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Brave New Blog, Nice Jewish Girl

You know the line. It’s been the start of countless conversations. “Men and women can’t be friends, because the sex thing always gets in the way.”

Lately, I’ve been wondering if that’s also the case in the shomer negiah world, if powerful attraction between a man and a woman means the same sort of inner turmoil, self-doubt and bubbling cauldron of hormones and swirling emotions that it means for those who are not shomer negiah. Now, we’ve got an inside source. And the preliminary answer seems to still be yes: even when there’s no sex to be had, the “sex thing” always gets in the way.

With various tips of the hat to Bloghead, Ren Reb and others, I can tell you that Nice Jewish Girl is definitely worth checking out. She’s been posting for about two months, and is candidly–and beautifully–documenting her struggle to reconcile her sexuality, her faith and her commitment to being shomer negiah in a world that doesn’t always respect or encourage sexual abstinence.

You see, once someone has gone through so much time being S.N., then anything I might do with a man I was dating becomes much, much more important. The first man I kiss, for me it will be like what having sex for the first time is for some other women. For me it will be very significant. I’m not going to waste that on someone I’ve only met a few times.

Sometimes it is not about sex I fantasize about but rather about affection, and I fantasize about holding a man’s hand when I am walking around outside. I will go places for Shabbos and secretly envision a man who loves me sitting next to me at the Shabbos table. I just want him to be there.

You go, Nice Jewish Girl. You may feel conflicted, but you’re a stronger woman than most. And therefore, by the power only recently vested in me, I hereby proclaim you “Jewlicious.”

Esther Kustanowitz

For more posts by Esther, see EstherK.com, MyUrbanKvetch.com and JDatersAnonymous.com.

119 Comments

  1. […] t my own. (For instance, although I don’t choose to share her lifestyle, I linked to Nice Jewish Girl and could appreciate what she had to say. I thought it was incredibly brave for her to […]

  2. T_M

    3/28/2005 at 4:58 pm

    I’m sorry, but I don’t understand why this is a good thing.

  3. laya

    3/28/2005 at 5:08 pm

    wow, she’s 34 and never been kissed. I honestly dont even know what to think about that. It might actually be some sort of record.

  4. Esther

    3/28/2005 at 5:14 pm

    T_M, if you read the background posts about the choices she’s made and why, it gives an interesting insight into a different perspective, where it’s not an idealistic, worry-free, sexually pareve existence, but where sexuality is still an influence, albeit a controlled one. I think that’s a good thing. Maybe you don’t.

  5. T_M

    3/28/2005 at 5:25 pm

    Esther, I read her blog, including the first two posts which she suggests readers read first. I read her responses. All I can tell you is that my heart aches for her. Judaism is not an ascetic religion. We don’t have nuns. How did we enter this universe where all these good men and women end up middle aged without partners and in some cases, not even having been kissed?

    We’re human beings with natural needs. She even says that one of the reasons she won’t consider changing her ways is that she doesn’t want to trivialize the many years of waiting. So unless she finds a spouse, this is a lifetime catch-22 self-punishment.

    Please understand that my intention is not to be harsh, it is the opposite, I want her to wake up and realize that she need not put herself through this suffering.

    Is this what Judaism is about?! No.

  6. laya

    3/28/2005 at 5:36 pm

    Judaism, indeed is not meant to be an ascetic religion, nor is Judaism about suffering. It is however, largely about self control, and it seems this woman has shown a whole lot of it. She is living by a value and a law she believes in. She shows increadable strength and commitment, and for that, i believe she is to be commended. If its not something you believe in, fine, but come on, you gotta give the girl props for being so true to her values.

  7. Esther

    3/28/2005 at 5:41 pm

    First of all let me remove that “34 is middle-aged” dagger from my heart. Ouch.

    I’m with Laya. But I’m also with T_M a smidge. I’m beginning to understand his intention, and I would even say that I don’t disagree with him. I don’t know what it feels like to be 34, working in a modern world, and not being able to relate to the most basic romantic contact between two people. I thought I was a late bloomer when my first kiss finally arrived at 19.5 years old.

    And while that may not be what “Judaism” is about in your mind and in your world, in her world, it is. Maybe she will “wake up” and see that it’s not worth suffering. But maybe she’ll become stronger in her convictions. I’m praising her for engaging herself in the dialogue that many people skip: I’m committed to this, but why, how does that affect me, at what cost to my self etc.

    I’m also hoping that the blog helps her identify the issues and how she really feels about this, whatever the resolution is.

  8. T_M

    3/28/2005 at 5:48 pm

    I give her lots of props. She is a strong person who has shown strength of commitment.

    I don’t understand how her faith has also become her trap and I feel saddened by this.

    Furthermore, on a broader scale, this is a problem that seems to afflict many individuals. As a result, I am now in the planning stages of launching The Middle’s Shidduch Service. It works like this: people give me their profiles and sign an agreement to trust me to make a good match. They must date the three people I send their way at least once. Then they provide feedback about the dates. Then they have to acquiesce to my selection for a spouse and marry those individuals within three months. End of story.

    Oh, and they pay me on a monthly basis for the first year AFTER they wed. I suspect the payments will increase along with their joy.

  9. T_M

    3/28/2005 at 5:55 pm

    Esther, if she becomes stronger in her conviction and her dating life doesn’t improve, she will be childless. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t being fruitful and multiplying a really important part of Judaism. I mean, reaaaally important?

  10. Dina

    3/28/2005 at 6:02 pm

    Can I just comment that as someone who was shomeret for almost an entire year, there is a HUGE difference in the way my relationships with guys went.
    After the first sexual encounter I had (at 16, which I thought was late) until I did the shomeret thing, I really only even became friends with guys I found attractive, because if I wasn’t into a guy (and that doesn’t only mean physically hot…I go for smart and confident guys…if they’re tall, of course), I really didn’t have a need to become friends with them and I also rarely had a relationship with a guy that didn’t have a sexual aspect to it.
    Then I became shomeret and suddenly I had a bajillion more friends (but then, it was also when I started college) because as soon as the “oh my goodness, what if we get really close and he makes a move on me even though I’m totally not into him?” or the “but what if I suddenly realize how hot this guy is and he doesn’t think likewise of me” barriers went down, friendships were easier with guys. When at a conference in Washington this past summer, I spent an entire night (from about 10ish to 6am) talking to this guy in the lobby and I really have to say that when there’s no option to hook up with someone, your relationships are so amazingly different (and he was so damn hot!).
    Okay, I think the point I was trying to make somewhere in here is that while being shomer or shomeret doesn’t alleviate horniness in any sense, it certainly changes your perception on relationships and I have to say that even now that my year is over and done with and I’m not shomeret anymore, what I learned from that year is still in my mind when I form new relationships now or when I speak with the friends I had from before and the ones I made while I was shomeret. There, I managed to confuse a very simple comment with a lot of words in some incoherent order yet again.

  11. laya

    3/28/2005 at 6:14 pm

    actually tm, the whole be fruitful and multiply thing is only incumbent upon men, so she’s sorta off the hook on that level

    And Dina, was this a planned one year trial period?

  12. T_M

    3/28/2005 at 6:21 pm

    Only men must be fruitful and multiply?

    Does this happen via cloning?

  13. Dina

    3/28/2005 at 6:40 pm

    TM–only men are commanded to be fruitful and multiply. Women aren’t obligated to, but they get credit for doing so.

    Laya, I intended to do it for a year that would end with a reevaluation about whether to continue or not. I went with “not.”

  14. Dina

    3/28/2005 at 6:43 pm

    Sometimes I think you guys block comments you don’t particularly like along with spam…

  15. Dina

    3/28/2005 at 6:51 pm

    So, since I don’t think there was anything objectionable in my last three posts that didn’t work, I’m going to try it again in case it just didn’t go through for no reason….

    TM–only men are commanded to be fruitful and multiply. Women aren’t, but they get credit for doing it.

    And Laya, I knew I’d do a year, and I planned on reevaluating at the end of it if I should continue or not. I chose to go with “not.”

  16. ck

    3/28/2005 at 7:44 pm

    Dina I have no idea what set off the block. We have no way of automatically holding back opinions we don’t like.

  17. Dina

    3/28/2005 at 8:01 pm

    🙂 I was only kidding…

  18. Michael

    3/28/2005 at 8:15 pm

    You know, having tried both sex at a really young age and being shomer negiah…while there are people who can do either without being psychologically damaged / going nuts, it’s gotta be a small number. You’d think there would be some sort of happy medium, but then again, once the even the first barrier of physicality is broken in a relationship, it’s not usually too long until people are going at it like bunnies. And really, in a lot of relationships now there really is no first barrier of physicality. I mean, I’m in college, I can’t remember the last time I anyone get into a relationship for anything other than essentially the promise of getting laid within, at most, a week.

    I think negiah might only work really well for most people when the sexes are essentially separated. It’s hard to have an overpowering temptation for something you don’t really have access to.

    But, of course, neither I or pretty much anyone else I know wants to go back to the shtetl or live in Williamsburg. But then again, most people think people having sex at 15 is bad.

    Mah la’asot? (Although I feel like we’ve spent 160 posts talking about it already.)

  19. Dave

    3/28/2005 at 10:18 pm

    As a guy who was a virgin until 34, and I’ve been celibate when not actually in a committed relationship, I highly reading and also sports as outlets. My favourite sport is running. It’s a great way to let off all that steam, ha ha! I am surprised those Orthodox rabbis don’t recommend it to those of their congregation who want to be shomer negiah until married. Maybe someone should recommend it to Nice Jewish Girl.

  20. Esther

    3/28/2005 at 11:18 pm

    Endorphins only get you so far because they don’t involve the touch of someone who cares about you.

    And I agree that Judaism should be something in which we can find comfort and joy, but the truth is that religious observance serves to restrict certain behaviors, perhaps because physical intimacy is a boundary which, once breached, is difficult to retreat from.

    And regardless of who may be biblically commanded to be fruitful and multiply, don’t think that women in their 30s don’t feel their own social and biological imperative toward conception. We know that the longer we wait, the less likely it is that we’ll be able to conceive, but we also feel the growing import of not settling, and instead, continuing to look for someone who fits us in every important way. It’s much harder than you’d think, whether or not being shomer negiah is an issue.

  21. shtreimel

    3/29/2005 at 1:13 am

    On the one hand…

    You gotta hand it to any non-Charedi Jew who takes Shomer Neggiah seriously.

    On the other hand…

    Show me any 34 year old man/woman who’s never been kissed before and my shrink senses start tingling. In other words, something ain’t right.

  22. T_M

    3/29/2005 at 1:31 am

    And regardless of who may be biblically commanded to be fruitful and multiply, don’t think that women in their 30s don’t feel their own social and biological imperative toward conception. We know that the longer we wait, the less likely it is that we’ll be able to conceive

    Exactly my point. This isn’t about just about Torah, this is about life and how one lives it.

    But I don’t understand something, Esther, why not settle? Why not lower standards? Are people out there so bad that there is such a huge difference between the men who are available? I don’t know that the word “settle” is a healthy one for anybody. There have been lots of successful marriages made by shidduch and without giving either the bride or the groom sufficient time to truly explore the other person. Yet the marriages work. I’m not saying this is the right solution for everybody, but it is at least a realistic and pragmatic solution that helps two people create something together and has the possibility of being special.

  23. Grace

    3/29/2005 at 1:35 am

    A lot of you seem pretty invested in seeing this woman get laid.

    Suppose you read her blog, and replaced the word “sex” with “ham and bacon”. You would question her commitment to Orthodoxy, right?

