Monday, December 7, 2009

You asked, I answer

Dear friends, thank you for commenting on yesterday post. I will get to answering some of the questions you asked, though I apologize in advance if some of my answers are not as detailed as I would like.

"How do you feel about devout Christians adopting some of the practices of the Jewish faith?"

To sum it up, from sources I've read it seems it doesn't really matter whether Christians follow some Jewish customs or not, though basically non-Jews are only supposed to adhere to the seven laws of Noah. To me personally, it doesn't matter whether Christians follow a little, a lot or almost all Jewish customs, provided that they don't claim it makes them Jewish. An exception to this would be a non-Jew fully incorporating all the laws of the Jewish Shabbat, which is something that isn't allowed. I have never heard of this to happen, however, as the laws of Shabbat are complex enough as it is and many of them don't make sense to non-Jews.

"How many languages do you speak ?"

I was born in the USSR and Russian is my mother tongue. I mostly read, write and think in Russian and I think it will always be the language in which I feel most comfortable to express myself. I can't bring myself to say that Hebrew is a second language, though, so I refer to it as a second mother tongue. Most of what I ever learned was in Hebrew, including all my school years, university, and all religious texts I ever read. Obviously, there's also English, which I started learning when I was little, both in and outside school, and which, I think, has improved a lot since I started writing this blog. I think most of my English comes from reading books. I also speak, read and write a little Spanish and I receive weekly lessons via my email. I used to be more diligent in my studies of Spanish but now there's just so little time. I have also tried to learn Finnish for years, but I only know the very basic words as it proved so difficult. As you must have gathered, languages are one of my great loves.

"How old were you when became a vegetarian and was it an ethical or health reason that changed your mind?"

I was 10 years old, and this abrupt and radical change in my diet was prompted by me seeing a fish skeleton on my plate. Morals aside, I was plain and simple disgusted by it. Later, I also learned about how cruelly animals are treated in the modern industry, and how they are pumped full of potentially harmful hormones. I have incorporated some fish into my diet while I was pregnant, but no meat. We were given permission to slaughter and eat animals, yes, but not to subject them to the sort of evil treatment they receive today. Theoretically I suppose I could eat free-range meat, but it's expensive and hard to obtain and I really don't feel I'm missing out on something.

"Does your husband read your blog?"

Yes. My husband reads my blog and I often ask him for advice on which topic I should cover or how I should word a certain phrase.

"What is/are your favorite flower/s?"

Miniature roses, which is lucky, because I have a bush of them growing right under my window.

"Do Jewish brides (orthodox or otherwise) carry a bouquet to their wedding? Or is that a Western/Christian 'thing'?"

I had a bouquet for the pre-wedding photo shoots, but not during the wedding itself. I have never seen any bouquet-throwing in Jewish weddings so I surmise it's not a Jewish custom, although truth be told, I haven't been to that many weddings.

"What are you reading right now?"

Just some silly book, to tell you the truth. I spend so much time writing these days, that when I finally have a minute to read all I want is to unwind.

There were also some questions which I couldn't possibly answer as just part of a post, they ought to be referred to in a post of their own. I do hope I will have time for them soon.


Muriel said...

Thank you for your answer Anna !

The Old Geezer said...

you have a interesting blog
God Bless You

Rhonda in Chile said...


I assumed that English was your mother tongue, since you express yourself so easily in it. YOu must be a truly gifted linguist. I speak English and am completely fluent in Spanish because I live in a Spanish-speaking country.


Kacie said...

I think it's so neat that you speak so many languages! Your written English is excellent.

Anonymous said...

Hello, Anna! It's good to read these answers to the questions you were asked. I have, myself, wondered about the languages for a while now. In particular, I did wonder which language you found yourself most often thinking in. I supposed Russian would be the most likely one, but as you live in a country whose national language is Hebrew, I wondered if you might also feel comfortable forming your thoughts that way.

You are so talented! I hope you'll be able to pick up your study of Finnish again someday. Where I live there are many people of Scandinavian descent, & especially north of here, there is a heavier population of "Finland-ers", as they like to call themselves. :o) Some of the older people still speak Finnish.

hoping you & yours are well,

Michelle Potter said...

How nice to have a little further insight into your life, Anna! :)

Is it too late for another question? After I read the question about the languages you speak I wondered, is Russian also your husband's native tongue? Do you speak Russian at home, or Hebrew?

Anonymous said...

