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Salvia



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Location : Wales, UK

PostSubject: conversion and antisemitism   Fri Mar 15, 2013 2:02 pm

Hi everybody,

A bit of a heavy topic, but...

Is there antisemitism where you live. How do you live with it, if so?
And do you feel free to be open about your new religion?

I was wondering...

Salvia
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tamar

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Location : Northern Virginia

PostSubject: Re: conversion and antisemitism   Fri Mar 15, 2013 4:09 pm

I am open about being Jewish. I am not afraid but I know that there is anti semitism everywhere.

I was more worried about my children and when they were making the choice of if they wanted to be Jewish it was hard because the first year of Hebrew school my oldest son learned about the Shoah and it scared him.

My kids started Hebrew school before they became Jewish so we had to talk about anti semitism and its affect on the Jewish people.

Now 2 of my kids are Jewish and very proud to be Jewish.

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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: conversion and antisemitism   Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:07 pm

Salvia wrote:
Hi everybody,

A bit of a heavy topic, but...

Is there antisemitism where you live. How do you live with it, if so?
And do you feel free to be open about your new religion?

I was wondering...

Salvia

First I want to point out that "Jewish" isn't my religion, it's who I am and Judaism the religion is a part of it. Now that we have that out of the way, no, I am not super open about telling people I am Jewish. I volunteer to visit sick patients and when I do that work, I am open about it because I am working with Jewish patients in a hospital that caters to the Jewish community and so it is expected that volunteers will be Jewish. In the rest of the world I do not exactly shout it from the rooftops. If it comes up for good reason then sure, I will mention it but otherwise it's not something I make a point to let people know.
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Salvia



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PostSubject: Re: conversion and antisemitism   Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:29 pm

Sorry for the poor formulation - I am aware that religion is only a part of being Jewish. But my bad formulation might give rise to misunderstanding indeed :/
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Sarit

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PostSubject: Re: conversion and antisemitism   Sun Mar 17, 2013 7:33 pm

Well said, Dena! The thing is that Jewishness is not only the religion, or only the ethnicity, or only the culture or a way of living - it's all of that and a lot more. And I don't consider it my "new religion" either - it's who I am, as Dena already said.

Well, in my country antisemitism exists; maybe it's not that open, but it is very often heard or sensed in one's words or attitude. But it's not the main reason I don't talk much about Judaism or me being/becoming Jewish. I don't talk much about it because not everybody can (or want to) understand what it means and what it means to me; but I'm quite open in my observance - which means that I will tell someone that I don't/won't work on Shabbat or that I keep kosher or that I'm away because of some holiday etc.

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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: conversion and antisemitism   Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:32 am

Salvia wrote:
Sorry for the poor formulation - I am aware that religion is only a part of being Jewish. But my bad formulation might give rise to misunderstanding indeed :/

Perhaps it was a matter of our differing ways of using English but I have heard people refer to it as merely a religion so I thought I'd be clear about what it means to me.
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geekima



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Join date : 2013-03-09

PostSubject: Re: conversion and antisemitism   Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:40 pm

One of the things about being Orthodox is that there really isn't any hiding that I'm Jewish. It just isn't an option since we tend to dress differently than our neighbors, the boys wear kippahs and tzitzits, the girls long skirts and long sleeves. My sheitel often flies under the radar, but if someone looks closely, they'll see I'm wearing a wig. It comes up quickly at work with the number of holidays I need to take off for, having to leave early for Shabbos, and not being able to go out to eat with coworkers.

There really isn't any moment of my day where I am not reminded, for good and for bad, of our connection to Judaism.

For the most part, I get positive reactions, but we have had our share of negative ones. When my daughter brought in Passover candy to school instead of plastic eggs, she came home in tears since the teacher threw it away in front of her class. I've overheard antisemitic jokes at work. My son has had boys take his kippah and toss it to each other. My daughter once got teased for her long skirts. I once got asked if we were allowed to vote and have jobs. (That was in the south.)

