Thursday, December 30, 2010

hush

i just finished reading the book hush by  a woman whose pseudonym is eishes chayil..i am in awe.
sexual abuse in the clergy is not a new thing especially among the catholics. these issues have only been out in the open in the recent past. sexual abuse of children is not limited to any particular religious group and isnt only something priests do to catholic school children. its an equal opportunity psychological disorder.
 recently chassidishe as well as yeshivish pediphiles have polluted the airwaves with scandal. what had once been taboo to discuss has been blown out of the water. exposing such monsters does not mean that everyone who is chassidishe or yeshivish is a pedophile just like all catholic priests are not pedophiles either. the point of blowing the cover of such scoundrels is to protect the innocent who have been scarred by such monsters and to not let them ever commit such vile acts again.
a woman who calls herself eishes chayil witnessed her childhood friend being molested. she also knew of a boy who had hung himself because he had been molested. the community she grew up in was hush-hush about these events. they didn't want anyone to know lest it ruin their chances for shidduchim. eishes chayil wanted to wake people up. sexual abuse of  children occurs in every community and must be addressed so there will never be another child  suffering from sexual abuse. eishes chayil succeeds in conveying her message by portraying a multifaceted, loving  and g-d fearing community of chassidim who are a bit too  concerned with being spurned by the community for condemning child molestation and not concerned enough about preventing it in the first place. it might ruin their shidduch chances. it might cause them to be threatened  physically. this type of ignorance must not continue.                                                                             because this is a novel and not just a newspaper article eishes chayil was able to show us the beauty and innocence of a chassidishe lifestyle. chassidim may be much too concerned with what the jones' will say but they are also basically caring people.they  just need to work on this issue.  we don't need any more young men jumping from their hotel windows on their wedding night because they were molested as a children.
there is a reason why the world is more open about psychological disorders. it is so those who chas v'shalom have to endure such atrocities will be able to be helped and so abusers will stop.
when a frum community ignores the cries of those who are molested because it may be lashon hara or because  it could ruin the good name of the molester's family that community is condoning molestation. silence is acquiescence. the torah does not say one should stand idly by while children are abused. that is not torah and it is not frumkeit. it seems the chassidim are more concerned with the good of many rather than the well being of an individual. im not sure why. i know that ive learned in the modern orthodox school that i went to as a child that if you save one person it is as if you have saved an entire world. if one person is murdered it is as if a whole world has been destroyed. is this not a chassidishe or yeshivish concept? i thought that this was what the torah espouses. period.
everyone loses when molestation occurs . the victim as well as all of their friends and family.
thank you eishes chayil for writing this tenderly  written  book about such a grievous issue. if it will help but  one child be safe it will have been successful.  may this book protect  us all.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

text me!!

in the old days when i would call in sick to work i would have to call my supervisor and break the news. my supervisor is not a   morning person.  the most awful thing in the world would be hearing her voice when i would call in sick.
now the new generation has arrived at work. all members of the new generation would text my supervisor instead of actually speaking  to her. at first i didn't want to give my supervisor my cell number because id rather  not  have her be able to call me anywhere .  now she does have my cell number so i have been able to make the most of a bad situation. i had to call out from work yesterday due to the blizzard . i texted her. it was amazing. even when she texted me back with an annoying request it was still way better than hearing her awful voice utter those words.
i am just loving technology. i guess im now officially part of the new generation.

Monday, December 27, 2010

snow day

new york city has been hit by 2 feet of snow. its so bad that none of the subway trains are running and they actually announced it on the radio and it was actually posted on the new york transit authority's website. usually the new york transit authority website lies and says the trains are running but they really are not. this time they were truthful. it was that bad.
i grew up in the the midwest  and we didnt even drive in this kind of weather because its that bad.
stay warm everybody and don't be dumb enough to go out in the snow until the trains are running and the roads are clear.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

duds not dudes

i don't have any idea how people actually meet and get married and stay married . to me it seems impossible and yet some manage to actually do this. i must be missing something.  i actually had two dates this week with two different guys. they weren't even what i would consider the bottom of the barrel but i would rather eat black snow than spend another evening with either fellow.
one guy looked a lot older than his photo which though superficial  i do find to be a deal breaker. i think he may even have had a visible cataract in one eye.  i really don't like the old look.  sorry. the other guy looked young but could not go more than two paragraphs without saying a d'var torah. this isn't a bad thing, but its not the type of guy im looking for either.
perhaps this is all that is out there. lord knows i have looked. i don't want to be alone, but i definitely don't want to be alone with these shlemiels either.

Friday, December 24, 2010

shabbat shalom

usually when goyim at work wish me a merry x-mas even when they know darn well im not celebrating their holiday it gets a bit awkward and i say thanks, ill have a nice day but its not my holiday. some goyim just can't comprehend how someone would not be celebrating x-mas. this year its  a bit unusual because although december 25  is not x-mas or chanukah  for a jew it is shabbos which actually is a holiday.hmmm.
to all of the yidden reading this blog have a shabbat shalom!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

vintage trains

all through december at specified times on sundays the m train has been running vintage subway trains courtesy of the new york transit museum. yesterday i rode the vintage train from second avenue on the lower east side  to queens plaza. it was so much fun. as wretched as the trains are in 2010 they are still way better than they were seventy years ago!
the vintage train i rode yesterday was a mishmash of train cars from the thirties to the sixties all connected to form one short train. there were also people dressed up to be 1940's era passengers . even the conductor was wearing a vintage conductor's outfit.
the subway cars had vintage ads on them that were awfully fun to read as well.
the new york transit museum normally houses this and many other vintage subway trains. what makes this event unique is that one is able to actually ride a vintage train.
the last vintage subway jaunt will be next sunday. if you are in nyc check it out. if not there is always next year....!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

the wind

every so often i meet a guy who is as tangible as the wind. he touches my heart with the power of the wind and is just  as difficult to hold onto. let me explain. some guys act like they are here to stay but really aren't. just when i start thinking they will really be there for me they aren't. just like the wind. they think they might want to be with me but really they want to leave me with a chill. they can't be the one because their feelings about me are just as fleeting as the summer breeze. you feel the breeze but you cant touch it. i try not to let the wind fool me, but sometimes its hard not to want to believe that the  smarting tears the wind emotes from my eyes are for someone more visible than kramer's invisible glass coffee table.
i like cold weather, but i have never liked the wind.

Friday, December 17, 2010

16mm home movies of jewish visitors to poland in the 1930's

i went to the center for jewish history today and saw a most interesting exhibit. i saw the exhibit called 16mm postcards: home movies of  jewish visitors to poland in the 1930's.  it was a moving homage to those who lived in pre-war poland. americans who had been born in poland returned there and took home movies.  since these were home movies the camera subjects were mugging for the camera. it was amazing. it really caught their spirit. it was nice to see pre war poland caught on film with people living their normal lives.
one of the home movies was narrated by two holocaust survivors  circa 1982. these survivors had grown up in the town that was filmed. it  was moving to watch them pick out there friends and themselves in the footage.
it is important to realize how vibrant those who were murdered  were  before the holocaust .
this exhibit will be at the center for jewish hitory on 16th street in manhattan through the beginning of january. it is well worth viewing.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

don't let the bedbugs bite!

when i came to new york my biggest fear was going on the subway and picking up head lice. b"h that has not happened . now the biggest fear amongst my friends is bedbugs. some even go so far as to say that they will only go to the movie theater if they sit on a plastic bag. what about the subway? will they sit on a plastic bag when they go on the subway? what about restaurants? will they sit on a plastic bag at a restaurant?
i work in a public place and i dont have a plastic bag attached to my backside for when i decide to sit down (which isn't often because i mostly stand at work , but this is besides the point) . lol. i sit down on my seat at the movies sans plastic bag as well. bedbugs and head lice be damned.
bedbugs aren't cancer and they aren't aids !!! bedbugs are a nuisance and i certainly don't want any but im not going to let the mere thought of one ruin my life.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

change

babies are so cute. every person in the world once was a baby. so innocent. so full of hope. when i look at someone with poor character i find it hard to believe that they were once a cute little baby .
when does it happen? when does the cute little baby turn into the bad seed?
changes. they boggle the mind..

