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Orthodox Jews are not usually friends with non-Jews

The goyim succumb to taiva and are dangerous. They will befriend you and then turn on you. Non-Jews are evil and are only there to convert you. They will suck you in and then slowly convince you that Jesus is Lord. First you will be chatty in school, and then all of a sudden you are under the chupah and your bride isn’t Jewish.

This and more is what I heard during my yeshiva years. We were told how holy we Jews were and how evil and unworthy the goyim were. We were told that they hated us. Wait, I am still told that by plenty of people. Everyone hates the Jews, according to my old man — especially the liberal Jews. Either way, being friends with non-Jews never really entered my solar system.

Think about it. As an FFB, I went to yeshiva my entire life and the first time I ever had a non-business experience with a non-Jews was when my auto mechanic asked me to mow his lawn for him. Most of the folks I know who grew up orthodox have little to do with non-Jews in a non-professional manner. I didn’t go to school with them until I hit 18 and even when I tried to hang out with them, I could never fully relate. I don’t think it’s wrong to be friends with non-Jews like my Rabbis had tried to convince me, I just didn’t have any interest.

I received an email the other day from the same girl who wrote that Dear Heshy post from a week ago. She was pissed that other frummies were giving her looks for hanging out with non-Jews. I don’t understand why. She lives in NY, hasn’t she ever gotten the Boro Park Stare?

This got me thinking about the fact that throughout my entire life I have had maybe 3 good non-Jewish friends. In fact, only in the past 3 years have I even had non-frum Jewish friends (not including my friends who have chosen a non-frum lifestyle) Most of the folks I know who grew up orthodox don’t have any good non-Jewish friends. Sure we have those guys from work or school, but how often does it go beyond that?

I can fully understand why some folks might feel it wrong to be friends with non-Jews. Some of the core parts of Judaism are designed to keep us with our own kind. Keeping kosher is one of the basic tenets of Judaism and it is responsible for derailing all of my chances at being chummy with coworkers or classmates. Shabbos is another biggie. Not being able to go out on Friday night has made me look like an anti-social religious nut job to plenty of people, but I have never gone “out” on a Friday night, unless you count those evenings spent at Barnes and Nobles looking at bike magazines when I was a teenager.

I don’t look at non-Jews as evil. I guess I just stick with my own (although my own include people who converted to Judaism – reform, conservative and orthodox) out of comfort and Judaism being central to my existence. I look at it like any common group sticking together.

{ 124 comments… add one }
  • Little Pom's Mom May 31, 2010, 2:38 AM

    (although my own include people who converted to Judaism reform, conservative and orthodox)

    Thanks for including us, Heshy….I feel so loved! 🙂

    • Heshy Fried May 31, 2010, 2:49 AM

      I’m bound to get smacked for saying such blasphemy

      • Smack May 31, 2010, 3:31 AM

        in the face.

  • Tova May 31, 2010, 7:16 AM

    Half my relatives aren’t Jewish. As a child, my BY teachers told me that “Esav sonei es Yaakov” and that I was supposed to stay away from goyim. But my goyishe relatives were lovely people, a lot nicer than most frummies. I knew I was being lied to.

    • John May 31, 2010, 10:22 AM

      Is that where your lying began?

      • A. Nuran May 31, 2010, 7:52 PM

        Must have been the Jewish side of the family if you’re any indication.

        • John June 1, 2010, 11:31 AM

          which lie are you reffering to?

    • Anonymous June 1, 2010, 1:46 PM

      okay, i can accept u saying non-Jews are just as nice as frummies, but y say they are nicer then most frummies? every comment u ever post here is anti frummies. Frum world is not as perfect as they made u beleive in BY, but it’s not evil, def not any more evil then the rest of the world.

      • Tova June 1, 2010, 9:39 PM

        “but y say they are nicer then most frummies?”

        Because my goyishe relatives ARE nicer than most frummies.

        “every comment u ever post here is anti frummies.”

        You clearly haven’t read much of my what I’ve written.

        Show us who you are, anonymous coward.

      • ghottistyx June 1, 2010, 10:17 PM

        Having once been vehemently anti-frummie in a past life not-so-long-ago, I can vouch that Tova is no anti-frummie. You want anti-frummies, take a walk down Ramat Gan close to where B’nei Brak starts. Go to the area of Malchei Yisroel outside of Ge’ulah proper where cars are allowed to drive through on Shabbos. Most of the Chillonim in those neighborhoods hope that the Palestinians take over and throw all the Chareidim into the Sea. Until you experience the type who purposely have big feasts Erev Yom Kippur while listening to Wagner and invite all their goyyish friends over serving all kinds of pork products, you have not experienced a true anti-frummie: and I assure you that neither Tova nor I have gone down that road.

        • Meir June 2, 2010, 3:34 AM

          Whereas the Charedim just next door in Mea Shearim have all the “Zionists out”,
          “Arabs yes, Zionists no” signs.

          I was in Mea Shearim on Monday (I’m in Israel for the summer) and snapped some photos of them.

          • Yankel August 21, 2010, 6:28 PM

            Hey buddy, you can’t compare the chareidim in Israel and their feelings towards the non-religious, to the general frummy populace. The situation there is much different. They have been at each others throats forever, and it’s got nothing to do with observance. They hate each other not so much because of differences in ideology, but because they are in each others faces 24/7, and every time one tries to act according to his own beliefs, the other is effected and goes ballistic, then the situation repeats itself in the other direction.
            UNLIKE some of the non-religious, who have nothing to do with religious Jews, and only hear about them on the news, and still hate them with a passion.
            Oh, and then there’s those who hate us specifically because they DO have experience with the Ultra-O lifestyle and mentality, or at least with certain members of the community, but thats another discussion.

            • tibet September 9, 2014, 4:45 PM

              Or because in a future time, maybe not so far off, when some of you perform a certain act, and the ruling spirit of this world is defeated, said spirit seeks your destruction to prevent that from happening. If you are removed as a people, then so is the threat you pose. Expect things to get worse, if you don’t believe me, pay more attention to the news. Especially to Europe, in areas with high levels of North African and Middle Eastern immigration. I do not seek to convert you, Israel has it’s destiny, and it looks like were getting close.

  • tesyaa May 31, 2010, 7:32 AM

    Ha, this is the whole point of having to keep kosher. When you can’t eat at their houses or their favorite restaurants, it’s hard to become real friends. (It’s even worse when they agree to go to a kosher restaurant for you and you’re stuck apologizing for either the bad food, the bad service, or the high prices).

  • Ell May 31, 2010, 9:16 AM

    I don’t think we need to be best friends with non-Jews but I hate the way kids (read myself and friends) are raised that goyim are bad and wrong and stay away. I was just discussing this with a couple of friends last night, how important it is to treat others with respect no matter who they are and not make it that ‘Jews are good, non-Jews are bad’. One friend didnt get the problem of saying that whole medrash where hashem asks all the nations if they want the torah and they said ‘we don’t cuz we want to steal’. how messed up is that?

    Finally, i teach in a special ed school with blacks and frum kids, very unusual. We share a playgorund with a yeshiva and its always interesting to see their reactions. Some kids are confused, some don’t care, some are actually friendly and treat them well and some actually say ‘lets get the goyim’. It makes my blood boil and you can be sure I say something!!!

  • Anonymous May 31, 2010, 10:17 AM

    I wrote the post a week ago, and I do not see why it is such a huge deal. They are people too, they are respectful of my boundaries. I guess it is one thing if it is a guy and a girl alone and people think they are dating, but in my situation it was me and a few other people, other girls, and some of them were Jewish too. I just don’t see why we aren’t allowed to be friendly with our classmates; we see each other almost every day anyway.

  • Simong May 31, 2010, 10:57 AM

    Some goyim are nice and inviting, and some goyim are bad. Realistically speaking, it holds true for everyone. Are we really going to try to convince ourselves that ALL Jews are Honest and great people? Rationally speaking, forgive me for saying this but, we have a few rotten apples here and there.

    I think the reason we are taught that they dont like us at a young age is simply to protect us. Rabbis are setting up a barrier to keep us from crossing over. As a young kid, we tend to evaluate other peoples lifestylesimagine a young Jew growing up among a majority of goyim. His lifestyle would seem more demanding and time consuming; he would want to grow up like the goyim. If all his friends are eating Chinese food, wouldnt he want to join them and be like everyone else (there goes keeping kosher), Everyone is going out Friday, wont he want to join them (there goes Shabbat), it might even lead to intermarriage..These examples are a bit extreme, I know..

    • Anonymous May 31, 2010, 11:00 AM

      I understand your rationale, and younger kids are impressionable, so non-Jews may influence them indeed. But if you grew up around Jews and have a strong sense of self, Jewish identity, and what you really want and are a young adult already, I would think it would be a bit different than a thirteen year old in that experimental, easily-influenced stage. I mean, we also have non-Jewish coworkers, can’t exactly be rude to them either.

      • Simong May 31, 2010, 11:17 AM

        Just to clarify, in no way am I saying we should be rude to them, or not befriend them. I dont agree with the whole “stay away from goyim” notion…I was just trying to find a possible explaination for why we are taught this.

    • A. Nuran May 31, 2010, 12:52 PM

      It makes perfect sense. That’s why Gentiles should teach their kids that Jews are dirty, grasping, rude, clannish, overbearing liars who will screw you over if you take your eyes off them for a minute. It’s not exactly true. It’s for the kiddies’ protection. It keeps them from getting too close to the kikes later on in life. Just like teaching them about lazy, crack-smoking niggers who want to rape White women or shiftless, thieving, drug-dealing Mexicans.

      Read you loud and clear, Simon G.

      • Drew Mazanec May 31, 2010, 4:01 PM

        Oh come on. You know those goyim aren’t entirely useless. If it’s Shabbat and your garage light is on, you need to have some goyish neighbors to help you out. And if that means inviting those grubby little vermin over for dinner every once in a while, so be it.

        Besides, someone has to pay retail.

        • Anonymous March 28, 2012, 12:33 AM

          “Aren’t entirely useless”? You may have a point. On Cyrus McCormick’s grave, it says “He made bread cheap”. He more than made it cheap; McCormick’s Reaper prevented starvation . By more rapid harvesting of crops. Before they were ruined by bad weather. If someone gets bit by a rabid animal; his/her life will be saved by a another Dead White Male Goy named Lois Pasteur. He also invented “pasteurization” , of milk and other products. Which saved people from getting sick, or dying, from unsanitary milk. Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. In his laboratory; he invented about 1 invention a week. Did’t he? The Hittites invented iron. People of all backgrounds benefit from these discoveries. Who knows? Perhaps a gentile, non-Muslim scientist; or a research team led by one, may pioneer a breakthrough, or series of breakthroughs, in desalinating water! All the peoples of the water-challenged Middle East would greatly benefit from that . To be frank, such a scientific breakthrough would avert a catastrophic collapse of the entire region.

