar and hopped into her elevator at 4am to ask her back to his room for, for, for. . . coffee.  Rebecca felt creeped out as most women would at 4am in an enclosed space with a man you don’t even know. She even had the nerve to make a Youtube video about it to casually tell guys that that behaviour is indeed creepy and not to do it. Well, that started a shitstorm.

You see, many atheist men who tout themselves as ‘humanists’ (because feminism is a term that means ONLY rights for women) showed their true colours as misogynist assholes. Rebecca received death and rape threats and it’s now going on a bit over a year and these atheist men are still up in arms about it.

The women in the atheist movement decided to split off and make a group called Atheism Plus, to include feminism. These women weren’t going to take it.

So my Jewish soul decided to support the women and tell the men in the atheist movement they looked really bad and that as a Reform Jew we would 1)probably never have to deal with any patriarchy and 2)if we did, we’d truly deal with it and go back to being a great egalitarian bunch of Jews.

Well that started it.

Now I’ve got Mr. Shouty making 50 minute diatribes to me about how my religion is Patriarchal because men have more religious duties to get closer to HaShem. Apparently, wearing a yarmulke means you become a patriarchal monster overlord. (‘overlord’ was Mr. Shouty’s word)

Mr. Shouty Having a Tantrum

How do I deal with such stupidity? Imagine me trying to explain to him that the opening of Bereshit is about evolution! I don’t think he’d ever be able to wrap his head around that.

The video exchange has been quite interesting with me losing my temper and swearing badly in some sections and Mr. Shouty just, shouting.

I am passing my first ‘dealing with an ignorant atheist’ milestone quite well. I just hope it’ll be over soon. Unfortunately, Mr. Shouty is as persistent as he is stupid.

 

Update on Class: Free Will v Determinism

I’m really happy I decided to convert Reform. I feel it’s an open environment where any question is OK. When my Rabbi talks about the Torah being in complete harmony with evolution, I am thrilled. My Rabbi is so open minded and is teaching us that it’s OK to question everything.

Also, as a woman, I feel welcome there. There’s an entire book that is female oriented commentary on the Torah. It’s an expensive book but one I must save up for. Here’s the link to it.

Being a woman in Reform means I can contribute and participate fully. I can wear tallitot if I want and a Kippah. I will be treated equally in all cases. Which reminds me: Anat Hoffman was arrested yet again in Israel for trying to pray at the Kotel on Rosh Chodesh. She was roughed up by the police. This is the hold the Orthodoxy has in Israel and it’s pathetic. People are already anti-Semitic enough and when they see this kind of thing going on in Israel they think ALL Jews are like this. Then it gives them another reason to hate us.

I have a friend who is Orthodox and he has problems with women being equal to men. He has this understanding of what a woman’s ROLE is. I find it hard to talk to him sometimes. I don’t even think he believes the stuff he’s promoting but it’s rote memory. I do think that with me around he does question whether he should remain an Orthodox convert.

So I am using the lending library at my shul and I got an excellent loan book today called Why Faith Matters by Rabbi David J. Wolpe. Link I think I’m going to make some videos after reading this book about atheism and its complete misunderstanding of religion, faith and HaShem. There’s a great parable in the beginning of the chapter about Science and Religion. It goes like this:

A thousand years from now when scientists have solved all the questions that plague humanity, they are finally ready for the ultimate challenge. they elect a representative to address God.

“God,” says the scientist in charge. “You are no longer needed. You served a function in your day but that day is gone. We can do everything that You can do, so goodbye.”

There is a moment of silence. Then a voice booms out of the sky: “Everything?”

“Yes,” answers the scientist.

“Can you make a human being from dust?”

“Absolutely.”

“OK,” says God, “let me see you make a human being.”

The scientist reaches down and digs his hands into the earth.

“Oh, no,” says God, “get your own dust.”

That alone would make an atheist cry. Not that I want to see atheists cry but some of them attack people of faith for no other reason than they assume they’re a soft target. Most of the attacking is done just for fun so others will laugh at the creationist.

I’m not a shrinking violet so I’m sure I’ll have some videos lined up when I’m done reading this.

So far we’ve learned 6 consonants and 2 vowel sounds in Hebrew class. I feel ahead of everyone else. There are some who don’t study and it takes up a lot of time. Someone actually tried to use the excuse that they spoke a romance language. I was like ‘how does that matter?’ I mean, I speak English and I have to learn this completely new language so what does speaking a different language have to do with it?

