Monday, December 22, 2008
But wait! He doesn't have to worry about his expenses! He is shnorring from the general public, in the form of a website www.bikingforobama.com
I don't get this kind of stuff. Perhaps this is like the Israelis who go to Tibet after finishing the army, or other Americans who travel when graduating college before going out into the working world. Okay, something we in the BY/Seminary/Yeshiva world tend not to do, because, I am not sure why. Whatever. But what does wanting to ride bike across America (which sounds very appealing, by the way) have to do with Barak Obama? If McCain had won, it wouldn't have been a challenge? Because we will now have our first ever black president, riding our bike shows how open minded Americans are? Sorry, Ryan. All the people who will open their homes, barns, restaurants, gas stations (for air) swimming pools and showers, BBQ grills and refridgerators, would do so regardless of why you are biking across America. Americans admire that kind of energy and outdoorsmanship.
I don't know why I listen to NPR, I always get annoyed about something.
So here is my new website: www.shoppingformyself.payforme.Iloveamericanswhohelpme.com
Every time you donate $10 I will shout, as I spend it, "Americans love free enterprise! America loves to see people buy whatever they want! Look at me being able to go shopping in the middle of the day and America smiles fondly and proudly! Watch me do what I want and spend what I want without having to work to pay for it!"
I love America.
We had a lot of snow this past weekend. And it is beautiful, clean, soft, silent, dreamy, celestial. And I went out for a few minutes on Friday night. Very, Very quiet. I could hear the tinkling of frozen branches brushing against each other, and the soft plops of snow falling gently from high points down to lower branches. I understood authors like Chekhov who would write about crisp, biting cold air. It was truly magnificent.
And of course coming home to a warm house with lots of people crowded on the couches reading old TinTin's and Mishpacha magazines.
But Sunday night, that was really beautiful. From outside looking in, the warmth of a home diffused by the candles and oil flames was heartwarming and comforting. Hopefully all children inside, for the first night of Chanuka, anyway, set aside differences and disputes and arguments and friendly (or not so friendly) disagreements and sat huddled together on the couch singing Maoz Tzur and dancing to Al Hanisim (tradition in our home).
And remembering that Chanuka is not about our gifts and parties but about the miracles Hashem constantly performs for us.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
read this article. http://www.lohud.com/article/20081217/NEWS03/812170426/1019
Then read the comments.
Why would the organizer leave the site a stinking, filthy mess, and then have the audacity to say
"This year I don't think I should be fined even one cent."?? Compared to last year, when he left the site a stinking filthy mess? The comments last year, after Kapparos, when the newspaper described the stench, filth, and disorder, were hateful comments. And I am NOT one who cries anitsemitism every time jews do something wrong and it is pointed out by other people. But perhaps the time has come for everyone to just go to Brooklyn (where they all came from, anyway) or New Square or Monroe to wave their chickens. Because the guy who runs this business doesn't make any effort to think about going out of his way to clean up the site. At All. And this just incites the residents of Rockland County. Seriously, I cringe whenever there is an article that features a frum Jew in it. And the worst? When they quote him and his English is awful. Like when there was a bear running around on some street, and the more the police asked people to step back, the more family members came out. And threw objects at the bear. And got closer to videotape him. And shouted. How embarrassing.
We have so much we can be proud of. We do so many things that could make a Kiddush Hashem. That's what we need to think of every time something happens here in Brooklyn North.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Overnight camp fees for half a summer are almost $2000. Yes, we are in tough times, and everything goes up. But you know what? I don't think that's why overnight camp costs so much. Here is the REAL reason:
You have a camp rebbi. He teaches boys in the morning for about 3 hours. The rest of the day he is free to walk, learn, engage in other summer pursuits not available to someone who lives in "the city" and teaches 6 hours a day. (what about those amongst us who work 9 to 10 hours a day and also don't have summer vacations? Or off for yomtov? And reduced tuition at schools?But that is another post).
Here is where your $2000 for four weeks comes in(and check out the dates, it isn't even a full four weeks).
The rebbi comes to camp with his wife and seven children. Three boys go to the camp where he works, the two girls go to the sister camp, the two little ones go to staff day camp, they all eat, use utilities, and enjoy the grounds, night entertainment, and camp trips. And for all these amenities they pay?.......NOTHING! ZERO! NADA! ZILCH!
