Sunday, December 16, 2007

AN IMPORTANT NOTICE - and a bend in the road

During the past few days, I have received many wishes of happy Christmas by email. Thanks to all you dear, thoughtful, far-away friends for thinking of me. However, I think now is a good moment to make a clarification and tell that I don't celebrate Christmas.

… Which is hardly a surprise, given the fact that I'm an Orthodox Jew.

… Not to mention that here in Israel our rhythm of seasons and holidays is quite different from the rest of the world.

When I started this blog, I didn't want it to be "Anna's Jewish blog" or "Anna's Israeli blog"; sadly, in my earlier experience I have encountered such rampant anti-Semitism, Israel-hating and Holocaust denial online, that it was often incompatible with expressing any other ideas about unrelated topics. So I decided to remain vague about my religious and national identity, and safely discuss issues such as homemaking, femininity, modesty, cooking, baking and crafts.

However, things happened a bit differently than I planned. The number of topics I discussed here slowly expanded and I often found myself talking about very sensitive, deeply personal matters, while withholding a very significant, very important and very defining part of who I am, of what fills my days and my thoughts and the very essence of my being.

Should I mention that with time, this grew more and more frustrating? And eventually, I asked myself, what am I afraid of? My ancestors went through centuries of persecution; they survived crusades, the Inquisition, expulsions, blood libels, pogroms and the Holocaust. Throughout the generations, they bravely resisted every attempt to destroy them, or make them betray the faith of their forefathers. The very fact that I'm sitting here, identifying as a Jew, means that I come from many generations of people who fought proudly and furiously to preserve this burning torch. Nothing could bring them down - not death threats, not the tempting pull of intermarriage and assimilation. And I'm concerned about a couple of trolls that might bombard me with hateful messages through the internet?

Bring it on, I say.

I would also like to thank the dear ones who supported and encouraged my decision; special thanks go to my friend Michelle at "The Walled Garden"!

I haven't decided yet which direction exactly this blog is going to take. My topics of interest didn't change, so I will most likely continue to discuss them. But I will be able to be much more personal from now on, and share more about myself.

I must say I look forward to that. :)

PS: I hope all my Jewish readers - yes, all 3 of you ;) - had a very happy Hanukkah. To everyone else, I'm wishing a joyful and pleasant holiday season.

102 comments:

Kathleen said...

:)

Persuaded said...

Sweetie... I already knew this although you hadn't shared it..

May I be the first to give you the very warmest of ((hugs)) I pray for you often, and I am certain that God is well pleased with you, His precious daughter.
love,
Diane

Kathleen said...

Okay, I guess I should clarify that little smiley. I'm smiling because I'm happy that you have decided to stand firm in who you are and not be anxious about what sort of comments you get. Hey, if you get nasty emails, send me their address--I have a word or two for them! (Just kidding...sort of...)

Keep blogging, Anna. I feel privileged, for some reason, to be able to say that I know someone who is truly Jewish, even though our "friendship" is only via the computer. God made you who you are for a reason, and I'm glad you've decided to share who you truly are with us!

Anna S said...

Kathleen, I understood your smiley perfectly, but thanks for clarifying for the readers.

And Diane, dear, I assumed you knew of course. Thank you. :)

Jimena said...

Hi Anna,
I'm happy you are able to come out and tell us who you are. It is good to be able to be yourself. I write about my faith in my blog all the time because that's who I am... and if people like it good, if not that's ok... I know who I am. I am looking forwards to reading more about you. I actually knew you were in Israel because of my little flags on my blog... and I thought... oh, she hasn't mentioned where she comes from but I would love to know so much about Israel, what's it's like to live there, and what not. My husband is a Jew, I love his family and to hear about all that they have gone through as a family, as a people, and we would like to go to Israel one day. God bless you...

Faithfulmusic said...

Anna, I've just been a reader, never a commenter, but as someone who doesn't fall into the typical religious category as most people in this blog region, I'm proud and happy that you chose to share your faith with your readers. I feel blessed by your ideas about the home and family. Keep writing, you'll certainly have readers!
Prayers and Blessings,
Faithful Music

Buffy said...

Good for you. I am sure your messages of support will far outnumber any negative comments.

USAincognito said...

Anna,

Thank you for sharing with us, your readers, of your faith and your heritage! You have no idea how much this clarifies things so much more in my mind as to where you come from on these topics of home life and what a woman's role in a home is. Now, more so than ever before, I completely understand why you believe as you do! :)
You should not be ashamed of being Jewish or living in Israel. I think since you have shared this, I have a more profound respect for you and your perspective on issues.
Again, THANK YOU for you sharing this personal part of who you are with us! :)
And I do so look forward to seeing where your blog will go. (I hope you will share with us about life in Israel as I LOVE to learn of other countries!)

Inc.

misskassandra said...

Hi Anna!

Thank you for sharing this part of yourself with us! I cannot imagine that anyone would take a negative view of you or your blog, but if they do, that is their loss.

You're a lovely person and I have enjoyed reading your thoughts and ideas, and the conversations that have come about because of them. As some others have said, this clarifies a few things for me about what you believe and why.

My first cousin, who has a Christian father and a Messianic mother, converted when he was in college. Then a few years later, he went a step further and became Orthodox, and moved to Jerusalem. Now he's back in the states with his wife and children..and let me tell you, it been quite the learning experience.Somehow amongst my cousins and I, we wound up with a born again Christian, an Orthodox Jew, and an atheist. Go figure. However different our beliefs may be, he is a wonderful person who I respect and love to talk to.

Anyway, enough rambling..but I am excited that you felt comfortable enough to reveal this, because it is who you are. I for one plan on sticking around, can't wait to read what you will write in the future!

Shannon said...