I just asked my Jewish friends whether they think Judaism is about free will or determinism? I said free will but my Rabbi said a mixture of both, which I agree with, but Judaism is about free will. We must take responsibility if we are to carry out our duties to help the world.

I’m Back

I took a long summer Sabbatical to work on my physical body and mind. I rode my bike by the creek and picked Lavender buds. I also had an incredible amount of dental troubles which are almost resolved.

During this time I started going to Erev Shabbat services. I finally got over my fear of not being accepted by the people. The service was beautiful and the woman sitting a seat away from me said she could hear that I knew much of the Hebrew. I told her I was a convert in waiting. She was extremely candid and helpful. Oneg Shabbat was delicious. I just happened to go at the time that berry season was at its peak. Strawberries, raspberries, honey dew melon, watermelon, blueberries, and several small cakes were waiting for us after services. I mingled a bit but I really felt uncomfortable.

Fast forward to the first day of Jewish school in September. I’m in a class with single women and married couples who want their spouse to convert. There are NO single men in the class. I wonder if this is a trend? The class has about 15 people. Rabbi taught the first class and we got our books. It was mostly just an overview of the High Holidays.

I didn’t get to attend the High Holidays because of these teeth of mine. I had surgery on my mouth on Erev Yom Kippur. I had a severe abscess in my premolar that extended to the back of my molar and into my upper cheek. I had the tooth taken out and the infection was severe enough to be prescribed antibiotics for a week.

The Psalms in Hebrew and Latin. Manuscript on ...

The Psalms in Hebrew and Latin. Manuscript on parchment, 12th century. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m on antibiotics again for another abscess on the other side in my top back molar. I had a preliminary root canal a week ago and am recovering. Yes, I missed it all. Simchat Torah, Sukkot, and Yom Kippur.

Our last class was this past Monday where we had a Hebrew teacher from Israel. She looked like my

Mother. I did really well in class and since I’ve studied Hebrew on my own for a few months I am ahead of my classmates. We learned 3 letters of the Alefbet: Bet, Shin, and Tav. This was to make up a root word SBvT. I love the textbook we use. I can see how the structure of it is going to make everyone a good Hebrew speaker and reader.

After an hour of Hebrew, Rabbi came in and we talked about the week’s Parsha: Bereshit. I was not so surprised to learn that it was a description of evolution, which is HaShem‘s plan. Yom is not just a ‘day’ but an indeterminate amount of time. HaMayim, or the water, is the first thing we know about the earth and everything came from that water. Sounds like evolution to me. Of course, humans were the last thing created.

So what do I think of all this? I’m excited to learn. I love studying Torah so much that I have Jewish online friends I study Torah with twice a week.  I want this knowledge and I want to understand who I am. I’ve always felt Jewish and so far everything agrees with me and feels comfortable and home-like.

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Witness

Abused

Abused (Photo credit: Andrea Marutti)

I was watching a Rosh Chodesh service online and she talked about the concept of witnessing important things and also, to find someone to be a witness for yourself so you can get some important things off your chest.

I suspect my Rabbi already has an idea of what I’m about to say but I want to put it in writing so that it becomes a concrete affirmation and expression.

Dear Rabbi,

Thank you for being my witness as you read this. I grew up extremely gifted. My parents knew this and while I had support from school, my mother really held me back. She was envious of the gifts I had. She would sabotage things for me. She was extremely abusive.

My father was extremely absent. He didn’t get involved with the home at all. He was just never there. There were times that he did see my mother being emotionally and verbally abusive to me and he stepped in when he saw it. He would tell her to leave me alone. I wish he had been there more often so I would’ve had more protection.

I spent my time in libraries. They were my safety when I was young. As I moved into adolescence I left my house at 15. I went and stayed with my best girlfriend’s mom. It was a time in my life where I was starting to take control and I didn’t want to be abused any more.

I was away from home for 3 months. My mother never thought about her behaviour or the fact I was just a 15 year old who needed love and affection and wasn’t getting an ounce of it. In fact, it was my father that eventually called me at my best friend’s home and said he wanted more than anything for me to come home and that any problems we had we could work them out and he loved me. When I arrived home, my mother did not greet me. The next morning, waking up for school, I got dirty looks and more abusive tone from her. She told me we were going to Florida for a week and was extremely angry and short with me. She never spoke to me to try and help me or understand.

This went on for years until I finally made it to University. I worked for many years before I went to University but finally, I went. It was great to finally be without her but when I went off to Uni, her and my father got divorced so every Friday and Saturday, she would come to my dorm room, pretend to be interested, just so she would have something to do and not be alone. I have figured out my mothers worst fear is being alone.

