Thursday, January 29, 2009

the evil one

what do you do when you have a friend who is somewhere in that zone of a little more than acquaintance, a little less than a friend, and you see that they have a toxic friend ?

i have a friend in this zone who has a buddy who is just evil and an awful influence. i would love to tell my friend to stay away from this creep, but i cant. we are not friendly enough for me to actually tell him this. it really makes me feel bad. it doesnt seem like my friend has channeled the evil one's persona, but it makes me feel bad to see him hang with someone with such poor character. i know that you could say that perhaps my friend could be a positive influence on the evil one, but im not convinced that my friend has a strong enough personality to transform the evil one.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

snowy wishes

i love winter and cold weather. it makes me feel alive.

today was snowy and not too arctic in nyc. for days when it isnt snowing you really have to check out the light display across from macy's herald square. there is a light show that looks like snow. i took some photos of it, but you cant really see the "snow" so well. i dont know how long this display will be up, but its worth checking out in person.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

more ny jewish film festival

i havent attended as many films during this years new york jewish film festival as i usually do. not as many films grabbed my attention as in previous years.
today i saw the film in search of the bene israel which is a documentary about the jews in india. although i am quite certain that this years film choices were chosen way before the terror attacks in mumbai, i found this film to be an ode to the jewish community of india.
the premise of the story is that the documentarian's grandmother wants her to visit jewish india and see where her grandmother came from. what makes this film even more interesting is that this jewish grandmother ended up marrying a muslim , left her faith , and after about 60 years she decided to come back to judaism and try to get her granddaughter interested in it as well.
sadia shepard, the filmmaker was not exactly raised jewish . her mother and mothers mother were jewish, but she also has a father and grandfathers who are not jewish- namely muslim and pakistani. it seems she identifies with all her religions. she admitted to attending bene israel high holiday services at a synogogue in the village (nyc, not a village in mumbai).
sadia shepard went to india to teach at ort and subsequently met members of the jewish community in india. in the film she recounted the story of the shipwrecked boats and the seven women and seven men on them and how from these people are the bene israel .
at the beginning of the film a shul in india is shown where they are singing a most beautiful version of adon olam.
many of the bene israel have now moved to israel . i know of many in the united states. there is still a semblence of a community in india, though it is quite small.
sadia shepard did not meet rivka or gavriel holtzberg when she was in india. they immigrated to india after she had left india.
though she is still exploring her jewishness, she brought her mother with her to this new york screening in true jewish fashion.
sadia shepard also wrote a book about the bene israel and of her familal origins called the girl from foreign. i actually have the book , but i have not read it yet.
i think that it is so incredible that jewish people have lived all around the world, and have maintained their identities as jews.
i would definitely recommend this film.

Monday, January 26, 2009

from schlub to stud

last summer i attended an open mike in park slope . max gross read from his new book from schlub to stud at this open mike. at the time i remember thinking about how much max gross looked like seth rogen. apparently max gross thinks so too. i just finished reading from schlub to stud today, and all over the book max gross recounts how he looks so much like seth rogen, in fact so much like seth rogen that it partially inspired him to write this book.

after reading this book, after purchasing it from housing works used book store on crosby street in Manhattan for $4.50 , i came to quite a stunning realization. all the nebs ive been complaining about for years arent merely nebs or nerds, they are all out SCHLUBS, except possibly not as lovably schlubbly as max gross portrays himself.

i really enjoyed max analyzing schlub job choices to general schlub etiquette. having two non-schlub parents does not guarantee coolness. and though one might not actually be a schlub, you could just have a few lone schlubby midos.

from shlub to stud is the cable reality show version of woody allen, and i actually dig it more. woody allen is a self hating jew. max gross is just some poor schlub.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


after reading frumkeptic's most recent post do frum people believe in gd ,it got me thinking of the past....

years ago i dated a guy who had a quandary. he couldnt reconcile how someone could be frum and not be a completely upstanding individual. you know the type.... shomer shabbos, but have horrible midos...... wear the most tzanuah oufits, but cruel to their employees....only eat yoshon and yet channel their inner bernie madoff... you catch my drift. this chap was a bt.

