Tuesday, June 23, 2009

today's wtf moment

I was sitting on the train on my way home from work today (yup! actually got a seat!), just minding my own beeswax (or pretending to - come on, as though you don't also stare at your fellow MTA users). I noticed these two cute guys talking, both dressed rather smartly in suits, both sans skullcaps.

Ok, so definitely not Potentials, but who doesn't like some sweet eye candy when you're seated next to a sweaty homeless dude. So I couldn't help but listen to their convo, and when I heard the word 'Rebbe' drop, my Jewish ears just naturally perked up.

Turned out that Guy A was actually a yid. He was telling Guy B tales from his yeshiva days, when his Rebbes would smack him around, and in his words, subject him to both physical and emotional abuse. They would tell him how he would never amount to anything. They would tie him up like a dog. They would slap his hands with rulers. And this guy looked to be about my age - so we're not talking 1932 here - that's if this actually did happen. (is it still Lashon Harah if I make that disclaimer?)

Guy A also talked about about how a number of his friends went OTD (if you don't know what that means, we can't be friends. Or just click here). How their Rebbes caused them to have such horrible opinions about frumkeit. How it's such a miracle that one of his friends, who particularly suffered in school, is still religious.

I kind of felt bad for this kid. I still kinda do.

Eventually, Guy B (the non-Yid) got off the train. Then we got closer to Flatbush. That's when Guy A pulls out his black velvet yarmulke.

WTF.

26 comments:

fakewood inc. said...

you have to respect the family. so the yarmulkah goes back on.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

I once saw a cool white couple on the train who looked like the Brooklyn Heights type, and the girl was very chic. Then the girl gets a phone call and starts telling her friend "No! Of course it's not OUD!" And talking about in how long Shabbat starts. ..there are a lot of cool, surprizingly Orthodox Jews in the NYC vicinity..

stam[azoid] said...

Wait how do you know B wasn't Jewish too? Especially if A used words like Rebbe....
And I agree about respecting the family or the Neighborhood you're in by dressing respectfully.
Think of non Jewish teachers in jewish schools who wear skirts or sleeves...

Off the Derech said...

Must be closet OTD...

Anonymous said...

At least it was a nice velvet one, and he's not one of those almost-frei srugie wearers!

Anonymous this time said...

I know of quite a few people, a number of whom are my close friends, who are exactly like this. People who are nominally (or at least publicly) frum, people who were beaten badly in yeshiva, people who are both. You'd be amazed how many people in the frum world are faking it to a large degree.

nameless, faceless said...

Why would we be surprised? I think the vast majority of Orthodox Jews are faking it and I was pretty sure that's common knowledge.

Anonymous this time said...

Oh please, don't be ridiculous. The vast majority of OJs are sincere. I know far more of the OTD underbelly than is typical, and while it's much larger than the mainstream realizes, it's nothing like what you say.

Ari said...

A few theories, none mutually exclusive:

1) He is externally observant for the sake of conformity or getting along with family / friends.

2) Truly observant, but doesn't wear head-gear at work . . . and, miraculously, hasn't rejected Judaism just because of some cruel educators .

3) He doesn't want his co-worker to know that he is still culturally or religiously observant

4) If he is "OTD," then he is a good illustration that people who do go OTD aren't necessarily societal-rejects, can live productive lives, and still be respectful of religion at the same time.

Maidel said...

would it change anything if I mentioned that he mentioned being married and having kids? (and that he sends his kids to frum schools?)

Anonymous this time said...

No. Because in fact, that's actually the most common case! Semi-OTDers are often married with kids because the ones that aren't just go fully OTD.

Anonymous said...

First, I want to say that I love your blog..Second, I also feel bad for Guy A. Maybe he doesn't want to appear "too religious at work" but feels the need to wear a yarumulke in his home commmunity. I have guy friends that wear baseball caps (when appropriate) to cover both ends of the spectrum.

Frayda said...

hysterical

Off the Derech said...

>Oh please, don't be ridiculous. The vast majority of OJs are sincere.

Suuure. Like there are no gays in Iran, Ahmadinejad. Suuure.

BTW, if you're so sure of your opinion, why on earth are you too afraid to use your name, "anon this time"?

>I think the vast majority of Orthodox Jews are faking it and I was pretty sure that's common knowledge.

It definitely is. But it's one of those poorly kept secrets. Part of the hypocrisy of fundamentalism. Doubts are never allowed in public. Conformity is the highest ideal. See Soviet Russia for a good historic example. Or modern day Afghanistan. Or worse. There's really not much difference.

lon said...

