Thursday, December 25, 2008

Something I hoped I wouldn't have to write

Dear friends,

I'm typing with a heavy heart, with much hesitations, hand hovering over my keyboard, writing, deleting and re-writing. I sincerely hoped I wouldn't have to write this at all, but recent dialogues through email and through this blog made me realize I don't have much choice.

I started this blog being vague about my religious and national identity. A year ago, I made the necessary clarification about me being Jewish. I knew it was an important turning point - one that made my blog more personal, allowed me to open a wider range of topics, and started contact with precious people I wouldn't have a chance to meet otherwise. I was amazed to discover how many of my readers are actually Jewish; in the process of converting to Judaism; have a Jewish father, grandparent, or best friend; live in Israel, visited Israel, or plan to visit Israel; are studying Hebrew and/or Jewish traditions.

I also received many questions about Jewish beliefs and customs, which I had great pleasure responding to, especially since it often prompted me to learn something new myself (as I always state, my knowledge is very limited). People have emailed me about a wide variety of issues, from how to prove one's Jewish ancestry to how I tie my head scarves, and even though sometimes I felt my inbox would burst with emails, eventually I answered each one.

During the past year, I also received dozens of messages of a different kind - peaking during holiday season, which eventually prompted me to write this post, as uncomfortable as it may be. I'm talking, of course, about people who wrote to try and dissuade me from following the faith of my ancestors, despite my explicit request not to do that after the first few messages started to fly in. I know at least a few of you are reading this right now.

Numerous times, I also had to stop discussions here from sliding into theological debates. And please understand that by debate, I don't mean questions such as, "why do Jewish girls and women traditionally wear skirts?" - I'm talking about direct confrontation with my faith, which could easily get ugly if I gave it space on my blog. Notice that even now, I'm not debating; I'm not quoting from Scriptures, and I'm not defending my point of view - I refuse to be dragged into this publicly. A few times, I also had to stop discussion following a direction which would be offensive to other religious groups, such as for example Catholics.

I realized that up to this point, I have lived in a very sheltered environment. I spent nearly my entire life in Israel, in a Jewish community, among Jewish peers. New year always started in Autumn, and I had only a vague idea about another religious holiday taking place around Hanukkah. Until I started writing for LAF and started this blog soon after that, words such as "Evangelical" or "Bible Belt" didn't hold much meaning for me. The first time I made any personal contact with non-Jews was during university, when I had some Christian Arab friends. However, somehow we never reached the point of religious discussion.

But this time, of living in a country with a Jewish majority, is but a short point in our history. For many centuries, Jews had been persecuted, unjustly accused, despised, libeled, hanged, burned, tortured, banished and butchered for refusing to let go of their faith. The fact that I'm sitting here, identifying as a Jew, proves that many generations of my ancestors preferred to die rather than renounce their direct link to Mt. Sinai. Around five hundred years ago, my relatives preferred to leave all their belonging behind them in Spain, and journey into the unknown to Northern and Eastern Europe (where a large part of them would be subsequently tortured and murdered), rather than accept conversion - even a mock one - and comfortably retain physical security. Others, such as my husband's ancestors, sailed to the shores of North Africa. Jews fled to wherever they could still practice their faith without being murdered.

Have you ever wondered why? Stubbornness? Masochism? Tribal instinct?.. It would have been so much easier to just dissolve into the majority, assimilate, give up, like it had happened to countless smaller nations. Why is it that from Poland to Yemen, you could find exactly the same book of Torah in every synagogue, zealously preserved and protected from the smallest changes?

To all those who wrote to me offering to share the Truth, Light and Salvation - I would like you to know that I'm not offended; not angry; not hurt. Yes, at times I felt exasperated because of the unbelievable amount of similar messages from different people, but I know each and every one who wrote had my very best interests at heart. I know that each one of you felt sincere concern for my immortal soul, which according to your beliefs, will burn in Hell for all eternity if I don't accept what you are so willing to offer; I know that from your point of view, you aren't only doing me a favor - you are performing a sacred duty.

But from my point of view, you are asking me to commit spiritual suicide.

The Lord promised He would preserve the Jewish people, and this is indeed what happened, and what will continue to be until the End of Days. However, there were always individuals or groups who have cut themselves off by accepting whatever religion that was prevalent at the time. Right now we are celebrating Hanukkah, which isn't just the victory of the Jew over the Greek, but also of the committed Jew over the Hellenized one. Hanukkah is a victory of the few over the many, which is why it's so symbolic concerning the entire Jewish history. Yes, there will always be those who walk out. But some will remain. And some will die for their faith and the preservation of their people - not because they are too stubborn to do otherwise, but because certain things are worth dying for.

If you are one of those who told me, "But I'm not asking you to stop being a Jew - you can follow all your sacred traditions but still complete your faith", know that I understand - from your point of view, my faith is lacking something, and the completion you offer is the only way to restore it. You don't see the wickedness in rejecting the core of my belief while maintaining a Jewish appearance.

But from my point of view, accepting what you offer and insisting that I'm not breaking the chain because I would preserve some weak, merely physical, cultural resemblance of "living as a Jew" is meaningless.

Thankfully, right now I'm not facing the choice of renouncing my faith or dying. But many faithful Jews, among them sages, scholars and learners, had to make the choice throughout the centuries, and they chose to die. And after a year of learning, I'm convinced that not only they were heroes - from their point of spiritual purity, they had no choice. And they would do it again, and again, and again. Not to be strong, not to prove something, but simply because the horror of doing otherwise overcame the fear of death.

This year also made me aware that even here in Israel, we aren't as safe from spiritual attacks as I once thought. All of a sudden, I started noticing little things - certain literature handed out to unsuspecting people; certain messages in our newspapers. With increasing disgust - I'm sorry, but I can find no other word - I noticed that the main target groups are the weak; the lonely; the elderly; the teenagers; the under-educated in their own faith.

And we aren't taking this lying down. There is a counter movement of teaching Jews what it means to be Jewish, before they throw away their precious link to our people. Also, most foreign organizations here in Israel who try to get hold of the holy souls of precious Jews, are acting on a semi-legal to illegal basis, which gives us grounds for legitimate battle - we never forced our faith on anyone, and believe that in our country, we are entitled to the same privilege. Part of our monthly tithing goes to the cause of stopping the spiritual hunt of innocent Jews. For us, it's a matter of survival.

