Speaking Authentically To Your Kids. Even When They Are Not As Religious As You. Crazy Right?

You can read this post or listen to it.


I just heard about Faigy’s suicide. What a frikking tragedy.

This girl left her hasidic community and committed suicide.

I must share that I’ve spoken to two people recently, one boy one girl, whose fathers are shluchim. Now these young adults are what you would call very very modern and they’re also pretty frum. Shabbas, kashrus and more. And yet, one of them told me her father calls her up to tell her that it is killing him how short her skirts are. The other one told me, “Berry, do you know that my father tells me like once a month how bad it is that I’m so modern…it depressed the s—t outta me.”

Now, I’m not saying a father can’t value long skirts and can’t tell his daughter about his values. Look, this shliach loves his daughter. No no hang on …..he LOVESSSSSSSS his daughter. If he got present to just how much he’d be balling his eyes out for days. What a crybaby.

So I asked the guy permission to call his dad the shliach. I got permission. I called.
After asking permission to speak to him about his son…we had a conversation.

At one point he tells, “Look mr. berry schwartz, I know what I have to do…I have to stop caring about her choices so much…”

Me: LOL good luck with that. You crazy?! You’re gonna stop caring about your son’s yiddishkeit. DUDE DON’T BE A CRAZY PERSON. You’ve given your entire life to yiddishkeit and the rebbe and god. Your OWN son is not so into it and you’re gonna make yourself not care?!?!

Him: So what do I do?

Me: Tell your son what’s there for you! Just be straight.
[I never make it easy for people. Easy come easy go.]

Him: I don’t know how to do that.

Me: You have a mouth?

Him: Yes.

Me: You have a brain?

Him: Yes.

Me: Great. Start with those two! Just tell him what’s there for you!

Him: Well, if I tell him that, I’ll have to tell him how much I want him to be frum!

Me: Great. So do that. And why do you want him to be frum? Make sure he knows why.

Him: Because it’s everything. It’s life!! And how could he —

Me: No no …don’t go there. Stay with the life thing…it’s not about ur anger…this is about your love and concern for him. Sure there’s anger there but that’s not what this is REALLY about. You love this kid don’t you? I mean like crazy in love with him huh. I can hear it.

Him: [Silence]

Me: Well?

Him: [Guardedly] yes I suppose I do.

Me: Great so come from that love. And just tell him how much you love him and that precisely because you love him so much you want the best for him and you believe with all your bones that yiddishkeit is the truth and the best thing in the world!

Him: But then he hates that. And then I feel bad and upset so I yell at him and the whole cycle repeats.

Me: Great. Ready to break the cycle? Just tell him all THAT. Say, ” Listen yossi, I am hesitant to even tell you all this because I don’t want you to feel upset with me.”

Him: But he’ll feel like it’s all a ploy just to get him to become more frum.

Me: Awesome. SO you can even say something like this: “Yossi, I want to have conversations with you about yiddishkeit and its importance but I don’t want you to feel like my love for you is conditional. So just know that I love you regardless. And that I get that it can sound like you’re only worthy to me if you’re frum so I really don’t know how to engage in this conversation with you without you feeling invalidated. Can you tell me what would work for YOU? Can you tell me what I could do to show that unconditional love? Can you tell me what would make a difference for you?”

Him: …Ok MAYBE I’ll try that.


He calls me the next day. He had the conversation. His kid said, “So you’re asking me how to parent me. That is so weird.”

Then ten minutes later his kid came downstairs and asked to go on a walk with him and just hang out. Which never happened. MIRACLES.

Sometimes it’s “just” a communications issue.

We need to empower frum people to be able to speak their hearts clearly and with power. When they do…the only thing they can get out through chocked up tears and throats is how frikkin much they LOVE their children.

I’m in.



Posted in Conversations

How Hell Saved Me From A Hooker

This article is part 1 of a 5 part series titled “The 5 reasons people are frum”

Experience Time:  6 minutes to read – 5 minutes to digest = 11 minutes of your day.

