Get With the Program

Posted: June 2, 2010 in Life Musings
Tags: , , , ,

I just spent the weekend at a friends beach house along with his girlfriend. His whole extended family were in and out the whole time. Mostly the grill ran constantly and the beer tap on the counter flowed pretty freely. We sat around talking and basically relaxing from our everyday lives. We spent hours on the beach maybe 15 people all just enjoying the weekend and the sun. Some were with significant others some weren’t. Now I’ve kinda felt for a while that religion is bullshit, but being in a normal setting for a few days really reinforced that. We were all just sitting around and talking and it hit me. What the hell is wrong with a bunch of people just enjoying being together?? What’s wrong?

It was the classic all American weekend- what with the Uncle Joeys, the dog, the cheeseburgers, eggs bacon and cheese and hot chicks. (bacon btw is awesome!) And you know what? IT FELT RIGHT. There was no pressure to get up and go to shul. No pressure to go learn. Just vacation. This one apparently has sex in the shower and the hosts heard and thought it was their daughter. Big deal. No one mentioned it twice. Why should they? Who the hell made up rules about random shit??

A few months ago, had you asked me about my views on religion I would’ve said “I believe in the whole thing. However I don’t give a shit about it. Now to justify doing the ‘wrong’ thing I say to myself that based on the level of ‘I don’t give a shit’ certain things start making no sense. For example married women wearing a wig. It’s seems ridiculous. Now I’m sure if I search for an answer beyond the obvious ‘It’s to prevent other men from staring at her hair and being turned on’ I can be satisfied with it.”

That basically was my mindset. I don’t give a shit. Recently I think it’s more of I don’t believe anymore. I just believed because I was brainwashed to do so. But I don’t honestly believe that I’m going to hell because I went to the city on Saturday. As a non Jewish friend of mine joked when he I told him the $1,100 linen suit he was wearing can’t be worn by religious Jews as it was mixed with wool, “Oh so if you sin you go to hell but if you wear my suit, damn you gonna go to EPIC HELL! The point was it’s comical. It’s wrong to wear a linen and wool suit? WTF?!

A fe weeks ago i went with a formerly religious friend to NYC on a nice Saturday afternoon and had an awesome meal at a great restaurant in Midtown. I had some 3 courses along with some red wine. My family was back home singing songs around the shabbat table or doing whatever one does on a Shabbat afternoon, and here I was just like any other day, in NYC eating filet mignion at some random spot. It felt so normal, so liberating to be able to walk into a restaurant at any time and just eat. Never mind kosher and never mind Shabbat. Once you get out of the Brooklyn bubble of everything is right because it is, you realize that Saturday is just another day. And bacon is just food. It’s 2010. Get with the goddam program.

The moral of the story is I believe in religion. It’s called be happy and be a good person.

  1. Rishona says:

    I understand where you are coming from; believe me. I observe the Sabbath, kashrut, etc. — all without the support of a Jewish family and without a lot of acceptance from Jews (I’m converting). I am still close with my non-religious friends, and it would be so nice to just go out with them instead of going into Shabbos, trying to find families to eat meals by.

    However Judaism is how I ‘connect’. It is the vehicle through which my spirituality travels. I have tried other faiths. Although my experience with Judaism is nothing like that of 95% of frum people, I still prefer it over the alternatives. My father is a Rastafarian and that side of the family is very open in speech and in sexual behavior. I don’t see that bringing happiness. What it brings is a lot of hurt because people don’t have the discipline to restrain from their emotions; be held accountable what have you. Take my father for example; who has 4 different daughters by 3 different women. The religious Jewish community would not tolerate this, and for a good reason (my father has incredible tzuris from his situation).

    I do not think badly of Jews who are OTD though. Not everyone is suited for a frum lifestyle; including some of those born into it. But it does have beauty…it does have a purpose. Sometimes you have to look past the people (Jews) to see it though.

    • Rishona, I certainly hear your point. There are some parts of Judaism that are beautiful. However like you put it, it isn’t for everyone. Also not to belittle your situation at all, it’s different when you choose to be a certain way than when you were brought up that way. Could it have been had I been raised in a very relaxed home I would’ve been religious today? Possibly. Am I happy that I’m not religious? Yep. Would I have been fine being religious if that’s the way I would’ve chosen? Probably. But it has to be chosen.

  2. Esther says:

    sigh. i get it and wish i had what to answer you with but i dont. i’m still not going to throw it all away because i believe in something somewhere. But it gets tough to keep things that really seem ridiculous if you sit and really think about it.

  3. zack says:

    If have your own opinions its ok but why voice it with such disgust• Even if you are happy with life somewhere deep inside something feels wrong• You can always do to teshuva for what ever youv done•

    • sbirny says:

      Hey Zack. just a question. i don’t get the point of your post. if you are happy then good for u. this blog isn’t for ppl like u. i can almost feel the distaste in your comment. you sound very narrow minded. which, if your happy doesn’t matter. but please stop making assumptions about things you apparently don’t understand. i’ll bet you don’t even truly understand what teshuva is. how it works. why it works.

      Do u think everyone who isn’t religious feels “wrong inside.” the “disgust” is coming from a place you don’t understand, and can’t understand. i’m not blaming you just please live life a little longer and perhaps suffer a bit (which i hope u don’t but if u do…) and then comment.

      Peace out. Good Luck to You.

  4. hmm this might be an *unpopular* response, but i’ll just throw it out there anyway. i’m glad that you’re thinking (and not blindly following) and happy (and not feeling pressured). i hope that you’ve found what you’re looking for and are feeling nothing but peace. we all deserve that in whatever way, shape or form.

  5. […] me at that moment- quite in a similar way to when I was at my friends place on Fire Island and the absurdity of religion hit me as I watched real normal American life unfold in front of me – when the word drinking was said in a very innocent way. Let me begin with the […]

  6. CityGirl says:

    Completely agree with you. It IS insane, I ‘m glad you’re feeling normal and liberated. Even when I feel normal and have fun, I still feel this feeling of guilt and impending doom. 🙂

    I went out dancing with some friends for the first time ever, and I was horrible, becasue everyone had been dancing for years, but I had just started. I feel like the teenager (i’m not) with a lot more at stake now.

    • yea it won’t be long before you pick these things up. It’s a;ll natural impulses that drive the way we behave at parties ad stuff just theyve been so repressed so getting out of the box is what takes some work rlly…but im glad u agree! Have you just recently decided to leave religion? Or still frum? you got me curious!

  7. CityGirl says:

    Eh, it’s complicated and I don’t generally post on these things too often. The Jewish internet circles are too close-knit, IP addresses can be traced pretty quickly, etc. But your blog is interesting, so I’m breaking my rule for a bit. I’ve been like this for years, but recently had an opportunity to make some changes and I went along with it. Feel free to email me for more details. 

    I love my new (not so new) life, though I’m still in the ‘in the closet’ stage, so it’s kind of strange. From reading your blog it seems your family has just kind of accepted the way you are, and while not thrilled, they’ve given up. Mine is VERY different, and I’m not ready to give up having family quite yet.

    I’m curious though, how old are you?

  8. dave green says:

    chill ur regecting me

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