eumelia: (bullshit)
So hey,

Did you guys hear about the Jewish-Israeli guy who created a seditious movie against Muslims, that was the groundwork for a murderous attack in Lybia.

Neither Jewish, nor Israeli, but a Copt Christian.

Jews are excellent scapegoats when it comes to spreading racist Islamophobic bullshit.

When you think about it, it's pretty clever, a Christian pretends to be Jewish in order to incite violence among Muslims, so that Jews get the blame.

Tell me again how religion brings people together?
eumelia: (jewish revenge)
So the last time I wrote something here was last Friday.

Well, damn, I'm losing sight of this blogging thing! I used to be prolific, I used to be interesting, I used to be able to strong words and shove them out into the universe with little to no thought.

Glad those days are over!

That was only sarcastic to a certain extent. I'm way behind on my metas for H50, because I totally over estimated my ability to watch and then write cohesively about things. I'm still going to try and churn them out before September 24th, but it's gonna be hard work.

Add to that my general procrastination when it comes writing, not only because that is how I roll, but also because I'm so tired all the time. I'm happy with my job, especially because I'm getting better all the time, but well, it's time consuming and I don't actually have time to write on my breaks.

I'm lucky to have time to read on my breaks. Generally, I'm too sociable during work, so I end up having lunch with co-worker.

Goddamn fucking normality.

Especially when one of my co-workers pissed me off like you wouldn't believe. I'm honestly not sure why I even bother to take this shit to heart any more. There's only so much rage you can have towards people who are racist, but think they're not.

I get the appeal of the majority, believe me, I do. I have a whole lot of privilege in my life, I'd still rather not live in a country that's crumbling and hates every single one of us that doesn't align itself the paranoid schizoid behaviour of the neo-liberal war warmongering government.

There's also the issue that when you try and talk about social justice in the context of Palestinians, terror will always be brought up, because they're all terrorists and they're all out to kill the Jews, which... augh... I don't even know how to tackle that - because okay, I know people who died during the time that there were huge amounts of suicide bombing, my father was nearly shot in his store and my ex-girlfriend was in the range of missiles back in 2009.

That still doesn't mean we're on equal ground, or that we have any right to occupy their land, or that their human rights are forfeit, and I'm just sick of trying to keep humanising the situation to people who don't consider other people human.

The thing that my co-worker (with whom I had the political argument over lunch) is that she kept saying that things were bad "for the Jews" in other countries. Well, that's nice, what does that have to do with the fact that "the Jews" in Israel are racist and treat non-Jews (and Jews that look like African asylum seekers) like shit?

Not to mention about this crap of feeling a connection to the land? What? What is they metaphysical brain washing people have about "the land"? The land doesn't belong to us because it "feels" like it does!

Manifest Destiny Hebrew Style.

Er, yes, I think I'll go watch another episode of H50 and write that meta, shall I?
eumelia: (diese religione)
I was going through tags today, specifically the "spiritual" and "that religion thing" ones.

Because I've been thinking about religion a lot lately.

I was surprised to discover I was still writing about belief in 2010 and actively searching for a an active way of believing in 2008.

I had almost forgotten why I was doing that.

But I remember and I know why, because I am nothing if not overly critical of myself when I think I've been stupid.

Feeling small and insignificant is not a good feeling. Nobody likes it when your life in filled with circumstances and events over which you have little to no control.

Until I was in about 20 years old, I played around with neo-paganism and witchcraft, you all can blame Willow Rosenberg (of Buffy) for that one. My own journey into adulthood was a little too similar to Willow's, but that's a post for another day.

And for a time, looking back at my teenaged years, it was a small rebellion, I think, because I grew up in a secular household and through paganism I could get in touch with the gods and goddesses I preferred.

I think I could qualify the years between 15 and 20, the years I took mythology a little bit too seriously. I learned a lot, but there was a lot of unlearning as well, which is why I don't really regret that phase.

When I was 21 that changed, because I was traumatised and I wasn't getting the support I needed from the people I thought I would be getting it. This is a group of people I was performing magic with, or at least, I allowed myself to think I was - looking back, I had a great need for approval and camaraderie.

During the second Lebanon war I attended an evening with a bunch of New Agers, and we raised energy in the name of something or other in order to keep everyone safe and to make sure that the world wouldn't be scarred by the violence.

Bullshit, of course. I honestly can't remember if the man I helped blow up on the screens happened before or after than evening, but it was probably around that time that it was the beginning of the end, so to speak.

That was the summer of 2006. By the time I had started Uni in 2007, I had a lost a lot of friends over the fact that I was no longer who I used to be.

I honestly can't remember what my thoughts were with regards to divinity or deity, or anything like that, I'm pretty sure that I was clinging to the last vestiges that there might be something bigger, that there might be a scheme to all the crap.

But there isn't and like many others who turn to god, I was looking for comfort.

I'm a little too practical now a days, to turn to fairy tales for that.

There is something sad and poignant in letting go of the old thought processes, that's probably why it took almost four years for me to reach the real conclusion that I have no soul and that there is no god.

