Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Did Sarah, Rivka, Rachel, and Leah have faces??

Tzipi Livni's face will not be shown in the Chareidi Israeli newspapers. Doubtful she will be shown in the Yated, Hamodia, or the Jewish Observer (wait, they don't do Israeli politics at all). Probably Mishpacha, although more open minded, won't show her face, either (they only showed Susie Fishbien's kitchen utensils and fingertips).

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??

I Knew There Was Something Missing

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 need not attend

Is this Monsey madness, Bais Yaakovs in general, or the chumra clubs newest essential rule?

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

totally random

would you like to join my chumra club?

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

you're not from brooklyn

I was in Brooklyn and looking for a store, so I stopped a blond wigged woman and asked her if she knew where it was. She turned to me and smiled as I said "excuse me, " (huh? she smiled?) and posed my query. She laughed and said, "Oh, I am not from Brooklyn, I'm from Cleveland, I don't know where anything is". end of story.

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

victims or heroes?

What do you call the murdered innocents of September 11th, 2001? Victims? Or heroes? I am not sure about the "hero" label. They were innocent and just doing their jobs. Their murderers were violent, hateful people, energized by a madman with a vendetta against jews and democracy and America and everything that isn't his brand of his religion. The murderers didn't know their victims, didn't engage in a battle, didn't give fair warning. So why are they heroes?

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.

No bikes in the shtetl

Williamsburg residents have been protesting the construction of bike lanes on some of the major streets in their community. They don't like the way the bikers (read: women) dress when biking.
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?

Thursday, September 11, 2008


It happened. It was horrible. We move on. We won't forget.


North of Brooklyn, south of Labrador City. Somewhere in between. Guess.