of course all of us bt or otherwise have to reconcile this imbalance, but for a bt this is especially trying. they became frum because they believed the torah way to be more perfect than the secular route, and if all of those who have seen the light dont fully uphold it , then what?

as a teenager i had grappled with such issues, eventually coming to the conclusion that people are people , frum or not. just because there are those who identify themselves as frum who are not the most righteous, it doesnt invalidate the torah. one cannot judge the validity of the torah by those who follow it. i tried to convey these thoughts to my friend, but i dont know if he got it.

at the time i was afraid this quandary might cause this young chap to leave frumkeit. it is now so long ago. i wonder if he is still frum. and if he's still frum, is he still single???

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

not drunk enough

i wish i had enough of the obama kool-aid that i could feel anything but indifference over his inauguration today as the 44th president of the united states. i think he will be an adequate president who will get way too much credit, just because he is part black.

the one thing that i do think is good is how so many black and hispanic people are feeling good about being citizens of the united states today and were all listening to the inauguration on the internet today at work (where i work) or wherever they happend to be. i think that this is a positive thing. i have NEVER seen people watching the presidential inauguration at my workplace (before internet there was always an in - office tv or radio which could have been used )

i dont like the perma-scowl on michelle obama's face, but i do like the way she dresses. and i like the fact that she isnt a toothpick. i do realize that neither of these fun facts display one's qualifications as first lady.

so time will tell how quickly the obama-messiah excitement will fade . im not sure how much i will be paying attention, but somehow im confident we will all find out. stay tuned...

Monday, January 19, 2009

friends that end

when you're dating someone if it doesnt work out , you discuss it with them, you tell them its not working , or you at least figure it out if they never return your calls, or if they just never call you after your last date. usually there is some type of ending, be it clearly defined, or assumed.

when you 've had it with a friend of the same gender it becomes a whole other ball of wax.

one of the first seinfeld episodes tried to reconcile this issue. the episode was male unbonding which aired june 14, 1990. jerry had a childhood friend joel who he outgrew , but joel still kept trying to stay in touch with jerry anyway. at one point jerry tells joel that he thinks that "they should stop seeing each other" and that they have nothing in common anymore. this of course doesnt work. in the end jerry decides to suck it up and tolerate when joel calls him even though he doesnt want him to . its just easier.

i find this subject so difficult. usually when friendship drifts its mutual. its just run its course. sometimes once i get to know someone i realize that they annoy the daylights out of me. and then what do you do? my so- called friend asks me what they have done to fall out of friendship with me. what can i say? i dont really want to tell them. it will hurt their feelings. its just the way they are. im not mad at them at all. i just choose not to spend that much time with them anymore because my mental state depends on it.

im a pretty patient person, but sometimes my patience runs out. some people are so sensitive that i feel like being friends with them requires me to walk on eggshells. which is okay. but sometimes i go back to being just average and not so accommodating, and then these same gendered friends get offended. im just too stressed to be their friend. if they were a guy id just break up with them. no problem . and im a good breaker -upper. but with my female friends i dont know what to do. its much harder to move on . its harder to "break up" .

Saturday, January 17, 2009

a new one

apparently i havent heard it all. i was at a singles event and a guy came over and asked me what kind of guy i wanted to marry. being the eternal optimist, i replied "no one here" . and of course the guy who asked me this said "what? not even me?" good grief. that is a horrible pick up line. if you are interested in someone dont pretend you are shlomo shadchan. just be chill and try to start up a normal conversation. if you want me to think you are interested in me dont try and act like you want to set me up with someone else! just when i thought ive heard everything , i find out i havent!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

matters of identity

when i first started blogging i didnt tell anyone because i just wanted to see who would happen upon my site. i was also kind of shy about people i actually know reading my posts. eventually i got over it and told some of my friends that i have a blog. usually my friends would read a few posts and then that would be it. so much for feeling nervous about friends reading my blog!