That the god in the book of my people as real as the gods in the Odyssey. The ethical bankruptcy that comes from all these fairy tales, once I realised it, made me reject the whole damn thing.

You can't cherry pick the good, any more than you can cherry pick the bad.

I was raised with religion, but not religious. I fully acknowledge that I was raised without a belief in god, but with a huge indoctrination of Jewish identity and sense of persecution for that identity.

It's really easy for me to be a Jewish atheist, but that's just me, because I've gone through a process of letting go. Being Jewish is belonging to a tribe, the way other religions aren't really about, I think that makes the difference.

The Religion Bundle #1
eumelia: (diese religione)
It's probably significant that I'm writing a navel gazing religion thing post-Days of Awe and Yom Kippur, which this year failed to move me as in previous cycles.

It may have to do with the fact that my outside world stress exacerbated my inner world stress. I'll (very very probably, but nothing is signed yet and until then I'm not willing to say live or die) move out by the end of the month. It's going to be the first time living outside of my parents house other then those six months in the US where I lived with my sisters (and had zero expenses).

I don't have a job lined up yet and university is starting... about the same time I'm setting up shop with my room mate (thank god for her, I don't think I would have managed to do anything if it wasn't for her holding my hand throughout this whole thing).

Add to that a "mild" brain meltdown and it's been fucking peachy.

What's all that got to do with religion? Nothing, really, but it seems a good opportunity to talk about things.

Those of you who read me on a regular basis know that I'm atheist, but I also that being Jewish is an important part of my identity. It's a cultural thing, a history thing... a people thing.

Due to the aforementioned life changes I can't say I felt the liturgy flow over me like it usually does. Not even the best Cantor on earth (the only reason I emerge once a year for Yom Kippur to go to shul - Bar/Bat Mitvahs and baby namings don't count) got me feeling that sense of belonging and history I usually feel on Yom Kippur when I stand with the rest of my family and listen to the whole congregation sing the dirge about removing the promises and vows we made the previous year.

Maybe it was due to being stressed about the fact that I'm a sleep away from sighing a binding contract, or that I'm going heading on an entirely new path, one I was not utterly convinced I was going to be on this year.

I've mentioned the brain meltdown, yes?

Not to mention the fact that politically speaking being Jewish puts me squarely in the bad guy's shoes this time around, what with Muslim and Christian graves desecrated over the holy day weekend.

I'm sure "G-d" approved of that bullshit.

So yeah, my "people".

Not feeling the connection that much lately.

Then again, in a new development The courts approve the registration of "no religion" for author Yoram Kaniuk, which would be grand, if religion was actually stated on our ID cards as "religion". It's not, it is stated under nationality - oh, didn't you know that there's no such thing as an "Israeli" nationality. I think if there was, or if there had been, it would have solved a whole lot of things.

But you know, Jewish demographic panic and all that.

I'm bothered that this is what my Judaism is reduced to, and that it's controlled by a Rabbinical court that, well, hates the idea of me.

Ironically, my Jewishness if far more diaspora like than ever, and me? I was born here and I don't really want to leave - despite the fact that some of my closest friends are telling me to join them when they leave.

eumelia: (diese religione)

I am Jewish today!

I was Jewish yesterday too, and I'll continue to be Jewish... forever, I guess.

I'm going to leave the Jewish navel gazing for the Days of Awe, when that's supposed to happen.

For now, to all who celebrate have a good evening and a happy new year, to all those who don't, a good Wednesday to you!

If you find a nice Jewish family that will take you in and feed you, do so! We make awesome food. Also, there's wine, honey and apple crumble/pie most of the time.

Enjoy a video, different from years past:

A big thank you to my BFF for introdusing me to these videos, they are amazing and moving. Check the rest out over at Symphony of Science.
eumelia: (diese religione)
My dear New York siblings, congratulations, it's about fucking time.

My own misgivings about using marriage as a strategy, we shouldn't be treated as second class citizens, the ability to marry is one way to assert humanity on paper.

Big hugs!

Tangential to this, I was driving with my father this afternoon. He's buying a laptop for himself and he took me along as the most tech-savvy person living at home at the moment.

Which is saying something. But hey, I can read commercial laptop specs and make sure no one's pulling the wool over the eyes of an older man who's command of Hebrew frustrates him.

On the way, we started talking about Amy Winehouse and he mentioned that she was Jewish, I said "yep, I know."

And he said, "Not that it's in any way relevant."

I replied saying that I think it is important to have that sort of thing known, because Judaism is more than just a religion and he asked if I'd want to have "Jewish" mentioned as part of my biography.

I said that it should be mentioned somewhere, but not like "Melody [Pond], Jewish". I'd much rather have "Feminist" or "Queer".

I asked him, "Isn't being Jewish important to you? You immigrated here because of that."

To which he grimaced and said: "I hate what the religious have done to this country, it makes me resent the religion."

It made me think, that I must have really freaked my parents out when I was going through my exploration of Neopaganism, which came and went quite a bit for the better part of a decade, but which was laid to rest at some point a couple of years ago, and during my emotional break down after the Second Lebanon War, during which I thought I should get closer to... well... something, G-d seemed like a good choice.

