Thursday, September 20, 2012

Stormtroopers or cleaning ladies

Recently, I had one of those discussions with Builder that make me wonder why I signed up in the first place.  I wanted to put Thing 1 in a Girl Scout troop.  Builder refused to allow it, since none of the kids were frum.  In fact, I think there was only one other Jewish family in the troop.  Now, this doesn't bother me in the slightest.  However, Builder doesn't want our children socializing with and learning values from "Goyim."
This breaks my heart.
There is a mindset that seems steeped less in Torah and more in paranoia, that the Gentile world should be avoided at all costs.  There is no "taking the fruit and leaving the rind" because there is no fruit.  At least, no kosher fruit.  So, what happens?  Children of survivors (and that would be about 90% of Hasidic Brooklyn) treat all Gentiles as potential Nazi stormtroopers.  (In fact, my initial mental reaction to Builder's refusal was, "It's the Girl Scouts, not the Hitler Youth!")  Other than the cleaning lady that comes once a week, few of my neighbors see Gentiles at all.
So, what is the outcome?  Children who grow up with this mindset have a mentality that all Gentiles are either rabid anti-Semites, or only fit to clean their houses.  Ethnic jokes and slurs abound.  Families even refer to their housekeepers as "the goyta," as though she has no name.  My friend CeCe, a Jewish woman of color, used to work at the Bronx WIC office.  Those Jewish families that came in for benefits would avoid her and her coworkers of color like the plague.  (Even though these African American and Latino Americans were working and not on benefits). 
My sincerest hope is that my daughters will grow up to see all people, whether Jewish or Gentile, as human beings.  Some are good, some are flawed.  But neither side is perfect.


  1. You may have to work at it a little harder because of where you are living, but I am sure that you WILL be able to convey your values to your children.

  2. "However, Builder doesn't want our children socializing with and learning values from 'Goyim.'"

    Honesty? Hard work "Gd helps those who helps themselves"-my "shiksa" Granmother. Or "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." -many goyim... or "Don't talk about people behind their back. First off, it's wrong. Second of all, then no one will want to be your friend. After all, if you backstab others, why should I trust you to not backstab me" -More goyish values... The Jewish value is to tell them it's wrong but not bother to mention how utterly foolish it is so no one cares and everyone does it anyway... plus, it's ok to speak lashon hara on goyim but not on Jews. In fact, someone told me that one last week. (Knowing full well I'm a convert... it was actually as I said something about my sister.)

    Although, that's where the Jewish value is superior. For a non-Jew, if you've said something to someone's face, then you are free to say it to others and it's just saying negative things about them. The issue is more if they are violating someone's trust/being two faced...

    You know like when Jews say to me, "I love converts! Let me try to find you a great guy, what are you looking for?" I say, "no, really I don't want to date." However, I walk out the door and they turn to the other FFB and say, "who do these women think they are? They are just coming in here trying to steal our men-the noive-of these UGH shiksas and nebach my Rivka* is 24 and STILL not married." So the FFB that I didn't talk to says, "if you set her up then she can't steal anyone from your daughter. Let's see... there's that one disabled guy... and that other disabled guy.... HEY how about that homeless 52 year old? If she protests, we'll just keep letting her know her place and that she better not steal our men."

    Yep, those pesky goyim would consider that last convo wrong. However, I'm not a "real Jew" so, it's perfectly ok.

    Which gets me curious, are FFBs allowed to speak lashon hara about BTs?


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