I will finish now. This post was very sombre for my blog, especially today when we are all supposed to be enjoying a pleasant holiday season. If I dampened anyone's mood, or hurt anyone's feelings, I apologize. I hope that very soon, we can go back to brighter and happier topics; wishing everyone a wonderful weekend.

Mrs. T

95 comments:

PhDCow said...

Dear Anna,

Your post was honest and very emotional. I want to thank you for putting yourself out there.

May you and your husband enjoy your first Hanukkah as a married couple! I wish you well as you excitedly wait for the arrival of your little girl!

Angela

The Quiet Life said...

Happy Hanukkah! Stand strong, you have Abba behind you. Many blessing to you and yours.

lady jane said...

(*(*( tender embrace )*)*)

have a blessed day, Anna.

Jan Hatchett said...

Anna:
I too wish that you hadn't needed to write this post. I am grounded in my religious beliefs and customs, and I am glad to see that you are also.

Never go against your conscience and understanding. That is one of the things that we love about you.

Now, sit back, relax, and wait to meet your beautiful baby.
Jan

Anonymous said...

Hi Mrs. T,

I think, sadly, what many Christians have forgotten is that Jesus never forced His words on anyone. He would preach openly and those that wanted to hear, heard and those that did not were free to go. He did not hound them done or shove theology down their throats. Broccoli is good for children but how are they going to ever like it if you keeping shoving it down their throats? I do not understand what type of people are approaching you through the internet doing this as I can not see a genuine Christian trying to (aggressively) convert anyone through email. Jesus never put anyone in a corner or made anyone feel trapped like I see many evangelicals doing.

But I hope you do not associate the actions of a few Christians with Christianity. Remember, we are all people at the heart of things and, as such, can ruin just about anything (We have the opposite of the Midas's Touch)! I make an effort to not associate a certain thing, religion, or whatever with people because people can even make what is pure or good, bad.

Please take care and don't let these people accept you. If you were/are meant to become a Christian, you would become one without email evangelism. I believe in the sovereignty of God and believe that He leads us to where we need to be and doesn't really need any human interference to do so.

Anonymous said...

Mrs. T,

I've been reading your blog for over 2 years now and I am truly sorry people have done this to you. I am Roman Catholic and the evangelicals harass me the same way. I flatly refuse to believe in a God who would condemn 99% of people to Hell and I'm just not all that worried about it. Please, continue to fight for and preserve your faith.

Mrs. Melanie

jms said...

Fantastic post, Anna. Thank you.

I hope you are having a very happy Hanukkah.

--one of your Jewish readers

Rachele said...

Dear Anna,

You could not have written such a post with any more charity. I was a little surprised by some of the things you mention in this post, and I thank you that through your careful moderation and maintenance of this blog it is always a peaceful place for women of all faiths. A place to learn, and celebrate the undeniable dignity of womanhood and femininity.

Much Peace,
Rachele (a Catholic reader)

Anonymous said...

Anna, I read your blog regularly and love it, as I do many other blogs of you ladies out there.
I despise people who think they hold the absolute truth over everyobody else, and I am not ashamed of saying that.
I thank my liberal, humanistic, philosophical, historic, and yes religious education which allows me to relate to any culture and religion that holds a basic respect for human life. I am not ashamed of saying that either.
Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas or whatever you prefer to you all.
Love you Anna, I hope I can visit Israel again soon enough!
Federica

Anonymous said...

Dear Anna,
Thank you for this thoughtful post, which I can imagine, must have been very difficult for you to write. While I am not Jewish (my beliefs are part of an eastern religion), I have always enjoyed your posts on Jewish life and have learned more about your faith. I can identify with your concerns and difficulties when dealing with others who may not be too thrilled with your way of life.
This is indeed a lesson for all of us to respect each others beliefs and not to impose our ideologies on others.

Kathy Days said...

Not sure what to say here...I'm a frequent reader and I thank you for being you!

Coffee Catholic said...

How rude of people to come here and try and get you to convert to another faith!

Anonymous said...

Dear Anna, I think this is a very nice post. One thing I would mention in encouragement to you concerning the "disgust" you feel about targeting by missionary groups of those people most in need - the elderly, lonely, ill, or youth - is that rather than being something sinister and wicked coming from the missionaries, they do reach out to these poor people specifically because they are being underserved and ignored by their own communities. Where we sufficiently take care of our own, caring for their needs emotional, physical, financial, educational, then the missionaries of other religions find no foothold in the community. But again concerning your "disgust" I would beg you to see this outreach from missionaries as compassion for those least fortunate, such as was the example of the man Jesus, rather than the missionaries simply targeting those people whom they feel have least resistance to it in order to eliminate Jews.
Kol tuv,
k

Q said...

It amazes me that we (neighbors, acquaintances, fellow bloggers, women, mothers, conservatives, you name it) can not simply choose to read a blog and enjoy it, read and not concern ourselves with the points on which we may believe differently or just choose to stop reading it if views are too different and thus possibly dangerous our own spirits.

Oh – how I long for the days when contrary opinions were graciously kept to ones self.

As a Reformed Christian, I pray you a beautiful Hanukah season, and a safe delivery of your precious gift from God.

LisaM said...

Awww - I wish I could give you a big hug. I appreciate your strength of faith, and it is so obvious in your writings that you have not chosen lightly to follow the spiritual path you are traveling. Even Jesus taught that those who seek will find; you just don't seem to me to be the kind of lady who chooses any path without seeking and considering deeply and fervently. I know of so many ladies who believe as I do about Christianity, but who I cannot agree with on many topics, which we have both studied and prayed on heartily. The more I live, the more I realize: the less I know. (I think Barbara Streisand sang that in Yentl). But there are many in the world who learn and then cease learning. I for one have always been impressed with you learning, your humility in your wisdom (and yes, young lady, you have more wisdom than many who are older than you), and your devotion to your husband and your faith. We will all have troubles, and our feelings will be hurt; but trials strengthen us, help us to grow and learn. Sometimes we even learn that we were wrong, and then have the ability to change our ways, because our hearts are open to Truth and Love. May the joy of the small candle lights also remind you of the strength of the few to give light to the world - as tiny and imperfect as each of us are. Blessings.