Monday, December 6, 2010

i told you so

yeah i know that this isn't a chanukiah but i liked the picture so thought id sneak it on this post.
a few months ago i had a friend who was about to do a very stupid thing. my other friends and i warned her against doing this very stupid thing yet she did it anyway. now the you know what has hit the fan and i feel bad for her even though she did this stupid thing  knowing full well  the repercussions. i still feel bad for her . i wish i could have influenced her not to do this stupid thing. but at least i can rest a little easier because i had tried to warn her,
it never feels good to be able to say i told you so.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

latkes vs sufganiot

its taken me awhile to accept the fact that sufganiot are a part of chanukah. for me latkes have always represented chanukah while sufganiot were the weak alternative , especially since i dont particularly like jelly donuts in the first place. okay thats it. i dont especially like the taste of a jelly donut so i dont understand why it has to share an equal  headline as  THE chanukah food . i realise the reason any food is a chanukah food is because its fried, but really now. don't you think a golden brown latke dipped in applesauce or sour cream is much better than a sloppy sweet jelly donut?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

happy chanukah!

happy chanukah everyone! the photo i have included in this post is a picture of a salvatore dali painting that is on display at the trump/time warner building on 59th st and columbus circle. in fact there is a whole dali exhibit in that mall.. its on display until april 30. its quite cool. check it out!

Monday, November 29, 2010

security?

my biggest beef against the airport security bureaucracy is having to take my shoes off  . not every airport has ample space for people to put their shoes back on. my main paranoia  about taking my shoes off for security is the  fear of contracting athlete's foot. has anyone heard of anyone catching athlete's foot from walking shoeless through security?  in the summer when i wear sandals sometimes i will wear peds through security and when i  put my shoes back on i take them off. i know i am paranoid, but i feel like the airport security should be able to assure me that  i wont get athlete's foot before i go barefoot through the terminal.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

the weight of the word.

i love when some people just shoot their mouths off without any forethought and then they wonder why everyone is mad at them. why don't they realize that it is so very important to be careful what one says? one may be able to apologize, but one can never really unsay something once its already been  uttered.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

something about thanksgiving

i never quite get why some people are too frum to celebrate thanksgiving. i can understand not feeling in the mood to actually do anything but im not quite sure why its a religious issue. its not a religious holiday, its just about being thankful that the united states is a free country and that we are free to practice our religion. these days we are even more free to observe our religion than years ago, so i would think we would be more thankful and celebrate thanksgiving. years ago more jews celebrated thanksgiving when we it was harder to observe our religion in the united states.
but ok, so you don't celebrate thanksgiving, why take on a tradition of having  a turkey thanksgiving like meal on black friday? is it just  to be unconventional? the only reason one is having turkey the day after thanksgiving is because its the day after thanksgiving. so why not just have it on thursday? one is allowed to eat turkey on a thursday. its the christians who don't have meat on fridays. when i went to weight watchers several years ago it was the first time that i had heard about the mishagos about how if you are really frum you celebrate with a turkey dinner the friday after thanksgiving. hmmm... maybe they celebrate thanksgiving on shabbos  its so it really is on a chag!!??
well, i plan on celebrating thanksgiving on a thurdsay this year. have a happy thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

palmistry

i am always fascinated by people who think that they can see the future, analyse handwriting and read palms, not they i have met many who claim to do these things. there was a client from work who i have worked with on several occasions who asked me if she could read my palm . since this was free of charge i figured no problem. i wouldn't say that everything this woman told me from reading my hand was correct but about 85 percent of it was spot on.  there was no way that she would have known these things purely by chance. i do believe that if she is a very aware person she might be able to tell these things about me, but even that is quite fascinating because many are so clueless about people in their lives that  they are supposed to know well.
i feel funny sharing some of what she said, not that any of it is unflattering, but more that it seems private.
i will share the following. she looked at my palm and said that im a hard worker , don't need to be a leader, creative ,  organized and like to finish what i begin. she also said that i am who i am because of myself and not due to others.this is very true. i think its the result of being one of five children. you learn to do for yourself otherwise no one else will. or maybe that's just life. sink or swim!
but still....i look at palm reading more as entertainment than reality. it is fun to speculate!

Friday, November 19, 2010

true nature

there are three ways to know someone's true nature- b'keeso, b'koso  and b'kasso- in one's pocket (how they spend)  when they drink and when they are angry. i have one more way. when one is startled.
recently  one of my co- workers  was in a room. lets call her allison. allison is catholic. another co-worker, lets call her cindy, is jewish and russian. cindy walks into the room allison is in. allison did not notice that cindy walked into the room. suddenly allison yells at her for startling her and calls her and f-ing jew. the funny thing about it is usually cindy is teased for being russian and not at all for being jewish. in fact her jewishness never comes up as she is just a two day a year jew. this is why allison's comment was so odd. then again was it really so odd?  perhaps on a subconscious level allison really does think of cindy more as being jewish than as russian even though she never expresses it verbally. after this event allison was very embarrassed. although this was what came out her mouth she never meant to verbalize it. i know allison and she would not strike anyone as someone who would call someone a  f-ing jew or refer to any one's religion when she speaks to them. apparently it is on her mind on some level. cindy wasn't offended because she believes that allison only called her an f-ing jew because she was startled. i agree . i also think that on some level allison is thinking of cindy as  a jew more than she is thinking of her as  russian.
for me the incident with allison and cindy re- affirmed my belief that just people knowing you are frum makes them think of everything you do as something a frum person would do and not just something a person would do. it doesn't matter how outwardly frum one appears or whether one is charedi or  whether one is modern orthodox liberal. everyone knows you're shomer shabbos and they aren't forgetting it.
though i am far from perfect i try to internalize this adage and behave my best because i know this is the truth.
( not that i wouldnt behave properly otherwise! lol.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

naomi ragen

i have always found that reading naomi ragen's books has been a guilty pleasure. you want to hate them but they are just too much fun to read.
the first naomi ragen book that i have read was jephte's daughter . though i enjoyed the book very much i regret to inform you that i have no recollection of it because i read it so long ago. naomi ragen was to me the first of a genre of writers who write about frum people because this is how they grew up, and they don't hate frum people and they dont have everyone throwing off the yoke of torah at the end of the book like an erica jong, belva plan or howard fast book.
naomi ragen isnt afraid to confront social justice issues in the frum community . people don't always agree with her conclusions but i think its good to voice awareness. she criticises to provoke change not to merely air dirty laundry.
naomi ragen recently came out with a new book the tenth song. i haven't read the book yet but i plan to. its already on my kindle.
a few days ago i went to borders for a book reading with naomi ragen. i had to go. i was not disappointed. she  is conservative middle aged  modern orthodox woman who possesses extreme fiestiness.
there was a small crowd at borders for her book reading which i found sad for such a well known author. its always fun to meet a favorite writer. it adds a whole other dimention!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

the propensity to sin

as a kid it always seemed strange that some halachot have to be spelled out. don't kill. don' steal. isn't it obvious? as i have experienced more of life i have realized that there is a reason that these laws are spelled out. one never knows who could end up being a murderer or could steal. or commit adultery.  i haven't done any of these things, but i have met individuals who have. i would never have expected these people to have done these things, but they have. apparently its not as obvious as i once thought. this is why it has to be spelled out and drilled into peoples heads. it is in the hopes that no one will ever engage in such grievous sins.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

do you date?

inevitability when im having a major kvetch session regarding the state of my unmarriedness and the unavailability of single men i get this question . "do you date? " when i get this question i am always taken aback. where in this conversation did i give them this impression? i absolutely do date , not always as often as i would like , but im not some nebuch who never has a date or relationship.
the only thing that i can think of is that perhaps a lot of the kvetchers don't ever date or make any effort to date. i had one friend who never dates  but never makes any effort to look presentable or any effort in regards to dating . but i do make the effort which is why i hate that question. although in defense of the asker it is usually someone that doesn't know me all that well which begs the question "why am i even kvetching about singleness with them anyway?" and you know, that would be a good point!