a few of my friends do read regularly as well as one of my brothers. i think it keeps me honest. if you write so anonymously you can forget that real people are reading your thoughts. if i ask myself if i would mind if one of my friends specifically read my posts it makes it more real, instead of just me typing on my computer.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

the new york jewish film festival

today was the first day of the 18th annual jewish film festival. i saw the movie emotional arithmetic, starring susan sarandon, gabriel byrne and max von sydow . this movie is about 3 holocaust survivors who spent time in the same transit camp in france who meet years later. its not so much about their time spent at drancey , but about how they move on with their lives. how they deal with the trauma of what they went through when others in their life have no idea what they had experienced.

emotional arithmetic would make a good tv movie. though powerful, it wasnt flashy enough for the big screen. on the small screen this would not be an issue.

the best part of seeing this movie today was susan sarandon's appearance for the q&a after the movie. she looks incredible for her age. it was nice to hear about how the movie was filmed in a month, how the director was a french jew and how the wife of matt cohen, the author of the book the movie is based on , was so pleased the book was turned in to a movie.

emotional arithmetic is available on dvd, but im not sure of how its obtained. apparently susan sarandon's sister who lives in chappaqua , new york bought the dvd and this is how susan sarandon knows its available on dvd.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

weighty issues

years ago i when i was at my very thinnest i had a blind date with a very obese guy. unfortunately i was too shallow to have a second date with him . he did happen to be a really great guy, but i wasnt able to get past the externals. i tried to set him up with a friend of mine who was on the heavy side. my friend declined and said she didnt plan on dating until she was skinny.
i would have understood if my friend would have declined the date because she may have thought that the only reason i had thought of him for her was because they were both overweight. it wasnt , but i could understand why she might have thought so.
i could not understand why my friend did not want to date until she was thinner. granted, i have b"h , never been as heavy as my friend was, but i do know that ugly people get married and nasty people get married and so do obese people. some people, no matter how hard they try will never be thin. they still deserve love in their lives. i have plenty of friends who lost weight to hook a man and arent too svelte now. i wonder what their skinny idealizing husbands think now?
i think that its best for all of us to take care of ourselves and try to maintain a healthy weight, but its important to find someone who will love us for who we are even if we arent as thin as paris hilton. (or as blonde) . i do know guys who are not so particular about weight and they prefer women with extra pounds on them over an anorexic prototype.
i had a friend in college who was severely obese who married a thin guy who fell in love with her and had always dated big women. in fact he preferred big women because his mom was a big woman, and that was the type of woman he liked. they got married and i know they at least have one child.
anyway, if you dont date because you think you are fat, you will probably eat more because you are so depressed and it can become a vicious cycle. there is always some flaw that makes a person feel vulnerable- weight, age , bad skin, height, hair, but there is someone out there who will love you for who you are. and if they dont , they arent worth it . we should all strive to be the best we can be, but in the end we are all human and one doesnt have to be "perfect" to be lovable.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


recently i went to a reunion with old college friends. i saw many individuals i hadnt encountered in more years than i would care to admit. it was an enjoyable event. it wasnt even too bad when one of my old friends opened a photo album of her kids.
some people didnt seem to age much, others i barely recognized. if one guy hadnt brought old photos i wouldnt have had a clue who he was. i consider myself to have a good memory, but even i did not recognize or remember everyone.
it was nice seeing old friends, but as i uploaded old photos, i also felt sad, for time has past. i have grown so far from some of my old friends. and its not just because they may have gotten married or have kids. college seemed so far away. i wished i could go back and relive the good parts of that time in my life. and perhaps change a few things. i know, i know. you just cant go back. only forward.
i did exchange numbers and friended others on facebook, but im afraid some of the past cant be transplanted to the present. sometimes everyone says they will stay in touch, and they dont always. it was fun all the same. i realize how important it is to savor the present because one day the present will be the past.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