    Think about it. Halacha is halacha. We are chosen people, and we are not chosen for an easy life. We are chosen for greater struggles, and greater rewards.

  24. shtreimel

    3/29/2005 at 3:53 am

    Grace,

    It’s good to exercise. It’s good to go to the gym. One hour a day…two hours a day…but when you’re spending 9 hours a day in the gym, even if you’re a pro, there’s something wrong.

  25. harry

    3/29/2005 at 5:21 am

    “A lot of you seem pretty invested in seeing this woman get laid.

    Suppose you read her blog, and replaced the word “sex” with “ham and bacon”. You would question her commitment to Orthodoxy, right?

    Think about it. Halacha is halacha. We are chosen people, and we are not chosen for an easy life. We are chosen for greater struggles, and greater rewards. ”

    Are you comparing the natural human desire for sex with the craving for sizzling bacon? Most shomer kashrut folks I know aren’t intrigued by eating ham or bacon, but are actually nauseated by the thought of eating it. But they were always interested in hostess cakes (before they were kosher) so you might be on to something after all…

  26. josh

    3/29/2005 at 7:03 am

    Grace speaks truth.

    TM,
    you probably think it’s wrong not to entertain the urge to turn lights on and off on shabbat either? What’s so hard to understand? I know it’s hard for you to fathom sex-less living, but when someone’s world does not revolve around pop-culture, beyonce, and what have you, then there is less pressure to ‘perform’. Sure hormones rage, and again, sometimes people fall, but it doesn’t mean the ‘everyone’ is doing it and you are weird if you don’t.

    What’s wrong with being a virgin until you’re married?

  27. Esther

    3/29/2005 at 10:42 am

    My world revolves around Beyonce. She is the bootylicious wind beneath my wings.

    [Having expressed herself in snark, Esther retreats to corner while she prepares her real response.]

  28. ck

    3/29/2005 at 10:47 am

    Beyonce Knowles is now the poster girl for the decay of moral values?

  29. Esther

    3/29/2005 at 11:14 am

    Not the “decay of moral values” so much as “low-rise, booty-revealin’ pants.”

  30. T_M

    3/29/2005 at 12:39 pm

    Um, you guys should get over your animosity toward secular Jews.

    This woman does not hug or kiss others. Nobody here is talking about wild fornication in orgies, this is about simple human interaction.

    Do you really think that not eating kosher or controlling your urge to turn on the tv on shabbat is on the same plane as remaining loveless until your mid-30s and perhaps beyond?

    It’s not as if she’s sounding fulfilled in her life. She’s sounding tortured. Tortured! She’s throwing her life away because she thinks it’s wrong to have physical contact with men and somehow she will be defiled. So first we have the idea that somehow we are defiled by engaging in physical acts with our god-given bodies. Second, her mind is filled with thoughts about sex. And with thoughts about just touching another person. A hug is all she wants!!!!!!! Third, those of you who are supporting this self-flagellation in the name of god would rather see this woman go through life chaste, untouched by a man, unloved, unfulfilled, torn apart inside, and sad and lonely so that she can be among the “chosen for greater rewards?”

    Yup, you are right, it’s hard for me to understand sex-less living. It’s even more hard for me to understand love-less living. And partner-less living.

    Oh, and can you please tell me more about the greater reward she will receive by being part of the Chosen people and playing this important role of remaining chaste until she can no longer have children?

  31. Michael

    3/29/2005 at 1:15 pm

    T_M, are you seriously suggesting that she should have a child outside of marriage, just in order to have a child?

    She doesn’t want that. Nor would any child, by the way. What she wants is physical love. And in order to have that, she has to have love.

    Being so intense about sex isn’t good for anyone — man or woman. And those who have had sex just want more — it’s not like “oh, I relieved it, so now I can go a year without doing it.”

    Shomer Negiah really is for the best. Artificial romantic relationships are no good, especially not for women. Guys just want to hop into bed, while girls want relationships.

    So SN needs to keep davening and find other things to fill her life while waiting. I would never wish for it, but it can be done — we have examples all around us.

  32. Esther

    3/29/2005 at 1:50 pm

    It’s hard for me to get into all this stuff without violating the gag order I’ve put on myself about discussing every aspect of my personal life online, but I’m gonna try to build some bridges here. Faulty, Temple of Doom (“see, Dr. Jones? Strong wood!”) bridges, but still…

    I understand the desire to cleave to tradition, especially within the context of a community that pretty much demands it. And I admire NJG for her commitment if that is what she truly wants. And as to Josh’s question, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being a virgin till you’re married. It’s actually kind of beautiful.

    But in my mind, sometimes dedication to abstinence in every form masks a fear of any contact as well as a resentment with the system; it takes a certain kind of courage to publicly proclaim to that community, “this tradition sucks, I can’t live with it the way it is, and it’s time to do what we can to alleviate the pressure so I can find the companionship I need.” And I don’t think davening is the solution, unless the process of prayer yields for you an epiphany that makes all the suffering worthwhile.

    Way on the other side of the spectrum is casual sex, where the contact means nothing and sometimes not even names are exchanged. And somewhere in the middle (apologies, T_M) is physical contact of other sorts, some touches are sexual and flirtatious, and others are inquisitve and friendly. Given, from one to the other can be a slippery slope, but there’s no evidence that people who shake hands in the workplace or meeting at social situations automatically end up in bed together because a boundary’s been breached. Or at least, that’s not been my experience.

    The prospect of a completely shomer negiah lifestyle precludes so much of the human contact that we need in this life. And in that, I’m with T_M; I cannot imagine my life without the little touches that assure me that I’m not alone, that the person opposite me (even if he is just a friend) is no figment of my imagination: he is present, and capable of the physical support that we sometime need from friends. That contact means something. (Not to play the “city tragedy” card, but after 9/11 and being trapped in the subway during the Blackout of 03, I just wanted someone, everyone, to hold me and tell me things were going to be okay.)

    I’m not invested or not invested in anyone getting laid or not laid, per se. But companionship? Support? Friendship? Love? I’m an unqualified, sometimes-sappy, often-cynical-but-still-optimistic, almost-34-and-therefore-apparently-middle-aged yes.

  33. T_M

    3/29/2005 at 3:34 pm

    Michael, who here is talking about out-of-wedlock babies?

    I’m talking about having a relationship with a man. They are possible. Heck, they’re even possible without intercourse. Really, they are.

    I don’t know what to suggest to this woman other than she should stop torturing herself like this. It isn’t possible that if there’s a god and he really intended life for Jews as the rabbis have dictated through halacha, that he intended people to live these tortured lives that end up contradicting some of the most basic tenets of the very same religion.

    The whole argument about who is supposed to be fruitful and multiply is completely absurd. So men are commanded and women are not? Are they supposed to do this by osmosis or do they need the women? And how is it possible that any woman would agree to be told that this is a commandment for men only? When god wants the Israelites to populate the Land of Israel, he is referring to the men? Oh wait, Judaism is transmitted along matrilineal lines. Uh oh, how do we reconcile this little problem?

    Here’s what I propose, Michael: let’s give this woman the valuable advice that if she’s been holding back all these years because she wants a more pure marriage, that she should put herself in the hands of a matchmaker and commit to being married soon. If she is not wishing to just marry the first or second match that comes along, let’s inform her, as a community, that it is okay to be with men. Or women. It’s okay to be loved by somebody else. Is the point of life to walk through it as some supposed vessel of holiness because one is being chaste?

    As for having babies out of wedlock, I’m generally opposed to the idea, but I know women who have done it and are terrific mothers. You get a smart, compelling Sephardic Jew from Montreal to contribute the seed, you then go to a clinic, and voila, insta-half-Moroccan with Jewish lineage and a Jewish mother to raise him. Heck, she won’t even have to worry about her sex drive anymore because she’ll have the baby and can go to those Mommy and Me meetings Ayelet Waldman attends and agree with all the sexless mothers there.

    Or maybe we can introduce NJG to Dave. Dave, NJG sounds really, um, nice. May we try to make an introduction?

    (by the way, Esther, I appreciate your diplomatic and thoughtful comments)

  34. kate

    3/29/2005 at 4:35 pm

    I’ve been in both shomer negiah and non shomer negiah relationships, and I think at this point my ideal is as follows: Be strictly shomer negiah for a set amount of time within a committed relationship, (min. of 4-6 weeks maybe?) enough time to develop a basic level of friendship and emotional intimacy, and be sure that you like being with this person apart from the fact that its so fun to lie in bed with them. It also has the side benefit of allowing a bit of sexual tension to grow, which, if you can get into that groove, can be torturously enjoyable.

    And I’m only saying this because, I’ve found that sometimes, shomer negiah actually becomes counter-productive to a healthy relationship. People in the religious world tend to often get married at lightning speed, before getting a chance to know the other person deeply, see them in a variety of circumstance, over a significant period of time, and through fights and anger as well as happy hotel dates. The problem is, you simply cannot date for a year and be strictly shomer negiah if you have any blood pumping through your veins. I’ve recently had a two sets of friends get divorced after less than a year of marriage, one confided in me that had he dated her longer, certain things would have come to light and they never would have gotten married.

    At this point I say better a broken mitzvah than a broken home

  35. josh

    3/30/2005 at 3:25 am

    T_M,
    I have no animosity or hate for secular Jews. Until a few weeks ago, I really didn’t hate anything in he world, but then I learnt that it is a mitzvah to hate Jews who proselytise to other religions and G-ds. I don’t think that your casual sex dating service counts, unless, your alterior motive is to build a sex-cult empire called ‘tmaeliens’ (like those cool cloning quebec Raeliens) where followers would worship T. Em Middle.

    As for having staying ‘loveless’ until the thirties, and why it’s detrimental to wait too long (age) to marry, I think that’s a entirely different post.

  36. T_M

    3/30/2005 at 4:00 am

    Josh, the first line in my post #29 was written in jest because of the discussions in the other post about my supposed issues with the Orthodox.

    My dating service would be phenomenal. I happen to be very good at “reading” people and would make an excellent matchmaker.

  37. b,h,&E.

    3/30/2005 at 11:20 am

    forgive me for not reading the last few posts, but I can’t bear to listen to T_M and some of the others rattle on. It appears to me that you have no appreciation for what being orthodox is. (And forgive me if I’m wrong, but that is clearly the impression your posts give off.)

    I hope NJG will forgive me if I misrepresent her case, but the way I see it (and some of the posts here have reflected this understanding) is like this: G-d said don’t do it.
    That simple.

    Perhaps you think g-d is wrong. ok, that’s your decision, your philosophies, your judaism. But orthodox judaism is based on halacha. We have guidelines. And we follow them — or do our best to do so. We don’t simply toss the book when it doesn’t fit into our perception of what the world, or judaism, should be like. This is especially the case when i’m reading so many arguments which clearly demonstrate a lack of knowledge about jewish law. While I don’t blame those posters, I do think that they should perhaps be at least a little more reserved as a result of that ignorance.

    When orthodox jews — like myself — complain about how difficult it is to do a given mitzva, we’re not looking for someone to say, “gee, your right. let’s toss it. it’s clearly nuts.”
    No.
    Perhaps an analogy would help: if your kid is a crack addict, you may complain about what to do, but you don’t say “ahh, what the heck — let’s just get rid of him. he’s causing us too many problems!”
    This is what the “toss halacha” arguments sound like.
    And if halacha doesn’t seem to fit with the world’s values, then it just means that the world has messed up values.

    reading NJG’s blog, my heart was literally broken. I feel so terrible for this tzadekes (pious woman) and also feel so amazed at her perseverance, and then I have to hear people blathering about how her courage is basicly a stupid and counter-productive measure.