Monday, November 8, 2010

loneliness

loneliness will bring some people to do things they normally would not do. this is very sad but true. what makes some people so lonely they will do desperate things whereas others who are lonely will not stoop so low?  i don't pretend to know the answer to this one. as with all things one can't judge another until one has been in his/her shoes. loneliness can be so pervasive. its hard to understand its effects unless one has had the experience.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

fall back

i am loving this time change. i still stayed up way too late last night, but i got up at nu-8 a.m. instead of old-9 a.m.  nothing like optimizing a sunday!

re-evaluation

as a kid i always thought that the time one defines who wants to be was in one's teens and early twenties. boy was i wrong. self evaluation is continual. life is a serious of re-evaluation. or at least mine is . there are many forks in the road and times when i stop to reassess my values.
when my father died it made me introspective. i have a love-hate relationship living in nyc, but after much thought over the past seven months i have realized it is my home. at least for now. this is where my life is. i miss my family, but i am who i am because i was able to break away from them . and this is a good thing. in order to be happy i need to have my own space even if its as far as another city in a far away state.
i need to be away from my family but this does not mean i wont visit them or speak to them. i just cant live with them. not now, anyway. ive known this truth for a very long time, its just that i haven't thought it out loud for a very long time.
there is much else that i need to evaluate as well, but cannot put to words at the moment.
i think that it is positive to reassess one's life periodically, otherwise one stagnates.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

conviction

i just saw the movie conviction. conviction  is   the true story of a man who is convicted of murder and whose sister goes to law school in order to save him. it took her eighteen years to do this.  this is the meaning of love and love for one's family. how many people can say they have been loved so much by a family member?
the film also depicts the power of friendship. bettty ann waters , the woman whose brother was wrongfully convicted made an incredible friend when she was in law school. they were both older students which helped them bond. this was a friendship where when betty ann was discouraged by setbacks from her brother's case her friend abra would come over to her house and make her get  out of bed.
family bonds are very strong, and the power of supportive friendships help make life worth living. to have even one true friend makes life worth living. knai lecha chaver.
this movie also shows that persistence for justice can net results even if it may take a very long time to achieve .

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

trick or treat

though halloween isnt  a holiday i celebrate, there are a lot of dating lessons one can learn from this pagan holiday.
when i answer the door for a blind date i am hoping it will be a treat to meet him as opposed to the trick of a nerdly date being played  on me.
most of us dress to impress for  a date. sometimes we wear costumes that portray who we would like to be as opposed to who we really are.
sometimes  its hard to see the person we are dating through impartial eyes.  our emotions can serve as a mask so we dont truly see the other person's essense.
sometimes a date can feel like one is  walking through a haunted house . it can be so scary.

Monday, November 1, 2010

coffee and chemo

what does one say about someone one has never met ? what does one say about someone one has never met and whose blog one just started reading one week ago? what does one say about someones blog that one has started reading because one's friends posted about davening for on  their facebook statuses? what does one say about someone who has recently passed away whose blog one just started reading one week ago? i really don't know the answers to these questions. but i will  write anyway.
rivka, the author of the blog http://www.coffeeandchemo.blogspot.com/ has passed away. her funeral was motzei shabbos in israel. after viewing the four u tube videos posted on her blog i am in total awe. rivka speaks about her having end stage cancer and living with it. the positive spirit she displays is remarkable. it is honest and it is real. one watches her speak and realizes that any problem one has is the size of a granule of dust compared to what rivkah was living with. rivkah decided to be a person who happened to have late stage cancer instead of just being a late stage cancer patient. she possessed a calm and a warmth that even those who live charmed lives don't have. what an inspiration.
baruch dayan haemes. my heartfelt condolences to rivka's family and friends.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

dating 101

in my vast experience in dating i have found that i really prefer a man who is polished.  simple etiquette or lack thereof can be a deal breaker. no nose picking and no running one's fingers along ones nostrils on a date. no teeth picking on a date. don't put one's entire hand into one's mouth  to pick one's teeth during a date. chew with one's mouth shut.
another big no-no is when someone is disrespectful to the wait staff  at a restaurant. aside from an obvious lack of derech eretz being rude to the wait staff increases the probability of one having one's  food spat in before it reaches the table.
these rules should be obvious but apparently they aren't.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

30,000

just passed  the 30,000 hits mark. thanks for reading and helping me get to this place!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

its a mad world

i admit it . from the ages of 10-12 i was a huge fan of mad magazine. what kid wasn't? so when i read in time out new york that mary-lou weisman had written a biography about one of the greatest mad magazine cartoonists  al jaffee and that she was going to interview him at the strand bookstore this tuesday, i had to attend.
the evening was a real treat. al jaffee is such a darling person. he reminds you of your grandfather. it is always amazing to meet the person behind the creation or cartoons in this case. besides mad magazine al jaffee truly had a mad life and  during this interview those of us in the audience got a glimpse of it.
al jaffee was born in savannah georgia , but at six years old his mother took him and his three brothers back to lithuania because she missed her life there. of course this was in 1927 when most people were trying to flee eastern europe. he ended up living there for six years, and was finally rescued by his father and returned to the united states. while at the new york city high school for music and art he met harvey kurtzman, one of the creators of mad magazine . even back then harvey kurtzman planned to make a humor magazine with cartoons that would include al jaffee.
humor was the leveling force in jaffee's life. life gave him lemons and he gave back humor and cartoons.
the interview was very charming because it was apparent that writer and interviewee have been friends for a long time and have great respect for one another.
al jaffee illustrated this book with 70 new illustrations. not a lot of 89 year olds can say this.
in addition to mad magazine i also have read al jaffee's book snappy questions to stupid questions. i found it at a thrift shop last year. i could not stop laughing.
of course i bought the book and had it signed. i thank al jaffee for mad magazine, snappy answers to stupid questions, and most of all, for making me laugh.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

my secret camera

my secret camera by frank dabba smith has the most amazing photos of the lodz ghetto. mendel grossman lived in the lodz ghetto and kept his camera hidden in his pocket as he photographed everyday moments of jewish people in the ghetto. they are very gentle photos that capture the humanity of these people who eventually endured brutal torture. they are also very artistic photos. when i look at the photos in this book the people come to life unlike other photographs. mendel grossman manages to capture the emotions and personalities of  his subjects.
this book is available in the new york public library in the children's section.. im not quite sure why. its not really a children's book. its also available on amazon.com and bn.com.
i bought this book years ago and im still in awe of these photos.
my most favorite photo is filled with valises and many people just schmoozing. one's eyes can't help but notice two women in this scene who are chatting as if they are in a supermarket . in another corner of this photo there are two ten year old boys smiling as if they are having a grand old time. its the saddest photo because with  the distance of time we all know what happend next to most of these people.these "before"  photos show these  precious souls before they became the skeletons of nazi war footage.
my secret camera  is not a sad book . its a lovely homage to those who perished. these photos attest to how much beauty was erased from this world. their physical beings may be gone, but some of their images are saved in this small photo book .

