This pastafternoon, I spent five hours at an undisclosed location with 10 of the most amazingly diverse, intelligent, thoughtful and sincere people. While many issues were discussed, the underlying reason for the meeting was to find a way to bridge the gap between Orthodox Judaism, and those who are no longer affiliated with the religion.
While it was reported by some to have consisted of just two groups, Rabbis and OTDs, there were in fact three. This third group was "Anonymous".
Who is Anonymous? Who am I?
- I am your Neighbor with kids in your children's class.
- I am one of the weekly sponsors of the Kiddush club.
- I am the guy who buys you an Aliya on Yom Tov because no one else wants to bid.
- I am the one who gives a "chaburah" every so often after davening.
- I am your brother.
- I was your chavrusah in Beis Medrosh.
- I was your counselor in camp.
- I learn Daf Yomi on the train in the morning.
I do not believe in God.
Belief is something you cannot prove, but believe me there are many people like myself in our community. Many people who choose to become OTD, do so at the expense of losing their friends, families, and social standing. There is an excessive amount of distrust, disgust, and even hatred towards people who choose to leave the fold. I and all of my fellow "Orthoprax" friends choose the best of both worlds. We look just like you, we act and dress like you, our kids go to the same yeshivas as yours, heck, they are the best kids in the class! But we are not frum. We love herring and kichel with single malt Scotch, chulent and overnight kugel, and even a geshamk shtikel Toirah at the shabbos table. We also check our emails (not befarhesia) on shabbos, don't put on tefillin, and eat cholov stam ;). We go to great lengths to make sure our kids do not bust us. We put our tallis and tefilin in a different location on the dining room table daily so that our kids think we went to shul after they went to school. We say "boruch Hashem", we daven for the amud on Shabbos, and we study gemoroh with them after school.
We do all of the above for all of the following reasons: we know you love to hate people who are not frum, and we want to keep the status quo. We don't want our kids thrown out of yeshiva, we don't want to lose our jobs, we don't want you to pressure our spouses to divorce us, and most of all, we want to continue speaking loshon hora with you "Bain Gavra" in shul!
Why did I become an Atheist? I had my "Rug Moment"...
A rug moment is when something happens in your life which suddenly changes the way you think, and therefore who you are. Its like getting the proverbial rug pulled out from under you. For many people their rug can be an illness, change in financial status in either direction, death of a friend or family member, Jail, etc.
I realized at that moment, right after my Rug was pulled out from under me, that the only reason I believed in Hashem was because I was born to a frum Jewish family and sent to a yeshiva. Had I been born to a Muslim family in Saudi Arabia, I would be waking up every morning and saying Modeh ani lifonecho Allah melech chai vekayom (in Islam you can say "Allah" before you wash negel vasser!). Other people have heir own moment of epiphany, however at the end of the day, the result is the same.
I am Anonymous, and I am not. I am myself, I am your neighbor, and chas vesholom I am you.
Text here Search for more information about edited at4torah.com