Every time I see a preview for the show of the same name, it really just seems to be an excuse for blowing things up in the desert. No major explosions here, but there are some major misconceptions about Jewish observance that I'd like to take this opportunity to clear up. While they may seem a little random, these are the ones I commonly run into.
1. I'm not judging you. I didn't become religious to change other people; I took on Judaism to improve myself and my life. I've made a point of maintaining and building relationships with Jews and non-Jews of all backgrounds, and it's not so I can look down on them. It breaks my heart when a fellow Yid tells me nervously that they're a "bad Jew." Judaism isn't a competition, and even if it was, you could very well win, because I mess up all the time, trust me. Just relax and be yourself.
2. My husband and I won't be doing it through a hole in the sheet. I once had a guy argue with me that this was true, because he had heard it on NPR. Well, if NPR said it! Dude, let's be real. You were in a cab while it was on, and you were probably too busy texting to really listen to anything. Most Rabbis think that this myth stems from the days of hanging clothes on the line to dry—when non-Jews saw a Tallit Katan, they had no idea what it was and came up with their own explanation. Points for creativity, goyim, but no dice. Sex is not seen as shameful in Judaism, and there's plenty of stuff in the Talmud that would make Dr. Ruth blush.
3. Women aren't dirty. Anyone who speaks a second language knows that certain things just do not translate well. If I attempted to say "It's raining cats and dogs" in French, it would be nonsense. And many French words have a specific nuance that is only truly captured en Français. So it is with the Hebrew word that is so often read as "impure." When the Torah speaks of a menstruating woman, "unapproachable" comes closest to the proper description. It has nothing to do with dirtiness or impurity and everything to do with creating a honeymoon period for couples every month, when they are reunited and it feels so good.
4. I don't hate science. This one is probably my favorite to tackle. I've been asked if I believe that G-d put dinosaurs in the earth for fuel, or that the entire universe was created in six days. Um, no and no. Here's a challenge: Define a day. If you just said "24 hours," I'm sorry, our judges can't accept that answer. A day as we know it, in this precise spot in the universe, is a 24 hour spin around Earth's axis. But if you attempted to take a long weekend trip to the next galaxy over, you'd return to find quite a different planet than the one you left. None of the factors that make our day possible were even in existence for the first several "days" of creation. For centuries, Judaism has been saying that G-d is outside of space and time, that they are illusions. Then science caught up and presented the Theory of Relativity. The topic as a whole is too huge to cover here, but suffice it to say that religion and science do not have to be at odds with one another, and it is possible to accept both.
As always, if you have questions or just wanna argue with me, feel free to email me privately or comment below.