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Uncategorized December 5, 2011

The 5 Things I Wish All Orthodox People Knew

I was taken aback that my post on The Danger of Being Orthodox has, in two weeks, quickly climbed to being my third most widely read post since I began my blog back in July.  I’m not quite sure why that is, but the phenomenon, and its follow-up conversation that it engendered, What I’m Thinking When the Orthodox Make Headlines, have really got me thinking.  And I’ve decided to address this, then, to my fellow Orthodox men and women – of all stripes.

Hi guys.

So we’re all in this Ortho-boat together.  We have a lot in common.  And we also have our differences.  Sometimes enormous differences.  In fact, one could argue that the Jewish relationship to the world in general may parallel the relationship of the Orthodox to the Jewish community in general.  Another post for another day.  In any event, my specialty is public relations.  So communication is a must.  Here’s what you may already know.  Or maybe you know it but forget sometimes. Or maybe you have no idea.  I’d love to know which it is.  Ready?  Let’s go, in no particular order (but regular readers already knew that).

1. You are public.
You may be totally wired to the internet, or shun technology entirely (I personally have family members in both categories).  Either way, it is terribly important for you to know that, perhaps completely unbeknownst to you, your actions, decisions, insular school systems and social habits are being noted, observed and recorded.  Either by impartial journalists, judgmental bloggers, angry former Ortho-folk, or anyone.  Please don’t assume that anything you do is ever private.  Because it’s not.

2. Be a mensch.
Because you are Orthodox, people think you think you are better than others. You may truly think that, or you may not.  I don’t know.  But the best mitzvah/custom/spiritual rite you can perform is called “being a mensch.”  I did not make this up.  It’s all over our liturgy.  Also, everyone is looking for it.  “Those Orthodox… what good is it to keep kosher if you’re going to be rude on the airplane??”  When you keep the ritual stuff and aren’t a mensch, you make the ritual stuff look bad.  When you keep the ritual stuff and ARE a mensch, you make the ritual stuff look good.  It’s never been divisible, and now least of all.

3. Be proud of who you are.
Not proud as in arrogant or superior.  Proud as in take pleasure and joy in your different-ness.  There’s no need to be “just like everyone else.”  People truly respect those who live by their principles (as long as you’re a mensch…see #2).  Have a lot of kids?  Wear only skirts?  Need to do your praying?  Do it with joy, and unapologetically!  You do both yourself and your religion a disservice when you try to under-represent what you are.  It’s so awesomely cool to be Orthodox – and if you don’t feel that it is, that’s something to think about.  I have seen with my own eyes that proudly observant Jews garner respect (as long as you’re a mensch…see #2).

4. Keep learning.
Being brought up Ortho is not the end of the story.  You need a community, support, inspiration, and sources.  If you aren’t learning, you aren’t growing, and if you aren’t growing, you’re stagnating.  You don’t “arrive” till you reach the pearly gates – the journey keeps going.

5. Ask yourself if God is in your life.
This may sound ridiculously superfluous, but it’s not.  I’ve stated a number of times on this blog that being Orthodox does not equal having a relationship with God – and many times the folly of #2 lies precisely in this very area.  Do you talk to Him?  Do you ever ask yourself if He’s proud of you?  Do you feel His presence in good times and bad?  Do you think He loves you?  Do you love Him?  If it’s been awhile (or never) since these questions have been thought about, or better yet, talked about, there’s a problem.  You may be Orthodox, but what about being Jewish?

PS As a disclaimer, because I know the above can sound kind of preachy, I’d like to acknowledge the obvious.  I am a regular girl, far from perfect.  I am hyper-cognizant of the above, not because I am a superior specimen of Orthodoxy, but simply for three reasons:

One, I am married to an incredible human being, who is my teacher in so many things, and especially the above five.  And mostly, in the hugely important #2.  For that, I will forever be humbled and grateful.

Two, my experience in Jewish education and Jewish unity over the past 13 years have taught me a thing or two.  I’ve tried to learn from my own mistakes and from those of others.

And three, my parents, my siblings, my upbringing, and my schooling have given me such awareness in all of the above.  There is not enough gratitude in the world for the priceless gifts they have given me.

And finally, I’d love to hear from you.  What are your thoughts of the five?  What might your list look like?

Uncategorized November 24, 2011

I Pray

Lots of people associate Judaism with synagogues, and synagogues with prayer.  But some of the most important praying that I do has nothing to do with a synagogue.