        • WEST SIDE OF TOWN April 9, 2016, 11:21 PM

          we all hide from the one hasidic family on the street..they stick out like a sore thumb as they have the only dirty unkempt home! we laugh at how they ignore everyone then creep around at night looking for someone to turn on/off something they forgot to attend to! none of us are fooled by them at all. they get all the clothing they wear from the salvation army because they are too cheap to buy anything..they look like poor beggars the way they “keep house” and dress..none of us have any interest in joining you for dinner..yuck! we can afford to order a pizza or eat lobster..or how bout pork ribs! try bacon sometime..its delicious lol

      • Ruth July 21, 2010, 12:13 AM

        I was always taught Jews, Mexicans, blacks, Arabs, etcetera are people, just like everyone else, and an entire ethnicity cannot be blamed for the actions of a few.

        But now onto other matters: is that really your opinion of us non-Jews? That’s…rather absurd. And sad.

      • Jacob March 13, 2013, 2:54 AM

        Follow the Law, Edomite, and you and yours will have (some)Cause for Grievance, other wise, ‘God despises the prayers of those who refuse to obey the Law,”If you choose to follow such a path, then you Are On Your Own.’ You, and yours have no one else to blame but yourselves. As a Nothern European and party to Isaacs Promise, you recognize the differences among the Ismailites, and other tribes, Yet You would align with those who you recognize such dramatic difference in, (more than between Esau and Jacob,) so you could justify Disobeying the Law. Abrahamic Law, and, yes, Mosaic Law is Required for You, as a sustainable source of protection and blessing…
        Other decendents of Jacob other than Judah Especially need to embrace the Law. And Not the absurb notion of ‘Reform.’ either. Such is antithetical Completely, to Hash…m.

    • Boruch vidal May 31, 2010, 5:42 PM

      I see where you’re coming from, but lets say If a guy grows up his whole life and his parents are telling him that goyim are evil? Then he actually meets a few non Jews who happen to be wonderful people, and he looks back and thinks ( wow I’ve been lied to my whole life. That will probably turn him off. Some goyim are good, and some goyim are bad. Some Jews are good, and some Jews are bad, it all depends on the person. I went to school with a lot of non Jews and I am good friends with a lot of non Jews. I could honestly say I’ve met some wonderful ones who actually saved my life, and I met ones who weren’t to decent. This is what we have to teach our kids in my opinion.

      • feivelbenmishael May 31, 2010, 6:46 PM

        See the problem is that the issue is dealt with in a very superficial and overly simplified way. Most Goyim are inherently bad or self serving. All Jews are inherently good because they possess a neshama which is a piece of Hashem. Is it possible that a Jew will anyways make the wrong decisions sometimes? Yes. Is it possible that a goy will act like a completely nice person in spite of their inherent spiritual make-up? Yes.

        • Aharon Velvel May 31, 2010, 6:59 PM

          I hope you are joking. If you are serious though, do you know what Spanish and Portuguese and other Jews who do not believe in kabbalah say about the situation?

          The whole concept of the jars which Hashem created breaking seems so heretical. How could jars Hashem made break?

          • feivelbenmishael May 31, 2010, 11:11 PM

            Those who do not believe in Kabbala r”l often have views of achdus of hashem which are heretical.
            Hashem can do whatever Hashem wants, don’t mess with the best.

            • A. Nuran June 1, 2010, 12:09 AM

              Those who do not believe in Kabbala rl often have views of achdus of hashem which are heretical.

              Funny. That’s their usual complaint about people who do believe in Kabbala.

        • A. Nuran June 1, 2010, 11:06 AM

          If you are joking, it’s pretty obscure.
          If you aren’t, then the anti-Semites are right about Judaism and Kabbala.

        • Ruth August 21, 2010, 5:55 PM

          If gentiles are all inherently bad and self-serving, explain the ones who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. Where was the gain in that? Were they being selfish, or showing compassion for the plight of a persecuted people?

          • Yankel August 22, 2010, 11:06 PM

            No-one ever said ALL. Even the radical opinion only believes MOST.

      • Heshy Fried June 1, 2010, 12:03 AM

        It’s kind of like santa clause

  • Mahla May 31, 2010, 11:17 AM

    I’d love to have some Orthodox Jewish friends, but none of them wanna be my friend.* Especially when they find out I’m a dual citizen and my paternal half is Iranian. Not that my interactions with them usually get that far. :^(

    Liberal Jews, on the other hand, usually love it when they find out about the Iranian connection. Maybe it gives them a certain cachet with other left-wing types to brag they’re so tolerant they’re even tolerant of someone like myself? :^O

    * Except on Facebook … Thanks, Heshy …. ;^)

  • Woodrow/Conservadox May 31, 2010, 1:09 PM

    I have to admit, the sheer level of self-imposed isolation is one reason why I can’t quite bring myself to go “all the way”into 100 percent observance. If I was born that way, fine- I’d probably stay that way. But I’m not ready to screw up all my non-shul relationships for the sake of preventing intermarriage, when I’m already just frum enough that most secular Jews couldn’t stand living with me (let alone goyim).

    • Yankel August 21, 2010, 3:59 PM

      Take it easy… None of this has anything to do with actual laws and observance, this is mostly subjective advice and inherited culture. Almost all the Torah laws having to do with non-jewish interaction revolve solely around food.
      There would be almost nothing different about your relationships with non-jews if you would adher to complete observance, other than perhaps what you order while eating out with them.

  • chevramaidel May 31, 2010, 1:10 PM

    You ever see that series of children’s books in which all the Jews are beautiful, refined looking, and glowing with an inner light, and all the non-Jews are crudely drawn and thuggish-looking? You can’t start too early.

    • A. Nuran May 31, 2010, 1:18 PM

      And in certain children’s books from a while ago all the Aryans are tall, beautiful, refined and strong. All the Jews are ugly, crudely drawn and barely human. You can’t say we didn’t learn anything from the Germans.

      • TheKnowerseeker March 5, 2013, 11:39 AM

        Jews are the oldest racists on the planet. The Germans simply reacted to that… and then went overboard. Although, ancient Jews committed several genocides themselves, so was it really going overboard for the Germans to try to do so to them? I guess that’s not a fair question since I am a Christian, and I believe that the ancient Jews’ actions were indeed directed by Jehovah Himself. (However, I don’t support the current mistreatment of the Palestinians, which I do not believe is commissioned by Jehovah. Israel had it’s chance and blew it; now that is in the past. If Jehovah really wanted you to take back that land *now*, He would have you do it without fancy American Gentile technology, in order to bring glory to Himself.)

        I’ve done my research: The Jews in Germany systematically bought up all the banks while treating ethnic Germans like trash. That means non-Germans were sucking up all the power in Germany and rubbing it in the natives’ faces while the natives became poorer. If the Chinese, who are basically buying up America today, come here and do that, what do you think Americans’ reaction will be? It’ll be the same as the Germans.

        • Alter Cocker June 20, 2013, 10:49 AM

          You’re a real moron. Burn in hell.

        • Alter Cocker June 20, 2013, 10:52 AM

          You did your research? You don’t even know how to read. The Jews in Germany were not immigrants. Your comparison is a failure, just like you yourself are an abject failure. The Jews in Germany were German. They were there for hundreds of years.

          You are a stereotypical anti-Semitic scumbag.

          You’re a self-proclaimed Christian and you spew this ignorant hatred? Do you think your dead god Jesus would approve?

    • Mahla June 22, 2010, 10:28 AM

      Not being Jewish, I have actually never seen a book like that. But I HAVE seen dozens of Bible storybooks in which either just Jesus or usually the whole holy family (Jesus, Mary, Joseph) are blonde-haired, blue-eyed Aryan types. So it does not surprise me one bit.

      • TheKnowerseeker March 5, 2013, 1:14 PM

        A. Nuran is referring to WWII Nazi propaganda. Google “Nazi children’s book” or something similar to see examples.

  • Geshmackster May 31, 2010, 3:18 PM

    You really need a gf to hear your rants.

  • Aharon Velvel May 31, 2010, 4:29 PM

    It’s quite interesting because almost all of my best friends are technical goyim whom consider themselves Jewish. Also, I don’t think it’s right to say that the many *restrictions* we have in Judaism are simply to keep us away from goyim, I think that was simply a beneficial aspect of our privileges from when most Gentiles were child-sacrificing, blood-drinking, storybook pagans. Also, coming from a secular background and once being a hater of religious Jews I think that if we must never associate with anyone (which I think is bad because that takes a black and white, us vs. them view which is scientifically not possible and does not equate with Jewish values) it should be actively secular Jews because they are tolerant of everyone except religious Jews and they would try to make children irreligious. Goyim are much more accepting of religiosity despite what they tell you at yeshiva. In reality, though, I think we need to interact with secular Jews to help them get back on the right track and because many of them are very interesting people and we need to interact with goyim to help dispel myths about Jews and also because many of them are genuinely good people. Frummies have many bad traits as well, and many of us do tend to perpetuate stereotypes. Not to sound too liberal or hippie, but just because there are differences between does not mean we cannot also interact and gain from one another. We also need to remember that most everyday conveniences were invented by gentiles and thanks to our penchant for studying the world might still be in the dark ages were it solely populated by yidden. I hope you guys can manage to get something out of this rant.

  • Mahla May 31, 2010, 4:43 PM

    The first time I ever saw visibly Orthodox Jews, it was in a video store in Laguna Beach CA. Actually I think they might’ve been ultra-Orthodox. They looked really scandalized and nervous to be in the store. I went up to them and smilingly asked them what type of Jews they were and they just glared at me.

    The only other time I have ever seen a yarmulke-wearing, beard-having Jew in real life was at Ross Dress for Less. I was sitting in on the second half of his job interview and he was talking about religious restrictions and how that might pertain to his job. After he left, the manager turned to me and was all like “Oh yeah right like I would hire someone like THAT and hear him complaining all the time because of his religion.” I was all like :^O

    • Yankel August 21, 2010, 4:13 PM

      “I went up to them and smilingly asked them what type of Jews they were and they just glared at me.”
      Yeah, I can imagine your impression, but you should really give’m a break. It was probably their first time in a video store, feeling very naughty adventurous and ironically guilty at the same time, and they probably understood your question to mean “What type of Jews are you that you are not ashamed to walk into a putrid place like a video store?”
      And they totally agreed with you, and had nothing to say.
      In Ultra-O lingo we would say “You shtuched them out not stam” albiet unintentionally 🙂

    • Jacob March 13, 2013, 2:22 AM

      Return to your devil spawned Edomite/ Ishmaelite heritage in Iran, disobey your hellfire husband, experience the horror or a painful Stoning, and, if you survive, then Judge the line Of Jacob for his Compassion to All, while still maintaining the Law. You sicken me, and you are certainly only a Male Troll besides…

    • none December 31, 2013, 9:25 PM

      If you go to an Orthodox schul on Friday night then you will probably get invited to Shabbat dinner.

