Sunday, January 31, 2010

the peretznicks

after world war two alot of jews went back to poland and resettled there between 1946 and 1968. many settled in lodz and attended the peretznick school. i saw a documentary at the jewish film festival about this school. the film was called the peretznicks.
before i saw this movie i didnt realize that any jews went back to live in poland after the shoah. apparently many did. many even had a positive experience. they all left poland after 1968 because there was tremendous anti-semitism following the six day war in israel.
as difficult as it was for these people to leave poland in 1968 , it was a little hard to feel bad since they didn't leave in the same way the jews left 18 years before that during the shoah. still, i did feel bad for them. poland still hadnt learned its lesson even in 1968.
2 children who had attended the peretznick school by chance were at the screening . one was a seventy-something woman and the other a man in his late fifties. at a previous screening there were forty former students of peretznick who were at the screening and they even took a group photo. this is why i love seeing these movies during the film festival. you get to meet those who show up to these films who were not asked to show up to the screening, but who add so much to the q&a when the filmmaker is present.

Friday, January 29, 2010

oy gevald!

if you want to know why we are still in galus see the documentary film gevald. i did and now i know that the biggest danger for the state of israel is not the arabs, its the jews. apparently those who are ostensibly fervently orthodox have lost site of what ahavas yisroel is.
i saw gevald this past monday at the jewish film festival in new york city. gevald chronicles the ideologies of rabbi shmuel chaim pappenheim and the late rabbi avraham ravitz.
rabbi pappenheim hates secular jews and anyone who does not believe as he does. he is from a sect of chassidim that are a bankrolled by satmar chassidim in new square. this sect is anti-israel and only leave their enclave to rally against the state of israel. for them it is a great honor to be jailed for rallying against the state of israel. for their children they distribute propoganda books that equate secular jews to the nazis not unlike how the arabs distribute anti-jewish propoganda books to their children.
rabbi avraham ravitz was perhaps just as strict as rabbi pappenheim, but he believes in working within the system to fight for charedi rights as opposed to hooligan tactics. he and his wife had a home that was open to guests. his wife was actually shown on screen as well as one of his sons and some of his grandchildren. according to rabbi ravitz the jews of meah shearim danced with joy when israel became a state. he even showed a picture of it on screen. alot has happened in 60 years.
there is an old joke about how if you have two jews in a room you will have three opinions. so you can imagine that within a country full of jews that everyone will have his opinions and then some. to me someone like rabbi ravitz who tried to change israel within the structure of the government is more respectable even if i dont agree with all that he stood for. rabbi pappenheim on the other hand is a pure disgrace to the jewish people . he hates other jews for not being exactly as he is and defends his actions by saying that this is what the torah wants. it is not what the torah wants. the bais hamikdash was destroyed because of sinas chinam and because we cannot seem to get along with each other. apparently we haven't learned a thing.
when israel was established the secular jews did do alot wrong to the religious jews , especially the yemenite jews, but two wrongs dont make a right. if the religious route is the high road then we should live it, not stoop to the lowest level. if you want change to really happen, you have to seek it in a way that will be taken seriously. it seems that rabbi ravitz tried to do this. rabbi pappenheim would prefer to be a haylegah thug.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

the barnes and noble date

one thing i hate about midwood is that there are no secular bookstores here. on the weekends i often frequent park slope where there is a barnes and noble bookstore. one would think that frum jews do not frequent secular bookstores given the desert of secular bookstores in midwood and dare i say boro park or crown heights. well.... EVERY time i go to the barnes and noble in park slope i am always in good frum company. today was no exception. however today there was a special treat. the frum barnes and noble date. this is a welcome update on the lounge date.
at first i wasnt sure what i was seeing. i saw one very decked out ultra frum bais yaakov type girl sitting by herself at a table at the cafe. a few tables over i saw another very dressed up bais yaakov type girl. eventually i saw their dates sitting with them.
i have always thought that a bookstore is a good site for a frum date. we are the people of the book for heaven's sake!
aside from the dates there were several woman with sheitels and men with yarmulkes reading books at several tables in the cafe.
half the fun of going to the barnes and noble in park slope is having an excuse to frequent the hip park slope. if there was a barnes and noble in midwood i probably wouldn't go to park slope all that often.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

hairy thoughts

those of you who know me in real life and through this blog
are aware that i have thick, curly hair. (in case you didnt know this, now you do!) that said, it may seem odd that im sharing with you the following bit of information that is meant for women with thinning hair. but it really is not odd at all. i have a friend who has lupus who has experienced hair loss. she heard from a pregnant friend of hers that prenatal vitamins promote hair growth. after getting the okay from her physician she began taking them for her hair loss and it worked! her hair has grown back. she still has bald patches, but she does have hair!! its amazing.
before my friend was diagnosed with lupus she had beautiful hair. when she began losing her hair it was devastating. it is disheartening for a man to lose his hair, but for a young, single woman it is far worse.
i dont think that pre-natal vitamins work for male hair loss. sorry guys. for all of you ladies out their who may be experiencing hair loss , try using pre-natal vitamins. they work!

Monday, January 18, 2010

the opposite of love

is hate really the opposite of love? i think that the opposite of love is indifference. one doesn't dislike the person enough to hate them. one is indifferent. indifference is what one feels long after the feelings of love has evaporated. i feel indifferent about many lost loves. where once the mere thought of them may have warmed my heart or made me see red, the sea of indifference has washed it all away.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

i hate stereotypes

i hate stereotypes. new yorkers have a reputation for being loud and pushy. though a lot are, not all are. jewish men especially like gentile women because gentile women aren't as smart as jewish women and will let jewish men treat them like garbage. of course this is a stereotype as well . not all jewish men treat their wives like gabage. not all jewish women are intelligent and not all non-jewish women are imbeciles. as for jewish men being cheap.... well not all jewish men are cheap either. and all jewish men aren't all winey, wimpy mama's boys. all jewish women arent materialistic or overbearing. if anyone ever called me jappy they would have to be deaf , dumb and blind. someone once asked me if i had my nose done because i have a small nose. well i did not. not all jews , if any, have big noses. oh and all jews do not have brown eyes or obnoxious brooklyn accents.
the worst part about stereotypes is that they are often perpetrated by the very people whose reputation they attempt to defile.
there are good and bad in every group, race , religion and ethnicity. if a person isnt able to see this they need to get a life.