Otter Mom said...

Anna, I am so sorry that you are having to deal with this. Some people can be very thoughtless, while they might think that their motives are for your good what they are doing is wrong. As a Christian, I am appalled when other Christians treat Jews that way. There is a difference between evangelizing and mistreating someone over faith. And I am sincerely sorry that you've had to endure it. I happen to admire you for staying strong in your faith, you are an inspiration to me.

Anonymous said...

I wonder at the arrogance of people who want to impose their own beliefs on others. It isn't a new idea: the pilgrims who "came to the new world to escape religious persecution" promptly imposed their rigid beliefs on those who did not agree and sentenced them to shunning or death. I would think, however, that anyone with a modicum of common sense, would realize that an Israeli citizen has a pretty firm commitment to their own religion and does not need to be shoved into another belief system. Didn't we learn anything from the lessons of Hitler's "final solution"? I am so sorry that you have to face this idiocy...not all Christians are nutty. CB Anonymous

Anonymous said...

Dear Anna,

I'm so sorry you had to deal with such ignorance. It is easy for people to say that they can live hand in hand with other people of differing faith but really what saddens me is most of that is just lip-service. When it comes down to "practice" it's not as peachy as it sounds. I can understand your concern, I came from an interfaith family and grew up in a community where most of the people are of different faith than me. So yeah, I truly understand where you're coming from.

I hope this doesn't ruin any of your holiday season and your mood. Please by all means remember that some of your readers are people who can truly appreciate different faith and most of all respect you and your faith.

Enjoy these precious times of the company of people you truly love and people who truly love you.

Prayers,
W

Allison said...

Beautifully written. Amen.

Courtney said...

Anna - I just wanted to drop by some encouragement for you, I wanted to thank you for keeping your blog as un-political and non-confrontational as you do. It is fun for me to read about how people of other faiths live, their customs and priorities, and even though I am of a different faith than you, I am very proud of you for sticking to your guns on what you believe. So many people identify themselves with a specific religion or belief system, and then feel like they can alter it, tweak it slightly as if God had put a loophole within that system. Please stay strong. I do really enjoy reading your posts and will continue to be a faithful reader. I also enjoy seeing the photos you post of Israel. As I have never been there, it is fun to imagine what a place like that looks like.

Tia said...

Dear Anna,

You and I have different beliefs, different world views, and different experiences. I read your blog daily because you are a witness to me, you make me think about what is important in my own life, you teach me how much we have in common despite so much which divides us.

As a Jew you are one of the Chosen People - you are Chosen. How can anyone argue with that?

As I understand it you are called to live under the Law, and you have graciously shared the way you do that with us. I have found that really helpful. I have a different calling, and so I live a different life - ultimately we will both one day have to face our Maker and give an explanation of our lives.

I just wanted to write and say that I am so sorry you have had to write this. As I see it, my blog is my sitting room. Others are very welcome to come, but they are visiting my house - and I expect my visitors to treat me with respect, just as I respect them. It sounds as though some people have not been able to respect your boundaries and I am sorry for that.

I hope that it does not put you off continuing to blog the details of your life; I for one am one who reads and learns and takes away a lot to think about from your postings.

Thank you for your blog, and I hope that you can have a calm few weeks as you prepare for your new baby.

Tia

Karen said...

I am sorry that this becomes an issue. Even though I am a christian, I am grateful that you honor your Jewish heritage. I know that it is a precious heritage and I respect the fact that you are God's chosen. (I have been reading about the feasts and wonder why as christians we don't continue to follow the guidelines He set forth. But that's a discussion for another day.) Anyway, I am sorry that we act the way we do sometimes.

blessings,
karen

Ahuva said...

Good luck, my dear. I doubt that the people to whom you are addressing this will actually listen and respect your wishes for the conversion attempts to end, but good luck anyway.

Kittee said...

God Bless you.

I believe that we are all jewels that sparkle in the eyes of God no matter our religious choices.

Your blog is an inspiration to me and has lead me down many paths of introspection.


Because of you, I've began to question where I am in my life and how I am living currently. I want to change for the better and your example helps me greatly. (I hope that did not sound too weird.)

Keep the faith sister. =)

Many Blessings,
-Kittee

Laura Ashley said...

Yeah certain sects of Christianity will do that. I'm not surprised at all. But most you will never hear from unless you ask them.

Anyway, I hope the rest of your hoildays are good. Me and my family had a wonderful Christmas. (I going to post pictures on my blog later)

Don't let those around you or even those on the computer bring you down. I know how easy that can be for me too.

I have enjoyed getting to know you through your blog. I hope you don't stop writing.

Angela said...

Hi Anna,

Happy Hanukkah! I want to say I have a great respect for the Jewish faith. I am a Christian and I want to point out, Christians and Jews are the only two faiths that worship the one living God. We are not that far apart. Our biggest difference is in who we say Jesus is.

I am sure you know the history, but I would like to remind you, the first Christians were Jewish. They were not called Christians, but believers. They were Jewish in every way, but they did choose to believe that Jesus is the Messiah.

I do not believe anyone should try to push their faith on another and I am not trying to do that here. However, I do believe in the open sharing of information and in God's truth. It is up to the individual to do with it what they will.

That being said, I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday. Hanukkah is a beautiful celebration. I wish you well on your little one and will pray for a safe delivery.

Angela

Analytical Adam said...

Hi Mrs. Anna:

I would like to wish you a a happy Chanukah.

I'm sorry to hear that although in my own life and I really feel that the biggest threat to Judaism was and still is our internal problems.

Thankfully I know a lot about Judaism but if I didn't being what I have been through I wouuld maybe have thought of converting (and at one point I did think Judasim was aganst being social from my own experiences growing up in an Orthodox home that treated me badly) and in the end if Jews really treated each other with respect and really care for the average Jew out there these groups would be little or no threat although if they act in dishonest ways that shouldn't be tolerated.