See, Jewish prayer breaks down into three categories:

  1. Formal praying done at synagogue, with a minyan*, in Hebrew
  2. Formal praying done elsewhere, without a minyan, in Hebrew
  3. Spontaneous, organic praying, in English or any language

*A minyan is a when 10 adult Jewish men join together for prayer or other religious services.  10 is the tipping point where they are considered a community.  

Formal praying is done with a siddur (prayerbook) in Hebrew, at the following designated times.

Shacharit – the morning service.  Done from sunrise till midday.  Midday is determined by taking the daylight hours and finding the midpoint, so it changes somewhat each day.  Takes about 45 minutes.
Mincha – the afternoon service.  Done from midday till sunset.  Takes about 10 minutes.
Maariv – the evening service.  Done from nightfall till just before sunrise.  Takes about 10 minutes.

There is a certain advantage to praying with a minyan, and certain advantages to praying in a synagogue, even where there is no minyan.  Spiritually speaking, the very walls absorb the holiness of the services that have taken place there.  There’s also an advantage to praying in Hebrew – the words are kabbalistically arranged, for the biggest punch (so to speak).  And even if you don’t make it to synagogue very often, there is a decided advantage to using the words in the siddur, that were selected by prophets, scholars, and mystics, to unlock to gates of prayer in ways that we don’t even understand.

But my focus here is going to be on spontaneous, organic prayer.  For me, the formal praying feels very important, as it’s my anchor in a crazy day to stop and access ancient wisdom; to tie myself to the spirituality of yesteryear and add my link to the chain in a millenia-long conversation with God.  And the organic prayer – that’s my handwritten love note to God that I made up all by myself.

Here’s what it might sound like:

(Note: when talking to God organically, I use the Hebrew word “Hashem” to refer to God.  It means, literally, “the name” and is a way of referencing God respectfully without actually invoking a holy name – which is used in formal prayer only.)

(As carpool drives off) Hashem, please let my kids have a good day at school today.  Please let them learn well and have positive interactions and associations with their friends.

(As I drive to a class) Hashem, please let this go well.  Please give me eloquence and wisdom, and allow me to always remember that all successes in life are thanks to you.  Thank you for allowing me to be involved in learning and teaching.

(As I look for a parking spot) Hashem, please let me find a spot!  Thank you!!

(As I hang up the phone with a friend who is struggling with something) Hashem, please help my friend to find her way.  It’s so hard for her.  Please bless her with clarity and strength.

(As I notice that the cop behind me is actually following someone else) Thank you Hashem!  I really, really appreciate that!

I find that it is these conversations, sprinkled throughout my day, that deeply forge my relationship to God – in a way that when something truly significant happens… we’re in touch.  And sometimes, days go by where I forget to talk to God that way.

And then, I remember again, and it’s a reunion.

Is prayer foreign to you?  Do you relate more to formal or spontaneous prayer?

Uncategorized November 21, 2011

What I’m Thinking When The Orthodox Make Headlines

A very thoughtful reader, alias “Should Be Working,” a self-described Reform Jew, posted the following incredibly respectful thought on my blog last week about The Danger of Being Orthodox.

“I want to take a risk here and ask a question in ‘outsider mode’, since I’m an outsider to Orthodox Judaism. This blog is one of the very few experiences I’ve had of feeling (not just seeing) the ‘inside’ of your Orthodox lives (in all the variations I’ve learned about here, thanks for all that insight into the differences), and also seen that warmth and caring and humility.

So my risky question is what it feels like from the ‘inside’ of Orthodoxy when you read about Orthodox Jews doing things that do not reflect love and joy with respect to those not in their communities–for instance in Jerusalem Orthodox Jews have spit on Christian clergy. Joy and love for one’s ‘own’ is a beautiful and admirable thing, but when you read ‘bad news’ or at least unflattering news, does it make you wish that other Orthodox people would behave more civilly and respectfully to ‘outsiders’? Does it make you feel like those people are wrong and the exception, or that they are just misunderstood, or that they have failed in responsibilities to what someone (Larry?) recently here described (don’t have the Hebrew term in my head) as representing the Jewish people in a positive light?

