Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Mommas Shopping in Rockland Kosher

Rockland Kosher is in what my kids call the Kosher Mall- an indoor mall. But not one with arcades and bars and shops you run past when you go with your teenage sons. It has a shoe store, shoe repair, cell phone store, linen, health food, window coverings, kids clothes, jewelry, nice jewish businesses. And a catering hall.

So often, when a Simcha is over, or winding down, you will see well dressed couples shopping for cereal, bread, milk, and snacks. At 10:00 at night. Which is what I was doing when I saw three such couples. Let me explain that on Thursday nights, this store is filled mainly with men. Almost all Chassidish. That is the bulk of their clientele. But of course everyone is welcome to shop there. (though there is a sign posted requesting appropriate dress; sleeves, no shorts, etc). I am cool with that, they can have their standards. Not all mine, but so what!

But I have a problem with the Hot Mommas who come in after a simcha, wearing their "zonah" shoes with heels that could impale a human being and bleed him to death. And please tell me when the covering your knee standard disappeared? Hello, these are people from the parts of Monsey that are NOT modern orthodox! Whose husbands wear hats and whose kids go to the regular yeshivos here! Whose Bais Medrash boys go to right wing Batei Medrashim! (or will when they are old enough). Maybe I am biased (or do I mean jealous) because if I wore shoes that high I would fall on my face. And my knees aren't my best feature, so I like to keep them neatly covered. It also disturbs me because some of these women are nearing 40! I don't begrudge 40 year old women who look terrific and know how to dress well, not at all! Kol Hakovod! But this is too much a teen age look. For how many years can you STILL be lashing out against your Bais Yaakov Teachers??

I felt sad, more than anything else. I recognized some of the women. and I am pretty sure that a few years ago, their knees were covered. And they didn't wear sleazy shoes.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Obnoxious People

There are some people who are just born, and remain obnoxious all their lives.

They ALWAYS have to make a nasty comment. Or point out something mean, even if everyone knows it and sees it and is aware of it. Count on the petty nasty person to feel the need to express it, verbalize it. This kind of individual probably has a sense of humor, lots of friends, and isn't overtly mean. Just the "shtuching" type.

Like when you are in elementary school, and she announces to the class, "I want to give the Bigmouth Award of the year to XXXX because she clearly wins it in this class!" ha ha ho ho. Let's embarrass someone and see if they laugh at being the butt of your jokes.

But sometimes as this person grows up, they become more subtle. You know the type, don't you? Like, they see you when you are 6 months pregnant and showing, and they say (at a bus stop or on line at PTA), "hey, mazel tov! Now I understand why your daughter told us every Sunday in carpool that you vomit every morning! B'sha'a Tova!". The truth is, people don't know how to react to this.

They enjoy pointing out embarrassing situations, minor faults in your children, etc. etc.

And thankfully, for every stupid person like this, there are handsful of polite, nice, thoughtful individuals who may THINK "about time she put on maternity, she's been green and gagging for four months" but they just focus on the positive and say, Abigezunt!

But perhaps it is healthy to meet up with a person like this every now and then. Because you walk away thinking more carefully about how to talk to people. And thinking about what NOT to say to someone.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Problem is You Think You Have to Entertain Them...

All those who send their kids away for the summer, or go away to summer homes, are now back and whining and complaining.

"I have to entertain my children for another week! How many perks do these rebbis and moros need? If THEY had to work a regular full time job, THEY wouldn't want their kids home! Why do our children have to have another week of vacation? Just 'cuz the rest of the world (not to be confused with "the oilom") start after Labor Day, WE have to?"

Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah. Quite whining. You sound ridiculous:
1. They are YOUR children. This 10 week summer vacation did not start with your kids when tey entered elementary school. Remember? You loved all that vacation time when you were a child, now it is their turn!

2. Stop using the word "entertain". It clearly shows the way you are raising your children. Start thinking about this when they are infants, toddlers, little children. Teach them how to have fun without you orchestrating and controlling every minute. Let them see the joy of being content with being by themselves for a little bit. Allow your children to find fun in mundane things, and teach them WHEN THEY ARE YOUNG that you are not a camp director, and it is okay if they have a few days without running to the mall, having pizza for all meals, spending a free whole day at an amusement park, etc.

3. You know in June that when end of August comes around, you will have to make some plans for your children. Call other moms and make arrangements. It is likely your friends are in the same situation as you are. If not, this is the time to pull out games they haven't played in a while, have them bake for yomtov, or, Gasp! Let them organize ball games, trips to the park, or if older, trips to other places with a parent or two to volunteer to drive them.

4. Let your bigger kids organize a pre- school camp for different ages. Or if you are an entrepreneur, YOU be the camp director and arrange activities and trips for those kids of your friends who are falling apart and have nothing to do with their kids!

and really, stop complaining about the "perks" of teaching. If you aren't in chinuch, you get perks, too. Like every legal holiday off. Like health insurance. Like yearly bonuses or raises.

And if you are in a job that doesn't have those perks, so, you don't have them! Guess what?! Not everyone has it easy! Not everyone has the good life! Not everyone has perks!

Really, it is so tiresome to hear this every year. Make plans in advance.

Sunday, August 23, 2009 has a GREAT sense of humor!!

This is just such a great joke!

I mean, it has to be a joke. otherwise it is just to stupid to even explain., known in Eli's Bagels and Mechel's as Vosizneias, has an article about how two AP photographers took pictures of chareidi women at a separate beach in Tel Aviv.
The outrage!
The lack of Privacy!
The Lack of Sensitivity to the Orthodox Chareidi Woman (sorry, Lady)!!
The Rudeness!
The Trickery!

