Summary provided by: salsa
Mrs. Anna T "Domestic Felicity"
Anna writes for Ladies Against Feminism, though I've only rarely checked that site. I stumbled across her blog in pretty much the usual way anyone stumbles across any blog. I was interested, however, because she's Jewish Orthodox and living in Israel. I thought the perspective of a woman in Israel would be interesting and it is.
Anna writes well and is multilingual and college educated, with a degree in nutrition. She was raised by a single mother and they were not very devout in their religious practice. In college she dated a man and it sounds like it was a pretty serious relationship, but he was abusive to her. Afterward, she began to turn to her religion and found comfort in it and the traditional gender roles Orthodoxy offered. She remained single for a year or two after college before she met her husband, Yitzhak.
Their first date sounds like it was all business and they measured their interests and values against the other's interests and values and they decided they were compatible. From there, it wasn't long before they were engaged, married, and had a baby girl. After 18 months, another baby girl came along. They have moved quite a bit in their short time together. Some have opined that she lives in an Israeli settlement, but she indicates only that they're in the country and that they are in a peaceful area.
One thing about Anna's blog that stands out is her constant quest for peace. That may partially be due to her knowing that military conflict is near, but it also seems to be some kind of internal craving with her. She doesn't seem to deal well with much of any kind of pressure. Even having people over for Shabbat, where it's pot-luck style, seems stressful even though she enjoys the company. Still, the reader gets the impression of a rather introverted woman who likes things to flow smoothly.
Another thing that stands out is her rigidity. She believes women are suited and designed for domestic endeavors and men are to be the providers and leaders. Period. For a woman to have a hobby is to be neglectful of her family. When challenged, she just repeats her beliefs. There doesn't seem to be any room for â€œdifferent strokes for different folks.â€ (a snark-worthy read is interesting read is the blog of Analytical Adam, a guy who occasionally comments on her more theological posts)
That said, she speaks strongly against a conservative wing of Orthodox Jews where the men study Torah all the time and the women work, have numerous children, and keep the house.
Not long ago, she wrote a post about how, when she was newly married, she'd hoped to be a mom to many children, but that it was not to be. She didn't elaborate on why. She desires to homeschool, but expresses nervousness about whether the government will allow it. It seems there are enough hoops to jump through in Israel that it makes homeschooling difficult.
Her family of origin doesn't seem to be very supportive, but she doesn't elaborate. She also was disappointed in her hospital birthing experiences, finding them overly clinical, unnecessarily invasive, and brusque (my words, not hers).
I like hearing about their holidays. Because they are Orthodox, they observe them all and there's a part of me that finds quite nice that cycle of remembering and celebrating or mourning or whatever. And she makes some delicious-looking meals (oh, she used to be vegetarian but now incorporates some meat in her diet).
My favorite post of hers is the one where she reflects on her reflection in the mirror and what it means and how it's not always comfortable. Even after being married 5 years, she's not yet comfortable seeing herself in a tichel. There had been a picture of her in her headscarf on her blog and I liked that photo. She has a nice smile. I liked learning that someone with such rigid beliefs also has some internal conflict rather than pretending all is always perfect.
There for awhile, she wrote a little story, in segments on her blog, about a girl named Becky who has to go live with her aunt and uncle's family. Of course, Becky was not religious and wore short skirts and jeans and her aunt and uncle's family is Orthodox and she has some adjusting to do. Anna hasn't updated the story in a long time. Though Anna writes well, the story was corny and predictable.
I choose to read her blog as a look into the life of a woman who's trying to make sense of life and, like most fundies who choose rigidity, find comfort in shelter offered by religion and prescribed roles.
Provided by salsa
Mrs. Anna T continues to search for peacefulness. She really does seem to enjoy what she calls "the simple life at home," baking, crafting, gardening, and chicken-keeping, but things don't seem to be all that stable.
For starters, she and her family move relatively frequently. She does not elaborate on why they move, but she does hint that her husband's employment is not altogether reliable.
The "crossroads in (her husband's) career" (as she put it) might indicate that their income is not steady. Given her devout faith, she interprets un-steady income as a means upon which to rely on God and trust in his provisions.
While she had hoped to have a lot of children, she has two daughters. She did not elaborate on why they stopped at two, but a recent post (by another woman) about secondary infertility might be a clue. I don't know whether she has simply not conceived due to secondary infertility (the author of the piece she shared had that experience) or whether she and Mr. T chose to stop after two for other reasons. In any case, it seems that folks in her community are as meddlesome as they are anywhere else and they question her child spacing“ that her youngest is 3 or 4 and there's no sign of one on the way. That she shared another woman's story of being hurt by others' meddlesome comments and questions as to why there were no more children when the woman is still of childbearing age makes me wonder if she also feels hurt.
It seems she lives in a "settled" area of Israel and she is currently very worried that this land will get taken away from them (the Jewish people). Being a more "mainstream" Orthodox Jew, it would follow that she believes that God gave the Jewish people Israel and that they are to occupy it. She has said nothing about the Israeli Army's bulldozing tactics, so I don't know whether or not she agrees with their form of border "enforcement."
Please forgive the more personal opinions in the following paragraph: In the US, when we wish for a peaceful life, we usually mean a life that's unhindered by stresses like long commutes, work deadlines, and trying to stay afloat financially. Living where she does, I do believe "peace" has a more literal connotation, so I really can't join others in concluding that she's somehow avoiding real life. I can't fault her for wanting peace and stability. However, if she ever comes out with an attempt to justify the Israeli Army's actions, my generally positive impression of her will do a 180. She has never come out with anti-Muslim comments, but if they live in an occupied settlement (this is information I gathered via fj; Anna has never shared their whereabouts other than their living in the country), I wonder how neighborly they really feel towards them - and I do recognize that the Israel/Palestine antagonism goes both ways.
The family will be moving again soon (she has not shared where they'll be going) and it sounds like they're downsizing. I really hope that Mr. T can find stable, profitable employment, as she has put herself in a place where she is dependent upon him, financially. Of course, she sees this as living the way God intended and tries to put on a happy face, but there's something about her tone that sounds disappointed. She wants the Orthodox Jewish Woman Dream and it's not turning out too dreamy.
I like her love of animals and nature, playing with her children, doing crafts (some very pretty crochet work) and intelligence.
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