Now how about the camp director, or Director of Learning, or Director of Directors, or Head Sports, or Head Waterfront, or head/director of anything?? Usually the title goes to someone of a more mature age. Meaning he has married children, who are always invited with their brood to come spend a shabbos!
So there can be 20 staff members, each with one wife, at least three kids, maybe 9 kids, some married kids- oh!-who by the way may also be given a job, like Chief Key Sargeant or Coordinator of Buying Paper Goods, or Maintenance Supervisor. They have a job that requires at least 1-2 hours a day of serious labor. And they get paid for that, too.
And I know you don't have to send your kids to camp, it's a choice, blah blah blah. Pick a better way to refute what I am saying!
Is this cynism? I really don't think so. If you know anyone who goes to camp, go visit them on visiting day. And check this out. Tell me I'm wrong.
Then I'll post instead about how seminaries in Israel are cash cows for people who learned for years then had 6 kids and zero means of support so they decided to open a seminary.
Milk us dry
and I don't think the title of this post really has anything to do with the content herein, but I kind of meandered. Oh well, blogging license!!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
But to be honest, I don't get the whole oifruf thing altogether. I know it's something to do with almonds and sweetness ( like prunes, or some old yiddish song in every movie about the lower East Side). But why pelt men who may not even know the chosson and his family? I hate it. And for the rest of davening there are out of control little sticky people running up and down the isle smacking into eachother while their mothers look on fondly (see my post on Tzemach Tzedach, different Simcha, same concept). Or are those moms secretly thinking " I cannot believe these out of control dirty monsters are my offspring, I was a size 4 glamour gal- what the hey happened?"
Friday, December 12, 2008
An elderly woman had more than 20 dogs caged and living in their own feces.
Does she go to jail? Pay a fine? Did she really not know that she was abusing these animals and not caring for them properly? She had once been a breeder of champion dogs, fell on hard times, was reclusive, you get the picture.
So what happens when we get old and we don't realize that the things we used to do well we are now failing at?
The singer who used to hit high notes and now his voice cracks when he gets to the mid note
The energetic grandparent who was full of life and now falls asleep at the table while talking
The academic who loved an argument and now shows a lack of interest in most conversations.
The dog breeder who loves her animals and can't care for them anymore and doesn't realize that she is harming those she used to spend her life caring for.
Will she now be caged herself
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Okay, I know black is slimming. And I also know that thanks to Donna Karan it is actually considered a color. But look at your wedding pictures, or your parents' albums- every guest is wearing color! The dullest color is the bride's gown! Colored clothing has become very
out of town- like they are behind of fashion
nebby- like you got your clothes from Caldor or Walmart
fat enhancing- okay, I do agree with this. Black is slimming. But not slimming enough to change a shapeless salami body from a 14 to a 4. Come on.
I try to add color to my wardrobe. Very pinkish lipstick. Dangly sparkly earrings. A colored pocketbook. Perhaps a belt or funky necklace. But when you wear color, especially here in Brooklyn North, you get the Look from the black only I-look-like-I-came-from-a-funeral- women. Whose faces look like they came from a funeral. I think you have to look very intent and focused on your pomegranite seeds or Panko bread crumbs when shopping in black clothing.
I also think it comes from the middle of the road Judaism trying to move to the right and thinking every behavior and habit of the extreme right wing/chassidim must be better and right. So since that side tends to dress in very drab colors- black, navy, grey, and brown, the new black- we have slowly adopted that.
My fifteen year old revolted. She bought a red Shabbos coat.
Color is alive, energetic, inspiring, mood enhancing, enthusiastic.
But black? Like my pal Annie sez: it's an obsession.
Monday, November 17, 2008
THIS was an experience. First of all, the newly renovated building is lovely on the outside and probably beautiful inside when it is cleaned up. And clean.
I asked a socializing man for a non Tehilas Hashem siddur and he brought me a good old Artscroll. But of course I neglected to ask for a nusach Ashkenaz, so my davening took a little longer than usual. I stumbled over the extra words in Shemona Esrai.
Anyway, the tunes were really beautiful. Haunting and lovely as everyone in the shul joins in. They are the very old Lubavitch tunes and they tug at your soul. At least I felt tugged.
There was a Bar Mitzva and the family must have had a lot of relatives either from France or from Brooklyn who spoke a lot of French. They spoke it out loud. Loudly, to eachother, across the room. Hey, that's what's great about Lubavitch, they don't tell anyone what to do, or what not to do.
