Tag Archives: religion

The day I stopped caring

One of the things which has been drilled into my head from a very young age is that I must always worry and care about what other people think.  We are taught that as a religious Jew you have a great responsibility to act and dress in a befitting  manner so that you don’t cause a bad name for the Jewish people.

One of the hardest yet most rewarding part of my frumless journey was to break away from this mindset.  This was extremely difficult as it really meant changing the process of my thoughts. This was something which took me many years to accomplish.

I had known for a long time that the ultra orthodox ways were not for me. I knew that they were unhealthy for my wellbeing, however, I felt as though I had to act religious for fear of what others would think. I felt as though I was two different people; one who was perceived as being extremely religious and another with my non religious/ non jewish friends some of whom I never told I was jewish. Those years were very difficult. Its so hard to know what you want to be yet fear so much what others will think.

One day I had enough. I was emotionally drained from having to put on the religious facade. I thought to myself why do I still care?  I thought about the worst thing that would happen if I showed the world my frumless self. I figured that the consequences of  being openly non religious were easier to live with than having to pretend. I thought that maybe people wouldn’t want to know me when they realized that I wasn’t religious and I just didn’t care any more. If peopl didn’t like how I dressed I didn’t care. If people saw me driving on shabbat I didn’t care.

That day I stopped caring what others thought and started living my life completely frumless with no religious persona was a feeling of absolute  freedom. Finally I was free to live the life I wanted to live. Free from strict, rigid rules. Free to make my own choices about my life and how I wanted to live it. Finally I was free.

I  wish the ultra orthodox world stopped teaching people to care so much what others think. It’s so unhealthy. Instead they should teach them to do their best and when they make a mistake it’s ok. We don’t have to be perfect. We don’t have to be someone who we are not. The most important thing is to be able to accept people how they are and not try to mould them into something their not.

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Women and Judaism

Raised in the ultra orthodox world I was taught that women are valued and have a unique role. I was brainwashed into thinking that women had rights. As I grew older I saw the role women play and how discriminatory the Jewish religion is to women.

There is a blessing in the daily prayer which men say which translates as “thank you god that I am not a women “. This blessing says it all. A women’s version of the blessing is translated as “thank you god for making me as I am”. A women is not allowed to thank god for not making her a man. (I have always wondered what blessing a transexual would say.)

I was taught from a young age that despite this very obvious discriminatory blessing, it’s only because women are so special that the blessing is the way it is. That men have so many more commandments to keep because they need to constantly remind themselves of God.  Women however were created so much more complete that’s why they only have 3 commandments to keep.

As a child I believed what I was told, especially because it came from brainwashed older women. Now I have broken away and I can use my common sense. The reason why there is this blessing is because the prayers were written by men. Women didn’t know how to read for ages in Judaism. (Although women in judaism did learn to read prior to women in secular world) Women didn’t need to pray because that’s not their role. Women looked after the home and the children and the men made the rules.

Men were glad they were not a woman because they had authority. They were the boss. Even today when women are more equal the men in judaism are still the boss. This is shown by every  single ultra orthodox rabbi being male. A female can not be a Rabbi in the ultra orthodox world.  Only the men can make the laws. Only these male rabbis can answer questions even about women’s issues.  There is no female  voice within the ultra orthodox  rabbinical world. The Beth Din (Religious court judges) can only be male judges. This can be so traumatizing for a women who needs their help and must be judged by three male Rabbis.

So we live in a world where women can be anything they want  (even a man if they desire) yet a women can never be an ultra orthodox rabbi. The ultra orthodox world is still run by men and women voices are unfortunately not heard.

Does God Exist?

For many years people have argued over god. People question his existence and people fight over his role in the world. So I want to explore the idea if god actually exists.

Many say God created man. I say Man created God.

Man invented an idea of god and every religion that believes in god believes that god was actually discovered by man. Judaism believes that abraham discovered god. Christianity and Islam both also believe this yet they expand on the idea and have jesus and allah who have spoken with god.

In other religions such as Buddhism and hinduism there can be many gods. In budaism these were created by buddha yet in hinduism it is not known who created this concept, but the concept of gods exists.

So it is clear to see that god does exist and his existence is dependant on man and mans belief in this concept.

Lets look at another man made concept which I feel is similar to god, this is money. Money exists also only due to man and mans belief in it. In different cultures money can take on different forms, such as cattle, wives, gold and silver. Does money actually exist? Yes, but it only exists because man created it.

There are ancient tribes who do not use money and who do not need money to live, however they can not say that money does not exist because it does, just not in their culture. So too people can’t say god doesn’t exist. He does just not in their life. Would god actually exist if man didn’t create him is the same as asking if money would exist if man didn’t create it.

I feel that money and god are very similar concepts. Both are man made and highly dependent on your belief in them. There is one main difference in that money is needed in modern society to live and survive. It is a man made concept that has overtaken this world and I don’t think it’s for the better. Good thing that the concept of god has not overtaken this world yet, as I do not feel that would be for the best either.