  • Elizabeth May 31, 2010, 6:30 PM

    I guess that being a Ba’alat T’shuvah has its advantages, in that I can live with the frum world and embraceYiddishkeit,while not giving up on my non-Jewish or secular Jewish friends. Kashrus and Shabbos certainly do limit the socialization opps, and we have to be a bit more creative with planning. However, I think we can retain our singular character as a people and still have non-Jewish friends. Assimilation? Well, we were fine in Goshen….until we had to be in the city proper…….or until we wanted to be more Spanish than Spaniards, or German……etc. etc. It’s a delicate balance and, to be sure, those I feel closest to are frum Jews. I think that if we truly know who and what we are……and be strong enough in that, we can maintain ourselves and our law.

    • Aharon Velvel May 31, 2010, 6:41 PM

      Very well said.

      On a side note, I thought of an interesting conundrum. Many orthodox (or at least MO) are moving to the suburbs. And as we all know religious Jews like to have plenty of kids and kids like to do things on the weekends. This isn’t much of a problem in winter because motzei shabbat comes much earlier but in the summer it comes very late. Do you think that suburbia is leading to violation of shabbos Saturday nights as kids try to go out and do things with their friends an hour or two before shabbos is over? Or are they more committed then that?

  • Dave May 31, 2010, 11:36 PM

    Wow.

    Let’s see, among my friends I count: Jews (of various stripes), Neo-Pagans (of various stripes), Christians (of various stripes, including Catholics, Evangelicals, Lutherans, Mormons), Muslims (not sure Shiite or Sunni, never asked), Hindus, and lapsed/former/no-longer believing versions of all of the above.

    The notion of having my circle of friends constrained by religious belief is utterly foreign to me.

  • Zvi Lampert June 1, 2010, 12:23 AM

    Boro Park Stare ROFL!!!

  • Zvi Lampert June 1, 2010, 12:42 AM

    I don’t have a problem with the concept of “Eisav Sonei Es Yaakov”. Its written in many well known seforim.
    What I have a problem with is the idea that it refers to all non-Jews.
    Are you telling me that every single non-Jew in the world is desdcended from Eisav? That bothered me the very first time I heard my rebbe say it, in 2nd or 3rd grade. It’s quite a leap in logic. What about the people who hid Jews in their homes, at great peril, in WWII Europe? Is that what you do for someone you hate?
    IMHO, most orthodox Jews don’t buy into it. Most of us are normal down to earth guys who try to get along with everybody else. I wish you wouldn’t paint us all (yourself included) with the same brush based on some extremists on the fringe.

    • A. Nuran June 1, 2010, 11:15 AM

      Except for the ones descended from Amalek.

      In this as in so many other things the rabbis are full of shit. No matter what the seforim say, no matter what the poseks pasek and no matter what Rashi or Rambam or Caro says it’s simply not true. When it comes to theology and parsing dense religious texts nobody can hold a candle to these guys.

      When you’re talking about history or science in the real world they can’t be taken seriously. The Earth has been traveling around the Sun for about 4.5 billion years. Spontaneous generation is a myth. Gazing at your wife’s hoo-hah does not cause birth defects. The descendants of Esau are not the progenitors of every Gentile or even a noticeable fraction of them.

      In other words, seforim can certainly be used as religious guides. They cannot be taken seriously as history let alone natural history.

      It really is as simple as that.

      • Michael August 10, 2010, 1:16 PM

        “Spontaneous generation is a myth.”

        Except if you’re an atheist, in which case you are compelled to believe that life arose spontaneously. DNA, the molecular machinery to transcribe it, etc–SHAZZAM! there it was!

        You’re a moron.

        • Yankel August 21, 2010, 4:26 PM

          I wouldn’t say your a moron, but why can’t you at least attempt to interpret their words in a way which is much less offensive to you and your beliefs?
          Chazal specifically lent their words to many perspectives, so that the Torah could be used to better ones-self, and grow in G-dly knowledge – regardless of where any particular individual stands.
          Also, why do you so vehmently oppose the possibility of creation of man by G-d himself? Do you think it’s not possible for G-d to have done it? Do you think it’s not possible for the whole of science and history to be a creation just like everything else? Well he told us he did, so even if you yourself choose to be skeptical, why do you consider anyone who chooses to believe it – wrong and stupid?

  • Carla June 1, 2010, 12:52 AM

    “guess I just stick with my own (although my own include people who converted to Judaism reform, conservative and orthodox) out of comfort and Judaism being central to my existence. I look at it like any common group sticking together.”

    Awwwee, that is so schweet! Jews stick together due to shared experiences, tho I think having other world views to take into consideration does help with tolerance by all parties.

    • Jacob March 13, 2013, 2:31 AM

      How does the Edomite/Ismailite/Mongolian/Negro inspired ‘Reform Judaism’ have Any relevance to Torah? (Yes, all others despise the True Orthodox, even though they, True Orthodox Judaism, have provided more sustainability, accountability, and blessings for All Other Tribes, including Their Own…)It does not. They, and theirs are a blight on the family of Jacob. ‘You may follow as you wish, but for me, and me family, we shall follow Hash-m.’

  • Anonymous June 1, 2010, 2:08 AM

    ALL my friends are non-jewish, I completely avoid my own kind in real life and even on facebook,. to say all non-jews are anti-semitic is the same as to say all frum jews are racist – I mean it is basically completely true, but most people are nice as individuals.
    🙂

    • Aharon Velvel June 1, 2010, 10:12 AM

      Ahahahahah. So true.

  • Esther June 1, 2010, 1:10 PM

    Well now, here’s something I can discuss endlessly. I agree that this reaction from frum Jews should not be surprising, but it is nonetheless upsetting. Shows complete and utter intolerance and is a HUGE turnoff.

    As an immigrant, I’ve been in the country 5 minutes when I was placed in a Yeshiva at the age of 14. I was curious to learn about Judaism since I come from Ukraine and knew nothing upon arrival. Things made sense until one lesson, which described the hierarchy of things on Earth (I believe I’ve written about this in comments to other posts): inanimate objects were lowest, then plants, then animals, then people and then, a level above others, were the Jewish people. That did not sit right with me and I’ve spoken with Rabbis about that since… Here is the conclusion I came to: the more religious a Jewish person is the more likely they are to believe this hierarchy. These same folks are also the ones most likely to not associate with non-Jews, to give “The Boro Park stare” to those who do and to consider those less religious than them to be less Jewish. So, my advice is to ignore people like that and do as you see fit for yourself, trying your best to be a decent human being. It is between you and Hashem and not for others to judge.

  • Louis Soiza June 7, 2010, 6:01 PM

    Dear friends, please accept my comments on the issue of the goyim. I am not Jewish, as far as I know, but I have a special place in my heart for all Jews. I defend Israel every time I hear any adverse comment about Israel. I can understand your concern about the non-Jews because of the way you have been treated by the nations. But you know very well that HaShem is on your side, always. My aim is to be-friend the Jewish people, not to convert them in any way, I respect your Torah, since I myself believe that HaShem gave you the Torah (instructions for good healthy living), out of the unconditional love He has for His people. The world has a lot to learn from the Jewish people, the way you celebrate HaShem’s Holy day, the shabbat, and other feasts, how the families stick together praying and singing with great Shalom. I too keep shabbat and HaShem’s feast Days , there is something special about them. May Hashem protect you and your people and all those who love and support Israel.
    Blessings and Shalom.

    • Mahla June 7, 2010, 8:42 PM

      Louise, let me get this straight. You have a special place in your heart for ALL Jews — so you defend Israel every time you hear any adverse comment about Israel? What if Satmar et al are making the adverse comments, though?! :^O

      • Ruth July 21, 2010, 12:10 AM

        Oh! I have a quick question–what if you do have certain critiques about Israel? Does that automatically make you anti-semitic? I mean it’s not that I have a problem with Judaism itself; I just naturally find multiple flaws in all governments regardless of what religious group is the main percentage of their citizens, (and humans are all flawed anyways) and my Israeli friend critiques some of its actions as well. If you answer yes, does that mean a practicing Jew be anti-semitic? That would be very ironic.

        • ghottistyx August 23, 2010, 12:42 AM

          According to those ADL types, yes. They equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.

          And I strongly disagree. There are a good deal of practicing Jews (most famously Satmar) who are against the state of Israel. Their position is based on halakha. Whether you agree or disagree with their stance, they can validate it using Jewish law. I think it is wrong that most Zionists out there close-mindedly shunt their views without even being aware of them.

          I’m not going to be doing it justice, but here’s my understanding. The Talmud has an unresolved dispute about the Biblical commandment to conquer the Land of Cana’an. One view is that this was a local commandment, given once to Moses to be fulfilled by his pupil Joshua; the other is that it is a global commandment that has bearing for all time, that when it is possible to have a Jewish presence there, the Jews are commanded to conquer the land. The Talmud presents both viewpoints, but never resolves it. I believe it was Maimonedes and Nachmanedes who each took one side and argued vehemently about it (I forgot which one took which side). But either way, there is plenty of evidence to support both sides. For example, throughout the books of the prophets, we see that any time a war was waged in the name of God, the people would wait for the prophet to give them God’s okay for the war to begin. King Saul was even punished for promulgating a war before Samuel gave him the okay.

          To sum it up, the Zionists hold that God does not want us to wait for his permission to conquer the land, but we must be proactive. The opposition believe that we can’t know for sure what God wants anymore as there hasn’t been prophecy for circa. 2,500 years. Therefore, we have to wait till the Messiah comes, when prophecy will be restored, and we can know for sure what God wants. Furthermore, given that the government in Israel is a secular Parliament modeled after England, they do not approve of calling it a “Jewish State;” the only Jewish government they approve of is one that is ruled according to halakha.

          Once again, I apologize, I’m not doing their argument justice, but I hope this helped somewhat.

          • Ruth August 24, 2010, 9:06 PM

            You did do a great deal of help. Thank you for answering my questions, but if I may add a few more, they’re below:

            What if conquering the land means more than physically occupying territory? What if it means conquering it in a different sense, like bringing the peoples of that land to a higher senes of morality, ruling them as subjects, or making them allies, as meanings and commands can change and develop as the times move on and society evolves? Does it have to be complete and utter dominance by forcing them from their homes and having only Jews subsist there? Or does it simply mean the people already living there would be subjects, like Ger Toshva? In the olden days, the people who were conquered were pagans. Nowadays the people of Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, and Palestinians are monotheistic and profess belief in the same G-d. Does that complicate the matters?

  • Ruth July 21, 2010, 12:03 AM

    Well, this may be awkward.
    I’m a “goyim” (although I do not like that term–doesn’t it mean blemish or something?), but I understand why the Jews were originally paranoid and wanted to stick to their own kind. After all, you were a small tribe so you needed to propagate your own Jewish descendants, and there have been times in history where non-Jews were all pagans or Jew haters, but does it really have to apply to the modern day? I hope not, because I have a good number of Jewish friends. (Shiite and Sunni too but that’s not part of this discussion).

