Comment Policy

1. Please, when you comment on a post, remember that there are human beings who will read what you have written. Kindness is a Jewish value; cleverness is not. When in doubt, err on the side of kindness.

2. If #1 did not impress you, please understand that if I deem a post to be unkind, I will invoke my powers as blog-owner to edit or delete it altogether. If you feel very strongly about your own point of view and your right to speak about it without regard for other people’s feelings, feel free to start your own blog.

3. Antisemitic comments and comments containing name-calling will be deleted as soon as I become aware of them.

4. Questions are wonderful. Please ask lots of them. There are no stupid questions, except for the sort that serve only as disguises for unkind statements or antisemitism, in which case, I will cheerfully turn them to my own purposes.

5. If you think I’ve been unfair or unkind, use the Comments section of any post to start a conversation with me about it.

13 thoughts on “Comment Policy”

  1. I have a question as a curious Jewish girl.
    Before I ask I want to inform you that I am myself a Jewish girl.
    I year or so ago I moved from Miami, where I was raised, to Brooklyn. The Hasidic culture was interesting. Unlike Miami, they were having children at incredibly young ages and the men tended to be extremely sexist. In fact, I would hear stories about how they cheated on their wives and they would even sometimes try to talk to me. I went to a dinner once and I told my friend, “this is delicious, I can’t cook for my life.” Her husband responded, “you’ll make a terrible wife.” The Hasidic culture in Miami is very forward and almost liberating. The wives have jobs, the husbands have jobs, and they aren’t in as much of a rush to get married; they definitely don’t pay each other to set each other up with people.
    Why is this?


    1. Geography has always been a factor in Jewish culture. I am not surprised to hear that hasidic culture in Miami is different than Hasidic culture in Brooklyn. Reform culture differs between the two cities, too.

      The differences develop because of history, differences in the surrounding (non-Jewish) community, even the climate. Between hasidic communities there may also be differences even in the same place: Satmar Jews and Lubovitch are quite different in their practices.

      Thanks for a great question!


    2. You might find it interesting to look into Chassidus, as well as neo-hasidism. Chassidus is where Hasidic Judaism started from, and (from what I’ve learned so far) is about connecting with Judaism through Joy, mystic experience, etc.

      My understanding of the Hasidic (and Haredi) communities in Brooklyn is that they were formed by Polish immigrants, after the decimation of Jews in Poland during the Holocaust. As a result, a lot of trauma carried through, and that can really affect how things develop(ed). There’s likely more to it than that, but that may be a start. Also, some of this may be influenced by NYC being (at times) a pretty intense place – and that may have something to do with all this?

      Btw – I’m from Brooklyn as well!

      (Note: if anybody comes across this, and I have gotten parts of this wrong, I apologize, and *please* correct or further inform me!)


  2. Hello,

    Rabbi, I messaged you last summer. I was telling you how I was a young gay man and wanting to convert. You advised me to seek out a synagogue, so I have been going to one.
    I am messaging you, because I don’t know who else to talk to. Please, bear with me.
    My problem is this:
    I have been going to Shacharit services every Shabbat morning since the middle of last August. l pray three times a day now (waking up early as a college student to do morning prayers isn’t convenient). I have been reading the parsha twice, at a minimum, a week. I have been learning Hebrew from books in my college’s library. I thought I was being a good “Jew-in-training.” I have been exploring and diving in.

    Naturally, I have asked the rabbi to convert me and all. We have had a few meetings, but he seems to keep me at arms’ length and very formal.

    But, I also have a friend who has taken interest in Judaism. She says to have always wanted to be Jewish (I understand that.) So, she came with me to service and decided to come for a few more times. She started Looking into Judaism. Mind you, she was pagan before and told me if she did convert she would probably “still cast spells from time to time.” She hasn’t put great thought in it whatsoever. It was decided within a week or two at most.

    Well, my problem is this: The rabbi, I believe, favors her over me. She told him she wanted to convert, and then he gave her a hug and a kiss. He spoke with her the very next week. When I told him, he gave me a grave look, sat down, and said, “Not right now. Here’s my card, so email me. We can meet next week.”

    We met over a *month* later after he didn’t respond to about eight emails.

    He told her that she “would make a good contribution to the Jewish gene pool.” This is not to mention that he responds within minutes, *literally*, to her emails.
    With me, he is stern and shallow. He is friendly sometimes, but I get the impression that I upset him somehow. I have asked if me being gay was somehow an issue, and he said of course it wasn’t. He looked offended I would say such a thing.
    I’m confused, and my feelings are hurt. I’m getting the message that me pouring my heart and soul into Torah is second rate to my friend/acquaintance and her relation to Judaism.

    Her life isn’t my business, but am I in the wrong for feeling so hurt/ignored?

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thank you.


    1. No matter if you are member of the LGBT community, a racial minority, a recent immigrant or none of the above. Sometimes the student or teacher just do not mesh. What is did not hear is what is you relationship with other members of the community? You mentioned what you are doing and that sounds great but I wonder what are you doing with other Jews. Jews in the community. Where you live it might be difficult to do but you might have to find another rabbi. Last, I helped someone who was being put off my the rabbi and I went to the head of the ritual committee and said something. You might have to have other members of the community intercede for you. Just my thoughts.


    2. I’m not the Rabbi – but your feelings are always valid. I’m sorry you’ve experienced that sort of discrimination/exclusion from the rabbi at your congregation… I don’t know where you’re located, but you may want to look into CBST or Keshet, or other LGBT congregations.

      I don’t know how this situation has developed for you, since your comment, but as general advice: I’d suggest talking to/confronting the rabbi about it. It could cause him to change, or see the pain he’s causing – or you could confirm that this treatment is really occurring, and allow yourself to decide what you want to do about that.

      I hope things have worked out more for you since this post.

      Best of luck – from another convert-in-process🙂


  3. Dear Rabbi Adar: Last year I came across your eleh ezkerah and was deeply moved by it. I have adapted it to be used in my congregation (a Conservative Synagogue0, giving you full attribution but I just wanted to say Todah Rabah. I would love to send you a copy of what I have done with it – I am not sure where to send it – please let me know if you are interested in seeing what I have done.


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