I sometimes try to delude myself that because I lived in the United States, this won’t happen to me. I am seen as a complete human being, not just a member of a particular religious or cultural group. But I have to face reality. Antisemitism is on the rise in numbers that has not been seen in generations. I shouldn’t be afraid to wear an outward symbol of my faith out of fear of being abused or attacked. But this is the reality that we all live in.
The shooting was the subject of this week’s Unorthodox episode. It made me feel less alone and less scared. But it also reminded me that I live in a world in which entering a house of worship requires passing by security and police. I wish that this was not the case, but it is.
May the memory of those 11 innocent people killed on that day forever be a blessing and may their blood be avenged.
There is an old inside joke about Jews: For every two Jews, there are three opinions. From my perspective. is the backbone of Unorthodox. Created by Tablet Magazine, the podcast is hosted by Mark Oppenheimer, Stephanie Butnick and Liel Leibovitz. Every week they talk about news relating to the Jewish world and have two guests: one Jewish and one not Jewish. What I appreciate about this podcast is that Mark, Liel and Stephanie not only mesh well together, but their unique world views allow all three to stand out in their own way. I’ve been listening for a couple of years; it’s a pleasure to wake up on Thursday morning knowing that the week’s episode is waiting for me.
Can I Just Say
Pop culture podcasts can sometimes get a little dull. Either they can veer too much into the fan boy or fan girl lane or they are just a tad too intellectual.
Thankfully, Can I Just Say is the perfect pop culture podcast. Hosted by Daphne Olive and Elizabeth Stevens, the ladies have unique and stimulating conversations about everything from Star Wars (their newest podcast about The Last Jedi was very interesting) to novels and their various adaptations (their comments about Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility got me thinking) to a hand-picked selection of Baz Lurhmann films opened my eyes to his abilities as a filmmaker. They also host a podcast entitled Fathoms Deep: A Black Sails Podcast, an equally interesting podcast about the television series Black Sails.
Two weeks ago, I reviewed Exodus, the second book by Deborah Feldman. Yesterday, I finished reading Unorthodox, Ms. Feldman first book.
Deborah Feldman was raised in the insular ultra-religious Jewish Satmar community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. After her parent’s marriage ended, she was raised by her grandparents. Feeling trapped by the endless series of rules and traditions, she rebels by reading secular books and finding kinship with the characters within the novels.
As is tradition within this community, her husband is chosen for her. By the time she is 20, she has been married for two years and has a son. The internal tension of Ms. Feldman’s personal desire for freedom, while trying to be the good girl that she is expected be, forces her to make a decision that will forever alter her fate and her son’s fate.
I liked this book. Having now read both books, I understand her. The ultra-religious Jews are no different than any other ultra-religious community. There is a fear of the secular, outside world. The traditions provide comfort, simplicity and a barrier to the outside world that is very different from their own world.