Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Mrs. Bluth,

For some time now I have been secretly delving into alternate religions because I have lost all faith in Judaism, so much so that I am no longer keeping Shabbat or eating kosher. My family and friends in the community have no idea what I am going through, even though they are largely responsible for my animus towards and disenchantment with God and with my people.

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I have a severe speech disability, having been born with a cleft pallet, and I think I started questioning God’s mercy and love from my earliest memory. How could God punish a newborn child with disfigurement and a lifetime of torment by schoolmates, strangers and even family members? Why would He do this to me? What sin did I commit in utero that I and others like myself should be made to suffer endless taunts, be excluded from taking part in sports or being passed over for team events? Where is His mercy?

So, from infancy, this disenchantment with Judaism grew, but I was not fully cognizant of the silent metamorphosis that was taking place within my soul, eating away at my spirit and turning me off from all the teachings and indoctrination I was force fed in yeshiva. The shame and pain I endured at the hands of teachers, rabbis and my peers was more than I could bear, often with no one coming to my defense. I would come home crying and when I told my father what had happened, he became angry at me for not standing up for myself, he said that is why the bullies picked on me and others ridiculed me. He refused to come and speak to the principal on my behalf and said that I had to “man up,” and that the world was a hard place and everyone had to forge their own way.

I would cry myself to sleep almost every night, begging the Great Almighty Hashem who, I was taught to believe, loved little children and looked after them, I begged for a miracle, to be whole, or at least to be accepted the same way as everyone else. But no help ever came! And as I grew older and nothing changed, in fact in many instances it got harder, I slowly stopped believing, even though I pretended to.

Now that I am in college and exposed to so many other people, kind people who do not judge me for being different and are tolerant of my appearance and difficult speech issues, I feel like I have found my place in the world. I will not miss any of my Jewish friends because I have none, I no longer care what my parents will say or do because they never lifted a finger to help me, all I was to them was an imperfect son who would never be perfect, as well as an embarrassment and a burden. I’m writing this without return address or any identifying factor, as I really no longer exist in my old form. I guess I’m writing as the last remnants of my Jewishness falls away because of an uncaring God and a cruel people.

 

 

Dear Friend,

Since you have not as yet fully closed the door on your faith, or lack thereof, I will take the liberty to put my foot in it and try to stop the process, even at this late juncture. I truly felt the pain and disillusionment you must have experienced throughout your short life, at the insensitive hands of many of your friends and some of your family members and teachers. This can certainly destroy one’s hope and faith in humanity.

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