Think of how many fights are due to money. Think of how people are judged based on the amount of money they have. Think of the different standards of living based on money. Lets keep this world as a world where beliefs can be free and independent and not turn the concept of god into money. Lets not let belief in god divide the people on earth as this will cause more harm than good. Every person no matter of their belief in god and their religion, should put that aside and not let this effect their judgement of others. I have many close family and friends who are extremely religious and believe in god and we are still so close because we don’t allow the difference in our beliefs affect our relationship. We are able to see past this, they do their thing and I do my thing and that’s fine. It would be great if others did the same.

Don’t give my baby herpes

It has come to my attention that a disgusting and highly unhygienic practice is currently being used in some ultra orthodox sects. During the circumcision ritual there is an old tradition for a mohel (person performing the circumcision) to suck the blood out of the babies wounded penis. Nothing anyone can say to me can justify this practice.

Firstly putting your mouth on a baby’s genitals is wrong. This is a line which should never be crossed. Ever.

Secondly, an 8 day old baby has virtually no immune system so they can easily become unwell. When a baby catches an illness things can progressively get worse very quickly. When a baby has an open wound and a man puts their mouth on an open wound its an open invitation for infection. There have been cases of babies who have caught herpes from their mohel and have died as a result.

If you want to get your son circumcised please ask the person performing the circumcision if they practice this. Do not use any mohel that does this under any circumstances. Do not risk your babies health. The mohel will not tell you that they do this unless you ask. I was unaware about this as was the mum who told me how horrified she was to discover that this had been done to her sons.

This is a dangerous practice which should be made illegal.

Is Lubavitch/Chabad a Cult?

I grew up in an ultra orthodox Lubavitch/chabad setting. I was taught that it was not a cult. I was taught that it did not have the characteristics of a cult. Now I question everything which I was taught and I am certain that it is a cult and that it has many if not all the characteristics of a cult.

When I see someone who has been sucked in to lubavitch and I tell them that they are brainwashed the common response is “No one made me do anything I didn’t want to do, I am making my own choices.” My response is “That’s what they want you to believe.”  In this post I am going to show you how this is done and why Lubavitch is a cult.

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A cult has an unquestioning belief in one leader- whether they are dead or alive. Lubavitchers have an unquestionable belief in the Lubavitcher Rebbe. They believe him to be the messiah. I was brought up singing songs which literally translated as “The Lubavitcher rebbe is messiah”, and chanting “Long live our leader, our teacher, our rebbe, the king messiah forever.” The lubavitcher rebbe passed away 20 years ago, yet the lubavitchers still have unquestioning belief in him being the messiah and some believe that he never died.  Posters like the above one which show a picture of the rebbe with the hebrew words “king messiah” are common in lubavitch vicinities. The lubavitchers still chant the the two sayings above and they communicate with him by placing a note in a book filled with letters written to people whilst the rebbe was alive. The lubavitchers then open the book where their note was placed and accept the letter as being current advice from the rebbe. They then follow this advice unquestionably.

Another characteristic of a cult is drawing in followers. The lubavitchers have an outreach program where they target jews from around the world and try to draw them into their sect. They perform this by dressing nicely and inviting people into their homes. Lubavitcher women are told that they must wear wigs to cover their hair and still look nice and appearance is very important so that when an outsider sees them they will say “wow they have so many children and responsibilities and still look so nice.” The lubavitchers station themselves across the world so that they can suck vulnerable people into their sect.

In school we were always told that we could have questions and that they encourage questions, however looking back I can see how my questions were always answered by the same people- a religious lubavitcher. Many of my questions which could not be answered were shut down and I was told not to ask stupid questions. These questions included who created god, what’s a non-jews purpose in this world, does a non jew have a soul, why do we need to keep laws that rabbis have added on over the years, why do many people who intermarry have happy marriages and many many more.

I could not ask a secular person their opinion or view on life. I was also taught that we know everything better than anyone else so I probably wouldn’t believe what an outsider would tell me. Freethought was also prohibited and we were taught to always ask a Rabbi instead of thinking for ourselves. Followers of chabad are highly dependent on a rabbi to dictate every aspect of their life. This is another characteristic of a cult, thinking that you have elite knowledge and are superior than others who are not in your cult, and not being able to make your own decisions.

Cults dress differently and obviously Chabad followers follow a strict dress code. Cults also dictate to their followers strict guidelines on what they can do, who they can see, who they can socialise with and who they can marry. All these restrictions apply to Chabad.

Cults also break up families. I have seen children thrown out of home for not adhering to strict guidelines. People who intermarry are often not spoken to and followers try to break up these marriages or convert the outsider.

Once someone is drawn in they support the Chabad house(outreach program) with “donations” which is at least 10% of their pay. Many Chabad houses are extremely successful due to these “donations” which members feel obligated to give. This is another characteristic as a cult.

Alcohol is used from a young age to give people a spiritual experience. I remember being taught how it opens the mind and allows people to reach a higher spiritual level. There are common parties called farbrengens, where large amounts of alcohol are drunk and chanting songs called Niggunim are sung till the early hours of the morning. This is a form of mind control and followers are encouraged to participate in these parties in order to connect spiritually.