i had an interesting conversation the other day with someone who is not frum. he asked me why "those people" who are asking him if he is jewish are trying to convert him because he's already jewish. well, i figured "those people" must be lubavitchers. my answer was that though they might want you to be like they are, what they really want is for you to become more involved in your heritage. next, he said they asked him if he knew hebrew or yiddish , of which he knew a little. and then he told them actually , he speaks indonesian. and then that made me think...
so many times people become frum and then they shun all other parts of their lives, not just the totally unkosher parts, but the other parts that are just worldly . studying about diverse countries and languages is interesting and makes one appreciate the world that we live in. it can even make one appreciate one's own culture, religion , country even more.
even though people may not be shomer shabbat, it doesnt mean that they they dont feel a strong connection to their heritage. they just may have other ways of expressing it. i think its important to respect that. especially since often this can be a relative. they may not emote their religion the same way you might, but they may feel just as strongly about it.
i dont denounce what any kiruv organization is doing. i think that its great for jews to become more involved in their heritage, but i think that it shouldnt be done in a way that embarrasses the person they are trying to bring closer. it should be out of love , not out of cultishness. and ... if the person that they are trying to mekarev declines to be frum, they should still welcome them. otherwise, this is being cultish. i think that kiruv should be just that . bringing someone closer to hashem. closer just means closer. closer cannot be defined. it just means closer. closer doesnt not refer to how frum. it just means closer. or at least that is what it should mean.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

slumdog millionaire

i recently saw the movie slumdog millionaire. it was amazing. the movie is about a guy who hails from the lowest of the lower class in indian society who is a contestant on india's version of who wants to be a millionaire , and manages to earn the title. this of course induces suspicion among the police as to whether or not said contestant was cheating. or not. the movie delves into jamal's life and illustrates how he knew the answers despite his destitute upbringing.
the child actors in this movie are so authentic its scary.
this movie made me truly appreciate the good fortune of being born in the united states .
slumdog millionaire is one of the few two hour plus movies that was worthy of its length. so many long movies could have been told in less time and would have been more interesting. every minute of slumdog millionaire is important to its story.
im going to stop here before i give away the whole movie...

Monday, January 5, 2009

never a dull moment

over shabbos i too heard the urban legend about the cabbie warning people not to go to Manhattan on wednesday. i also heard that others got texts stating this. i do admit that this freaked me out a bit. thing is , it also sounded familiar. alot like the e-mail many received after 9/11 saying they should stay away from malls.

after most extensive research of google and the internet i found my answer on the the yeshiva world news website.i hadnt realized it was a jewish issue. i just thought it was a cabbie issue. here is the link: ,also check out this link:'s nothing like insomnia to get the research juices going. i think that we should all be careful because its a crazy world, but i feel alot safer knowing that the fbi knows about this and have investigated it.
i dont think a terror organization would want to warn anyone about a terror attack. i think that they would just act. chas v'shalom.
i wish all peace of mind , safety and an easy fast.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

musical moments

for awhile i wasnt listening to the radio or any of the many cds i own. not consciously. i just wasnt. last week i made a conscious effort to get back in to it. and i actually bought a new mp3 player, a sansa fuze to be exact. its definitely the bee's knees. i love it. the sound is incredible. my soul is uplifted. being a little technologically disabled, i still have a few kinks to iron out before i can fully enjoy all of the features of my new purchase. im confident that im up for the challenge. meanwhile i already have 210 songs on my new mp3 player. life is good.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

happy blogoversary to me!

i wrote my first post exactly a year ago today. 184 posts later, its nice to still be at it.

at first it was easy to think about what to write because i hadnt written a blog before. over time i gained a deep appreciation for other bloggers , especially for those who post faithfully every single day. its not just hard to think up new content. it takes time to actually put a post together. i am satisfied with the results. i hope that you are too.

i thank those of you who are faithful readers . its a supreme compliment to have 6 followers : not a geek, brs, frayda , frumskeptic, mikeinmidwood, maidel. i thank all of you who have included me in your blogrolls, those im aware of and those im not aware of. and those who have linked to any of my blog posts.

over the year it has been fun to see which posts get alot of comments and which do not. they arent always the posts that i think would have. thats all part of the fun.

its great to be part of the the greater jewish blogosphere.

i had hoped to have had 200 hundred posts by the end of 2008. alas it was not meant to be.

thanks for reading this for the past year and i look forward to blogging more this year

as of this writing ive had 6,960 visits to this blog since february 10, 2008, which means its probably more like 7000. thanks again guys!