I replied to him, regarding his resentment, that being Jewish is more than religion, it's a history and a sense of connection and the whole spiel.

Regardless, he said unfortunately religion was the reason Israel existed, which I refuted in a way he found both amusing and horrifying, most likely. But that's what happens when Godwin is invoked.

He said religion was one of the biggest disaster to ever happen to humanity.

And I said, "At least I come by my atheism honestly."

And he asked, out of nowhere, "And your heterosexuality?"

I gave him a side-eye, "I come by my non-heterosexuality honestly, too,"

To which he laughed and said I should start dating again, because he wants me to be happy and that he and my Mom reacted badly to my relationship at the time (no shit, Sherlock).

It was gratifying to hear him say, though the timing was slightly bizarre.

Then again, the car is the time to have a heart to heart. No one can escape.

How was your Sunday?!
eumelia: (this small)
So, yeah.

This week has been insane, hasn't it, particularly this weekend, most of which I missed due to the fact that I am both lame and trying to wrap up my degree.

So I missed what is probably the most important demonstration of the last decade studying for a stupid exam. Plus I wasn't feeling 100% hopefully the fresh muggy air of morning helped clear my head in order to pass this thing.

The important demonstration is ostensibly about the fact that people can't afford to pay rent or buy a flat in this country, but really, it's about the fact that we're not getting paid enough money, that there is no regulation of practically any market and that the government hates us.

Bibi, will you please fuck off already!

And then there was Norway - which, amazingly enough, the local news didn't jump to the conclusion that it was, you know, brown people like the rest of the world. And man, isn't the world feeling that smart.

I'm sorry to be glib, but in the face of such a horrendous tragedy, my only choice is tell the world to get over itself and stop Strawman-ing groups of people that are easy to blame because they're a They, rather than Us - white people have caused more destruction and murder all over the world, than many other atrocities combined.

And yet, I don't see anyone blaming Whiteness and Christianity for this killing spree.

My heart goes out to the family of the victims in what must be the worst time of their lives.

Be strong, Norway.

I'll mention Amy Winhouse, because she shouldn't have gone. It's always sad when an artist as good as that leaves the world.

And last, but not least, on the fandom front, because mixing political and social disasters with fandom on this blog is so rare - I mainlined the first season of Hawaii Five-0 for which I blame [ profile] verasteine, who showed me picscams of Scott Caan and told me about the subtext on a show that really shouldn't be all that good, but is actually really, really good. Character consistency! Who would have thunk it.

So, now I have an icon of Scott Cann being sarcastic.

The show itself leaves much to be desired in, um, plot. The plot, was, well, okay, it made the characters suffer which is fine.

Now I'm invested and I'm watching you CBS, do not fuck it up!

I'm resting, now, and I need to watch Torchwood - oh, man I need to write about Torchwood.

I have no time.
eumelia: (science will be okay)
I've come to the conclusion that I'm far too critical to be a sceptic, but also too sceptical for relativism.

Where is the balance?

I just read a comment in a friend's journal, and I haven't decided whether I'm going to reply, because I hate having these kind of discussions online. It never leads to any good, because more often than not, we arrive to a discussion like this with our heels dug in and construe any disagreement as attack.

I'm very much in the belief that people should be able to live their lives in a way that makes them content and does not harm others.
That is wishful thinking. Beyond being critical, I am also cynical. And as a Westerner of the Middle Class, my very existence, from the clothes that I wear, the food that I eat, the water I drink and the computer I used, all of them come at the expense of someone else.

I don't believe in individualism, because very often, when one tries to live in the life-style of being responsible only to one self, you end up hurting others in the process, because despite the woo-woo vocabulary, we are connected in ways that go beyond the social interaction. We are connected though economic ties, ties of power and knowledge, interaction that can be said to be cellular.

It really, really grinds my gears when I see someone talk about vaccinations and autism (as though that hasn't been debunked umpteenth times) because that isn't being critical of medical procedures, it is selfishness.
Vaccines rely on the notion that almost everyone (there are those who can't be vaccinated and there are those who are naturally immune) is vaccinated.

Once upon a time, only girls and women were vaccinated for Rubella, because it is asymptomatic in boys and men, but lo, because vaccinations are dead or weak versions of the disease, the body can still succumb to a certain disease if there is a full blown attack from the actual virus or bacteria, which men passed to women and they got sick. The percentage of Rubella dropped drastically once males began to get these vaccinations.

In Israel there was a full blown measles epidemic in various ultra-Orthodox religious neighbourhoods because they don't vaccinate their children. That's not stigma or prejudice, that's down right irresponsibility.
Those communities chose to seclude themselves from various parts of civic life, that's fine, but they don't actually live in a bubble and as such they can create a health hazard.

The critical thinking part of dealing with the fact that preventative medicine doesn't compute for many who live in alternative/intentional communities, not all and certainly not most (I hope) because the medical institution is lazy when it comes to treating people with an agenda that doesn't coincide with the mainstream notion of health - just try explaining Health At Every Size to a GP or the fact that yes, I do in fact need to be screened for STI's despite being a woman who has sex with women.