Wow. I am suprised! I always assumed you lived in the US. I've been reading you faithfully for quite a while now and will continue to do so. Your religous beliefs only add interest to your posts. I would love to hear and learn more about your religion through your posts. Thank you for your honesty Anna-and sharing more of yourself with us.

Jeannine said...

I'm surprised too :). And somehow I thought you lived in the UK... what did give me that idea? I'm so glad that you shared these personal things with us and I'm also exited to see where your blog is going! Keep it as it is and a bit more about Orthodox Judaism? Orthodox Judaism has fascinated me for a long time already. I hope you won't face any of the negative or hateful reactions you wrote about.
Sending lots of loving hugs and prayers!!

Green Eyes said...

Well, this is turning out better than I had feared. :) I'm so glad you decided to go ahead and let your entire Self shine through in your blog.

Anna S said...

Renee, don't forget I have comment moderation here ;)

Green Eyes said...

I did think of that... but I guess I am glad that there are so many positive responses, regardless of how many negative ones there might be that I don't know about.

tales_from_the_crib said...

well, happy Hanukkahs then
:)
and merry christmases to the christians too.

Kelly said...

Bravo Anna, God bless you for standing up for what you believe. I can't imagine it mattering to anyone that you are Jewish, but I'm not and haven't experienced anti-Semitism. I would love to know more about Orthodox Judaism. I think your blog and all the comments just go to show how much people of different religions CAN have in common.

Tracy said...

Anna,

Autumn and I have been wondering how you were going to handle the Christmas season. We just didn't see a way around it. May I say that although we are of different beliefs, I respect you, and have enjoyed your blog immensely. You must feel such a burden in telling of your Jewish faith. I feel relief for you. Keeping such a big part of yourself hidden for so long must have been tiresome. Now, on to more wonderful posts!

Bless you,
Tracy

Gothelittle Rose said...

Learning this only makes me more eager to read your blog. I started exploring Judaism in more detail over the past couple of years and I'm integrating a few bits here and there in my own lifestyle. Probably the most notable and helpful change for me has been not drinking milk with a meat meal, though I'll still make dishes with both dairy and meat in them. It helps my stomach... Anyways...

Part of my interest comes from being a not-so-distant descendant. My great-grandfather's brother was Mani Leib, the Yiddish poet. :)

It must have taken some courage to 'tell the world' and I admire that!

Maggie said...

Anna,

You changed the colour scheme to your blog.
Funny how that was the first thing I noticed and not the fact that you felt you needed to tell us your 'true self'. Guess that goes to show it doesn't matter to me.
Have a lovely holiday season!
Cheers,
Maggie
http://creativeportal.spaces.live.com

Anna S said...

Tracy, I have been considering this long before holiday season. I just thought now is a good opportunity. :)

misskassandra said...

I guess this will be a test for many of those who read here..to demonstrate what kind of faith they have.

I'm really sorry for any mean things people might say..some are just truly ignorant.

Sue said...

Anna:

I'm very happy that you feel you can freely share your faith with us. It is part of you and will allow us to get us to know you even better. And after all, you sure have allowed Christians and people of no religion to discuss their faith freely.

Your sister in the great God we both worship,

Sue

P.S. Your profile used to say you were from the Mariana Islands so that's where I thought you were from.

PhDCow said...

You know what they say about when you assume...and I had always assumed that you were a Christian woman living in the US.

Knowing your faith and your location helps put many of your posts into perspective.

Congratulations on "coming out!"

Wendy WaterBirde said...

Oh sweetie i can relate so much to how hard it is to "come out" when you are in the minority. You should have seen the hate mail on my little blog when i "came out" as Catholic in this so overwhelmingly Protestant Christian homemaking circle. Its calmed now, but it used to be that whenever i posted anything of substance on Our Blessed Mother there would be a subtle snubbing i'd feel, and it was hurtful.

I love Orthodox Judaism, have some of this in my ancestry too, and seriously considered converting when i was in my twenties studying with a rabbi in New York. I didnt convert in the end, and eventually returned back to my childhood faith as mentioned before, but there was/is SO much about Judaism that i just love. And i know many wouldnt approve of this but i still to this day keep Shabbat, there's just no way i can stop. (My "story" about that is here btw from my old blog:
http://thebluebirdofhappinesscomestotea.blogspot.com/2006/07/good-shabbas.html
)

Well, Blessed Week to you, and deeply Blessed Sacred Season : ) Wendy

Mimi said...

Anna,
I feel privileged to know you through blog land...and I like most of the others assumed that you were from the United States... because you sounded like you have so many of the same problems and desires as the young women here in the U.S.A...
I find it most interesting that you live in Israel...and only hope that you will be telling us more about your country in your future posts...
you have nothing to be concerned about in the attitude of your readers... because I think that we will all continue to feel the same about you...and only hope that you share more of yourself in your posts...I am probably one of the people who have told you Merry Christmas... so now I would like to
say to you.....Happy Hanukkah...
Love,
Mimi

woobles said...

Dear Anna,

I've been a reader of your blog for some time now. Always read, but never left a comment. :)

Somehow, I've guessed that you are Jewish and I know you don't live in the US, possibly in Europe. I did guess Spain. :) Anyway, this one goes to say bravo! For letting us readers know who you are. I've been interested in Judaism for a while , and truly hope that you'll share a bit about your faith through this blog.

Oh, and I love your food recipes, and your "Dedicated Daughters" articles.

Anyway, hope you have a truly blessed Hanukkah.

Nanny Y. said...

I thinks it must be very freeing to no longer feel the need to hold back such a large portion of yourself. I love to read this blog because of the reassurance and loveliness I find here. Although I am a Christian I grew up in a sect that is not generally accepted by other Christians. I know all too well how it feels to be judged negatively based on religious differences. I am glad you have the courage to be yourself!

Mrs. G said...