My biggest concern is I really do feel Rabbinic Judaism for the most part due to many factors in the exile has it's own Rabbinic feminism that has developed that really is NOT CONSISTANT with the Tanach (Bible) and sounds very similar to feminism that in some ways in worse then secualr feminism in that it gives the impression that Judaism is a feminst religion which it is not. I really feel at times rank and file Jewish men don't matter and a lot of very hateful things are said when not everything are Jewish men's fault.

I generally am religious but at this point I don't agree with everything Rabbi's have said in interpersonal area's male/female, or Jew/nonjew because of the horrible experiences i Have had where I see again and again Rabbi's are mean to me becaue my problems go against certain Rabbinc idea's on family issues and other issues (I had to live in a nonjew home for a while) although I did not create my whole problem yet I am the one to be blamed for it. Also, being in the trenches in the workworld I have seen some horrific behavior by Jewish women that know that Rabbi's (including Orthodox one's) will always see them as victims when being a nobody in the workworld I see otherwise. These behavior's by these Jewish women wouldn't happen if we had Rabbi's that understood that evil is not limited to one gender and that idea is, yes, feminism in it's highest form.

LAF to it's credit recognizes how Christianity for a long time (and they are talking about Orthodox Christianity) has been feminized and I would hope that some people can realize in our religon I believe the same thing has happened maybe even worse as we are affected by living in Christian countries the idea's we had. It should give us all humility that even among the Orthodox not everyone is perfect in either religon.


Anyway, I wish you a very happy Chanukah Mrs. Anna T. and I hope everything is going well with you.

Whitney said...

I personally love your blog and am so inspired by you. Your faith is your business and I admire you for sticking to your beliefs. You certainly do not owe anyone an explaination and you should not have to defend yourself on your own blog! I have learned so much from reading your blog and I find you to be an excellent and awe inspiring writer. I hope that you, your husband, and your sweet little baby will always be blessed with happiness.

Regina said...

Isaiah 43:1 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.

Isaiah 43:2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

Isaiah 43:3 For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.

How could anyone reject these precious promises? Who could give up who they are?
No one. You be who the Lord has made you to be Anna. You are the apple of His eye,you are His chosen people, you are the ones He chose to be His witness and I believe He is able to save you to the uttermost!
It says in
Zechariah 8:22-23 - Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.
Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.

And that is what I am doing on your blog. It is not that I want so much to peek into your life, but with hopes to glean from you and learn more about your God and mine.

And you don't have to publish this comment if you don't want to, it is just my thoughts to you. I am sorry that you have been put in a position to have to write the post too.

Millie said...

Anna, I love your devotion, your courage and your faith. While my religion also stresses "sharing the gospel," far be it from me to try to dissuade you from what you so obviously devoutly believe. I'm sorry this has become such a commonplace experience for you.

Hopefully now that the record is set straight, you won't have to deal with this issue much anymore. Thank you for putting it so kindly and succinctly.

Anonymous said...

Anna -
Bless you. Sometime when I get my thoughts collected I will write to you. I am going through something similar so I feel your frustration :(
So sorry you had to write this entry, I hope your blood pressure didn't rise too much.
All the best to you and the babe :)

Miss Rose Virginia said...

Anna,

Ever since I started reading your blog, I've admired your faith. Even though I'm a Christian, I have a high respect for a few religions, including Judaism. Although I would love to see you and your family believe as I do that Christ is the Messiah, I know that no one but God could possibly convince you.

Although I believe in certain kinds of "missions work," I don't understand people who go up to or write to complete strangers telling them that they need to turn to Christ to be saved from Hell. I believe that living for Christ in our daily lives and clearly communicating what we believe to our neighbors should be enough. And I'm sure you've heard enough about Christianity to decide for yourself whether or not to believe it.

So I'm sorry that you've been flooded with messages to turn from your faith. I would be just as saddened had I received such messages.

God bless you and your family, and please don't hesitate to continue sharing your life with us!

-Miss Rose Virginia

Seashell / Chelsea said...

Hi Anna,

Although I am firmly a Christian I want you to know that I really enjoy your blog and deeply respect your firm convictions regarding your faith. I know it isn't easy sticking with your beliefs and I want you to know that I think you would make an excellant example for a woman from any faith.
God bless you and your new family!

Hilde said...

Thank you so much! It must have been really hard for you to write this. I cannot believe that there are persons out there trying to make you give up your faith and with it yout very identity. I am a Catholic, but I never understood the concept of doing missionary work.
One reason I read your blog every day is that I can learn from it something about everyday Jewish life. I am German. For my grandmother, it as normal to have jewish neighbours and friends, but I don´t know even one Jewish person. So I feel it is very important to learn as much about Jewish liefe as possible, and you tell and explain it all so very well.
Thank you again, and God bless you.
Hilde

Machelle said...

I...I am not sure what to say. I can sympathize, in a way. True, I can never understand the hardships you or your ancestors have faced for your faith, bit I can understand how it can feel when someone is telling you your faith is wrong or incomplete, and Hell is the only result for it. The Protestant faith is the majority in the United States, and as a Catholic, I've endured my share of spurs and aympathy. My best friends grandmother is always sending me Protestant magazines, trying to get me to attend church survices with her instead of Mass, and, though I have to get this from ym friend because she' won't say it to me, that I have it "all, all wrong" as a Catholic. I know that as an Evangelical, she is doing what she believes is right, but it is wearing when you don't believe it is. I am very sorry that you are experiencing such responses, and I am thankful that I was raised in a faith that believes there is never only one path to anything, including God.

We celebrated Christmas today, and though I'm not sure how much longer Hanuka lasts, I hope yours continues to be a happy time.

God Bless,
Machelle

Mermade said...

Anna, I know that I haven't commented on your blog in a very long time, but I still read it regularly because you are a remarkable young woman with profound insight about everything from faith to womanhood. I want to let you know that I am very proud of you for writing this post. Although we come from different religious backgrounds, I value so much of your insight. Although I am still a Catholic, I used to be VERY closed-minded about other faiths. Your post spoke to me because I used to believe just as some of your readers do -- that if unless you accept Jesus as your savior, that you will go to hell after you die. I had a spiritual awakening some years ago that inspired me to think otherwise, but that's another story in it of itself. Long story short, I no longer hold any of those views. I enjoy reading your blog because while you remain firm in your convictions, you do not judge others of different faiths and always write about others respectfully. You inspire me to do the same. So, I just wanted to let you know that I hear you and that I am, again, proud of you for writing this post. Happy Hanukkah!

