Tag Archives: Hasidic

My complicated thoughts on the election

(disclaimer: some of it is religious in nature)

This is a tough time to be American. I’m sure glad I don’t live there right now. Passions are running high, everyone has an opinion. Some are grieving, some are ecstatic. My facebook feed is a mix actually. I have friends on both sides as I friend people based on things we have in common like autism, writing and blogging. Their political leaning held no interest for me.

My thoughts on the election outcome are very complicated. I have refrained from openly discussing my views on Facebook as I don’t want to hurt or offend anyone and I use facebook as a place to make contacts with other writers or support other parents with high functioning autistic children. Politics is also not my thing and I have never cared much and especially not in the country I live in (Europe). I voted because I had to and only made sure not to vote for those openly saying that Muslims don’t belong here because we all know they’ll include Jews as well in the end and I hate racism. Also, us Europeans are much less passionate than our American brethren. So one part is cultural.

Then it becomes complicated. If you know me, you know I grew up and still belong to one of the strictest sects of Hasidism. I grew up very sheltered and insular.  I’m not supposed to be online, much less so on FB. I am anonymous and still hope that no one in my real life knows it’s me. I use FB as a tool to get my writing out there and make some connections and also originally started an account to open up a support group and page for parents of HFA children as my son is autistic and there wasn’t enough support for our challenges. I don’t use FB for the social aspect although, after a few years, the connections deepened and some real friendships were made. I started caring for some people, cared about their opinions. I read lots of political posts and started to open my mind to things it hadn’t been before. I didn’t know (and still don’t understand much) what feminism is, what white privilege meant and all these terms thrown around.

I’m also a very non-confrontational and mellow person. I don’t have strong opinions and lots of time don’t care one way or another. I have issues with organizing my thoughts to express what I really mean so I mostly prefer to stay quiet and go about my business.

Being a non-American I didn’t really have any strong feelings for any candidate. I don’t even understand all the politics there and what it all means. So I was never pro or anti-Clinton. I knew Trump from TV as I watched The apprentice years ago. I thought it was funny that he ran for president but that was all.

He then opened his mouth. What I hated the most about him were all the stuff I read about sexual assault. As a rape and molestation survivor that was very hurtful. I kept reading my friends accounts of how he treats and feels about disabled people. It wouldn’t affect me personally because I don’t live there but it affects all my fellow autism parents. He started to disgust me.

I started wondering who I would vote for IF I would be American. It became quite complicated. The way I see it, the last 8 years were not very good for Israeli relations with the US and this, as an ultra-Orthodox Jew, matters to me. The political correctness sometimes got to me too. Why not call  an attack that was clearly terrorism-related a “terrorist attack”? (in Israel). There were lots more some moments like that, that had my head in my hands in despair. So I probably wouldn’t have voted for someone who would continue in the same vein.

Now it becomes sensitive. (I’m trying the best I can to phrase all this right but I’m human) I’m a peace loving person and I would like nothing more than to have everyone live their lives according to the way they think is right. I have my beliefs which are rooted in the Torah and live according to them. I would never impose them onto others as that’s not what G-d wants. A non-Jew doesn’t need to keep our laws or believe what we believe in. G-d asks of the nations to be decent people and live morally correct lives. I’m not G-ds police and I don’t think He intended for anyone to be.

Most of you know that our Torah is against the gay lifestyle, is anti-abortion and so on. Here is where it gets tricky. I have some dear friends on FB who have gay children or are gay themselves. I love them and respect them and don’t judge them or the way they live. Who am I to say “your lifestyle is immoral/wrong/whatever”. *I* need to be ok in G-d’s eyes and HE has not asked me to change others or make them see the light. I would never do that. So we mostly don’t discuss that issue and I say live and let live. Yes, it might be hurtful to them that in my heart I can’t agree with that lifestyle bc my Torah says no (and I love my Torah and my G-d) but I hope they can respect me anyway. I don’t agree with those who are vocal and try to change others because I believe that’s not what G-d wants. (for those asking what I would do if my son would become gay, I have truly no idea but one thing I know, I will continue to love him)

What this long-winded post was meant to say is that although I empathize so much with my Clinton supporter friends, I actually identify with *some* (not all) of Trump’s views. I hate the way he talks about his views, I hate the way he treats women and minimizes sexual assault. But some of his views align with mine BECAUSE I’m a Hasidic Jew.

