Unorthodox. How I abandoned the world of orthodox Jews
First of all, I want to thank Poradnia K for sending this book to me. When i had to choose a book from their list of titles, Kasia from Poradnia K told me that this book was the perfect choice for me. I completely agree. What a nice book!
This book is about the story of a jewish woman, who was brought up in Brooklyn, New york. She tells us about the customs and traditions of a typical jewish family, and most importantly how she was able to grow up to be a strong women and rise above all the limitations and labels which were assigned upon her by the society and her family.
The only contact i had with Judaism was when I was in the United states in 2010. I remember couple of Jewish men walking up to us in wall street, and asking everyone ‘Hey are You a Jewish’’, ’’You there, are You a Jew’? I was baffled by the way they were asking everyone if they were Jewish or not. When they saw me, they didn’t bother to ask me if I was a jew. Probably because I look different. Other than that, i didn’t have any clue about Judaism. I just knew that Jews are very smart people, who are bankers, and have a lot of money. Jews have the best armed forces in the world.
Did You know that Judaism and Islam are very similar to each other? Jews have Kosher foods(foods prepared according to jewish traditions), whereas in Islam they have ‘Halal’ foods. In Islam children are encouraged at a very young age to study Koran(muslim religious texts) in madrassas. Where as Jews have their own school called Yeshiva/ Yeshivot, where they learn talmud(jewish religious book).Judaism and Islam is so much related, but all we are shown in TV and newspapers are how much the Jews hate Iran and Saudiarabia and the muslims. That was an eye opener for me.
Arranged marriages only in India? Not really!
In India we are used to arranged marriages. Almost 99 percent of our marriages are arranged. I was really surprised to learn that Jewish men and women also have arranged marriages .When the author was asked to marry a young jewish boy, she didn’t have any voice of her own. She just had to listen to her Buba(grandmother).
The story of will and courage
The author tells us about how much she wanted to be free from the all the expectations that were laid upon her, from a very young age. There were days where she could not listen to music, or talk over the telephone. Judaic customs didn’t allow that. The word of Buba(her grandmother) was the final word. I for once thought ‘wow some of these jewish women have it really bad. Even Hindu women in India don’t have so much limitations’. And all of this in Brooklyn, USA? The land of the free, and the home of the brave? The author and her family were living in another parallel world, in a small Jewish community in USA.
I can relate to the author in a huge way. I also wanted to leave my home and break away from the limitations put on by our Indian society. Just like her, i wanted to study, learn about the world. When, Buba and Zajda(her grandfather) were not home, she would listen to latest pop music lying on her couch on the radio. She wanted to read books, but her culture demanded that she don’t. She wanted to study. When she wanted to go to university, she had to lie to her husband that she is going for a one week workshop in business.
In India women are used to accepting their fate. When their husbands doesn’t turn out to be the loving person which they imagined he would be, they would do nothing about it. There is nothing they can do. But the author was determined. She had a mind of her own. She knew when enough was enough. When she couldnt accept the way her husband treated her, she had the courage to leave the marriage.
Why should Polish people should read this book?
I think this book is a perfect example of why we shouldn’t limit ourselves to our culture and religious beliefs. We can be who we want to be. We can be more than what our religion and society says that we are.
Take a look at the Jewish, or the Indian society Why do they have so much limitations? It makes us think. Aren’t we lucky to be in a country like Poland? Ok maybe Poland is not super rich like USA, but still we enjoy so much freedom than Americans or Jews right? (they say America is a free country. I don’t think itrs true though)
I think this book shows us the world through a different lens. Polish people would love it.