    Well, I disagree.

    And while one can conjure up a million reasons why she should toss halacha — still, bottomline, there’s halacha!
    And the truth is that a clever person could probably counter those arguments with equally valid points about why what she’s doing is the epitome of righteousness, holiness, and even real LIFE!
    But, I’m not even going to go that far. (Though I think that some people have already made very good points why, philosophically, her commitment is a good move.)
    Bottomline: halacha.
    And I don’t think that having never been kissed at 34 is borderline lunacy. I think it’s awful, tragic, but not crazy. i think it shows perseverance, commitment, beauty, but it doesn’t get my “shrink sensors tingling”.

    There’s more to life than sensuality. There’s purpose, meaning. There’s also love. It takes many different forms and helps us affirm belief in ourself and in what we’re doing. well, I hope that NJG realizes how special she is, how courageous and righteous she is, how much she’s doing the right thing and that she has so many fans who are rooting for her. I also hope she realizes that Hashem loves her, and I hope this situation will help her realize that LOVE for Hashem as much as I also hope that the situation will be resolved asap, and that she can re-name her site with something like “NJG: happily married, baruch hashem”.

    ~~
    laya wrote:
    “Judaism, indeed is not meant to be an ascetic religion, nor is Judaism about suffering. It is however, largely about self control, and it seems this woman has shown a whole lot of it. She is living by a value and a law she believes in. She shows incredible strength and commitment, and for that, i believe she is to be commended. If its not something you believe in, fine, but come on, you gotta give the girl props for being so true to her values.”

    Well said laya.

    I could go on, but I think I’ve said enough.

  38. T_M

    3/30/2005 at 1:46 pm

    b,h, &E., your comments are interesting and presuppose that I, at least, know or understand little about halacha or what being Orthodox is.

    I have a very good understanding and have made a choice in my life accordingly.

    Reading your long post suggests to me that perhaps you don’t get it.

    Halacha is a man made construct. Literally man-made. Read Laya’s comment to me – her correction of my comment! – that the commandment to be fruitful and multiply is incumbent only upon men. Is that a man-made construct, or what? And is that absurd when you need the woman to pass on a Jewish lineage?

    Here we have a not-so-young woman who is obviously in deep pain. She explains why it’s hard for her to date successfully. She explains how much more challenging it has become as she gets older. She, as an individual, is suffering greatly. Even as a Jew attempting to do the right thing by halacha, her mind is sown with doubts. Do you wonder whether she thinks that god intends her to suffer?

    What is worse is that her biological clock is winding down and if she doesn’t do something, she will not get to have the pleasure of realizing one of the basic functions of a mother or woman. In other words, her god-given gift is also taken away.

    Women who are infertile are struggling daily with a deep desire to have children. They are going to doctors, specialists, taking medication, getting injections, paying tens of thousands of dollars, and crying, crying, crying daily because they don’t feel whole and because they desperately want their bodies to perform the basic function of having a child. In the meantime, this lovely and precious not-so-young woman (see, we agree about her merits), is not even heading in a direction where she has the opportunity to have her body have a child. Time will run out eventually.

    Now you may think that halacha is the end all and be all of life. She seems to think that as well. I hereby notify you that it is not. Look how many baalei teshuva post on this site. Did they not act unhalachically before finding their faith and practice? Of course they did. Are they any less good as Jews now? Well, perhaps there are sectors among Orthodox Judaism where they won’t marry them to their daughters, but I would think most Jews would be fine with their observance. Read the Torah. Are there not instances where Israelites violated god’s laws and were forgiven?

    Can she not violate god’s law so that she can be like most other of god’s creatures and be forgiven? Do you suffer as she is suffering that you can recommend to her in good faith that she be a good girl and not involve herself in physical relationships. Be a mensch, and let her feel that it’s okay. It’s okay to have lapses and it’s okay to be with a man. It’s okay. She’s human. Let her be a full human, not somebody who is cut off from some of our most basic, god-given, human needs.

  39. laya

    3/30/2005 at 2:01 pm

    TM, why aren’t we rooting for this woman to finally get married rather than give up her values? wouldnt that be more productive? Also, i have to point out, you seem to be kind projecting the emphasis on child bearing, she’s writing about her desire for sex, not the way her ovaries swoon when a man walks by.

  40. T_M

    3/30/2005 at 2:10 pm

    Laya, read near the top where I suggest she go to a shadchan and even joke about opening a service myself. I want her to be married tomorrow. However, if she can’t have that, I also want her to give herself another option.

    Finally, Laya, perhaps as a young woman you aren’t aware of the pain women in their late 30s and early 40s experience because they are infertile or have difficulty conceiving. I have seen it a number of times and it is terrible for these women. Instead of minimizing a real problem by claiming I’m “projecting,” why not give me the benefit of the doubt that maybe, just maybe, I’m right and her desire is more than just to have sex.

  41. Grandmuffti

    3/30/2005 at 2:25 pm

    Muffti will say nothing about halacha or anything else like that (so just relax Shtremiel…Muffti can sense you jumping to type something in response.) He just wants to point out that there may be a reason NJG hasn’t found a husband (a situation which, judging by her recent posts, she’s rather upset about.) Perhaps its because she seems self-obsessed and whiny woman? Perhaps its because she’s awfully paranoid (she won’t respond to email for fear of IP information being transferred)? Perhaps because she blames Rabbis for her predicament rather than seeing Janice, the relationship coach? She says:

    I am though angry at the teachers, rabbis, friends, and book authors who led me to believe when I was young that if I conducted myself as a holy Nice Jewish Girl surely a Nice Jewish Boy would be attracted to my modest, holy ways and marry me and build a bayis ne’eman b’yisroel with me. I am sure that no one ever promised that outright, I am sure they just said Be Good because that is the law and the way to be a servant of Hashem. The assumption was there though…

    Uh huh. Muffti is awfully tempted to proclaim her Unjewlicious (sorry, Esther, you’re abusing your new found very small amount of power) but what does he know?

  42. b,h,&E.

    3/30/2005 at 7:36 pm

    TM, your post can basically be cut up into three points: 1) Halacha is man-made; 2) an emotional argument about how she wants to have kids; 3) ‘just sin and be forgiven’.

    2) As laya pointed out, NJG hasn’t mentioned #2 (though I truly understand how that can be an issue too).
    Regardless, the answer to number 2 is connected to 1.

    1) YOU think halacha is man-made. NOT orthodox jews.
    While you may not even realize it, your comments about the halacha that only a man is obligated in being “fruitful and to multiply” do not make a strong case for yourself at all; rather, they show, as I mentioned before, that you do not understand judaism or halacha.

    And you may have read the five books of moses, but that doesn’t mean you understand judaism anymore than you understand karaitism or christianity, or any other bible-based group. (and perhaps doesn’t even mean that you understand any of them at all!)

    Furthermore, even with your misconceived notions about judaism, still, don’t you understand that that’s how NJG relates to judaism? How can you propose to make any useful comments on this topic when you can’t even see things from her perspective in a most necessary and fundamental way?

    And while my heart breaks for NJG, that doesn’t change halacha. No-one said judaism was always going to be easy. When Jews gave up their lives to preserve judaism throughout history, a judaism that believes in halacha and an action based on halacha, I’m sure as anything that it wasn’t easy. In fact, I really can’t imagine a more horrific time to live in than those years of persecution. Still, Judaism is Judaism. No-one said it’d always be easy. (Just reading the book of Job makes it clear that NO-ONE said judaism would be easy. And, like Job, we may cry out “G-d, why?!”, but ultimately we know what is right and what is judaism, even if it pains us immensely.) we have moral standards. It’s what differentiates us from animals who only act on instinct and rarely display anything remotely similar to abstract — and moral — thought. Our ability to adhere to difficult decisions is part and parcel of what makes us human, what makes us holy, and what makes us reflect, as it were, the image of G-d.
    And again, though my heart goes out for NJG (as well as my prayers), and though judaism is not about suffering, still, it is about, as laya said, self control (amongst other things). Judaism is Judaism; halacha is halacha. a person must do what s/he knows is right.

    3) in regard to your ridiculous proposal that “Sin and G-d will forgive you”, I have news for you: We Are Not Christians! we do NOT believe that G-d will simply forgive our inequities. This, besides being obvious, and besides being listed as one of the 13 fundamental tenets of jewish faith, it is also ridiculously clear from so many episodes in the bible that it’s almost silly to even discuss it. (just to give you one simple reference, see the last two verses in ecclesiastes.)
    And in the biblical episodes where people were forgiven, it’s because they did teshuva (repentance), which is essentially regret over the sin. A level of remorse over past actions that if the person had the option again, s/he would NEVER have done it. Indeed, it’s not an easy level to achieve (at least fully). But that’s what it is. Clearly, the notion of “oh, I’ll just sin and then repent” is disgustingly antithetical to judaism. (btw, the talmud writes {though it should be obvious} that a person who uses that philosophy will have an even more difficult time doing true repentance.)

    And being a baal teshuva myself, I certainly can relate to what it means to change one’s life, to lead it in a direction which is more focused on G-d, holiness, and truth. I can appreciate what it means that a changed person is like a new person. But still, a real and honest baal teshuva will tell you “don’t do it”. all this is actually rather simple.

    And while it is not my right to judge her (nor am I), nor would it normally be my right to tell her what she should do, this is not the same because this is halacha. And for halacha, you need not be the holiest person on earth, or the worst person on earth, to tell someone what the halacha is. you need only know what G-d told us to do. (Though some empathy can go a long way too.)

    In short, I think, TM, that your posts are wrong.

    p.s. sorry for the long comments, but good thoughts don’t always come in bite-sized packages.

  43. T_M

    3/30/2005 at 8:52 pm

    So, b,h, & e, you’re a baal teshuvah yourself. And you would like, although your poor heart is breaking over this, NJG to pay dues to the strong faith you have discovered late in life.

    Uh huh.

    Beautiful.

    We have no gods other than the one god in Judaism. Rabbis and scholars are men, not gods. We may tell ourselves that people who were closer in time to biblical times are closer to the ultimate truth, but simply take a look at the debates they had as to how best to achieve what they THOUGHT would fulfil obligations to god in a world where the Temple was no longer and they were dispersed, and you understand that these were people. Yes, yes, they are “clarifying” the torah from Sinai, I understand that this is what you believe.

    And yet, they were men clarifying the torah from Sinai.

    People, not gods. People, not prophets. They were people seeking to establish traditions that could keep Judaism going in a diaspora or in the Holy Land but with god’s temple destroyed. They were people, dude, despite your desire to transmogrify them. We don’t have a Christ and we don’t have a pope. Our rabbis should be respected for their learnedness but not for any special superhuman qualities. Which is why I believe halacha is man made, even if you don’t.

    I realize you have to justify to yourself the choices you’ve made with your life, and that you need to believe passionately in the strict code you’ve accepted as your own and to which you weren’t born (you sinner, you! 😉 ), and you’re right that this is how NJG perceives it as well. But let me guess, you’re also not a virgin who hasn’t ever been touched by the opposite sex. Are you?

    You little hypocrite (forgive me if I get a little personal, but it gets tiring to be attacked by anonymous strangers so they could justify for themselves why they live an Orthodox lifestyle), you would encourage the suffering of another person so that she could suffer pains you haven’t? You would take away from her the option of bearing children or even having a warm physical relationship because it makes you feel good?