The bar mitzva boy's little siblings or relatives were dashing in and out of the ladies' section, and repeatedly stuck their their sticky hands which had minute pieces of fruit gems and lint stuck to the nails, through the mechitza. One of the cuties almost stuck to my shoulder because he must have finished the entire handful of candy he was prepared to throw at his brother (this was still during Shacharis). As this was going on, his mother kept admonishing him to STOP IT in a very audible voice which he evidently has mastered ignoring. The door kept banging open and shut. When one of the boys actually lifted a chair and aimed the feet at the glass mechitza, a lethargic congregant was motivated to react. I flinched because I was near enough to the mechitza to be showered with shattered glass, should the inspired activist be successful. Which thankfully he was not. I couldn't move that much because I was practically stuck to the mechitza because of my sticky encounter with the little chair thrower. The chair was removed and the mother finally took her kids into the hallway.
In the meantime, another young relative was playing under one of the narrow tables holding numerous oversized Seforim and sandpaper tissue boxes. I heard a little clinking noise, but I guessed, like the men above her hiding place, that a child who manages to entertain herself is best left alone. Unless she has discovered how to slide that ring that holds the hinge of the table in place, and realizes if she pushed on the hinge, the table will now be a superb slide to play on. Especially with a slimy tablecloth. Just in the nick of time one of the men at said table yanked her out and tightened the hinge.
The heat must have been on, and as it was quite warm and muggy, the whole atmostphere in the shul was of "varmfkeit". The gabbai's announcement of a fabrengin was met which cheers, but at that point I was overwhelmed with the experience and decided to skip the kiddush.
For all I know the chair thrower and table collapser conspired to throw the chulent sternos at their brother.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
So you are waiting at a traffic light, inching and inching out into the intersection, causing all oncoming traffic to swerve into the shoulder. Ladies (as we say here in Monsey, look for a post on this later) you are not helping the sterotype of women being awful drivers with no ability to think ahead!! Finally the light turns yellow but you still can't go. So it turns red. And you are smack in the middle of the intersection.
So you should just VERY quickly make a left turn, right? Right! Left! And so the unsure driver who was sticking out way too far in the first place decided to go for it! Zooming around the intersection into the proper lane, leaving a trail of furious drivers honking hysterically and cursing the idiot who caused their coffee to spill in their laps and on their blackberry keypads. Usually one Escalade comes tearing and screeching around on two wheels, scaring the daylights out of a midget old man driving a banged up Buick Riviera.
Of course this little drama unfolding at the corner of 306 and Kearsing Parkway or Viola and 306 is not yet over. The second on line at the red light decides, "hey, I've been waiting here also! Why should I wait for the light to turn green? I'm zoomin', too!" and so the person behind the red light runner follows bumper to bumper, nose to tail, and turns as well. Usually the waiting vehicles who experience this exciting activity numerous times a day are prepared and although they go ahead when they have a green light, honking furiously (see above) and whipping around, they expect it from one car. Lately they've had to prepare for two. It is mind boggling to watch. I sit there and scream. This happens daily.
I kid you not, this is standard driving lately in our humble little enclave of people who have escaped the city and wish to live in quiet suburbia. Where people are relaxed and thoughtful. Ha
Saturday, November 8, 2008
First they take over in the White House, and everywhere we turn we find another one of "them".
And now they they are in power, there is nothing there.
It's actually not a fairy tale or a horror movie. It's worse.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
more examples of erudite insights and political savvy from brilliant citizens who made a thoughtful choice when voting today:
Curt Babura, a 31-year-old cook in Cleveland who had never voted before. On Tuesday, he did, making his way to the polls on a silver, 10-speed bike. "I'm really kind of fed up with what's been going on in the country today," he said. "I wanted to make a difference this time. I think a lot of younger people are starting to realize the errors of our ways."
Or listen to Joann Scherk, voting in Waterbury, Vt., and, seemingly, looking to find a hero. "It's gotten to the point where you don't really vote for someone as much as you vote against someone else," she said. "I wish it wasn't that way."
And who did Scherk vote for — or, at least, against? Asked, she just wouldn't say.okay folks, she wouldn't say because maybe after she left the polling booth she forgot who she voted for. Or she didn't want to be put on the spot because she had no clue what his platform was. And the cook, who is fed up - what HAS been going on in the country?