Neuropoet said...

Anna,
I know this was hard to write, and I just wanted to tell you it was very tactful. Have a wonderful holiday season!

Peace be with you,
~Jenny

Leslie said...

Anna,

Continue to hold fast to your faith. I am sorry that some have attempted to "change" you. As you know I am not Jewish, but I would never dream of forcing my personal faith beliefs on you! In fact, I so enjoy reading more about the Jewish faith! :) You are right - the Jews are God's chosen people and He did promise to preserve them.
Happy Hannukah!!

Lillian the Ponderer said...

Dear Anna,

I am so sorry that so many people have not been respectful of your wishes regarding your faith.

I hope that you know that there are many people who cherish freedom of religion and concience, that even though they may be persuaded a different way and more than happy to share their beliefs, that they will still respect a polite request to refrain from sharing.

I have always enjoyed and respected your posts, I enjoy your insights and the frankness of your writing I hope that you will continue to be as honest and frank as you feel is appropriate.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Anna. Every religious tradition when followed properly and sincerely leads one to love of God.

Shiromani dd

Anonymous said...

Dear Anna, I read your blog every day and enjoy it very much. I am a
59 years old lady and a christian.
When I began to read this day, I was affraid you'll say you stop your writing, so I read your conclusion first ! I am released it wasn't so.
You are a beautiful, intelligente and wise woman. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and things from your life with us. Knew that somebody appreciate the way it is.
Happy Hannukkah !
Elisabeth B.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mrs T -

I am a Christian and follower of your blog. You have no need to justify your beliefs to me or anyone else. Each of us has a path to God that is our own, we are all Gods and He is in control. He sees the way our our hearts..yours is one of love, compassion and forgiveness - something that my brothers and sisters in the Lord forget because of dogma and "religion".

As I have said before - may the name of Israel be blessed forever Amen

Laura

Anna said...

Anna,

If you truely believe and are convicted in your heart that what you are doing is right, nothing anyone else says should matter.
Wishing you peace and joy with your new baby in a few weeks. =)

TheRetroHousewife said...

Im sorry that you have been pushed to the point of having to write this but Im hoping some eyes were opened in reading it.

Another Anna said...

Chag Sameach! Keep on keepin' on.

An understanding reader said...

Hi Anna,

I am a new Christian ... and I somewhat understand what you're saying. Your faith and traditions are based in what YOU know to be right and I think that's wonderful.

As someone who is new to religion and spirituality, it's been hard for me because I'm surrounded by Atheists who tell me that I'm wrong or stupid.

I just wish you a safe and happy holiday season. I cannot tell you what an inspiration to me you've been.

Mrs. S said...

I am sorry that you feel this way, and that you feel attacked for your faith. Although I'm sure that 90% of those who are doing this are well-meaning, sometimes people don't realize that there is a time and place for everything and occasionally you need to keep quiet. On the flip side, I think your blog is great and enjoy reading it, please keep on - regardless of our spiritual differences!

Anonymous said...

Your faith is beautiful and your religious tolerance is inspiring.

Anonymous said...

I certainly can not write as elequently as you do, but I truly admire your writings and I find learning about others beliefs and practices so educational. I was raised a christian, but feel there are many paths to the same end. No one is better or worse than the other as long as you geniuonely practice the main tenent of all religions, love thy fellow man. What I can't wrap my head around are christians who forget that Jesus came her to teach us to be better Jews, he wasn't trying to start a new religion. These people should not be harassing you Mrs. T, but learning from you as I have. Please keep up the good writings and know that you are truly appreciated for your wisdom.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anna:

I read your blog regularly, don't agree with most of what you say socially and perhaps politically, BUT I respect your intelligence and your point of view, however different it may be.

I am so sorry to hear that people are disrespecting you by trying to "convert" a person who is obviously of faith. And even more disappointed that they would be doing so when you are highly pregnant and have little room for this sort of aggression to your soul.

Please give yourself time to rest, and to reflect on what is important to YOU. Ignore what so obviously needs to be ignored.

I look forward to the day when all of us Jews, Moslems, Christians, and others can live side by side and TRULY RESPECT and HONOR each other's differences.

Take good care, Anna.

Ace said...

Dear Anna,

I hope you and your family are well.
I so admire your dedication to the One True Lord and understand where you are coming from. One day, maybe soon, we will all have to make the choice....maybe upon penalty of death with the way things are going. But it is a choice that only we can make.
I can see where you would be exhausted if you had this type of witnessing and I can also see where it would be so repugnant to you.
I shared with you once (long time ago) that I am a Follower of The Most High God and I believe that Jesus is His Messiah. I am also trying to learn and follow the Torah, because I love the Lord.
Because of this, it would be repugnant to me to turn to another religion,,so I understand well how you feel. I admire your courage, integrity and standfastness. That is a blessing, many have no idea where they stand.
I encourage you in your faithfulness to God. And I understand if you find this encouragement distasteful because I believe differently than you. I do not mean it with any ill will.
I hope you keep blogging and I pray you rest well for your precious one.

I pray for you and your family everytime I see the news over there that The Lord you serve will keep you safe. I hope that does not offend, and again, I have been on the other side of many other religions preaching to me and I can understand your frustration. I think this was a good post my friend.

Many Blessings :)
Ace

Bethany Hudson said...

Good for you, Anna. A good Christian friend trying to share their faith with you is understandable, but strangers proselytizing in cyberspace? It's absurd and insulting. I am a Christian, and I know that we are called to evangelize--to bring the "Good News" of the Gospels to those who have not heard it. But, there are effective and respectful ways of doing that and there are ineffective and offensive ways of doing it. I'm sorry you have been privvy to such a glut of both kinds.

