Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Scream Out !!!


Months ago I used to disappear in the masses. When I came to a chassidic Tish, some chassidic women spoke to me because I asked some questions. That's it. Nothing further. Walking through the door, enjoying the Tish, occasionally asking some questions, leave. Nothing else.

But in the meantime, chassidic women start recognizing me. Especially some from the chassidic group of Toldot Aharon. Countless times I went to their Tishes and spoke to people. Recently I had long and rather intense conversations with some of their women at a Tish. And don't even ask to how many different women I spoke when I went to Rebbe David Kahn's grandsons wedding. Additionally I went to their Shacharit prayer on Shabbat. So, of course, people start recognizing me and last Shabbat, right after Shacharit, another woman started talking to me who later turned out to be a family member of one of the most distinguished rabbis in Chassidut Toldot Aharon.

Two things have been bothering me lately.
The first thing is that during the week I mostly wear pants.
So, what if someone of the Chassidim recognize me ?

In Jerusalem, and I suppose anywhere else in haredi society as well, you are being judged by your clothes. A woman wears a skirt and long sleeves. That's it and there is no further discussion about it. If she does go out in pants, then she is secular. She must be secular because otherwise she wouldn't do so.
And here we come to a point which really bothers me. However, I can complain as much as I like, there is no way of changing anyone's opinion. This I know very well. Too well.

Not that I am constantly walking through haredi areas and putting myself into the danger of being seen. However, once a week, I do have to pass Ge'ulah and there is no way around. Maybe I could walk through Bar Ilan Street but this would be too far off.

Every Tuesday at about 8.15pm, I walk through Strauss Street down Yechezkel. Rabbi Mordechai Machlis in the Maalot Dafna neighbourhood gives a Shiur. And every Tuesday night, walking through Ge'ulah in pants turns out to be Gehinnom. Wherever I go, I have to watch out if I know someone. Two weeks ago I was standing at a red light at Kikar Shabbat and right across stood a Toldot Aharon woman I know. I immediately recognized her because she just looks like one of my aunts. She was busy talking to some girls and didn't see me. And I was busy hiding. Last night, almost the same happened.
I feel like everyone is staring at me.

You could say that before I go, I should change my clothes. What's the big deal ?

The only thing is that I am not coming from home but from somewhere else and thus don't get changed.

You could claim that it is high time for me to make up my mind and decide what I want. I have messed around enough and should pull myself together and get ready for some kind of a return into the haredi world.

Yes, that's true, but at the moment, I am somehow unable of pulling myself anywhere. And I have no idea why.
It might be fear of doing the same mistakes as before and eventually ending up in a new terrible crisis.

You could also claim that I could still change my clothes at the place where I come from. Don't they have a restroom or something ?

Yes, and this claim I accept and will handle it just like this next Tuesday.

So far, I solved the Tuesday issue. At least temporarily.

Another thing bothering me very much is that I haven't told the Toldot Aharon that I write on the Internet. I have told anyone else: Karlin - Stolin, Dushinsky, Vishnitz, Belz, Gur, with Kretchnif I am on a serious way and Toldot Avraham Yitzchak (one member). Actually I am planning much more with Toldot Avraham Yitzchak.

However, so far it has never turned out with any Toldot Aharon woman, informing them of what I am doing. There hasn't just been a perfect opportunity yet. Sometimes I was about to tell but at the last moment, I simply couldn't say anything.

Other Chassidim and some friends of mine said that I just have to wait for the right opportunity and this is what I have been doing so far. However, any time I go there, I feel like I am exploding.
I really want them to know because I am not the type of playing games with them or anyone else.


For anyone of you not being familiar with Jerusalem:
The Maalot Dafna neighbourhood is right behind Ge'ulah / Mea Shearim.


  1. B"H

    Hi Simple Jew,

    I liked the article.
    It is very true that we all stick to our little chiclets and as soon as someone is trying to take them away fom us, we are afraid to loose our personal freedom.

    I think in order to change, you have to have a strong desire to change. The woman in your story didn't really have that.:-)

    When I was still in haredi society, I sometimes felt like in prison. I only thought about what is right and wrong (according to Halacha), and I pushed my whole creativity away. Ten years ago society was like this whereas today society has a bit opened up.
    I am probably thinking too much about loosing all my little chiclets and therefore, I am still unable to move into any direction.