Sunday, October 17, 2010

making strides against breast cancer

today was the american cancer society's walk for a cure for breast cancer. there were a few locations for this event in the new york area. one location was in brooklyn's prospect park and the other was in manhattan's central park. i opted to participate in the central park walk. it was five miles long. it took me an hour and a half to complete. the hardest mile was the first mile. i had to weave through a lot of slow walkers so i could keep up a good pace. once i got to the second mile it was a lot easier. the more serious walkers were there and there was a good speed.
the first time i did the susan g. komen race for the cure for breast cancer i was amazed by how many breast cancer survivors there were. it saddened me that so many had actually had breast cancer until i realized that it was really a wonderful thing that there were so many breast cancer survivors in attendance. it meant that so many were able to beat the disease and were alive to tell the tale.

today it seemed natural to see so many breast cancer survivors in attendance. it is even more common now that women will be able to survive such a horrible disease. hopefully some day soon no one will ever have to contract such a horrible disease because there will be a cure.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

the chilean miners

i think that it was a miracle that the chilean miners were rescued. im waiting to hear what the rabbis have all decided that this means in relation to the jews . i do admit that i haven't discussed this with any rabbis, gone to any shiurim, or googled what the rabbanim think of this situation. if you haven't yet guessed i will offer my humble interpretation. there were  33 miners . on the 33rd day of the omer rabbi akiva's students stopped dying from a plague . the 33rd day  of the the omer 18 Iyar is also shimon bar yochai's yahrtzeit. so perhaps there is something good about the number 33 that saved them. or maybe hashem wanted to show us that despite all of the horrible wars and natural disasters ( floods, tsunamis, hurricanes) there are also acts of god where joyous moments  happen. awful things do not have to occur just so we pay attention to hashem's hand in the world. i'm just saying that we should all try real hard to realise that the miracle of the rescue of the chilean miners is from hashem .

Thursday, October 14, 2010

there's no place like home

in the wizard of oz dorothy clicked her shoes and said "there's no place like home" . having been a person who always likes to go out on the town, i haven't always been able to relate to dorothy's wish. recently its been easier to understand her sentiment. often when i come home i  immediately think about how good it feels to be home. life can be so stressful . its nice to return to the safe cocoon of my own home.

Monday, October 11, 2010

who should pay?

i often hear variations of the same debate. who should pay for a date ? at what point should a woman pay for a date? of course when i hear a guy stating when he thinks a girl should start paying for the date i immediately figure he must not be making much money if it makes that much difference to him. to be honest most of the guys i have gone out with for any length of time has paid for me, but i have offered to pay. i have dated guys where we would take turns paying which i think is nicer than going totally dutch. this way everyone gets to be treated. of course before i would pay for anything on a date i would want to know the answer to the following question. will the guy being splitting the cost of the wedding if we do decide to get married? if the answer is no then he gets to pay for all of our dates. a wedding costs much more than dating does.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

wedding announcements

there was a wedding announcement placed in a new jersey jewish newspaper for a gay couple. the newspaper received much outrage from the large orthodox community who read this newspaper. the paper decided not to run any more of these announcements. the jewish week states that a lot of conservative and reform jews are outraged. they think this is bigoted. i find this hilarious. this is not bigoted. the prohibition against performing gay acts is against the torah whether or not you agree with it . even if you identify yourself with a stream of judaism that performs gay marriages the ban is still part of the torah. furthermore the u.s. military in 2010 still cant figure out its gays in the military stand , so why would you think that torah judaism would somehow embrace gays? according to the jewish week even the new york times did not include gay marriage announcements until 2002. this was not even as far back as 9/11! gays haven't been considered as mainstream secular society for all that long.  for all folks who are confused over the issue gay bashing is not equal to anti semitism. being gay is a sexual orientation not a religion. i do feel bad for orthodox jewish gay people because its something that wont be accepted in mainstream orthodox jewish society even if they are halachicly observant in all other areas.
personally i think that is radically refreshing that this new jersey jewish newspaper made the stand that it has. they usually bow to the majority of the reform , conservative or secular jew.
because society is so warped i would not ban  or refuse to read a jewish community newspaper because it listed gay wedding announcements. torah judaism is just so over to most jews that you kind of accept the fact that a jewish community will list wedding announcements of jews who are inter marrying , gay jews and non-kosher restaurants. its just that i find it so cool that a jewish newspaper would actually challenge this moral downturn in judaism and actually say that they wont continue to list such announcements because it rattles the sensibilities of frum jews.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

close talkers

i never forget my first experience of being on a date with a close talker. at the time i felt as though i was going to faint . i couldn't understand why until i realized how close my date had been standing next to me. he did not have bad breath but he was standing closer to me than a virtual stranger ought to. in general i am a big believer in personal space, especially when it comes to people i don't know very well.
the first few close talkers i have met were men i had dates with, so i figured that thought that instead of touching me they would stand as close as they could to me without actually touching me and be close talkers. well at least they can say they are shomer negiah. then i met women who were also close talkers.  they were not gay. they just had a problem with personal space. until i heard the term close talker coined on the seinfeld television series i did not even have a universal way of describing those who stand eye to eye (literally) when speaking to others. its always nice to have a diagnosis for an idiosyncrasy . once you can define what bothers me about  a person it makes it easier to find a way of dealing with it. or not.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

the state of being married

it is no secret that tishrei can be a bit depressing for me as a single woman. my birthday  passes and then poof, the jewish new year as well as my personal  new year begin. good grief. and of course im usually off to visit easily married off relatives who are constantly giving birth. im very happy for them and i don't wish my lot upon them, but sometimes its a bit difficult to keep the perma smile plastered on my face.
some people think its a shame that there is such a pressure to be married as a frum jew and that people look at you as less than if you are single . some think that it should be okay to be single and frum and people should not feel that they should aspire to be married.  i think that singles are often looked down upon due to our status. especially women. what makes things worse is when one is over the magic age (use your imagination)  and then less people want to marry you. what makes it even worse is that not only are you stigmatized for being single one becomes stigmatized for not being divorced as well.
i personally would like  to get married. just because its not as easy for some to get married than it is for others doesn't mean that one should settle and say one will just remain single. i wish that judaism didn't treat singles like the orphan , the ger or the widow, but they do. the only way this will change is when those who have endured my lot marry but don't  have amnesia afterward. so often people forget to treat singles with respect even after having been single so long themselves. i guess they are just trying to fit in. its too bad though. the only people who can really understand what its like to be single and frum are those who have spent time being a frum single. if those of us who get to be married after a long journey of singleness remember what it was like to be single when you deal with those who are single the world would be a better place. frum judaism will always think its best to be married , but at least one wouldn't be shunned for being in a state one never wanted to be in for so many years in the first place.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

sometimes you just have to be a b@*%

when i first started attending singles events i was always polite to  nerdy men who would chat me up. i felt it would be rude to be mean to them. now i know better. if i am too polite to some nerdy men they will never leave my side because im the only woman who will talk to them. it really stinks that this is how it is, but this is how it is. there are some men who use this tactic as well. they  may say hi to me at a singles event, but then they will quickly walk away. they don't even want to give me a moment to speak to them  too much because they think i will think that they like me. i don't think im such a loser that they have to resort to this, but i do understand. they're just not interested . sometimes you just have to  do what you have to do. sometimes you just have to be a b@*%

Sunday, September 26, 2010

questions and not so good answers

just when you think  you are progressing. just when you think things might be going your way  you find out they aren't. life's like that . it gives you an answer. it might not be the answer you've been looking for , but its an answer just the same.so much for thinking people can change. just when i start forgetting that the only person that i can depend on changing is myself, i get a swift dose of reality that reminds me not to forget this mantra. too bad.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

sukkah city

there was a competition of 600 designers from 43 countries to design the best sukkah. a panel of judges decided on 12 sukkahs which were the finalists. these 12 sukkahs were on display today in union square in new york city. the public was invited  to view these sukkahs in union square and vote for the one sukkah that will be displayed in union square on sukkot this year.  people will bid on these sukkahs and the proceeds will go to the homeless in new york city.  this project is meant to be recreated globally so people can appreciate the beauty of a sukkah and what the holiday means. the center of architecture on la guardia place in nyc will house the other submissions to this contest beginning on the 22, which is erev sukkot. so most of us who will actually be celebrating the holiday wont be able to see it until after yom tov.
the display of sukkahs was as fascinating as the diversity of the crowd who came to see them. there were jews of all denominations as well as non-jews. this too was a purpose of this project. to bring people together.
many of the sukkahs weren't anywhere near being kosher, but i loved them all. who would have imagined a sukkah would turn into a symbol to combat homelessness and world hunger? very cool.
update : the second sukkah photo is from the winning sukkah. it is called   fractured bubble . this one will be on display in union square during sukkot.

life is guided by a crochet hook

whenever i follow a crochet pattern i have never stitched before i always find it amazing that all of those stitches crocheted together create the garment they create. it just doesn't make sense. this is  is life. events seem so randomly connected but somehow you muddle thru and things can actually turn out well, but as in crocheting a new crochet pattern it doesn't always seem that it would.