To all my Christian brothers and sisters: Please, stop bothering, Anna! We can rest assured that she has been evangelized to. Jesus said that if we preached the Gospel and the person did not wish to accept, we were NOT to hound them, harass them, threaten them, or anything else; rather, we were called to simply move on to the next person. Get on with your lives and leave this poor woman--who sincerely loves and honors God--to her own expression of faith.

~Bethany

Becky said...

When I read your first paragraph, I thought you were going to say that you were going to stop blogging! Don't scare me like that ;)

I hope you have an excellent Hanukkah!

Mia said...

Anna,
Thank you so much for sharing your views--Many bloggers have been discouraged through comments enough to stop writing/blogging--I'm so glad you're continuing and standing firm in what you believe in!! I love reading your posts and appreciate you pouring out your heart. God Bless,
Your faithful reader,
Mia

elena rulli said...

Dear Anna,
you are perfectly right in asserting your reasons for not changing your religion and faith, since you are perfectly right to believe in whatever you deem true and good.
I know what it means to have pressure to change your mind: I was told by more than one person how sorry they felt for me, because my soul is presumably in danger; what scared that people was my refusal - for which I have my reasons - to believe in the existence of god. At that time I felt angry and offended by their pity, now I am grateful because they worry sincereley about me, yet I advocate my right not to have a faith.
I wish you all the best and hope you aren't offended by my atheism.
Sincerely
Elena

Anonymous said...

Wow. There are alot of deep feelings there. Anyway, I glad that you mentioned that you felt that alot of these people were in their own heart were doing what they thought was right. I just hope that no one did it rudely.My personal opinion is that Judaism and Christianity are from a common root. Both started in Israel from the Jewish people. Both believe in the same God.The first christians were Jews. The major difference is this:Follower of the Jewish faith believe that the messiah has yet to come and Christians (even those of Jewish ancestry) believe he has already come.(born of a Jewish woman). HJ

Rose said...

My dear Anna,

You have spoken with great wisdom and dignity when your heart and mind must have been in a tailspin.

I feel angry on your behalf that you have been subjected to "well-meant" e-mails. It is typical of you that you are able to see the intention and tamper your reaction to exasperation.

I too look forward to the bright and happy topics of the next few weeks. One in particular. :)

With love from your Aussie mate,
Rose

Sheri said...

Anna, I was thinking about you this evening and wanted to let you know I'm so excited for your little baby girl to arrive! I hope you are enjoying and savoring the moments till her birth and that you will feel precious peace as she comes into the world.

And, Happy Hanukkah dear friend!

mumsybyrd said...

Dear Anna,
I have always enjoyed your blog because of your personal faith and honesty in approaching all subjects. When you share some of the intimacies of your faith, we learn so much more about you and Jews all over the world. I have been to Israel twice, and loved every minute of it, it is not an easy place to live or visit, but it is an amazing place God has given all Jews. Reading your stories brings memories, your last blog was very interesting about fruit trees. I did not know about the law about cutting them down! You have had a wonderful purpose of encouraging young ladies in modesty and preparing for marriage, and young wives in loving their husbands and wifehood. I do pray it will continue, and women will be brought together in our similarities for strength, encouragement and hope, and that our lives will continue to honor God and those around us.

faerieeva said...

Just wanted to say that I dropped in here on a whim and was delighted to see such an eloquent post written. I love the way you phrase your thoughts on LAF and I am certain I will love reading more of your blog.
I am not Jewish, but being Catholic, I have now and again, experienced similar attempts. I am glad to see you too can find the love that people carry towards you in their attempts, no matter how annoying they can be. I am hoping that I can learn more about the Jewish faith from you. I hail originally from Antwerpen where there is a large Jewish community, though I fear I know little about faith or customs.
I hope in the midst of diverse faiths, we will find common ground.

Be loved and blessed,

Eva

Kate said...

Wow. I didn't see this one coming.

As a Christian, I sincerely apologize that anyone has pressured you to convert...or whatever they call it.

One of the things I've enjoyed about your blog is the variety of faithful women seeming to support and encourage one another without pressuring others to be just "like me".

God bless you dear soon to be Mommy Anna.

Love,

Kate.

cmoursler said...

As an evangelical Christian, I am sorry that people would take advantage of your blog to perpetrate an agenda. I do believe in evangelism and see nothing wrong with handing out literature, but giving people information is not the same as telling someone that they need their faith completed. It would be like the mormons telling mainstream protestants that to "complete" their faith, they need to accept the mormon version of the bible. I have no objection to mormons knocking on doors and spreading their faith however. In america we believe in freedom of Speech. I think it is a wonderful idea to strengthen your people in their own faith, and while it may anger and disgust some, I think it's a wonderful thing to hand out information about Jesus to hurting people. I don't think evangelicals are attempting to harm anyone, they really believe that Jesus was the Messiah. Just as much as the Jews hold on to their religious faith and their laws. I would never dream of finding the Jewish faith disgusting. Evangelicals believe that they have been given a command to go into all the world and preach the good news Of Jesus Christ. That means Isreal is not exempt from that command. I hope people will back off from you now that you have made your position clear. I hope you have a joyous Hanukkah.
Christina O.

Viv said...

Anna,

Reading your post made me feel very sad. It's an awful world where you are pressured by others in regards to religion. One of the very things I have admired about the Jewish faith is the fact that 'typically' (in my experiences anyway) Jew's do not try to convert others, or force their faith upon anyone, which cannot be said of many other religions.

Kia Kaha (stay strong)

Lots of love from New Zealand.

Anonymous said...

If I were U I would completly ignore these people. Usually if U ignore people, they leave U alone. Hope U are having a good holiday.

Mrs Marcos said...

Glad you're not going to stop writing, I enjoy reading and learning about your faith, your country, your little one on the way etc.

Has said...

Anna I think you have dealt with this very sensitively and graciously. As a previously evangelical protestant Christian who is in the process of converting to Eastern Orthodox Christianity I can fully understand the compulsion for some Christians to try to convert everyone with whom they have contact.
I find it strange, however, that some might think they could have an influence on people via blog comments and emails.

Kathy Farrelly said...

