Monday, 7 July 2014

An interview with Hannah

Dudes and Dudesses, 

Our Cousin Louise has been interviewing us all, to help explain what we are about. I've been tasked with writing up the notes. We'll publish one each week, starting with our sis, Hannah (this was undertaken during the week).

NOTE : Re posting today from Saturday evening 'cause I accidentally missed off 4 questions and answers, doh! 

1)Do you consider yourself Orthodox?

YES!! I love G-d  & His word, The Torah,oral and written, the Hebrew Bible, to which I believe is the ultimate, only revelation  & path to follow for the Jewish people. I follow the Mitzvots  as best I can and want to be, in fact enjoy, following them (:

2)  Gay and   Jewish?

Yeah, I know it is a shocker! I've known I've been gay since my early teens, but the whole process of  feeling guilty about this, then 'coming out' & finally finding a partner has been a long one- 10 years of debate, discussion and angst. I'm happier now than I have ever been before.  I've given my reasons for following Judaism and being gay, so I need not repeat this hear, but I do know I cannot change my orientation and that this cannot be a sin, if G-d made me that way. I've got lot's more to say about this, but I think undertaking gay sexual acts is a sin, if you are heterosexual and 'choose' to do so. As I don't 'choose' to be gay it cannot be a sin. The merciful one, blessed be he, overlooks what is outside of a person's control.  I'm also blessed with a fantastic and loving family in respect to me being gay (: x

3) Partner & who is the 'butch' one ?

YES!! I'm with a wonderful intelligent lady called Sarah, who is Aszkenazi . She's lovely and for me my -beshert- Soul Mate. We have shared a lot of tears recently, due to her family's refusal to accept our relationship.  Neither of us are butch or masculine. We are both feminine women; alas there are many stereotypes out there, like suggesting all gay men are camp,  and lesbian couples being either 'butch' or feminine is one for us dykes!

4)Where were you educated? Did you attend university and do you have any degrees?

I received a thorough Jewish and secular education, so I went to some of the best Jewish and Public (private fee paying) schools in Britain, along with my twin sister Rachel. I went to university (or universities) and have degrees in Physics, Astrophysics, Jewish Studies, including a Bsc,  Msc,  MA and PhD.  

5) Rich Bitch?

Not at all, my mother was an immigrant from a third world country whose family came to Britain with nothing, they all  believed that education was vitally important for people so education was funded by legacies from my grandparents, parents and uncles.I was raised by my paternal uncle, who had a very spartan worldview. I've always worked since I was 16, to pay for things I wanted to buy and to get me through life.  I might have gone to private school,  but never lost my regional accent. Not that I'm a working class hero or consider myself to be such.

6)Has your Hashkafa changed at all ?

YES!  I was observant as a child, but had moved to  being atheist by university, during which time I did spent a lot of time studying and flirting with Christianity. For various reasons, I reverted back to Judaism and that is my spiritual home. 

7)Why did you change?

That is a story for a book, not a quick interview! 

8)  Are you Koveiah Itim?

Absolutely; I read Torah and the Hebrew Bible every day and have a Torah study partner, whom I get along with very well and we study at least once a week. In addition we also have Torah study during our Shabbat meal every Friday, which are really cool no holds barred discussions, especially as I live with 2 gentiles and an atheist, as well as Jews.  Every Thursday I run a dinner club, in which we discuss any academic subject and religion is often a topic of those heated, but enjoyable discussions. 

9) What is your Hashkafic perspective now?

Orthodox with a brain & heart. If  I were to explain the core of my faith :The Shema &  the golden rule of Shabbat 31 a

10). OK. How do you feel for example about Haredi, Hassidic, Rationalist, Mystical, Reform Conservative, Modern Orthodox? Religious Zionists?

I'm Sephardi, so I think we are a blend of all of the above. I dislike calling fellow Jews heretics, if they love Judaism and try to follow Hashem & I feel we need to outreach and include our secular and Off the derech brothers and sisters. The only group I'd call heretics without any hesitation are Messianic 'Jews'.  I'm weary of the extreme ends of Haredism as well as the very, very liberal Reform. But, hey, that's just me (: 

11) What is your view about the State of Israel?

Israel is COOL! The only place in the middle east which protects minorities, bu also is a homeland for the Jewish people. It's the fulfillment of ancient prophesy, also it is vital that Israel exists as a safe haven for Jews. I'm a Zionist, in short. That doesn't mean to say I don't want peace or a state for Palestinians. But I hate the way anti-semites have leaped on the anti-Israel bandwagon.

12) How do you feel about Christianity ?

