Wednesday, April 28, 2010

We are the world

Hey, I wanted to briefly focus on another topic that has come up almost daily in the past 2 weeks of my life. I think there is a theme within the Orthodox communities of ethnocentrism. The Idea that "us" Orthodox Jews know better, act better, and are better, than the rest of the world as a whole, and even the rest of the Jewish world.

It's time for that theory to be eradicated. Wherever that attitude came from within our communities it just needs to go. Orthodoxy has the same, if not more, problems than the rest of the world. We have no more figured out than a non-Orthodox Jew and are no better people than your average "Goy". We are all equals in this world, and until we realize that we can never have an influence on anyone else. No one wants to be looked down upon, no one wants to hear from the Orthodox Jews, when all we do is talk down to others and teach them why our way is the right way and their ways are wrong. We need to grow out of that frame of mind, or no one will want to listen to us.

I am just as guilty as anyone else, of growing up in the Orthodox world and believing that we were above it all. It's what being sheltered and staying in our own communities will do to us. However, I am only now beginning to learn that my attitude has been all wrong, and I hope I can grow to understand that I am no better than anyone else because of my community.

I say the following with caution and not any sense of authority on the matter, and no offense meant to anyone- it's just something that came to mind, and I could be wrong: Orthodox Jews spent a lot of time in Europe sheltering themselves and trying to be above everyone else, and unfortunately that seemed to have a negative outcome. The only way to be part of the world is to understand that we are all the same. We are just as good or bad, strong or weak, tall or short, as everyone around us. Until that happens, no one will take us seriously and we will lose the opportunity to influence the world in any way, if we are simply ignored because of arrogance.

Monday, April 26, 2010

In my head

It will always be there, it will always be in the back of my mind. As happy, as confident, as controlled as I try to be, it will always be there. The dissonance of being Orthodox and Gay.

I bring this up now in light of last week's Torah portions, the two verses that contain the prohibition towards the physical actions of anal sex and homosexuality, as they bring up mixed emotions when I hear it read in shul. Part of me wants to run away, part of me wants to stand there in pride that I can be Orthodox and hear these verses read, but then I wonder what kind of pride is it to know that the way I want to live my life violates Halacha? They are two mixed emotions. And yes, there are ways to interpret the verses to make someone feel not as guilty, but I'm not about reinterpreting things. I try to be as honest with myself and my religion and my sexuality.

On that note, I do plan on staying away from anal sex for the duration of my lifetime, with God's help, which is something I avoided posting on here for a while, because I felt it too personal. But after standing in Shul, I knew I needed to discuss things further. So I take comfort in hopefully not violating the Issur Deoraysa (Torah prohibition), but still feel the angst in my mind of a life that will never be perfectly okay according to Halacha.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Another thing that's been on my mind-
When is a person too good? Too sweet? Giving up what they want for others? It's a fine line between being selfish and selfless, but being selfless isn't necessarily the best way to go.

If you give up what you truely want for the sake of others, where will that get YOUR life? Also, if you constantly remind everyone of what an amazing person you are, and how selfless you are and how much you do for the world around you, doesn't that defeat the purpose of being a good person? it seems to undermine it all.

I'm all for someone doing everything they can to help the world around them, but on notes similar to things I've said in the past, how much is too much? What you do can impact the world and help those around you, but make sure it doesn't come at your own cost. I have always struggled with people calling me selfish, especially after coming out, but I know that there are certain things that a person must do for themselves. If you see someone helping someone else at their own sake, try to point this out to them- because the world will not become a better place if one person succeeds while the other one fails. Make sure you have a clear perception of who you are and where you're going before you help everybody else. Be a little selfish sometimes.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


So there are a lot of topics on my mind right now, I've had some time to think over Pesach, and I'll do a blog prob every few days this week. One thing on my mind, especially as I spend a lot of time around family- the most judgmental element in anyone's life- is the broad topic of maturity. What is maturity? What defines someone as mature or immature- is it all based on societal values or is it personal opinion?

A few examples- going our with friends to bars, and getting drunk- mature or immature? Sleeping in on various mornings, even Shabbat- mature or immature? Thinking outside the box, going against the norm- mature or rebellious and immature? These questions plague me daily, as I do worry about society's perception of me (another issue itself, but not for now), and how I look in other people's eyes. My conclusions are obviously not in any way final or even correct, they've just been the way I've made sense of this topic in my head:

When I was younger, a teen, everyone told me how mature I was for my age. Now, as an adult, I don't get that comment- ever- and have even been called immature by some, even though my thinking is as forward and developed as it has ever been. Because I think at a certain point, like as one begins college- everyone is considered mature. Everyone has reached a level of expected behavior and that behavior is mature. The only ones we now judge are those who don't live up to it and call them immature. I rarely can recall a person in high school who was "immature", someone was just more mature than the rest- and now people are just more immature than the rest.

Regardless of the questions I asked above, I think it's important, as I try to do, to judge your own personal behavior based on what you believe is right for you to be doing. If you need to have fun, have fun, if you're tired, sleep. But if your intentions are to "never grow up" or to overly indulge in activities without attempting to think about your life and the greater scheme of things, that's immature.

It Gets Better- Gay Orthodox Jews