So, that's the kind of critical thinking needed when it comes to medicine, making it more accessible and reliable for different people, thus making vaccines not an enemy - because I'm looking forward to the day I can get my AIDS vaccine and not have to worry about Mumps when I'm the company of a group of vaccine rejecters.

Still, as a critical thinker, a secular atheist Jew and knowing people first hand who have suffered more under medicine than any other institution on earth I want science to do better job at helping a variety of people and not box us in into criteria that is supposed to be one size fits all. It doesn't.
What I need, isn't what my similarly aged friend needs, our experiences - physical, mental, emotional - affects us just as mush as genetics, congenital baggage and environmental changes.

My point. People are not bubbles. We interact. We breathe the same air, drink the same water, pee out the same ammonia and shit out the waste our body can thankfully live without.
The whole world had to be vaccinated in order to eradicate Small Pox.
The bigger question is, why have they stopped vaccinating us, when all it takes is digging up a grave or letting loose a vial for the world to get sick again?
eumelia: (bamf)
Passover/Pesach is, as most "holy"days are to me, a time of reflection. Being as this "holy"day is about liberty and freedom from bondage and remembering those who came before us to tell the tale of that exodus from slavery to freedom, I thought it would be an opportune time to write about the oppression I place on myself, how conscientious I am regarding this oppression and how more often than not, trying to break free of it, makes it that much more visible and stark.

However, that which you can see, you can fight against.

As regular readers know, I have been growing out my body hair.

For the first time ever, I have hair under my arms, even before I had proper growth at around 13 or so, I was taught to shave it off. I have trouble recalling whether I asked my mother to teach me or if she told me it was time, but I remember standing naked in the shower really freaking out at the notion of putting a blade to my skin.

(I have never shaved any other body part, the razors really scare me and I scar easily, so I avoided it when it came to body hair removal)

The other day I wore a tank top for the first time this year (it is freakishly hot!) and I did my best not to raise my arms past a certain level so as not to attract attention. When I was with a bunch of friends I did my best to not think about the fact that I have OMG!hair under my arms and what would you know, not a one said anything.


Today, I'm wearing shorts for the first time this year (did I mention it's hot! It's no wonder we're all mad here) and my mother exclaimed:
"Oh my god, your legs!"
I tried to be as nonchalant as possible and said "What about them?"
"Have you seen what they look like?"
No Mum, I hadn't noticed I hadn't been removing the hair from there on a regular basis. *eye roll*, sheesh, no credit what-so-ever.
She asked me if I'm planning on going "that way" all the time now. I said it was an experiment, which it is, when I have to make a concious decision about doing something my body does when one doesn't interfere with it, then yeah, I'm experimenting with the way I am presenting my body to the world.

I would not be lying when I said my heart hammered in my chest. More than anyone my mother, she who taught me all the rules of hair maintenance, removal and societal approval, is the one I can rely on trying to explicitly shame me into getting "back in line", out of love.

Because it is out of love, I forgive her for it and feel I can try and have a rational discussion about the issue.

So I mentioned the fact that one of my classes is about the politics of the Beauty Myth and I want to be able have the "choice" (whatever that means) of removing the hair from my body.
She said it was part of basic hygiene.
"Nonsense," I said, "if it were part of basic hygiene, men would have been shaving their hair along with us for years".
Then we had a short discussion regarding hairlessness in women and art in history.

So that was all right, and she said she known she's criticising and I said "thanks, I appreciate it, but now you've said it, so move on".

All this is to say that I have issues with hair. The hair on my head, the hair on my body and even with all this conscientious growing of hair, I still shaped my eye brows and plucked the barely there moustache.

I think I'm taking steps in the right direction. But summer here is brutal and taking advantage of the privilege of being able to remove hair and wear short dresses may be something I'll take advantage of.

Having a choice is part of being free. And this may be small potatoes compared to being under siege and curfew, being forced to stay in the closet and being treated as a lesser person due to the colour of your skin or the ideas in your head.
But it's something.

And I'm happy to be hairy around the Seder table.
eumelia: (nice jewish girl)
I love Passover/Pesach.

I was practising reading a portion of the Haggadah with my father this afternoon and I commented, as I've done for years now, how skewed it is when it comes to gender (as in women are not mentioned even once in it) and the new finagled traditions that my American siblings of the feminist and queer variety have tried to instil (the Orange and Miriam's Cup) just do not fit in the Israeli culture, not even alternative culture (Fruit isn't a pun in Hebrew and water isn't an alcoholic beverage and thus has no significance).

I'm going to try and read something extra during the evening, to show that we aren't all free as of yet and just as we remember our bondage of past, we have to remember the bondage of present.

This is especially pertinent, because there are two things we say during the Seder that really cut through me.
"Pour out Thy wrath upon the nations that know Thee not" and Next year in Jerusalem, both recited at the end of the Hagadah.

I was chatting to a friend and mentioned that as an Israeli I'm conditioned to *SMASH* things I don't like. As an individual I mainly shout and judge things without apology.

It is, however, a symptom my locale.

An interpretation of "Next year in Jerusalem" for me, is protection from persecution and antisemitism. Knowing that my family are immigrants to a country designed and designated as a the Jewish Homeland. The historical and political issues and realities aside for the moment, one the things this has always meant in my understanding, that Jews in Israel are safe from persecution on account of our Judaism.

