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


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 and
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@*%