But our Torah also says to love all people. I don’t have much interaction in real life with non-Jews as we live very insular. (I mean close interaction). I am friendly and cordial to everyone I meet, even some Muslims who look at me as if they want to kill me (yes, there are some like that), I smile to each and every person and have had some great conversations with people who asked interesting questions and wanted to learn more about my faith. I don’t hate black people (why should I) and I don’t hate Muslims either or any person. I only hate those that hate me for no reason other than that I’m a Jew.

This is the reason I didn’t clearly say who I support on FB. Because it’s not clear cut. I like Hillary because she is more normal than Donald Trump and the world would probably stay more stable. I don’t like Trump because the way he spoke, the fear he sowed and the real disgusting people who are now being more open with their racist comments and actions because of him. But then, I do support some of his views.

As I didn’t have a clear-cut answer as to who I support, I didn’t chime in on my friend’s posts. I only tried to empathize with their feelings because they are all valid. They have legitimate concerns. I hear them on their fears for their children,  fear for their human rights and so on. On the other side, I don’t TOTALLY disagree with the Trump supporters (not the thugs, the rational, normal people) either. And since I’m no American, I didn’t think my voice mattered much to begin with.

But here, on my personal space, I wanted to do a little explaining. Not sure I did a good job because I’m truly bad at getting my point across and organize my thoughts on paper.

I’m glad I didn’t have to make that difficult choice. As a believing Jew, I know that if G-d got him elected, this is the way it must be. There is no other logical explanation other that that it’s G-d’s will. We believe in the coming of the Messiah (Moshiach) and our holy books predict turbulent times before the redemption. A lot that has been predicted has come to pass. I can only pray for our future, the future of our children. The rest I leave up to my G-d.

 

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Thursday tidbits

Every Thursday I share an interesting tidbit that you might not have known about Ultra Orthodox Judaism on my FB page. Since not everyone follows me on there, I thought I’ll start sharing them here too! Remember that there are many kinds of Jews and I belong to the strictest sect (Hasidic) so my experience is not everybody else’s experience. 🙂

Foodwise: We eat only Kosher which is not easy sometimes: It’s MUCH more expensive, I cannot travel everywhere I want, either I am taking all my food along or I need a place where Kosher food is available. Most non Jews don’t understand why we need big freezers when we go on vacation 😛 (we bring lots of pre-cooked food)
There are levels of Kosher and we are the strictest. We don’t eat all Kosher certifications., just the ones we trust.
We also don’t mix milk and meat. If we eat meat, we wait a certain amount of hours to eat milky. (We wait 6 hours, some wait less). For the opposite, we wait 30 min. Our kitchens have 2 sinks and 2 counters, one for milky and one for meat. Everything is separated; cutlery, tablecloths and all.

For more #ThursdayTidbits check my FB page: Orthodox Sunflower

My Hasidic wedding

After our engagement was announced, the town was abuzz. An in-town match is always exciting and the news had spread like wildfire. Since I was still one of the first of my grade to get engaged, the excitement was high. As for me, it was surreal. I couldn’t believe I was engaged, I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. Many people came over to congratulate us even though it was quite late at night. The wedding was planned for September which was four months away. My fiancé and I sat down to talk after our engagement party. In our ultra Hasidic circles it was customary for the bride and groom to not see or talk to each other until the wedding. No phone calls, no face to face meetings and no contact whatsoever. He went back to his Yeshiva. About 2 months later we did have to meet in order for us to get married civilly. It was nerve wracking but actually fun to see him again. I remembered again why I said “yes”. I felt so comfortable around him, it was as if we saw each other yesterday.

It didn’t take long for the big day to arrive. I woke up early and spent the morning praying. Some brides fast until after the Chuppah (ceremony) but I didn’t. By lunchtime we had to get ready. Make up, hair. Some brides cover their hair with a wig from the ceremony, some only for the wedding party and others from the next morning. I covered my hair from before the ceremony. Continue reading My Hasidic wedding