Politically Homeless Jewish Rabbi
Real people, real letters, real problems, no solutions.
Politics these days have become so divided and divisive that it’s become the norm to view the other side of the aisle as “the enemy”. People are being told to “pick a side” and that there’s no room for middle ground. We here at Phetasy believe that there are a lot more people in the middle than politicians and the media would have us believe.
We’re collecting stories from the ever growing number of people who are finding themselves Politically Homeless and posting them here on Substack. If you have moved from conservative to liberal, or liberal to conservative, if you feel you’ve stayed in the same place and your party has swerved drastically away from you, if you had a moment that awakened you to the insanity and hypocrisy on both sides, if you keep your mouth shut anytime a political topic comes up because you’re afraid your opinion will cause you to lose friends or your job, you’re not as alone as you might think.
Our goal is to shine a light on people’s earnest, individual experiences and show them they’re not alone.
Some letters have been edited for clarity and brevity. If you’re politically homeless and would like to share your story, please email us at email@example.com. All submissions will remain anonymous.
Beyond Parody with Bridget Phetasy is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Greetings Phetasy fam,
Long time listener, subscriber. And I too am politically homeless.
Everyone assumes because I am Jewish (and a rabbi) that I must be a staunch Democrat. This is only because I'm affiliated with the non-Orthodox side of Judaism. If I were Orthodox, they would automatically think I'm MAGA. And I hate all of that.
Judaism teaches a lot of things that don't fit well into the right/left dichotomy. I can give you COUNTLESS stories about how politics tries to weasel its way into my vocation. But abortion is probably an easy example...
In Judaism, abortion is about saving the mother's life and in the case of rape, incest or a pregnancy that is non-viable. BTW, I think 99% of Americans are cool with that. In fact, I'd go a step further and say abortion is really about elective abortion. The rest should just be called tragic and emergency healthcare.
Despite what some say, Judaism doesn't approve of abortion just because you don't want to be a parent. But the number of times people from Planned Parenthood have emailed me asking me to host a "Reproductive rights Shabbat service," is disgusting. I've had Jewish employees contact me about coming to their political rallies ON SHABBAT to give speeches! I think the worst is when they cloak it in their own Jewish identity by saying, "I was bat mitzvah." Yeah, that really encourages me to take a night off from my religion to be a token on a wedge issue.
I could give you the conservative end of this as well. Because no one really knows my politics, I've had local Republicans reach out to me “Just to say ‘Hi’”. Yeah, I know that game - it's about recruiting me. No interest. I see them at community functions. They basically say "Hi, I support Israel," and think I'll drop whatever I'm doing. My politics around Israel doesn't fit either camp either. Whole other story.
It's gotten to a point where I doubt I really want to preach anymore. People want me to take a 3,000 year old religion and make it about how they should hate the "other side". I won't do that. And I won't shake hands with politicians, or go to their fundraisers, or join the boards of non-profits that are covert ways of raising money for the Dems or the Republicans. Sorry - I won't make Yom Kippur about an existential battle between Trump and Biden. It's just crazy.
At one point, I considered just being a wedding officiant. At least that's honest: you go, you say nice things, you lovingly bless a couple, and you leave with a check. And no one cares who you voted for.
Please know that you are doing God's work. While Judaism doesn't proselytize, I think Bridget and Mr. Phetasy should join the Tribe. I think Bari Weiss would agree ;-)
Some letters have been edited for clarity and brevity. If you'd like to share your story, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. All submissions will remain anonymous.