Reading Time: 5 minutes, 34 seconds. Contains 1114 words  (calculated by http://niram.org/read/)

Skim Time: Don’t skim this. Seriously. If you don’t have the time to invest a couple minutes right now, come back when you do. Skimming through life and looking for more knowledge won’t make any difference for you. You need to take the time to invest in getting something (experientially) from reading this. If you’re in skimming mode, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that or bad, it just won’t work and my intention in writing this is that it work.

My intention in writing this article is: to have you take a look at the reasons you are frum (or are not). And to empower you to really be comfortable and own these commitments with pride and audacity. 




Benefit in the next world 

Yes, I’m starting with a classic.

Shoot me.

This was a HUGE hit back in the day. Let’s face it, life often was unimaginably painful for everyone; jew or non, european or exotics. We’re living in a bubble. You know that vacation you’re skipping this year so you can buy your new macbook? Yeah, their choice was between buying a 2nd pair of pants or dinner. Not going out to dinner. Just dinner.

Not for nothing was this the age of faith, and one of the many reasons people lived for the next world was no doubt because this world kind of sucked and wasn’t worth living for.

[Though the modern day suicide bombers put this theory to the test somewhat. See this Economist article: “Nearly 60% of suicide-bombers had more than a high-school education, compared with less than 15% of the general population. They were less than half as likely to come from an impoverished family as an average adult man from the general population.”]

Both Jews and Christians.

Although it’s seen a decline, this creature can still be found in some frum communities.

Mostly in Litvish communities as well as some Chasidish groups that have become litvishized.

There have been reported sightings of this beast in Lakewood and Williamsburg and even recently, due to intense breeding, she has been spotted in the Upper West Side and rarer still, Crown Heights.

I used to scoff at this motivation. Partly due to my chabad upbringing and chabad chassidus’s  vacuum of serving God out of reward and fear of pain (out of hundreds of maamarim I’ve learnt, only one even mentioned yiras onesh (fear of punishment) in passing). And partly because it struck me as escapism from being invested in this world and this life. Is this whole world, my entire life just an arena to set me up for the real deal? Certainly there are sources in our holy tradition that indicate as such. So maybe. But that doesn’t really resonate with me as something I can work with.

I have grown up (ok a bit) and now I’m just left with admiration. I admire the discipline and

focus it takes to live in one world and yet have one’s actions be dictated by a future-distant reality. Look, it takes a ton of discipline and control just to invest in your 401k (companies have a notoriously difficult time doing this) and that’s a distant reality in this world. So investing time, money, effort, one’s whole life, in foregoing physical pleasure and secular values for a return on investment that accrues only after departing this world is massively impressive. On a human level!

I know some people think this motivation is old school or outdated or sub-par. I don’t. I admire the fortitude it takes even as I think there is perhaps what to be improved upon.

And to be honest, there were times in my life when I leaned on this and needed it. I remember once in 9th grade, in high school in L.A. I was learning really late at night as I often did and the study hall was empty; it was around 1:40 am.

The door creaks open, I look up from my gemara and see a barely dressed hooker waltz into the yeshiva. Presumably she was coming from Melrose Av, a notoriously promiscuous street in L.A., which is a block away (really great location for female-deprived hormone ridden teenagers!).

I was 14 and mortified. As well as turned on. And shocked. But like in an excited way.

Now, I’m not going to tell you that without the spectre of hell looming over me something would have happened. There are other reasons why it’s unlikely I would have done anything (I was 14!!! and oh so innocent) and I did have values after all. Would they have withstood temptation?

Who knows.

But as I ran (literally) from the study hall, what was foremost on my mind was how damned I would be if anything happened. How utterly irrevocably doomed to the divine doghouse I would be. I think, (by hashgacha pratis?), I had been learning the gemara that week about the difference between the hell of fire and hell of ice (spoiler alert: ice is 60x worse). It used to be scary for me because I have a very vivid imagination and I would imagine what hell would be like and how it would feel. I would really work myself up!

That’s nuts now that I think about it. Damn I really hope chassidus is right and God loves me unconditionally and is not out to punish me after I die. That would royally just suck.  Like REALLY.

