Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What on earth happened to me???? Where I was for the past 2.5 years

So...... how to begin....

It's been a while hasn't it? I haven't posted in over two years and all of my faithful readers are probably long gone. (Please understand that was a joke, I don't think I had any faithful readers... please tell me you see the pun there! Please!) Any way my life has really changed a lot since I've last posted. This blog is kind of like the Star Wars franchise I guess, with the whole long-awaited sequel thing happening.

1) I came to terms with some sort of religious understanding. Although I can't say I'm an ironclad believer, I have come to have an understanding of religion. It's about choice. In my opinion, you can't prove nor disprove the existence of a creator/god/diety/chuck norris (especially because if god can just make you want to have that choice so he can make anything appear in a way to potentially fool you). That being said, to me faith is about choosing what you want to believe. I made a choice to stay within the confines of Judaism. Not the radical    (I started writing this a while ago, clearly that didn't last very long)

 I got married! Yes I know, mazal tov mazal tov. The short story: While in college, I met a wonderful girl from a MO family. I didn't shidduch date or get pushed into it. We dated for quite a while (I must admit, we were not "shomer" oy very!), eventually got engaged, and finally married. Here is where we start to get to the issues: while we are not the world's most religious couple, religion is something that matters very much to my lovely wife. After I started dating her, my feelings about religion changed too. I was much more at ease about stuff knowing that not everyone is super in-the-box and that I could live in a religious home and be ok. She doesn't mind that I don't go to shul except on shabbos (most weeks). We keep the basic taharat hamishpachah rules, but not all the small stuff they say you can or can't do. We keep kosher. I have put on tallis and tefillin every day since I met her too.  I though that, seeing as I really don't mind this lifestyle at all, my lack of intellectual belief in the tenets wouldn't pose a problem for me.

Recently this has started to change. I find it harder and harder to go along with this stuff that I just don't believe in. I don't know what to do. My wife knows I have very interesting views on Jewish topics and I don't believe all the typical in the box thoughts. She does not know, however, of my lack of core internal belief in the tenets.

I don't know what to do. I wish I could be honest with her, I just don't know how she will react. A story that gives me hope is that one shabbos I accidentally turned off a light switch with my shoulder when I leaned against the wall. My wife wasn't happy about that cuz she (obviously) didn't want to sit in the dark all night. So she just came over and pushed the light back on with her shoulder. So she isn't exactly Ms Frummy of the Year.

Sigh... anyway I guess I'm back for now. I'll update more about my current situation later.

I'm Back... Back in the New York Groove....

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Novel beginning...very very very very rough draft.

OK so... this is the beginning of the very very very very very very rough draft of a fiction/inspired by my experiences novel I have started recently. I would like to know what you guys think. IN case you havent noticed...this is a rough draft.

I ran my hand through my hair for the hundredth time, still not used to having my head bare.
“You sure you wanna hit up this place?” I asked Rafi.
“Yeah. It looks pretty cool”.
I calmly handed the bouncer my friend’s brother’s I.D. He barely glanced at it, and let me through without a second look. I would have been totally freaking out had I been sober, but I was smart enough to stop off at a calm bar full of old people and drink some liquid courage (read: vodka) so that I wouldn’t back out. No, I wouldn’t have freaked about using the I.D., I’d done that a million times, it would have been the place we were entering that would have set me on edge.
To be honest, there are a thousand bars just like it in New York City. There really was no reason for me to be this amazed by a standard dive bar in the East Village. Every kid at every college around the world is at one of these bars every night. Why was I so amazed at a mob of drunk (supposedly) twenty somethings dancing to club music, playing beer pong, and doing all sorts of flirting? Oh yeah, because it was my first time in a bar.
Okay...that’s not technically true. I had been in bars before, but always wearing my impenetrable barrier: a yarmulka. I don’t know if the supreme alienating force I felt while wearing one was real or imagined, but it killed my self confidence enough to stop me from ever entering a place like this. It’s impossible to try and have fun while feeling more self conscience than anything else.
This also happened to be my first time going to a “college bar”. Any of the other bars I had been to were just places for drinking with some friends, like the old people bar from earlier that night. This place was different. It was dark and exciting. It was packed, and had a bit of a clubby vibe to it. I had never been in a place like this before. Girls were grinding on guys, guys were getting shot down trying to dance with girls, and waitresses in tight shirts were expertly navigating the crowd to bring food to people in booths. It was the kind of stuff I had only seen on TV. I felt liberated...I was doing something normal, something fun, something...goyish.
To think that a year ago I was still wearing white shirts to yeshiva everyday...
    One year earlier.