Such news reports, to be honest, do alienate me from Orthodox Judaism, but I want to hear from this thoughtful, positive-minded group what you think about such acts. I am, again, asking this with respect, and especially for Ruchi in creating this blog–because I can’t think of any other venue where I could actually ask Orthodox Jews how they view such incidents. (I suppose I could show up at Chabad or something and ask there, but the openness I’ve seen on this blog makes asking the question here easier.) “

A few of my other readers gave some good responses, and I’d like to add a fuller treatment of the question: it’s an important one.  Before I answer the actual question, though, I need to put forth a few general concepts.


The first thing that most Orthodox Jews will tell you  is, “Don’t judge Judaism by the Jews.”  This is a cute line, and a nice way to sidestep our co-denominationalists’ disgusting behavior, but it’s just not satisfactory.  Can you say “don’t judge New York by New Yorkers”?  Don’t judge Islam by Muslims?  Don’t judge yoga by yogis?  If, indeed, the system is an appropriate one, and a functional one, shouldn’t you, indeed, be able to judge Judaism by Jews??  That’s just not good enough, while true.  To some degree, you can’t judge ALL of New York by SOME New Yorkers… but to completely sidestep that degree of accountability simply doesn’t sit right with me.  (I credit Rabbi Avraham Edelstein of Moreshet with clarity here.)

Therefore, we have to be able to judge Orthodoxy by MOST of the Orthodox. 


Item number two on the list: have you noticed that the vast majority of ugly news (Orthodox and non-Orthodox alike) comes out of Israel?  Why is this so?  Why is life there so fraught, so tense, so violent, so very, very on the edge of normal, polite behavior??  I just came back, and I lived there for five years, and oh, I love it so, but to be honest… it’s one of the reasons I simply could not live there.  Is it that Jews in Israel have to fight so hard, sweat so much, sacrifice so often, that simple manners become a luxury?  Is it that separation of church and state is a laughable Alice-in-Wonderland dreamworld there?  Is it that people live in such close proximity that “live-and-let-live” is for wimps?  Is it that Jerusalem has always been a place full of tension, a test of peace?  I don’t know, but it’s sad, and bad.  I don’t want to speak lashon hara (gossip) about the Land, my Land, the only Land I capitalize in respect and love, but man… it’s a tough place.


On the subject of lashon hara (gossip), it is important to distinguish between news, gossip, and opinion.  News is information that the public needs to know for a constructive purpose.  Gossip is information that the public does NOT need to know for a constructive purpose, but rather it’s to entertain or denigrate.  Opinion that is respectfully worded and deals with ideas is great.  Opinion that is personal and vindictive is lashon hara.  Not everything that is thought ought to be spoken; not everything that is spoken ought to be written; and not everything that is written ought to be published (Rabbi Y. Salanter).  I leave it to you, reader, to sort your reading material into its various categories.


This is my updated version of “don’t judge Judaism by the Jews.”  Instead of having Judaism and Jews live in silos, I view the Torah as the ultimately perfect ideal.  Everything in the Torah is beautiful and perfect.  No, that doesn’t always mean it all jives with the secular values of 2011, but it oughtn’t, because those will change.  Torah is immutable.  And I know some of you, my dear readers, interpret this in different ways, and I’m glad to discuss that one day.  But here’s my point:

To the extent that a person lives according to the Torah’s instructions, will his actions be beautiful, admirable, and noteworthy.

This, of course, transcends denomination.  It’s directly proportional.  This means if a person doesn’t even know he is Jewish, but is not a gossiper, that person is living in accordance with Torah teaching in this area of his life, and this area of his life will be beautiful and special.  If a person gives tzedaka (charity) – his actions in this area are beautiful.  If a person observes Shabbat, accepts suffering with serenity and faith, smiles at a stranger on the street, bends down to retrieve someone else’s trash, prays for clarity instead of getting angry… these are all ways to behave in accordance with the Torah.

Which means that when a person behaves in way that is ugly, illegal, rude, embarrassing, or hurtful, he is NOT acting according to the Torah in that area of his life.  He may be acting according to the Torah in OTHER areas of his life (Shabbat, kosher), so those parts of his life are beautiful, but the icky stuff is in trangression of Torah.

As well, the obvious Orthodoxy in the garb and external observance just complicates the issue, because now the bad behavior is not just in direct contradiction to Torah, but makes it seem as though “Orthodoxy” sanctions the bad behavior.  Double ick!