I don’t mean to say it’s only fit for 14 year olds. I just happen to currently be in a place in my life where it doesn’t speak to me (perhaps a topic for another time). But if it speaks to you, or if you want to have it as a tool to whip out in certain situations to keep your actions aligned with your commitment to God, then that is honorable indeed.

The challenge of this motivation is that it is self oriented. I say that not in a derogatory way but simply as a description of what the dry facts are. The focus is always on ME and getting the goods for me (or averting the bad stuff from ME). Even loving God and Torah is for me. To get more reward. Even not doing things for reward is to get more reward. There’s no escape from this rabbit hole. And arguably, the point of any religion is to get beyond the ordinary self. Instead of accumulating women or money you are now accumulating reward in the world to come. Look, don’t get me wrong. That’s a big BIG deal. Some would say that’s enough! But, let’s call a spade a spade. It is harnessing the self interest of human beings to create a Judaism. By the way, there is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with that!

This whole thing can result in very pious people who are sometimes more self centered and concerned for themselves than a secular person.

Of course there are exceptions but I speak in generalities. Hey if Torah can do it (torah al harov tedaber) then I can too! :)

Honestly I don’t even know why I’m pointing out the deficiencies in this motivational scheme. I think that’s my chabad brainwashing still speaking. Oh well.  :)

Please note: I’m not dealing with the theological and philosophical reasons why some people feel they have to adopt this motivation. I.e. some reason that God doesn’t REALLY need anything, even mitzvot, and that Torah is just God wanting to do good to us and thus giving us a system to us so that inevitably the whole thing revolves around the person.

I’m only dealing here with the EXPERIENCE and impact that living life this way can have on a human being.

P.S. Here’s what I’m NOT SAYING:

I’m not saying there is something wrong with believing that God will reward you in the next world.

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that being a motivation to be frum.

I’m also not saying that people who are frum for this reason are self-centered or selfish or lacking some “real” depth in their Judaism.

I’m simply saying what I’m saying.

P.P.S. If you found this article in any way helpful, empowering or insightful, share it with two people you suspect might like it, resonate with it, or even strongly disagree with it.

Find me on facebook http://on.fb.me/1vOyXKU or twitter http://bit.ly/1BtOnFD or shoot me an email berryschwartz[at]gmail[.com] to let me know how my content is working (or not) for you.

With much humility, fragility and awe at the possibility of you creating lasting change in your life,

Berry Schwartz



Posted in Foundational

When Being A Weirdo Is What Makes A Difference


What I discovered recently and keep on rediscovering was tha, sometimes,  the only REAL way to make a difference for someone is if you absolutely don’t care whether they like you or not.

Not that you don’t care at all. Because your brain will always want people to like you. No no.

What I mean is that your actions are not given by nor influenced by whether the person will like what you say or not.


I’m sitting on the train. It’s been a very long day. There is a black woman sitting to my right with two children both of whom appear to be roughly 10.

I turn to her…”how are you” I inquire.

She is literally forming the words “I’m great” when her sons start bickering. Her mouth rapidly changes shape and she starts shouting. HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I TOLD YOU TWO TO CUT THAT SH__T OUT?!?!?! (Insert another minute of angry shouting)

She turns back to me and goes “I’m fine”.

Now she doesn’t appear fine.

She’s mad as hell!

So one part of me wants to have a real conversation about what really matters to her. The other part is like “berry stop it. She’s not interested. She is sending all the conventional signals of wanting to be left alone. She’ll think you’re weird man. Dude you really are a WEIRDO just relax and let it go”

In that moment I discovered how hard it is to make a difference for people if your concerned with what they’ll think of you.

I closed down and didn’t speak to her further.

I could have said  something like (of course, it never goes this smooth): “Excuse me ma’am. Wow I see you’re really frustrated by your sons bickering. I see you’re very angry. Now I know I’m a total stranger and its not common to talk to random strangers about what’s really important to you. And I also know you may just not be in a mood to talk. But I want you to know that if you do let me in on your world, it would be an honour and a privilege for me to hear what’s really going on for you.”