I'm so glad you felt comfortable to share your faith with us here in cyberspace. :) You are such an inspiring young woman. I look forward to reading more.

secondpeter318 said...

I'm glad you decided to let us readers know you are Jewish. I'm sorry that you have gotten a negative response before about it. That is sad. I continue to look forward to your posts. :)
JoAnn

Adlyn said...

wow jewish huh? I'm jewish by birth and christen christian at the age of eleven. I thought the living conditions were terriable there with all that happening there how is it? is what the media here tells us true or are they lies? I would like to get your perpective on things ... if that's okay :)

xoxoxoxo,
Adlyn

Adlyn said...

p.s. I thought iseral was a religious country? did feminism spread there too as well? I hope not. oh and Happy Hannakah!!!

xoxoxoxo,
Adlyn

Calamity Jean said...

Anna,

I am so glad that you decided to share about his important part of your life. You did however take the "where does Anna live" game away from me ;) In my real life I have friends of all races, religions, and lifestyles so I am glad to have that here in the blog world. I can't wait to learn more about your life including your religion and Country. Thanks so much for trusting us with the real you.

Kyla

Songbird said...

I didn't know you were an Israelite. :). Nevertheless, I enjoyed a lot of your posts and your ideas even tho I don't agree on certain matters. It challenged me in a lot of ways.

Shelley:) said...

Hi Anna:)
I really look forward to reading your blog. It doesn't make any difference to me if you're Jewish in Isreal or Pentacostal in Georgia or Catholic in Quebec. God made you who you are for a reason and I know he's pleased with the stand you're taking on bringing back traditional home and family values. You have made me take note of some of the things I've "let slide" in my homekeeping etc and for that I'm very greatful. God bless you and your family:)!!! I look forward to reading about your holidays and what its like to live in an Orthadox Jewish family.

Alexandra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

You are not a Jewish Christian then? (Jewish nationality, Christian faith.) I have appreciated many of your posts on femininity and homemaking. I would just like some clarity on your positions.

UltraCrepidarian said...

I'm very happy that you've decided to tell everybody!

I really enjoy reading your blog. Keep it up!

Warren

Mrs Amy said...

Of course this isn't going to change anything! You are still a wonderful young woman of God!! And an incredible witness for the way God created us women to be :)
Bless you for coming forward and I am sure we will all learn heaps from you!!!!

Amy
PS I was way off I thought you were in Russia!! :) Although I did think you had a Jewish background :)

compactmanifold said...

I think it's a mark of how time I waste on travel pictures and articles that I recognized the area from your Flickr pictures. Well, the Israel license plate in one of them also helped a lot ;)

Will you do us a favor of posting lots of pictures of your pretty surroundings? I got to wade through a foot of slushy snow last night and I would definitely appreciate them.

<3 big hugs!

Goldnrod said...

Dear Anna, I love your blog--have been reading it for 2 or 3 months. I actually was die-ing of curiosity to find out where you were from & now lived! I can't believe I didn't guess. Dh is Jewish, but wasn't brought up in the faith. Half his family are liberals & atheists and the other half Christian.

I love your blog because you write so articulately & beautifully of the biblical role of women. While I was brought up Christian, there wasn't much teaching on that or practical training, eithor.

Yes, I've heard that anti-antisemitism is on the rise, especially in Europe. :(

Erin said...

It's fun to see where your readers thought you lived. I must admit, I was confused quite a bit, trying to figure it out.

Thanks for letting us know a little more about you. Since this is your blog and you have control of what you share, it means a lot to see that you decided to share a bit more of your life.

Crystal Paine said...

Anna:

I'm glad you had the courage to share more of who you are! I knew you didn't live in the US, but I didn't know where you lived, so it was fun to find out. :)

Keep on blogging such thought-provoking and challenging posts. I, for one, have benefited tremendously.

I'd love to hear more about Jewish celebrations and feasts - food, recipes, pictures, etc. - We would love to introduce more of the Old Testament feasts in our home so any helpful insight you could share in this area would be something I'd very much appreciate.

God bless you!
~Crystal

not a christian said...

Since you are an Orthodox Jew, and not a Christian, I am wondering what your textual basis is for asserting so strongly that women should not work outside the home except when the alternative is homelessness, or that women should not live on their own. I know you cite Proverbs a lot, but I have never heard Proverbs intepreted as a ban on out-of-home work in the Orthodox community. I am not aware of anything in halakha that prohibits women from working outside the home. Is this something that your particular Orthodox community or rabbi hold by? I think a post on this would be interesting, both for your Christian and non-Christian readers.

Andrea said...

Anna,

how lovely to find out even more about you :) It sounds odd to say I'm not surprised, but I think that's a part of hindsight, where everything just sort of clicks into place when you're told that last thing! Actually I do remember one post you made and a commenter identified as Jewish and something in your reply struck me . . . anyway :) The only part that took me rather by surprise was learning you're in Israel, rather than in the US, but even that really makes sense given the time of day when you released moderated comments to view . . . as I mentioned before, I keep some odd hours ;)

It hurts my heart to think that people might be so petty as to turn on you when they learn something more about who you are and what you believe. I hope very much that for the most part comments have been respectful, and that they will continue to be so :) I also do feel the need to apologise for making the assumption that you were Christian; oddly enough it's not one I would usually make, given the breadth of faiths and backgrounds shared by my friends, so I'm really wondering what was behind me assuming it this time!

Would you think me very forward if I asked if you were Messianic Orthodox? I have a friend from an Orthodox family, and her cousins are Messianic, so I am really just curious, which is of course no real reason for you to answer!

In any event, I am glad you've decided to continue to share with us, and I hope your comment moderation doesn't become even more taxing with this new revelation ;)

Julia said...

Happy Hannukah!