So of course I had to look at the picture to see if it's some Ortho Babe from Bnei Brak.
Maybe it would even be a relative or someone I'd recognize! Hey, Israel ain't that big.
The article pointed out that the faces were "edited out". Oh well, still worth a look.



It is just so untzniusdik to see women in their shapeless housedresses and stockings. And turbans. Those AP photographers should be ashamed that they photographed women at a separate beach dressed as if they were going shopping or watching their kids in the park.

An outrage. Time to throw diapers and burn cars

Friday, August 21, 2009

Each One of You Are Special- But Why Are You Different?

Yes, that confusing title is the message being sent to our children today. Mainly the girls, but the boys as well. I love it when there is a "theme" of the year, such as
"Bishvili Nivra Ha'olam" (someone help me figure out how to insert hebrew letters here),
or "Our Individuality Is What Makes Us Special"
or "Hashem Loves All Of Us, Even If We Are Not Perfect",
or the best, "You Don't Have To Impress Other People To Be Accepted".

What a load of malicious duplicity we are inflicting on our children!!

OF COURSE we don't want them to be individuals! They must all dress the same way. A girl who loves bright colors cannot wear anything too colorful, since there are rules (here in Monsey, anyway) about shoe color, tights color, earring color, probably coat color. You know those cute Claire's earrings, that are in the shape of a flip-flop or a banana? Ossur. To0 "rechovi".

The twelfth grade in my daughters' high school wanted to order sweatshirts. They were told they couldn't get hoodies, or sweaters/sweatshirts with zippers. Not a refined look. Guess what, Menahalos! Some people like to dress casual. Dare I say it? Even shlumpy! Sloppy! Not intentionally, but that is their preferred mode of dress. Blazers and formal clothes are not exactly appealing to the average 15 year old! So when did "refined" become the only way to dress tzniusdikly?

And I think that the reason so many girls push the limits regarding clothing is because they see the message they are getting with all these "themes" and Yomei Iyun is that, they aren't REALLy allowed to be individuals. They must conform to a set a rules defined more and more by the chassidish world, and being viewed everywhere as the only way to be a true right wing frum person.

Read the article in last week's Mishpacha Magazine (which I love every week, btw). About people being drawn to the chassidish world and it's effect on them and their relationships with family. There is very little vocal opposition to the masses being enthralled by everything chassidish.

And our principals and moros and teachers and rebbeim need to stop panicking that if someone wants to be a little out of the box, different, creative, it means they are on the road to decadence and immorality.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Lights Are On, But Nobody's Home

Thank you G6 for your creative and amusing title. It has been put to good use.

what's with flashing or honking friends as you drive by? I was at an intersection off of 306 this afternoon when I heard wild honking. I whipped my head around and shrieked to my kids, "what?! what is it? Do I have a flat? Did I run over a streimel? was it a streimel on a head? Is there a cop honking me? who is it? who is it?"

My kids stopped talking and just stared at me. I had a wild look and my whipping around flipped my shaitel into my mouth, and the ends got caught on my sunglasses. I was frightful looking.

Thank you to my friend who doesn't call me but feels the need to honk like a meshugana when she sees me.

flashing someone from behind them. I was waiting to turn a corner, when a minivan pulled up behind me, like really, really close behind me. then she started flashing her headlights. First I thought, "Are my lights on but they shouldn't be? Are my lights off when they should be on? Did I go through a red light? Was I suppose to turn?"
then I got annoyed and thought, no way is that female flashing her brights because I didn't make the left turn when there was a five second break between the 18 wheeler and the school bus. She must be kidding! I was really irked and distracted, then my youngest shouted, "Hey Ma! It's your friend _____!!"

when I drive, I drive. I flash my brights if it is 8:45 and getting dark and oncoming traffic doesn't have their lights on.

And I honk when someone is walking with their back to the traffic three feet off the shoulder. Or when I pull into a driveway to pick someone up.

You want to talk to me? great! CALL ME ON THE PHONE!!

now come up with a title for this post

Friday, July 24, 2009

I saw a couple today

today as I pulled into a parking lot I saw a couple getting out of a Camry.
The car looked well maintained, and they looked young, so I assumed they are a relatively new young couple. The guy came out first. He was not too tall, but well built. The latest in (what looked to me) cool athletic footwear. He had strong features, beautiful blue eyes (we got out of our car almost at the same time, and I notice blue eyes), Check Spellingand said something to his wife that made him smile- and it was a great smile.
He quickly stepped around the back of the car to get his wife, who was coming out of her side. She had beautiful auburn hair (the two inches of it I could see) and he said something to her that made her laugh- the classic tinkling sweet laugh you read about in Victorian novels and wait to hear. That was her laugh. He took her hand and they went into the store. I thought about how happy they looked. They have their whole future ahead of them, prime of their youth, a lifetime of raising kids, building relationships, enjoying life together. I sighed and thought how fast those 23 years have gone for me, since I was first married. Happy times, but gone by so quickly.

