Nobody had a clue that there was a Jewish conspiracy to take over the Carnival of Aces. In fact, our conspiracy was so brilliant that literally nobody knew, including myself and the other conspirators.
Anyhow, on a more serious note, I was struck by how the other Jewish contributors to the carnival seemed to have read my mind and put my thoughts in their blog posts:
But then I saw this nice big list of discussions on aceness and religion, and noticed a big Judaism-shaped hole in it. And I thought ‘well, someone should probably remedy that’. And also ‘but I’m a terrible Jew, I don’t even keep kosher, how the hell am I supposed to dissect what my religion/culture thinks of asexuality?’ And also, ‘yeah well someone has to do it, and no one else seems to be stepping up’.
I wasn’t going to write for this month’s Carnival, although I thought about it for a while. I don’t know enough about Judaism, I thought, but I know more than non-Jews, though, right? Whatever, I don’t have the time to do this … I thought, maybe I’ll look on the internet and see if there are any ace Jews who I could talk to about how the two work together … Of course, once I started looking, I couldn’t find anything. I tried AVEN, and saw no existing forums. I tried searches on asexuality and religion and found posts on Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, paganism, atheism, but a big, gaping, Judaism-shaped hole.
I had noticed the ‘Judaism-shaped hole’ in discussions of asexuality and religion long before this carnival, and had been a bit puzzled by it because I’d actually expects Jews to be among the first people to discuss this kind of thing. I knew there were Jews around online spaces – after all, one of the first prolific ace bloggers is Jewish – but nobody was talking about it.
Well, it turns out none of us were talking about it because we were afraid of a) being terrible Jews and, to a lesser degree b) anti-Semitism. My own submission was the first time I disclosed on this blog that I am Jewish, and one of the reasons I had never talked about it before the Carnival was because I was a little concerned. I know someone who was threatened with violence because she was Jewish … in San Francisco. I’m generally more scared of being attacked because I’m a woman than because I’m a Jew, but even so, it’s not something I reveal casually.
Furthermore, I hadn’t discussed Judaism and aceness before because I am a terrible Jew. I never had a bat mitzvah, I didn’t attend San Francisco’s Jewish high school, I don’t speak Hebrew, I don’t keep kosher (yeah, most vegan food is kosher, but sometimes it’s not, especially during Passover), and it has been years since I participated in any kind of Jewish ceremony, and I never participated very often anyway.
But, even before the Carnival, I had been thinking that since nobody was talking about it, I should probably say something about Judaism and aceness eventually, and the Carnival was the perfect excuse to do so. I did my best to speculate how asexuality would fit (or not) into orthodox Judaism, and then focused on my own experience of being asexual within my own Jewish family since, even if I am a terrible Jew, I am qualified to talk about my own experiences.
I think the next step would be to discuss this with rabbis, perhaps in something like the church email project, though if I were going to do it I’d want to first do more research on Jewish sexual ethics.