Thursday, October 07, 2010

אנחנו מאמינים בני מאמינם

I get uncomfortable when I see news about women being forced to cover their hair or forced not to cover their hair. (And, yes, the anecdote in the article that spurred this post about immodestly dressed women being spray-painted bears a striking resemblance to what sometimes happens to some women in Meah Shearim who are deemed inappropriately dressed.) In Reading Lolita in Tehran (awesome book, btw), the author talks about the symmetry in the fact that she so viciously opposes the law that forces her to wear a headscarf just as her grandmother opposed the law that prohibited her from doing so.

This post, though, is not about hair-covering (though the slew of three-day yom tov this year—and next—did have me wishing I had an excuse to cover my hair) so much as it is about religion. I guess what makes me uncomfortable is anyone being told how she should worship and how religion should affect one's life—not because I don't think religion is important but precisely because I think it's both important and an intensely personal choice.

The aforementioned slew of three-day yom tov combined with the school I had to miss for it did have me complaining a lot. Which (combined with the paltry number of times I made it to shul, not that women have an obligation to go to shul, but...) made me feel like a bad Jew. After all, yom tov is supposed to be enjoyable, not a nausea-inducing stress fest.

Yom tov also had me answering a lot of religion questions to school friends (i.e., "Why have you dropped off the face of the planet for the last month?"). This, plus seeing Leap of Faith (a musical about a crooked revival tent preacher) and the latest episode of Glee (in which a grilled cheese sandwich with the face of Jesus leads to some surprisingly good discussions on faith) have had me thinking about religion a lot (or, rather, thinking about religion in a different way than the day-to-day being an Orthodox Jew requires thinking about religion).

My brain, though, like my life and my room is a little messy right now and can't be cleaned up until I first write a literature review about Facebook and outline how I'm going to talk to my undergrads about sex in the media and maybe lose the weight I gained over yom tov and call my 8-year-old brother whom I've been ignoring...

So, let's call this a placeholder for a more thought-out post on religion.


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