Later I saw an older couple getting out of a Toyota Camry. Actually, an old couple. The man was short and gave the appearance of having once been well built. He was wearing what was probably the latest is comfortable orthotic footwear, solid and comfortable. He had blue eyes which looked alert but he blinked a lot and rubbed his eyes. He leaned into the car and said something to his wife- and smiled a smile that probably still thrills her. He slowly made his way around the back of the car, holding onto the trunk for support, and pausing at least once. When he got to his wife to help her out, I could see her hair was dyed auburn - probably trying to keep the color it once had been in her youth. He said something to her that made her laugh, a slow, trembling, delicate laugh, low timbre. Her hand shook a bit as she gave him her hand, and together they slowly shuffled towards the store. I thought of how they had probably been a lifetime together, raising a family, seeing happy times and hardships, going through their prime years and now their golden years. They were now as they had been when they were first married, just older, more comfortable with each other, more entwined.
I hope those years will be so wonderful for me. I didn't think the first 23 would go by so quickly, and I hope the next decades are filled with happiness and contentment. Like I saw on the faces of both couples.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I Saw A Woman Today

I saw a woman today whom I used to sit behind in shul.
She was always dressed beautifully.
Her hats always matched her dresses.
Her daughter was slim, pretty, very with it, popular with the crowd of young people hanging around outside of shul.
Her husband was a "macher" in the shul- loud, outspoken, rich and influential in shul politics.
She seemed, back then, bigger than life.

I saw her today and almost didn't recognize her.
I haven't grown much in the past 20 years. She must have shrunk a little.
Her hair wasn't "done".
As she pushed the shopping cart she was shuffling along. In her practical orthopedic shoes and a long denim skirt. She looked so old. And frail. And smaller.

I saw a woman today whom I knew when I was young and she was my mother's contemporary.

what happened?

20 years passed by. Life has continued. She is a great grandmother.

The things that I noticed that seemed important 20 years ago are not so important now.
She didn't know who I was.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

and here's another one...

a teacher in one of the bais yaakov schools told her class how she was very inspired by something she heard while passing the Bais Rochel elementary school (Bais Rochel is super right wing/yeshivish/no denim out of school/a step away from chassidish).

The girls were playing machanayim and shouting, "The ball is not alive! It's a not alive ball!"

The BY teacher told her class, "I thought it was so refined and inspiring, a much nicer word than dead!"


I think it just proves they have a limited English vocabulary and make poor word choices.

Ma, there is a not alive bug on my pillow. The interior light was left on and now my car battery is not alive. Gentlemen, that idea is not alive in the water.

I get it. We are different. Saying to a person, "you touch that, buddy, and you are dead meat" is not the most polite or mentchlach way to talk. Speech is very important to us, choice of words are a reflection of how we live and what is meaningful to us. No arguement there. But what is wrong with saying dead?
This is Monsey. We revel in not using the correct words. for example:

A member of the armed forces? an army man
paper towels are called towel paper (like toilet paper) amongst the Rockland Kosher crowd.

I don't want to go with you but.

My mother she doesn't let me go.

and there is a difference between limited vocabulary and yinglish.



I couldn't make this up. This is one that even if I wanted to show how insane some schools are, I wouldn't have thought of this:
Bais Yaakov of Monsey will not be having dances in their concerts anymore.
Instead, there will be hand movements coordinating with the music. Which is already quite filtered and limited.
Because dancing is unTzniyusdik.

What, exactly, did Miriam do at the Yam Suf?
She stood there in her pleated skirt and buttoned up heavy cotton blouse two sizes too big and waved her hands. While off to the side, probably hiding under a sand dune, other women banged out a tune. With their almost stationary feet. And of course Miriam and the other women did NOT raise their hands over their head. Because their blouses may have become untucked. Or the movement of had raising would cause the blouse to ride up slightly over their female bodies.

Of course, since no other body part was moving, it didn't matter that they weren't wearing dangly jingling earrings. Little pearl studs don't move.

but this is actually not too surprising. for those of you who have attended these concert/plays (which take as long as speeches in the kremlin) this is the logical eventual outcome of a lot of rules and regulations.
1. most of the plays have seriously cut down on the number of male characters. Those that remain are either priests, rabbis, or fathers with zero personality and horrid dialogue
2.any scene that does have a male in it is short, and if there is a female, they stand further apart that a chassidish couple on their first "bshow"
3. since you can't have men wear pleated skirts, and still be considered a male character, all pants are loose concoctions with the crotch sewn in at the knees. sort of like pants falling down, but the waistband sits on the waist. and the jackets, usually procurred from older brothers who are 6'3" and weigh somewhere in the neighborhood of 175 lbs., come down to that crotch at the knees. add to that a banged up hat covering half the face, and ALWAYS a girl with the longest hair in school, and they don't look like men. they look like fugitive migdets with speech impediments (they all mumble).

I do believe we have a problem with too many of our beautiful bnos yisroel pushing the limits with hemlines and tight tops. Especially if they are from homes that disapprove of such dress. But don't these principals and champions of tzniyus realize that their ridiculous rules and limits are contributing to our girls rebelliousness?

I think this same school had allowed a G.O. several years ago to plan a school trip which included a ropes course. The girls were all psyched- and then the ruling was issued, as I heard it from a G.O. member : "the ropes course is cancelled, Pas Nisht for bais yaakov girls to be swinging from trees".

I think these people are nuts. And you wonder why you see a BYM graduate 8 years later, married, with a shaitel down to her lower body, tight skirts, zona shoes, and empty 65" high def t.v. boxes on their driveway??

not every bais yaakov in monsey thinks like this one does

the straws is not a new thing. it doesn't look refined. The only reason this rule didn't exist 15 years ago is because water bottles weren't a way to drink. we used fountains. or little cans of shoprite juice.

I think the rabbonim and female principals worry every time there is a new trend. They are so scared of technology or changes in our society, that their knee-jerk reaction is to find a reason to assur it.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Jewish Snopes

It is time for the Jewish Snopes website.

