What makes you think you’re better? What gives you a sense of importance?

For some, the religious restrictions of their life, the modest clothes and the labels they choose for themselves and their children seem to give them an air of importance. It seems the rest of us are just not holy enough.

On the other hand the freedom of the secular, who may dress in the latest fashions use the best phones and enjoy a non-constrictive lifestyle also lend them an air of elitism. Looks like the rest of us unfortunate, conservative people are seriously lacking in the “fun” side of life.

Another more moderate group of Jews seems to think they’ve found the perfect balance combining army service with Torah learning, Zionism and religion. But what about the rest of us who didn’t end up serving in the IDF or Sherut Leumi, I guess we didn’t “contribute” to the country.

And those wonderful ladies who wish to wear talleisim and tefillin, who read from a Torah and learn Gemara. But what about the rest of us women, who frankly don’t care, are busy with other aspects of life or who possibly have a difference of opinion on the matter.

The husbands and men who are working full time, supporting themselves and their families, providing the basics of materialism. What about the rest of us who chose to live a full time Torah lifestyle, I guess we should go out and get a job.

And the Torah learners who are keeping the world going with the important study day and night, their wives sacrificing themselves working and looking after children. But what about the rest of us who are working and not getting financial support, who try and make time when we can for some learning , maybe even a shiur or two. And of course us wives who aren’t sacrificing for our husbands to learn are obviously not as holy.

Why is everyone so obsessed with being right, with pushing their ideas and philosophies onto others. Each group and individual seems to have an elitist attitude that oozes with arrogance, whether it be political, religious or cultural. Why can’t we just live and allow everyone to express who they want to be. Let them work, let them learn, let them be in the army or sherut leumi, let them wear talleism, let them sacrifice for their husbands, let them have fun and live their lifestyle. Why am I better because I do________

I am writing this partly in anger, resentment frustration and disappointment. For the past 8 years of living in Israel I have been told by various people to act this way, learn at this school, live in this neighborhood, vote for this party, marry this type of person, have children young, don’t have children so young. I appreciate the care of Israelis who feel the need to give you life advice and direction and of course suggestions for your child. This is when it comes from a place of love and true caring for my well –being. However my anger is at those who foist their ideologies on me, who decide that because they send their kids to chareidi schools that guarantees them coming out Frum. And of course if I go to an ulpana it is an assurance of my subsequent promiscuous behavior. My frustration towards those secular

people who stare open mouthed when they see me with my 18 month old son, when I look about 17. (I am actually 22), and ask why I’ve ruined my life basically. Maybe I chose to have a child young; it didn’t just happen by mistake and we do know what birth control is, just by the way. And my resentment to women who are pro embracing more traditionally male roles and look at me as a “frummy” non-liberal who obviously doesn’t believe in women’s rights and equality in the religion. My disappointment in the moderates who still look at me as if I never shared the burden or gave to the country because I didn’t end up doing sherut leumi.

However to end on a positive note ,there are many people like myself who live and let live, who respect others for their differences who realize there is something to learn from each person. Diversity in culture, religion and language are what create true achdus and ahavat chinam. It’s easy to love and accept those who are the same; it’s truly a challenge and genuine ahava when it doesn’t come naturally. So often we are quick to judge others and defend ourselves by putting others down. To be true to ourselves and show the beauty of what we have without seeming obnoxious and forceful is tremendously difficult.

So my wish is just to be, let me be without choosing for myself a label, let me be without the constraints of what others have written and decided.

Just to be clear I am not trying to put any one group down, that would be ironic considering I was trying to come across as unbiased. I hope dear reader you understand my respect for the kaleidoscope of people that make up our country. And although I stated to let people live and express who they want to be, I am not advocating for uncensored behavior in public. I am sure you know what I mean.

My challenge is; before your mind jumps to conclusions and judgment’s, lets broaden our horizons and view the next person as someone to learn from.

איזה הוא חכם הלומד מכל אדם