Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Blatant Lying = What?

How does blatant lying fit into Loshon Hora?

What does Lashon Hara say about the following: Last Sunday, someone blatantly lying to someone else, to her face, about a 3rd person? (#1 lied to #2 about #3 {#3 being me})

#1 to #2 (my friend): [#3] told me she moved to [suburb community] and is finally converting!

#2 was put into a corner, and didn't know what to do. And of course #1 said this in front of a small group of people. FAN-tastic (<--sarcasm)

I told #2 that I haven't spoken to #1 since November. Or sometime just after the High Holidays. At least. But still.

So there's *absolutely* NO way I personally told her I'm converting in my new community. I never see her or anyone there. It's a shlep to go for Shabbos, as I don't know anyone there who has extra space for me to stay over.

Anyhow, how can I sort this out, since I'm the one being spoken about? What am I allowed to do to rectify the situation?

PS: This is a toeles situation.

PPS: I was just getting comfortable with MY community and this similar situation. Now I have to deal with people in a community I never see?! Ugh!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Background On Me

Here some background about why I haven't converted yet.

Overseas it had been impossible to convert. Before I went overseas, I involved in intense language study at a major university, and the rabbis there didn't like me.

One in particular, made an announcement about me to the observant Jewish community there, to the Observant students I'd befriended at Hillel. I found this information out during the Spring term of my first year there (Spring 2008) (the situation started September 2007). I then found out *more* information my 2nd Rosh Hashanah there (2008) {this more information was as follows: my best friend at Hillel was the one whom the rabbi wanted to announce this info about me, and tell everyone not to be friends with me} . This rabbi (aka Rabbi #1) also called my undergrad rabbi (Rabbi #3) who then called me, who told me that Rabbi #1 didn't want me at his Shabbos table until I bring him CRC paperwork.

I don't think what I did was wrong, even now.

I think that Rabbi #1 thought that it was my goal to sleep around with the Jewish guys or whatever (which is completely not my goal now or ever; only until after I'm married[and that's a personal, secular choice I made before I began to be observant)].

Rabbi #2 is okay with me, kind of. He said I could go to his home for dinner, as long I didn't date anyone. Which he told me to my face.

Yes, I had hung out with an observant crowd at Hillel the Hillel, and I have guy friends from Hillel, who are fine with me. They don't mind only my dad being Jewish. The few I was close to thought Rabbi #1 was crazy, but there were more people, 2 others I have heard of -- I was friends with one while she was there (she had since graduated) - whom he asked (to her face, I think!) not to come to dinner. So, the only place I can go is Hillel, but the Hillel rabbi is great! She's totally fine with me and doesn't like what happened. She was the only one I could talk to about stuff when it was going on, and she knew about everything as it happened. Unlike myself, who was told about some of the information in this post years after the fact (for example, Fall 2009).

Before, during undergrad, I was around 3 kinds of Orthodoxy: Litvish, Chabad, and Modern Orthodox (<--Rabbi #3). I started going to shul more after my dog passed away, and then Shul hopped between the Litvish Yeshiva (Yup, a yeshiva on the lake! If you know anyone with sons who would want to go, here's the website: http://www.witsyeshiva.com/) and Rabbi #3. I know one of the WITS families, but I mainly stayed with Rabbi #3. As I was around the 2 groups more, I learned about Orthodoxy, and the customs that they follow that the others necessarily don't, but mainly Taharat Hamishpacha and the sheitel thing. The Rabbi #3's wife got a sheitel and it looks really nice! Before I moved away, she let me try it on and I *loved* wearing it! I thought I wanted to before, but now after trying one on, I'm *so* looking forward to wearing one! :-)

So, after 3 years in the Upper Midwest (2004-2007), I went to a party school in the "Lower Midwest" (known almost as much for the basketball team as for its diverse and specific academics {in certain circles, anyway})), where I stayed for 2 years (2007-2009) studying crazy languages, before moving overseas for graduate school (2009-2011).

I was accepted to graduate schools in Toronto and Glasgow, and decided to move to the UK.
The Glasgow community was very nice, even though I only went to Garnethill for the High Holidays (http://haruth.com/jw/JewsUKGarnethill.html). If you click the link, the shul really *does* look like that inside! :-D :-) Oh, and if you trek up to go there, you *will* feel it the next couple of days. It's at at the highest point on a hill; you'll walk up windy, inclined streets to actually reach the shul, but it's worth it. The security got to know me after a few weeks.

I also emailed the London Beis Din, to see if it would be possible to convert while in Scotland, which it isn't. Then I went to Hungary for the 2nd year, and now I'm back in the US!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me!


What I learned this Weekend

#1: A roller coaster of emotions is definitely possible in a 4 hour period

#2: People can surprise you; especially when you least expect it.

#3: My Pesach meals - for the entire week - are pretty much set

#4: Girls don't make Kiddush for themselves. Period. Regardless if you're Jewish or converting. That's what guys are for.

#5: I have really great friends

#6: I'm a pro at Pesach cleaning. I know what to do now, as I spent 10 hours at a friend's house yesterday helping her and her family clean, put stuff away, and bring Pesach-ware down.

#7: I have a stellar Shidduch reference, whenever that time comes

#8: Oatmeal is NOT ha-adama. It's mezonos.

#9: I know the Bracha hierarchy (Ha-motzi, mezonos, tree, ground, Shehakol)

#10: Don't assume - this goes both ways though! How can *I* not do this, but other people can?