Topics include:
Hashgacha Pratis Stories. I of course believe in Hashgacha Pratis, I just don't believe that all the stories actually happened the way they are told.

Miracles in Israel. Most include animals or Gilguls.

Shidduchim questions. NEVER once have I been asked about plastic/real dishes or types of underwear worn by boy/girl

add some of your own, please!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My Bubbie Survived Auchwitz, My Dad Helps at Tomchei Shabbos, I Am Glad I Have Feet

What do those seemingly random titles have in common?
They were all put in a Cantata at a girls' graduation.

Instead of the usual boring and long cantata, written by a teacher where every other sentence ends in a verb, this year the school culled one line from each of the 90 graduates' yearbook contribution.
What, you exclaim? How can you take one sentence from each paragraph and make them all sound cohesive?

Guess what! You can't.

AND every other sentence ended in a verb:
My father that morning did to Slichos go,
and so he did miss that burning in-fer-no.
(about 9/11)

My grandma the camps did survive,
and b'chasdei hashem to her health she does thrive
(I would have written "b'chasdai hashem she still does survive" but that sounds a bit too good)

Then there were three lines in a row:
The Kedoshim of Mumbai
My father volunteers at Tomchei Shabbos
I appreciate the gift of sight or some other one of the five senses.

It was really awful.
I am sure the original paragraphs written by the graduates were wonderful. But who had the idea to combine sentences? And then why didn't anyone scream about how ridiculous this sounds?

Okay, this is like the Emperor's New WARDROBE.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Move over, slaughtered Bobov cow, you ain't got nothin' over MY Bar Mitzvah!

At first I really thought it was the newest fad in themed bar mitzvahs. Have it in a jail. Play Jail House (Schlock) Rock. Eat Key Lime Pie. Give out handcuffs to the kids (uh, maybe not).

Hosting his son's bar mitzvah (and because it was such a success, his daughter's vort a few months later) while in prison. Complete with dancing in the prison gym, a kosher caterer, 60 invited guests, including rabbis, and a Famous Jewish Singer.

okay, I am not one to forgo a business deal, but didn't the caterer, the singer, or the guests have any SHAME AT ALL??? Or like, maybe the wife? or, the convict himself?

This isn't like he was in a hospital bed with a broken hip. Maybe Schwekey thought it was a mitzvah concert, like singers some times do (very generously), when visiting kids l/a in the hospital.
When the prisoner called the caterer, and said to him,

Fraudster:"I am calling from the detention center"
caterer: "never heard of that hall, where in boro park are you?"
F:" Actually I am downtown, bottom of a building, and I want you should cater a small simcha, 60 people"
caterer: "No problem, let's talk menu"
F:" .... and only spoons and forks, because, hold on, what? I CAN have knives? thanks, rabbi! thanks, warden! You fellas are mamesh mentchen. You know how to help sooth the pain and discomfort of being in prison!

did the caterer think to say, "I am not sure I am available on that date"?

What rabbi, singer, or guest would actually attend such an event?

Who would want to say to his children and wife, "guess where I went last night, kinderlach?? A PRISON! That's a building where there are lots and lots of CRIMINALS and people who have broken the LAW!! Some of them have even been running away from the POLICE for almost 20 years! They usually have a law that you aren't allowed to bring in knives, cuz, you know, CRIMINALS and PRISONERS might try to escape by knifing or stabbing a guard!!! Hee Hee!! But I went to a SIMCHA there, and there were TONS of knives, but everyone was smiling and singing and eating, it was so beautiful. IT WAS A KIDDUSH HASHEM!

And if appearances are so important that you have to dress a certain way to make sure people know you are from a particular community, why aren't appearances important so people can see you are from a particular community?

Some of us need to think more about how our actions are being viewed across this country and the world. We are the center of everything, let's act in a way that behooves that reputation.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Meshane Shaim, Meshane Mazel

I actually don't think I need different Mazel, and I sort of made up the whole Meshane Shaim part, but I changed the name of this blog because when type in Brooklyn North, you get something from an NYPD squad room. They haven't been too active since 2003, but I figured I'll rename mine. Since I can't really call the squad room of the 77th precinct and ask them to relinquish their name...

I noticed something today when I drove by Yeshiva of Spring Valley, the largest and most mainstream boys' yeshiva here North of Brooklyn. Many of the 8th graders were wearing white shirts. I know it isn't Rosh Chodesh, D-Day, or Yom Ha'atzmaut. Just a plain ol' Tuesday.

So are we becoming more influenced by the rules from the southern New Jersey Torah community??

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I am really concerned about the articles the Journal News publish regarding events and happenings in the Monsey community. None of them make us look good. I think I could live with the offensive reporting (it's actually offensive material to begin with) but I am really disturbed by the hateful comments posted after every article in the on-line Journal News.

The commenters are certainly not the most erudite and sophisticated writers, but they probably represent the average citizen. And those citizens think we have no regard whatsoever for any laws. They think some of our customs are archaic and barbaric.

I can ramble on and on via blogging. But I don't write letters very well. It annoys me that local Rabbonim and Askanim who have good writing skills have not written to defend the beautiful and caring customs that we have in our lives.

But really, what WAS Bobov thinking?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Yummm, Fresh Steak

Bobov slaughtered a cow in their back yard yesterday.

Or so the Journal News reported today. Other reports seem to indicate that the cow was already dead, and some bochrim learning Shechita were "practicing". Though how a dead cow walked out of a van and remained standing and tied to a tree, I don't know.

