Thursday, December 16, 2010

Why am I still frum?

I've spent so much time slamming the frum community on this blog that it's probably starting to sound like the answer to my question of, "Am I a frum feminist?" is that I'm more feminist than frum. I admit that I have misgivings about the frum community and my place in it. Why, after all, would I want to be a part of a community that I see so many flaws in?

In short, if I have so many problems with the frum world, why am I still frum?

The answer came to me this past week when I attended the bris ceremony (aka circumcision party) of my friends' 8 day old son.

As I stood in the crowd of people waiting to partake in the ceremony, I thought, "Oh my G-d, this is so barbaric! Crowding around a tiny baby, waiting to do that to him while serving a huge meal to celebrate, and everyone's smiling and laughing with each other..."

Except the celebration and the joy was about bringing this tiny person into a covenant (the real translation of the word, "bris",) - into a bond - with G-d, turning this apparently barbaric ceremony into the greatest sign of loyalty and love to G-d.

In a world where the moral code is based on human understanding, circumcision absolutely is barbaric. But in a world where the moral code comes from G-d, it becomes a sign of devotion.

There's no hope in this world for a moral code based on human understanding. Think back to the Germans pre-World War II. Germany was the birthplace of the Enlightenment. They were considered the most cultured of people, studying the latest sciences and philosophies.

And yet with their sophistication and their philosophies about humanity, they managed to rationalize the most inhumane behavior mankind has ever seen.

Why am I still frum? Because in a world where morality is based on human understanding - in a world without a G-dly moral code, - we are doomed.

I believe in G-d because I know that humanity without G-d allows atrocities like the Holocaust to happen,

I'm frum because I believe in G-d, and all the downfalls of the frum community cannot discredit that belief.

Is the community flawed? Yes. But these flaws are ones made by us puny humans, not by G-d.

So I continue to follow the word of G-d in spite of the flaws in the community, just as I will continue to fight to fix those flaws.

I continue to be frum. I continue to be a feminist. And they needn't be mutually exclusive.

Note: For a thorough, and beautiful explanation on bris milah - circumcision - click here.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Quote Time

"Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity."

-Psychiatrist who refused Woodrow Wilson's request that he classify Alice Paul, a suffragette, as insane.

Ultimately, she helped win the fight to pass the 19th Amendment, giving women in the United States the right to vote. Aside from in Jewish community councils. Heaven knows I'd be thought insane if I challenged that norm.

It's on my to-do list.

(I haven't had a "Quote Time" in a while but I came across this one while reading an old post that I wrote and I thought it worth repeating.)