Op-Ed: How Lucky Are You To Have Been Born Frum?

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Most of us take for granted the fact that we were born into frum families and don’t have to struggle to keep basic Mitzvos. This letter may entirely change your perspective.

“Dear Rabbi,

My parents think I am crazy.

My brother says that I lost my mind.

My sister tells me to get my head examined.

My friends want me committed to an insane asylum.

My former teacher believes that I was brainwashed.

What is my sin? Where have I strayed? Why is everyone so critical and judgmental? Why are they so antagonistic, intolerant and condescending? Why am I experiencing their wrath and ridicule?

No, I haven’t become a druggy or joined the missionaries. I haven’t eloped or signed on to a Ponzi scheme.

Much worse.

In their eyes, I’ve committed the cardinal sin.

I’ve decided to return to Yiddishket and reclaim my heritage. I keep the Torah and Mitzvos.

I grew up in Brooklyn as a secular Jew. The last Orthodox person in my family was my great-great grandfather. After years of restlessness and soul searching, I have finally found peace. My search for ultimate truth and fulfillment is over. I’ve never felt happier or more complete. I am reconnecting to thousands of years of tradition.

I haven’t given up my core identity or relinquished my aspirations and talents. I am not living in a dark cave and haven’t become a recluse or ascetic. And yet, I stand accused of shedding my persona, abdicating responsibility and reverting to the Stone Age.

Honestly, it’s painful to hear these scathing comments. The irony is that all these people have good intentions. They sincerely think that I’ve been misled, duped and deceived. They are convinced that I have traded in normalcy and security for an antiquated and eccentric tradition. My family and friends have tried to persuade me that I’ve exchanged a brilliant future for a bleak past.

To the contrary, I have discovered timeless truths and a moral code of conduct that outshines anything I’ve ever studied. The wisdom of the Torah is unparalleled and eternal. I have been privileged to be part of the BJX community which is the epitome of kindness, generosity and humility. I have met rolemodels; my Rabbis, who are wise, loving, warm and genuinely caring. What impresses me most about my Rabbis is that they practice what they preach. They live their lives idealistically and have holy homes but they are so normal and down to earth.

Sometimes, I cry myself to sleep wishing that my family would only feel the beauty. I hope and pray every spare moment I have that one day my parents and family members will see the light and return to Hashem.”

Rav Yitzchok Fingerer, Morah d’Asra BJX

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. How lucky are those of us who had parents or grandparents who went through the Holocaust, REMAINED frum through that gehinnom, picked themselves up, and raised frum families?

  2. There are no words to describe the pain and sacrifice that many Baalei Teshuvah go through in order to gain a greater sense of their existential selves. This op ed is only an inkling of what this segment of the frum population must endure I order to become fully integrated and accepted.
    The writers pain is very real and palpable. I pray that he/she continues to find peace in his/her new life.