    If that’s Judaism for you, it’s very sad.

    As for your comments about god not forgiving, I have to report that he won’t forgive you either. Sorry about that. Oh wait, you are a “ba’al teshuva.” How does that translate into English again? What’s the idea behind being a baal teshuva? But no, we’re not Christians. Whatever that means. Do you believe in an Olam haba? Oh boy, we’re not Christians! If she transgresses, she won’t be forgiven. No, never! I’m going to have to rethink this whole Yom Kippur thing.

    What? People can’t lapse and make mistakes? People can’t let one of their yetzarim take over?

    You know what god’s holiness and truth isn’t? That one should suffer because of faith in him. That one should give up some of the most important elements of our existence to live according to interpretations of men for what he has given us. What, the point of NJG’s body is to not be touched and not be impregnated? Why does she have arms, breasts, a vagina? Why does she have strong instincts demanding of her to have physical contact with others? Why does she ovulate? To be tortured? Is that why god gave her those body parts and elements? Forgive me, but that is one of the most Augustinian ideas out there. But we’re not Christians. No, no, no! Sex and physical contact is bad! But we’re not Christians. Suppressing desire to control our urges so that we’re not like animals is what’s intended of us. That’s not Augustinian. No siree!

    Let me be clear, the greater sin is to let this woman rot away without “permitting” her to enjoy proximity to another human. That is by far the greater sin here. Or is it that my body was constructed to reproduce and to have physical relations, but that’s not what god meant for her She gets to share these god-given parts with a vibrator. Great.

    It is absolutely immoral to encourage her not to be with others at all. And I suspect there are many others like her. For god’s sake, you people who believe this is god’s will, go out there and invest all of your time and energy finding people like NJG husbands and wives. Do it now and stop talking about holiness and G-d and keeping halacha if you’re not.

  44. ck

    3/30/2005 at 9:24 pm

    Yow.

    No, we’re not Christians. Don’t Christians believe that all procreation is sinful and thus everyone is born in sin? Judasim sure as heck doesn’t believe that. Judasim definitely believes in fun and pleasurable sex, within a certain context of course but that’s not the point.

    I’m just curious. This conversation is all about sex and stuff but what about Judaism itself? I mean our history is replete with Jews suffering all sorts of deprivation for the sake of their faith, from inconvenience and persecution all the way to death. Kinda makes not being kissed by a boy seem positively superficial in comparison – especially when one considers that all Jews today, to whatever extent they appreciate and value their Judaism, are benefiicaries of such deprivations.

    If I understand you correctly TM, using your logic, suffering all such deprivations for the sake of one’s faith is what? Wrong headed? Stupid? I mean what is more natural than the desire for the unfettered pursuit of life, liberty and happiness? Is it not even more “absolutely immoral” to encourage people to put themselves and their children at risk for the sake of some faith?

    Just curious about your take on that. And do let me know if I’ve misunderstood something key in your logic. As muffti will gleefully atest, my comprehension of logic is not exactly stellar.

  45. Dave

    3/30/2005 at 10:29 pm

    My opinion is that NJG should take up some sport in a serious way, and that will ease the difficulty of her celibacy. It has worked for me in my long periods of celibacy. Also she might consider reading sappy romantic novels by authors like Barbara Cartland. Not that I’ve done that, but some women I know say it helps.

  46. T_M

    3/30/2005 at 10:57 pm

    ck, Christianity’s take on human sexuality is what’s under discussion. I don’t know what is so different from viewing touching a male as a base and immoral activity that violates god’s laws and makes us like animals because we lose all self control, and considering any sexual activity driven by our innate desire to be evil and sinful because we are letting our natural instincts (the bad ones from original sin) take control of us. Maybe it’s my comprehension that’s not exactly stellar, so please enlighten me as to what the difference between the two might be. Thanks.

    And more.

    Ck, why do you compare being forced by an inquisitor, under the threat of death, to admit your faith in Jesus Christ, to going through life without a partner?

    She is experiencing a deprivation that means going through life with a vibrator instead of experiencing the love of another person. It also means giving up your chance to be a mother. I don’t know about you, but it seems lacking in je ne sais quoi. Uh, life! Is this trivial compared to being killed by the Einsatsgruppen at the edge of a mass grave? Yes. But we’re not living in the Nazi era right now.

    But I think you’re proving my point to some degree. This seems trivial in comparison to important historical events where Jews sacrificed all for their faith. But is that why she’s sacrificing?

    Why is she experiencing this? Is it because an inquisitor or a cossack are threatening her life? Or is it because that is how she translates a component of her faith, and in a modern world where you keep certain traditions, while not maintaining others (such as a virtually obligatory shidduch), you suddenly find there are imbalances where one tradition is kept but doesn’t keep up with another tradition.

    Is it stupid? From my point of view, and I stress that this is from my point of view, I think so. I understand why she’s doing it, but I fail to see this sacrifice for what it is. Losing a life is important, and the sacrifice of lives when people are endangered because of faith are one thing. But with all due respect, being sent on a train to Auschwitz because you’re Jewish is not the same as being Jewish and therefore going to a sex toy store and buying a vibrator so you can find another release because you won’t EVER take on a partner when you’re ovulating and your body desperately needs to be, well, you know.

    She even admits this. She says that at this point she is driven in large part by her desire not to feel as if she’s wasted all these years by being a shomeret negiyah.

    There’s an expression I’m sure you know, “Don’t throw good money after bad.” NJG should stop throwing away good lovin’ after bad abstinence. 😛

    Seriously, isn’t there a bit of an imbalance there? I mean, ck, I don’t know what your sex life is like now, or whether you have any sex at all since you are now Orthodox and unmarried, but I presume you’ve had sex in your time. Was it so heinous that avoiding it to be pure is the same as professing your love of Judaism while somebody is about to stick a huge sharp stick up your behind in order to kill you because you don’t acknowledge that Jesus is the messiah?

    There are certain questions we haven’t asked. Why has she reached this stage? What made her not marry when she was younger? Did she put forward her best efforts?

    She is not the only person who is going through this. From reading the reports of others who go through a similar situation, I conclude that there are many men and women in her shoes. They’re saving themselves for something. Time is passing and their sacrifice to Judaism is their bodies (just like nuns, but we’re not like Christians). Okay. And people are supporting this behavior as moral and just, especially males who are baalei teshuva. Super.

    As for whether people should risk their lives for faith or an ideal. I think the answer is yes, if the ideal or faith requires this sacrifice. Not everything is equal in ideology and faith, and not everything requires the same level of commitment. As an example, if I take a soldier in Israel risking his life to defend the state, he is doing it not only for himself, but for the greater community and for his family. Is that the same as living a chaste life with a vibrator instead of a partner?

  47. T_M

    3/30/2005 at 11:07 pm

    I didn’t see this post of NJG until now. With all apologies to copyright, etc.

    I have noticed in the comments of some other blogs that linked to this one that some people are angry on my behalf. They wonder if being Shomer Negiah is what Judaism is “about” and pointed out that our religion is not meant to be ascetic. We do not have nuns in Judaism which is basically what I have become. Actually I feel not so much like a nun and more like a virgin sacrifice on the alter of “the singles crisis.”

    You see I am not as angry at the requirement to be S.N. as I am at the fact that I am not married. I do believe that being S.N. makes sense especially in a person’s teenage years and their early twenties if they are still single then. Maybe later too. I agree very much with the commenter who said that I would not want a relationship with a man who was staying with me in order to get the physical benefits. When I look back at the men I have dated, none of whom I guess were for me since we did not stay together – I am glad that at least I did not make myself even more vulnerable to them than I did. In the relationships that I had we made decisions based on emotional and intellectual clarity not physical passion. I think that is a good way.

    The trouble is not being S.N. it is what happens when a person is S.N. and then they do not get married for a very long time. It is true that in Judaism we are meant to be sexual people, we are not meant to be nuns or ascetics. That is because we are meant to be married.

    I am not angry at the Torah for telling me that I should not hug or kiss men outside my family until I get married. It is a good way and I will stay strong for as long as I can. If I ever do have a meaningful relationship I will surely talk with the man about this at the appropriate time and we will make decisions together about what kind of relationship we want. Now I think about it I think deep down I really would like to stay S.N. until I get married if I can. If I was in a relationship where the question was even practical I would just be so happy to have reached that point of emotional intimacy. It has been a long time. For many years I have been S.N. by default as I explained in my first post. Perhaps truly it is the emotional closeness I crave even more than the physical closeness.

    I am though angry at the teachers, rabbis, friends, and book authors who led me to believe when I was young that if I conducted myself as a holy Nice Jewish Girl surely a Nice Jewish Boy would be attracted to my modest, holy ways and marry me and build a bayis ne’eman b’yisroel with me. I am sure that no one ever promised that outright, I am sure they just said Be Good because that is the law and the way to be a servant of Hashem. The assumption was there though: Be Good, and soon you will have a husband and a beautiful, spiritual Jewish home and children and a sexual relationship with your husband where neither of you compares the other to past partners because neither of you has had any.

    No one ever said Be Good, and if a half-decent man shows interest in you then take him no matter what because after you are 26 or 27 it will become much harder to get dates. They never said Be Good, even though it might mean that you will be a virgin until you die. They did not tell me that I might still be single when I am 34 no matter how Good and Nice I am. Definitely they did not tell me that the Nice Jewish Boys would be busy making out with or having sex with other women while I focused on being a servant of Hashem.

    I committed myself to a system with the understanding that it would lead to a certain kind of life. I paid dearly for my ticket but long ago the ship left without me.

    Now I am 34 and have never been kissed. I cannot go back. I could not undo the life I have had even if I could think of exactly what I would change. I am 34 and I still want the Nice Jewish Boy and the spiritual companionship and home and the children but I am afraid I will never get those things now barring a miracle. Meanwhile in addition to lacking emotional intimacy I have also denied myself from a physical need. Yet if I fill that need with someone who is not offering emotional intimacy as well I know I will feel used and miserable. The problem is not that I have never been kissed. The problem is that I do not have anyone to kiss.

  48. T_M

    3/30/2005 at 11:12 pm

    ck, are you getting angry emails about me again?

  49. Dave

    3/30/2005 at 11:12 pm

    I forgot to mention that, believe it or not, I found a form of Shomer Negiah/ tzniut written about in a book by Emile Zola called “La Fortune des Rougon”. This is how people courted/ dated in rural France in the 1850’s. In the story the heroine, Miette and her boyfriend, Silvere, are going on a long walk, QUOTE::
    Ils quitterent le banc et se cacherent dans l’ombre d’un tas de planches. La, Miette ecarte sa pelisse,..puis elle jeta un pan de ce chaud et large manteau sur les epaules de Silvere, l’enveloppant ainsi tout entier, le mettant avec elle, serre contre elle, dans le meme vetement..ils se mirent a marcher a petits pas..ils rencontrerent, a deux ou trois reprises, des masses noires qui se mouvaient silencieusement, au ras des maisons. C’etaient, comme eux, des couples d’amoureux, hermetiquement clos dans un pan d’etoffe, promenant au fond de l’ombre leur tendresse discrete.
    Les amants des villes du Midi ont adopte ce genre de promenade.
    .. Dans la ville, bien que les parents leur laissent une entiere liberte, s’ils louaient une chambre,.. ils seraient, le lendemain, le scandale du pays.. Alors ils ont pris un moyen terme; ils battent les faubourgs.. Les parents tolerent ces courses en pleines tenebres; la morale rigide de la province ne parait pas s’en alarmer; il est admis que les amoureux ne s’arretent jamais dans les coins ni ne s’assoient au fond des terrains.. On ne peut guere que s’embrasser en marchant. Parfois cependant une fille tourne mal; les amants se sont assis UNQUOTE:

    Translation (approximate); QUOTE: They got up from the bench and hid in the shadow of a pile of planks. There Miette opened her pelisse (a kind of large fur lined poncho) and threw a corner of this large and warm coat over the shoulders of Silvere, cuddling him close to her in the same garment. They began walking with very small steps.. they passed, on two or three occasions, some shadowy dark figures, moving silently along the edge of the row of houses.
    They were like them, loving couples tightly closed under a coat,
    walking along in the depth of the shadows, their love hidden and discrete. Young lovers in the villages of the Midi (the south of France) have adopted this style of promenade. In the town, even though their parents give them total freedom, if they rented a room the next day they (the young lovers) would be the scandal of the countryside. So they have settled on a compromise.. They take long walks in the suburbs and the countryside. The rigid morality of the provinces is not shocked by this; it is understood that the lovers will never stop in the corners nor sit down in the back pastures..One can barely do anything more than kiss while walking. Sometimes however, a girl loses her virtue- the lovers sat down. UNQUOTE:

    I thought that is lovely picture of young, innocent love, and it shows that we Jews certainly don’t have the monopoly on the ideas of tzniut or shomer negiah.

