On Arranged Marriage

 Posted by on May 31, 2012
May 312012
 

 

A girl is looking through a binoculars at a boy in yeshiva while the mother asks if she likes himA Date

 

It’s wonderful that the young Hasidic boy or girl is asked “do you like him/her” of the future spouse before an engagement is finalized. The couple spends on average half an hour together on their one and only date, mumbling about absolutely nothing important while the parents hover anxiously outside the door. Usually, the couple would not even be interacting with first person pronouns out of respect for the stranger; they would be punctuating the formal Q&A with painfully awkward silences while unable to will their virgin eyes to make eye-contact. And then they are to announce a liking for that to-be fiancé’!

I spent more time deliberating if I like the pet frog we adopted than I did deliberating if I like the husband I started a Hasidic family with.

It’s a sly trap they got because it’s hard not to like someone you only shared a table with for half an hour, at age eighteen, fresh off the gender separated boat. Girls are promised balloons and flowers and a fancy white gown and boys get to throw around pens and cigarettes and get released from yeshiva. So there’s some nebech sitting across the date table clacking teeth like a nervous wreck. What’s not to like in a poor person like that?

So you like him or her. Just like on Facebook. One little “like” you give. That’s it. And boom, married.

There, mazel tov, mazel tov. Or as my pet frog says it best: ribbit ribbit.

On the X-Hasid

 Posted by on May 29, 2012
May 292012
 

 

An (triple) ex-chasid is going to the footsteps organization for help, in the nude and with handcuffs

The X-Chasid

 

The ex-Hasid has become a very popular phenomenon. Ex-Hasidim comprise those men or women who somehow disenfranchised themselves from Hasidism and — complete with language barrier and culture shock — set out to make a new life for themselves. People who did the same some twenty years ago tell me of the loneliest journey, in which they alone set out to disentangle themselves from their extreme past and make a life in the overwhelming Americhka, without another Yiddish soul to understand them. But things are very different today. Ex-Hasidim are to be had a dime a dozen of every stripe and personality. There are formal and informal groups of social support, there are online forums and there’s Footsteps, an organization specifically founded with the goal to aid those who leave the Hasidic community.

But of course, cha! What kind of weasely Hasid doesn’t know how to take it up two notches and become an xxx-Hasid?

Rumor has it that indeed, the provocative xxx-Hasid who despite his full pious garb behaves sexually suggestive exists a dime a dozen too. Perhaps. Or perhaps it’s one of those skewed incidents that exist less frequently but have nonetheless become a common stereotype to most outsiders.