My blog counter already told me you lived in Israel, so that made guessing that you were Jewish that much easier. ;) I assumed you were trying to stay anonymous, so you left that part out. I hope you don't get any ugly comments. If any Christians give you a hard time you can always remind them Jesus was a Jew!

Sheri said...

Anna, you are such a blessing and although we share a different faith, I respect you and so appreciate your writings. You are a rare young woman in this world; one who believes that being a "keeper at home" and goes against the feministic garbage in our society.

Also, I really appreciate your honesty and look forward to hearing more about your life and faith in Israel. Where are you originally from? My husband has been to Israel several times and says it's a beautiful country. He has also served with Israeli soldiers and had nothing but wonderful things to say about them

Any how, again, you are a blessing and I look forward to hearing more from you!

http://360.yahoo.com/rnrachele said...

I've never left a comment before but I have been reading your blog for some time. I find it positively inspiring, and think we have much in common. As a Catholic woman who had no clue you are Jewish (I'm happy you've shared that)I have to say it merely confirms my convictions about womanhood. God has made us women and to embody that and be joyous in that role is both before any religion and common to them all. May the blessings of God be upon you.

Peace,
Rachele Ann

Bethany Sue, CFO said...

Hugs to you and Bravo for being bold and honest with your beliefs!

Anonymous said...

Make that 4 Jewish readers!

I am absolutely FLOORED that you are Jewish, although, thinking back, I realize that you've always been quite vague about definitive religious beliefs.

I somehow found this blog through a Christian blog (something enthralls me about fundamental Christians, I can't explain it) and I bookmarked your site...I guess I now need to move the link to my "Jewish Blogs" sub-folder :)

While I am consider myself Traditional in belief and, hypocritically, reform in practice, and more or less, a feminist in some senses (I love my college degree in business, and my job in accounting, and while I would eventually love to get married have a family, I'm not planning my life around it) I completely admire and respect those who have returned to Ha'Derech ;)

Can't wait to see the direction of the blog...keep up the great work!

~tamara bat ahuva v'gedalia
California

Anonymous said...

Anna,
All this time I have enjoyed your blog and assumed that it was simply another area where we ladies of different religions share values. Thank you for taking this turn towards greater openness and I know that I am not alone in continuing to look forward to your writing.
Kol tuv,
E.

Liedeke said...

Wow, Anna, that's a nice surprise. I must say the new decorating-theme struck me first, but I find a new religious theme is a bit more exciting :-).

I hope you had a very happy Hanukka. Have fun being all of you!

~Liedeke

Federica said...

Anna, I told you in the past and I tell you again. Judaism is the forefather of all that we call religion today, and Israel is a wonderful, inspiring country, and the Holy Land. Am Israel chai...
You should be proud of who you are, always.
And if they give you trouble, you can always take a vacation and come visit me in Silicon Valley, where we have a little bit of everything and nobody cares :)))))) Ciao!

Terry said...

Whenever I spend a few days offline and return, I always check in with your blog first. What a difference 4 days makes! I'm so glad you decided to reveal yourself, Anna. I suspected that you didn't live in the U.S. I didn't know that you weren't a Christian. It changes nothing for me. I still love your blog, your willingness to stand for something deeper in the face of the culture, and your spirit. For the record, any true, Bible believing Christian can have nothing less than love and respect for Israel, Judaism, and the Jewish people. Despite any theological differences, the fact remains that without Judaism, there would be no Christianity! That little tidbit was for the possible trolls who spew negativity in the name of MY precious faith. Keep writing Anna. Your voice is a valuable one indeed.

Anonymous said...

אז מאיפה האנגלית?

Anonymous said...

Hey, I guessed you were in the UK too for some reason :) I was always curious, so thanks for finally sharing! I don't identify with either the Christian or Jewish faith, so I am indifferent in the nicest way to your religious persuasion :)

Haus Frau said...

((((( Anna )))))

You are a lovely woman who seeks God and a more refined path of ladylike behavior. You bring such important topics to the table, topics that make one *think* and delve deeper. This is wonderful because too often we consider things on the surface only!

I thought you were from the Mariana Islands because, well, your profile stated as much. Interesting because when I first visited your blog months ago my first inkling was Israel. It all makes sense to me now, along with other little tidbits leaning in that direction.

On my blog I answered your question about the "Be Thou My Vision" post. I'll include it here in case you are unable to visit Lula's Hardt today:

***AnnaS ~ This season is filled with so much in the way of commercialism and Santa, that I desired to convey where the vision *should* be focused, God!***

In hindsight, the hymn's words also relate to you, a woman of the Jewish faith, for this season speaks deeply to your hardt to make Him your focus, your vision.

Bless you, dear Anna. Email coming shortly.

Love,
Haus Frau aka Sherry

Erin said...

I wondered if you were Jewish based on your modest clothing sites. But I never was certain. Happy belated Hanukka, and I will sure to wish you a Happy New Year in Septemberish.

Mrs. Mordecai said...

Thank you so much for sharing. I look forward to more posts about who you really are.

I can relate to your reluctance to mention your faith much; I am a Mormon and we have received much persecution since our faith began. Indeed, I have been saddened by comments against us in the media lately. It hurts to have your faith belittled or dismissed.

I'm proud of you.

singlemomforgod said...

Anna,

I am so proud of you!!! God will bless you and your family, you come from a strong heritage and there is not anything anyone can say that can rob you of the strength and heritage that flows through your veins. You are truly an inspiration. Thank you for your wisdom, God wants us to learn from each other, and I stand a lot to learn!!

Anonymous said...

Anna you may never know how much you've encouraged me. I read your blog daily. Thank you so much for sharing with us. I will continue to read your blog on a daily basis. After all, I'm a black woman who stays home full time and I live in the state of Idaho. Talk about being a minority :)

Anna S said...

You ladies (and gents ;)) are amazing.