The worst was my own family, who refused to come to our wedding because I was marrying a Jew and that made them uncomfortable. I consider myself lucky, though, because I've never felt like my personal safety was threatened by someone or that my family was in danger. I know not everyone is that fortunate.
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Salvia



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PostSubject: Re: conversion and antisemitism   Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:53 pm

Geekima, that's awfull!

The part with the teacher shocked me most. An adult who works with children professionally should know better!!!

In France, law forbids wearing anything, clothes or jewellery, that can be identified as religious when you're in a public function. I am a teacher, which IS a public function and got bad looks about my bracelets with a hamsa dangling from them - I got them as a present from my mum and they do not represent ANY religion, even if they are a folk symbol/amulet for at least two different religions. I told them I got my bracelets from my mum and thought them pretty (they are - pearls ^^) and then people shut up. But wearing identifyable religious clothing would already be a problem over here for many jobs.

Glad for you the USA are less stringent on this.

Hold on strongly - they are stupid and don't deserve you'd ever get worked up over it. Which I hope you don't :)
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geekima



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PostSubject: Re: conversion and antisemitism   Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:08 pm

Oddly enough, I've found that few Orthodox Jews wear anything like a Star of David or Hamsa or anything else similar. I think most feel that their manner of dress (long skirts, long sleeves, men wearing kippahs or tzitzits) marks them as different enough.

If I ever worked someplace that demanded I change my skirts or sleeves or told me I couldn't wear my sheitel (wig worn for hair covering), I'd have to change jobs. I already have changed jobs due to Shabbos observance and/or lack of time off for holidays.

We don't get worked up over it. My husband has lived with this his whole life, to the point of having been asked to take his kippah off so that people could "see his horns." The rewards of being Jewish outweigh the occasional ugly comment.
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Salvia



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PostSubject: Re: conversion and antisemitism   Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:31 pm

Horns?

Where do you live, if I may ask? In the deep south of the USA?

I am glad the rewards outweigh the uglyness....

Wearing a star of David over here would be asking for problems and nasty remarks, apart from it being basically outlawed for public functions (as I said, they can't really outlaw the hamsa because it is not a religious symbol *grin*). Muslim women who want to wear a headscarve have a problem, too.But, as I read, it's the same where you live :/
Oddly enough, I have a catholic friend who has gotten away with wearing a 'celtic cross' for ages to work....never any problem. Majority privilege?

On the other hand, the French laws are established because of the 'laicity' (no intermingling of religion and government) and the 'égalité', out of the want not to discriminate in any way. And it's true that if you don't know somebody's religion, you can't discriminate..
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geekima



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PostSubject: Re: conversion and antisemitism   Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:51 pm

The horns comment came when he was living in upstate NY. Until recently, we lived in the deep south of the US.

I haven't had any negative comments while wearing a sheitel to work, so at least there is that. :) I don't think I could live anywhere I couldn't cover my hair, legally.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: conversion and antisemitism   Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:17 pm

Salvia, can a Star of David really be considered religious when it is a cultural symbol and on the flag of a nation?

geekima wrote:
I don't think I could live anywhere I couldn't cover my hair, legally.

All sorts of people cover their hair for non-religious reasons so I would think it would be difficult to consider that religious symbolism.
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geekima



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PostSubject: Re: conversion and antisemitism   Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:28 pm

I doubt my husband would agree to live anywhere he couldn't legally wear his kippah or tzitzits, either. While my sheitel or a scarf could be for any number of reasons, I doubt a kippah and tzitzits would be misconstrued as anything other than what they are.

Unfortunately, this is the world we live in. Shechita and bris milah are being threatened by law in Western European countries. I know a few Orthodox gerim living in France and Germany and they have been advised, if possible, to move by their Rabbis. It's a very sad and scary situation.
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Sarit

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PostSubject: Re: conversion and antisemitism   Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:52 am

Well, it's so very scary!

