Thursday, February 11, 2010

Left Behind

My universe has shrunken. It happened gradually, without me noticing.

Parties, trips, Shabbatons with friends, all are distant memories. Shopping in the mall, praying at the Kotel, I do them alone, now.

Theoretically, I do have friends. There is even one hour each day, a sixty minute gap before their husbands get home from Kollel, when I can actually see them. The rest of the time, they are "phone friends". Great for giving as references, ever ready to gush about how close we are, but not much use for my social life.

"I don't need new friends," I tell myself. "I just need to get married, and I'll be back on the sane terrain as them."

But I've been saying that line for a few years now. It's not enough, any more.
I want a world, I want to be part of society again.

I try going to Shiurim, to the gym and the pool. To Melava Malkas and Kidduses. Everywhere I'm the only bare head, surrounded by scarves and Sheitels. No best friends in the making there. I learn to adjust my conversation to babies' sleep cycles, and the best strollers. Films and shows are of no interest, because who can find a babysitter, anyway?

I've discovered a place, a society, where I can belong. Where I don't need to make excuses. I sit at the wide wooden table. Around me are women my age. There is one scarf, that's it. The rest have long hair, flowing down their backs. It feels so good. I fit in. I'm normal once more. I lean back and listen to the Shiur.

But there's one problem. There are men there too. It's a hang out scene. It's modern, it's mixed. I shouldn't be there.

"The longer a girl stays single, the more modern she becomes." someone once told me. With a boy it's the opposite, he stays in Yeshiva, he becomes Frummer, Shtarker. But the girls are out in the world, and it affects them."

I didn't understand her, didn't want to believe her. "That won't happen to me", I swore. "I'm not going to change. I'm Frum."

And indeed I was. I kept it all. I believed in it too.

But it wasn't enough to stay the same. I should have moved on, to the next stage.

I've lost my place, and am yet to find a new one. And my society, Chareidi society, has no answers. It's not that single girls leave the Chareidi world, it's that society leaves them, leaves them behind. And so they look elsewhere. Maybe I should, too.

17 comments:

  1. it is so true - "it's that society leaves them, leaves them behind. And so they look elsewhere."

    though it is unrealistic to expect that society would follow an individual, thus the individual needs to adapt to survive. There are many women's clubs catering to all sorts of interests in Jerusalem listed on the Community Bulletin.

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  2. There is a continuum from LWMO, through MO, through RWMO, Yeshivish, LW Charedi, all the way to RW Charedi. You are lucky because the differences as you move one way or another generally aren't all that stark, and you could easily fit in one or two notches in either direction. Widening your audience also means a better chance of finding someone!

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  3. You will be married by the 9th of Elul this year.

    Any questions?

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  4. I cried as I read this. It's a struggle many of us can relate to.
    Thank you for expressing it.

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  5. You're going to get so modern you will start wearing pants under your skirt and wanting to date guys who learnt in gush.

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  6. This is absolutely true. I had someone ask me why single girls tend to get more modern (after telling me that she set up a friend with a guy who rejected her bec. she was "too modern"). I tried explaining to her that when you end up on the fringes of a society you see the flaws/feel somewhat excluded. Also, after awhile it just isn't enough anymore to keep you going. You can work year after year after year at your 9 to 5 job, but if you don't have a center to your life, it's too hard to stay in that rigidness without any outlet.
    I don't know that the guys stay so frum, though. In their early to mid twenties, maybe.

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  7. Why don't you try out "מעלה"?

    They have shiurim , shabbatons, and events for single girls.

    I can't find their number (and they are not online!) but it's located in Jerusalem .

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  8. Thanks Kasay, that's sweet of you. But I wrote a post on events for single girls. I'll post it tonight.

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  9. I go to Ma'alah's shiurim--I never felt like it was a support group for singles. I felt like everyone is going on with their lives, working, dating, doing whatever it is that they do--but once a week, they take a break from all that and get together for a shiur or two. I don't see it as dwelling on being single or "stepping back to my school days". Even married women go to shiurim every now and then to get some chiZuk and the fact that this is only for single women doesn't mean that it's all about that.

    How many times have you gone? Have you ever gone on their Shabbatonim?

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  10. Ok I take it back. I went 3 or 4 times, and I felt like I was being spoken down to. Maybe I'll try again. Maybe I just prefer the moden orthodox scene because there are guys there, which does make it more interesting ;)

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  11. Maybe the prophet would like to tell me my wedding date, as well?

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  12. a (little less confident) prophetFebruary 15, 2010 at 9:34 AM

    4 years, 4 months and 4 days from today: 21st Sivan 5774

    You might think it is coming sooner than that, but the date will be postponed to the one above.

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  13. PLEASSEE don't curse me, we've already waited nearly a year..... :(

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  14. If you want to check my credentials, then keep an eye on the calendar and the news: I get the feeling there might be an assassination attempt on Obama on the 21st of June. He'll pass away the following day in hospital.

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  15. ... sorry, the 20th of June. He'll pass away on the 21st.

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  16. Eliyahoo William Dwek.

    Any man who chooses to be a ‘rabbi’ (‘true teacher’ of Torah) or a ‘dayan’ (‘judge’), or a ‘mekubal’ (‘kabbalist’) should be doing so Voluntarily. Out of his pure love for Hashem and the Torah. And his Ahavat Yisrael.

    If he refuses to do community work voluntarily, and wants and accepts payment for everything he does, such a man should not be leading a community. He should get a job and earn a living. He can collect milk bottles or clean the windows. That is what is called ‘earning a living’.

    Torah is learned, studied and taught: out of Love. Voluntarily. But the ‘rabbis’ have turned the Torah into their ‘Profession’, from which they earn money.

    We are commanded in the Shema to:

    ‘LOVE Hashem, your G-d, WITH ALL YOUR HEART, and with all your soul and with all your might.’

    ‘VE’AHAVTA et Hashem Elokecha BECHOL LEVAVECHA uvechol nafshecha uvechol meodecha.’ (Devarim, Vaethanan, 6:4-5)

    Is the ordinary man or woman PAID to pray to Hashem, or to say some words of Torah? No. Has veshalom! But the rabbis are. These men can give ‘lovely’ shiurim that they have rehearsed. But they would not give a shiur without being paid for it.

    The true hachamim and rabbis of old, all actually worked at proper jobs and professions.

    Wake up! Even a little child could have worked this out. These salaried men can never truly stand for the Torah, because in a case of conflict between a correct course of action according to the Torah, and the rabbi or rav’s pocket – his pocket and position will always prevail.

    Pirkei Avot: (2:2)
    “Raban Gamliel beno shel Rabi Yehuda HaNassi omer: yafeh talmud Torah im derech eretz, sheyegiat shenaihem mashkachat avon. Vechol Torah she’ein imah melacha sofa betailah ve’goreret avon. Vechol haoskim im hatzibbur yiheyu imahem leShem Shamayim……”

    “Rabban Gamliel, the son of Rabi Yehuda HaNassi, said: It is good to combine Torah study with a worldly occupation, for working at them both drives sin from the mind. All Torah without an occupation will in the end fail and lead to sin. And let all who work for the community do so for the sake of Heaven………”

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