There is so much more but I wanted you to know this. You do know my mother became an alcoholic at this time in my life and after that I hardly spoke to her and even if I did speak to her, she remembered nothing. You also know my father just went off and started a new family. He had a mistress he had been keeping on the side while my parents were still married and he went off with her. I want you to witness that I grew up this way and I do not have any family I can count on.

This is the real reason she will not send my my Chumash. She is purposely holding something she knows is incredibly important to me. She actually gave away some of my most precious belongings. She is not a nice mother.

This really is just the beginning but it’s a start.

Thank you for witnessing this~

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‘Jew B*%ch’

Photo of mass graves at Bergen Belsen concentr...

Photo of mass graves at Bergen Belsen concentration camp, 1945. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During the boycot of Jews on april 1, 1933 in ...

During the boycott of Jews on april 1, 1933 in Nazi-Germany Jews are forced to march with anti-semitic signs. The men in uniform are SA-members. The signs say things like: “Don’t buy from Jews” and “A good German doesn’t buy from Jews”.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I was 23 years old I had a horrible experience with antisemitism. I was walking home from University and took a small cutthrough to make the journey a bit quicker. Suddenly, a man leaned in behind me and put a weapon of some sort in my back and called me a ‘Jew B*%ch’. He pushed me along the small semi-underground path and continued to verbally berate me for being Jewish.

I never prayed so much in my life to stay alive until I could exit the path and come out into daylight where there would be many people on t

he street. Once we hit daylight, he was gone, somehow just sliding away from me and into the crowd of people. When I got into my apartment I went directly to my room, sat on my bed and wept insanely. I had no idea what to do. Should I call the police? Should I call my family? I didn’t call anyone. I was totally paralyzed with fear.

This was my first and most violent experience with antisemitism and I will never forget it. I r

eally thought I was going to lose something that day, whether it be a violent attack or my life. It was after that that I knew how many Jews must’ve felt in the ghettos, being watched and attacked for no reason except for being Jews.

I was always extremely sensitive about the Holocaust. It wasn’t something I watched and thought it only happened to other people. I felt it happening to me and I thought it was surely the most troubled time in our collective History.

Seeing the emaciated bodies, once beautiful, living people, all piled up and thrown into shallow mass graves, really has never left my consciousness. I feel I went through it too, as a collective understanding of the human condition. I felt a part of the Jewish people, targeted for only one reason.

Rows of bodies fill the yard of Lager Nordhaus...

Rows of bodies fill the yard of Lager Nordhausen, a Gestapo concentration camp. עברית: שורות של גופות מאות אסירים בחצר מחצה הריכוז נורדהאוזן. בתמונה נראות פחות ממחצית הגופות של האסירים שמתו ברעב או ביריות אנשי הגסטפו. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This sentiment I still have. It has never wavered. After my experience with violent antisemitism my connection to the Holocaust got stronger. I saw myself in those camps. I felt the pain of it. So when I went through my experience it confirmed what I discovered about myself when a teenager: I was Jewish. I identified myself as a Jewish person.

Today, I still fight antisemitism and it’s around me constantly on the internet. The internet gives a level of anonymity whereby people’s true feelings can come through. I can’t tell you how many antisemitic comments and statements I come across every day. I’m sure everyone on the internet has come across them whether it be about the Occupy Movement or the recent murders of Jewish children in France.

I also hear people trying to downplay antisemitism, as if it’s completely insignificant. Part of this is the insistence that anti-Zionism isn’t antisemitism but we all know that it is.

I got a comment from someone on another site telling me they hoped I studied the Torah. This person isn’t Jewish but made sure to ask me if I was STILL a Zionist while simultaneously informing me that he is against Zionism. When I responded with the question ‘So you don’t think Jews have a right to have their own land?’ he never got back to me.

The murder case in Florida involving George Zimmerman has had its’ share of antisemitism as well. People assume that he is Jewish because of his last name. You might think that’s innocuous enough but many also use that to express Jew hatred. Also, there’s those that think the Zionist controlled media is trying to influence the judgement of the case in the favour of Zimmerman because he’s Jewish. These things are highly irrational but they exist nevertheless.