Well, if you're not the right kind of Jewish (i.e. Orthodox of a certain kind) your persecution is guaranteed.
It's one thing not to be completely understood (why I as an atheist goes to shul once a year and light Shabbat candles with my mom every Friday night), it's quite another to have your synagogue vandalised.
There is no doubt, that the Reform shul was vandalised by other Jews, seeing as it was spray painted with Hebrew words saying: "It's Begun" and was signed with a Star of David.
This is the third time this specific shul was targeted. Earlier this year, the shul my family attends, which is Conservative, was also vandalised and spray painted with "Live the People" which is fucking creepy.

But hey, we're the Jewish homeland.

The land of freedom.

If you're Jewish enough. God forbid, you're not a Jew, second class citizens doesn't even begin to cut it.

Making the whole "Wrath Unto the Nations" even more disturbing.

I love Passover. Sometimes (most of the time) I feel the majority of Israeli Jews are just too blinkered to get what it's all about.

As I said, I'm going to try and read something outside the Haggadah, because change only comes if you drag the tradition kicking and screaming.
eumelia: (science will be okay)
Friends, I was awake for more than thirty hours.

I got up yesterday at 8-ish in the morning and did not sleep until I passed out for a three and a half hour nap on the least comfortable couch for napping.

I don't know why I do this to myself, deciding that foregoing sleep is a good idea.

In the meantime, rather than write what I had planned on writing the other day and really not feeling up to writing about the current attacks on Gaza, let me mention that over the past two days, both my brother and [Southern!Girl] have sent me the same story!
I was both charmed and kinda creeped out by how similarly they thought about what would interest me!
I'm hoping they're not sharing a trans-Atlantic psychic bond I don't know about...

Regardless, the story they sent me was about the archaeologists who found a "gay caveman" near Prague. I've only managed to find the sensationalist reports, so if any one has an article from an Archaeology blog and/or journal about this issue I'd be very much obliged.
I think it's important that evidence regarding gender variant people in pre and ancient history is important, the fact that a male skeleton was buried in a traditionally feminine pose is significant.
I'm not keen on the anachronism of "gay" and "transsexual" as descriptors for this findings.

Homosexuality as a human category is extremely new, it's hard for us (queer or not) to conceptualise in which sexual behaviour didn't necessarily connote sexual identity - even today, when we try to assert this, it is met with much resistance.

And yet, the category of sexual identity, rather than behaviour is something new, not even 200 years old since the word was first put down in paper back in the 1870's.

So, why this anachronism? Why must we place our own identity markers onto historical moments who most likely did not even consider sexuality in the way we do in our Euro-Centric ideas of universality.

We need to find a way to talk about gender variant people and same-sex relationships that happened before the notion of homosexuality and heterosexuality as identities came to be. That's a lot of history to think about.

Food for thought.

The same way some interpret Jesus as an openly gay man, which to me is simply a queer interpretation of a canonical text, but Jesus as a religious figure can't simply be queered in the way other characters are interpreted in queer and social literary theory.
This, again, is an anachronism, especially if you're going to use Freud, because once to go Freudian you can't really say much any more - if everything is Freudian (especially in the stereotypical, Oedipal triangle one tries to talk about considering Jesus, Mary and Joseph as people, it gets boring, really fast and just adds to the whole sensationalism bit.

Much like the News about Gandhi being bisexual, which was reported quite extensively in Israel due to the fact that his alleged male lover (I say alleged, because I really don't know and I really want to find out!) was a German-Jew muscle-man.

However, Gandhi was a man who lived and died and had an actual impact on people's lives as a non-fictional person, unlike Jesus, who lives in texts and in the hearts of those the idea of him touched and certainly unlike this anonymous cave person who can be a great piece of evidence regarding the fact that gender variance isn't anomalous.

The sexual identity is historical figures and characters is important, because the invisibility and exclusion of queers from history is a thing we feel on our bodies and on our minds. So, yes, it matters if this cave person who is physically male was treated differently in life as he or she were treated in death. And yes, it matters, that interpretations that allow erotic love between Jesus and his followers (who were male and female) not be dismissed as perversions or reduced to Freudian pathology. And yes, it matters if Gandhi was bisexual, because his life influenced a nation and a philosophy people outside of India continue to follow and his sexuality was a part of his life.

Let's not erase lives, histories and ideas - but they should be in perspective as well.
eumelia: (queer rage)
In case somebody didn't know, a Lavender Marriage is term coined some time in the 1920's to describe the marriage of a gay woman to a gay man (gay being the cover all of any sexuality that isn't straight; gay, lesbian, bisexual).

For myself, I first heard the term when I got interested in Queer American History and discovered that a bunch of actors from around the 20's (and quite possibly to this day) practice this type of marriage in order to, well, appear normal.

Not surprising, considering the deviancy of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and queers in general.

This morning I opened my morning News Tab and read an article regarding a phenomena I already knew existed, but still, I'm saddened to read about it.