    My best friend is actually an Israeli who moved to the U.S. due to her father’s job. We get along great and she actually taught me a few Hebrew words, and I traded her some Arabic ones. (I’m Armenian (tiny minority because we keep getting murdered throughout history), and the diaspora after the Armenian Genocide in 1915 thrust my surviving relatives to communities in the Middle East, just in case you were wondering how I picked up Arabic).

    Because I’m part of such a minority, I also know why you discourage intermarriages, at least until your population gets sizable enough that it wouldn’t matter. Like there are billions of people in India, so they might not care if Indians married Caucasians or other Asians. They have numbers to spare.

    But back to Judaism; I’ve always been interested in it because (don’t shoot me for this) Jesus was Hebrew and my faith Christianity is cemented upon the base of the Old Testament. (The faith that’s actually in line with Christ’s teachings, about loving others, being kind, having faith in G-d, and NOT hating other people of other religions, because hate goes against the whole point of Christianity.) I’ve also read the Qu’ran just to understand my Muslim friends better, or at least parts of it, but…I just couldn’t get into it. Too much negative conditions in it. Or maybe it’s just cultural differences.

    I find a lot of your holidays interesting, like the Hanukkah about the story where the oil lasted for nine days lighting the candles, and Passover celebrating the exodus from Egypt, though my one friend did complain about the matzah she had to eat. She said it was so dry she was always thirsty. I tried one she offered, and it was fine. Almost reminded me of less salty Wheat Thins.

    Sorry about getting off track! Back to the main point: I wanted to read the Talmud too, not only because I was interested in Judaism (not to convert, because I love my faith, but because I honestly found it intriguing and I love learning about other cultures), but also because one of my favorite authors, Noah Gordon, had a book called The Physician and it just made me all the more interested. (I love his characters and writing style. Everything just flows, and has medical/philosophical/scholarly themes! And a Christian pretending to be a Jew to get into a Persian medical school actually became great friends with an Orthodox Jew (who knew his real identity) and a Muslim! In medieval times! Better than some popular books nowadays–more frivolous decorations than actual things of substance).

    What’s really funny about that last bit is that Armenians believe they are descendants of Noah from the Bible, and my favorite author also shares the same name. A funny coincidence.

    But when I asked, I found out that apparently gentiles aren’t allowed to read the Talmud. (That was disheartening, but if that is true, how do potential converts get access to the book to see if Judaism is right for them?) My Israeli friend explained to me that there were some things in it gentiles would not have liked, explaining the whole animal comparison, not stealing is pertaining only to fellow Jews, or how gentiles are supposed to work for Jews and such. And she added that some attitudes of certain Jews are that gentiles can never do good or be good, and if they do things that help other people, there’s really a selfish motivation behind it. She says she doesn’t believe in those words, but that the majority of non-Jews are fine and dandy. (Maybe she’s Karamite, or a liberal Jew? I never asked.) It really saddened me that there could be things like that in a religion I have come to admire from a distance.

    And all those negative attitudes really caused me to rethink how much those views have a basis in Judaism, especially since there are things such as Noahide laws where if gentiles adhere to them, they are essentially saved or decent enough in the eyes of Hebrew law, yet in Talmud scripture there can be statements denouncing the moral fiber that is in all of us if we just happen to not be born Jewish, and against the fact that all souls are equal, regardless of the body they reside.

    But as I’ve always been taught, judge the person, not the book. And I still firmly believe most Jews are good people, just like most of any ethnic group or religious enthusiasts. And that brings me to the whole point of the long passage: thank you Heshy for being one who knows not all non-Jews are bad. Even if you never really ended up getting to know many non-Jews, just by dispelling biases, you’ve done wonders, for what is the nature of humanity but to recognize that each are different, with Jews and non-Jews being spread across a bell-curved continuum of different personality traits, flaws, and attributes? We’re all creations of G-d, and should treat each other with decency, morality, and respect.

    I love you all platonically, even if the feeling is not reciprocal.

    • Ruth July 21, 2010, 12:26 AM

      I also admit that there are good teachings in the Talmud as well, about a righteous gentile honoring his parents, or about how Jews should help serve the poor, so I’ve rationalized the Talmud in my mind as more of a survival guide than anything, and not to take the all gentile stuff personally, from the passages my friend explained. I suppose if I were to get a copy of the Talmud, I could read everything in context and sort things out.

    • Guest August 10, 2010, 1:36 PM

      Hi Ruth,
      “And all those negative attitudes really caused me to rethink how much those views have a basis in Judaism, especially since there are things such as Noahide laws where if gentiles adhere to them, they are essentially saved or decent enough in the eyes of Hebrew law, yet in Talmud scripture there can be statements denouncing the moral fiber that is in all of us if we just happen to not be born Jewish, and against the fact that all souls are equal, regardless of the body they reside.”

      You’re observations are Talmudic–you’re raising an apparent contradiction: how can non-Jews be viewed as evil, if they are capable of observing the Noahide laws, and being deemed righteous? The answer is that every one is given free will, and gentiles have the choice to become righteous, even convert to Judaism, if that is their wish.

      The overwhelming majority of those negative statements made with regards to gentiles are concerning idolaters, or individuals who are regarded as pretty far from observing the Noahide laws.

      BTW: the source of those statements regarding the Noahide laws is from the Talmud. The Talmud is a multifaceted document, where many contradictory opinions are found. Much of the toil of Torah scholars over the generations has involved clarifying these (sometimes real, sometimes apparent) contradictions, to emerge with a coherent view of Jewish thought. Sometimes you have Talmudic Rabbis disagreeing, sometimes you have them talking about different facets of the same topic, so only apparently seeming to disagree.

      I’m not explaining away feelings of antipathy that you might encounter on the part of Jews towards gentiles–that’s a rather complex subject. But the official “Jewish” view is that gentiles have the power to choose to be righteous.

      Judaism does view a Jew (including a convert) who observes all of his commandments, as keeping a life of greater sanctity that a gentile observing the Noahide laws. I don’t object to this view, as the number of commandments, and associated hardships, are greater for a sincerely committed Jew (obviously you would only buy into this idea, if you believed that there was particular value in a Jew following all of his extra commandments). This does not mean, however, that an outwardly religious Jew is necessarily a very decent person. I’ve learned that external signs of religiousity don’t necessarily add up to much. Many of the key responsibilities of being a Jew are internal, as well as interpersonal, and a person can fail miserably in that department, even if they “look the part.”

      • Ruth August 18, 2010, 1:46 PM

        Thank you for posting a response to my question. Yes, I actually enjoyed learning about the Talmud when I started because I found those intellectual debates so intriguing, and all the rules and regulations regarding everyday life and how tea-drinking takes so long on the Sabbath, (I’m naturally a person who likes debates, so this seemed like a wonderful opportunity to both learn about a new culture and think about issues in a different light) but when I read the antipathy against gentiles, I admit that I felt a little hurt.

        I do understand though that at the time it was written, Jews were living under immensive pressure and prejudice from the outside peoples of the time, and they were pagans and idolaters which really made religious Jews uncomfortable. Still, I’d just hope that things wouldn’t be taken out of context and apply to any gentile, regardless of their beliefs, actions, or hearts. Unfortunately this happens, especially in things like the Tanya (I mean, how can a gentile not have a “godly” part of a soul, when there are so many who devote their lives to religion, who have been saints, who continually strive for the spiritual truth, and who have even been killed because they would not refute G-d or their beliefs), but I realize it is a result of people being imperfect–not of any inherent imperfection in Judaism. G-d bless you and all peoples of this earth.

      • Ruth August 18, 2010, 1:49 PM

        One last question: if the official Jewish view is that gentiles have the power to choose to be righteous, what defines “righteous?” Being a Noahide, converting to Judaism, or can people of other faiths be righeous as well?

    • ghottistyx August 23, 2010, 5:20 PM

      “Goy” does not mean blemish. The word, literally translated from Hebrew means “nation”. For example, Abram is told by God that he will be made a “Goy Gadol”, which means “Great Nation”. The term has come to mean non-Jew, but really the Biblical usage referred to any nation.

      You are thinking of the word “Shiktza”, which I take serious offense to.

      • Ruth August 24, 2010, 9:07 PM

        Thanks for the clarification. It has been of great help.

    • Jacob March 13, 2013, 2:46 AM

      ‘…Just as in India they (dont mind about intermarriage)becaue they have plenty
      to spare.’
      You are far too eloquent to be ignorant, consequently, you are, yet another practiced decieved, in the vain of your father, Cain. As an Armenian, if that is what you claim to be, you should well know that Such People Were Subject To Genocide At the Hands of Islamic Turks at the turn of the 20th century. You are a Liar, and worse.

  • Anon August 10, 2010, 11:57 AM

    I grew up in a Christian country in Europe. In my early school years it was all Christian songs and stories. I was disappointed when my mother wouldn’t let me be in the nativity. (They could have had an authentic Jewish Mary). High school was much more multicultural, and in particular I was friends with the other minorities. I also traveled a lot, especially in Asia, where I found G-d and frummed out, B”H.

    I’ve always hated any kind of racism. When I was in Paris, I was shocked by the French racism against Arabs. When I spoke out, the indigenous French couldn’t understand what my problem was. So all this talk that Jews are like this, or goyim like that is hateful to me. I have personally been on the receiving end of great kindness from goyim. And of course, there are the legendary heroes like Raoul Wallenberg and Irene Sendler. However, having said all of this I experienced anti-semitism from many of my European friends (this includes whites, blacks, christians, muslims). Half the time they weren’t even aware of what they’re saying, it’s so deeply ingrained in their culture. But it definitely distanced me from them. Through, becoming frum and moving to Israel, I just felt that my path in life is so far away from many of my former non-Jewish friends, that I have not maintained contact with any of them, except for one chinese christian woman, who has been my friend forever. These days my friends are nearly all frum women. A person can have a thousand facebook friends, a hundred social friends, but deep, spiritual friendship can only be shared with a few. I prefer to save that for people with whom I can grow spiritually.

    • Mahla August 10, 2010, 12:12 PM

      Right on to you Anon! :^) Such wise statements here. :^)

    • Ruth August 18, 2010, 1:16 PM

      Everyone has their burden to carry. I know what you mean about racism. I know not all Turks are bad, but when one particularily unenlightened one discovers that I’m Armenian, it’s back to the “you’re not human” attitude directed towards me for my ancestry–something no one can control. It’s why I also am against racism in any form.

      Going along this line of thought, that no people are perfect, even if some frum Jews are racist or if they believe gentiles are all worth dirt, it doesn’t mean that other groups should continually pounce on their prejudiced ways so severely when a lot of other ethnicities or ideaologies also propagate just basal outlooks on life, and those other groups aren’t chided for their bad behavior.