So my questions to others are:

  • Why don’t you think Jews should have their homeland?
  • Why do you think Jews own all of the media?
  • What are some good ways to counter antisemitism and anti-Zionism?
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Starting an Online Torah Study Group

This is one of my ideas.  Before I officially start studying with my Rabbi in September I would like to start an online Torah study group. I had in mind something very simple and open. I don’t want to exclude anyone based on religion, however I don’t want people who are going to enter and start

The first chapter of B'reshit, or Genesis, wri...

The first chapter of B’reshit, or Genesis, written on an egg, in the Jerusalem museum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

political discussions.

I was thinking of a bulletin board. I’ve run several boards in the past and I’m good at it. There could be several forums so that not only can we discuss this weeks parsha but other forums would be for discussion of other parts of the Tanakh, the Talmud etc.

I would love to have Rabbi’s lend their experience and expertise to this forum as well in whatever way they can.

Since I’m new to all this I want to have other new converts joining in too so there would be a distinct recruitment of newbies like me.

Just last night, after seeing the Rabbi yesterday morning, I stayed up until 6am studying Torah. I read the parsha Emor for this week and the Haftorah. Then I started reading Joshua from the Nevi’im. You see, I’ve never been around a Torah for this long, well, except when I had my Stone Edition Chumash that my mother won’t give back to me. I was having a grand old time reading about Joshua and the Israelites parting the Jordan river with the Kohenim and the 12 stones to get into the land of Canaan.

Now that’s a great story!

If anyone has any ideas about how to start an online Torah study group or has ANY feedback about the project at all then please leave a comment.

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Spiritual Health and a Second Tanakh

I met with my Rabbi today to discuss studying at a reduced rate. I’m disabled and cannot afford the full price of the class. I found it hard to revisit my injuries and hard to talk about. Then he asked me where I see myself in 5 years and that was the most difficult question that I don’t think I answered at all.

I’m just happy I finally have a good doctor and am getting myself together after years of not having a good, compassionate doctor. It’s hard to live with a constant disability and I think that’s why it’s so hard to talk about it. It’s always a part of my life so it’s hard to give it more time in my life by discussing it. My body doesn’t work properly but my mind is fine. I’m more concerned about my spiritual health because I think my spiritual health will help with my physical health.

He also asked me why I came to Judaism. I don’t think I gave him a great answer for that either. I’m terrible in person, especially when I am talking to someone I don’t know very well yet. I trust my Rabbi but there’s a certain amount of closeness that just happens over time that we don’t have yet. Anyway, I didn’t answer this question the way I’ll answer it here.

Head of a Jewish Bride

Head of a Jewish Bride (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What I told my Rabbi is that I can’t explain my closeness to Judaism. I told him about sneaking into a synagogue when I was 18, after evening services. I explained that part of my family is Jewish, but not my immediate family. I basically told him ‘I can’t explain it.’ That’s not a good answer. I was a bit uncomfortable talking of my most intimate feelings that I have with G-d. I don’t want to sound strange and crazy.

The reality is, I’ve always felt Jewish. I don’t know why but I’ve always seen myself as a Jewish person, as part of the Jewish people. I cannot say exactly why. It’s not something I can exactly explain. It’s a connection that’s extremely special to me. I have felt the suffering of the Jewish people and the joy of Torah. I think I am a Jewish person. Whatever anecdotes I can come up with just don’t do the strength and passion of my feelings any justice. The passion is in my desire to be with the Jewish people, studying Torah and loving G-d, as one. To me, being Jewish means giving to others. I’ve always been a person who gives. People say Jewish people have extra responsibility because we are chosen. I feel chosen.

I’m looking forward to my studying and my journey in class. It’s quite possible I’ll be able to describe this better after I take this course. I told my Rabbi today that I cannot study on my own. Studying requires an interaction, between teacher and student. Reading the Torah portion and the Haftorah have meaning for me now. We’re reading Emor at present, but it’s not the same as learning it with others.

Maybe someday I’ll get over my shyness and inability to speak the intimate things the Rabbi probably wants to know. One thing I DID know quite clearly was the answer to his question about Jesus. He asked me if I had any conception of Jesus. Nope. I wasn’t raised with any religion. Jesus is just some dude to me. I’ve never considered Jesus the son of G-d.

While I was waiting to see my Rabbi, I went to the Judaica shop and got myself another Tanakh. I made a post about why I don’t have my original Chumash. It felt so good to take that power into my own hands and buy that Tanakh. When I got home I ran to my bed, opened the package and started reading. I was so excited. My mother can keep that Chumash now and it’s not something she can hold over me anymore to try and get me to do her bidding. I have my own Tanakh again.

I’m happy.

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