Gives new meaning to the (I think silly) expression of "so fresh it's still moooving" (sorry, couldn't resist)

But I AM disturbed by the hateful comments of readers on the Journal News website following the article. This is why I think our Monsey community must think hard before doing anything that might break laws, besides the illegality of it, of course.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Community Ransom Notes

There are weekly booklets that are mailed or given out in stores with ads in them.

The ads look like ransom notes.

Every line is another font and font size.

Almost never consistent in genre.

I just lose sight of what the ad is, I am both distracted and fascinated by the many fonts.

And little bubbles and stars with information.

And let's not forget the angles of the sentences!

The center headline might be shadowed, arched, and rainbow colors, advertising, say, robes.

Underneath, in gothic style scripts, the brand names of the robes. None, I might add, are gothic style robes.

In a little bubble, comic sans for the store hours (location is rarely printed, only phone numbers).

and of course, at least one grammatical error, or even a spelling one, missed by a spell check because it is "their" for "there"

I don't know why I like living here, I get annoyed about something every day

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Shake My Hand

So here is how the whole Black & White Ritual went down:

I brought them to the school. My son came downstairs, then came up to me and hissed,
" You were supposed to have them call me down on the loudspeaker!"
Me: Well, you're here now, so give them out!
Son: Now?? There is no one out in the halls! It's way too early! And you were supposed to have them call me out!
Me: Well, You're here now, so give them out!
Son: NOW??

You get the picture. We finally got past the fact that he missed the announcement part of this routine.

When he got home, he was still wearing his davening jacket. I asked him why he hadn't taken it off.
Me: You wore your jacket all day?
Tefillin Boy: Duh!! That's how everyone knows I put on the Tefillin!
Me: How'd the giving out of the Black & Whites go? What happens, you just hand them out, one at a time?
Tefillin Boy: No way! I don't give them out! That was Chaim's job!
Me: Woah! Aren't they yours to give out?
Horrified Tefillin Boy: I need to keep my hands free to shake! People shake my hand and say Mazel Tov!
Me: Ah. So If you were walking around accepting congratulations, and Chaim gave out the danishes, then what was Yehuda doing?
Tefillin Boy: His job was to keep away people who don't get a B & W, like kids who don't really know me.
Me: the bouncer!

Of course I made him thoroughly wash his hands after all that handshaking. He went to every rebbi he had from Pre 1-A up to this year. And the principals.

He had his moment in the sun, his hour of glory.

What a great tradition!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tefilin, Donuts, and the Coveted Box- for the Donuts

There is a ritual that takes place in my son's yeshiva that is well known to all bar mitvah boys, but hitherto unknown to me. And, I suspect, to many parents out there.

It is the Ritual of The Giving Out of Donuts, and more important, The Holding Of The Box.

My son is putting on Tefillin this week. We were discussing it on Shabbos.
Older son: So who is holding The Box?
almost Bar Mitzva son: Not sure yet. I held Chaim's box last week, maybe he'll hold mine.

The rest of us sat at the Shabbos table completely clueless about this topic. So we asked, what box? what are you two talking about?

Younger son: The Box! The Box with The Donuts!! You give out donuts (but I don't want donuts) the day you put on Tefillin, and you go to all your classmates, and then some rebbeim. I need 40, since I am giving to every rebbi I have had since Pre 1-A.

Older Son: with A Flap? A Cover Flap?
Younger Son: of course!! that's part of the whole shtick!

Part of this ritual is the Tefillin boy walks around the school, giving out donuts to classmates, neighborhood friends, and various rebbeim. The Friend chosen to help is almost knighted, and the best kind of Box to carry is the One With the Cover That Has A Flap. Part of the ritual is opening and closing the box.

So Younger Son told us he wants Black & Whites, not donuts. Too much arguing about custard, jelly, icing, etc. This way everyone will get the same cookie.
Husband: Great!! You can get one or two boxes of those cute little black & white cookies from Costco. Cost efficient. And the plastic box has a cover that flips over.
Younger Son: (Nearly apoplectic) WHAT?? Those black & whites are tiny! I need you to order them from Zisha's! Individuals that I can Give Out From The Box!!

Older Son: (sigh) you are so lucky. I got gyped, I didn't get to do the Whole Box Thing. I put on Tefillin in camp!
Me: We gave your whole bunk donuts!
Older Son: It just wasn't the same thing.

So I ordered 42 from Zisha's.

What we do for our children....

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Traffic Travels in Herds

I ran out of gas on the Palisades today.

While waiting to fill up, I observed the traffic zooming by Northbound.

Have you ever seen herds stampede, or even just run?

I saw this when I was in Wyoming- a single buffalo will amble, shuffle, barely move.

When they travel together, they charge! Dust flying, nostrils flaring, a very noisy and swift event. And they all run really close to each other. So if one would stop to nibble a dandelion, or cough, he would be rear ended by the rest of the herd, and a pile-up would occur out on the plains.

That is what I thought of as I watched the cars zooming by. There were big gaps between groups of cars. Occasionally a single car would drive by.

Then, suddenly, there would be 7 or 8 or 12 cars all driving very fast and very close to each other. It looked like a herd hurtling down the highway. A herd of blue Camry and Corollas. I just kept thinking, what if one of the drivers decided to switch lanes to get a sandwich at the gas station??