  50. ck

    3/31/2005 at 12:33 am

    Dave: You said it – Rural France, 1850s. Those were different more repressed times. Non-Jews were concerned with issues of modesty, and Jewish intermarriage was extremely rare. Thank goodness we live in better times now where pre-pubescent girls can dress like street walkers and most Jews marry outside their faith.

    😉

  51. T_M

    3/31/2005 at 12:38 am

    Don’t forget the lower back tattoos. They are definitely a sign of a healthy society.

  52. b,h,&E.

    3/31/2005 at 12:59 am

    TM, your posts are getting positively stupider by the minute!

    firstly, just to bring things back to earth, my comment “we’re not christians” has to do with the idea you proposed, “sin and be forgiven.” (as I made clear in my post.) Christians have this notion that, as long as you believe in jesus, anything you do will be forgiven. “Sin and be forgiven”. (what a fun religion, eh?!)
    However, that’s NOT how judaism is.
    in regards to your other comments about christianity and judaism, i’ll cover those too, though it’s essentially irrelevant.

    in regard to your comment about rabbis and judaism: as i said, your posts greatly display you complete and utter lack of understanding as to what judaism is about. it would probably take a few pages, which i’m not up to writing now, to fully explain the points your missing. but i’ll sum up 2 important points as follows: 1) the rabbis didn’t invent halacha. 2) while there is often discussion about a few, usually very small points of halacha, they are generally in agreement about a halacha or about 99% of it. so, either way, the halacha stands. (The only one suggesting that halacha doesn’t apply under duress it YOU; not judaism.)

    Of course, you can always give your own interpretation of what judaism is and then try to make a point based on this new form of judaism that you’ve invented, but that’s clearly ridiculous.

    remember, WE don’t believe in the judaism that YOU’VE invented and arguing a point based on your mutated and “transmogrified” straw-man form of judaism just won’t fly.

    And I understand that YOU feel the need to justify the “informed decisions” that you’ve made in your life, especially when it was such a dramatic event as inventing your own abhorrent and deplorable form of judaism. (and what was the logic in your point again? i’m trying to justify my decision? but how would that explain the initial decision to become religious which was predicated on an understanding of what judaism is about — including talmud, halacha, and mesora?! ahhhh! it wouldn’t. so, the other option is that I made an informed decision {unlike someone else I know} and am now simply speaking my piece as any person would.) (“sinner”?)

    and despite your sick accusations, I’m not deriving any sort of pleasure or benefit from seeing this woman suffer. (what a disgusting thing to say!) I’m merely defending her for actually doing the right thing — as opposed to some ignorant person i know.
    since you seem to be fairly simple-minded, i’ll give you an example: imagine someone who’s in great debt. the person is suffering b/c of this debt and soon, b/c of a loan taken out which hasn’t been fully paid, will be put in jail. This person is suffering greatly and surely the thought of murdering the lender has occurred to the person. Now, me, bystander — what do i tell this person. “Don’t do it! I know life is rough now, but murder is wrong.”
    Now, comes along TM and says, “you miserable dog! you’d actually allow this person to suffer like this — even allow the person to be imprisoned!? Your quaint man-made values that ‘murder is wrong’ are stupid and you’re hurting this poor woman. blah blah blah…”
    That’s what you sound like.
    and I’m sure that in your simplicity you’re already thinking “but hey, this is different b/c that’s murder while this is just sex”, but that’s a stupid argument and is irrelevant.
    To us, the same G-d gave both laws; they both need to be followed. (additionally, even though you may find murder to be disgusting, there have been cultures which have disagreed. as such, using your logic, the above would be a serious scenario. hey, just consider abortion, if you’d like.)

    and if you call judaism “doing what i think is right” then you’re guilty of misnaming your beliefs. Perhaps a better description, rather than judaism, would be “TM-ism”, or “modernism”, or some such thing. Because you’re beliefs are not that of judaism and certainly have no application to NJG’s unfortunate situation.

    and in regard to your stupid tirade about G-d not forgiving me:
    I didn’t’ say that G-d doesn’t forgive people. I didn’t even say that G-d isn’t merciful, but despite his mercy, He simply won’t forgive people willy nilly. He just doesn’t do it. Ex. 34: 6-7: “G-d, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth…forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin; and that will by no means clear the guilty…

    You then said a few lines which I honestly have no idea what you were attempting at spewing.

    you continued, ‘what about olam haba? oh wait, we’re not christains.’
    That point is stupid. The reason being that I didn’t say that Jews can’t share beliefs with christians. what I DID say is that some ideas are patently christian and NOT jewish. the one you espoused in your posts is one of those christian beliefs — not a jewish one.

    and if you think that yom kipur will magically wipe away your sins without your needing to have done teshuva, then you’re once again flaunting your ignorance. (unless you’ve also decided to transmogrify yom kipur and are now attempting to argue based on YOUR version of it~.)

    You wrote (really, he did, scroll up and look): “What? People can’t lapse and make mistakes? People can’t let one of their yetzarim take over?”
    NO!!! That’s one of stupidest things I’ve ever read!
    That’s like writing, “what? do i have to keep shabbos every week?!” “is murder always wrong?”
    Perhaps you didn’t realize the extent of how stupid what you wrote was, so I’ll just leave it for now and let you think about it.

    Another gem: “You know what god’s holiness and truth isn’t? That one should suffer because of faith in him.”
    as I said, you’re getting stupider by the minute.
    Just look at jewish history! Look at the torah!
    What do you think? Holiness and truth are good until they become annoying?!
    “oh yes, don’t eat pig until you really want to. then it’s ok. in fact, then its HOLY to do it!”

    And your argument: “well, then why did G-d make her with these things?” is very simply answered:
    SHE’S SUPPOSED TO BE LIVING A HAPPY, AND SEXUAL, MARRIED LIFE.
    sheesh.
    But truthfully, your argument is stupid on another level: G-d said don’t do it! So, whether or not we can think of a reason why she has these emotions is irrelevant.
    And further still, one could argue (amongst other things) that its simply a test. G-d tells us that he tests us and we know that life is filled with tests. Perhaps this is hers. I don’t envy it, and I hope the situation will be resolved. but, bottomline, your “proof” is anything but.

    oh, and in that paragraph you manage to once again shove christianity into this. to your credit, at least you’re citing a belief which is truly christian and not a shared belief. Unfortunately, your point is… well, nonexistent since I never espoused the belief that all physical pleasures are to suppressed. Rather, JUDAISM teaches that pleasure is to be controlled, to be channeled. (though some pleasures are, in fact, off limits.) so, thanks for the straw man!

    and I truly appreciate you telling us how YOU define sin. if I ever decide to convert to TM-ism, i’ll have a clear understanding of the hedonistic and fickle nature of your religion.

    and what makes you think that there aren’t programs to help people find their mates?

    ~~~~
    While writing this, TM graced us with some more gems of thought.
    TM, no-one said that touching someone of the opposite sex is bad. However, touching someone who you’re not married to is a different story altogether. the two are quite different.
    And it’s not because of “original sin”! sheesh.
    (and you say you studied judaism?)
    It’s simply because G-d said don’t do it. Perhaps one can even say it’s a guard against worse sins. but that’s altogether different from original sin which states that people cannot, no matter what, accomplish anything good on their own, as opposed to this which would arguably be “people have a natural urge for sex (fact) — which is great when used properly (Judaism) — but a guard against inappropriate use would be helpful.”

    and ck’s point is that: as opposed as to what you suggest about (your twisted view of) judaism, it is, in fact, NOT about the “easy” life. at least not unconditionally. ck’s point was that people have even given their lives for judaism, let alone their virginity. (remember, follow the points.)

    your point that ‘there is no-one forcing her to be celibate’ illustrates your lack of focus on the actual points here.
    The POINT is that “despite reason XYZ (cossacks, emotions, whatever), still, we follow the law.”
    in other words, according to your logic, those people should have confessed to a belief in jesus because, after all, who’s forcing them not to? Halacha? oh, don’t worry, TM-ism has done away with that whenever its annoying!

    in regard to “don’t throw good money after bad”.
    Would you therefore argue that it’s best that a person perform any sin imaginable if their intentions are not 100% pure and logical? Or, would you say, “well, its for the wrong reasons, but the end results are good and proper?”
    If you say the former, you’ll have seriously begun to scare me.
    (besides, i have no doubt that NJG is still motivated by halacha, even if it’s to a lesser extent than it should, ideally, be.)

    you wrote: “there are certain questions…”
    Miraculously, I think that that time you managed to write a good point.

    you wrote: “as for whether people should risk their lives for faith or an ideal. I think the answer is yes, if the ideal or faith requires this sacrifice.”
    Super. Since judaism (the real kind, not TM-ism) DOES require this, then you should obviously agree that what NJG is doing is absolutely heroic and admirable.

    As to whether dying for the state of israel and living in chastity are equally important: No, they aren’t. Living in chastity (in her type of situation) is much more important.
    (I know, TM-ism espouses different beliefs, but I’m speaking for Judaism.)

    ~~~
    in regard to dave’s post:
    perhaps we don’t have the monopoly on tzniut. I could buy that.
    however, i did notice that the quote is from 150 years ago. (and perhaps they got it from us?)
    either way, interesting quote.

  53. ck

    3/31/2005 at 1:03 am

    TM: *sigh*
    In case I haven’t been clear before, I’ll state it again. I am not the poster boy for Orthodoxy. Many who know me would find the notion that I am Orthodox laughable. Don’t you read my comments? You take umbrage at percieved personal attacks and I’ve tried to be cordial and civil. I would hope you’d extend me the same courtesy.

    I am simply suggesting that there might be value in traditional Jewish approaches to sexuality. Do a comment search for reach and grasp. With Jewish intermarriage rates at over 50% maybe the solution is a bit more religion – less religion doesn’t seem to have helped us much.

    Your response to my well meaning and politely worded question was to state the obvious – sacrificing your sex life for the sake of your values is not the same as sacrificing your life for the sake of your values. My point is that if its ok to sacrifice your values for some booty, then all the more reason you ought to sacrifice your values for the sake of your life and the life of your family.

