Monday, March 31, 2008

knit (or crochet) for peace

there's a book ive glanced at several times at barnes and noble called knitting for peace. it lists charitable organizations one can knit for. its includes knitting for soldiers. its a cute book. being more of a crocheter than a knitter,i did not read the whole book. i think that the concept is more true than one might expect. but not for the reasons the book knitting for peace had intended. i often crochet on the train. you would not believe how many people of all ethnic backgrounds and economic backgrounds start talking to you. they ask you about what you are making. how long you have been crocheting.they share anecdotes about their own projects. i genuinely enjoy chatting with diverse sorts of individuals. i find it enriches my life. once i was on the train and this woman who i thought was from india started chatting with me about my crochet project and telling me how her mother used to crochet lace. at some point during the conversation she turned to her right and started speaking to her friend who was wearing a burka about my project. then continued speaking to me. more women than men approach me while im crocheting , but sometimes men are intrigued and start chatting about it. the cutest observers are little kids who become mesmorized by the repetitive motion of my crochet hook . it brings people together in a quiet way. a non-political way. people who might never have reason to interact. i enjoy crocheting for the social interactions it creates, just as much as for the craft itself. and through these seemingly mundane social yarns a more peaceful world can be created.

Friday, March 28, 2008

letting go

this week the weirdest thing happened at work. someone was fired. i work at a job where no one gets fired. in fact the management even prides themselves in this. well , this tuesday they broke their record. they fired someone . and unfortunately, they will be getting away with it. my co-worker had been in a car accident and injured her back. she finally came back to work last week, and as of this tuesday , she was let go. fortunately or unfortunately for me i had no warning that this was going to occur. perhaps i could have stopped it had i known. or perhaps not. my supervisor told my co-worker that since she was injured it didnt seem like she would be able to do the work and that she didnt think that she ever would be able to . my co-worker did try to fight back , but my supervisor being the clod that she is didnt listen. the thing is even if this woman would not have been able to fully uphold her duties she could have helped out otherwise in the office . im not sure whether my supervisor just fired her on a whim or if it was coming from the higher ups. i will investigate further on a day my supervisor isnt at work. the worst of it is that the woman who was fired was the only person in years who actually got together with my supervisor socially after work. no one else had the stomach to. so much for tl. but this doesnt surprise me . i just really feel bad for my co-worker because she doesnt have family to lean on. her mom is older and she cant live with her. her father is deceased. she is single. and she is injured. it will be very hard to find a new job in her condition. i know that the way she was fired is illegal ,and i told my friend this. she doesnt want to fight it because if she would be able to come back to work my supervisor would make her life miserable. i couldnt refute her,because i know it would be true. my supervisor could make someones life miserable.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

monsey madness

one experience i have not endured lately is a monsey bus excursion. i would say i miss it as much as one misses having a tooth in not at all. its the easiest way for me to get from mid-manhattan to monsey.or so i delude myself. the ride to monsey from the diamond district on erev shabbos isnt so bad now that the only passengers are allowed to put up the famed mechitzah(which is a sheet) and not the driver. on friday afternoons i had found that the mechitzah wasnt usually up. i dont mind if the bus has a men's side and a women's side, what i object to is the actual mechitzah itself . on motzei shabbat however, the mechitzah is usually up. when the mechitzah is up i make sure to get a window seat so i dont get hit in the head with someone's suitcase. when people walk down the bus aisle with a mechitzah up, they dont realize that there is someone on the other side of the partition and they will hit you in the head with a suitcase if they are holding one. another one of my pet peeves is when a man stands in the aisle of the bus on his side of the mechitzah and you are sitting in an aisle seat and the chassid in the aisle is suddenly sitting on your shoulder because if you cant see that someone is on the othere side of the mechitzah then they must not be. apparently negiah doesnt apply if its through a sheet/mechitzah !!?