Friday, September 17, 2010

age issues

when one is nine years old one is curious to see what one would look like as an adult. now there is some type of video imager that can show you what you will look like in twenty years. i think some ritzy dermatologists or plastic surgeons have these machines. personally i would not like to get within 3 days of a machine like that. i hate surprises, but this is one surprise i would not mind waiting twenty years to behold. unless i was nine years old i really wouldn't want to behold and image of what i  might look like in 20-60 years.

do over

if you could go back in time and relive certain parts of your life do you think you would really change how you handled things , not knowing what you know now?  its easy to say that you would, but if you didn't know what the future would hold . truthfully , even if you did know that certain choices you made in the past would be counterproductive you still may not have changed how you did things. when one is in the moment it is hard to see the big picture. sometimes there are reasons one makes certain choices at certain times and at the time they seem inevitable.you may not have done things differently. hindsight is twenty / twenty.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Kol Nidre by Johnny Mathis

i  just found this on u tube. its quite amazing. the jewish irving berlin wrote that goyishe classic, im dreaming of a white christmas and black, gentile johnny mathis sings the holiest yom kippur classic. check it out. he has an amazing voice.
have an easy fast and a meaningful yom kippur in advance.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

major construction

for the past few years there has been major construction at the midwood q train stations. one construction worker was actually killed at one of the stations during this construction period. passengers whose usual subway stop is avenue h or avenue m have had to backtrack on their way home from manhattan. this week brooklyn bound service for the avenue h and avenue m stations have resumed. the threat of the shutting down of the manhattan bound sides of these stations is looming in the not too distant future. no signs have yet  been posted, but this threat hangs heavy in the air. many will defect to the f train during this construction period not wanting to backtrack every morning on their way to work.
though the avenue j station has remained open on both sides  of the station, it too has been ruined during the current state of construction. when one exits the train there are MANY more steps then there used to be pre construction. it is very secluded on the brooklyn bound subway exit. very dangerous for woman subway riders exiting the station alone.
i cant wait until all of this subway constuction ends and my commute is back to its usual normal.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

im back....

im back from the midwest. i had an enjoyable time there. glad to be in my own space though. of course i will be missing my vacation very much when i get back to work tomorrow.
i went to the cemetery for the first time after my dad's funeral. it was sad, but i must say that it still hasn't sunk in totally. no pun intended. i feel that it was very good to have gone even so.i mainly went because it was before rosh hashana.
it was a lot less painful talking with my mom about my dad's death and the events surrounding it than it had been five months ago.
the whole experience has really made me want to evaluate my life choices and see if i want to make any changes. thinking about death makes one think about how one wants to improve ones life. funny how that can be.....

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

shana tovah!


shana tova to everyone. its been a great year of blogging. i want to thank everyone for reading my blog this year. i look forward to writing in  5771! wishing everyone a year of health and happiness!

Monday, September 6, 2010

the boy in the striped pajamas

recently i viewed a most excellent movie titled the boy in the striped pajamas. it is a film about a nazi soldier who moves his family to the countryside which is near a concentration camp he is "working" in. the ss man's young son wanders around and locates outer  fence  of this concentration camp and befriends a little jewish boy who resides in this concentration camp. to say any more about this movie would give away its poignant ending. im sure it is not possibly a true story, but its an effective one just the same.

Friday, September 3, 2010

time heals

im visiting the midwest and my mother for the labor day/rosh hashana festivities that are upon us. its been five months since my dad passed away. now it seems like its been a long time. right after he passed it seemed more surreal than real. now it just seems real. it also is much easier to internalize. ive already had months to get used to it.  it actually seems like even longer since i have spent time with my father as himself as opposed to his pre-death self. that was actually a year ago  labor day when i visited my parents.
the pain following my father's death was so brutal that its good that it has dissipated. time to remember the good times. the passage of time really compels one to to do so.you begin to forget the pain of the death scene and  replace it with memories of the deceased as they were when they were alive.

Monday, August 30, 2010

its that time of the year again...

here we go again. its THAT time of the year again. its the birthday. yes , another year has passed. am i any wiser ? who knows? a lot has happened this year, a lot i would have like to have happened has not. so i guess it has been pretty average. i wish everyone a year of blessings . i am very happy to have reached this day of the year again. happy birthday to me.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

im running as fast as i can


new york is such a fast paced city. everyone is running from one engagement to another . if you cant keep up with this fast paced beat you are considered a loser. if you actually get seven hours of sleep each night you are so boring. to stay home on a sunday and relax is the ultimate no-no. tell me again what is wrong with trying to sit back and catch one's breath every so often? no wonder why i feel like im ready to retire.

Friday, August 27, 2010

ciao bella


i recently consumed the most divine sorbet ever. peach ginger sorbet by the company ciao bella. blood orange and wild blueberry are equally delicious.  they are star k and parve. they are available at whole foods and pomagranate (as well as other locations) . try it . you'll like it.

Monday, August 23, 2010

the great dictator

i love old movies , so i recently viewed charlie chaplin's classic the great dictator . my friends, this is the most amazing movie. it was released in 1940 which was during world war 2. it is about 2 men who look identical. one man is adenoid hynkel (a.k.a. adolph hitler) and the other is a jewish barber. chaplin skewers the nazi regime. first off he calls germany  'tomania' and his henchman are named garbage and herring. one of the countries he fights is called 'bacteria'. the jewish barber is often mistaken for hynkel. chaplin is the first in hollywood to actaully feature the ghetto in an american world war 2 film. he is also the first to actually mention that the nazis were trying to murder the jewish people. he is ingenius.this is the first movie that chaplin's voice is heard. chaplin felt that the gravity of the subject manner required his voice.
coincidentally in real life chaplin and hitler were born the same week in april of 1889. they were both born into poverty. they both were interested in the arts including film. as soon as chaplin saw hitler's war films he was fascinated by his acting, as well as disturbed by his politics. chaplin was well loved world over for his films . hitler hated this. he hated the fact that chaplin was so well recieved by the german people. chaplin had a history  of making films with a political message. as soon as hitler was ascending to power chaplin knew he needed to make an impact, thus he created the film the great dictator. many hollywood jews were justifiiably afraid to make a movie so bold. chaplin was not. he knew that hitler liked american movies and that he would see it.  sources believe that hitler did see the movie but do not know what hitler's reaction to it was, beside banning it from germany.  an anti - nazi german who wanted to challenge hitler in a quiet way found a copy of the great dictator and managed to have a viewing for some nazi soldiers. at first they didn't realize the irony , but when they did, one of them started shooting the screen and that was that.
chaplin was so despised by hitler that there even is an anti semitic book called the eternal jew that skewers chaplin for being a jew. chaplin never confirmed or denied being jewish.
it is so striking how two men who had so many similarities , even looked similar, led such different lives. chaplin lived a life fighting for truth , peace and freedom  while hitler , yemach shemo, was pure evil.