Starting from geekima and her family's experiences (especially the part with the teacher!) to the problem of invisibility law, and the base of everything is, sadly, discrimination.

I work as a teacher/lecturer, also, but with the students. The religious/cultural jewelery here is not unusual; on the contrary, and I also don't have special dress code requirement on my job so I can wear what I want. Of course, long skirts do provoke some strange looks from the people but usually people don't say anything unpleasant.

My students generally don't know that I'm going through conversion but they get some impression that I'm not a part of a majoroty culture. They rarely ask directly, but there were some interesting moments; I'm teaching History of dance, and the regular part of my curriculum is Jewish tradition and history of dance. It happens often that my students notice with how much love and passion I talk about Jewish culture and how many things I explain and show them - then they usually ask if I'm Jewish so we have a little time to talk then. I remember I had only the nicest conversations with them. They are really great young people, open for differences and discussions. sunny They are going to be traditional dance teachers and they will be working with preschool children, so it is very important for them (and for me, as for their lecturer) to have positive attitude about differences in cultures and traditions, but unfortunately, exactly because of their specific choice of profession, I think that they cannot give me the impression of the eventual level of possible antisemitism among the majority of kids out there developing into a grown up persons. Neutral
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RachaelMoscow



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PostSubject: Re: conversion and antisemitism   Sat Jun 22, 2013 11:43 pm

Here in my small town in Canada, I'm sure there are ignorant people, and there have been a few incidents with vandalism. Violent crime is exceedingly rare, however, and Anti-Semitism is confined to a small minority. I would never feel unsafe as a Jew in this town, even with the tiny community here. 

But I'm moving to Moscow in September, and...that's a different story.
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Admin
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PostSubject: Re: conversion and antisemitism   Sun Jun 23, 2013 9:53 pm

Moscow, Russhia? Yes, that will be a very different story.
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mikedoyleblogger

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PostSubject: Re: conversion and antisemitism   Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:15 pm

geekima wrote:
One of the things about being Orthodox is that there really isn't any hiding that I'm Jewish.  It just isn't an option since we tend to dress differently than our neighbors, the boys wear kippahs and tzitzits, the girls long skirts and long sleeves.  My sheitel often flies under the radar, but if someone looks closely, they'll see I'm wearing a wig.  It comes up quickly at work with the number of holidays I need to take off for, having to leave early for Shabbos, and not being able to go out to eat with coworkers.

There really isn't any moment of my day where I am not reminded, for good and for bad, of our connection to Judaism.

For the most part, I get positive reactions, but we have had our share of negative ones.  When my daughter brought in Passover candy to school instead of plastic eggs, she came home in tears since the teacher threw it away in front of her class.  I've overheard antisemitic jokes at work.  My son has had boys take his kippah and toss it to each other.  My daughter once got teased for her long skirts.  I once got asked if we were allowed to vote and have jobs.  (That was in the south.)

The worst was my own family, who refused to come to our wedding because I was marrying a Jew and that made them uncomfortable.  I consider myself lucky, though, because I've never felt like my personal safety was threatened by someone or that my family was in danger.  I know not everyone is that fortunate.
I'd just like to note it's not just an Orthodox thing. There are many liberal Jews who wear religious garb as well, including kippot, tzitzit, and wigs for married women. I am a Reform Jew who chooses to wear a kippah at all times (except bathing and sleeping), and occasionally I wear my tzitzit out in public. It is funny how different the vibe feels when you are "wearing" vs. when you are not. The eyes and sometimes the hesitation of the person passing, or on the other side of a store counter, tells you a lot. Sometimes hate or disgust is clearly visible. Other times, surprise, or even total confusion. Occasionally it's the, "Oh, I'm Jewish too!" vibe as well. I feel most Jewish at these moments, always in a good way, oddly enough. Because I refuse to back down myself as a Jew or my Judaism.
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