Monday, March 24, 2008

off the derech and beyond.....

i find it interesting discussing the off the derech situation with bts. they find it hard to understand how someone could grow up seeing the light and veer in the other direction. i do believe that the torah way is the right direction, but i do believe that everyone must make judaism their own. shivim panim latorah. i believe that everyone is different and though we may have different perspectives we still can be striving for the same purpose. by the same token i know that there are cracks in the system and i do understand why people jump ship. some people find it hard to be an individual and if they dont feel they can be part of the group they give up. some feel if they dont agree with everything in the torah they cant believe in any of it. i myself feel that even if some things are difficult to observe or believe that it doesnt mean i should give up everything . i dont know if i will ever achieve the same level as some, but who cares? its about the journey, not the destination. i know that there are alot of hypocrites disguised as gedolim which can turn people off. lack of derech eretz by those who should exhibit it the most is a huge turn off. i also know that just because i want to ignore being jewish that all of the mitzvot dont just go away. i also believe that being frum is such a big part of who i am that i dont want to give it up. i also believe g-d has rachmanas and i prefer to believe in a loving g-d,not one of fire and brimstone. i know that there is punishment for aveyros, but i prefer to dwell on the positive, because anything else is counterproductive. i dont have the wide-eyed wonder of a bt, but the determination to uphold the mitzvot as one who has sifted through the chaff .

Saturday, March 22, 2008

foreskin's lament

i finished reading foreskin's lament by shalom auslander on thursday morning. how appropriate.though not planned. i wasnt actually sure if i would like the book, but i did. the book is about an ex -frum guy who has a son , but isnt quite sure if he wants to give his son a bris, and the internal philosophical dialogue that goes on within his head as he makes his decision. the book also tells you how a guy like him came to be who he is today. it was quite fascinating. like many of the ex-frum i know, though he no longer has the outward trappings of a frum jew , he isnt able to extract it from his head. some reviewers i read mocked shalom auslander's rebellion because they said that he wasn't even yeshivish , so what was he rebelling against. i disagree. no matter what level of yiddishkeit one hails from one can feel oppressed. look at woody allen and phillip roth. i hail originally from outside of new york and i can tell you that being modern orthodox where i grew up was equivalent to being a satmar chasid in new york. orthodox is orthodox no matter how u slice it. if you are shomer shabbat and and keep kosher you are a religious freak to most of the world . so i do understand where shalom auslander is coming from. what was so much fun about the book is that he is speaking about frumkeit from the inside instead of as an outsider . though i wouldnt mock like shalom auslander does, i can understand the inside jokes. what is fabulous is that by the end of the book he realizes that he still believes in g-d despite all of his rantings.
the only thing that surprises me is how praised this book is in the secular world . i wouldnt have enjoyed it as much had i not grown up frum or been familiar with the frum community.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

happy purim to all

purim is definitely one of my favorite holidays because i am a big fan of hamantashen. every year i go to as many bakeries as i can in search of the best hamantashen. more specifically i search for the best poppyseed hamantashen which is my favorite. the first challenge is finding a bakery that actually has moon flavored hamantashen. often all they will have is apricot (blech) or raspberry (double blech). they dont even have prune sometimes!!! my second favorite flavor.
this year however , i was rather successful. most bakeries did carry moon flavored hamantashen. the winner this year is ostravitsky's on avenue j. runner up is isaac's bakery on avenue j. i did try a hamantashen at j2 in manhattan, but they didnt have poppy so i had prune . i have to admit that i did find it tasty.
though ive done my share of taste testing over the past few days i still have some room left for a few more hamantashen on purim day!!!
Have a Happy and Healthy Purim !!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

its purim every day on ny subways....

the only subway system i have had experience with is that of the ny subway system. and what a wild ride it has been. for 2 dollars a ride or whatever it is these days ( i have an unlimited ride metro card for 81 dollars a month and the rates have changed recently) you will not lack for live entertainment. wanted or not. nothing like being on your way home from work, feeling like every bone in your body aches , just wanting some peace and quiet, and "bANG" they invade. the subway performer. you try to ignore them and read your book but it is impossible. they are just so loud that the noise goes through you. and you cant get up and change cars because you would have to give up your coveted seat .which is worth more to you than peace and quiet on a subway car. so you dont change cars. and you hope that the performer is someone who will quickly change cars after imposing their invasive shpiel. you hope its not a subway preacher rambling on about jews and non-jews with a voice that gradually rises to a crescendo as she speaks. you hope its not an alleged homeless subway parent doing a song and dance act with their kids. you hope not to get hit in the head when they do their somersaults. you hope there aren't any elderly missionaries on board . especially none that were born jewish. and now are not. or women on board who look straight ahead and say "i dont know why people say im a woman when im really a man". or someone from the united homeless organization reminding one to go home and thank g-d one has a home. and if one decides not to donate at least to give a smile....there's a purim shpiel everyday on the new york subways....