The buffalo were way more interesting. But smellier.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Why I Love Costco

I feel like I am feeding my family very healthy stuff when I walk out of Costco with $85 worth of fruits and vegetables. Huge boxes of strawberries, bright green aspargi, oversized pineapples, and large boxes of grape tomatoes. And the six heads of Romaine lettuce (a bit too buggy, I think I might buy a light box).

But my favorite part of Costco?

When you go there in the rain, the little guy standing at the door gives you a paper towel to wipe down the bar of the wagon.

Such a thoughtful touch.

They could run a chinese action!

And on the last (or first) page, where all the thank yous and kvelling is listed:

And a big big huge Yasher Koach to Mike, without whom our hands would be wet and slimy and our wagons cold and wet! Your thoughtful touch is what made a mediocre shopping trip into something magnificent and truly amazing!! May you be Zoche to always be available to help the Klal with the small things that mean SO MUCH!!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Man With The Truck

Not a title for a children's book.

The Man With The Truck is a Monsey fixture on Wednesdays, at the Vishnitz School on Ashel Lane. Though I remember when he would come and park in a parking lot with his truck, and you practically went into his truck to buy the merchandise. Back then he didn't come every week, and you were notified by a flier in your milk box. Or Heimish grocery store bags. Like Klein's supermarket. Or maybe even Nagel's Grocery. But I digress. My point now being my experience shopping at the Man With The Truck.

I went there to by some boys' shirts for yomtov. I get on line, in back of a young girl who can barely balance the heavy towel, two tablecloths, and four pairs of pants in slimy slippery plastic that her mother asked her to hold while she continued shopping. This is an amazing sight to see. There is a line of people, mainly young, timid, girls, holding onto, or rather, practically grabbing their younger siblings, to keep them in line. In their hands they hold one or two objects. THEN when it is their turn to pay, in swoops the mother (or waddles, half the women shopping there are about to give birth) loaded with more merchandise. And she just walks right up to the Man who is the Man With The Truck and she pays.

So I have learned to live with this, annoying and rude as it may be. Hey, everyone in this town has become annoying and rude. So I am standing there, slowly moving up in the line, and as it becomes my turn, two young girls sidle into the line in front of me, behind the woman who swooped in to rescue her daughter who was collapsing under the weight of the damask tablecloths. So I said to the two girls, excuse me, were you both on line? And they answer, or mumble, yes, we just let people go in front of us. Okay, I see where this is going. THEIR mother didn't even pretend, she just parked them on line and then did her shopping, and each time is was their turn, since they had nothing to pay for, they let the next person go.

And of course, as their turn came, here comes the mother. But it wasn't the mother! Twas a relative or neighbor, because the girls said to the woman, is my mother buying shells, too? So then bigmouth me with the heart pounding and blogging paragraphs forming in my head, said,
"excuse me, it's one thing to be here for your mother, but not for a few people or relatives, I also have a lot of pesach work to do at home". They stared at me. All of them. Hello, am I the one doing something inappropriate here?

So when the woman in front was done, I swooped around them (I don't waddle) and said,
"I only have four things, I'm going before you" and I didn't make eye contact and I said it rudely and I acted like the ladies there all act.....and I felt awful.

Oh, and if you want a great Chol Hamoed Activity, the driveway there is one of the worst potholed, loose graveled, deeply cratered ones in Monsey. Drive really fast up and down the driveway with all the kids. Tell them it's like jeeping or ATV ing in the woods.

Hey Out There- Who Are You?

This is not a Pesach post.

Do you wonder about whom the other blogmeisters are? Of the blogs you read?

I know only 4.

Most I don't really care- either I enjoy reading their posts or I don't. Who they are doesn't make much of a difference. Though it would be amusing if my neighbor turned out to be Mike in Midwood. which is actually not possible because Brooklyn North isn't actually in Brooklyn. But who knows, maybe Mike isn't really in Midwood. But I think he really is in Brooklyn. Aren't you, Mike?

But every now and then a commenter makes a comment that makes me wonder- does he/she know who I am?
Or do I know who he/she is?

Like one of Sporadic Intelligence's comments on my post...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

how odd is odd

NPR has newscasters with the oddest names.
Sitirius, or Soterios Johnson (Greek and what?)
Corey Flintoff (but when he says his name he sounds like flintock)

my all time favorite, and I have no clue how to spell this:
Uedora Udohgi

phonetically, it's: Udora (not YOUdora) Udogi (YOU-doe-gee)


Monday, March 30, 2009


thanks, sporadic, super, and sally. you're words are encouraging.

how do you balance cleaning out the house of all food that is chometz, while providing enough food for the huge appetites of everyone who is home from school and yeshiva? And in my house, the girls eat, too!

I do NOT want to be like the women I meet in the isles of Wesley Kosher who kvetch and sigh VERY loudly,
"OY! all my bochrim are home! Actually, I barely see them (hee hee). They roll out of bed for the late minyan, and then boruch hashem have a learning seder, and after that they raid the fridge! I am glad they are home but OY!! They ate a whole cake and kugel that I already made for Pesach!"

Everyone's in the same boat, lady. Boil up lots of noodles.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The well has run dry

I'm done. blogging.

I'm not such an interesting writer.

too many family members who are good writers have better blogs.

I had good intentions, but didn't want to always rant and scream.

that's how boring and dull Brooklyn North is- I've run out of things to complain about.

perhaps one day I shall resume, until then,

arrivederci. sayonara. adios. Giga-waabamin-


Sunday, March 1, 2009

empty shelves

Wesley Kosher had 3 containers of milk left at 6:30 p.m. That is it. 3.