      Basically, what I’m saying is it’s a little odd that people are quick to critic Jews, when they themselves are guilty of the same crimes and don’t equally criticize other nations. Maybe G-d wants other nations to hold you to a higher standard? Only He knows.

  • OfftheDwannaB August 10, 2010, 4:12 PM

    This is a great post. Two shabbosim ago I was in Lakewood and I saw a kiruv pamphlet in shul talking about why only Jews should marry Jews. It didn’t mention any reason given in the Gemara or Kabbalah (like Jews have a bris with God, or even that Jews have a higher neshama). No, this was straight out fear tactics. A bunch of stories where Jews married or almost married goyim and then when the cards are down the gentiles turn on them.
    Honestly, I don’t know if the author was intentionlly fear-mongering or he genuinely believed this. I’ve heard these stories, and the constant harping on a few choice chazal’s so many times growing up, that I’ve come to think it’s a pathological defense mechanism instituted by Jews because of all the times we’ve been burned over the years. The latest flair-up of anti-gentile thought is obviously due to the Holocaust, and is perpetuated 65 years later because of our sheltered communities not having exposure to outside ideas or people.
    The pattern is similar among the non-religious as well. Herzl started Zionism because of antisemitism, specifically the Dreyfus affair. The people of Israel were driven by the genocide of Jews during WWII to establish a safe place to live. They latched onto the story of Massada because of the similarity to their situation (they call it ideology) as well.
    The obvious problem is that, as with any defense mechanism,this is not a normal, healthy way to live. After the danger’s gone, the gate has to go up.
    And I don’t know a way to end it, but admitting you have a problem is the first step. And perhaps engaging in dialogue and even blogging is the next.

    • Ruth August 18, 2010, 1:33 PM

      I like you’re approach to the situation. I mean, I have read about how some frums believe that those of a Jewish belief have holier than thou attitudes believing they have godly parts that they believe all gentiles lack (to which I ask why then do some gentiles commit their lives to serving G-d, or being saints even when it means they get martyred for their beliefs, or convert to Judaism, or are like the Ruth of the Bible), or how I disagree with the Tanya which says that non-Jews can’t engage in actual altrusim but will only be altruistic for selfish reasons whereas Jews can engage in genuine altruism.

      It doesn’t make sense to me, especially when you think about people like Ghandi, firefighters who risked their lives trying to save people every day, people who volunteer to work in peace organizations, etcetera. I know I’m not the best example at all, but if I see a person in need, I feel compelled to help them, even if they are strangers. There’s nothing to gain, I don’t know these people, but if they’re hurting, I have to offer comfort and aid.

      I also understand that like any people, Jews have a defensive mechanism, and it’s been put into overdrive after all the years of persecution of your people. This is why I don’t blame them or anyone: I just pray that all people, all us creations of G-d, will eventually break free from the chains of hatred that tether us to a violent world, and move towards the light and the truth of a just, loving, and merciful G-d. Shalom.

      • OfftheDwannaB August 18, 2010, 7:41 PM

        I agree. I don’t see what the Tanya says in practice either. I mean, if you confine it to spiritual worlds that we don’t sense in our corporeal world then fine, I can’t argue with a master of Judaism like R’ Shneur Zalman. But to say there are physical consequences is just something I’ve never witnessed (I’m uneasy disagreeing outright with such a brilliant person).
        On a side note, it’s interesting that you’ve read Tanya. I’d think it’s a pretty obscure Jewish book. Do you have a Lubavitch friend?

        • Ruth August 19, 2010, 5:01 PM

          I do have one Israeli friend as I mentioned before–she was an immigrant to the U.S. when she was 13/14, but I was never terribly sure of what sect she was in. She’s open-minded, and yet she reads Hebrew scripture as if it’s her life staple (which I can understand because that’s what I do with the NT). She has such an infectious personality though–a truly great friend. But she wasn’t the cause of my exploration. I started exploring Judaism years after meeting her because as I’ve grown, I’ve gotten this thirst for knowing G-d. I have been, am on, and will be soul searching, in which I hope to grow closer to G-d in order to better follow His will.

          I’ve always felt drawn to learning about Judaism. There is just something alluring about it that just keeps drawing me back, in spite of some rough spots about antagonistic attitudes towards gentiles. Now it’s not enough to get me to cease my Christian practices, as though I view the religion as a respected trunk, I’m fruit of a branch stemming out from it, but the pull to learn more about the religion of the Hebrews is present all the same. And combining it with re-reading the Christian Bible concurrently with Jewish philosophy, texts, and discussions has helped me to understand the mindsets of the apostles and the founders of what is called today as Christianity (though back then, Christianity didn’t exist. The religion behind it may have been started to be a separate division of Judaism, just as reform and conservative Judaism are part of the same whole, or maybe it was destined to be its own completely separate dogma of Christianity. Only G-d knows for certain. At least we believe in the Torah, though we don’t necessarily follow all the commandments unless you get into the Messianic Christians/Jews).

          I’ve read some passages from the Tanakh’s Masoretic text (which has some differences with the Septuagint text which the Christian Old Testament is based on, mainly based on the subdivisions so the stories are basically in synch with each other), the Jewish version of the Messianic age as opposed to the Christian one, articles about current ideaologies, online segments of the Talmud in their entireity to keep it with the context (you have so many laws, it’s no wonder you start early to learn them all! 613 (248 positive commands, the rest are thou shall nots), with expanded applications and detailed discussions added through the discourse of rabbis who argue with each other over various interpretations), and from one of the websites I caught onto this interesting theory of the origin of the souls and I went from there to Jewish sites ruminating on the issue, so as not to get any information skewed from outside sources, or people who would rather give religions a slanted view than sticking to actual facts. I even read about the different sects–the Kararites being my favorite as we have the same theological standpoint on how the Talmud relates to the actual Torah.

          I also want to add that Hillel is one of my favorite Jewish teachers. He is a kind, compassionate, caring individual who values peace, unlike Shammai who did not believe any gentile no matter how righteous deserved a place in the afterlife, but deserved to be eternally separated from G-d. (If that was the case, why did G-d bother to give gentiles intellectual souls and desires for being with Him/following His will in the first place, such as converting to the Noahide laws or becoming a Ger Tzedek, or devout people of other religions who still believe in the G-d of the Jews?) Due to this, I believe that the pharisees who are chided in the New Testament are only the Shammai ones, not Hillel followers, of whom Yeshua seems to reflect. Then again, I am no learned scholar–just a humble researcher, so you’re free to your own thoughts.

          But I read everything with a grain of salt. While I wouldn’t be what some call a Zionist Christian, I do understand where it stems from. You want to go back to the lands of your peoples, just like my Armenian ancestry yearns to return to the provinces and lands taken by Turks and paid with our blood. (Diasporan Armenian). I doubt it will ever happen for us, especially after the almost 100 years of denial by Turkey. I suppose it’s up to G-d’s will whether Armenians return to Mt. Ararat or not. At least we survived total extinction–that’s a victory, is it not?

          I have to say that while the history is dynamic, my favorite part of the research is reading real-time debates between Jewish proponents of differing ideas, doing as you mentioned with arguing over anything from basic tenements to contradictions of the tiniest detail. It’s something I’ve done in the secular world, on debate teams to sharpen our skills and intellects, but I’ve never really had the opportunity to be in on a deep theological discussion with others before in the physical world. Due to this, any arguing over subject matter I’ve read takes place inside my thoughts, where I have to act as the case for and against whatever issue, combining internal questioning and philosophy with approaches to different outlooks, and weighing the logics of the different assumptions. I’ve never joined in the conversations on the predominately Jewish sites (as opposed to this frum blog) because I wouldn’t know how they’d react to a Christian who isn’t as well-versed as they are. (I don’t have access to all the books, as it’s a Christian home, and can’t read Hebrew to read the original forms of the tomes, and I’m still technically just a kid/teenager). I’d rather not disrupt the responders or cause them to feel uncomfortable divulging some information because of a possible adverse reaction from me, so I just follow the conversations and enjoy the academic atmosphere, as well as learning about all the different facets and perspectives of your people.

          Just to be clear, Christianity isn’t devoid of intellectuals either, so you know I’m not entirely starved of differing theories and their explanations, but the youth around my age aren’t as prone to engaging in stimulating conversation of a deeper nature. It’s only the theology majors who warrant adequate discussion, and I’m not going into that field when the time comes. I’d rather do a profession in the scientific field to help alleviate problems in our environment to help future generations of our people be better off, and explore spirituality just for the sake of growing closer to G-d; not a paycheck. But if you ever want to read an actually enlightened Christian, like I have tried reading of enlightened Jews, try C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. He’s one of my favorites because the style of writing just flows.

          It’s alright if you disagree with me, as our perceptions are bound to be different, and I can see how you’d be uncomfortable disagreeing with a person of high caliber and prestige in the Judaist world. The reason I dont’ agree with the Tanya even if it is free from the corporeal world is due to my philosophy. If you notice in our conversations, I mention our people, or our/the prophets, not using possessive words like my or mine because I personally believe we’re all one people, despite our religious endeavors. According to my faith, there is neither gentile nor Jew, slave nor free, when you get to the soul of the matter. In the New Testament, it shows all our spirits all yearn for the truth, and shows Jewish prophets as being the light for the gentile nations in order to lead them to a more fufilling relationship with G-d and fellow followers. While I do agree that culture and upbringing have a significant impact on the development of our personas, I also am of the opinion that neither soul is created better than the other. It’s our actions that shape the final results, leading to both amazing people in both our religions, and less amazing ones who lower themselves to bigoted behaviors, which separate us from an all-perfect and all-knowing G-d, as prejudice is anything but perfection.

          Anyways, sorry for the long message. I tend to drone on and on when I am inspired about a certain subject matter.