OK... I might have forgotten some of the questions, but here's more clarifications:

1. I am NOT "Messianic". I was raised as a clueless Jew, and now I'm an Orthodox Jew. :)

2. To Not a Christian:
My particular views are my own, and aren't influenced by a rabbi. They come from my own observations of how difficult, taxing and stressful it is for a woman to work both in and outside the home, especially if she is a mother of many children like in traditional Jewish communities. I hope to address this thought in future posts.

3. האנגלית מהרבה שנים של לימודים, מאמץ והשקעה.
:)

Mrs W said...

I wondered why you would never give me an answer when I asked you directly what religion you were. As a Christian, I am commanded of God to love the Jews, so you won't get any hate from here. I am a little disappointed because it appears that you were posing as a Christian. I understand people having different faith, but to pose as something you aren't is deceptive. It also makes me wonder how seriously you take your faith if you were ashamed of it. This is not a "hate" comment, I just tend to say how I feel. I am glad you are not ashamed of what you believe anymore and decided to tell us. Although I don't agree with the beliefs, it still interests me. And your blog is still a great source of homemaking and domestic information.

By the way, to the people who commented that now they knew Anna was a Jew and knew now where she was coming from and that it is great she believes what she does in regards to homemaking, those that used to be opposed to her beliefs, what difference does it make what faith she has when she believes those things? I'm a Christian and I believe them and some of you who have bashed me now say it's ok for Anna since she's a Jew. I don't understand that.

Anna I would be interested to know more about what Hannukah is. By the way, from your photo, you kind of look Jewish. ;-)

Have a great day! (I'll understand if you don't want to publish this).

PamelaK said...

Anna -
As was mentioned a couple other times above, I think I was more surprised by the new design of your blog - LOL - because I suppose I knew your secret, based on several of the things I have noticed reading your blog over some time - but I still didn't really get it until your second paragraph, because I know several true Christians who don't celebrate Christmas (but that would be a whole different blog post if I had a blog!) I am so glad you finally felt comfortable enough to be honest and share this with your readers. I always look forward to reading your blog and the encouragement it brings me.

Anna S said...

Mrs. W,

I've never been ashamed of being Jewish, but I tried to avoid theological discussions. Just one day passed since I told I'm Jewish and I already got 3 emails from people who attempt to sway me from my faith. See what I mean? :)

It's funny that you say I look Jewish, since 3 of my grandparents were gentiles. Only my maternal grandmother is Jewish. :)

Mrs W said...

I know you tried hard to avoid theological discussions, but I think it is necessary to know the core beliefs of a writer so that you know where they are coming from. Which is the reason for all the new stuff on my blog. You will always have people that disagree with you, and always people that will be horrible about it. I will always tell someone about being a Christian and why I am one and tell them how they can be too, but I'd never be nasty to them about it because the God who made us gives us the right to choose what to believe, whether right or wrong.

Anonymous said...

No problems with your heritage although I do have a question. Since the cards are on the table, Do you believe in Jesus as the Saviour? I know you want to stay out of theological discussions, but this is a pretty important one. I never have read any posts of yours that mention Christ, so my guess is no.

Anna S said...

Anon,

Your guess is correct.

magda said...

wow! i am so happy for you, that you are comfortable enough to talk about this now. i am surprised, but looking back, i realize that this is because of my assumptions, not your representations. i do not believe that you ever posed as something you aren't and i do not believe that you were ever deceptive- just private. if it isn't too personal, i would really like to hear more about the history of your family and the move to israel in 1991 sometime. thanks so much for your writing!

Anna S said...

Magda, I would also like to write a bit about family history. I'll do that, as time allows.

AnneK said...

Hi Anna, I am sorry I am late to the party, but I have been really busy and not reading blogs as much. Glad that you "came out." You know I was a reader of your blog right from the beginning. I knew in two weeks that you were Jewish. Hubs and I have a friend in Israel (Jew) and when we were wishing him Shana Tova on Rosh Hashanah I was telling hubs about you and wondering if I should wish you. I thought since you never officially mentioned it, I probably shouldn't.

Happy Hanukkah to you now anyway.
:)

I WAS wondering what you would do during the Christmas season. And it did bring a smile to my face to hear commenters speak about you as "sister in Christ" "lovely Christian woman" etc. To me (maybe because I was a regular reader) it was pretty obvious that you were not a Christian. Even though a lot of our views did not agree I always liked you (still do) because I knew where you came from. It really helped that you were not throwing Titus 2 at me. :D

Bless you Anna, God bless your courage and convictions. Stay sweet.

Karen said...

My husband is Jewish by ancestry so we celebrate hanukkah, try to keep kosher, etc. I am a bit surprise because I could've sworn you'd quoted new testament once or twice but maybe that was one of your readers lol. It doesn't much change how I feel about you except I of course assumed you were Christian like me haha. Everyone always assumes people are like them! I am a little sad that you don't know Jesus but that is just me. :) I still like ya!!

Anna S said...

Karen,

And here you make another assumption. Be careful. ;)

Alexandra said...

Happy Chanukkah! :) We are all God's children.

Note: I had to delete and repost this comment because I left out a word. That's what I get for staying up too late! Keep posting your great content. :)

Andrea said...

Mrs W,

I must say I can't find anything deceptive in Anna's previous posts; people have chosen to make assumptions about her when she herself did nothing more than choose to preserve as personal information a particular part of her life, as we all must do when we decide how much to share online and how much should remain private. She has already remarked upon her reasons, which I think are more than valid ones; I have only experienced anti-Semitism second hand, but that was more than repugnant enough for me. I have to say that when such mindless bigotry is aimed at a treasured friend, for me it's every bit as revolting, offensive and incomprehensible as if it happened to me personally (I was also a lot more reactive about it at the time than the friend at whom it was directed; she was terribly amused by that). I can certainly understand Anna's wish to avoid having a lot of needless hatred directed her way. I have no doubt she already deals with a lot of ire as a result of her convictions about homemaking and modesty, and a girl's got to have some sense of self-preservation, surely!