In short, when Orthodox people behave badly, that bad behavior is CONTRARY to Torah.  He’s acting that way despite his “Orthodoxy.”  If many Orthodox Jews (however you quantify that) act that way, you have a bad trend that must be addressed from the leadership.  On that note I will tell you that every lecture I attend and nearly every article I read in the “very Orthodox” circles are focused on how Orthodox people should and can improve themselves.  Introspection and upgrading our behavior, ESPECIALLY in the areas of interpersonal relationships (yes, with outsiders too) are at the top of the list.  In fact, the most Orthodox rabbi in the world (my designation), Rabbi AL Shteinman, may he live and be well, has said this publicly many, many times: always seek to upgrade your behaviors with other people.


Therefore, with all this information, here’s the chronology of my thoughts when bad news about the Ortho-Jews hits.

1. Denial
It’s not true.  It didn’t really happen.  That’s insane.  How could anyone seriously act that way??  OK, maybe it happened, but probably no one read it except for me.  How could anyone find this stuff??  The web is so big; maybe it got buried.

2. Anger
Anonymous (or not) Orthodox person, how could you do this to me???  To God?? Do you know how hard I try to be a good ambassador for Judaism?  Do you know how large is the gap that exists between fellow Jews??  Why are you making it worse, harder?  Don’t you  THINK before you ACT??  Journalist: why?  Why are you writing this?  Is this to denigrate, to sensationalize?  Are you happy you got people to smirk about how the supposedly-holier-than-thou Jews are finally revealed for what they really are: a bunch of no-goodniks?  ARRRR!

3. Bargaining
Let’s say this disgusting behavior really did happen.  It’s a crazy fringe group.  No one really takes them seriously.  You can’t possibly find any Rabbi who would sanction this.  None of this is in the Torah.  Torah is perfect.  There are so many Orthodox folks doing good; don’t they outweigh a few crazies?  Sure, their customs might be unfamiliar, their dress a bit different, their culture slightly divergent… so what?  I just have to work harder, blog faster, try harder to teach my kids that God wants us to behave with love, respect, and joy to all human beings… oy. 

4. Depression
I can’t.  Can’t read this stuff anymore.  Maybe I need to crawl under a rock and not read the news and DEFINITELY not read any blogs and unfollow a whole slew of people on Twitter.  I pretend I have such a thick skin, but I guess I’m kind of sensitive after all… It’s so upsetting, to try so hard, to know so well what Torah living is about, to shout from the rooftops how beautiful it can be… just to be thwarted by a bunch of bizarre crazies who make headlines and journalists who are gloating over the mound of charred hopes.  I go through my day like an automaton… have no zip…

5. Acceptance
“The work is not yours to finish; neither are you free to completely shirk it” (Ethics of the Fathers 2:21).  There will always be those, have always been those, that are a chillul hashem (disgrace to God’s Name with their bad behavior).  There is no way I’m going to change that.  What I can do, must do, is be a kiddush Hashem (elevation of God’s name with good behavior).  I can only do what is humanly possible.  I need to know enough to be productive, and that’s it.  I need to introspect and make sure no trace of bad behavior infects me.  I need to keep doing what I’m doing, reaching, teaching, learning, growing, parenting responsibly.  I need to to take things both more and less personally. 

“A little bit of light dispels a lot of darkness” (Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi).

Yes, readers.  These are, not coincidentally, the five stages of grief.  This is how I feel when I hear that an Orthodox person has publicly and badly failed in being a good Jew.  I grieve the Torah that was transgressed, I mourn the kiddush Hashem that was lost to us, and I wistfully miss the feeling that us Jews can indeed, be one family.  It’s hard to grieve so much.  But I care that much.  I love us that hard.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thanks for reading.

Uncategorized September 25, 2011

The K9 Hora Club

Fascinating how, no matter how secular a Jew may be, there are some things everyone knows.

Like, Jews don’t have baby showers.

Has your Jewish grandmother ever done odd things like spit when someone offers her beautiful grandbaby a compliment?  Or say stuff like, “poo poo poo!!”  Or tie a red string around the crib?

If so, congrats. You are part of the K9 Hora club.  And, uh, no relation to the “hora” that you dance at a bar mitzvah.

Let’s start with some ulpan.

The phrase K9 Hora actually stems from three words smushed together (is smushed a Yiddish word too?  When I was little I always thought “smorgasbord” and “farfetched” were Yiddish) – and I’d like to credit my source – a very cute kenohora article right here.  And just try to google kenohora – there about 613 ways to spell it.

Which is why I like my way: K9 Hora. It almost looks English.