I have a completely random Jewish trivia question, that I could probably just look up, but thought I'd ask you. It's a Pesach question, so here goes:

-Unleavened bread is eaten at Pesach. Is the background for this because the Hebrews did not have time to let the bread rise before leaving, or because they did not bring any leaven with them?

Totally random, I know, but I was just curious. I used to teach the Hebrew Scriptures to Catholic kids, which was really a lot of talking about traditions and holidays, and I didn't know the answer to that question!


Lena said...

Wow, amazing woman you are. Does your husband speak russian too? Do you get to practice all the languages you know where you live now?

Analytical Adam said...

From what I understand the only reason a nonjew was not able to celebrate Shabbos was they were worried someone would do it to try to
pretend to be Jewish for bad intentions. That was the only reason and for a nonjew to recognize that G-d created the world in 6 days and rested the 7th there really isn't anything wrong with this and anwyay in the real world it is impossible to enforce rules that require you NOT TO DO THINGS. I think at best this issue is academic and again was really talking about a time when Jews really were in danger of sometime trying to mimic them for the wrong reasons.

The 7 laws really are much more then the 7 laws. Jewish people should care about the fact that the torah does not really just refer to them. Sadly these laws have never been made realistic for nonjews. Chabad has a book that claims the only punishment is the death penalty. And you would receive this for stealing. It is in the book the path of the righteous gentile.

There is another book on this topic written by a lawyer and sadly his book also is too unrealistic as he himself is a lawyer and supports a lot of feminist idea's which is a big problem in Orthodoxy as these idea's have crept into the religion. So sad to say Jewish people have not helped others understand what G-d wants from them which Judaism doesn't only speak to them.

Anonymous said...

English is your THIRD language??! Wow. You have a talent for languages. I would never have guessed English is your 3rd as it's so good.

Mrs. Anna T said...

My husband was born in Israel, and his native tongue is Hebrew. We speak Hebrew at home.

may said...

Will you teach Shira Russian?

Leah Burks said...

Wow, it is so surprising to me that Russian is your first language! I love finding out things that I never knew and that surprise me. Thank you for answering these questions!

Pendragon said...

Let me join the chorus of those impressed with your excellent command of English.

For some reason, I thought you had mentioned previously that you had lived in the United States for a time. Did I imagine that?

Homemakers Cottage said...

I enjoyed reading your answers, Anna. You're a very interesting young lady. :) I agree with your other readers; your Engish is beautiful; I would have never guessed it was not your first language. I've enjoyed reading your blog the past year or so... I always find good food for thought here. :) Blessings, Kristy

Anonymous said...

My husband is Finnish and 7 years living here, I can't get the language lol! I can grocery shop and have the uttermost basic coversation but the language is very hard.

I'm super blessed all my husband's family speak English.

Persuaded said...

Thank you dear for answering my question♥

Analytical Adam said...

How about having your husband post sometimes on your blog. I think it would give some balance to your blog. If he doesn't know English well you could write it for him but I think that would really be good for your blog and the importance of husband and wife working together and being one flesh as it says in genesis. Yes you started the blog (and you deserve the credit for that)and it was/is a good idea by you but I think you husband should contribute to the blog you started and created.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Adam, my husband is not very interested in contributing on this blog. He may drop an idea here and there, but overall, he is more interested in other things. He does, however, plan to start a blog soon, and talk about issues dear to both our hearts such as life in Israel and specifically in our region. If he finds the time to blog, I will, of course, translate it into English and link from here.

Katy said...

What does a conversion to Judaism entail?

Analytical Adam said...

Well, OK, Mrs. Anna. I will say I understand some topics he may not be interested I do think the issue of feminism does impact our own ability to be independent and defend ourselves as having the roles reversed does require big government which at the end of the day of course then the government can blackmail you which they have done to the religious but they shouldn't have been so reliant on the government in the first place.

I do very much care about feminism and this constant hatred and replacement of men by women because being a first born male with a younger sister my mother took a lot of her anger out on me and worse most so called Religious people look the other way. My father wasn't much help either for other reasons (he didn't like my personality) but feminism has ruined my own life and has hurt many people's lives both men and women and your husband should care about this. I know it may benefit him if other men are not treated well as he has less competition but this is not overall good for the Jewish people. This is one weakness I did notice which is at times being a little too harsh on men (which your husband seems to have been taught this way) which IMO is what feminism is about more then anything.

Because of this I had very few skills growing up other then being good in math and this has not made it easy for me.