Tolerance means excusing the mistakes others make. Tact means not noticing them.
—  Arthur Schnitzler, Austrian author and dramatist. Schnitzler’s works were often controversial, both for their frank description of sexuality (in a letter to Schnitzler Sigmund Freud confessed “I have gained the impression that you have learned through intuition – although actually as a result of sensitive introspection – everything that I have had to unearth by laborious work on other persons”) and for their strong stand against anti-Semitism, represented by works such as his play Professor Bernhardi and his novel Der Weg ins Freie.  However, although Schnitzler was himself Jewish, Professor Bernhardi and Fräulein Else are among the few clearly identified Jewish protagonists in his work. Schnitzler died on 21 October 1931, in Vienna, of a brain hemorrhage.  (1862-1931)

If your “answer” to antisemitism is to tell Jews to stop being Jewish, you are entirely missing the point.

Jews should have the right to live Jewish lives, without fear of being oppressed or murdered by gentiles. You are asking Jews to give up their heritage, religion, ethnicity, and very identity to escape persecution they shouldn’t have to experience in the first place.

And it’s not like separating ourselves from our Jewish identities ever stopped gentiles from persecuting us anyways.

OK so I have:

- Intellectual belief in a benevolent, inscrutable God

I need:
- a connection between said God and Hashem; a link between the above and Judaism, and the Torah and halacha
- emotional belief in the above
- generally a more logical way of thinking (ignores how procrustean this is)

Better than I was nine days ago. Not as good as I need it to be.

Hands: Blessing, silver gelatin print by Leonard Nimoy, 1999.

Drawing from his childhood memories of synagogue services, the actor and photographer Leonard Nimoy depicts hands raised in the priestly blessing (birkat kohanim).

I keep reading that you shouldn’t learn about Judaism alone and that a big part of it is learning with others and being with other Jewish people, and that makes me nervous.

The college I’m attending is in a town with no synagogue (there’s a Messianic one and I think one that is no longer practicing?) and apparently there aren’t many Jewish students either. There used to be a Jewish student group but they stopped being active. The closest synagogue is an hour away, and an hour further from home at that. The rabbi that I talked to is an hour from my home now but it’s two hours from my college so I can’t keep seeing him.

I don’t mind driving an hour, but I also want to spend time at home on the weekends. I want to be a part of a synagogue and go to the torah studies and group things but I just can’t. All I can do is talk to rabbis electronically and read books.

I asked the rabbi I mentioned before and he said he would look into it but it makes me sad. I don’t want to be isolated.

The conversion begins

As a general overview of where I’m coming from, my parents didn’t raise me with a religion. With I have no problem with and actually appreciate(d) it, however I am now in the very beginning stages of starting to research about Judaism. I always said if I ever was a religion more than likely I would be jewish, mainly because I wholehearted believe Jesus was not our messiah nor the son of God. There’s no particular reason why I believe this so strongly, but I do. 

But anyway, I got my Torah, and I even bought this cheesy workbook I found at a thrift store for children called the Torah and you, and I figure I gotta start somewhere, even if its a dumb down version. Although this seems like a daunting task, its something I really want to do.

 My main issue is that I feel like converting to a religion from nothing is that all the knowledge I have about it what I’ve learn in Jesus Christ Superstar and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat (although my parents didn’t supply me with religious knowledge, musicals I got a wonderful education on). I feel like starting from nothing is like trying to be a US citizen, you’re tested on so much more and expected to know so much more than if you were just born into it.

But I here I go. If anyone does read this, and has any pointers or really anything they want to tell me, please do. 

hazeyacid asked:

Hi, how do you feel about converts? Ever since I was little I was always spiritual & growing up Christian I just didn't feel like "at home" if that makes sense. I started to read more about Judaism & I got really interested & felt super comfortable with it & believed. I searched for synagogues near me but honestly I'm scared to go because I am not Jewish & wouldn't be welcomed. I really feel in my heart that I want to convert but I don't know where to start. Any advice would

I personally think converts are wonderful. People who have lived outside of Judaism and find their way to it (whether through converting or BT) always have new and interesting insights. 