In conclusion, it is easy to see how chabad/lubavitch is a cult. It exhibits all the characteristics of a cult and it is extremely harmful to its followers. It does not allow free thinking although it gives the impression that it does. It’s followers feel that they have superior knowledge to outsiders, they dress differently, they are told what to do and mind control techniques are used. All in all- it’s a cult. If you are in it get out before its too late. It’s easy to get sucked into and hard to get out of.

Love your neighbor like yourself

Growing up I was taught that Jews were superior to all other people on earth. I was taught that we are the chosen nation, how God loves us more than all the other people which is why we have the privilege of keeping the torah’s commandments . It was drilled in my head over and over again that there are different laws for Jews and how Jews have superior souls to non jews.

I have written previously about the question that ultra orthodox jews usually ask regarding whether they can break the sabbath to help a non Jew.  That is not the only ridiculous and degrading question that exists, there are plenty more such as if you eat with a non jew, share your plates with them and drink their wine.

There is a jewish saying which literally translated means love your neighbor like yourself. Somehow in the ultra orthodox world this saying is currently being translated and practiced as love your fellow jew like yourself. We are not taught that this law applies to people who are not jewish. We are not taught to treat them as equals, and we are taught that they are not equals, that jews are far more superior to non jews.

The Torah commands that if you see your enemies donkey with a heavy load you must stop and help the donkey. This commandment should remove the superiority complex which exists.  It should make it obvious that if you need to stop and help an animal how much more so should you help fellow humans. I dont believe that any person is superior to others based on their religion alone. I don’t believe that being a jew gives you the right to treat non jews like ignorant sub humans. I am ashamed of the things i was taught growing up. I am ashamed that we were taught to make fun of other religions and their believers. I am ashamed that this behavior still goes on today.

I remember a rabbi in israel teaching me how the jews keep the world running. If it wasn’t for jews keeping torah and commandments the world would stop turning and cease to exist. At the time I was so brainwashed that I believed every word I was told. I didn’t dare question it. Now having removed myself from the religious world it is clear to see that this is such a wrong belief.

Even if the jews believe that they are the chosen people god still loves all his creations and expects everyone to be treated with kindness, dignity and equality. I wish that the phrase “Love your neighbor like yourself” would go back to its literal translation and everyone would be treated as equal human beings judged by their actions- not their race or religion.

I have written this as a person from a jewish background but I feel that this  happens in  all religions and is relative to all religions.

Is the Torah perfect?

“The Torah is perfect, the people are not”

This phrase is commonly used by ultra orthodox jews in response to imperfections noticed in judaism. I disagree.  I argue that the Torah has many imperfections which lead Jewish followers to have an unbalanced lifestyle.

According to the Torah,   a cohen may not marry a divorcee or a convert. No homosexual relationships, desecrate the sabbath and you shall be put to death. A cohen’s (priest’s) daughter who had relations before marriage should be put to death. A woman adulterer is put to death- the man is in the clear. An eye for an eye, and many more laws which lead me to question the perfection of the Torah.

The Torah is further distorted by rabbis who have added on so many laws to the commandments that they make keeping the commandments extremely difficult to keep. I also believe that many of the added rabbinical laws cause people to focus on these laws and further them from the basic meaning of the commandments.

Take the sabbath as an example. According to the ten commandments you should remember the sabbath day and keep it holy. Why is there a sabbath day? The reason that this exists is because god created the world in 6 days and then rested on the 7th. So we need to remember that god created the entire world- every living and nonliving element and then rested once his work was complete.

Rabbis have said that you keep the sabbath holy by not using electricity, which means no driving, phone calls, turning on lights etc. A Jew is also not allowed to carry as they may carry tools which would lead them to work. There is a common question about when a Jew is allowed to break these laws and desecrate the sabbath. Jews are allowed to break the sabbath to save another jews life. This leads to another common question which is; are they are allowed to break the sabbath to save a non jews life.

Common sense should prevail in this situation and there should not ever be such a question. Such a question is so unnecessary, it should be obvious that on the sabbath day when we are meant to remember how god created the entire universe and then rested, why would you think you should keep the sabbath day holy by not helping one of gods creations? The stupidity in such a question ever being asked rages me to the core. Why is the answer not obvious?

The answer is not obvious and ultra orthodox jews commonly ask this question, only due to all the laws that the rabbis have added on over the years. These laws make followers concentrate on what they should and should not be doing on the sabbath and make them forget the entire reason why the sabbath exists. If they remembered the real reason why the sabbath exists, as it says in the 10 commandments that they should remember it and keep it holy. Then they would know that they are celebrating the creation of the world and you can’t keep such a day holy by destroying one of gods creations.

I must say that I believe that both the Torah and the people are not perfect and a lot of changes must be made so that the purpose of the world is not lost. I’ll discuss a frumless perspective on the purpose of the world in my next blog.