Also, I can't speak for other ladies who "get it" more now that they understand Anna's heritage, but speaking as Christian lady with several Jewish friends of varying degrees of observance (they run the gamut from rigidly observant Orthodox to the most liberal Reform, and are all so opinionated that I believe the universe would implode if they ever got together in the same room!) I actually have a much clearer grasp of Judaic views on the topics of homemaking and submission than I do of purportedly Christian views (I say purportedly only since, by definition, "Christian" means "follower of Christ" and yet many of the values espoused by many modern churches have little if any of Christ's life reflected in them). You see, the Church has made a persistent habit of holding up as gospel various mistranslations of several verses in the New Testament that are often referred to as key in determining marital submission to be exclusively a woman's calling, to say nothing of still-espoused claims that women are forbidden to teach/preach/etc. (in fact, Jesus made every effort to elevate women to a status that had only previously been enjoyed by men; he scandalised the sages of the day when he called a woman to the front of the Temple to testify, he encouraged Mary to join in theological discussions and study at his feet when she "should" have been in the kitchen, and he instructed a woman to bear witness to his resurrection in a time and society where a woman could not legally be called to bear witness to anything) so believe it or not, I find I get a much clearer picture of a mandate for feminine submission from the Old Testament in general than I do from Jesus!

So yes, now that Anna has clarified her position, and has chosen to identify as an Orthodox Jew, I suddenly have a much sharper understanding of where she is coming from in her beliefs; in many respects the rules for conduct are much more clearly defined in Judaism than they are in Christianity, so yes, I do find most of Anna's convictions infinitely more comprehensible now than I did just 24 hours ago :)

Also, this is just a personal thing for me, but I am not sure what you mean by saying that Anna "looks" Jewish! I don't know why it should grate on me to read that, but it does, and badly; perhaps if I understood what you felt Jews "looked" like I might better understand what you meant. Or not.

Anna, so sorry to hijack your blog with yet another rambling comment; some things, it seems, will never change! My house may fall down around me in the midst of the blizzard currently dancing around outside, and I would still ramble on at impossible length on any topic it delighted me to study :P I am so happy for you that people continue to be largely supportive of your announcement, and I do so want to thank you again, as many people already have, for making this such a respectful and welcoming forum for persons of any (or no!) faith. You are and will continue to be an utter treasure :)

Lady of the house said...

Hope you feel better after that post. Isn't it freeing?

Despite being a Christian, I feel very uncomfortable among many Christians, especially once they learn that I am a Quaker Christian.

Elizabeth and Ryan said...

Anna,

I am Catholic and my husband is Jewish. I love celebrating Jewish holidays with him and find such beauty in Jewish traditions. Never be afraid of who you are!

I hope you had a blessed Chanukah!
Elizabeth

Ahuva said...

Anna,

*hugs* I wondered if/when this post was going to be written.

A belated chag sameach to you!

Love,
Ahuva

Wendy WaterBirde said...

Hi Anna,

I've come back to this post a couple times beuase there was something on the tip my brian i just couldnt seem to get (dont you hate when that happens), but it was triggered just now when one of the commenters here said she couldnt see Judaism lending to a focus on woman not working outside the home.

Here's the thing: I'm remembering that Judaism was actually in a sense my wake up call there, and that's what's been on the tip of the brain. When i was in college i babysat for an Orthodox family where the father took his providence seriously and the mother stayed at home and really took it to heart, her home was truly a haven, very spiritual and peaceful. I looked forward to going there so much and i know it was part of what woke up further the draw to homemaking. I think that memory, that wake up call to homemaking in this Orthodox home, is even part of my deep draw to Shabbat, as both are so corely connected to peace in the home.

The point is this: Even if the modern Jewish community (and the Christian too) has turned in many places from a woman being at home, it is STILL a core part of the faith, it is so strong you can feel it. Just because it has been ignored does not mean its not central. Even those Orthodox women who sadly must work outside the home must bring their focus strongly back to the home when they light the Shabbas candles. And that's core stuff indeed.

Plus, when one looks back deeper a homemaking focus does show up. I remember when i lived in New York there was a woman who told me the reason her ancestor had converted was her seeing the Orthodox communituy in America during the fiirst migrations...she said her ancestor was struck by how the men actually provided and protected and the women were at home, in contrast to many other immigrant families whose wives were out unprotected and working in factories and the like (shudder). She thought, now these (men who were providing and protecting) were real men, and part of why she converted to Judaism is so she'd be allowed to be a real woman, and a real part of that is about being home based. I dont think that's usary on her part, i think it was seeing deeply into what really mattered.

But then its important to say thats not the only tradition thats been impacting. One of the reasons i didnt convert in the end was the strong tendancy thats come about (its an old one, i know) for many Orthodox men to think becoming an eternal student studying the Torah enabled by their wives supportinbg them financially, was seen as more of a blessing than him being a provider (and none the less spiritual for it i might add) enabling his wife to be at home and deepening its nurturance and peace. That felt to me a reversal of values that just ran up against everything i had been drawn to so deeply that it was hard to get over. Not that men in the the Christian world have done much better. I'd like to think its ALL slowly healing as more folks look deeply into what really matters, and put a peaceful and spiritual home back as central to both life and faith.

Well, i've rambled again, but i hope your day is peaceful : ) Wendy

Anonymous said...

Just a question. Wasn't Jesus a jew and shouldn't christians be celebrating jewish holidays? Jesus told us to remember his death. The birth means nothing, but his death was the most important. Am I wrong? sorry just a little confused here.

Flower said...

Nice to meet the true you!

Laila.