And have you heard the people interviewed who are excited- they won't have to pay their mortgage anymore! Obama'll help them!
Saturday, November 1, 2008
I think they need more upbeat music in the Verizon store. I was there to purchase a new phone and the six men behind the counter were all morose and somber looking. They seemed well groomed, all were wearing ties, and collectively I counted 11 noticable facial piercings (including in mouth, one of them let out a gargantuan gaping yawn). They were all helpful to their customers, even their over 30 (really over alot) customers who wanted cool phones but didn't know which ones were cool.
But the music in the store was pounding headache migraine insanity producing music, and I think it had a negative effect on the morale and mood of everyone in the store. I, for one, couldn't wait to leave. Okay, I had to make chicken for shabbos and didn't have much time.
The elderly couple next to me starting leaning too much on the counter, and their skin tone began to blend with the grey countertop.
The woman who looked 45ish and dressed 15ish who wanted the cool chocolate crave phone (they explained it was a chocolate or a craze phone) quickly decided and furrowed her eyebrows. You may say it was because of the decision, I think it was because of the music.
Or, maybe, it was that loud and unpleasant to coerce or encourage people to make a decision quickly and then leave? That way when they get home and some significant person in the house says, "you spent WHAT on that phone? Why do you need all those features?" The buyer will answer, "maybe I made a mistake but there is no way I am going back into that store, I have a horrid headache".
And then they will wait to update, and go through the same process again.
I would much rather have Karen Carpenter or EVEN..... Barry Manilow with his six sets of octave switching- till- he's- shrieking- music. Maybe it's an age thing, ya think??
Thursday, October 30, 2008
housed in Shopper's Haven, known in our house as.....the Kosher Mall.
I think we have become more radical than parts of Brooklyn.
It is the chassidish influence , and the taliban is slowly creeping it's way into our lives here in Brooklyn North.
Teachers telling high school girls to think before buying their winter coats, so they aren't too flashy.
Meaning, make sure they are black, gray, navy, boring, dull, and like ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE ELSE.
Weren't there colors (from nature) in the Mishkan? Didn't the Kohain Godol's clothes have color in them?
I wish Jonathan Rosebloom or Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz would write a column about this.
But it isn't as inspiring or life threatening as their usual topics.
Or is it???
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The story of the man who got lost in Williamsburg because he had a "Lechayim or two" is sad.
Never mind the fact that this yentish website disseminates gossip and idiotic tidbits claiming to be news.
Never mind the fact that when a woman - usually a rebbitzin- dies they briefly mention her name, and then continue on with her husband's great lineage and yeshiva history.
Ha, Ha, Hee, Hee, he had a little too much to drink! He was Fraylich! OH!! AND he was doing a mitzvah! He was being mesamayach a chusun and kallah. It was for a L'chayim, mammash a mitzva!
If this "news" website wants to be helpful to the "oilam", they should say it like it is.
"A man in Williamsburg got lost last night after sousing himself in the middle of the week and acting like a goyish pig, drinking at a wedding like it was an Irish wake. He wandered the streets of Brooklyn, and wonderful volunteers who don't pass judgement (ahem...) spent the entire night searching for this selfish and out of control adult. "
I am sure his family are so proud of his behavior. A real Kiddush Hashem. (a kiddush? for Hashem? bring out the Grey Goose).
I don't usually vote for anyone based on their opinion or support of Israel. The fate of that country is in the hands of G-d, and He is the one who controls everything that happens. I cannot understand people who will vote for an American President based on Israel politics. The president we elect will effect us much closer to home - taxes, jobs, etc.
But in this case, Barak Obama's political stance is to me, not just about Israel, but about supporting democracy vs. accomodating terrorists and evil people. It is about being on the side of friends vs. being on the side of people who hate everything American and Western.
America just doesn't get it. You cannot befriend Iran and Syria. You cannot negotiate or peacefully come to any conclusion with them. They hate us and will not change their mindset or opinions. Ever.
Monday, October 20, 2008
But we have eat, we have to be clothed, the house needs to be in order.
So I go shopping and see the cashiers more than I see my parents. I replenish the kirbies and peppers and brown rice and sweet potatoes and diet drinks from Israel. I peruse my cookbooks and use up our yearly quota of red meat within three weeks of meals.
But I hurry through the isles at the grocery stores, and try not to chat about the contents of my shopping cart.