Israeli Rabbis launch initiative to marry gay men to lesbian women. Of the little interview materials that appear in the article, the word that jumps out more often than not is, surprise, normal.

[...]Etti and Roni, both religious, were married five years ago. Though they were honest with each other about their sexual orientations from their first meeting, to the outside world, they portray themselves as a normal heterosexual couple.
"It's incredible," [Etti and Roni] wrote. "Six years ago, we didn't think we would ever be this happy. We thought everything was black, that we'd lost our chance of a normal life.
Etti said her family still doesn't know she's a lesbian. She had one "serious" lesbian relationship, but "realized it was more important to me to raise children and live in a normal family."
[U]pholding the religious prohibition on homosexual sex was "very important" to them, as was their desire for "more or less normal parenthood," and both factors had influenced their decision
They are careful to keep up normal appearances before the children and the outside world, even sleeping in the same room, though they don't sleep together. Their children were born through artificial insemination.

All emphasis is mine, bold, underline and italics. Six times the word "normal" appears in that article, all as an adjective, a descriptor for a better life lived.
Never mind that in order to live this so-called "normal" life they lie to their children.

And you know something, the fact that the the Rabbis who enable these arrangements have the gall to say they're helping religious gays out of acknowledgment of their homosexuality rather than try and sweep it under the carpet makes me want to tear my hair out!

Really?! Requiring people to live lies, to raise children in a family that is based on a lie and keeping up appearances for the sake of, and I quote the article, "they want to establish a home, whether for the sake of becoming parents or for the social recognition". Again, emphasis mine. Becoming parents is easier when you're a relationship that is recognised by the religious-state institution, yes, I agree - still, the amount of same-sex parents is at an all time boom and the sperm used for artificial insemination in the former case of Orthodox Lavender Marriages is the same "spilled seed" that's used by single mothers, men with a low sperm count and same-sex couples (generally women).
But really.

It's the shame of being so-called "abnormal".

The shame and the fear of being social pariahs in a heteronormative heterosexist and homophobic society, all of which are compounded by the religious strictures of Orthodox Judaism, which in Israel has a specific pro-natalistic ideology (a secular nationalistic attitude as well, I might add) regarding the "Demographic Threat", so really, the political agenda of trying to "Straighten" the religious gays, who are already imbued with shame regarding their sexuality seeing as it doesn't mesh with the duties of religious life (especially for women) it's not hard to see how these Rabbis (looking out for the good of these poor suffering homosexuals) sell them this shit of lied and normality.

And you're damn right I'm judging them! To agree to this charade of life, despite social acceptance and the appearance of normality, one is signing up to a life of lies beginning with yourself - because a Rabbi gives you leave to "lapse" every once in a while, stating it's between you and the Creator... well, I'm sure the sacred institution of marriage isn't marred one little bit, when all it's there for is for the sake appearances.

At the time of the publishing of this article, this initiative has gotten 11 cuoples married, 2 of them are in the process of divorce.

I think one of the issues people (many religious people as well) is that religious law is something interpreted by human beings, that is, the so-called word of G-d, is something that needs to be conveyed via human scholars, none of whom actually know what the hell G-d may think about all this, should he exist one iota outside of our imagination.
What we have, as a religious society, is text.
Texts are written and re-written by people, none of whom are without bias! You really think the Orthodoxy of today, resembles in any way the Orthodoxy of 100 years ago?
Yeah, not so much.

Obviously, on a personal level, I don't agree with the position of keeping faith in a religious path that rejects a part of who you are, or requires that one deny their identity in the name of ethically questionable rules and laws. However, seeing as this is a path that many find that they need in order to live a Good Life, HoD (the first Religious Gay Org in Israel) published ten points of consideration for the Orthodox community.

I, for one, would just like to see society stop dumping all the phobias and anxiety on queers who, at times, don't have the fucking luxury of being "normal". Whatever the fuck that is.
eumelia: (valerie)


Regardless as to your opinion about marriage as an institution, it exists, it has existed for thousands of years, very likely it will not be chucked away any time soon.

But you know what? It has changed. From being a contract of ownership it's now a contract of partnership - ideally speaking that it and that's the assumption I'm going with at this point in time, because that's what the, erm, struggle for marriage equality for same-sex couples over the world is about.

(I don't get it, I think it's counter productive to the notion of freedom, but hey, the choice should be out there)

The BBC have this truly marvelous article out titled: Gay church 'marriages' set to get the go-ahead.
The scare 'quotes' are part of the title I shit you not. Really BBC? Really? You're implying that marriage between gay people isn't real? I'd be shocked and appalled if it weren't status quo with the way they same sex partnerships are treated in the media and under the law as a rule.

I wasn't planning on reading through this article, because it's not my country and I don't find the struggle for marriage to be of great import when it comes to QUILTBAG rights the world over. But I can't fucking ignore institutionalised homophobia, especially when it's white washed by human rights discourse.

I quote the BBC article:
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, gave the news a guarded welcome.

He told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show he "believes in a liberal democracy, and actually wants equality with everybody" but did not want churches to be told what to do.

"You mustn't have rights that trump other rights," he added.

Hello Double Standards! Hello Hypocrisy!