Bonnie said...

I always thought there was something different about your blog, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it.
I agree with some people in that I'm suprised you haven't mentioned about being Jewish till now, and it puts a different slant on my perspective of your blog (not in a bad way though), but I'm looking forward to any future posts :-)

I have always enjoyed your posts on different topics, even if I don't comment much I do read. I admire how you enjoy sharing your thoughts on matters of this world that we all need to consider!

God bless!

~Bonnie

Rebekah S. said...

Hi, Anna!! Wow, I must say, I'm surprised! :) I had for some strange reason assumed you lived in Russia. lol! :)

I LOVE Israel! I have always wanted to visit the land where Jesus walked. Oh, that brings me to another question. I don't know all of the beliefs of Orthodox Judaism, so I was wondering-do you believe in Jesus Christ being the Messiah? In other words, are you a Christian? I had always assumed that you were, but I figured I'd ask. :)

I would love to see more pictures from beautiful Israel! Have you lived there your whole life?


I'm sort of confused over some of the comments people have left. Some have said that knowing that you're Jewish helps them to understand why you have some of the beliefs that you do (i.e.regarding women's roles, homemaking, etc.) I'm a Baptist Christian, and I believe the exact same things! And, why? Because they're in the Bible, not because I'm a Jew or a Protestant Christian or a Catholic, or whatever. So, I just guess I was sort of confused over some of the comments here. :)


I admire your boldness in letting us all know the truth! I'm sure that took a lot of guts! I applaud you for that! And if you have received any hateful or mean comments, I'm so sorry! I will pray for you! I look forward to more posts about your religious beliefs, Israel, etc., but I really hope you continue to post a lot on women's roles, too! :)

By the way, I love your new blog colors!

Many blessings,
Rebekah

not a christian said...

"My particular views are my own, and aren't influenced by a rabbi. They come from my own observations of how difficult, taxing and stressful it is for a woman to work both in and outside the home, especially if she is a mother of many children like in traditional Jewish communities."

Thanks for the clarification. I was confused because I think in one of your other posts you mentioned that you quote scripture to convince skeptics of your views, and I interpreted that to mean that you felt there was a halakhic basis for women not working outside the home. My mistake.

Elisabeth said...

How neat! I'd love to learn more about your personal faith/traditions.

I've been reading this blog for awhile now (not sure if I've commented yet), and for some reason always thought that you were a Christian young women living in Edmonton, Alberta, in Canada. Where did that come from...?
I understand that you don't want theological discussions, but out of curiosity (if you don't mind), do you believe in salvation? That Jesus is the Messiah? Also, I noticed that you liked the book "Passionate Housewives". Since it is Christian in perspective, how did that fit with your beliefs?

Anyway, looking forward to future posts! I love your blog.

Kelly (The Barefoot Mama) said...

Hey there Anna,

I was excited to see the new header and layout on your blog...and then even more excited to see what you revealed. You're a Daughter of the King and that's all that matters to me. :o) Besides, the Man himself was Jewish, was He not? Even if some of our beliefs differ, I still find you to be an inspiring, admirable and very faithful young woman and I'm so happy that you share your thoughts and experiences with your friends out there in the blogosphere. :o)

Kelly (The Barefoot Mama) said...

P.S. Don't let anyone ever make you feel that your convictions (especially about children, marriage, the home, etc.) aren't as valid because you're not a Christian. You are still the child of a God who created women to be virtuous and you have every right to feel and behave the ways that you choose and are led to. A Jewish woman, a Christian woman - we're all able to live how we choose and our beliefs can be whatever we want. I've noticed that there's a big "blog movement" of Christian women bloggers who address the same topics that are discussed here at Domestic Felicity (modesty, homemaking, chastity, etc.), but generalizing that a woman who adheres to these characteristics must only be a Christian is neglecting the actual *woman* behind these virtues.

Again, I'm glad to have learned more about you. Also, my father is adopted but his adopted family's lineage is German and Jewish. His biological heritage is Irish Catholic. He's a very godly man who was born from one world into another, and the person that he is today cannot be stereotyped into either. Bravo to sharing, Anna, and my God bless your socks off!

Mermade said...

Hey Anna! Thank you for sharing this very important part of yourself with us. I know that I am kind of late to commenting, but I just wanted to let you know that I am a huge fan of your blog. Like one of the previous commenters already said, I noticed that there was something different about your blog but I wasn't sure what it was. I think you offer a very rare and cherished voice in the blogsphere. I am a Catholic and who believes in certain aspects of feminism, so that's my niche in the blogsphere. Sometimes it is hard to feel accepted by the Protestant homemaking blogsphere, but it's always interesting to read everyone's thoughts on matters regarding femininity, feminism and faith, even if we sometimes disagree. Thank you, again, for sharing this with all of us. I totally support you, and I look forward to learning more about Jewish culture through you! Happy Chanukah!

Ewokgirl said...

I'm surprised, but pleasantly so. I'd just assumed you were a Christian, but that's simply because I found your blog through a comment you made on a Christian website, and your ideas tend to line up with those of the "Titus 2" women. It's so easy to assume things!

Anyway, I'm glad to know more about you!

Krystyna said...

A belated congratulations from me, too. This may seem silly, but since your clarification to my comment I felt for your position - it must have been very awkward! But I understand where you're coming from - my country is unfortunately still one of the most antisemitic places in the western world, and saying that one's a Jew would bring very unpleasant responses.

Anna S said...

I just put another post up, answering some questions that were asked more than once. :o)

Elisabeth: you'll notice many of the resources on my sidebar are Christian. Many of my good friends are Christian. Many wonderful books I've read were written by Christians. We might not agree about everything, but we can sure learn from each other!

Laura H. said...

