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.