Whilst I have Christian relatives and I respect their mild brand of Anglicanism, I am a Jew and follow the Jewish faith. I have respect for and have friends who are Christians. I find Messianic Jews are somewhat confused as to what Christianity is and what Judaism is; it's kinda like Mormonism in its relationship to Christianity.
Theologically, from my understanding of my own holy book, the Hebrew Bible-

1. I don't believe the New Testament
2. I believe the prophecies fulfilled in Jesus were conveniently troweled through & found in the Hebrew bible to make them "fit" the Christian narrative
3. I don't believe a human blood sacrifice is necessary for G-d to forgive sins and this was shown repeatedly in the Hebrew Bible
4. I don't agree with original sin; we are born with the capacity to do good or evil
5. G-d cannot become human and humans do not become G-d
6.G-d is one and indivisible and not 3 parts 
7. There is a difference between the Jewish satan and the christian devil.
8 One person cannot die for the sins of another.

Personally, I feel that the Church has harmed my people too much, I could never become a Christian. It would feel like a betrayal. I got close to it. But the Evangelicals I was connected to, hated gays; it wasn't enough to be single, but that the orientation itself was a sin, so that put me off for life.

13) What is your view about Gedloim and Daas Torah? How far does your respect for the current Gedolim go, if at all?

Well I am sure that the people who make up the Gedloim  have wisdom, experience & can give good advise and counsel. But they can't speak ex cathedra as Judaism doesn't have Popes, so I don't agree with the title or the authority which they wish to assert that they have !I think we can be free to ignore them and indeed rebuke them, when the make stupid outrageous comments. Likewise I think Daas Torah isn't a part of authentic Orthodox tradition.


I'm a mixture. I like the social justice of the Labour party, the quest for individual freedoms of the Liberal Democrats and the free market ethos of the Conservatives. 

15) Are Jews chosen ?

Yes, I believe that we are, but not as the anti-semites portray us in a 'master race way'. We were chosen by G-d to be a light to this world and because we were the least of people any good that we did was a reflection on HIS glory and not our own. I believe that given we are a 'nation so scorned, so mocked & hated' that we have achieved great things, given our small numbers in the world.  I disagree with Haredi, in thinking we can be a light to the nations, by simply shutting ourselves into self-imposed ghettos, though.

16) What is Judaism for you? 

To me it is also about how we celebrate our Judaism, the rhythm , the heartbeat of the year . Or to put it another way; with people, in song, in food, with Him.

First. We have our weekly Christmas (well without the pressies!) of our Shabbat celebrations, the centre of which are the 3 meals we have, which fuse together friends, family and worship of G-d as well as fine foods, wine and plenty of singing ! In fact it is a commandment that we enjoy the food and wine and the company of friends and family. This is the G-d I know and worship, not the stereotype deity of the 'Old Testament' that some Christians enjoy portraying her as being (e.g. distant, vengeful, wrathful and generally unpleasant). 

Second. We have numerous festivals throughout the year, which the centre of (aside from fast days such as Yom Kippur) is again family, friends and a festive meal, which also combines prayer, liturgy & some form of Bible reading or study. What is even more unique I think is that, except for the times of fasting, we have special food for each festival; such as Cheesecake& Kahee for Shavout, Matzah for Passover, Latke&Sufganiyah for Hanukah, Hammantashen & Fazuelos for Purim etc .

17)  Interesting fact about yourself?

I am able to play the organ & can talk none stop!!

18) Beer or wine?

Vinto Tinto without a doubt !

19) Hobbies and Interests ?

I like watching women's football and men's rugby, playing the piano,  fencing, running, swimming , stargazing, cooking & having a couple of glasses of vinto tinto with friends,  so my life is quite busy, it also includes a lot of reading.

20) How does being a scientist compare to taking the Genesis creation account literally?

I don't take the Genesis creation account literally. Again this is well within the bounds of traditional authentic Orthodox Judaism. I believe, though, Bereisheet bara Elohim et hashamayim ve'et ha'aretz  (In the beginning Gd created the heavens and the earth).


  1. I was more verbose with my answers, but "I can talk none stop", is that really an interesting fact that we didn't know about you Hannah? (:

  2. Hi David,

    Well you know me! (:

  3. Hi Sam,

    I was wondering when you were going to get round to publishing these, so great that you've got round to doing so! (:

  4. Sam,

    Thanks for putting this up. I got my list of questions Saturday night, so will respond to Louise later on in the week.

    It was great to see you and Sarah, Hannah. Shy, but very nice person and yes neither of you are 'butch'. I'm glad she is with you. Enjoy the rest of your holiday. Hope you have a good time with Ruth on Tuesday.

  5. "She's lovely and for me my -beshert- Soul Mate. We have shared a lot of tears recently, due to her family's refusal to accept our relationship. "

    Hannah, thought of you and Sarah when I saw this one, hope it helps :)

  6. Great! And so true. I told you I was right!!

  7. ROFL! Talking non stop stop is a under statement isn't it?

  8. That's a great one Sam!

  9. Hi Sam,

    Thanks for that picture! We both like it! Can you believe it is RAINING? Not to worry , we're spending the day at the Eden project (:

  10. Dominique Vasilkovsky7 July 2014 at 11:25

    So true Sam!