There were no more 5 pound bags of sugar. Not one.

10 inches is a lot of snow.

And Purim is next week.

So I guess everyone is thankful for the snowday to catch up on their Purim baking.

But here in Brooklyn North, by the afternoon the roads are usually clear.

So who is betting that it'll only be 4 inches? Or wet snow?

It's now 10 p.m. and nary a flake in sight.

I hope there is a snow day- I don't have any snacks for the kids to take to school.

And if it is a snow day, this household will be awoken at dawn, as one child gallops into the kitchen, and listens to the school automated message on Speaker. So those of us still sleeping can wake up at 6 a.m. to be told we don't have to wake up early. How does he do that?

Here's to wishing for lotsa snow!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Purim Collecting

see my poll.

my seventh grader came home saying his class is organizing groups to go collecting. The rebbi will pay for the car service to drive them around Monsey.

the group already decided they would send home any boy who drinks.

hunh? what adult would give a seventh grader anything but soda?

anyway, this is for a tzedaka that is a pet project of the rebbi.

Am I wrong to be horrified by this?

Encouraging our boys to be shnorrers and yentas?

because here in Monsey, the fun is not just the running around, or being driven around, and dancing in a sweaty furry costume.

it is about talking about the houses they've gone to, how big they are, how long the line is to get in to the house, what a G'vir the homeowner is, etc.

there is a discussion, either amongst the little collectors, or the person who organizes the group, about the people they are collecting from.

maybe I am extremely negative and jealous. maybe I am looking for the worst element of Purim. but my boys have had teachers and rebbeim who talk about these G'virim of the community, and will tell the boys,
"he just landed a great real estate deal"
"he started off with nothing straight out of kollel and look at him now"
"his father in law owns half the real estate on 5th avenue"
"his father supports all of Lakewood/Mir/Ponevich"

THIS is what we are teaching our children to revere?

please tell me your thoughts, maybe I need to be straightened out

and I welcome a better name for this post

Sunday, February 15, 2009

It's not normal how much we eat

At an all day lecture.

Begins about 8:30.

The crinkling bags begin at 8:35.

Cut up peppers, baby carrots (VERY noisy if chewed with mouth open), rice cakes.

Rice cakes with cream cheese.

The whole cream cheese container, conveniently with a knife. No wonder women walk in to these lectures with carry on bags like they're going to Israel.

That is in the first 15 minutes.

Then the break, when we all run to get another coffee and oversized overcaloried margerine laden muffin. Really just cake in a muffin paper holder. Very difficult to eat gracefully, once you've bitten off the top, since they are usually quite crumbly. Trust me, I've sampled them all.

Ten minutes after the break is over, new crinkling bags emerge from the shopping bag wrapped in the Macy's bag in the carry on bag. Out comes little strips of cheese (I can spot a South Beach Dieter anywhere) in baggies, then whole wheat flat breads with a small homemade portable container made out of a plastic cup cut in half with saran wrap on it. And chummus in the cup. THIS IS A PROBLEM. Baby carrots and pepper strips and cheese do not smell. Chummus does. And it must have come from a fresh container because it REALLY smells. Garlicy chummus on flat breads, wafting across the auditorium.

What this non jewish presenter thinks of all this wrapping and unwrapping of bags within bags and leftover pickle containers with big salads and crunchy noisy food in silver foil and whole packages and containers of cheeses and spreads and fruit wedges I do not know.

And this was all before 10:30 a.m.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Separate Seating in the Cemetery

Puppa has separate burial areas in their cemetery, so I heard at a vishnitz shiva. Yup, men in one section, women in the other. Tell me if you know otherwise

I am speechless

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Stomach Virus Diet

have you heard of this?

tapeworm eggs to lose body mass.

Okay, I admit it. Twas in my spam mail. junk mail. Fake ads. Get rich quick/lose weight quick/change your life quick.

But you gotta admit, someone out there is making fun and probably making money, too.

I know someone who doesn't complain if she gets a stomach virus. It jump starts her winter diet. Appetite is nil, looking at food makes the stomach roil, and after a week, you have that healthy gaunt look.

What's your original way to lose weight?

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Reb Shlomo

I attended a Carlebach Shabbos this week. To be frank, it was a little disappointing. The actual Carlebach tunes were of course beautiful and sung well by the chazzon, a singer brought in for the occasion. But it was only about Kabbalas Shabbos. And the after dinner tisch/kumsitz/sing- a- long. Shabbos morning, his big singing was Kedusha in Musaf. But it was nice to go to shul on Friday night (admission! I am female!) .This is a shul where most of the people are 50+. There are a few with young kids, but many people have moved away, and the neighborhood is not one that has a lot of young people with growing families moving in.

What was disappointing? When I think of Carlebach of my younger days, like when he was alive, the people who danced at his concerts or get togethers were, um, well, odd. Groupies, hippies, lost souls, or probably people like myself and husband, regular frum who felt an emotional tug and appeal to the rather bohemian side of life, but always as observers, and not active participants. Part of the enthrallment and electricity in the air was waiting to see who all was close to Reb Shlomo, and who his followers were, and what the crowd was like. And there was probably a faint sickly sweet smell wafting over the audience, but I was clueless about that.

I attended a "private" performance when I was in high school. Carlebach played at a local nursing home. I went with a friend and two siblings. And a lot of people snoring in wheelchairs.

I won free tickets to a Shlomo Carlebach concert Tanis Esther, 1988. How do I remember the date?
1. I could not find a babysitter because it was Ta'anis Esther night
2. I had one child, and I wheeled her, in her portable crib, up to my neighbor, via elevator.