    The holocaust is a bad example because even people who had converted and had no commitment to Jewish identity were slaughtered. But what about people who put their welfare at risk to bake challahs for Passover in the Soviet Union? What about victims of the Spanish Inquisition who could simply have converted to avoid torture? What about victims of Pogroms who could simply have left their ghettos and villages, become Christians and never fear anti-semitism again?

    It is in fact the logical extension of what you are suggesting. Well at least it is in my humble opinion. I’ll have to wait till Muffti weighs in to see how wrong I am. But in any case, NJG made her choice. And its been difficult but she stuck to it this long and I think that shows admirable restraint and commitment to values.

    However she decides to progress, I won’t judge her. I am in no position to do so.

  54. shtreimel

    3/31/2005 at 1:17 am

    “I won’t judge her. I am in no position to do so.”

    Wise and kind words.

    Damn people, if we could all get together for a shabbos dinner, what an amazing dinner it would be. Am I wrong?

  55. T_M

    3/31/2005 at 1:19 am

    b, h & e,

    Usually, when I touch a sore spot, people respond. I seem to have hit a bunch of sore spots with you because you read like a mile of hurtin’. Sorry, guy, hope you got it out of your system.

    Now consider the following carefully. You believe in things that I don’t. That’s it. That’s all. All your posturing and screaming that I don’t know anything about Judaism, etc., etc., etc. may be helping you with your insecurities. For that, I’m glad for you. I stopped reading after the second time you called me stupid. I hope the rest of it was interesting for you to write.

    ck,

    My comments were not intended to be personal, merely to use the change I supposed you had gone through as an example. Sorry if I offended, it was not my intent. My intent was to point out that what has become a mountain in this woman’s life, need not be such.

    I am also not at all opposed to traditional Jewish approaches to sexuality. AT ALL. Judaism has a fairly healthy view of sexuality, and actually completely rejects the premise of original sin and Augustine’s views on sexuality which have become a significant part of Western mores regarding sexuality. What has happened to this woman and all this defending of her choices as being what is commanded of us by god is the distorted view of sexuality according to Judaism.

    We are in agreement about where this stands on the scale of importance and relevance vis a vis historical Jewish commitment to Jewish life in light of the hostility they had to face. But what the hell, we can let Muffti weigh in on it if you like.

    And finally, I don’t judge her either. Well, maybe I do: I like her; she’s intelligent, passionate and has thought through her reasons for what she’s doing.

    She deserves better than to be alone. I wish her all the best.

  56. shtreimel

    3/31/2005 at 1:21 am

    Weird, I don’t find TM to be all that inflammatory or provocative. Bright and opinionated, yes. Nothing wrong with that.

  57. T_M

    3/31/2005 at 1:28 am

    Damn you Shtreimel, now I have to rule you out as the offended poster sending ck nasty emails about me.

  58. b,h,&E.

    3/31/2005 at 2:02 am

    TM,
    You didn’t hit a sore spot nor do I feel insecure.
    I just think your points are absolutely ridiculous and find it disgusting that you’d push this tzadekes down the wrong path and call it judaism. (I’d probably do the same for any such similar non-sense regardless of how it’s expressed.)

    When you’re ready to find out why, you can just scroll right up and take a look for yourself.

  59. shtreimel

    3/31/2005 at 2:16 am

    b, h,&E,

    I haven’t read your posts (they’re long…long…long. Don’t you know people hate reading long things via a back lit medium like a monitor?), but when you begin a post like this:

    “TM, your posts are getting positively stupider by the minute!”

    a) Insults don’t make good arguements
    b) As you stated in your last post: “…find it disgusting that you’d push this tzadekes down the wrong path and call it judaism.”
    I don’t find insults disgusting, but I don’t ’em particularly Jewish either.

  60. T_M

    3/31/2005 at 2:31 am

    bhe, I didn’t hit one sore spot. I hit a few.

    What I find disgusting is that you would pontificate to somebody else to preserve their “virtue” so you can feel better about your Judaism. In 6 years, when the odds of bearing a child become quite small for NJG, I’m sure she’ll take lots of comfort in knowing that people like you who have already done everything you don’t want her to do and do not live with the same difficulties even now, appreciate her sacrifice.

    NJG, if you’re reading this, please consider what you wrote about the other day, dating Conservative men. And don’t be so afraid of a hug or a kiss. You deserve both.

  61. b,h,&E.

    3/31/2005 at 3:24 am

    shtriemel,
    you’re right. insults don’t make for good arguments. that’s why I wrote more after that line you quoted. (I know ppl don’t like long posts, but what can I do? I got alot to say and I feel it’s important.)

    TM, your “points” are addressed above. if you want a reply to them, go take a look.
    but let me please ask you this: if you believed in olam haba (maybe you do, I don’t know), and you believed in reward and punishment, and you believed that physical relationships outside of marriage were wrong (it’s hypothetical, don’t worry): would you still suggest what you are suggesting?! A “yes” or “no” answer(even if its followed by commentary) would be much appreciated.

    and NJG, if you are reading this, don’t listen to TM, I think his posts make it abundantly clear that he’s not one to take advise from. stay strong. though I know it’s difficult, you ARE doing the right thing and we all love you and respect you for it.

  62. T_M

    3/31/2005 at 3:29 am

    I was about to answer, but then you ruined it with your last paragraph.

  63. b,h,&E.

    3/31/2005 at 4:02 am

    *shruggs*
    whatever you say.

  64. Grandmuffti

    3/31/2005 at 4:06 am

    Muffti’s gonna to weigh in.

    First, CK, it doesn’t seem to Muffti that TM actually ever announced any principle, so much as a reaction to the case of NJG. Thus, unless there is a clear principle you can read into what he’s saying, it’s hard to see the logical boundaries of what he’s committed to. Muffti may be wrong about this, though: TM, was there some principle you had in mind that made it ok for NJG to, you know, do it?

    Second, the whole debate seems to revovle around the following: is halacha worth in all instances, or is Halacha a sort of general guideline. The b,h, & e line on this is fairly clear: halacha is that which you do, period. The TM line is a bit more nebulous: it seems to be that not all halacha is worth following in all instances, and NJG seems to be a paradigm case where halacha has broken down, and other values should be taken to be more important. B,h & e seem to find the TM line compeletly out of line with Judaism while TM doesn’t. It strikes Muffti a bit as a matter of semantics rather than anything reallly substantive . (Though, Muffti thinks that B,h & e are basically advocating the position that any approach to Judaism that isn’t orthodox is really a bullshit approach to Judaism. That strikes Muffti as absurd but as the atheist of the group his opinion probably carries little weight.) Perhaps some rabbis could weigh in here about the essential conditions of Judaism.

    Third, Muffti hopes we can all agree that the comparison between martyrdom and lack of sexual contact is strained at best. People who risk their lives or die in order to preserve their Judaism are certainly admirable for their courage and conviction. But that is largely because we think that Judaism as a whole is worth preserving. Muffti isn’t sure we have the same respect for preservation of the untouched nature of a body. Muffti thought that TM’s point was that this NJG was dooming herself to a life that lacks things a good life should have: intimacy, children and physical contact. And he reckoned that TM was saying that these things are more important than obscure halacha regarding touch. How does this compare to martyrs?!?!? Not well: if there is a principle here, it is to weigh up the value of following halacha vs. the damage caused by not following it. In the case of martyrs you are weighing up betraying your entire religion vs. preserving your life. Clearly martyrs thought, and we agree, that a life without your religion was unacceptable. So they acted accordingly. Is a life without following the bit of Halacha related to shomer nageah equally without merit and worthiness of living? Not obviously. So the two strike me as apples and oranges. So, CK, Muffti thinks you are wrong. But smart.

    Finally, Muffti still thinks that NJG is awfully whiny. And self obsessed. And a good example of how lack of physical contact and intimacy can warp an otherwise fine mind into NJG. And, she’s not really all that Jewlicious. And, most of all, overly anxious to blame rabbis for a predicament that seems entirely caused by her. If she wants to fuck but thinks marriage is a prerequisite, she should go get married and stop whinging so much.

  65. ck

    3/31/2005 at 4:32 am

    Damn. I think b,h, & E finally asked a good question – namely, if you believed in the fundamentally Jewish values of
    1) olam haba
    2) shomer negiah
    3) sin and tshuvah
    how would you then counsel NJG?

    NJG definitely struggles with these, but for better or for worst, that’s where she’s coming from. Counselling her from a Conservative or more secular perspective may not be too handy because those are simply not her values. I think that sort of discussion might bring us into more interesting and new territory.

    Now b,h, & E, what’s that I always learned? Derech Eretz Kadmah leh Torah. Isn’t there a way you can present your ideas while still maintaining basic civility? Like the man said Veh Ahavta leh reacha kamocha – everything else is just commentary.

    TM wrote: My comments were not intended to be personal, merely to use the change I supposed you had gone through as an example.

    Well, for the record, I haven’t gone through any changes. I have always defered to traditional values. What is called Orthodoxy was always my ideal – one I don’t always live up to but one that I strive for. I’m glad that I am mistaken and that that wasn’t a personal attack. 🙂

  66. ck

    3/31/2005 at 4:54 am

    GrandMuffti wrote: Third, Muffti hopes we can all agree that the comparison between martyrdom and lack of sexual contact is strained at best.
    I was trying to take an idea to its logical conclusion. You can do that right?

  67. kate

    3/31/2005 at 5:14 am

    TM, i see your pain for this girl, but lets say she follows your advice, lets say she takes a lover and experiences the touch, the pleasure of that that really does enrich one’s life. But say this is not her husband. The relationship ends, as relationships often do, and the pain she feels then, that biting pain in the pit of her stomach, the bitterness of a messy breakup that keeps pulling at her, the breakup of her first and only lover, as well as the pain of knowing that she sacrificed her values for a few months of great fun makes the pain and frustration she feels now pale in comparison. How will you feel for her then? “hey, that’s life, welcome to the real world of heartache, sweetie!”

    So here she is with all this other pain, and STILL no closer to being married. Even if she somehow did get married to this or some similar guy, she’s now going to spend the rest of her life with a guy whose values don’t necessarily correspond to hers. Like I said, i can clearly feel your pain for her, but your solution simply doesn’t seem to be one that will be good for her in the long term as well.

  68. T_M

    3/31/2005 at 5:15 am

    Muffti, good cogent post.

    Principle? I think you hit it in your 3rd point: “Muffti thought that TM’s point was that this NJG was dooming herself to a life that lacks things a good life should have: intimacy, children and physical contact. And he reckoned that TM was saying that these things are more important than obscure halacha regarding touch.”

    And you add, “…if there is a principle here, it is to weigh up the value of following halacha vs. the damage caused by not following it.”

    I guess my principle is balance versus zealotry. Common sense versus extreme ideology. And frankly, more of what we can see and live than what we imagine. We may imagine there’s an olam haba (the world/life after death, for those who don’t know), but we live in ha’olam ha’zeh (the real world, this one). We may think that following halacha to the nth degree is what is wanted from us, but more likely what would be wanted from us if there is a god and he is the creator of our bodies and instincts, is a balanced approach where we do the best we can with halachic rules but also accept that there is a human side to us which needs to be fulfilled to no less of a degree. In fact, I would add that if there is a sin here, it is not to make use of our bodies at all and leave them barren, along with our lives. Finally, it seems to me that fanaticism is what is driving those who advocate celibacy and no touching for the indefinite future for this woman, whereas a more common sense approach would be to let her be a human being rather than put words and ideas ahead of her well being, especially when the people espousing these views have themselves already tasted of these basic human needs.