Remember how I said marriage has changed over time and all that? You know what else needs to change and is long over-do for an over haul?

As an aside, it is my personal belief that religion, does and has done more harm than good, over all, where ever it has a foot hold, that is, every where. I don't begrudge people's belief in a higher power and I don't think there's anything inherently wrong in the implausible.

I don't really understand why QUITLBAG people would want to continue to put their faith in an institution that has time and time again conceived us to be deviant and sub-human, but it should be a choice available to them. Why? Because part of being an institution that lives and believe in, as the Archbishop of York says he does, in liberal democracy and equality for all, then saying that the Church trumps that and can close its gates in the face of its believers simply because of people are uncomfortable with queers... well then.

Suck it up.

It's not simple, it's not easy, but religion, as I understand it, is there to be a go between, between god and the people who worship god? Please correct me if I'm wrong.
Religion is part of a culture, culture changes, and you can bet that the religion of 100, 500, 1000 years ago does not resemble the religion of today, certainly not in industrialised countries and nations.

So, BBC, when you ask there, at the bottom of your article:
Should same-sex couples be allowed to marry in church? Would you be affected by this proposal?
There's another implication there. That people in same-sex relationships are not the ones being asked, when they're the ones who actually are affected by this decision. The mere fact that this you are framing this as a debate is homophobic, because yes, it is quite obvious that if Britain was in fact interested in equalising marriage between heterosexual unions and homosexual unions they would pass the law, no questions asked, and any religious institutions that refused to marry two men or two women to each other would be fucking penalised for discriminatory behaviour!

As some churches are already threatening:
The [Sunday Telegraph] says the Church of England has already said it will not allow any of its churches to be used for civil partnership ceremonies.

The legislation would also cover synagogues and mosques although homosexuality is forbidden under Islam.

It's so not just Islam you moronic islamophobic racists!

The Roman Catholic Church has long held that homosexuality is a "deviation" and is not expected to agree to same-sex ceremonies.

As I said, pass the law and penalise any institution and organisations that denies gay people the rights afforded to straight people. I can't think of anything that will get these places to "see the light" faster that either cutting their funds or fining them so much, they'll need same sex couples just to make sure ends meet.

Lucky them Quakers, Unitarians and Liberal Jews have already wised up!

Good luck to you my UK Sibs, you're going to need it.
eumelia: (get a job)
So yeah, I haven't been writing here that much for the past couple of weeks.

I've been doing a lot of escapism reading and a lot of activism reading, spreading information regarding the various anti-democratic laws that have passed the Knesset floor, the fact that Human Rights and Anti-Occupation groups are being investigated for absolutely no reason other than to de-legitimise them.

There's a big emergency march in Tel-Aviv today which I'll be attending.

I was also stressing over Uni, because there was some bureaucratic glitch I had no idea what to do about other than spam the head of my department with panicky emails of "Help!" to which she replied "Let it be" and passed my emails on to her dogsbody.

I'm hoping that by the end of this semester (next week) I will be able to say with confidence that next semester is my last.

Once again I'm getting the urge to return to martial arts and now that I have a job that isn't pocket money I may find myself a dojo. I'm keen on Krav Maga because while I loved Kung Fu and it made me flexible (which I'm not any longer) I never felt as though I was able to walk around and properly defend myself.

There's an uprising in Tunisia and I have to say I'm excited about it! The Middle East is never boring and seeing something of this magnitude unfold and affect us all over is amazing.

Also, there's barely been any reporting of it here, only when Former President Ben-Ali fled the country did reports start happening in earnest in local media and no one is saying anything positive. The status quo is trembling.

Meanwhile in these parts democracy, as mentioned, is straining under the crawling weight of fascist legislation and persecution of the Left. I know I've been saying this for years, but dude, it is not on!

Israeli law professor Aeyal Gross traces the decline and strain.

In related News, when I read about Sarah Palin defending her speech-acts (because words affect and like our actions they are accountable) and callously using the phrase "Blood Libel", I couldn't help but wonder - would the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) do anything about it?
Oh, they made a statement, late in the game, in which they Abe Foxeman (chairman of the ADL) said: "we wish that Palin had not invoked the phrase "blood-libel" in reference to the actions of journalists and pundits in placing blame for the shooting in Tucson on others."


The ADL isn't willing to toe the line when it comes to Republicans, huh? Can't say I'm shocked as the ADL has always kept sketchy bed-fellows, in the interest of political capital.

Speaking of political capital, the Rabbinical court continues to infringe on freedom of and from religion when it comes to marital and family law and encroaches on divorce in civil marriages which aren't civil unions, but rather marriages that are contracted outside of Israel. Currently, Israel doesn't have a civil court in which marriages can be conducted and no civil union that come in place of marriages - the best we have is common law marriage.

You guys have no idea how much I haven't linked here.

Good luck to you all Down Under and Power to you in Tunisia.

Times they are a changing. We have to make sure they change for the better.
eumelia: (diese religione)
I know this is coming in a delay to most you who follow Glee.

I'm a few weeks behind the broadcast in the States as I'm watching it through our satellite services that have bought the show and we're something like two weeks behind the US.

