Many times I've been told "You know, you should really write a book". And I always think "What a great idea! I enjoy writing and I have a pretty interesting story to tell. I should write a book!" Ya, right. Who has time to write a book? Not me. Between work, graduate school, a social life and any other number of commitments, it just won't fit into my schedule. So I thought to myself, "Its the 21st century, write a blog". So that is why we are here. Welcome!
So what makes people tell me that I should write a book? It must be because I have led my life along quite a twisted road. I was brought up as a radically right wing, religious Zionist Jew. I left my family and home in the US at the age of 17 to move to Israel. I was heading off to fulfill the destiny of the Jewish people and was on a mission from god! I was going to learn Hebrew and join the Israeli Army. I had planned on getting married to a a religious Jewish Woman and having kids while living in some settlement in the "West Bank".
At first everything went according to the plan. I moved to Israel, learned Hebrew and joined the Israeli Army. My family were all so proud of me. I was constantly being set up to go on dates But I was not really happy. I was struggling with two major issues. First, as the years went by Judaism stopped making sense to me. Second, I didn't want to marry a nice Jewish girl. I'm gay. At first out of fear of some scary, vengeful god and of disappointing my family I tried to keep all that buried deep inside.This lead to years of personal struggle. But in the end keeping everything bottled up was futile.
Now, it is ten years later. In the past few years I have left the religion and come out of the closet. I traded in the dream of marrying a Jewish woman for the dream of marrying an Asian guy (more about this later). I traded in the Jewish people for intense individualism. I traded in god for...well....logic? free thinking? nothing? I traded in Hebrew for Vietnamese and I plan on leaving Israel after I'm done my current degree and heading off to live in Vietnam. (I know that seems random, but come back to read future posts and all will be explained). So it would not be an understatement to say I have turned my life upside down.
American Orthodox Jews refer to their way of life as "the path". When they meet someone like me they say, "He is off the derech" (derech is the Hebrew word for path). This is considered a very negative thing to say about someone. But, I do not see it that way.While I may have left that path, the road I am on now is very interesting and exciting. I can't wait to see where it ends up.