כי לא מחשבותי מחשבותיכם

כִּי לֹא מַחְשְׁבוֹתַי מַחְשְׁבוֹתֵיכֶם, וְלֹא דַרְכֵיכֶם דְּרָכָי

Monday, December 22, 2014

Religious Trauma Syndrome

I vividly remember the day that I bought a non-kosher, milchig sandwich to work. I was just getting used to buy my own, non-kosher, stuff. But I was still anxious.

As I was eating the sandwich, I heard a voice that was similar to the only frum Jew in the company who usually doesn't leave his chair.

I almost got a heart attack. I got such a shock, that my heart was raging.

This fear, despite the knowledge that I didn't believe anymore and therefore kashrut was not an issue for me anymore, shows that leaving religion is not a benign thing.

Marlene Winell, Ph.D. is the author of the highly praised book Leaving The Fold. In this book, she describes the psychological process of 'Leaving the Fold'. In her book, she describes the phenomenon of RTS: Religion Trauma Syndrome. She also has an excellent series of articles about RTS on her site journeyfree.org.

Below, I posted the beginning of the article called Part 1: RTS: It's Time to Recognize It
"I’m really struggling and am desperate never to go back to the religion I was raised in, but I no longer want to live in fear or depression.  It seems that I am walking through the jungle alone with my machete; no one to share my crazy and sometimes scary thoughts with.
After years of depression, anxiety, anger, and finally a week in a psychiatric hospital a year ago, I am now trying to pick up the pieces and put them together into something that makes sense.  I’m confused.  My whole identity is a shredded, tangled mess.  I am in utter turmoil."
These comments are not unusual for people suffering with Religious Trauma Syndrome, or RTS.  Religious trauma?  Isn’t religion supposed to be helpful, or at least benign?  In the case of fundamentalist beliefs, people expect that choosing to leave a childhood faith is like giving up Santa Claus – a little sad but basically a matter of growing up.
But religious indoctrination can be hugely damaging, and making the break from an authoritarian kind of religion can definitely be traumatic. It involves a complete upheaval of a person’s construction of reality, including the self, other people, life, the future, everything. People unfamiliar with it, including therapists, have trouble appreciating the sheer terror it can create and the recovery needed.

Read it all:
Part 1: RTS – It’s Time To Recognize It
Part 2: Understanding RTS: Trauma from Religion
Part 3: Understanding RTS: Trauma from Leaving Religion

Sunday, November 30, 2014

New Kofer on the Block

A new, highly interesting blog, has appeared on the scene of the ex-orthodox blogosphere. It is called Kefirah of the Week.

The author introduces himself as follows:
I am a former Orthodox Jew who "went off the derech" in my early twenties, in the early 2000s. Recently over the past 2-3 years I've developed an interest in the Torah and the development of Judaism from an academic perspective. 
The purpose of this blog, in his words:
This blog serves as a reason for me to explore various topical areas and gives me an excuse to research them. I will be attempting to post once a week near the middle of the week, on topics somewhat related to the parsha of the week for the upcoming Shabbat (Sabbath). This page will give some information on various decisions I've made in topic choice as well as some more technical details.
Some of his latest posts include:
Check it out, it is very worthwhile reading.

PS I have added it to my Kofer Blogroll now.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Shabbos Project Parshah Questions to Ask

Some of you may have been invited for the Shabbos Project where hosts will try to "to offer those who may (or may not) be new to Shabbos a chance to experience the warmth of a Shabbat home", i.e., try to convince them of Orthodox Judaism.

So I compiled 15 inconvenient questions on the weekly parshah, parshas Noach (I feel so sorry for the Shabbos Project they chose the worst Shabbos for kiruv!). Just in case they may indeed try to be mekarev you (try to win you over to OJ).