Before this degenerates into a "nuh uh" and "yuh huh" argument, just how do either of you know whether Jews are sincere or not? Can you read their minds?

Off the Derech said...

>Before this degenerates into a "nuh uh" and "yuh huh" argument, just how do either of you know whether Jews are sincere or not? Can you read their minds?

Okay, smartass. No one knows for sure. No one's allowed to say that OJs are sincere or not sincere. No one knows for sure. Unless you mean you can make up anything you want (as long as it's pro your religion) but you're forbidden from making any statement whatsoever--as long as it's anti your religion.

Maidel said...

when does 'faking it' end?

and what's the point?

it's not like you can't move out of the F-bush and do your own thing...

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Yeah, I mean, it's not like anybody's forcing them to be in the most Orthodox Jewish community in America. If their beliefs led them to a more "liberal" form of Orthodoxy, or to the conservative approach to Judaism why would they be living in Brooklyn in the first place? They could find some much more palleteable Jewish communities in the great "out of town" USA.

Off the Derech said...

>and what's the point? [of faking it]

For starters, you probably won't get called names like "Hitler" by the likes of Garnel. Also, there's a much smaller chance of breaking your parents' hearts.

Ari said...

He may be compartmentalizing his public and private lives (or at least its outer manifestations, like a yarmulka), which lots of observant Jews do.

He may, privately, be on the less observant side if his theological outlook changed after he got married, probably at a young age. Now that he has a wife and kids who are now invested in the orthodox lifestyle, and he may not feel it right to take them away from it, or away from their relatives in Flatbush.

Lots of possibilities.

Anonymous said...

Y'all are retarded.

There could be several reasons why Guy-A wasn't wearing a keepah... many of them valid.

Here is one real example that happened not long ago. True story.

- Frum lakewood bachor got married, moved out to his wife's home town. Enters lawschool, gets a summer internship for a prestigious law firm this summer. Does not wear his keepah at work, little does he know there's a frum maidel who also is interning in the same office. They are the only frum people working in the firm. Didn't take long for them to figure out the other is frum.. just a few company lunch outings to discover the other is kosher. (I don't even think the guy told his wife he doesn't wear the keepah).

Reasons for not wearing keepah:

1. Insecurity.
Sometimes frum people don't wear keepahs at work because coming from a strict jewish background it is intimidating to join the goyish world.. especially where there are few or no other frum people. Especially living outside of New York where it isn't as common to see frumsters in the work force.

2. Misconception that showing strong religious observance at work could possible inhibit promotions or future opportunities.

3. Cause for conflict. Showing your religious jewish identity can sometimes target you for anti-Semitism. Especially with people who are very politically charged...

4. Lack of education. The frummer your background is, the less education you receive on being a proud jew, and how to be a proud jew. This idea ties into all the above. Sure we're taught halochos and that we should love everybit of it and enjoy being frum.. but never do they teach yeshiva bachors how to properly explain our crazy religion in a practical and normal/healthy way which won't sound crazy and scare people.

Honestly when was the last time you tried to explain to someone why you keep kosher, or keep shomer negia(for those that keep it), or why we blow the shofar during elul zman... (to scare the satan away, right??!)

Anonymous said...

Ok, the guy does work in Manhattan, so ok less reason to take his keepah off at work, my arguments less valid..

but seriously... dans l'chaf zechus people.

Anonymous said...

I am a Conservative/masorti Jew, in my "real life" I only wear a kippah in shul or when making a bracha (and I am uneven in making required brachos)

When I am in Boro Park or Will'burg visiting my inlaws, I wear a kippah all the time. I do not wear it when I leave the neighborhood, I am not comfortable and feel Maratz Ayin (sp?) Not that C/Masorti cant wear kippot all the time, but Im not even shomer shabbat.

I do believe in having respect for my family, though.

I also have respect for people in all different stages of jewish spiritual struggle.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Anonymous: "Maratz Ayin (sp?)"- More like "mar'it ha'ayin". American Ashkenazi Lithuanian pronounciation would render it more like "muris ayin", like you said.

Anonymous said...

@ chriqui...

"Anonymous: "Maratz Ayin (sp?)"- More like "mar'it ha'ayin". American Ashkenazi Lithuanian pronounciation would render it more like "muris ayin", like you said."

dont hate on J-Dub lingo! salaam bro

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

haha. ..I'll hate what I want!