Dear Anna.
You are such a lovely and caring lady.
Your gentility and cordiality, is something to which we can all aspire.
God Bless you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna-

I just wanted to offer my support to you. I'm sorry you've been made to feel like you had to defend yourself. I hate that anyone has done this. I am in my own journey with my faith, and have found your devotion highly inspiring. I wish that more women in the US had the opportunity to be growing in a place that is steeped in such spirit, as Israel seems to be.

Anyway, I hope your heart is lifted today, and know that your message has been well received and I hope the best.

Linsey

homemakeratheart said...

I honestly had no idea...

Ways of Zion said...

I completely support you! Personally I can't believe there are people that would write those types of messages to you! A well written and obviously thought out post. Good for you to stand up and stand strong! May G-d continue to bless you for your faithfulness to Him & the Torah!!

On a more humorous side, I tried a new recipe for Latkes this year...they turned out great and then I put them in the warmed oven to keep warm....forgetting to turn it down....hence we had very very dark cooked ones for the 1st day! What a start!

So are you an apple sauce or sour cream person?

Anonymous said...

In spite of any unwelcome email, I truly hope you've had a lovely holiday season. I can imagine your excitement looking forward to sharing it all with your little bundle next year! The memories of the first holidays with my own children are treasures!

I wanted to let you know, even though I not Jewish, I love reading about your faith and all your traditions. My brother-in-law, nephew and nieces are Jewish and it's nice to learn all I can about their faith.

As a Catholic, a mother, wife and a woman, I am sorry for any of my faith who have shown you disrespect and tried to ....I don't know the right words to use here. I do know that I look forward to reading your blog, and I look forward to congratulating you when your sweet daughter arrives.

Erik said...

Anna,

I want to apologize on behalf of those who already consider you, a jew, as part of G-d's favored people. I don't know why He chose the Jews as His people, only that He did and that He is faithful and will fulfill His promises towards you. One of those promises is in Romans 11:25-27 "that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. (KJV) (the blindness referenced is from Luke 19:42-44)

As a Christian (Messianic as I have stated before) we believe that Christ is, as He said, "The way the truth and the life and that no one comes to the Father buy through me (Christ)" We also believe that Christ is the Word [Torah] John 1:1-5. It is not then a stretch to say that the Jews will be saved by G-d Himself acting, as He has many times before, unilaterally. And I think that this time is near as the time of the "fulness of the Gentiles" is surely drawing to a close.

No need to publish this. I just thought I would give my two cents worth of theology. (o=

~~ Erik

Jenny said...

Happy Hanukkah, Mrs. T! I just wanted to let you know that I am a Christian, and I do not believe that you will burn in Hell for all eternity for not accepting Christ as your personal savior. You have my support and my prayers in dealing with this mess. You are handling this very graciously.

Joann Allen said...

Hi~ I am so sorry you have to deal with these kinds of things. I am a Christian and so my blog is about me and my Christian life. You are Jewish so your blog is about you and your Jewish life. I come here becuase I like to read your blog, not to try and convert you. I don't know anything about the Jewish religion but like to hear about the things that are different. Not because I want to ridicule you about them but because I am interested. I put a post up on my blog quite a while back and just came out and said exactly how I felt about being who I am. For anyone who would come to my blog and read that and not like it then they shouldn't come to my blog plain and simple. If you have people who don't like you being Jewish (wich is none of their business) why do they continue to come to your blog??? I enjoy reading all about your life, I think it is beyond cool that I can sit here in California in the United States and have a friend who lives in Israel...I wish you nothing but happiness.
How are you feeling, not many days to go before your little one arrives. Hope all is well with your and your family.
Blessings,Joann

Jewels said...

Dear, sweet, gentle, *beautiful* Anna, so perfectly put. I know I have been quiet for awhile--with everyone, with reason--but, (though I will write more as soon as time allows) had a moment to come by and leave much love and a big, gentle hug, ((Anna and Treasure)).
God bless you, Precious One. Thank-you for so transparently being, *yourself*. I love you, Anna, and thank Him for the gift of your friendship.
Tenderly, Jewels

Anonymous said...

Praying for peace and safety to you and those in your country!

Everly Pleasant said...

I feel so sad reading this! And embarrassed! I am truly ashamed at the prospect that some of these mentioned emails could be from someone who claims to agree with my theologies and fall under the same category that I do, when, at this moment, I'd rather be associated with you!
I will not be slow to say that I disagree entirely with your theology, but what good would it do for your soul-if that is my concern-for me to bombard you (via email no less) with forceful opinions or accusations? None, I presume. These messages are not from the heart, nor led by The Holy Spirit if the writer claims Christianity. Christ would never encourage these sorts of things. Honestly, I would prefer that we believed the same things. I wish, if we get down to it, that the entire world agreed with me! But you don't, so for now, remain patient with those who comment or email, enjoy your holidays, keep blogging in your lovely way and keep us posted about your much anticipated baby! It is a wonderful season to practice forgiveness, is it not?

Everly Pleasant

Anonymous said...

Well that just sucks. We all need to respect each other's belief's. Just remember-it's easy to hit delete on an unwanted email.

Thank you for your inspiring posts!

Shannon

Anonymous said...

Wow, it sucks that your faith has been disrespected so in your private space. I hope all of your readers take this to heart!

Mrs. Anna T said...

Dear ones, thanks to you all for stopping by and sharing your encouragement.

To the ten or so people who asked through comments to this post, "so... WHY don't Jews believe Jesus was the Messiah?" - this is precisely the sort of topic I'm trying to avoid **here**, in this blog space.

In fact, my wish to avoid discussing this here was one of the main purposes of writing this in the first place.

Older and wiser Jews have written about the topic extensively - if you are curious, all you need to do is look. I'm not naive enough to think I can write about this without it sliding into a mud-slinging debate.

And I would like to remind you, again, that this is **not** a political blog.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Oh, and a little something about reaching out to those in need: there are many needy people in Israel, and many of them are devout, strongly practicing Jews.

You won't see anyone handing out leaflets to them.

I doubt you will see religious activists handing out leaflets near an Orthodox yeshiva, or an Orthodox synagogue. They know only too well what will happen.

But, people like my mother - who grew up in the USSR and knows little about Judaism - get knocks on their doors all the time. It's so much easier to approach a Jew who lacks knowledge, and is in a vulnerable position.

