The Jewish Conspiracy to Take Over the Carnival of Aces Is Victorious MUAHAHAHAHAHA!

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:

The Dragon and the Fox “The Fox Says: Jewish Atheists and Bi Aces”:

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’.

in thoughts; not breaths “On Aceness and Judaism”:

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.


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Religious-Social Allergy Triumphs Over Compulsory Baby-Making

This is for the October 2014 Carnival of Aces

Judaism in its more traditional forms (such as Orthodox Judaism) is a ‘be fruitful and multiply’ (i.e. you must make babies) religion. It does not necessarily mean that one needs to have as many children as possible, but one needs to have at least two. That means that people who follow more traditional forms of Judaism are required to have at least a minimal amount of PIV sex (artificial insemination? I don’t know). On top of that, marriage is so strongly encouraged that it is almost a requirement. Though marital rape is forbidden, withholding sex from a spouse (particularly a wife) long-term is considered to be bad, and could lead to divorce. On the other hand, menstruating Orthodox Jewish women are required to abstain from sex for about two weeks every month. Furthermore, sex should only happen in joy, so for people who are sex-repulsed and can never experience joy during sex … well, I do not know what rabbis would make of that.

I was raised in a secular environment, and I only attended Jewish ceremonies occasionally. My father is not a Jew. All of my living Jewish relatives are either non-religious or have converted to another religion. Eventually, I became an atheist.

Some older people in my Jewish family grew up in an Orthodox Jewish environment. They have a very charged relationship with the religion.

For Israeli Jews (religous or not) the Great Baby Race between the Jews and the Arabs adds tremendous pressure to make babies. Last year, I met an Israeli man (though he comes from a Jewish background, he refuses to identify as a Jew) who moved to Taiwan and plans to stay there. One of the main reasons is that he is committed to staying childfree, which makes interacting with other Israelis … difficult.

When my mother left Israel, she was an unmarried, childless, 30+ year old woman, and she says that she felt there was no place in Israeli society for someone like her. This was a major reason she moved to the United States.

My unmarried, 30+ year old Israeli cousins have also moved to the United States … and my family expects that, even if they do not stay in the USA, they will never move back to Israel.

Okay, too much Israel talk, back to Judaism!

My older relatives who had a much more religious upbringing sometimes react against it by emphasizing that we (the younger people) don’t have to live by the principles that they were raised with – including the one about making babies. I cannot recall a single instance of any of my Jewish relatives even suggesting that I would have children, and when they do comment, it is some form of ‘you don’t have to have children’. Furthermore, they have never suggested that I marry, or even get a boyfriend. It is actually the non-Jewish side of my family which is more inclined to suggest (though always subtly) that I may get a boyfriend/husband and have babies.

My grandfather decided he did not want to marry or have babies, and had rejected at least one marriage offer. Then my grandmother had an unplanned pregnancy, which is how my grandfather got a wife and babies anyway. He grew up in a very religious household, became an atheist at a young age, and ran away from home multiple times because of clashes with his family. Perhaps my grandfather only rejected marriage and babies because he had an extremely unstable life, but based on what I know of my grandfather’s personality, I strongly suspect he was also rebelling against his upbringing.

So … how do I sum all that up? Both Judaism as a religion and Israeli society push compulsory baby-making, which is a form of compulsory (hetero)sexuality, not to mention that Judaism pushes marriage (and a certain level of sex within marriage) independent of procreation. However, my Jewish/Israeli family has an allergic reaction to this, and thus emphasizes that marriage / baby-making / sex are *NOT* compulsory. Even though my family does not openly accept asexuality, I feel pretty comfortable with being asexual in this context, and perhaps this is why I never experienced the sense of being ‘broken’ that many aces experience.


Bonus: Some Information on What My Family Is Like

My grandfather had diabetes for decades. But he loved sweets, and eating sweets was obviously more important than listening to his doctors. And because he had sweets to eat, he wasn’t interested in dying yet. When my family told the doctors about what he was eating, they did not believe us because they said, if he was eating so much sugar, he couldn’t possibly still be alive.

I’ve heard that, towards the end of my grandfather’s life, he had a conversation like this with my mom:

Granfather: Don’t bother coming to my funeral.
Mother: Fine, I won’t.

My mother did not attend my grandfather’s funeral.


To the extent possible under law,
the person who associated CC0
with this work has waived all copyright and related or neighboring
rights to this work.