I didn’t do that. I closed.

I thought she might think I’m weird.

So I didn’t take the action that might have brightened her day.


A friend of mine told me recently that tanya has helped them  with something they were dealing with and struggling with. And how exciting it was for them because it’s the first time they’ve felt Tanya is really practical.

I asked, “Is it completely resolved, whatever you were struggling with?”


Ok. Would you be willing to share with me?

Not really.

Ok. Why?

It’s personal.

Ok. And you may want to consider that the hesitation and uncomfortability you give it grants it power over you. Like, as if, there is something there that is shameful or threatening?

Oh yeah? So YOU tell me everything private in your life!

Ok. Ask what you want.



[He went there. I went there too.]

Ok, I said, now that we cleared that up, do you wish to tell me what’s going on?


Ok I said and went home.

Was that comfortable? I love people. You think I want to make people uncomfortable? NO.

But I also know that I’m fanatical about people getting some freedom in their lives around what they’re dealing with.

In the world of that commitment there is very little space for not saying things just because I think or feel that that person will think or feel something ABOUT ME.


P.S. Here’s what I’m NOT SAYING:

I’m not saying if you don’t want to talk about something with someone it means automatically that thing you’re dealing with has any power over you or is unresolved.

I’m not saying there is something wrong with choosing not to share something private with your friends.

I’m simply saying what I’m saying.

P.P.S. If you found this article in any way helpful, empowering or insightful, share it with two people you suspect might like it, resonate with it, or even strongly disagree with it.

With much humility, fragility and awe at the possibility of you creating lasting change in your life,

Berry Schwartz


Posted in Conversations

Do You Love Your Frustrations? Then Why Are You Keeping Them?

Experience Time:  10 minutes

Reading Time: : 2 minutes, 49 seconds. Contains 565 words  (calculated by http://niram.org/read/)

Skim Time: Don’t skim this. Seriously. If you don’t have the time to invest a couple minutes right now, come back when you do. Skimming through life and looking for more knowledge won’t make any difference for you. You need to take the time to invest in getting something (experientially) from reading this. If you’re in skimming mode, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that or bad, it just won’t work and my intention in writing this is that it work.

My intention in writing this article is: to have you take a look at where you’re holding onto a complaint about someone or something instead of taking action.


Me: What’s up? What have you been dealing with lately?
Him: Nothing much. Just upset about something.
Me: Would you be willing to share with me?
Him: It’s no big deal.
Me: Well, I can see you’re upset, you heaved a great big sigh when you said it and you don’t look too excited! I’m ok if you don’t wanna share but why are you saying it’s no big deal?
Him: Whatever, it’s just something nagging me.
Me: Ok
Him: It’s my friend…basically he always asks me for help because I’m a big strong guy and last week he asked me to help him set up an event in his backyard again and I came and helped him for 2 hours.
Me: Ok. Great! You’re helping your friend out! So where’s the upset?
Him: Well, I don’t feel appreciated. I feel a bit used you know? Like, my friend was even literally just watching me work and carry tables and chairs. He’s not mean just really lazy lol.
Me: Ok. Did you communicate that?
Him: No! I don’t wanna make a big deal.
Me: Right. You just wanna be frustrated and feel used and carrying that around all day with you.
[He laughs]
I’m serious! What’s so funny.
Him: You’re making a big deal outta this.
Me: Am I?
Him: Well, whatever, you know, it’s just this thing he does. Doesn’t really matter.
Me: Ok. So why you talking about it? And why are you walking around heaving big sighs and feeling used? Why you doing that to yourself? Look, there’s nothing wrong or bad here. It’s not bad to be frustrated or feel slightly used by your friend. It’s just not allowing you to experience life the way you want to.
Him: Well, what would I say? I don’t wanna say anything and either make him feel bad or look like I’m making a big deal.
Me: Ok.
Him: Yeah.
Me: Great! So say that! Say, “Hey Moshe, look I want to communicate something to you. And I didn’t even wanna bring this up because I don’t wanna make a big deal out of nothing and I don’t want to make you feel bad but there’s this thing that keeps coming up for me in our relationship. You know how you ask me to help you with physical tasks all the time? Well, I don’t mind doing it, in fact, I like helping you but I also don’t feel appreciated and sometimes you just watch me do the work without even pitching in and that doesn’t really work for me. So I’m requesting you thank me after I work and that you pitch in with me. I want to be there for you! I just wanna feel like you’re in it with me.”
Him: Well, I don’t know that’s like a lot to say.
Me: Yeah you’re right. Much better to walk around being incomplete with one of your best friends and feeling used. So much easier isn’t it?
Sometimes people don’t actually want to give up whatever baggage they’re walking around with. They say they do but you wouldn’t believe the stuff that comes out of people’s mouths. The one thing that will always show you what a person is committed to is action. And sometimes people are not actually committed to having a life that frikin works and that they LOVE (regardless of what they say)