    My principle, if you can call it that, is that one has to find a balance and middle ground. Ideally, I’d like to see her married asap, so that she could adhere to her values. But, on the other hand, she might need to compromise somewhat to achieve this opportunity.

    I find it interesting that you have no sympathy for her, Muffti. What if she is unable to find a partner because of objective reasons that make it challenging: looks; shyness around others; heightened tension because so much is at stake for her. Would you feel more sympathetic to her “whining” then?

  69. T_M

    3/31/2005 at 5:30 am

    Kate, I once had a girlfriend and we broke up. It hurt me, it hurt her. Some time passed, and we were able to become friends again and the feelings had passed. I had very good memories from that relationship. Contrary to all of the suggestions made here, it was neither vacuous nor empty. Neither one of us felt defiled and used. That happens, sure, but in many relationships it does not.

    My suggestion that if she can’t find a husband but might consider a closer physical relationship with a man, did not include intercourse. I stopped at a hug and a kiss. I stopped there because I understand that she will have a hard time doing more. However, the alternative to that, if she is unable to find a marriage partner or a boyfriend, is more of the same as she has now. Then she will go through life without even tasting these basic fruits. If you think about it, it was not her intention to go through life like this, it was happenstance. If so, why not acknowledge that things went deeply awry?

    If things go sour, will she be upset, hurt and feel used? Maybe. Or maybe she will walk away with very positive feelings mixed in with her disappointment. Life can be complex that way. But you have to live it and can’t always just wait for it to come to you.

    I don’t have easy answers because her faith is a barrier to easy answers. But I know that sometimes you have to break rules to achieve things, and if she suffers as she does from this deprivation, what will happen if she breaks a rule? Since when does Judaism not offer a way out of a mistake?

    Hey, who wants to tell me when the whole notion of Olam Haba came to be? 😛

  70. kate

    3/31/2005 at 5:45 am

    however, TM, It seems that she is living withn a certain kind of religious community and wants to marry a certain kind of man with similar values to her. A decision to become not shomer negiah, will, simply put, effect her dating choices, unless she is very secretive about it, but she may feel less than honest about that, and that could be yet another value lost.

  71. b,h,&E.

    3/31/2005 at 5:48 am

    I agree with TM. zealotry shouldn’t cause this woman to suffer.
    The question is, though, “how do you define zealotry?”

    To me, the answer is simple: “going beyound what halacha demands.” I think it’s a very simple, sensible, and classic understanding.
    for example, let’s say, hypothetically, never laying eyes on a woman.
    Personally, I’d never suggest that for anyone. (in fact, if anyone I knew ever told me that he was going to adopt such a custom, I’d probably give him a friendly smack and tell him to be normal.) if someone had a serious problem caused by this hypothetical ideal, I’d tell the person to chill out asap.

    However, here, what NJG is doing IS halacha. it is the Jewish law. and I just can’t find any sense in equating “following the law” with “zealotry”. (btw, halacha often takes into account stressing circumstances. the situation and results thereof are significant. however, not always, and not always to the point where a halacha is suspended.)

    furthermore, despite what some may believe, from my POV, I AM looking out for NJG’s well being. Please understand, as someone who DOES believe in olam haba, reward and punishment, etc… I’m trying to help encourage NJG (who presumably also shares those beliefs) so as to help protect her from making one of the worst mistakes of her life. in my pov, even a lifetime of lonesomeness, as tragic as it is, isn’t nearly as bad as an eternity of living with the consequences of an awful sin. (and the reverse is true too. the pleasure of a lifetime of sex and companionship is gornisht when compared to the pleasures of olam haba.) I hope you can appreciate my POV in that regard.

  72. kate

    3/31/2005 at 5:52 am

    in addition, while yes, most of us have experienced relationships and break ups, for her, in this extrordinary case, the stakes are just SO high. Women respond differently to touch then men, i think that’s understood, and her sense of disappointment in her self, and loss of a whole new kind of onnection could be pretty tragic in and of itself.

  73. b,h,&E.

    3/31/2005 at 6:01 am

    TM,
    you seem to once again be going back to this notion of “sin and be forgiven”.
    I don’t think you understand that acheiving forgivenss is not such an easy thing. yom kipur doesn’t magically erase it. This is especially so when a person planned to sin and just repent later.
    furthermore, it seems to me that the philosophy behind your idea is a slap in G-d’s face.

  74. b,h,&E.

    3/31/2005 at 6:04 am

    if I may add a word to what kate wrote:
    it’s also different because you (as far as I can tell) don’t see anything wrong at all with having physical relationships with people you’re not married to.
    This isn’t so for NJG.
    I think that really makes a big difference and makes kate’s words from three posts ago even more potent.

  75. Esther

    3/31/2005 at 8:41 am

    I had no idea that response to this post was going to be so…extensive. Apologies to Muffti who thinks I’m abusing my teeny tiny smidgin of power by calling NJG “Jewlicious.” And apologies to NJG if we’ve caused you any additional discomfort over your situation. I never meant to imply that all sexual relationships are meaningless, or all abstinence is holy. All I meant to do in posting this was to call attention to the blog that tackles a subject from a first-person perspective that we don’t always get, and an approach to dating that, though torturous in its own way, is a welcome antidote to some of the random, meaningless body-slapping relationships out there, and to issue some support for a fellow frustrated dater.

    If there was any incendiary intent, it may have been to question whether this was a personal choice or whether it came as an outgrowth of community expectation. If it is truly her own personal commitment to physical abstiinence of any sort, and she feels that it enhances her life and creates a sense of kedushah when it comes to relationships, my kudos remain extended to her. But if it is due to community pressure that she has taken this on and persists in this direction, and she is (clearly) struggling, then I think the community should be helping her with her struggle. That she has turned to the blogosphere for support instead of her community indicates that her community would probably NOT be supportive of her struggle. To make an assumption, they’d just rather not hear about it. And in my eyes, that’s a problem.

    Even if she were to engage in certain types of physical contact and not others, it would be seen (at best) as an unpopular choice, and she would undoubtedly face peer pressure to consummate the relationship despite her convictions. Being shomer negiah, though torturous in its own way, does protect her from making this kind of choice with the wrong kind of person.

    From a gentle pressure on my back to an arm around my shoulder to a joking chuck on the arm (“get out!!”), I prize human contact; it connects me to the world. And there’s nothing as supremely awkward and exciting as a first kiss. (Just me on the awkward part? Fine…) But my heart breaks at the thought that companionship is something that is destined to elude some of us. Above all the convictions about sex and no sex, and touch and no touch and selective types of touch, there is the real issue: loneliness and companionship.

    There are shomer negiah jerks, and libertine hedonist jerks, and all kinds of jerks in between. That’s why finding someone special is so…special. If she meets someone great, and they “get each other,” and care about each other, I hope they’ll work out the other stuff in a way that they’re both okay with.

    Maybe that makes me a romantic. Or an idealist. Or just plain naive or stupid. But that’s my two agorot.

  76. b,h,&E.

    3/31/2005 at 8:54 am

    esther, i think that she turned to the blog-o-sphere because of its anonymity, not because people in her community wouldn’t be supportive.
    at least that’s my impression.
    i could be wrong.

  77. ck

    3/31/2005 at 9:36 am

    b,h,&E: Have you ever contemplated what it would be like to say, talk to your rebbetzin about lusting after a goy at work and your fondness for light bondage and sex toys?

  78. T_M

    3/31/2005 at 10:46 am

    I’d find a rebbetzin to talk to just to have a conversation like that.

  79. Grandmuffti

    3/31/2005 at 11:42 am

    TM wrote:

    I find it interesting that you have no sympathy for her, Muffti. What if she is unable to find a partner because of objective reasons that make it challenging: looks; shyness around others; heightened tension because so much is at stake for her. Would you feel more sympathetic to her “whining” then?

    Muffti supposes he’d be a little more sympathetic, but not very. It sounds like NJG has dated before: it’s not like her romantic life all in all has been completely vacuous.

    This isn’t to say that she shouldn’t be picky, and all. Its just that given a choice to be picky she shouldn’t be very suprised that she’s living a life of unfulfilled horniness. She reminds me of a friend of mine one drunken night who wouldn’t get anything to eat til she found a place that really grabbed her. She whined all night about how hungry she was. It was tough to feel that badly for her too!

    Anyhow, clearly NJG’s point is not to garner sympathy so it doesn’t really matter what Muffti feels for her. He’s just surprised everyone feels so badly for her. Muffti feels way worse for all the young ladies out there desperately looking for a good romp in the sack but aren’t getting one.

    CK, Muffti was saying that you weren’t really taking TM’s ‘idea’ to a logical conclusion because it wasn’t clear what TMs idea was (i.e. which principle underlies it.) That may very well have been TMs fault however 🙂

    Esther, darling, Muffti didn’t think you were abusing your power. He was just disagreeing with an application thereof. The power is both well deserved and your to (ab)use as you see fit!

  80. T_M

    3/31/2005 at 11:58 am

    I refuse to take the blame for ck’s inability to take my ideas to their logical conclusions.

  81. Kolodny

    3/31/2005 at 12:14 pm

    I beg to differ. I think CK provided a textbook example of taking a clearly defined idea to its logical conclusion. But then again, who am I to argue with the judgement of some guy called grandmuffti who is a graduate student of Philosophy at Rutgers?

  82. Dave

    3/31/2005 at 12:21 pm

    Frankly, CK, I was rather surprised/ shocked that NJG expressed a fantasy about light bondage. To be honest, I think that even within the context of a married heterosexual couple, certain things are definitely not tzniut ie. any kind of bondage, or anal sex.
    And I am not even Orthodox. Maybe I am just old-fashioned.
    What does every one else think?

  83. T_M

    3/31/2005 at 12:24 pm

    I say that if light bondage makes her happier, she should feel free to discuss it with her hubby and then be ready to be spanked. Bad girl!

  84. T_M

    3/31/2005 at 12:27 pm

    Is there something wrong with the philosophy department there?

  85. ck

    3/31/2005 at 12:27 pm

    Light bondage in any sexual relationship seems like a fairly common thing, from what I’ve been told. I have no comment on anal sex.

  86. Grandmuffti

    3/31/2005 at 2:48 pm

    Kolodny, feel free to question my judgment. Everyone else does. And most of them seem to think that being a grad student makes you more likely to be wrong.

    Speaking of which, who are you?

  87. T_M

    3/31/2005 at 2:52 pm

    Um, Muffti, let’s just say that if he is who he says he is, he may know about what he is speaking. Don’t give in so easily. 😛

  88. b,h,&E.

    3/31/2005 at 3:59 pm

    ck,
    exactly my point. it would be embarrassing. these aren’t things people (at least in the orthodox world) talk about. it’s just kinda taboo. (though I definitely could see someone talking to their rabbi/etzen about lusting after a goy…. the bondage thing is, of course, a little more extreme {and a lot less relevant}.)
    that’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with these things, only that they’re not what people generally talk about.
    hence the appeal of anonymity.

    however, I can say from experience that I’ve spoken with rabbis about a wide range of topics (and have friends who have as well). of course, some rabbis were uncomfortable and only just barely managed to discuss the issues. But other rabbis were very understanding and able to speak about it at length and it actually helped alot. (personally, i think she should find a rebbetzin to talk to about these issues. but i can understand why she’d be hesitant to.)

    sof sof, I’m praying for her and I hope she finds her man soon.

  89. Laya

    3/31/2005 at 4:09 pm

    yeah, after all these comments and having a couple of days to think about it, i still hold by my original comment no. 2, that i have no idea what to think of this. It’s mamash yotzei min haclal.