(too, many, commas, I , know. Whatever,?!")

We got to the concert.
1. Carlebach was late.

2. extremely late

3. Someone had to run and get his guitar

4. He apologized for having a slight cold

5. He sang one song for 45 minutes

6. He asked the audience to come down and move closer and come on stage, and

7. Someone in a clown costume did, and spend most of the 45 minutes doing wobbly handstands and waving his feet in the air. Blocking my view of the hoarse Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach playing and singing five words (Dovid Melech Yisroel Chai Vekayom) on his bad guitar.

THAT was a Carlebach experience.

So no fault of the congregants of this shul who grew up with Carlebach and love his music and wanted to enjoy the intense spiritual nature of his songs, in the comfort of their shul, with their families, on a cold Friday night. And it WAS warm and beautiful and haunting tunes. And it WAS nice when the men all joined hands and danced around the Bima for a while.

But it just wasn't as authentic as when Reb Shlomo would sing and women with wild hair and colorful skirts and no socks, and men who looked not quite like men and had lost looks in their eyes and seemed gaunt or starved would shuffle around or break into a spontaneous foot maneuvers. And I felt sad because we seem old. And I don't think anyone under 30 really enjoys the Carlebach weekends.

And also, I am so irked that Carlebach is now accepted and played and almost revered by right wing musicians, when he was practically ignored by the mainstream when he was alive. I am an elitist and a snob. A purist. And I loved Carlebach music when it was played and sung by Carlebach.

And I am not so bohemian. And I do a lot of mainstream things. And that is probably the real reason why I enjoyed but also felt sad singing along with the Carlebach shabbos.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Chinese Auctions meet the Emperor's New Clothes

You may think winter has arrived because of the ice and snow and weekly school closings. Uh Uh.

Check your mailboxes- this is how we know it's winter:

Chinese Auctions. aka Legal Frum Gambling. aka The Great Black Hole of Gashmius.

I have really been content with my old yellow gold jewelry, but I feel I am just not part of this millenium and the Sophisticated and Classy set from Brooklyn- because I don't have a SINGLE piece of jewelry from David Rudy. and by the way, do they include a bright halogen light bulb with the diamonds? On a miner's hat, so every time you bend your head it can sparkle and shine?

I would love to meet Ben Barber. Does he know how inadequate my own sheets feel? (yes I meant that the way I wrote it). And by the way, does Mr. Barber ever make any money selling anything? Or is it all donated to all the auctions? And any sheet less than 350 count, or from some mid east country besides Egypt, forget it. Who really wants 180 thread count from Damascus?

I have no problem with the Israel tickets- though nothing can compete with the Bais Yakov in Chicago which now offers 10 tickets, hotel stay for ten days, full breakfast AND lulav and esrog mehudar Is that because only big families can usually afford to go to Israel for Succos, so that's who the tickets are catering to? Oh, no! It's to give the poor families a chance to do what every neighbor is doing, so why should they feel left out? But really, about trips to Israel? Always worth buying a raffle.

We next have the electronics package: GPS, Camcorder, Computers. I don't know why they refuse to offer a DVD player. Everyone is obviously watching movies. Or maybe not! The movies they take on the camcorder are home movies. And the computers all have DVD players, so that's covered. And besides, we are only watching camp reunions, high school plays, and Aguda Convention Keynote Speakers. ha ha

Around the Year: this can mean a few things: sterling silver for all Yomim Tovim: Esrog box, Seder Plate, Megilla Case, Menorah.

Or spend yomtov in...Eretz Yisrael for Succos, Lakewood for Shevuos (why is that appealing?)Hotel for Pesach, Hotel for summer vacation.

I like this new and novel one: A Mitzvah That Has Been Around for Quite a While But Someone Discovered it Anew: Shmitta. Own Karka in Eretz Yisrael to do this mitzva. Which by itself is a great idea, but somehow, seeing it in a Chinese Auction booklet demeans the beauty of the mitzva.

Don't forget the second tier jewelry- less diamonds, smaller pictures, therefore, obviously, for a teen.


and hello kitty! stuff? how tacky.

It wouldn't have that ehrlech and refined taste if the auctions didn't include a painting, lithograph, or visit to a rav or rebba.

I have some ideas for new additions:
1. A housekeeper to go with all the silver. Takes a long time to polish a 13 branch candelabra.

2. A Sefer Torah. Why dance with the shul Sefer Torah for only one Hakafa on Simchas Torah? Have your own and dance whenever you want!

3. A Succah room addition. Although the Lakewood Chinese Auction was stopped in its tracks, their booklet showed how much nicer our homes could look, with new moldings, railings, and windows. This would be a great way to include some of their great ideas, but through a mitzva like Succos, so no one feels they are spending money frivolously. And if you have a Simchas Beis Hashoeva or Parlor meeting in this Succah room, then everyone will say, "...but they do so much chesed".

And now to my title of this particular blog entry:

The biggest coup, the smartest move, t h e m o s t c l e v e r idea for a chinese auction ever, the brilliant concept, goes to ...

"The winner of this entry gains the knowledge that they have given soley for the mitzva". Didn't get that? This entry wins nothing. At least nothing tangible, that can be worn, sat on, slept on, looked at, shown off, talked about,talked on, played with, listened to, brushed, cleaned, polished, inserted in your car, your phone, your computer, your home, your home office, your library. You just get the reward of the mitzva.


and I assume you all get the connection to the title now...