Sunday, March 16, 2008

one thing leads to another

last summer i saw arlo guthrie perform a free concert outside of lincoln center. it was quite incredible. i found the event mentioned in metro ny or am ny . i dont remember which. i didnt even realize arlo was going to be there i just honed on the part about it being a sixties music concert. as i listened to the songs i realized that i knew most of arlo's songs, but didnt know that he was the one who sung them. im embarrassed to say that i mostly knew of him and his father woody guthrie from crossword puzzles. the passage of time was quite apparent because many of the audience members were in their late fifties and early sixties. they knew all of the songs. they were no longer the youths of the woodstock generation.
after the concert i found some woody guthrie cds and learned that he sang 'this land is your land' . months later i found a hannukah cd of woody guthrie's songs at barnes and noble. i was shocked. although i later learned , after speaking with my mom , that woody guthrie's wife was jewish , making arlo jewish. recently i listened to 'wonder wheel' which is a cd full of woody's lyrics set to music by the klezmatics. its superb. inside the cd it tells a little bit about woody's history. its quite interesting to see how woody guthrie, as american as apple pie, ends up married to a jewish woman and explores judaism(though he doesnt convert as far as i can see) and even collaborates with his jewish mother-in -law , the yiddish poet, aliza greenblatt.
all these insights were reached because i read am ny/metro ny .

down memory lane

last night i went to the jewish music cafe. blue fringe performed. i think that they were one of the best groups ive seen perform there. their music reached deep into my soul. and i cant say that about much of the music ive seen performed there. but im not trying to gripe. ive always liked attending the music events there because they remind me of my junior high and high school days. the bands are predominantly comprised of young men who are y. u. types. the audience is a mix of yeshivish and more modern orthodox types, heavier on the modern orthodox types. it reminds me of a more relaxed point in my life before the new york religious idiosyncrasies blackened my spirit.

what is your dating age range???

now that my poll is over i humbly attempt to analyse the results:
  1. 10 yrs older 35%
  2. 5 yrs older 35%
  3. 10 yrs younger 21%
  4. 5 yrs younger 7%
  5. it depends 14%

i do have to say that i am somewhat surprised. i was hoping that more people would have responded "it depends." i guess that is just too much to hope for. nonetheless , i am still happy with the results. an equal amount of respondents answered that they would date someone 5 yrs older and someone 10 yrs older. both are fair responses. interestingly more people responded that they would date someone 10 yrs younger than only 5 yrs younger. interesting. however, i did not specify male and female answers. then again , you never know . a woman might vote that she would date someone 10 yrs younger. just the same i cant be sure that no man voted that he would date a woman 10 yrs older. though i only had 14 respondents, i still believe my results reflect reality. a measly 2 people believe that "it depends " as far as dating age range goes. this is a sad , but true footnote to modern times. we are still boxed by convention.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

rated R : anyone over 35 not admitted

when i was younger there werent strictly enforced age specifications at singles events. now events are becoming strict with a vengeance. while on principle i agree with it , in practice i cant say that i fully agree. a 50 yr old man should not be able to sneak in to an event for 20's and 30's, but what if you are 41 or 42? you really are just a few years shy of the limit. should you be let in? some events become that strict. now the 42 year old guy or girl isnt who you really want to weed out. its the 60 year olds ( and yes they do crash events) you want to bar. then of course there is the mishigas of one age range for women and another for men. this is silly. just give a straight age range and no man within seven years of the lowest age listed will show up. it will happen naturally. just because the geniuses running these things will let a 37 year old man in to a 35 and under shabbaton and not let a 36 year old woman in doesnt mean they are right...after all....we are experiencing a shidduch crisis.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


life never is exactly what you expect. of course this adage is all one can expect. its always difficult having hopes and dreams that get dashed. its hard to accept life as it comes yet still strive and hope for a better life. its such a challenge to internalize thankfulness for what one does have while stinging from not achieving ones potential.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

israeli movie :aviva my love

i recently saw the israeli movie aviva my love. its the story of a woman who is trying to pursue a writing career while trying to support her unemployed, depressed husband and her precocious children. one of the actors from the band's visit was also in this film. this actor, whose name escapes me, certainly has no reason to worry about being typecast. in the band's visit he played a sympathetic divorced arab while in this movie he plays a washed up jewish writer. what is refreshing about this movie is that none of the reviews do it justice nor do they prepare you for the grand performance the movie delivers. this movie is about a woman who really wants to become a published writer and about how corruption in business, even in a creative field can fracture one's dreams. and of course there is a subplot about how no matter how much aviva thinks she mut survive on her own she realizes that she can cope better with her loved one's rallying support. lastly this movie helps us view israeli society as people who have hopes and dreams just like the rest of the world while living with daily threats of terror.