  90. b,h,&E.

    4/1/2005 at 5:08 am

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m still thinking about NJG and davening for her.

  91. Esther

    4/1/2005 at 9:54 am

    Not to go all English major on y’all, but I think that the whole bondage thing actually makes a lot of sense. (I am so pryeparing for off-color comments from all you boys…) Symbolically, for NJG, I mean. First of all, with Pesach approaching, you cannot ignore the themes of bondage, suffering and redemption (which, actually, are kind of on-target for every Jewish holiday (see TEBUWWLE on the ck Temple post). Also, I would go out on a symbolic limb and say that she herself (personally and sexually)feels restricted, bound even, by her life and choices in a way that is becoming (or has become) unlivable for her, and that her flights of fancy represent a reversal of that power structure, to a situation where she’s the one in control, binding something else to her.

    A stretch, maybe. But makes good symbolism.

  92. ck

    4/1/2005 at 9:58 am

    … or maybe the thought of tying someone down and bumpin booties with complete abandon makes her hot? Why does everything have to have deeper meaning?? “This is the booty of our afflicition…”

  93. Dave

    4/1/2005 at 4:28 pm

    I believe the idea of bondage, however light, is totally non-tzniut and unacceptable, even in the context of a loving heterosexual married people, because it’s a kind of mind/ power game which is not what making love or marriage are about. Making love and marriage is about sharing and giving, not some mind/ power game.

  94. b,h,&E.

    4/1/2005 at 5:20 pm

    dave,
    maybe it’s not tzniut, but is it assur?
    I don’t think so.
    (Disclaimer: I have not studied these laws; it’s just my guestimate.)
    (though speaking about these topics in public is a different story… *shruggs*)

    —-
    Esther, the comparison to pesach is very weak (though very english-major-ish). the other idea is interesting, but i agree with ck that it may just be reading into things a bit too much (very psych-major-ish).

  95. Dave

    4/6/2005 at 11:50 am

    B,h,e- I do not know what “assur” means. Does it mean forbidden?
    If so, maybe any kind of bondage is not discussed by our sages, but if such practices ie. bondage is not expressly forbidden it should be because it such behaviour is a power game/ mental manipulation, which is a slippery slope. It is totally opposed to the spirit of love, which is one of giving, and sharing and above all kindness.

  96. b,h,&E

    4/6/2005 at 5:35 pm

    hi dave,
    I’m sorry; yes, assur means prohibited by jewish law.

    in regards to whether it’s “assur”: I don’t know if the “spirit of love” is a mitzva (commandment). So, though we may have our own reasons for not wanting to do it — and they can be very nice and philosophically moral reasons that we may personally live by — that doesn’t necessarily make it “assur”.

    (Then again, it could be that it is “assur” for that reason or some other. I don’t know. I’m just saying that we can’t simply invent our own concept of morality and try to superimpose it on torah law.)

  97. T_M

    4/6/2005 at 5:53 pm

    Thanks for posting again, it made me revisit her blog. She really has explained her situation very clearly and in great detail. Sounds very tough on her and may be an unwinnable situation since faith is what drives her. I wish NJG all the best…

  98. b,h,&E

    4/6/2005 at 7:56 pm

    TM,
    if you don’t mind, please tell me: have you thought about NJG much over the last week? or did you kinda forget about her as the days passed by and the discussion waned?

  99. T_M

    4/6/2005 at 8:59 pm

    I have thought a great deal about her. I spent the weekend with a very joyous and Jewlicious group of Reform Jews and found myself involved in a very profound process of trying to understand what their form of practice means and what NJG’s form of practice means.

  100. b,h,&E

    4/7/2005 at 3:13 am

    I’m glad to hear. Since no-one was posting here I began to wonder if I was the only one of us who was still broken over NJG’s situation and that was thinking of her. It’s nice to learn that that’s not the case.
    (And I hope your weekend was nice and that the discussions were accurate and insightful.)

  101. Safiyyah

    4/7/2005 at 4:00 am

    I have a question. I sympathize with NJG’s situation, but to my mind, she is being awfully bold about expressing herself on her blog. Is there any sort of restriction against that in Orthodox Judaism? I find it ironic that all her life she is shomer negiah, and yet she is willing to share her fantasies and deepest sexual desires with the world, some of which will obviously stir up the minds of some of her readers (not all of whom are women, as is obvious in the comments). Anyway, I’m not passing judgement, I’ve just been curious about this for the longest time.

  102. b,h,&E

    4/7/2005 at 5:03 am

    it is probably prohibited, but considering her situation, it may be the much lesser of several evils.
    (and I’m not judging her either.)

  103. Aish Freak

    4/7/2005 at 8:54 am

    She is obviously suffering Psychologically from her predicament. She lives in a world where you go to Shule on Shabbos surrounded by smiling families and many children. I have a friend who has 5 children. People asked her, what’s wrong, (why only 5?).
    Some would stop going to SHule but she continues. Not only goes, but also is involved, volunteers, helps. It is not easy for her. So she found this outlet.

  104. Esther

    4/12/2005 at 10:30 pm

    This just in…Nice Jewish Girl is hanging up her keyboard.

  105. boteach

    4/12/2005 at 10:43 pm

    NJG’s doctor’s remedy for S.N. schpilkis is “Take two Prozac & call me in the morning!” It takes a blog to figure this out? Put down the Sylvia Plath novels and start watching some Marx Brothers a la Norman Cousins’s 1970’s self-help tome “The Power of Laughter.”

  106. TM

    4/12/2005 at 11:20 pm

    Hey, Boteach, this is more than just a blog, this is a lifestyle. Good post, btw, come back often and use your wit for good instead of evil.

  107. mike kaufmann

    5/15/2005 at 1:51 pm

    Below is the prologue of my exhibition of my trip to Poland.
    Please go into the site.
    kaufmann.co.za...
    Click on the painting to get in,then click on the right on each red line
    which are some writing and click on each photo to enlarge.
    I hope that you find this interesting and helpful.

    Kind regards,
    Mike Kaufmann

    Prologue
    ________

    I went to Poland in April of 1995 on the March of the Living Tour.

    My intention was not to have an exhibition but to have photographs for
    my own use. I took along several cameras including black and white film,
    being the photographic medium of the time.

    There are a number of photographs that are out of focus for which I do
    not apologize, as it was difficult to focus through my tears.

    There were many pictures that I did not take like the barrack that was
    full of shoes that as I walked in I choked on the smell after 55 years,
    the barrack that was full of suitcases and the barrack that was full of
    children’s toothbrushes and personal effects.

    These photographs are scanned from contacts. The exhibition photos were
    professionally done (some were redone a number of times) to get certain
    effects accentuated like darks darker and lights lighter and to try and
    create moods.

    These effects are not possible to produce on the computer monitor.

    The exhibition was held at the Albow Centre Cape Town , South Africa in
    April 1996 ,was 13m long and 2,7m high, and the background was painted
    black. I tried to create a feeling of the viewer being overwhelmed by
    the blackness and size and drawn in to the beauty and by the deception.

    The idea is, that each picture is in the order that the person who went
    into the camp, walked and saw what I saw. As you look at each picture
    try and imagine yourself walking through this camp not knowing what to
    expect next and in great conflict. The conflict being that as you
    entered the camp, there was a sign that said “Arbeid Macht Frei” (Work
    Makes You Free) and these bureaucrats, in and out of uniform, who are
    only doing their job and carrying out their orders, (which was to
    process your death) who view you as the scum of the earth, demanding
    your number(your name is irrelevant) etc. and recording this in a tome.
    (How much has changed?)

    While on the trip I asked many questions:Why? What is the same now as
    was then?What is different now?What makes the situation now that
    something like this cannot happen again? I have not yet found the
    answers.The level of deception, distortions, myths, the coverups ,the
    spin ,deception by omission and outright lies by the government, the
    media, corporations, organized religion, the scientific establishment,
    and others who want to keep the truth from us,is something that is so
    great the public has no clue as to what is really going on at any given
    time.

    “The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield
    the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of
    the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of
    its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the
    lie, and thus by extension, the truth becomes the greatest enemy of the
    State.”
    – Dr. Joseph M. Goebbels

    He Believed, was written in April 2000 to try and get some clue as to
    what my Grandfather may have thought at each year and to try and put an
    age to ourselves and those people who are dear to us who do things that
    we really do not understand why they do what they do and think what they
    think, when he only did what he felt to be right, only to be wrong!

    “The condition upon which God has given liberty to man is eternal
    vigilance; which condition if he break , servitude is at once the
    consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.” John Philpott
    Curran 1750- 1817

    I want to thank my family for their continuous support, Grant and
    Anthony and Gary who have made this presentation possible.

    kaufmann.co.za...
    Thank You,
    Kind regards,
    Mike Kaufmann

  108. Soferet

    5/23/2005 at 3:07 am

    ??”?
    What has this got to do with a 34-year-old Orthodox virgin?

  109. esther

    5/23/2005 at 9:13 am

    Soferet, it started on-topic, really. But part of the magic/psychosis of this site is that we start somewhere specific, and the conversation sometimes takes us on journeys to unexpected places.

  110. Pingback: Jewlicious » Nice Jewish Girl Redux

  111. Simcha Hoyzen

    6/8/2005 at 3:44 pm

    Vey iz mir nach, this is so depressing. Where I come from, Montreal, there’s a Rav in Outremont who paskened that once you’re over 25, SN no longer applies.

  112. themiddle

    6/8/2005 at 5:32 pm

    Nice Jewish Girl should move to Montreal.

  113. emily as-sifr

    6/9/2005 at 3:57 pm

    why do i keep flashing back to “40 days and 40 nights” whenever people talk about celibacy?

  114. Wildthing

    6/10/2005 at 12:49 am

    We are Jews. Jews are people of the Book. Which Book? The one with a capital B. The Torah. In the Torah, or through the Rabbis in the power vested in them through the Torah, we are commanded to be Shomer/et Negiah. I personally am not and am a sinner. But I should be. I wont say I envy you that are because fact of the matter is life is more fun not shomer, but i will say i respect you for your decision and at times wish I could maintain thae same holy sort of existence, though i was shomer for years and i kinda know thats BS and its not all that holy but, unless you once werent shomer, more of something you do out of a sense of stayijng in your comfort zone. But hey, whatever works for ya! JEWS ROCK!!

  115. JennyfromBerlin

    6/14/2005 at 9:07 pm

    I think it´s pretty cool that NJG wants to do her thing and live that kind of lifestyle. However, we have our more “base” instincts, if you want to call them that, for a reason (Sleep, food, sex, etc.) They all work the same way. Too much food, you don´t feel so good. Too little, you also feel like crap. Too little sleep and you don´t function as well as you could on a full night´s rest. I think sex works the same way. You probably shouldn´t go out and sleep with everyone you meet, but I don´t think that having sex in some sort of monogamous relationship with someone you care about is terrible. Yay for moderation and balance!!

  116. Peter Yoon

    5/2/2006 at 2:07 pm

    do jewish girls like korean guys?

  117. Pingback: Jewlicious » Reason #34: “YOU CAN NEVER NEVER NEVER TRUST A BOY”

  118. david lars louis shalom

    7/26/2008 at 1:04 pm

    hey! I talk to jesus!!! search ‘jesus’

    yes! I’m his dad!!!!!

    luv david

  119. Jewish Girls

    8/16/2009 at 7:01 pm

    Nice Jewish Girls give being shomer negia a whole new meaning!

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