Feel free to add your own, here they are:

  1. Start with this excellent video for some flood absurdities:


  2. How did the earth repopulate after the flood?
  3. Nobody in documented history ever lived a 950 years.
  4. How many climates were there on the boat? Some animals can't survive in cold places, some not in warm ones.
  5. Why did ALL life on earth deserve to be destroyed? And why the babies, too?
  6. Why is there a contradiction between Genesis 6 where 2 animals of each species were required and in Genesis 7 seven pairs of clean and 1 pair of unclean animals?
  7. Some animals are carnivorous. Were these animals (food) part of the 2 or the 7 and 1 animals? Or were they extra?
  8. How did the kangaroos from Australia, the pandas from China and the penguins from Antarctica?
  9. Were there any dinosaurs on the boat?
  10. How did Noah know all the animals had entered the Ark? Did he know all millions of species by heart?
  11. There is no geological evidence of a global or even larger local flood (a uniform layer of sediment in the earth). No archeological evidence of whole societies and buildings destroyed.
  12. Did the flood extend to the sea? In that case, salty water mixed with fresh water and many animals would not have had drink water after the flood.
  13. How did light refract when it was raining an the sun shone before the rainbow?
  14. Points of similarity between the Babylonian and Noachian flood stories.
  15. All. The. Shit.

Recommended bonus reading: Why the Shabbos Project is Dividing Us, by Suzanne Oshinsky and Shloimie Ehrenfeld.

Monday, October 20, 2014

‘Seeing’ The Truth

Yaron Yadan raised an interesting point on his Facebook profile. When Samuel searches for the donkeys in Samuel I:9, it is interrupted by the following statement:

ט  לְפָנִים בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל, כֹּה-אָמַר הָאִישׁ בְּלֶכְתּוֹ לִדְרוֹשׁ אֱלֹהִים, לְכוּ וְנֵלְכָה, עַד-הָרֹאֶה:  כִּי לַנָּבִיא הַיּוֹם, יִקָּרֵא לְפָנִים הָרֹאֶה.

Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, thus he said: 'Come and let us go to the seer'; for he that is now called a prophet (‘navi’ in Hebrew) was beforetime called a seer (‘ro’eh’).

So in Samuel’s time, they used the term ‘navi’. But before that, they called him ‘ro’eh’.

The problem with that is that the word ‘navi’ is mentioned at least twelve times in the Torah (and ro’eh zero times). This appears to indicate that the Torah’s final redaction must have been after or around the time of Samuel. Or, in any case, long after the time of Moses.

A certain Yoav Etzion remarked that there is a verse in this chapter that contradicts a verse in Genesis (Samuel I:10:2):

בְּלֶכְתְּךָ הַיּוֹם, מֵעִמָּדִי, וּמָצָאתָ שְׁנֵי אֲנָשִׁים עִם-קְבֻרַת רָחֵל בִּגְבוּל בִּנְיָמִן, בְּצֶלְצַח; וְאָמְרוּ אֵלֶיךָ, נִמְצְאוּ הָאֲתֹנוֹת אֲשֶׁר הָלַכְתָּ לְבַקֵּשׁ, וְהִנֵּה נָטַשׁ אָבִיךָ אֶת-דִּבְרֵי הָאֲתֹנוֹת, וְדָאַג לָכֶם לֵאמֹר מָה אֶעֱשֶׂה לִבְנִי.

When thou art departed from me to-day, then thou shalt find two men by the tomb of Rachel, in the border of Benjamin at Zelzah; and they will say unto thee: The asses which thou wentest to seek are found; and, lo, thy father hath left off caring for the asses, and is anxious concerning you, saying: What shall I do for my son?

Here, the tomb of Rachel is located within the border of Benjamin. However, Genesis 35:19 mentions that Rachel was buried in Beit Lechem, which is inside of Judah.


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In any case, it remains difficult to maintain that the Torah was written during Moses’ or Joshua’s times.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Kofer Site Stats

Now this is interesting. For some reason, this blog attracted people from China, Poland, the Ukraine and Russia over the last 7 days:



In another milestone, the total of pageviews in history surpassed the 100,000 mark a while ago: 118,690!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Friday, January 10, 2014

Rabbi Mizrachi Gets Excited People Are Monitored Watching Pornography On...



From Dana Cohen's Facebook page: "Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi Gets excitedly Titilated People Are Being Monitored Watching Pornography Online, say he cannot get the smile off his face. Finally people will know what God wants."