Exjew

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r/exjew is a Reddit community for people who have left religious Judaism in part or in full or are questioning their commitment to the religion. It also welcomes people who have left other religions, as well as other atheists, skeptics, freethinkers, and non-believers. This wiki is associated with r/exjew, and was created by a number of its members. The following information relates directly to the subreddit.

Name

The community's name, "ex-Jew", is a shorthand referring to leaving the religious aspects of Judaism, in a similar naming convention to r/exmormon, r/exhindu, etc. Note that it does not necessarily indicate anything about cultural, ethnic, or other forms of Jewish identity. It is also, of course, not the only label that members of r/exjew personally identify with: Some instead prefer the terms 'secular Jew', 'Jewish atheist', 'ex-Orthodox', or 'OTD' ("Off The Derech"), among others, as it suits their individual views on identity. Indeed, a diverse set of views on these topics of identity, peoplehood, and Jewish heritage are represented in the subreddit. For more details on the diverse ways that members of the community identify, please see this frequently-asked question.

Rules

1. Be kind to each other

  • This is a place where people can seek support or share their experiences and struggles relating to leaving Judaism. Please treat each other with kindness and sensitivity.
  • Please be accepting of all types of ex-Jews. Some here may still be religious and questioning, some may keep certain things out of habit or culture, and some may keep nothing at all. Some are atheists, some are theists.
  • We do not permit the attacking of individual religious people simply on the basis of their being religious.

2. /r/exjew is for ex-Jews

  • This is a place for formerly religious Jews. Please keep posts and comments on-topic.
  • If you're not an ex-Jew, you are welcome and encouraged to inquire about our ex-Jew-ness and to contribute, but we do ask that you remain respectful of what this community is about. Please carefully consider how your post might make ex-Jews feel.
  • See Rule 3: No proselytizing for Judaism below for more details about what is and is not considered acceptable on this subreddit and why these rules are in place. Failure to follow these rules can get you banned from this subreddit.

3. No proselytizing for Judaism

  • We want /r/exjew to be a place that's pleasant and safe from Judaism and its ideologies, however mildly or aggressively they may be expressed. Allowing people to threaten this tranquility is counterproductive and harmful to the atmosphere we maintain here.
  • If you are an ex-Jew, questioning, curious, or seeking help understanding or debunking Kiruv arguments, your contributions, if relevant to the subreddit, are welcome. Please note that these topics have come up many times before, so please view our counter-apologetics page first, as that may already have what you're looking for.
  • If you are not an ex-Jew and want to inquire about our ex-Jew-ness, that is also welcomed and encouraged. Questions asked in good faith about our views, or why we left Judaism, are allowed — although these questions have been asked many times before, so we ask that you visit our FAQ page before you post your question.
  • However, if you're a religious Jew, and if the purpose of your post or comment is to encourage us to return to Judaism, or if you wish to argue for or defend Judaism, this conversation is unwelcome. Please understand that most of our members have been exposed to religious ideology their entire lives, and have probably already heard your arguments many times before. This subreddit's purpose is to be a safe respite from Judaism. Allowing discussions in this community to devolve into apologies and arguments for Judaism would undermine the purpose of the subreddit.

Examples

  • Neutral questions, eg. "How old were you when you stopped believing?" are acceptable. Please check the FAQ before posting.
  • Some statements might seem neutral to some people, but would be seen as offensive by non-religious people. For example, "Everyone who left Judaism did so because they were abused by religious Jews". If you post content like this, you are likely to be banned. If you're not sure, you are always welcome to check with the subreddit's moderators first to see whether your content would be offensive.
  • Defending Judaism is not allowed. Let's say that someone posted a criticism of Judaism's morning blessing for men, thanking God they were not created as women. You are not permitted to respond, for example, that a certain rabbi explains the blessing to mean that the genders are "separate but equal", or that "women are actually holier than men." Or if someone writes, "There is a gemara which shows that the Talmudic rabbis believed that the earth was flat," you are not permitted to respond, "They were just writing in terms of the science of their day," or "A different gemara says that the earth is not flat."
  • However, you are permitted to correct a blatant, objective or factual error. For example, if someone writes, “Maimonides believed the earth was flat,” you may point out, “Maimonides actually stated this was not true: see his Guide for the Perplexed, chapter 2.[1]
  • Ex-Jews are permitted to mention other religious beliefs they may have adopted, in passing and where relevant, as long as they are simply describing their experience. As above, proselytizing or encouraging others to join any religion or spiritual practice is not allowed. For example, as part of a discussion about finding meaning, an ex-Jew who converted to Buddhism may mention, "After leaving Judaism, I gravitated towards Buddhism. It has helped me to find meaning," but may not say, "Buddhism is the way to truth; I'd be happy to point you to Buddhist literature."

Summary

If your post or comment aims to:

  • Instill guilt or emotionally manipulate members,
  • Argue for, defend, or share apologetics for Judaism,
  • Try to convert members back to Judaism, or to any other religion,

your post or comment will be removed and you will be banned from r/exjew. If you want to make a case for Judaism, you can do so in other subreddits such as r/DebateReligion or r/DebateJudaism.

4. No discrimination or bigotry

Racism, antisemitism, homophobia, bigotry, and cultural, ethnic, or negative discrimination of any kind are most unwelcome in this subreddit.

5. Please read the FAQs before posting

Many questions get asked again and again, so check out our FAQ page before posting, and you may find that your question has already been discussed. If you still want to ask the question after reading the FAQ, please go ahead and ask the question.

Related online communities

References

  1. To reiterate, this subreddit is not a religious debating ground: it's an online community for ex-Jews. As an analogy, an ex-Jew may go to synagogue for a nephew's bar-mitzvah, but there would be no expectation for the synagogue to allow the ex-Jew to give a speech on why God doesn't exist, or ways in which halacha is sexist.