Friday, August 20, 2010

fear of g-d vs love of g-d

if the reason you follow the torah is due to fear of g-d , well that grows old fast, especially when one's alleged fear of g-d is often really fear of peer pressure. i think that after awhile a person has to observe the mitzvos because of their love of g-d which a lot of the time is really their love of doing the mitzvos. 
of course in the end it really has to be a mixture of the two philosophies. if you only do mitzvos because you love g-d , then you may figure you don't have to do so much because heck he will forgive you , he loves you and he will understand. you need a little fear of h-shem so you actually stay observant.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

the new metrosexual

a few years ago the news was peppered with articles about how men are now starting to care about their looks much like women. oh and these men are not gay either. well this shabbos i came across a new phenomenon or at least a new phenomenon to me. apparently yeshivish teenage boys are just as interested in dressing in designer duds as yeshivish teenage girls. this came as a total shock to me. i understand why a charedi girl would be interested in fashion. after all thats one of the few kosher interests she can cultivate. the average bais yaakov graduate can don makeup better than an elite model and is always decked out in the latest  tzanuah fashions.then again, they are girls and girls usually are concerned about clothing and dressing fashionably. now the boys want to get into the picture. are sports now being frowned upon by the yeshivas? is it that young yeshivah boys have no other outlet left other  than the choice of what brand of white shirt he should be wearing? is the reason they  over focus on their wardrobe because the do need to actually get dressed? otherwise  they should only be focusing on torah subjects.
im  all for yeshivah boys showering and being concerned over their appearances. it just scares me when any male is as gung-ho about fashion as a woman.of all issues for men and women to be equally interested , fashion should not be one of them.. this of course is only my opinion.

Friday, August 13, 2010

rich people and kavod

the kids with rich parents used to get the good parts in the school plays. people always thought the rich people's kids were extra cute.
 many rabbis extol the virtues of kolel , yet the rich people in the yeshiva community get all of the honors. no one gets rich sitting in kolel. to me there is a dichotomy. sure, a yeshiva guy could marry  a rich girl, but he is still not getting any the kavod for being a good kolel bachur. he is being fawned on due to his rich father in law (or father).
just because someone has cooked up a ponzi scheme, embezzled or committed tax fraud does not mean he is evil in every aspect of his life. HOWEVER just because he is not completely evil does not mean he should not be punished for his crime. i for one think its just desserts for all of these yidden who are being caught for committing all of these fraud crimes. this jokers think that they are invincible just because they are the respected richies. they think that they can do know wrong. after all, this is what the community and their mothers have been telling them for years. im not happy these jews have been accused or convicted of fraud crimes, but i am glad to see that they will have to be accountable for their actions. the problem isn't that these folks are being caught for these fraudulent acts, its that they think that what they have been doing is no problem until they get caught. if you do the crime you should do the time.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

the end of the story

im a girl who hates surprises. i usually read the last few pages of a book first. im THAT impatient.
on the other hand i believe that life is like a story and death is like the end of the story. with the story of life i for darn sure am not racing to see what the ending is . id prefer to enjoy the journey . id like to take my time getting to the happily ever after, the end part.

why i am modern orthodox

i have many friends who are bt who will say that they always feel most comfortable with bts or people who are not frum. i think that often this is the case. no matter where we go we feel  most at home with the those who share the  values we have grown  up with even if we have changed alot since back then.
i grew up modern orhodox and even though i had  a ten year stint as being more yeshivish i returned to my more modern orthodox roots. why is this you ask? well first and foremost i do not have a new york accent so everyone always assumed i was bt. very annoying. and then i  did not get married before i was twenty five which is another reason i cant blend into the yeshiva world. i always felt like someone was watching me when i was in the yeshivish scene and it wasnt that i felt i was being watched by g-d. when i am in the modern orthodox world i am considered one of the crowd. no one doubts that i am religious. i dont feel like im being "watched" all of the time. i feel like i can be myself. i enjoy yiddishkeit but i also enjoy secular culture. i dont think that it is a contradiction.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

living in a plastic surgery world

if you ever bother to read women's magazines like allure or glamour you will see lots of articles on cosmetic surgery. from the sound  of these articles it would seem that everyone and there aunt its having plastic surgery. i suppose that this is because it is more affordable these days. the more i read about cosmetic surgery the more it enforces the fact that i do not desire it. i understand if someone is disfigured that they want to have it, but if its purely cosmetic, im not sure why someone willingly goes under the knife.
when i was a kid i had elderly relatives who looked their ages. they could not have had cosmetic surgery even if they wanted it because they couldn't afford it. my grandmother who was shot in the nose in a pogrom when she was a child did have a bit of plastic surgery, but plastic surgery is not what it is now so she still looked somewhat disfigured from it. and you know what? even though i noticed it and i thought her nose looked like a hamantashen, it didn't make me love her less. there had even been a time when she was younger that she could have had more cosmetic surgery to fix it but she didn't. she was married by then and my grandfather told her that he loved her and thought she was beautiful just the way she was. okay , maybe they would have had a hard time affording the cosmetic surgery at the time, but i do believe this is what my grandfather had felt at the time. they had met and married years after she had been shot in the face in that pogrom.
beauty is in  the eye of the beholder. its important to make one's self  as presentable as possible, but even those who do plastic surgery are not always happy. happiness comes from the inside. with all of joan rivers' plastic surgeries, she is always having more. when does it end?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

shabbos plans

every friday i hear the same question. "so what are you doing for shabbos?" sounds innocuous , right.? well sort of . the thing is as much as i like to go away for shabbos and visit friends, my most favorite thing is staying home for shabbos . this doesn't mean that i stay in my apartment like a hermit, just means i get to stay home and sleep in my own bed. i have friends over for a meal or go out for meals. i usually go to shul and later in the day sit on the benches on ocean parkway. i always make time for reading and a nice sized nap. if i go away for shabbos im on somebody else's schedule. for meals im at somebody else's mercy. usually when i go out for a meal when im home in brooklyn it doesn't matter what is on the menu. if the food is not plentiful i know that when i go home i will be able to refuel with my own food.
even if when i go away to a good friends for shabbos i still feel like i have lost  my weekend. even if i have a good time. when i go away for shabbos i lose that time of the week when im in charge of the day's agenda.

Friday, August 6, 2010

shomer shabbos

in brooklyn you really learn something new everyday. today i was at kosher delight on avenue j and  someone asked for a shomer shabbos as part of their order. i for one was baffled. we were at kosher delight.for heaven's sake! well... i had to find out what this meant so i asked the woman who placed the order what that meant. apparently this means that  a  jewish person puts the burger on the grill. sephardim are makpid on this.
its always fun to learn about a new chumrah one has never heard of ,but this one really floored me.i wonder if there is an extra charge for this? if so this is ingenious. i wonder how many kosher establishments provide this feature. 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

true romance

we live in a culture that worships youth. the media mostly portrays young people as being the only age group that experiences true love. while i do believe that a young person is just as capable of love as an older person, i believe that true love is the love that has withstood the test of time. if you still love someone after parenting, various types of loss , wrinkles, possible illnesses , success as well as failure, you have really found true love. this is why i love the leonard cohen video of dance me to the end of love that i have just posted. elderly couples dancing together in front of their wedding photos is true romance. they love each other with every fiber of their beings . after fifty -sixty years of marriage they know exactly why they cherish each other.

Leonard Cohen - Dance Me to the End of Love [OFFICIAL VIDEO]: PG-13 rating

Monday, August 2, 2010

change

sometimes life involves so much change that its hard to change even when one knows its necessary. i kept seeing the new blogger templates, but i kept resisting the change because i so like holding on to what works. im trying this new template out. im not sure if i like it because the raindrops kind of look like tears and im not trying to create a mood of sadness in my blog. i tried out another template with a picture in the background but i found it distracting to read my posts. ive settled on this template for now until another day when i have the patience to fuss around with it again.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

the fly on the wall

sometimes i wish i could be like a fly on a wall and hear juicy conversations that i shouldn't be hearing. i heard  one such conversation today. someone was talking about how someone was being locked out of a singles event because they were over the age limit. "fortunately" for the person who was organizing the event the person was over the imaginary age range so they could lock them out of the event. this individual was not "cool" enough to get into the event. lucky for the organizer they were "uncool" and old so they could be locked out of the event.
it was uncomfortable to be the fly on the wall while hearing this tidbit being circulated. i might be out of the age range, but i could have "passed" for younger and i am "cool" enough to get in.
one could argue that someone just  " isn't in t the age range " so its fair. bull dinky! its more than that. many who are not in the "age range" get in . its also humorous because the people who are setting  the age ranges are often very close to or above the age ranges they are imposing. often those who support  age ranges  being upheld are eerily close to that age themselves. perhaps they protest too much to cover up their advancing age. (as if we are all too stupid to realize how old they are!)
 i am all for banning the 60-80 year old men who show up to young singles events, but often when they start barring people from singles events they concentrate on barring those who are just a few years out of the range instead of  just banning those who are 20-30 years above the age range.