So I've still got the Rocky Horror Glee Show to look forward to and this week I watched the "God Episode".

Cut for potential spoilers and the whole religion and atheist thing )

The music, per usual, was brilliant and were I able to just black out the plot and writing and just enjoy the music I'd probably feel a whole lot less frustrated about being a regular viewer of this show.
eumelia: (oh snap!)
Does everyone know what a "Honey Trap" is?

For those of you who do not, a "Honey Trap" (according to the various books, movies and tv shows) is a when a woman uses her "feminine wiles" to seduce a man and extort the information out of him using sexual favours, or blackmailing him into giving the information due to committing unspeakable sexual acts.

It will generally be part of a sting.

In fiction, it seems to be the staple of the female spy. I'd say James Bond often worked as a Honey Trap because he always managed to get info out of the women he slept with. But the double standard works double time when it comes to good ole' Double-O.

Why am I mentioning this?

Well, if there was any doubt this country was spiralling away from rational thought and desires to sink into backward theocracy is when the News deems a report from a Rabbi regarding the conduct of female spies to be printable. A report written for a publication published by an institution dedicated to merging Halachic Jewish Law into contemporary modern life.

Let me just say, EW!

For the Love of God:
A new halachic study ruled that seducing an enemy agent for the sake of national security is an important mitzvah

You're damn right I emphasised that!
A mitzvah!
A mitzvah?!?!
Fucking hell. In case there was any confusion, the use of the word "mitzvah" means that the act falls under the notion of moral obligation.

This Rabbi has stated that female security operatives are morally obligated to seduce the enemy!

For the love of all that is unholy does no one see anything wrong with Israeli security institutions getting religious carte blanche to whore out their operatives!

The ruling, made by Rabbi Ari Shvat, was included in the latest issue of "Tehumin," an annual collection of articles about Jewish law and modernity, which is published by the Zomet Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to seamlessly merging Halachic Judaism with modern Israeli life.

"Naturally, an unmarried operative should be preferred in 'honey trap' cases, but if there is no other choice but to use a married women… her husband should divorce her and marry her again after the fact," the rabbi writes.

Unfortunately, Shvat also rules that if a husband was unable to divorce his wife prior to her mission, he would have to do it afterwards, since according to the Halacha she would have committed adultery – even if it was for the sake of a national cause.

Can this Rabbi please be fired and stripped of his... right to be called a human being? Like, now-ish!

The thing is, this misogyny isn't even a surprise. If you know anything about Orthodoxy, moderm or not, the hatred of women, the marginalization of the experience and the reduction of their role to brood mare is apparent in the written law, even if in practice Orthodox women have a bigger role in the social reality.

What I find disturbing is that this is published in what is the most widely distributed subscription Newspaper in the country (and the most read online News outlet, YNET) - it's little more than a thick tabloid in my mind (and actually based a lot of its design on the "Daily Mirror"... yeah), but that's beside the point. The point is, this Newspaper is secular and not officially affiliated with religion or any particular Party politics.

So what does it mean that the rulings, which legally speaking, have zero standing in the law, is published with such authority in the most widely distributed Newspaper in the country?

Oh, snap.

H/T to R, for providing the link.


eumelia: (Default)

June 2015

 12345 6

V and Justice

V: Ah, I was forgetting that we are not properly introduced. I do not have a name. You can call me V. Madam Justice...this is V. V... this is Madam Justice. hello, Madam Justice.

Justice: Good evening, V.

V: There. Now we know each other. Actually, I've been a fan of yours for quite some time. Oh, I know what you're thinking...

Justice: The poor boy has a crush on adolescent fatuation.

V: I beg your pardon, Madam. It isn't like that at all. I've long admired you...albeit only from a distance. I used to stare at you from the streets below when I was a child. I'd say to my father, "Who is that lady?" And he'd say "That's Madam Justice." And I'd say "Isn't she pretty."

V: Please don't think it was merely physical. I know you're not that sort of girl. No, I loved you as a person. As an ideal.

Justice: What? V! For shame! You have betrayed me for some harlot, some vain and pouting hussy with painted lips and a knowing smile!

V: I, Madam? I beg to differ! It was your infidelity that drove me to her arms!

V: Ah-ha! That surprised you, didn't it? You thought I didn't know about your little fling. But I do. I know everything! Frankly, I wasn't surprised when I found out. You always did have an eye for a man in uniform.

Justice: Uniform? Why I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about. It was always you, V. You were the only one...

V: Liar! Slut! Whore! Deny that you let him have his way with you, him with his armbands and jackboots!

V: Well? Cat got your tongue? I though as much.

V: Very well. So you stand revealed at last. you are no longer my justice. You are his justice now. You have bedded another.

Justice: Sob! Choke! Wh-who is she, V? What is her name?

V: Her name is Anarchy. And she has taught me more as a mistress than you ever did! She has taught me that justice is meaningless without freedom. She is honest. She makes no promises and breaks none. Unlike you, Jezebel. I used to wonder why you could never look me in the eye. Now I know. So good bye, dear lady. I would be saddened by our parting even now, save that you are no longer the woman I once loved.


-"V for Vendetta"


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