          • OfftheDwannaB August 19, 2010, 8:50 PM

            I wouldn’t say you’re droning on because you keep on raising new and interesting points.
            First of all, you shouldn’t feel that since you won’t go into theology as a major, your intellectual quest will be cut short. It’s a mistake to think that colleges somehow own all knowledge. You can go on doing actual things things in the world and still be just as knowledgeable as an academic. In fact, people who stay in a purely theoretical realm invariably limit themselves by not meeting other people and having different experiences. That’s why very smart academics will often have have shockingly myopic views on various subjects- they have no real world experience with it to know about it. Being a life-long student and doing real world activities is actually the paradigm of the “Talmud Chochom” in traditional Judaism. Most sages were not just teachers, they had jobs as well. Because nothing can substitute for hands-on experience.
            This idea is actually central to Jewish philosophy to describe why we were put into this physical world at all. (This subject requires way more space than a blog reply, so I’m going to drop it there.)
            Also, today we are fortunate to have the internet with many texts on many subjects from many cultures available in English. Plus, as you start meeting people, you can start to pick out easily who is of an intellectual bent. And America is uniquely special in having so many people from different cultures all around you, that you’d need to consciously force yourself not to learn in order to remain ignorant.
            Regarding the point you raised about a central value system that presents itself in every religion and metaphysical system of thought, I have to say I am very impressed that a teenager picked up on such a subtle point. You must be very well read or have had a very good teacher somewhere along the way.
            Socrates reaches similar conclusions to Chabad (tanya) that virtue is “moach shalit al halev”, or the mind ruling the heart, and that evil is only a lack of knowledge (the Gemara says ” a person doesn’t sin until a spirit of stupidity rests on him”).
            Learning Kant brings to mind Ramchal all the time. Kabbala is sometimes strikingly similar to Hinduism. And Maimonides and Thomas Aquinas could have been chavrusas (learning partners)- which is probably because both studied Aristotle.
            I’ve found a few points that the most respected, deepest thinkers agree on across the board:
            -There are such things as intrinsic human values in the world, that is, morality is not relative.
            -The point of existence is giving to others (sometimes called love).
            -Evil is only a corruption of good. Fix the corruption and you will find a desire to do good underneath.
            (This is only after a surface search right now off while sitting at the computer. I’m sure you can find more if you think about it. )
            Yes, there are disagreements, but those are usually in the supra-logical spheres (commandments, rituals).
            (It has been pointed out by many Jewish scholars that the seven Noahide laws are all basic human values, and attainable through rational thought. Of course, following them is another matter.)
            The point of the Torah is to learn and practice these principles. It is a God-given text and tradition that we should read and follow no matter what current reactionary thought comes into vogue momentarily. But we hold these truths to be self-evident, as the man said, so it’s universality should really come as no surprise.
            (That was probably droning as well, but who cares?)

            • Ruth August 21, 2010, 5:49 PM

              I never said my intellectual quest would be cut short–I just presumed that if I’m spending hours studying my physics textbook, and devote smaller segments of time to philosophy and endeavors of the spiritual nature, I would be less informed than a person who spend the majority of his or her time studying and researching religious dogmas. It’s akin to a teacher who specializes in an area and has spent years earning his degree is much more learned than a student delving into the studies.

              I do agree where you say it’s better to have more areas of expertise in which to glean kernels of knowledge from, rather than having solely one source of information. I would like to note that having never taken formal classes in theological or philosophical thought (save for Sunday school, which is really nothing more than reading scripture, which nice on its own, is no substitute to digging deeply into its context and varying levels of meaning).

              Well, then I suppose I’ll be following Talmud Chochom,” as I never want to stop learning about issues deeper than celebrity breakups. Don’t listen when people tell you Hollywood is the new Babylon–it’s actually the recreation of Sodom and Gomorrah! (small joke). But getting back to a more serious side, knowledge is of high priority to me, along with respecting one’s heritage, being modest, loving your family, and honoring G-d. (Not necessarily in that order).

              If the subject requires more development, I’d be happy to discuss it with you via emails, unless of course it would impede your previous responsibilities or take up too much time and such, to which I’ll leave it at that, and continue developing a train of thought with the help of other sources.

              The one thing you have to be wary of in the Internet is that anyone can post anything. I cannot tell you how many times I tried to find information on Christian-Jewish relations, and instead I was rewarded with either anti-semitic sites, or anti-Christian sites that state Christians are worse than idolatrous heathens. On such prejudiced sites, neither religion was presented fairly for what it was, but stereotypes, rumors, and myths were mixed together to produced the flawed reasonings. This is why I tend to prefer hard-copies of books, so as it is less easily tampered with than people with biases and access to a computer. I would like a hard-copy of a Talmud, but apparently some Jews are really strict about who receives it, as a gentile who tries to pry into the law is worthy of death. I’m not sure how that translates to gentiles who want to convert to the religion–shouldn’t they read the Talmud first? But I realize it’s probably because they didn’t want to receive a backlash during a time of great distress between the religions.

              Anyways, back on track: multiculturalism is one of America’s greatest assests. Because of the melting pot, I have Muslim, Hindi, Christian, atheist, Jewishm, and agnostic friends here, and I’ve learned a lot about varying cultures and beliefs.

              Thank you for the compliment, but I believe such praise should be relegated to my (or rather our) teachers: G-d, the prophets, and to some, Jesus Christ. (There is the whole complicated thing about Jesus and the Father being One, so speaking of him would include G-d the Father, but I won’t get into that enigma on a simple blog post.) I’ve come to discern that morality is a hard-wired concept, and not just a system of rules that varies in accordance with the ages. If you look across the board at other religions and times, you’ll see recurrent themes come up again and again; murder is bad, theft is immoral, love others as you would yourself, etcetera. For example, Shikism is a monotheistic belief in one G-d, and focuses on meditation and inward analysis to grow closer to Him and on the teachings of gurus to instruct their journeys of faith, akin to the Buddhists approach on nirvana, though to be fair belief in G-d is not a requirement to the Buddhist faith, but it doesn’t go against any teachings, so you meet some Buddhists who believe in G-d and some who don’t. This just shows the similarities between the faiths.

              Perhaps all religions started out in the sterile environment of a man trying to know his Creator. Based on the common values across multiple faith systems and codes, it is highly possible that all religions created have stemmed from man trying to put his recognition of G-d into terms that mortals can understand, with ideaologies failing on the way due to contamination with all too human maladies: racism, violence, blood shed, etcetera. Some of the failures may be due to the lack of knowledge you describe, whereas others may be simply succumbing to earthly desires, distracting people from the important things in life and beyond it. Once unleashed into the physical world, temptation made its way and corrupted some followers, causing them to stray from the true path the original founders discovered.

              This is what I believe leads to inter-religious warfare and violence. If people were truly G-d-fearing, they’d leave judgment up to Him, and settle for theological debates as opposed to militant strategies in the modern era. (Now, I will not include those of impovershed countries who fight because they are desperate–those people need support and pity–or those trying to defend their lives, but I speak of people who grow up in stable conditions and still find reason to sow hatred or inflict wide-scale suffering, like the Khmer Rouge (communism) or the Nazis (fascists). I realize those examples weren’t really religious, but they acted as if their social ideals were divine words to be followed.)

              Socrates was and still is a great teacher, through his words that have lasted the ages. Sad how the Athenians cut his life short by sentencing him to death. I suppose the good die young. Back to the task at hand, mind over matter, mind over heart, your intellect is your most powerful asset, and at times your greatest weakness if you exalt it above all else, and use pride to expand ego, paralleling Solomon’s downfall.

              “(the Gemara says a person doesnt sin until a spirit of stupidity rests on him).”
              Sadly some people sin even if they are intelligent, capitilizing on other people’s misfortune in order to increase their profit margins, unless you are speaking of terms of spiritual knowledge as opposed to terrestrial intelligence, in which I’d have to agree with you on that plane of reasoning.

              Thanks for mentioning Ramchal–I hadn’t heard of him, and upon researching a bit, he seems like quite the learned soul. Yes, I know of Maimonides, the renowned physician whom people of other religions admired. Wasn’t there a story of bandits escorting his body out of the desert, instead of raiding the coffin for gold and silver, once they heard he was the famous Jewish physician? He believed thought the resurrection of the body was only going to be temporary, but the soul would be rendered eternal once it correctly understood G-d, right? It’s been a while.

              Thomas Aquinas studied Aristotle, and also read some of the works of Maimonides if I remember correctly. And Kabbalists have so many different stances–some believing Jews have extra souls as opposed to gentiles, others believing (like me) in the equality of all souls (Menahem Azariah da Fano comes to mind.) And some followers even believe it transcends Judaism to connect different religions, and others believe G-d has different wavelengths that eventually create Jews and other people–it’s crazy in a good way. It has multiple perpsectives, just as each outlook is another facet of the same gem. Heralding to my earlier statements, maybe all religions are just another facet of the same abstract concepts.

              I will agree with you on those statements. Care if I add another that I find very important?
              -Evil also can be the absence of good, such as the absence of light is darkness. This connects to your earlier statement, as evil forms by ignorance, lacking the knowledge of good.
              It’s something to keep in mind when people try to use evil in the world as an argument against our loving G-d’s existence.

              Some Jewish scholars will also claim that Christians are idolaters, whereas others say nay because they believe Jews are held to a higher standard. Others believe that the Messianic Age is a physical time period on Earth, whereas those who didn’t believe in an afterlife on earth were regarded as heratics during the 12th century. It’s really something how rabbis have different perspectives throughout the ages and argue over certain developments, almost like Christian theologians except more often than not, if they don’t reconcile their beliefs, they schism into different sects. The only point that irritates me is when some ignorantly say Christians are pagans who have three gods. I don’t mean to be blunt, but if someone wants to criticize a religion, they should get a more thoroughly developed background in it. We are monotheistic. Just as a diamond has multiple facets, there are different ways we can perceive G-d depending upon the angle we approach Him from. He’s still One, with at least three different sides by the Trinity’s standards, but not even all Christians believe in the Trinity. The common denominater for Christians remains Christ, G-d, and the Bible, unless you get into Universal Christians who don’t have a cemented theology, but are more of a philosophical group.

              Sorry, it’s sort of my pet peeve when someone criticizes or insults a religion or a people without any evidence to back it up, for if men only rely on hearsay, they don’t take the time to look at the facts or form their own opinions themselves. For example, though I am Armenian, I am also part Lebanese and lived in Lebanon during my early childhood. Despite the war between Israel and Lebanon (the reason why we moved to America), and the the bombing which resulted in my aunt getting a piece of shrapnel in her leg, I will never blindly hate people I have never met. I just hope that they return the favor like my friend I told you about earlier. (I also pray for peace in the region between both nations, but that would take some serious charisma and sincerity to manage.) After all, G-d for the most part is blind to nationalities or ethnicities, and simply looks to a person’s heart to judge their true character. Why people can’t develop a likeminded outlook and judge people on their actions, not their births, is beyond me.

              I was and still am wary of revealing that part of my heritage, but I wish to show that no matter where your from, and no matter of your birth, all people are intrinsically good and can experience enlightenment if they search for it. We’re not simply dressed in the guise of men, but are actual men and women, with hearts, souls, and minds. No mortal has the right to diminish the value of anyone’s life or take someone’s life in instances besides self-defense, as it is a precious gift from the Creator. I see it as an insult to Him to think otherwise.

              (I care that you took the time to make an eloquent response. Shalom again~)

              • OfftheDwannaB August 22, 2010, 10:34 PM

                I understand your wariness and I’m happy you felt comfortable enough to share your history with me. To tell you the truth, I grew up in a house where judging was a reflex and I’ve learned the hard way that it’s a destructive, limiting way to go through life.
                Slowly, I’ve worked on changing my outlook, and it makes me feel good that I am able to leave my prejudices at the door and talk to you openly enough for you to be open back.
                One day, it’ll come naturally, God willing. But for now, to be perfectly honest, I still have a fear of “outsiders” that I need to overcome when meeting people.
                But, at least I don’t defend it by making up religious reasons for it. I mentioned this in my first reply, admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery.
                About emailing: Feel free to email me any time you want. I’ll try to figure out how to link my name with my email address.

