If I Came Back

I was wondering what would happen if I came back one day.

If I put a shpitzel over my freshly shaved head.

Kashered everything in my home. No, bought everything new and kashered all of that. Couldn’t risk it.

My daughter would start wearing long sleeves and thick stockings, even though tomorrow it’s supposed to be in the 90s for the rest of the week.

If I came back, like it’s been encouraged, it would be worse than before. Suddenly, back in the system, my little first grader would be the subject of merciless taunting and humiliation. Even though she’s Frum From Birth (FFB), she’ll be treated with the same level of derision that the daughter of a convert would experience. I’d be forced to look for a more open school, and resign myself that her shidduch chances and the baby’s shidduch chances are all but scraping the bottom of the barrel. Maybe we’ll get lucky with the FFB child of an Off the Derech (OTD) parent, but then their children will experience similar doors shut in their faces from the day they’re old enough to walk into a “school”.

My daughter’s school isn’t perfect. But there’s some comfort in knowing that her future and the baby’s future isn’t dependent on the perception of their mother’s piety.

That’s why it’s wasteful, trying to make a case for frumkeit on any level for us. I’m not saying I don’t miss shabbos sometimes, and I’m not saying that my heart doesn’t feel prickly as the nights start to draw in and the mornings hint at crisper air in the coming days. At work yesterday, the three Jews (which is a twisted name for a comedy series) discussed Tisha B’Av and the bacon-eating lapsed frum Jew chewed his lunch in slow motion as I playfully corrected the Sephardic Jew about the customs of the Nine Days while eating a meat sandwich  in my sleeveless dress.

If I came back, I’d lose her too. The woman who is a senior executive in a company she worked hard to join. The woman who is proud of her driver’s license and risotto skills. The woman who sits watching women at the Olympics with her daughter and suggests it’s not outside of the realm of possibility that she too could work hard to achieve whatever dream she wants.

The hypocrisy that they espouse, the frum ones in their hats and beards, is why.

I’m not coming back.

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3 responses to “If I Came Back

  1. If you did decide to one day become religious again why would it have to be too that extreme? Why not either fit religion into your life how you see fit? A way that could benefit you and your kids? Maybe try a less”extreme” sect of the religion. I was raised, as I’ve been told in a modern Orthodox family, why not try something like that where being yourself it’s more readily accepted.
    I myself am no longer religious however I do pray to G-d the way I feel benefits me there most. Don’t pick up a סדור anymore but take a few minutes in the day sit a quiet relaxing place and just talk to creator up there. Makes me feel better.
    One thing I despise about religion is how some people think it has to be practiced a certain way or it isn’t as good. Religion comes from the heart and people show that differently.

    • I think the only way I’d feel like I could have a chance at a reunited family would be to go to that extreme. Modern orthodoxy, to the ultra orthodox, is apostasy (to borrow a term from another extreme cultish religion).

      I’ve heard a lot about not throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but it’s almost like I have to go to one extreme or the other. In between doesn’t exist in my head, which is hard and angry and I wish I could find the between. My head just doesn’t let me.

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