verbal garbage

its hard enough attending a singles event , what makes it worse is stupid people. more specifically stupid divorced people. often when i've started chatting with other singles at a singles event the issue of marital status comes up. often the person says to me 'so you never got married?' and these words ALWAYS emanate from a divorced individual. in which case i want to tell them 'so your marriage bombed? what a loser!!' but of course i never say this. its bad enough married people can be insulting, why must singles insult each others status. its much softer to ask someone if they've ever been married than comment 'oh, so you never got married?' how rude!! its enough to get barbs from shadchanim, but to get them from singles is even worse. why make me feel bad for having never been married. i feel bad enough. and someone who is divorced didnt manage to stay married. so they should really feel worse. unless, they just like to insult single never been marrieds just to make themselves feel better about themselves , which to me is equally rude. verbal garbage directed anyone single or divorced is never acceptable in my book

Monday, March 3, 2008

divorced with children

i think the toughest guy for me to date is the divorced guy with kid(s). the reason i say this is because often divorced guys with kids dote so much over their kids it makes me feel left out. dont get me wrong. i love kids and i would love to have kids of my own. its just that it seems like they have nothing to talk about but their kids, and i have zero to add to that type of conversation . after all i dont have kids. i suppose these fellows speak of their kids so often to make it seem like they are real family guys. and of course i wouldnt be interested in a guy with kids who doesnt spend time with his kids or didnt make them a priority, its just that sometimes i feel like like these guys are talking so much about their kids that i feel like they are set. they have a life and i dont fit in . like i have nothing to add. after all they have kids and this all happened before they got to know me , with some other women. and the more they harp on about their kids the more left out and alone i feel. after all i dont have kids. i have nothing to say. the thing is i dont have a problem getting along with kids in general. kids usually really like me and i really like them. when im dating a divorced guy i want to know if they really want me and like me and that they want to be a part of my life, not just that i want to be a part of their life. i really want to know first if i want to be with this divorced guy himself because if i really want to be with him i will want to then get to know his kids and be a part of their kid's life. but the most important relationship that needs to be explored is the man/woman part because if that isnt yet a solid possibility, nothing else is (not even his kids)until this is determined.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

single vs divorced

one thing that i find quite confusing is dating divorced people . now of course after about age thirty most of us opt to date divorced people just to widen the dating pool. of course if you've never been married it becomes quite an interesting experience. after all, you the single never married one arent really coming to the date on even plane with the divorced one. even if you too have experienced heartbreak it will never compare to what the divorced one has seen . and for the never married one this could be good, this could be bad. you are lucky not to have seen what the divorced have seen but then again you havent seen what the divorced one has seen . as one gets older sometimes people think that if you've never been married its a bad thing because you haven't made a commitment. if you're divorced you get the joy of making a bad choice and fearing you'll repeat the same failed marriage.of course if you've never been married you're always thinking the divorced one knows more about marriage than you because they've been there before and this can be intimidating, and if you're divorced you think you've been through it before and it bombed, and that's intimidating. of course i try to say to myself that it shouldnt really matter whether someone has been married before or not because its not only about where we have been its where we are going. having identical pasts isnt necessary. its who the person is that is important. and these thoughts go through my head before i have even met the person!! no wonder im still single!!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

definitely ryan reynolds

i saw the movie definitely maybe recently. though corny , i actually really liked it . i'm a real sucker for those cutesy romantic comedies. unfortunately i arrived a tad late to the movie , so i missed the very beginning, which led to a little confusion on my part, but even so i really liked it. the movie was about a single dad telling his daughter how he met her mother and ultimately his finding true love. the part i really liked about it was that it started in pre-clinton '92, during the elections . ryan reynolds went to ny to be part of the campaign. to me that period in time was equal to the modern-day camelot (kennedy era). it was the only time in my lifetime that people were really excited about an election. it had been nice to see people being more positive about politics no matter how short lived it was. of course the movie kind of parallelled the decline and disillusionments of the clinton era to ryan's disappointing love life.
of course, i pay alot of attention to detail and what i really thought was cute was how they showed the progression in cell phone technology. the first phones shown in 1992 were huge, and they gradually shrunk. the movie soundtrack made me want to listen to nirvana again. another cute thing was how they really showcased nyc. i really love when movies do that. its enough years after 9/11 for me that i can just appreciate it without thoughts of reality stabbing me in the side.