                • Ruth August 23, 2010, 1:58 AM

                  I did feel comfortable because you seemed to have a friendly resonance. You seem like a nice person who is interested in knowledge and actually took the time to speak to someone from a different background. If you ask me, that’s a big step in the right direction, if your goal is to leave prejudice in the dust.

                  As for the judgment issues, I’m sure your family was just looking out for your welfare, and only wanted to protect you/make you less vulnerable to the harsher folk out there. My home environment was a little different. We had a few Turkish family friends growing up, so being part Armenian, I learned to treat all people as individuals early on. After all, can I really blame the people of today for the crimes of their forefather’s past? I decided not to, because if we all acted on an eye for an eye, the whole world would be blind (inspired by Ghandi), as I’m certain each nation has inflicted harm on the other in the course of history, and dwelling on those issues doesn’t bring back the lives of innocents who were mercilessly killed.

                  I applied the same attitude to the Israelis because I decided they, like any other country, had their share of good apples and bad apples, and it was only stubborn governments with hurt prides that got in the way of lasting peace. I’m glad I was brought up in such an open environment even before traveling to America, where my views solidified. Leaving prejudices behind frees the soul, allowing you to develop beyond such limitations. I’m sure you’ll expand beyond such boundaries. (I’ll pray for you if you would like the extra support! Just say the word.)

                  For me it was always the opposite. I loved to meet new people; the more foreign their culture the better! On my unrealistic dream list, I would like to travel to China, Brazil, and Thailand. I used to want to do a pilgrimage to Israel, but it’s not possible. I doubt I’d be let through due to the whole nationality thing. Or if I was let through, I wouldn’t be able to go back to Lebnane (what we call Lebanon). Diplomacy issues are annoying, but I can never turn my back on my home country. Armenians already lost most of one homeland; I don’t want to lose the other one.

                  Well I’m sure you’re on the path to a full recovery. We all have to work at getting rid of our negative traits to allow more of our love to reach the people inhabiting this world. It is true that we can never be close to perfection, as that is G-d’s territory, but we should try to be the people G-d wanted us to be. For if you wish to change the world, you must first change a nation. If you want to change a nation, you should first change the people. If you want to change the people, you must first change the hearts. If you want to change the hearts, the first one to start with is your own.

                  If you couldn’t tell, I’m a fan of Ghandi. He proves that the only true remedy to hate and fear is love and patience. Salaam and shalom~

                  • Jacob March 13, 2013, 3:03 AM

                    Gandhi was, at best, a ‘Fahkir in robes.’Winston Churchill…At worst, (and my personal position,) he was a Mongolian agent, educated in Britain, deliberately fracturing the only decent government India has ever had, so he and his family could have continued power and authority. As they do, even now…A dynasty of Power…Perhaps Seetee, the practice of wife self(forced) immolation on her husbands funeral pyre, and Thuggee human sacrificing cults, and institutionalized child pedaphilia/rape, and worse will return there, or not, as the British Ended Those Practices At the Cost of British Lives…Britain is of the House of Israel…Yet still not Under the Law…Only Judah seems capable of that for now…And deservedly so, evidently…Perhaps some of Benjamin in there also…They, the sons of Jacob, and the Patriarchical line, will always have special dispensations, Especially if the Law is employed…This ‘Ganhdi, was nothing but a self promoting hypocrite, perfect for the Ishamailite sons to elevate, they love all who would Hate Themselves, and/or the House of Israel, and/or the tribe of Judah/Benjamin…

                • Ruth August 23, 2010, 2:08 AM

                  I’m not trying to say I’m perfect or anything, heavens no! It will take the rest of my lifetime working on being a better person, as no one can be perfect, but I will be happy to continue on working to improve myself and the world for others. The golden rule is golden for a reason, for if everyone treated each other the way they wished to be treated, war would be a thing of the past.

                  • OfftheDwannaB August 23, 2010, 10:35 PM

                    You have a really great attitude. You mentioned that you likeHillel. He said “that which is hated to you, don’t do to your friend. That’s the whole Torah. The rest is commentary (on it).” Imo, you’ll go far in life and do a lot of good with it. Honestly, I’m jealous of you. I’d be amuch happier person if I lived like you.

                    • Mahla August 23, 2010, 11:15 PM

                      Right on you guys!

                    • Ruth August 24, 2010, 8:56 PM

                      Thank you so again for kind words, but I cannot take credit. In these turbulent times, where tragedies and horrors test the wills of even the most docile flower or the strongest rock, I have not remain unscathed. I have stumbled on sins during the search for light. Minor sins they may be, but each misdeed is a transgression against G-d, and hurts He who is to be cherished. In the grand scheme of things, a minor sin can be viewed as bad as a major one, for they both involve people voluntarily disobeying the most basic of morals and their Creator (thou shall not lie or envy others’ possessions, and must not dishonor but honor thy parents). How many times have I not obeyed my parents’ order to clean my room but left it in disarray? Or how about missing mass because I was studying for an exam the following day? No test is more important than the Lord who gave you the opportunity to even have an education, but at times stresses of daily events can take overwhelm you and distract you from things beyond this plane. It’s no excuse, but it shows how limited our line of thinking is, when it’s so easy to lose sight of the bigger picture, as it remains very easy to fall from grace.

                      In the quest to be a better person, for reasons of changing the world that I illustrated above, (and not to hurt G-d because imagine how much pain it causes him when his own children turn their backs on He who loves them), I have realized that desire to do good alone is not enough. I have asked his Holiness to make changes in my heart as to better suit his will, and He has done so. Paraphrasing an old parable from the NT, if G-d your shepherd feeds sparrows and shelters them, birds who never worry of the day nor clothe themselves, how much better will He take care of his people? Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, go to a door, and you will find it opened.

                      If you ever need help, just turn to G-d. He will always be there for his children, especially in their darkest hour, so imagine how much more he’ll be able to help you in your lightest, when you’re most receptive to Him?

                      Basically, it is through Him leading me by the hand, the good people and families I have had the honor to meet in this lifetime, the examples of the saints selflessness that remind others of their own faults that need fixing, heroes who devoted their lives to charity, prophets who preached the Word, and disciples who helped cultivate the faith that so inspired me to enter into this path, that I was able to reach this point. Funny how one life affects the other, even generations apart. (Again, another reason to be the best person you can be to generate a positive influence in the world). I have a lot more additional improvement to make, but this is a start.

                      To make a long response short, refrain from thanking me for things that were not my own doing. If you wish to thank me for a human achievement, like discovering a cure for a rare disease, or building a school for the impoverished children, or climbing to the top of a mountain, you may. All credit for the spirit, or for the mountain being there in the first place, or for the poor children desiring an education and those who offer donations out of the warmth of their hearts, or for giving me the strength to continue on my research when others say it is in vain or there is more money to be made elsewhere, goes directly to He who governs such matters.

                      Also, on a sidenote, I believe anyone who sincerely enters into their religion with the attitude of a child–to be good, honor the Father, and have a rigid sense of fairness and morals that adults seem to lack, then they will be so rewarded. Hence, I’m not into the attitude of only a certain sect entering paradise. I believe that is up to G-d to decide–not fellow men–and that He knows his flock and will call the righteous from all nations. I also humbly submit to the fact that as a mortal, what I know is not a grain of dust in His eye, and that I could be completely mistaken about G-d’s procedures for deeming a person innocent or guilty. After all, I am no judge, but one of many defendents.

                      P.S. That is my favorite saying of Hillel. If I could travel back in time, he is on my list of people to meet, and possibly platonically hug though I am unsure of the political correctness of that action during those times, especially from one outside the Jewish faith. I would also meet Yeshua (the Christ), Ab? Al? S?n? (best medieval scholar and polymath in my opinion), and Bach.

                      Blessings be upon you.

                    • Ruth August 25, 2010, 2:59 PM

                      Oops! I mean Abu Ali Sina. I forgot that some websites are not conducive to different templates.

                      And I think you have a great attitude as well. You are genuine, care for other people, and can see your own faults. Shalom!

  • Michael August 10, 2010, 5:16 PM

    “No, this was straight out fear tactics. A bunch of stories where Jews married or almost married goyim and then when the cards are down the gentiles turn on them. Honestly, I dont know if the author was intentionlly fear-mongering or he genuinely believed this. ”

    My read is that this is a tactic that you employ when you feel you are genuinely incapable of presenting Judaism in a way that makes people want to observe it as the most fulfilling option for a Jew. It may be that these people themselves don’t really find Judaism fulfilling (I don’t know).

    This is how I view those parents/teachers of FFB schools who try to sell their kids on the “stay away from the evil goyim” approach to Judaism. If you can’t present Judaism as something positive, and fulfilling, at least denigrate the alternative (non-observant) lifestyle.

    It’s rare that you see Chabad houses, Ohr Sameach, Aish present Judaism in that way (at least at first–since these institutions carry close ties with the Chareidi world, BT yeshivah and seminary graduates are bound to encounter these attitudes eventually, even adopt them, unfortunately). Rather, when they talk negatively about the secular world, they generally try to tie it to some philosophical content, so that the objections at least seem to have a rational basis. They realize that they are not necessarily preaching to the converted, so they can’t resort to shallow name calling as a substitute for a spiritual message.

    It seems to me that when you are educating children, or relating to people in general, you have to approaches: increase the positive, or combat the negative. Both approaches have their place, but I think the former approach should be the dominant educational philosophy Jews adopt, and should be the dominant fashion with which they interact with the world. Rather than always equating gentiles with pogroms, emphasize the potential for every human being to be good. This doesn’t mean pie in the sky idealism: tell your kids to treat everyone nicely, and believe in their potential to be good, but lock their cars all the same; help them acquire a recognition of the good and bad of Jewish-Gentile history once they start maturing and are capable of viewing the world in more than just black and white terms (i.e. not as very small children).

    Regarding marrying gentiles, presumably if Jews find their religion emotionally, and spiritually satisfying, they will want to share it with someone who feels the same way, and shares their commitment to Judaism.

    • OfftheDwannaB August 10, 2010, 7:03 PM

      I believe these two ways of educating children are based on how we ourselves see the world. The positive way, in my opinion, is natural and healthy. The negative way comes about when we as Jews adopt the defensive way of seeing the world.
      I don’t want to preach here, but I personally like to think this outlook on life is based on our Kabbala as well. Human beings are created in the image of God, meaning our psyche is based on the 10 middos Hashem created the world. The main midda (modality) is Chessed (kindness), modeled on God’s creating the world out of his chessed. So we truly want to give to everyone. We are just covered over by klippos of tum’ah (negativity).
      Psychologically, I think this lines up perfectly with an understanding of defense mechanisms to trauma.
      That’s why I said that our community’s current way of thinking is unhealthy and unnatural. We simply aren’t supposed to be functioning this way.