P.S. Here’s what I’m NOT SAYING:

I’m not saying there is no value in what people say.

I’m not saying there is something wrong with holding onto your frustrations.

I’m simply saying what I’m saying.

P.P.S. If you found this article in any way helpful, empowering or insightful, OR if you disagreed with it and yet it had you come alive and start thinking about what really matters to you AND you want to give something back to me, I have a request of you!  Share it with two people you suspect might like it, resonate with it, or even strongly disagree with it.

Find me on facebook http://on.fb.me/1vOyXKU or twitter http://bit.ly/1BtOnFD or shoot me an email berryschwartz[at]gmail[.com] to let me know how my content is working (or not) for you.

With much humility, fragility and awe at the possibility of you creating lasting change in your life,

Berry Schwartz

Posted in lovingcomplaints

What if Moshiach wasn’t coming?

Here’s my question: If you knew Moshiach was not coming in your lifetime, would anything in your life or character or vision of the world change?

Sometimes we relate to Moshiach as the person who will come save us all.

And sometimes, as a result, we hold back.

But what if no one else is coming…what if Moshiach didn’t come in this lifetime. And it was on you.

And what if in fact, NO ONE else is coming to save the Jewish nation and community from its problems and whatever isn’t working?

What if…the only person who was there to do it was you?

Now …take out the what if. Because that’s precisely the truth.

No one is coming because YOU are the one who will be coming.

So now you can take on your life with power and accountability.

Which is awesome and ridiculously fun once you get what that really means.

So yes Moshiach will really truly come one day.
Is he coming?
So get out there and start playing full out.


Posted in Stam

Choose Your God (wait…what?)

God actually is real…as we say chai vikayum…he’s like living and like ALIVE.

He loves and wants, even …dare I say it…needs.

He cries…he laughs…he longs for you.

Damn, that’s crazy.

How this fits theologically and philosophically is a whole conversation and for another time.

But you do have a choice to make:

Either God actually wants and needs you for real or he doesn’t. Either way is fine and there can be full and great (halachic) lives lived in both of those worlds.

But you want to get settled about which it is for you.

What I’m saying here is that a God that is REAL and ALIVE and NEEDS you and WANTS you is a God worth living for!

There is a power and freedom in a yiddishkeit and relationship with a God that is so frikin vital and vibrant.

AND…whatever you choose…your whole relationship to God and yiddishkeit fundamentally transforms when you take ownership of it and LIVE it as WHO you are.

This is Berry and I’m in! :)

Posted in Foundational

Give Yourself Permission To Seek

Give yourself permission to seek.

Avraham was a serious idol worshipper.

Yisro was too.

They both became giants of the Jewish people.

Sometimes, the fact that you’ve been to so many foreign pastures is simply a statement about what an incredible human being you are and how dedicated to finding meaning and truth you are.

It’s ok to explore and seek a form of halachic Judaism that will work for you.

It’s ok to create the Judaism that will work for you for your whole lifetime.

And by the by, no one will do it for you.

You see, you can decide to be hardcore litvish or chabad or modox or charedi or whatever and relate to anything you do that doesn’t fit within that hardcore standard as weak/sin/failure etc….