So the three words are: kein, the Yiddish word for no or negating, ayin, Hebrew for eye, and hara, Hebrew for Evil.

What is an Evil Eye?  Are Jews superstitious??  Is God out to get us?  Why does Madonna wear a red string?

In order:
I’ll tell you.
And  on principle, I don’t speak for Madonna.

What’s an Evil Eye?
Jews generally earn the Divine Protection of G-d – by default.  Not necessarily because we earn it, but because He loves us.  However, there are some ways to invalidate this protection, and one of them is by flaunting our blessings in a way that makes others uncomfortable or envious.  In a way that is excessive.  Then G-d pulls out His ledgers and checks us out.  Audits us.  And may very well say: “Hey – if you don’t really deserve your blessings, but no one’s getting hurt… OK.  But if your being in-your-face with My gifts, I may have to retract them.”

So this is called the Evil Eye – of other people in our lives, viewing our gifts with a negative eye.  Now, if there’s anything smart Jews want to do, it’s protect their assets.  So us Jews have gone completely extreme with protecting ourselves from Evil Eye – in some interesting ways.

Like when someone compliments your beautiful granddaughter, to spit and say, “Ew!  She’s so ugly!” which is code for “Get your evil eyes far away from me!”

This is not really my way.

The Torah states that if you buy into being victim to this whole dynamic, you will, indeed become susceptible to it.  And if you don’t, if you trust G-d, act normal, don’t flaunt your blessings, and share your goodness with others, you will continue to merit G-d’s Divine Protection.

It’s might seem easier, though, to just omit the baby shower, hang up a hamsa, wear a red string.  But those are shortcuts – not accessing the real state of faith that offers protection from the Evil Eye.

By the way, this is also why some people won’t share news of a pregnancy till it’s obvious or say how many kids or grandkids they have, and why some will otherwise downplay their blessings.

Me, I prefer to say “Thank G-d.” It’s positive – and focuses on my gratitude.  With Divine assistance, this will be the protection I need.

Uncategorized September 19, 2011

Kabbalistic Emails

I have a problem with forwarded mushy emails that you have to scroll down pages of strangers’ email addresses to read.  Seriously, I can’t handle them.  Especially the ones that masquerade as Jewish.

I know that the people who forward them, and specifically, who forward them to me, have only the best intentions and most wonderful sense of spirit when doing so, and far be it from me to kill a spiritual moment, but I must set the record straight.

God is not walking through your house.

Probably nothing will happen in five minutes.

If you delete this email, nothing will happen to you.

And this is not based on kabbalah.

For good fortune, health, and the rest, whisper a prayer and try your best to put forth normal effort.

Thank you and have a nice day.

Uncategorized September 15, 2011

Is God a He, She, or It?

One of my readers, SavtaV, emailed me this:

Q.  Is Hashem a male? In Hebrew, it’s necessary to choose a gender, because all the adjectives and verbs require it. Not so in English – and without a body, it doesn’t make a lot of sense (to me) to choose – but I’ve noticed you always refer to “Him.” And what about the Shechinah?

A.  I’m hardly a Kabbalist, but since I consider it core and central to my life to continually cultivate my relationship to God, I have spent time thinking and learning about this question.

Hashem (God) is neither male nor female.  God contains both male and female attributes.  It is difficult to speak of these things, for two reasons:

1. No human can truly conceptualize God, as the whole concept transcends everything we know.  It transcends the five senses; it transcends time and space and science.  Can your mind truly conceive that numbers go on FOREVER?  Mine can’t.  Infinity is but one of the facets of God that are ultimately unknowable by humans.  That doesn’t prove their inability to exist – we all know infinity exists, yet we can’t draw it or truly know it.

2. As soon as you start talking about males and females, there are people that get uncomfortable.  As soon as I shall generalize in this post about traditionally “male” attributes and traditionally “female” attributes, some of you will get annoyed.  So sorry for that, but I’m going to do it anyway, because I still think that most of the males in this world more or less fit the prototype, and most females in the world more or less fit the prototype, while I acknowledge that many exceptions exist.

Typically male attributes include power and strength.  
Typically female attributes include insightfulness, the drive to nurture, and sympathy.

When God acts towards us in typically “male” ways, or when we pray to God in a way that evokes those attributes, we use male names.  When God acts in “female” ways, or when we want God to, we use female names.