  • Aharon Velvel August 20, 2010, 12:39 AM

    Well put Ruth. I know how you feel–I’m 16.

    • Ruth August 21, 2010, 2:24 PM

      Well it’s a pleasure to meet you, Aharon, and nice to know that there are others out there who are older than their years. May G-d bless you.

  • Tevy December 6, 2011, 8:55 PM

    There’s this thing they do at my shul during shalosh seudos where people can tell stories (of the hashgacha pratis sort) and I decided to tell a story about how I was at school Friday afternoon, scrambling to hand in assignment, whilst the last the bus to make it back in time for shabbos was approaching too. At the last second I got my assignment in (which pretty much saved me from failing the course), but I’d missed the bus – and was subsequently stuck on the other side of the city.
    However…. upon noticing my state of being freaked out, my prof (the same one who I handed my assignment to) very generously offered to go out of his way and drive me home. He took shortcuts, illegal turns, and was mad speeding… but we made it it – 5 minutes before shabbos (albeit within the 18).

    Now here’s the kicker…. After I tell the story, the rabbi gives over a drash about NOT TRUSTING THE GOYIM, and even said to me directly – even though you were helped, you still need to keep up your guard.

    I wanted to punch the rabbi as hard as I could.

    • Jacob March 13, 2013, 3:19 AM

      You are a deceiving Ishmailite. Obviously. Return to the Hell of your ancestors, and then judge the house of Israel. Your anecdote about a ‘psychotic gentile driving like mad, speeding, and driving through red lights…’ Is Completely against Torah, you are Obviously lying. If even a fraction of Judah/Benjamin/House of Israel is following the Law, (this, not to endanger others to fulfill Shabat requirements, such preparations beging Before Shabat, at least One Full Day, and, if not able to be fulfilled, for what ever reason. Never thread the Ishmailite Goyim into the House of Israel, or the Edomite, as they are simply Ismailites also…As for the Tribe of Judah/Benjamin, they are the G-ds also, and with special dispensation. Divine, holy separation. Follow the Law, children of Jacob, and you shall Alway be the Head, and not the Tail, the Leaders amidst your enemies through which you shall rule with your Staff. Otherwise, the reverse is true, do Not allow the Ultra Heretical ‘Reform’ to Destroy You! They are agents of your eternal enemies, Ishmael, and Esau…

      • Jacob March 13, 2013, 3:23 AM

        Hashem will find a way to help His People fulfill the Shabot, with Faith, as
        in the Wilderness, a reminder of their Complete reliance upon Him, and a Full Day of observance…The other groups of the non Law abiding House Israels purpose is to assist in maintaining this faith For the children of the Faith…Absolutely True…All other places on Earth Are Hell, this is no accident, their own Patriarches are responsible for this, None other…

  • Modern Orthodox Chic December 6, 2011, 9:37 PM

    I found that non-frum employers were the biggest jerks when it came to leaving early for Shabbos or taking Sukkos off. My Irish Catholic boss would remind me that it was time to leave. My jewish bosses would ask if Shavuos is a real holiday. For complicated reasons, I attended public high school. I was the only shomer shabbos kid in the school. I am embarrased to say that many of the gentile students were more concerned about not engaging in loshen hora than my former frum classmates. They showed the upmost kindness about helping the disabled student get to his next class-every day. I am in touch with many of them and they grew up to be fine adults. Of course, troll anti semites attended the school, but thankfully they were vo-tech students so they had minimal contact with the rest of us.

  • Allen Roth October 8, 2012, 10:26 PM

    I see comments here that simply make my head spin…I grew up in a typical modern-Orthodox home, parents immigrants from Hungary (one Holocaust survivor). So of course, I never had non-Jewish friends. But somehow, deep-down, I knew even as a little boy, that we were the unusual ones, and gentiles were the majority (perhaps being unable to find ONE television program without Christmas in late-December was the hint). But when I read comments like, “I can fully understand why some folks might feel it wrong to be friends with non-Jews,” I squirm. I can see why it might be difficult to be friends, because if someone is observant, you must keep kosher, and there’s the Sabbath, but “wrong”?? And the comments about the “differences between Jews and Gentiles…” give me a break. Here you’ve got self-acknowledged Jews without Gentile friends, who are now generalizing about differences, with people they don’t really know at all. I left the Orthodox world, and I, too, have more Jewish friends than Gentiles. But I do indeed have some close Gentile friends. Boy, do you get an eye-opener when you have even one close Christian friend. I now know that there are NO differences whatsoever between Jews and Gentiles that are genuinely fundamental. For every Gentile that might dislike Jews, there is a Jew who dislikes Gentiles; for every Gentile who cuts corners ethically, there is a Jew who does the same; for every gentile who is a liberal Democrat, there is a conservative Jewish Republicam, and vice versa. The most important thing you learn with gentile friends is that there is indeed no difference between Jew and gentile. Why should there be? For every Jew that observes the Commandments, there is a Christian who is ethical because that’s what he was taught at home; for every Jew who is unscrupulous in business or otherwise, there is a gentile who does the same. That so many of you think that Jews might in any way be better–or even different–from Christians is simply astonishing. It demonstrates the insularity of your existence; the single most pernicious effect of the isolation from society that Orthodoxy mandates so frequently.
    I do recall a number of years ago, a story broke in the NY Times about a Hassidic drug ring, who imported cocaine from Columbia to New York, and laundered the funds through six Yeshiva accounts, usually as charitable donations. They actually owned a number of helicopters, used to transport the contraband. When this article appeared, I pointed it out to my mother, because we frequently discussed this topic of Jews-vs.-Gentiles. I said to her, “And the next Sabbath, these guys (who were named in the article, indicted) will appear in shul, with tallis “uber-kop” (enclothed over his head), as the “sheine-yidn” they undoubtedly masquerade as, because they are able to contribute large amounts to shul and yeshiva and hachnosas-kallah, etc. Jews frequently react to such articles, I believe, with the feeling “well, there are bound to be bad apples in every barrel,” as if it is obvious that MOST Jews are certainly not like THAT. This is what insularity breeds. These same Jews wouldn’t react that way when reading about a drug ring operated by Gentiles; it would not occur to them that the vast majority of gentiles are law-abiding and honest. It genuinely would be a good idea for every Jew to have a few gentile friends. And yes, it will occasionally happen that you get into an argument with a gentile friend about whether someone is anti-Semitic or not. It is a very enlightening experience the first time that happens, if you both are open honest and forthright. Certainly more enlightening than having the same discussion with another Jewish person.

  • Jacob March 13, 2013, 3:38 AM

    Such integration is easy in theory…I am Jewish by by father and mother, neither were practicing, both were subject to strong neurotic behavior and chemical addictions. Sure, and neither followed Kosher laws, or Shabot, yet there was always a powerful presence and viceral belief in Hash…m even if it be the most extreme ‘Reform’ aspect…As for me, I have completely abandoned such lifestyles as the Goyim, and, yes, all of my own family, (with the exeception of my own son,) express…Such separation is Absolutely Necessary for Sanity, and for physical health…’Wicked, unlawful behavior corrupts the righteous, lawful among us…’Those same wicked and unlawful peoples actually are recipients of blessings just having righteous, lawful Hash…ms people in their presence…Yet, this is true…Yet, this is fundementally Torah Law, and only the House of Israel, and tribes of Judah/Benjamin are eligable for such dispensation…All other tribes have their own blessings, yet autonomy is Not one of them, hence all other world Patriachs are tyrants to their own people, unless those of Hash…ms people decide that they will receive special dispensations, these dispensations are Always Negotiable.Separation of Hash…m Holy People, those Under the Law in Particular, is necessary for the benefit of them, and all tribes prosperity, and Very Existance.

  • susan March 17, 2013, 3:26 AM

    who are these frummies you speak of?
    `a goy apparently

  • Gentile June 19, 2013, 11:00 PM

    But you have no problem taking our MONEY do ya.

    • Alter Cocker June 20, 2013, 10:42 AM

      why would anyone have a problem taking your money?

  • Anonymous July 26, 2013, 12:34 PM

    Just weird this crisp is whispered into your ears
    At birth from your cloistered parents who put on the
    Fake accents to be more like the oy veys in the
    Mid East most of the women are just too fucking dumb to
    Know better looking like old bag women when in fact most are in their
    20’s I pity you all

  • Reuben November 9, 2013, 6:31 PM

    “I dont look at non-Jews as evil. I guess I just stick with my own.”

    Funny thing, when a non-Jew said this exact same thing in our office about Jews and sticking with his own kind instead, he was immediately condemned as an anti-Semite!

  • Moon November 28, 2013, 5:56 PM

    The parallels between your Jewish fundamentalism and Islamic fundamentalism amuse me. I cannot believe how insulated New York evidently is from the rest of the Country. Are you really even American and believe in equality and justice for ALL? If Muslims spoke such hyperbole with such fervor in the US they would probably be arrested and sent to Gitmo. (sigh) Most of your comments have only reinforced my apprehension about Judaism. Thank you for enlightening me on to just what extent Judaism is racist.

    • IMO December 6, 2013, 12:53 PM

      Yup most of them are bigots. Check out this book.
      http://www.bintjbeil.com/E/occupation/shahak.html

      And stay away from jewish doctors. They will ruin your life. So the answer to the universal question which came first the chicken or the egg is in that book-jews started hatred and discrimination against non jews first. So protect yourself from them.

  • IMO December 7, 2013, 2:13 AM

    I just wanted to say to that, funny thing is non jews have no laws to hurt jews. I would never want to hurt a jewish person and it makes me sad jews are taught not to help us. Isn’t life hard enough without that negativity? Life screws all of us so why screw each other? Anyway, just my opinion….

  • Just for the record... December 31, 2013, 9:54 PM

    I’m a “halfling” and I just wanted to make it clear that intermarriage can be very confusing for the children.

    I grew up around non-Jews with the “secret” knowledge that “I wasn’t really like them” and that somehow it was “forbidden” to dress exactly the same and to think exactly the same.

    I was actually naive enough to believe that “anti-semitism didn’t exist anymore”. I thought that the war was over and it was all Hippy-Love from here on in. Then I moved to France. Holy cow! The more things change the more they stay the same.

    Identifying as Jewish but not having a Jewish mother and then learning that you don’t have a Jewish soul can be quite upsetting. But, well, what can you do?

    I’m now trying to convert and I plan to advice my children against intermarriage, which doesn’t mean that you can’t “hang out” with non-Jews, or that all non-Jews are evil!

  • Zyklonbee March 15, 2014, 12:35 AM

    The world would be a better place if 6 million more of them are eradicated.

  • OJTruth May 31, 2014, 3:53 AM

    Silly religions

  • Philip Windsor March 20, 2016, 11:22 AM

    ‘none of my best friends are jewish!’

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