And I think- I am providing an environment for my family where Yomtov is special, it is exciting to prepare for, we do (or eat) special things, but the focus is not the food- it is growth, introspection, development of middos.
I hope my children take that away from the Yomtov table.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
We all the know the story of Avram and Sarai going to Egypt, and Avram suddenly realizing how beautiful his wife was. Or Yakov not realizing who was under the chuppah. So perhaps there is biblical precedence for hiding women's faces.
But wouldn't the rabbonim of past generations know that? Wouldn't they have forbidden pictures of women?
For those who only read jewish newspapers, if Sarah Palin wins, we will have four years with no pictures of our vice president.
Why do we attribute the basest of human behaviors to every single frum male??
When did chulent or potato kugel worm its way into fine cuisine? Have our standards for wedding food been diminished?
I enjoy the visual feast presented at an elegant wedding. The newest (observed at August and September weddings) is individual porcelain bowls (yes, they resemble the more familiar porcelain bowls) filled with a controlled portion of vegetables.
The creative wooden Viking ship with sushi.
A forbidden red meat in glutinous sweet sauce.
The inimitable carving station, with too many overweight men standing on line for pastrami.
And the crème de la crème, the ultimate crowning glory of every Jewish food fest, the pinnacle of culinary delights, the nocturnal dreams of yeshiva bochrim globally, POTATO KUGEL.
Potato kugel was probably a staple of European diets. Potatoes are cheap, mix with flour or any grain meal, and you have a warm and filling food. It was looked forward to on Erev Shabbos, was baked through overnight in a chulent, and possibly warmed up for Melave Malka or Sunday eve leftovers. Who was the caterer who thought that it was missing from wedding and bar mitzvah smorgasbords?
It's like wearing a tichel with a satin gown.
or putting hot dogs on fine china.
fill in your own analogy.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Dads are not invited to attend school orientations. The female teachers are uncomfortable speaking in front of men. Never mind that most of the men gave up a shiur, came home early, rescheduled a meeting to show interest in their daughter's education. Every man is attributed with the worst possible thoughts, and women are unable speak in front of them.
How many men have you ever seen at an orientation? A classroom full, standing room only? Or every little desk filled with men cramming their knees uncomfortably under a shelf? I've only seen (in the years before the ban) men who do the homework with their children, men who are in charge, fathers who care about their daughters' education.
How stupid of the teachers and principals to continue to develop rules and regulations that alienate parents.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
you have to think of something so foolish and idiotic and then make it into a new cause. Sounds insipid, but isn't that what is happening around us?
I have one:
I think that the whole process of the "badekin" at a wedding is extremely untzniusdik. All those men marching between two rows of women (like dogs!). I think a one way mirror should be set up, with all the women behind it. The Kallah should already have the deck teichel on, because all those single friends are staring at her as she gets bentched by the fathers. A one way mirror will let the women still look at the men (I mean, their brothers and husbands).
Any zealots out there who'd like to start this one?
Monday, September 15, 2008
Observation: She had color in her outfit, she smiled at me, and she maintained eye contact. Her eyes didn't disdainfully roam over my outfit, I didn't get the "I can barely tolerate breathing near you" look.
You know what? I knew she was from out of town. She was friendly.
Do the people on the streets of Boro Park think it is classy and sophisticated to ignore people while staring at them? This is not a new topic, but it slams you in the face like a door swiftly shut by a fuming teenager.
I was glad to get home north, even if many of them are moving up here. Perhaps the fresh air will mitigate the unpleasant atmosphere surrounding the rude people who live in brooklyn.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Did the press, or whomever referred to them first at heroes (Guliani) think that "victim" was too lame, too passive, not strong enough to incite the masses in fury and revenge?
In the end it probably doesn't matter, it is the label we have used for seven years and will continue to use. But I wonder. Just semantics? Or clever manipulation of words to wake us all up and remind us of those who fell in a battle they never had time to join.
More bike lanes means more immodestly dressed women in their neighborhood. And the local population want Williamsburg to remain a shtetl. I think they will get what they want out of the local government. It probably depends upon how organized the bike riders and non frum of the community can be to counter protest.
Would it be so bad if they get what they want? Isn't that what elected officials are for? To enact laws and fullfill the wishes of the people who voted for them? Other minority communities know how to protest and stand up for what they want, why should this group be different?