For me, I just sucked it up and went to my local chabad. But I also already identify as Jew and was 21 so it was easier to fit in as an adult and stuff. I will post this publicly so that other young converts can help you out :)

Kavanah

by Reb Gutman Locks  

  Kavanah
(Directing the Heart)

    I saw him walking back from reading the Shema at the Kotel. He wanted help taking off the tefillin. I quickly ran over and told him, “When you do a mitzvah it opens a door in Heaven. It’s as if Hashem is listening with both ears. Take advantage of this. Close your eyes and picture everyone you love one at a time with light on their faces and smiling and ask G-d to bless them. Ask Him for all the things that you need … to send you the right girl at the right time … and to make you smart enough to recognize her. Don’t forget to thank Him for all the good that He has given you. And pray for our soldiers … that Hashem should protect them. Talk to G-d. You’re not a tourist here; you’re a Jew coming home.”
    He stood there for well over ten minutes with his eyes closed doing what I told him to do. Even when someone bumped into him he didn’t open his eyes. When he finally finished he thanked me with tremendous appreciation. You could see that the experience touched him deeply.
    There are at least two things to learn from this. First, when you help someone do a mitzvah it is not enough for them to just do the physical mitzvah. Okay, so that is something, and they will get that much credit in Heaven for doing it, but doing just the physical mitzvah is unlikely to change their lives. For them to see a noticeable change in their lives you have to show them how to use kavanah, you have to show them how to direct their hearts. If you can get them to open their hearts and softly talk to G-d they will love doing the mitzvah and they will want to do it again. They will be practicing Chassidus.
    The second thing we can learn about helping others go through the gate that a mitzvah opens is to ask… are you taking advantage of it, too? Sometimes things become so automatic that we forget about the spiritual advantage a mitzvah gives us. When you do a mitzvah are you warming your life with awareness of Hashem by opening your heart and talking to Him intimately?

Antisemites are quick to spread the idea that Jews are incredibly wealthy people who have a great deal of social capital and wield a lot of control, and it’s darkly humorous to me at this point.

Being Jewish, for quite a lot of Jewish history, meant that you would live in poverty and oppression. You might get lucky and take a job that paid well but the gentiles wouldn’t take, circumstance might just be on your side, but for the most part, your opportunities would be severely limited.

Even today, Jewish poverty is a very real problem. In New York City alone, over 500,000 Jews live near or below the poverty line. Many of these Jews are Shoah/Holocaust survivors, and quite a few are fairly recent immigrants, frequently from Russia or the former Soviet Union. Poverty is also common within the Hasidic community. [x]

“Jewish” and “living in poverty” are not and have never been oxymorons. The truth is that Jews are not endowed with some sort of psychic force that draws material wealth to them, and in many cases, Jews are more likely to be poor than the general populace.

For people who say that antisemitism has been eradicated:

+ “Jewish girls aren’t pretty.”

+ “You’re going to burn in hell.”

+ “Why did your people murder Jesus?”

+ “So what do they do at Jewish camps? Teach you how to do taxes?”

+ My mother was called a “Jewish cunt” and “fucking Jew bitch” by an aggressive stranger on the street today.

+ Somebody carved a swastika into the sidewalk in front of my home when I was a little kid.

+ When I try to buy a Hannukah card for my parents, the only ones I can find (if any) are cards for holding checks/cash.

+ Stormfront. Jew Watch. National Alliance. Aryan Nations.

+ Israel. Enough said.

+ On March 19 of 2012, Mohamed Merah opened fire on a Jewish school in Tolouse, killing several paratroopers, a rabbi, and three children aged 3, 6, and 8. (link 1, link 2, link 3)

+ The Anti-Defamation League surveyed 53,100 people in over 100 countries regarding their views on Jewish people and common stereotypes about Jews. The results reflected that 26% of those surveyed (suggesting 1.09 billion people worldwide) harbor some degree of antisemitism.

There is SO much more I could add, but I’m exhausted.

Fellow Jews, feel free to reblog and add your own bullet points.

Goodnight, internet.