Dear Friend,
I admire your courage to admit your religious beliefs. It is a special thing to have a friend such as you. Even though I am a believer in Jesus, I will not try to evangelize you, or try to get you to see the Light of the World!

So, I don't know, this might not be my business, but how are things with you, and N.P.? I haven't heard anything of that nature for a while, so I was a little concerned something went wrong. If you don't wish to tell me, that is ok.

I don't know if I told you, but I am writing to a young man too. We are just friends at present. We are not ready for anything serious yet. He lives in Georgia, and I live in Washington State, so we live across the country from eachother. And I don't know, if he is interested in someone else. He hasn't said. But anyway, we are scripture buddies, and talk about our struggles as eldest children in our family, and how much more we have to learn before we can get married. And how we struggle waiting on the Lord to sent our mate to us! We are great friends!

Well, until the next time, I am your dearest friend,
Laura H. of Washington State, USA

Rebekah S. said...

Hi, Anna!

I was just looking at your sidebar, and noticed that it now doesn't say that you're contributing at Mayden Fair. Please don't say you've left us!!


Take care,
Bekah

Anna said...

Another late commenter. I'm glad you "came out". And a bit sad that the world is such that you would have to consider telling abut your faith and homeland. Maybe one day...

I also tought you were a Christian somewhere in the Southern USA... well, shows just how we are all children of the same God. I'll definitely keep reading your blog, it's such a haven of peace and beauty. I really respect the gracious way you treat different beliefs and views. (We readers seem to come from very different backgrouds. I'm a rather liberal Christian from Northern Europe.)

I'd also be really interested in learning about your faith and life in Israel.

PS. I've left a few comments before, they went under anonymous, sometimes I can be really clueless... lol

Anna S said...

Rebekah, I took myself off Mayden Fair because I thought I wouldn't be welcome anymore. But if Laura sends me an invitation again, I'll be happy to join once more.

Rebekah S. said...

Oh, Anna, please don't every think that!! We may not agree with your theological beliefs, but we see you as a dear, and precious friend, a blessing, and a real asset to Mayden Fair. If Laura didn't ask you to leave, then I would think about rejoining if I was you. I, for one, would hate to see you leave!

Elizabeth said...

Anna, dear ... *HUGS*! :-D

Michelle said...

Anna -

I'm late to the party. Have been quite busy and therefore neglectful of my blog reading!!!!

I'm pleased that you have "come out" so to speak. And I do hope that you won't object to the occasional question about your beliefs.

Emily (Unfurling Flower) said...

Anna - it took me a while to comment on this because I wanted to say the right thing. Firstly, whatever happens, I have so appreciated your online friendship and hope it will continue. And I will of course keep reading your blog and commenting. :)
When I first read this post, I honestly couldn't believe it. I was so convinced you were a Christian - although, to be fair, a lot of things make sense now now that you've said you're Jewish (i.e. no mention of Jesus or the gospel or grace, no quoting of the New Testament, etc). To be honest, I really wish you had told me before. A lot of things I have said were made on the assumption that you were a Christian. I understand your reasons for keeping your faith quiet, but I would so have appreciated knowing you were Jewish.
I actually cried a little when I realised you weren't a Christian. I am not going to try and evangelise to you, for I can see you are closed to that, but my heart aches deeply for you that Jesus is not your Lord and Saviour. All I will say is that I will pray for you. Please don't take offense at that! I only do it because I really care about you - honestly.
Anyway, that's enough rambling from me. It must be so interesting to live in Israel - I bet it is a beautiful country! I would love to visit one day. I look forward to you sharing more about it.
Well, Anna, thank you for being honest with us. As I said before, I really appreciate "knowing" you and I really enjoy reading your posts. Bless you :)

Daniel said...

Dear Anna,

I have been reading your blog for a while now, and wondered from the beginning if you lived in Israel. The pictures seem to suggest it. Also a commend about the 4 languages you speak was a big hint, at least for me. The looks maybe a little.
Anyway, I am jewish as well, but unlike yourself Messianic. I live in Jerusalem with my husband and babygirl. If the messianic part doesn't bother you, you are more than welcome to visit us.

Shannon said...

Anna,

I am so proud of you for standing up for what you believe in. I myself, studied Judaism for some time and have great respect for your faith! The city of Tzfat, from what I understand, is home to many artists and I always thought it would be a great place to visit if I ever came to Israel.

I wish you a lovely holiday! -Shannon

Pendragon said...

Hi Anna,

Now I am not feeling quite so silly for not realizing that you are Jewish. I thought I had somehow just missed that but now I see that you hadn't shared that until now. Thank you for sharing this aspect of your belief and your identity.

I am not a Jew but my father is, and I identify strongly with Jewish culture. While I myself descend from the liberal/progressive strain of American Judaism, I am glad to see a conservative Jewish blogger on the web. It is helpful for people to understand the diversity of Judaism as well as the things that Jews have in common. Happy (belated) Hannukkah!

Coalescence of Contradictions said...

Hi Anna,

I've never commented before, but have been reading and thoroughly enjoying your blog for some time. I'm also in university (1,000 miles from home) against my wishes, and your blog is a breath of fresh air from someone whose more at my place in life than an established homemaker with a family already. :)

I realize that the comment comes very late, but my computer time has been cut very limited for the past month or so. This post struck a chord with me; I am not Jewish, but in the area I grew up in I was the "wrong denomination" of Christianity, and as such, was subject to ridicule, torment and unfair treatment while the school leaders turned a blind eye. I know how it is to be "evangelized" when you are following what you believe to be true, and personally it was one of the most painful periods in my life because of that treatment.

I apologize for the lengthy comment, but I just felt like I should say something and let you know what a wonderful example I think you are providing to us younger ladies across the globe, not only in preparing for marriage and keeping the home, but also for standing strong in your faith against opposition. Would it be that more of our generation would take after your example. :)

-C.H.