“I was just saying that they aren’t ---”
Urban Legend??? You DARE call a medrash an urban legend???”
Oh crap. I had really done it this time. Just when I was finally getting along with him too.
Learning with the Rosh Yeshiva as a chavrusa meant that I was constantly skating on thin ice. It could seem perfectly safe one minute, and the next thing you know you’re desperately looking around for help. When we just stuck to the gemara it really wasn’t too bad. Things got crazy when we would discuss anything else. Sometimes he was so normal that I forgot not to have my Rabbi defence barriers up, and I said what I was actually thinking. That was how I landed myself in situations like the one at hand.
Today’s culprit was the posuk that people say after shmoneh esrei to not forget their names when they die.
“Rebbi, all I meant was that you don’t really think that that’s supposed to mean literally remembering your name” I stammered, not really doing much to help my cause.
“Any why not?” He demanded “ The magen avrohom believed it! And the Gr”a! Are you trying to say your smarter than the Gr”a?”
That line was one of his favorites. There really was nothing to say that would make the situation any better. Anything I said now would just get him even angrier. Unless I apologized to...well I’m not really sure who I would even be apologizing to. I didn’t say anything that should have been insulting to him. Besides there’s no way in hell that I would ever say I’m sorry to a Rabbi...unless I hit him with a car or something.
Rabbi Ephraim Gottlieb gave me an intense stare as I just held my silence and stared right back. My parents always said that my insolent attitude would really come back to hurt me one day. They were probably right about that too, but I still didn’t care. I would never give him the satisfaction of just willing me into submission on account of his position.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

So chilled

I may be speaking too soon but I can't resist. I would just like to let you guys know how much calmer and more chiilled my life has been since I stopped going to yeshiva. I would just like to point out that I was not a tremendous hater of the yeshiva I was in, that can be seen in previous posts. All I want to say here is that I'm so much calmer now that I don't have the rosh yeshiva driving me crazy for coming late or missing seder. Of course I may just be more calm because the next semester didn't start yet...but hey I'm entitled to be an optimist once every million years.
( I typed this on my phone so please excuse any typos)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Have you ever noticed that people really tend to overthink things. Ok, that could just be me...and my family...and my friends...and everyone I've ever met. There are always times when I'm totally freaking out about something and then barely notice when it actually happens. This got totally driven in home after I stopped going to yeshiva.
     I'll admit it, I was pretty freaked out about it. As even keeled as I usually am, I was having a pretty tough time with this one. How was I going to react to not seeing my friends every day? It was a pretty scary thought. In the end, however, I realized that not much has really changed. The anticipation was so much bigger than what actually occurred.
     I had a similar thought process when I started college. I thought i was making this massive, life-changing decision. While that may be true, life didn't really feel all that different. Things just keep happening, I never really have the time to just slow down and observe the changing scenery.
     OK, I'm doing a horrible job of trying to explain what I mean here. It's more that you always overhype things in your own head and expect things to feel super new when you make a change. Life doesn't let you do that. It just keeps happening and feeling like your same old life.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

007 out of yeshiva

So this is it...I finally left yeshiva. In a striking departure from my past tendencies, I left due to scheduling conflicts and not because of an epic fight with the rosh yeshiva. I'm in the process of writing an extended post, should be up later this week. I still think I'm gonna keep the name though.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


I'm now on facebook! yay! Click on the FB badge to the right to see my profile. Don't expect much from that, never really got into the whole FB thing. Feel free to friend me or whatever (although do to the nature of this kind of blog I'm sure many of you would rather not)
Seeing as facebook has absolutely no spam, they would not let me use 007 as a first name. I had to go with JB instead.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Share Your Story

I was wondering if there are any readers who have either left the community or who want to leave the community who would like to share their stories. Can be as long or short as you want. I would be glad to post them and am really dying to hear how some of you guys are handling things.

Email me at