1. “Elo-him” (I hyphenated the name so as not to take God’s name in vain, in the event someone prints and discards this post.)
This name means: God of power.  Its construction is male, and its meaning is classically male.  This is also the name of strict justice, as opposed to kindness/compassion.

2. There is a four-letter name of God that is so holy I can’t even write it.  We don’t pronounce it as its spelled, even in our prayers.  We pronounce it “Ado-nay” which means “my master” – but in true form it is a feminine name in its grammatical construction, and whenever used, refers to the attribute of compassion and mercy – typically feminine attributes.

3. Shechinah – God’s compassionate presence.  This is classically female in construction, and denotes care and love – feminine traits.

So in English, it would be most correct to say “it” since God is neither male nor female.  However, this is clumsy, and therefore not worth it for me.

Nevertheless in Hebrew, the pronoun used for God is, indeed, “he.”  This is because God’s overriding quality is that of power and strength over the whole world.  When we ask God for things, we say “You” in the masculine form, indicating that God possesses all the power and strength to give us these things.

(Btw, what’s so fascinating about THAT is that how many other languages are there where the pronoun “you” must be qualified as either male or female?  While many – most? – languages genderize nouns – with the interesting exception of English – very few – and I’m sure my readers will correct me if I’m wrong –  genderizes the “you” pronoun.  Why this is true is a whole ‘nother topic.  Just saying it’s not like it’s an inconvenient fact that a pronoun must be chosen – it’s deliberate.)

It’s also notable that EVERY noun in Hebrew is either male or female.  Is a table male?  Of course not, but on some deep level it contains a classically “male” purpose, and when you say “it [the table] is made of wood” in Hebrew, the true translation would be “he is made of wood.”  In fact, if you listen closely when Israelis speak English, they very often say “he” or “she” for objects instead of “it” (and not just for trucks or boats).

A much deeper and interesting discussion of the male and female attributes of God is here.

Would love to hear your (respectful) thoughts, insights, and input on this topic.

Uncategorized September 13, 2011

Top 10 Questions People Ask Me About My Judaism

I get asked a lot of interesting questions.  The most interesting part is how many recur – very few are original.  The questions I get asked are usually prefaced by a few common introductions, such as, “Can I ask you a really stupid question?”  “I hope you don’t mind my asking this, but…”  But I love questions.  Because they open the lines of communication.  And that makes me happy.  And when momma is happy, everybody be happy.

And here are the winners:

1. If God is all-powerful, why do bad things happen to good people?

Note:  this questions appears in various forms and may be hard to discern under the alias.  Like, why are bad things happening to me?  Am I being punished?  Am I truly that bad?

Answer: I do not answer this question unless it’s in person; I have time to transmit the ideas I’ve learned in full; and I know the people I am talking to and what their questions really are.

2. Is that your hair sticking out from under your hat?

Answer: if you see it, it’s not my hair.  It’s my wig!

3. How do you have time for everything?

Answer: I don’t.  But I will not compromise on my sleep (though I do suffer from insomnia) or on household help.  Also I really insist on my kids’ help in accepting responsibility around the house.  Also, my husband is an amazing help.  Also, I believe that God helps me because He wants me to succeed.

4. How do you remember all your kids’ birthdays and appointments and activities?

Answer: God gifted me with a good memory and an organized orientation.  Also, my Droid.

5. Do you guys speak Hebrew at home?

Answer: no, English is my first language and that’s what we speak at home.  Although I confess, it IS liberally sprinkled with Hebrew and Yiddish references.

Example: Come here!  Let me wash your henties (hands, Yiddish).  Oy!  You’re so cute I could just plotz (pass out, Yiddish)!!

6.  How do you have three teenagers?  You look so young.

Answer:  Can you ask me that again?  I didn’t hear you the first time.
Real answer: Exercise and good genes.
Real answer, for real: I am so young.  I got started young!

7.  Were you Orthodox your whole life?

Note: I always wonder here, what the “right” answer is.  Are people hoping to hear “yes” or “no”?  Do I present as an FFB or a BT?  Does it matter?

Answer: yup.  But that doesn’t make me a blind follower.  It’s always been important to me to ask tough questions and make intellectual sense of that with which I’ve been raised.  The more I probe, the more I love.

8. Are you Chassidic?

Answer: no.

9.  Are you Amish?

Answer: no.

10.  Are you Chabad?

Answer: no.

Note: if you are Chassidic, Amish, or Chabad, I’d love to hear from you for a future post.

What questions have been posed to you about your Judaism?