  11. Bible and Truth7 July 2014 at 11:32

    Question 12

    "God cannot become man"


    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

    Jesus said to him, Philip, have I been with you all this time, and still you have no knowledge of me? He who has seen me has seen the Father. Why do you say, Let us see the Father?

    Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

    Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying , I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

    John 10:30 - I and my Father are one.

    Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.


  12. Bible and Truth7 July 2014 at 11:43


  13. Bible and Truth7 July 2014 at 11:43

    Genesis 3:15 prophesies of the Messiah. It clearly states that the Messiah will defeat Satan, crush his head. This is the sole purpose of the Messiah coming to earth, to defeat Satan and in doing so, give life to mankind. This is long before the establishment of the nation of Israel. Israel is indeed the chosen nation of God, but God did not choose Israel to elevate Israel, He chose Israel to fulfill His own purpose. His purpose was to send a Messiah into the world to save the world from its transgressions. If this were not so, why would God promise the coming of the Messiah at the very time when sin entered the world?

    One other very important point to note from Genesis 3:15. The Messiah would not defeat Satan without receiving some injury, the bruise on the heel. Christians now know that this bruise was bitter suffering and death on the cross. His death however, was only a bruise in that He defeated death when on the third day He rose from the dead. He now is the Judge of Satan and of men, but also gives hope to all men. We hope in life eternal with God and serving God. We need only trust in Him as our Savior.

  14. Hannah

    I am a TORAH OBSERVANT BELIEVER in Yeshua HaMashiach.
    I came out of the Babylonian/Greek/Roman LINEAR Mindset!
    Yeshua says, ''Come out of her, my people.''
    I keep all the Feast days as mentioned in Lev. 23. Observe Shabbat, and eat Kosher as mentioned in Lev.11.
    I pray that you too, become grafted into the vine of Yeshua.
    The House of Judah & the House of Israel will become ONE. Rom. 11:17-28.
    The Stick of Judah and the Stick of Ephraim will become ONE, in Mashiach's Hand. Eze.37:19-23.
    I sure would like to see you debate with a Messianic Jew.... If you have a video on this, I sure would be very glad to see it. (I'm following you on FB.)
    Tov L'Hodot.

  15. If you don't accept Yeshu, your a false Jew

  16. Bible and Truth7 July 2014 at 11:51

    Homosexuality is a sin! You cannot condone it when it clearly condemned in scripture!

    Lev. 20:13 “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination…”

    Matt. 19:4-6 “He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

    Rom. 1:26-28 “ For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.”

    1 Cor. 6:9,10 “Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

    1 Timothy 1 :9,10 “ We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine…”

    Wherever the Holy Bible speaks of same sex sexual relations, it is emphatically condemned. Any argument which says God condones same sex sexual relations is a denial of the authority and 'God-breathed' revelation of Scriptur

  17. If you DO accept Jesus then you are a false Jew, as you are a Christian at that point. Don't go confusing 2 different religions.

  18. To a Christian perhaps god can become a man, but you are writing to a Jewish audience. To a Jew a man/god and a god/man is Idolatry. It is also illogical to think you can concentrate all the powers of a god into a human body.

  19. You're quoting mostly from the new testament I see. I think we've already discussed Leviticus before.


  20. "We need only trust in Him as our Savior"

    Why? And why does god suddenly require a HUMAN (or human/god) blood sacrifice for sin? How do you explain the passages of the Hebrew Bible, where there are grain sacrifices or burnt offerings or time when not even an ANIMAL sacrifice is necessary to forgive sin , e.g. read the whole book of Jonah, let alone convert to Judaism, although for whatever reason, Christians insist that this apparent 'free gift' means you've got to become a Christian to be 'saved'. This doesn't seen very 'free' to me.

  21. Yes, if you believe what you believe you could be wrong or right. But at least you believe in something. Let's hope it is a noble and just cause.

  22. Hi Guys,

    I'm really glad you have finally gotten round to publishing these interviews! Hannah is very interactive, so the actual transcripts would have been about 3 pages long. Bless her.

  23. Sorry to hear it was raining! Are you going to send us a postcard? (:

  24. I know, I impress myself sometime!

  25. Yeah dude, I know the view you hold on this issue. Why are you so obsessed with the sex lives of other people?

  26. Yes! I'll do an e-post card! Having a fab time, btw (:

  27. Hi Lou,

    Did I really go on that long? LOL!

  28. Hi MJ,

    Always happy to debate the issues surrounding your heresy. I'm back in 2 weeks, so I'll do a post after that.

  29. Rubbish. It means you are a Christian.

  30. Funnily enough, I find myself to be quite peaceful as I am, but I appreciate you 'have' to say these things as it is part of your religion to do so.

  31. I'll admit that like a broke clock, you can be right at least twice a day ! (:


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