Friday, July 30, 2010

can people really change?

i had a professor in college who used to say that people don't change, not even from religion. at the time i didn't realize what he meant. now i do. people can change certain behaviors within themselves but one can't change ones essence. one can channel ones anger in a positive fashion and not give in to ones gut reactions. but they are still there under the surface. a shy person can force their self to be more social, but innately their first gut reaction will be to be shy. an overly sensitive person will always have such sensitivities even  though they may be able to rationally confront a stressful situation. ones core make up is g-d given. what we do  have control over is how we channel these attributes.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

moderation

i never thought id see the day when i would be moderating comments on my blog. i dont even get that many comments! the thing is im getting sick of deleting the japanese comment spam so  i decided that it was time to moderate for awhile.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

dancing at auschwitz

these two videos i have just posted are just amazing. they bring tears to my eyes. such  triumph. this man has survived the horrors of auchwitz,  was  able to have a family and  to return to the sight of such terror and show that the best revenge is living well. he survived , had children and grandchildren and is still able to smile and laugh and dance.

People dancing at Auschwitz : im sure most of you have seen this, if you havent, its worth a look. be sure and watch it until the end.

I Will Survive: Dancing Auschwitz.Part3

Sunday, July 25, 2010

the stoning of soraya m

i finally have given in and have subscribed to netflix. the main reason i did this is because netflix has some dvd titles that i really want to see and the library does not have them. so i caved and now im hooked. one of the dvds that has just become available is the stoning of soraya m. what an eye opening movie!
the stoning of soraya m  is set in iran of the 1980's where a husband wants another wife but doesn't want to have to pay alimony for divorcing his first wife and doesn't have enough money to have two wives so he decides to accuse her of adultery  so she will be killed . this film is based on a true story.
a few days after i viewed this film i read in the paper that there is another woman in iran who they were thinking of stoning because she "committed adultery" . this is 2010 folks. what up?
recently marie claire magazine featured an article about a father who killed his daughter because she was "disgracing the family honor". the daughter had become americanized and had a boyfriend . this is why her father hit her with his car, put her in a coma and then she died.
when i first saw the stoning of soraya m  and the newspaper article i had felt so grateful to live in the united states where this kind of sexism does not exist. when i read the marie claire article i was outraged by how such sexist mores can be transported to this country even if just within a family.

Monday, July 19, 2010

tisha b'av past

the most dramatic tisha b'av i have experienced was when i was 13 years old and in sleep away camp. on the evening of tisha b'av  a shiur was held outside overlooking a lake. on the other side of the lake the camp created a fire that was burning as the shiur was going on. it was surreal. looking back i think its amazing that they were able to create this fire situation without burning the entire camp down.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

pet peeves

one of my biggest pet peeves occurs  at sinks that are  located in  public restrooms. it bugs the heck out of me when someone washes their hands at a sink and then lifts their hands and shakes off the water before drying them. invariably i am the one who gets their post hand washing water on me after their big shake. i don't want to be included in their hand washing. if you have to do the wet hand shake keep your hands low in the sink when you do it so you don't splash anyone!
another pet peeve of mine happens (big surprise!) on the subway . the new subway cars are one long bench instead of having indentations  that separate the benches into separate seats. many people didn't like the old benches because some people were too fat for them . i say lose some weight! with these new benches there is always some joker trying to put her purse between you and them when you are sitting next to them. it wouldn't be so bad if there was a lot of room. but usually it means that there is less room and you get to squeeze against them and their bag . if they didn't put it there you would have a comfortable amount of space to sit and it wouldn't be big enough for  another person to squeeze between the two of  you.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

age limits

turning 35 was scary for many reasons most of all because that was the age limit for so many singles events. i had heard horror stories about 36 year olds who had to lie about their age just to get in.. even if you could get away with it how long could you keep lying about your age and still want to get in. not long after i turned 35 the dreaded age cap turned into 40. so then i feared turning forty.
of course nowhere along the way did i ever consider the fact that i could have gotten married before these dreaded age caps and avoid the whole lying to get in part. the worst part of lying about your age to get in to a social event is that once you've pulled the wool over every one's eyes and actually have gotten into the event you realize it wouldn't have been such a bad thing if you were barred from attending because the event turned out to be so gosh darn depressing .
i realize that sometimes life can surprise you and some people actually do get married, but im still waiting for that miracle. until then i will be pushing the age limits.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

religion and personality

i think that its so interesting that when people try to set people up that the focus is on  specific ritual observances  without mentioning the mindset behind them. someone can dress the part but not believe in what they are doing.  on paper someone else may not seem to be so ritually observant, but have incredible kavanah about what he does do. this is why all of the labels in the world on frumster wont ever begin to tell me the religious level of a potential date. frumster does give everyone a chance to state what  their level of judaism is, but the personality section would tell me more about their religious level.
if someone is so rigid that they always have to have the last word then most likely they are just as rigid in their religious beliefs no matter how ritualistically staunch or lax. if someone is a live and let live type  then they probably feel this way toward religion. if someone is the keeping up with the jones' type this will manifest in their religious beliefs. they will want a fancy kiddush because everyone else does, will follow the hippest chumrahs.
of course its important to know the nuts and bolts of a potential's religious level, but it only means something if one considers their personality = mindset.

Friday, July 9, 2010

more mourning

every year i look forward to the end of tisha b'av and the three weeks. it is always such a serious time. this year im looking forward to the end of the three weeks, but i keep thinking , "and then what?"
im still in avelus. in fact this year i was very glad it was sephirah when i was first sitting shivah. during the three weeks everyone is mourning. misery does love company.
then again after tisha b'av ends i will still have another eight and a  half months of avelus.....

Monday, July 5, 2010

life goes on....


i went back to the midwest to visit my mom for july fourth. it was the best way i could have spent the past five days. its been three months since my dad has passed away. so much has happened since then that it seems more like a year. going back to my parents house sealed the finality of it all in my mind. when you don't live nearby one's mind can play tricks. going back to the scene of the crime made me face the reality that my dad is really gone. the weird thing about the passing of a parent is that you somehow miss the things that annoyed you the most about them. we are all moving on which is very important, but its sad just the same. one chapter of my life has closed . another has begun.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

summer blues


when i was a kid i loved summer. summer meant freedom . summer meant fun. now summer means airless subway stations, not quite cool enough shabbos meals , and even frizzier curls.
as an adult summer really loses its previous esteem. i think that two and a half school-less, jobless months cancels out the heat and humidity. tell me again what the advantages of being an adult are?

Friday, June 25, 2010

to be on a pedestal


whenever people speak of the deceased they always seem to sound so unlike they were when they were alive. often people make them sound like they were the biggest tzadikim. it always makes me wonder if they are really talking about the person they say they are memorializing. i certainly dont remember them that way. certainly no one wants to memorialize someone in a bad light, but why fictionalize them so much? sometimes i want to shake people and say that i wish i had known the person they are talking about because the deceased that i had known by that name was not all that. of course i never would do this. but i sure feel like it. isnt there something in between? even when we speak of avraham , moshe and david hamelech we speak about their shortcomings and we still regard them as nothing less than tzaddikim.

Monday, June 21, 2010

status quo


life is really weird. for years things can be the same . nothing changes. ever. and then suddenly after many years of sameness it changes. poof! just like that. the change isn't always bad change , but its change. this is why one has to be flexible. things may seem like they will never change , but that do change . eventually. i guess this could count as a proof that one can actually be hopeful about achieving ones hopes, dreams and goals.