No, there is no such thing here as "just helping the needy".

That said, we must take care of our needy before someone else comes and "takes care" of them.

Ruth said...

My father always said that "there is nothing worth believing if it isn't worth dying for." It may be one of the few things we agree on, since he's a Freemason and I'm Christian.

I applaud your strength of character and willingness to stand firmly for what you believe.

Here's to religious liberty for all! May Jehovah bless you richly as you await the birth of your little one. :D

Julia said...

First, I want to say I think you are very diplomatic. I'm impressed with your open mindedness that is willing to hear other sides, but is firm enough to hold onto your own convictions despite that.

Second, I've been keeping up with what is going on Israel right now. I hope everything goes the best way it can. I just wanted you to know I've been thinking of you.

Julia
www.greensummervillian.wordpress.com

Marste said...

I seldom comment, simply because I am neither a Christian nor a Jew. I find your posts quite interesting, and I have learned a lot about Judaism and myself in reading your writing, so I'm grateful to you.

Having said that, I am a person of faith, and I wanted you to know that I fully support you in your faith. (For whatever that means, coming from a stranger. ;D)

I believe that there is no one way to G-d. I know that you believe differently, as do many of your readers, which is why I seldom comment, though I read regularly. But in this case, I felt the impetus to respond. Please know that there are those of us who, although we may not share your faith in its precise denomination, share some of the sentiments and appreciate your clarity of thought and writing.

Shalom Aleichem. (Um, assuming it's not disrespectful to say that. ;D)

Alamodey said...

You show such class and graciousness here. Thank you for your continued example.

princessozma said...

Those people are idiots and I want to key their cars... Ok, just kidding! Enjoy the new year and I hope everything goes well with the delivery. You deserve to be happy and healthy and the Lord has wonderful plans for you!

letters to elijah said...

For what it's worth... you are the only Jewish person I know... have ever known. We come from 2 different worlds but share the same loving God. How awesome is that? :)

I think it would make God happy that we reach across the table (or globe) and share bread.

God Bless,

Dana (Green Bay, WI)

Anonymous said...

Anna,
I love reading your blog. when i saw the title i thought "Oh no! Something happened to the baby!" A couple seconds later it was "is she telling us that she is stopping her blog?"
I am very glad that it is neither of those.
one of your younger readers,
Margaret

Mother of Dog said...

Fellow Jew here, Anna - and I've experienced the same thing. Now I may not live your life of being observant - but there is no doubt in my mind that I will go to my grave a Jew. That is what I am and nothing else should be said about it. I love my culture.

On the other hand, I think that while they might go about it the wrong way at times, my Fundie blog friends have their heart in the right place. It's very sweet at times. I'm not offended either.

Meanwhile, I am thinking about you, someone I've never met, in a land of so much strife. I wish you the easiest birth and a beautiful baby. (Oh and I'm familiar with the Chabad movement and I find it very compelling - although I do remain secular.)

I think you're a very special girl.

~Unfurling Flower~ said...

Wow, Anna! I didn't realize you were going through so much and I understand your hesitation in broaching such a subject. I am glad you did! You are a Jew and you should be proud of that. I have a very best friend in Ashdod who is a Jew and she is a kindred spirit that I would never force my beliefs on her. I am a Christian and find myself persecuted a lot lately. You see, I keep the Sabbath and God's Holy Days--Passover, Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, Atonement, The Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day. (I know there are different names which the Jews call these days). I do understand the persecution and people thinking I am on the wrong path for keeping "Jewish" days and so forth. But when God gave these Sabbaths, he gave them to the Jews (Judah) as well as to the rest of the tribes of Israel. I hail from the tribe of Ephraim and Mannaseh (the off spring of Joesph). It is only God's truth that I desire to follow. I do not hold to the "traditional" Christian views and that has made me a target of ridicule--even if only in whispered tones or glances of disbelief.

I commend you on a heartfelt and emotional post. You keep your head held high and be proud to be a Jew! Very fondly, ~Unfurling Flower~

Anonymous said...

Praying for the Lord's will for your life Anna.

In Christian love,
Ann

Bella said...

A wonderful book...
'Girl Meets God' by Lauren F. Winner

Joie said...

Haven't read the other comments but I sincerely hope there are many Christians who, like me, believe that we should NOT proselytize. I am so sorry that people have done this to you. There is a serious lack of theological education among (especially) American Christians, and I say that as an American Christian.

Maribella said...

Dear Anna,
I'm very sorry for the events that have led you to write this post. As a Catholic, I am deeply sorry for the past actions of my faith against your own, but I beg you to keep in mind that (although at times they were a majority), these people were not acting in the true Catholic faith at all, but rather a horrid, horrid perversion of it. Many Catholics died in WWII trying to liberate and protect the Jewish people along with the rest of Europe- my Catholic grandfather and great uncles considered fighting for the US in WWII the proudest moment of their lives. They saw real evil being done to your people, and they were eager in the name of humanity and the common G-d that Jews and Christians serve to try to come to your aid, even at the risk of their own lives.

As for proselytizing Christians, join the club! As a "heretical" Catholic I too am many times thought to be going to hell. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't bother me very much. My ancestors also were killed for their faith- what harm does it do to me to argue with the peaceful proselytizers at my door? Maybe I can even convince them to come to Mass!

Peace in the L-rd, and thank you for all you do here,
Maribella

The Road Less Traveled said...

I have just found this post...I know, several years later :-D

I hope that I am able to find the words that would convey how this post has effected me...I'll try

First, I read just a couple of the comments and notice several of them are embarrassed or ashamed of their fellow christians, not so with this reader. What moved me in this post was not the christians 'reaching out' but your response. Truely I kept asking myself would I have been so gracious if this would have happened to me?

The grace was found in your gentle and earnest desire to see it from their prospective, that they were truely reaching out to you. You amaze me, words have escaped me, I can only say, that you have shown a spirit of love and grace. And I can only pray that one day I may possess such a mind set. You have also shared your faith in a real and tangible way, if some were offened by this post, although I don't see how, then perhaps they need to find the faith you have found and embrace with such loyalityas you do. May Yahweh bless you and your dear family. Thank you for your example!!