Helpful links:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Clothing Rant

So...what's with the clothing adaptation?

I just got a bunch of Spring/Summer clothes for work and shul.

Then someone, a guy, told me that I may have to follow my community's norms. Which don't have much wiggle room, since there are the 60 plusers, all in sheitels, in older-lady clothing, and then you have the school-age girls (middle and high school), who are always in long-sleeves and long skirts when I see them on Shabbos, and then me.

I should add to this that there are no girls my age in my community. I mean, they *were* there a few months back, but I haven't seen any of them for about a month. Which brings me to my next thing: Can I be friends with the guys at shul I talk to on a regular basis? (Regular basis being at Shala Shoedas). #1 is engaged, #2 is Single, #3 likes one of the girls I haven't seen in a month, and I haven't seen #4 in about a month.

I mean, I spoke to 1 and 2 motzei Shabbos, but I'm fairly certain I can't randomly call them up to say, "Hey, let's grab a coffee!" or just hang out. And I'm fine with that. It's better to hang out with people in groups.

I'm kinda' stuck! I mean, all of the ladies I've met, and told I'm converting, have been wonderful. Fantastic even! But there's a *huge* gap between them (all of whom have children between 3 and 21, collectively) and their school-age girls, the 60+-ers, the young marrieds (of which there are only a few), and me. At least clothing wise.

The youngest married ladies are early-mid 20s to 30s, but they're married. And/or expecting. All of us have different jobs-slash-careers, so our clothing is different. And that everyone is not on the same place on the Orthodoxy spectrum.

How can I be expected to somewhat...what's the word...adhere to community standards if all of the above-mentioned women (women in their 40s, over 60s, 20s+30s, rabbi's wife, scientists, interpreters, me) dress differently (different skirt lengths, different sleeve lengths, different sheitel lengths, [if they wear a sheitel], different stockings, and if they wear skirts, even.

What am I supposed to do?

A few weeks back, when I met with the Gadol Hador, he told me what the Halacha is. So now, how do I spot the difference between Halacha, Minchag, and Chumra, in the community I'm in? I don't want to re-Frum-out only for shul. That wouldn't be me. And that would be a complete waste of my tax refund money. Since I spent it on Spring/Summer clothes as I have none.

Ugh, what a mess!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Mamish Pesach drama!

But is currently getting sorted, Baruch Hashem!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Reactions Take 1

So, since my LOR wanted me to tell families in the community that I'm converting, I've started, slowly, begrudgingly, to do just that.

Although, since the few I've told so far, they didn't seem fazed by it. And all were fine with it.

I figured that my real 'test' was to be this past Shabbos. See, before - well, over the past few weeks - when I've told the first bunch, who are those who invited me to meals first, they've been fine with it.

So this Shabbos, my plan was to tell this family (whom I was over to once, a few weeks ago, after lunch, to just hang out and chit chat), and have it be nonchalantly, should it (more often than not) come up over the course of conversation.

It didn't quite happen like that.

The head of the household said Kiddush, then proceeds to hand out the cups. Yeah...I know about the wine thing, even though I don't drink, but I wasn't sure if I could touch the K. cups...I pass them along, and then wait for conversations to die out, so the husband can go wash.

Note: I know I refer to the husband twice in the above sentences, but of the one time I was previously over, I spoke with him more than his wife.

Anyhow, I asked him if I could speak to him for a sec before washing, and he says sure (of course, a bit more formally since I don't really know him that well).

So, since I have no other option here, I just sorta' say, y'know, "I was hoping to have this come up in conversation, but I just wanted to tell you that I'm converting with the Gadol Hador."

Him, with amused look on his face: Okay. I know.

Me, completely bewildered-doing-a-double-take: You *know*? [Inside this is my reaction: :-o :-o]. Did Mrs. X tell you?

Him: No. She knows?

Me: Yes, I told her a couple weeks ago.

Him: So, when will you be finished?

Me: I don't know. Everyone's different.

Then we washed, and all of us had lunch, but I didn't see him again. HOW DID HE KNOW?


I *so* wanted to talk to him about it!

I mean, hey, I was calm, I didn't get upset. I was proud of myself for that.

But how did he know?

I'm stymied...

The next people I told live next to Mrs. X. They asked me, "Why are you converting? Do you know Hebrew? When will you be done?"

We had a nice conversation/dialogue about it. Which had more questions for me to ask the GH.

Now, had I been more comfortable talking about this 2 weeks ago, and not so freaking out so much about it, I would have done the following for a Purim costume:
Made a sign or something that says, "NO, I DON'T KNOW WHEN I'LL BE DONE. CALL GH WITH YOUR QUESTIONS.!!"

Maybe not all in caps, but you get the idea

PS: When I first arrived for lunch, a group of us were sitting around the kitchen table, and somehow -- oh, that's right, it was one of the ladies' birthday -- and so, we went around telling when our birthday's are. My turn. I said I should have been born around Thanksgiving. And then the whole preemi story came out. Came out before I told the husband I'm converting. So I'm sure his head is spinning with all he learned about me in the first hour I was over at his house.

2 quotes came to mind just before the weekend: "Resist is futile" and "Be aggressive, be be aggressive [a teeny bit]"

So, I have no idea what's gonna happen next with all of this. But I'll be prepared for it.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012