Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Trophy of the Hour: Happy days are here again

Trophy of the Hour: Happy days are here again
Happy days are here again

I'm officially fed up with winter. It's cold and rainy or cold and snowy or cold and gray. I want sunlight and warm fingers and life without legwarmers, please. Not that anyone I know wears legwarmers, but it might be a good idea, come to think of it.

Yesterday I went to my friend's house on shabbos afternoon, which is a very spoiling thing to do as it really takes me back to all those shabbosim when I used to make playdates with my friends. It's so nice to come in out of the cold and know that they'll be glad to see you. I had a nice time and liked it very much.

Today I've been working so much that I felt like I deserved a nice long catch-up with you. It's a good time...I'm nearing the end of the semester and approaching the one-year anniversary of independance from the Lubavitch school system and much of Lubavitch in general. I don't think I ever told you about this before. I was raised Lubavitch in a community where Lubavitch was two families and a chabad house forty five minutes away. At that point, it was great to be Lubavitch...something to be proud of. All we dealt with were the good things...holidays and learning and events. But then we moved to Chicago, partially because of the reknowned lubavitch girl's high school, and I soon graduated from Arie Crown (elementary) and moved on to more chassidic persuits. Needless to say, it wasn't the school for me, and I spent much of my time trying to learn something (anything!) in an environment that was largly about fun and games. It just wasn't me. My secular studies are important to me, and it's hard to go to a school where your values just aren't nurtured or appreciated. And it wasn't just the learning, it was the mind set. I hated going to school and being taught one thing and then coming home to another lesson entirely. I think that parents should be re-educated about where to send one's child, because there are few things harder on a kid then feeling inferior or confused because the school just doesn't match the family. Of course, I did learn a lot of judaic skills...chumash, chassidus, etc. But most of my hebrew skills come from my Maryland education, which I think was great. It was that upbringing that gave me my varied interests, my curiosity, my basic skills, and my Zionist sureness. So what am I left with? Well, I used to think that I wanted both...both Lubavitch and university. The rebbe and all the books in the world. At this point, that's not what I want anymore. While I've see the goodness and truth in the Lubavitch texts, understood what the rebbe was really going for, I am still frightened by what the chassidim have become in the last ten years. I've noticed that as much as they preach Ahavas Yisrael, there just isn't much. They'll love you if you are not frum at all, or if you're just like them. If you want more, then you're worthless or maybe threatening. While this isn't everyone, I find that Lubavitch is run by these types now. So now I really don't want to have much part in it. And that's fine. I'd rather be a good Jew than a discontent or questioning Lubavitcher, which is what I was before. I'm a better person now that I've allowed myself to make different choices. So while Lubavitch will always be a part of me, I don't consider myself Lubavitch anymore. It's been so amazing...I can make choices about what's right. I can be a good person and still learn everything that I can. I never got to see how many different kinds of frum Jews there are, how many circles I can go see and understand. It's not black and white anymore. It's everything, because there isn't that fear of infiltration or contamination. There's honesty in looking at the world and bringing up your kids with the best parts. I'm going to learn how to do that. It might take me a while. There's a lot of stuff that I have to shake out, examine, and definitely shake off. I'm going to do it, though. Step by step so that I'll have that freedom. I deserve it, and it's something I can give to myself. What better time than now?

posted by Sara @ 12:38 AM

At 6:37 PM, Josh said...
One of the things that irks me about blogs is that since you don't know about a person's background, it is hard to understand their perspective on what they write. So I really appreciate you opening up and revealing a little of yourself. It definitely makes me read all your posts in a different light.

But to the post itself- I'm kind of from the opposite end. My family was Mekarev by Chabad, although we don't really have much affiliation with Chabad anymore. They've obviously done more for this world than most other modern movements could even hope to accomplish. Hopefully, their leadership will take a fresh look at reality today and provide a direction that will keep them at the forefront of the good works that made the Rebbe famous not only in Jewish circles.

I applaud your intellectual honesty, and your ability to separate emotion from logic. You are obviously taking a very open minded approach to finding the Truth. Somebody must have given you a great foundation in right/wrong. If this blog will serve to help you define yourself, I look forward to being an active participant.

At 6:06 AM, Sara said...
I was so happy when I read what you wrote on the greatness of Chabad because there are facets of it that are so amazing and important and influential. I think that the impact of the Rebbe and and the things he accomplished will be unspoiled, but I guess I just don't see that they're continuing in the same clean, open way. I don't believe that the Rebbe would be opposed to my education, or that he would turn up his nose at things I've seen Lubavitch educators do their best to scrub away. But I'm thrilled that you wrote what you did, because whatever I have gone through with Lubavitch, I want the great parts to be represented, and never forgotten. Thanks.

At 8:12 PM, Josh said...
Your response is as mature as your posts. The ability to weed the good from the bad without a) Swallowing the chaffe along with the wheat or b) discarding the wheat along with the chaffe is the mark of a well thought out person.

Keep sharing the lessons you've learned from your life. By teaching the morals you've gained from your experiences, I can absorb the lessons without having to go through all the trials myself.

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