Friday, June 18, 2010

rabashkin chain calls

somehow i was the recipient of a rabashkin chain call. somehow these calls go through even though im on the opt-out list . this chain call begs everyone to pray that her husband is acquitted of all of charges against him. the voice that is seeking help is that of a woman who claims to be rabashkin's wife.
i usually tune out when i get these junk phone calls and today was no different. rabaskin's wife went on and on and on. the last thing she said was that rabashkin still has 6 unmarried children and a special needs child who need him. the first thing that came to mind when she said he has 6 unmarried children was that its a little tacky to be mentioning what the shadchanim might be spewing about the yichus of these 6 unmarried young-adults. a shonda. is having an unmarried child a reason to feel bad for rabashkin? his special needs child deserves rachmanas, but the single ones ? well im sure every parent of an unmarried child would like to stage a tehillim group on his/her behalf!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

confessions of a prairie b@#ch

little house on the prairie was my most favorite television show when i was a kid.
about a year ago melissa gilbert came out with a book and more recently melissa sue anderson and alison arngrim have released books about growing up on the set of the beloved tv series little house on the prairie.
alison arngrim's book came out yesterday and she had a book reading at borders columbus circle. i had been looking forward to this book reading for weeks.
seeing alison arngrim was like seeing an old friend that you have never met. it was also surreal to see nellie oleson all grown up. her voice is still the same pitch.
i always thought that alison arngrim must have had so much fun playing nellie.
often an actor is typecast for life if they have portrayed one character for a long time. eve plum of jan brady fame dislikes this so much that she doesn't like to address q& a sessions if they are about her previous brady life. fortunately alison argrim has taken another approach. she is a stand up comedian and has embraced the campiness of it all. she makes it part of her public appearances , her stand up gigs and it was the theme of her book. she has made it work for her. she appreciates the fact that so many have been touched by this thirty year old tv series. it was seven years of her childhood. she and melissa gilbert were bff's. it doesn't get much better than this.
listening to alison arngrim recount her days as nellie oleson was the most fun i have had in several months. it transported me to my childhood.
little house on the prairie was a wholesome show on screen as well as off. the adults tried to provide a child friendly atmosphere for these child actors. these child actors did not get arrested. none of them have died of drug overdoses.
alison arngrim enjoyed being on this show as much as those of us in the tv audience enjoyed watching it at home.
ive started reading alison arngrim's book confessions of a prairie bitch it is written with equal parts warmth and humor. i highly recommend it.


Monday, June 14, 2010

the element of surprise

when i was a little girl i loved surprises. i guess because as a child surprises tended to be good things like a surprise visit by grandma, a surprise birthday party or a surprise gift from a relative who had returned from an exotic vacation.
as an adult surprises are quite different. you get surprised at how much income taxes are each year, how high gas prices have climbed, and of course surprised at how life never seems to turn out the way you might prefer it to. im surprised im still single, im surprised how hard it is to lose weight. im surprised how unattracted i am to many blind dates. what happened to all the good surprises of my youth? did i use up all of the good surprises and now all that is left are the mediocre and bad surprises?
is it that all of the surprises these days are bad or is it that its easier to focus on the bad ones? im not sure. i am sure that i am a realist . i like to know what the deal is . good or bad. sometimes it is possible to consider all of the pros and cons and know what to expect. other times ... well other times it is not. as much as we try to have control over things we really cant because that isn't life. we aren't in control. life is surprise.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

the illustrated people

when i was a kid the only tattooed person i remember seeing was on the cover of ray bradbury's book the illustrated man. now i realize that part of the reason i did not encounter many tattooed people was because i lived in the midwest. but still. i dont think that tattoos were as much the rage years ago as they are now. it seems that so many seemingly "normal" folk have them. what are these people thinking? i realize that as a jew that the torah forbids tattoos , but lets get real. who wants to voluntarily inflict pain upon one's self? i for one do not. and does any twenty-something consider how ridiculous these tattoos will look when they are eighty? tattoos arent so easily removed . what looks hip at twenty-two is extremely un-hip at eighty. then again the only thing hip at eighty is a hip replacement. but you catch my drift.

Friday, June 11, 2010

boxed in

why is it that when i walk down the street in manhattan people always insist on passing me on the right hand side? i think that this is because not many new yorkers drive.
did you ever notice how people like to hang close to a building when they are walking down the street? i find this incredibly annoying. there could be barely a few inches space and the person behind me on the street will squeeze next to me just so they can walk next to the building. it is especially annoying when they want to do this when the building is to the right of me.
they say that walking clears one's mind, but sometimes all it does is fill my mind with stress when i have to deal the other people who share the sidewalk.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

popular?

as a kid i was not popular. i was not a total nerd, but i was definitely not popular. i did not remotely aspire to be popular.
with extensive singleness, there are lots of mutations left over from high school , namely the "in" crowd. i always thought the idea of the"in" crowd would discontinue after high school graduation. well try and tell the single folk that.
there is a crowd everyone wants to hang with so one doesn't miss out on all of the fun. and of course you have to be careful not to let the wrong people know about stuff otherwise everyone will have a "bad" time.
i used to live in a nerdy apartment building until a lot of the cool people moved in and suddenly
it was cool to live here. everyone who is anyone lives with in a few short blocks of me.
i look at pictures and i count how many people live in my apartment building and i can hardly believe its true. im living in a co-ed dorm!
all of this has come as quite a shock to my system. perhaps in high school or college all of this social status stuff would be fun, but i have bills and a full time job. im way too busy to be popular!!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

shomer negiah redefined

after many years of shopping at glatt mart i have realized that there aren't very many frum people who are shomer negiah or nor too many frum people who have respect for personal space.
let me explain. whenever i am at the checkout counter checking out there is always someone behind me in line pushing into me while they unload their groceries onto the conveyor belt. i don't get it. are they just not getting any at home so they feel the need to bump into me in line at glatt mart? shoving someone in line is NEGIAH . they don't need to push me to secure their space in line. this is why i don't understand why all of this negiah is going on.
unless im just too exhausted i will confront the person who is touching me unnecessarily in line and tell them not to shove me as they are unloading their shopping basket. i think im going to have a new tactic and tell them they ought not shove and crowd me in line as i am shomer negiah and their behavior is thus inappropriate.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

greenberg

greenberg the movie . what can i say? ben stiller should win an oscar for this movie. will he? probably not. but he should.
greenberg is about a 40 year old pseudo-jewish man who is let out of a mental hospital after recovering from a nervous breakdown and stays at his married with children brother's house while his brother is on vacation. he is extremely neurotic and narcissistic. his conversations are more like soliloquies and when he does actually listen to what the other person has to say he tries to psychoanalyse them . whenever i hear someone getting psychoanalytical on me i always suspect that they themselves are seeing a shrink(unless of course they themselves are a shrink!). as with roger greenberg many self appointed shrinks are trying to analyse others with the insight their shrinks have given them. this would be ok if everyone shared the same psychosis. most of us dont. in roger greenberg's case not too many people share his psychosis except for the fact that i kept thinking he seemed vaguely familiar. like someone some stupid shadchan has tried to pass off on me.
the other reason greenberg seems oddly familiar is how he is forty but is still stuck in the past. he loves the music of the seventies and eighties because this is the music he grew up with. this would be ok if he was able to appreciate the new stuff as well. i meet so many men like this and not too many women like this. its great to love the music you loved as a kid but doesn't it get boring to just listen to the oldies? i mean really , why not listen to newer music if not just for variety's sake?
greenberg is more of a character driven movie than a plot driven one. it is a movie that has a message . roger greenberg is stuck in the past. he could have been a rock star at twenty-five. now he is a carpenter. he is comfortable doing nothing. he doesn't understand why his forty year old friends have created families , relationships and meaningful careers. he is too warped to ever grow up. what seems cool at twenty wont always be cool. if you don't bother growing up the joke's on you. unfortunately its those around you who will suffer. if one is deluded enough one wont recognise one's own stagnation.