Rabbi Fink Is Right

24 May

What if some woman would write into us from Yemen about how upset she is at the media’s portrayal of the state of Muslim women, and how wonderful this Muslim lifestyle is, and how she can leave whenever she wants, and how beautiful the Koran’s view of women is and how all her friends are so happy etc, and she just fails to mention that she and her friends are Americans with enough education, means and outside ties to leave whenever they want, and the country really has no way of stopping them because they’re American citizens?

I wonder if the baalei tshuva talking about the XOJane Chaya article can see how much of an outrage that would cause among Arabic women who left Muslim countries to live in America and who are trying to raise awareness of the abuse they and their sisters and mothers are going through. And how they would respond to things like “I’m sorry you went through that, but that’s not how REAL Islam is supposed to be like.” Fuck you, that’s EXACTLY how real Islam is in most Arab countries, whether you live it or not. How dare you cover up someone else’s pain because it interferes with the image of your beautiful kumbaya lifestyle.

Before the Cold War, socialists in England during Lenin and Stalin’s reign, when millions of people were being slaughtered in Russia,  did whatever they could to stop the reports of the mass starvations and killings happening in Russia from being published. Not because they were under any threat from Stalin. This was the 1930’s, England was the most powerful country on Earth. They did it entirely to save a Utopian idea. They willingly sacrificed millions of Russian people to save an idea that had never worked outside of the drawing board. If you think for a moment that that’s what God wants, I really don’t know what to say.

Do research. Look at the facts on the ground and report them accurately. Don’t ignore other people or fake that you know how other people live to promote your own vision.


Rabbi Fink’s excellent article: http://finkorswim.com/2012/05/22/dear-chaya/



7 Responses to “Rabbi Fink Is Right”

  1. dalk@jkl.com May 24, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

    He is really not. He is making the same mistake he accuses Chaya of; applying her subjective experience as the objective experience.

    Certainly there are many chassidic women who are not happy, and they probably feel trapped, as he conjectures.
    But, there is really no reason to think that most chassidic women are not happy. Probably, they are mostly happy. So while Chaya may not be the correct example, seeing as she is not locked in, his stereotype is also the incorrect example.

    • itchemeyer May 24, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

      That’s a good point.

    • itchemeyer May 24, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

      I just reread his article. He is careful not to say that:

      “Ironically, by ignoring all this omitted information, you are causing a disservice to chasidic women everywhere. You make it sound like things are all honky-dory. But they are not. I am sure many chasidic women love their lot in life. But your experience has no bearing on theirs.”

      • dalk@jkl.com May 25, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

        Fair enough.

        But, now re-read Chaya’s article. Most of it is about the fact that most (she clearly says “most”) chassidish women are happy.

        She says that they find their husbands attractive.
        She says they have sex, and like it. (More than we can say, huh?)

        She says that she is not imprisoned, and is free to leave if she wishes. This is the controversial point, because in fact, it is hard to leave for social and financial reasons. But, she doesn’t contradict that, she is clearly talking about the fact that nobody will stop her physically–which is true. And women (and men) do in fact leave all the time (Deborah Feldman for example).

        She does make it sound “all hunky dory”. But she is correct–it is mostly hunky dory. The information she leaves out is important, but she is still correct.

        Moreover, Fink’s conclusion that “your experience has not bearing on theirs” is not true. Her experience has much bearing, inasmuch as she is talking about the fact that she likes her life–which is the main point of the article. The imprisonment issue is only one paragraph.

        He should retract.

        • Dan May 25, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

          That was me.

  2. bestbathroombooks May 24, 2012 at 10:56 pm #

    He seems correct to me, but I’m not Orthodox. Barely Jewish compared to you guys. I do think I can see sexism and oppression from my point of view.

    • itchemeyer May 24, 2012 at 11:38 pm #

      That’s because your mind has been corrupted by outside influences. See, you can only be taught true and clean and pure information from inside the community. When you gather information by yourself outside, it’s called being corrupted. Think of the community leadership as a filter. You could even be hearing what seems like the same information, but there are minute particles that need to be run through the filter or they will corrupt you.

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