That’s one option.

Or you can create the Judaism you want (within the halachic framework).

Here’s the irony.

You already do that.

You pick and choose like a woodpecker hopping from tree to tree.

We all do.

You pick and choose which mitzvot and which values you will stand in today.

Maybe you’ll come home from work and pick the value of being upset or frustrated or tired or snappish.

You’ll reply: Well, those are just actions where I fail and you’re talking about principles, be’shittah.

I’m inviting you to consider that there is not that much difference at the end of the day.

What REALLY matters is: ACTIONS.

What you, in reality, do in this world.

So you pick and choose. Now what?

What I’m saying is: be authentic  about that.

If it’s in the dark it has so much power over you. So take it out into the harsh glare of the bright sun.

That way, you can examine it for its warts and flaws and see what’s working and what isn’t.

Hey, maybe you want to be yeckish lubab or a chazon ish chabadnik.

Who cares?

Show up for God, do your thing and do you baby!

Posted in Foundational

Are religious people timid?

How did bittul (selflessness) become perceived by some as leading to timidity and lack of self.

Chassidim like zalman moshe yitzchaki, mendel futerfas, chatche faigin, zalman nevler, ruvin dunin etc. etc…. were ridiculously assertive, confident, and steamrolled any obstacles in their way. Sometimes religious people become less confident, less assertive, less …there. There is less of them there. That is a tragedy.

Bitul, done properly, leads to more self not less. Its just a different self. A self not driven by the need to survive or accumulate wealth and prestige. Its a self driven by whats important to god. The values are different …but the self? Just as strong if not stronger.
THAT is cause for celebration.
Posted in Bittul

Why People Are Frum – The People Respond


Here are the refreshingly straight and beautiful answers posted to the question “why are you frum.”

I was moved by people’s courage and willingness to take an authentic look for themselves.

My own thoughts on all this will be up later this week.




I have no clue


Provides meaning, value, community, and hope.


#2 and i like the idea of doing the right thing…Jewish guilt maybe…?


And I believe that it is still the best option for: Jewish continuity Transmitting the Torahs teachings


If caring about G-d = caring about Truth and Goodness then “check”


My answer is that it works for me but not for mainly for the reasons that are cited in the choice above. Those are important but also are the existential, spiritual, ethical, and cosmological (micro and macro) qestions it answers as well as the empowerment that living a Torah life and learning Torah provides.


