Letters to the editor: shomer negiah

Every once in a while I publish hate mail I receive, but rarely do I publish the fan mail – which thank the Lord beats out the hate mail by at least 20 to 1. I kind of feel like I should start publishing my own “readers write” or “letters to the editor” section every once in a while and when I return next week from vacation may see if I can dig up some old goodies in my inbox so you could see the interesting stuff I receive on a daily basis. Names and places will be changed to protect the innocent.

Received on Facebook:

I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now and always thought it was equal parts brilliant and hilarious, but I also believe its a huge mitzvah, which is why I wanted to msg you. I am a patrilineal “half Jew” and after identifying as Jewish my entire life but struggling with the fact that I really wasn’t, made the decision to convert. I stumbled on your blog around the time I was researching Orthodox Judaism but having since become more committed, Frum Satire has turned into a lot more than an entertaining read but also a serious source of comfort.

The number one absolute biggest hurdle for me is shomer negiah. I’m sure you’re very surprised to hear this… 😛 I am not an exhibitionist or someone who has this need to constantly touch people, but I have a few very close male friends who I have grown up with and are like brothers. The thought of not being able to hug them is so depressing, I can’t even think about it. Sometimes I even think, screw it, its not worth it, I’ll just keep doing the secular “cultural Jew” thing, as void and unfulfilling as that is. But I keep being tugged back to Torah Judaism because I truly believe that its right.

Your blog posts about shomer negiah and how completely observant people struggle with it has helped me in more ways that I can say. One of my biggest fears as someone who is converting is having to “give up” people from my secular life, and I am constantly racking my brain to think of ways to be Torah observant but also plugged in to the real world, as I believe you have done. It is discouraging sometimes because I get the impression that Orthodox Judaism is “black and white”, without any grey area. You’re either completely frum, or completely not. I guess this is more true with converts — it makes sense that rabbis would want to make sure that you’re serious, and willing to accept the whole package.

However, your blog has shown me there is in fact a very large grey space in Orthodox Judaism, even though I have doubted its existence so many time. Your blog is a permanent member of my bookmark collection, so whenever I find myself worrying about grey areas, I can check in with Frum Satire! Seriously, I can’t tell you how comforting it is to read that there are other people who struggle so much with shomer negiah in spite of their sincere intentions to live a Torah lifestyle. I don’t really know what else to say except thank you a hundred times. I will be returning to your blog for innumerable visits as I continue with my conversion.

KEEP DOING WHAT YOU’RE DOING!

And thank you so much again.

Kol HaKavod! -Anonymous