I am not Frum. I am not convinced the Torah is the absolute truth. I question everything. Science proves to me the world is billions of years old, not a mere 7,000. The Adam and Eve story (along with many others) are metaphors, not historically, factually, or scientifically accurate. I further keep G-d separated from what he may have told, but it was man whom interpreted that message and further changed some or much of it when it was translated from one language to another. The original integrity may be missing. I do see the purpose of Kabbalah, but I have yet to see how they tie together (especially the daily mitzvahs that I call check-list Judaism), and how they help me with my tikkun nefesh and not make my Seder and OCD worse. I didn’t grow up Jewish, but I was born Jewish. I find our way of like frustrating and fascinating at the same time. I love G-d for the life and surroundings he has given me, but I don’t idolize anything before Him (including any text that man says G-d authored. Many authors put their hearts, minds, and hands in the texts we have of both oral and written laws and traditions to date). Because I keep the Texts separate and not the exact words of Hashem, I question everything. I fight for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered rights, because being GLBT is nature and G-d made. I believe every spark of the divine counts and no one should be made to feel less-than or disposable just because man wrote it down and said G-d said it is so and we have to follow every word or else. That or else being whatever children are taught and those children grow up and teach their children the same thing and it may not be accurate. Not teaching children secular subjects along with Jewish texts does not allow a human being at any age the ability to reason and figure it out in accordance with their ability to learn, retain, and problem solve. It is child abuse to teach children only one way. Frum children are being abused by only one way of thinking (excluding the secular subjects of the internet, television, radio, newspapers, magazines, music, texts, theatre, etc). They grow up and if they are forced to enter the secular world, they are sometimes forced to take on two identities to survive and get along. The Frum one and the Hidden Frum one while they interact with secular populations. If Frum people were allowed to do both Frum and secular education, they wouldn’t have to hide one way or another (hide that they indeed watch some TV, surf the entire internet, listen to secular music, have secular social media accounts, and hide they are Frum from unsuspecting secular persons they encounter, while lying to the Frum world they did look at secular stuff). It is a two sided blade. I thank G-d everyday for not making me Frum. I thank G-d everyday for giving me the eyes to read both traditional Jewish texts, (to reason if those texts apply in this here and now), as well as a mind to be able to see both sides of a black and white world perspective. I learn something new each day I do Torah study (I do Torah study to learn, not necessarily to elevate my sparks or to to something positive for my family when I do. It is something I do whether or not it would still be a mitzvah. I don’t know if doing so connects me directly with Hashem. I feel connected by the mountains I live in, not just by doing Torah study). Before I knew I was born Jewish, I had an urge to be doing something that would somehow bring me closer to G-d. I pray, but hitbodedut, type of praying. A relationship type of conversing, not a prescribed way of davening from a siddurim. It is deeply personal and private. I go by my gut (intuition). If something feels positive I know Hashem is guiding me. If something feels awful I know Hashem is warning me. I pay close attention to those feelings. They are what is absolutely true and honest to me. They Torah contains punitive passages that seem hateful to me. Those passages frustrate me. Specifically around homosexuality. How could G-d make many creatures homosexual and then state the human ones are to be shunned, punished, or killed (if it were allowed to do so in this day and age). Forget the argument, “a Jew can have same-sex attractions, but is only to marry someone of the opposite sex.” That is forcing people to live a celebrate life or a marriage based on lies not truths. It is not a whole life with pleasures that dictate how they personally desire to fall in love or be sexual with the one they fall in love with. It is cruel and the punishment is forcing anyone that is Frum and GLBT to hide and fear all of their lives. Further, fundamentalists and literalist ism spills into politics and law making that is sometimes not equal for the GLBT population or the religious population. I am for equality, not oppression based on Bibles that people take literally as G-d’s word (without taking into consideration the mistakes or someone else’s spin on it, moving away from the exact original message). It may be divinely inspired, but it is man altered. I don’t pray to man authored stuff. I don’t believe G-d and the Torah is one in the same because I believe it is man altered.


I believe the Torah is absolute truth, and I’d rather struggle to adapt to the truth than live a lie.


I do not like labels but if according to some, ”frum” equates being halachkily observant then I do not consider myself that according to contemperary rabbinic standards. I will say that my connection to Gd is and has always been. I do not believe Gd fails us, I believe us people fail us. I care about tikun olam-rebuilding what needs fixing. Of course I am in a constant state of question in terms of Torah and the written word. I’m always trying to figure out the mystery behind the blueprint (Torah)- I do believe in a lot but I also do not fit in with the standard/robotic ”frum” community tendencies- never really have…and so I keep a lot of what was instilled/ingrained within me and toss the things that I do not feel are as important for me (just ME) to practice (at least for right now)- my own version of ”borer”-. I do not believe Gd is not in favor of my approach if anything- I think He is fully with me all.the.time- end of story


What else?


I believe that God and the Torah are true, I find Judaism to be meaningful and fulfilling.


Because its the truth


all the above, and none. I’m frum because I’m frum. period. I can give a thousand excuses why I’m frum, but no reason


Because I’m afraid of the expectations and judgements from family, friends, and community if I’m not frum. That being said, I related to some of your suggested answers but they aren’t powerful enough in my life to motivate a fully frum life.


I firmly believe/(know?) that G-d exists and the Torah is true. Living a Torah life is fulfilling my ultimate purpose as a creation in this world. It is the only true “real” and “free” way to live. It is how I will be happiest ( although that is not the reason to necessarily live a certain lifestyle), and in my opinion the Only way to live.


it works for me and i care about g-d


Posted in Foundational

Why are you frum? A one minute exercise




Posted in Stam

Start your day with some soul and power


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