Monday, January 11, 2010

matters of opinion.....

to me a most important indicator of whether or not a relationship is going to last is defined by the results of an argument. not who "won" the argument but moreover are you still on speaking terms after said arguement? what is the other person's fighting style? do they fight fair or do they use an argument as an excuse to dredge up every flaw they see in the other person? is this someone who always likes to pick a fight? or is the other person non-confrontational? do they hold a grudge after a fight? are they usually calm but let things build up and explode every so often? are they always exploding about everything? are they always right or do they think they are always right? do you think they are ever right?
no one agrees about everything . im actually more afraid of not arguing with someone im dating than arguing with someone im dating. you know its bound to happen. if two people never disagree why is that? is the other person afraid to express a difference of opinion? do they think that it wont last anyway so why bother arguing ? are they hiding something? when is the other shoe going to drop????
for me i need to be able to know that i can feel comfortable expressing my opinion and my difference of opinion. i need to feel like i can deal with the way the other person expresses their differences of opinion. i tend to be non- confrontational, but dont let that fool you... eventually even the coolest cucumber can have their feathers ruffled. difference of opinion isnt the problem . what happens afterward is.....
thats the test....

Sunday, January 10, 2010

the not so good old days....

i recently came across a facebook group from one of the summer camps i attended . when i saw the photos it struck me just how very young my fellow campers and i were. even the counselors looked like babies. the jappy girls looked so angelic. they also looked too young to have been so cliquish . in the photos some of the rowdy boys appeared just as wiley as they did when i knew them years ago. it was nice to view those photos in the safe distance of memory. i did not like that camp much. it seems like such a lifetime ago. its almost hard to believe that i was that young even though i recall it so vividly. the good thing about looking back is that it will always be the past.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

all the single people

according to the new york post this morning manhattan's percentage of single people is higher than any other city's in the united states. the average age of a first marriage for a woman in the u.s. is 25.6 and the average for a man is 27.7. the average age for a first marriage of a man or a woman in manhattan is between 30 and 34. the percentage of manhattanites who live alone is a little over fifty percent. the percentage of the manhattan population that has never married is fifty percent. no wonder im single! i work in manhattan.
i have ranted endlessly for years about how awful it is that all the frum singles come to new york , especially manhattan to find their basherts because nyc is a singles society. now it is in print. i didn't have to read the truth to know what it is. but it sure feels good to be validated. we are all affected by our surroundings whether we admit it or not. if you want to see the answer to the "single's crisis" look no further than the skyscraper next door.

Monday, January 4, 2010

a matter of faith

a few years ago i read the book the spirit catches you and you fall down by anne fadiman. its about a child of Hmong immigrants in merced california who has epilepsy and the culture clash with the hospital , doctors and modern medicine. though they did not denounce doctors and modern medicine they had their own version of faith healing and rituals which they incorporated into their child's treatment. it was difficult to communicate with them even with a translator because there weren't words in their language to convey the western information that needed to be transmitted to them.
the title of the book is the Hmong definition of an epileptic seizure. to them it is like g-d is lifting them up and then lets go and then they have a seizure. the Hmong consider this to be very spiritual.
what really struck me as interesting in this book were the rituals the Hmong performed to help treat their child. they didn't make much medical sense which frustrated the medical professionals, but some of their rituals actually helped her, though they were quite unusual. ( unfortunately i read the book a few years ago so i don't remember exactly what they were).
this made me really think . because these people really had faith that their rituals would change their child's fate it did help her. it did not cure her, but the authorities all saw that this child was well taken care of and by her behavior was a child who was loved and knew how to love others. they also saw that ultimately the beliefs and rituals of this family probably did not make her any worse for wear if not maybe even better off.
this of course made me think a lot about the power of faith and prayer. does prayer work proportionate to how much a person believes in it, or does it work because it works? i have heard that a patient will heal quicker if he has confidence that his doctor will cure him. on the other hand , i have heard that if someone prays for someone else, even if the person doesn't know about it they will (or it will help) them get better. perhaps it is only crucial for the person doing the prayer or ritual to have faith in what they are doing .
i prefer to believe that prayer does help and that it is real. we don't always get want we ask for, but i think that it is important to ask anyway. perhaps prayer is meant to be a lesson. we pray to get want we want. it is important to ask for what we need in life even if we may not get it. the point is not whether we get what we need and want but that we try . also, the more that we believe in change, hope and recovery the more it will happen.

Friday, January 1, 2010

happy blogoversary!!

ive made it through two years of blogging! it feels amazing. i thank everyone for reading. when i first started writing i felt shy to tell others that i was writing a blog. over time i had actually started getting comments and started telling friends about it. its hard to be completely anonymous anyway because sometimes people can figure out your identity anyway through reading your blog. i don't write anything that i wouldn't mind anyone knowing i have written. its also hard to keep blogging a complete secret because i enjoy it so much. when a post gets a good response i want to share the news with others.
it has been enjoyable to meet some of my readers this year. it makes life more interesting and the world seem a little smaller.
i thank those of you who follow this blog. i feel honored that the list has increased this year.
as usual its fun too see which posts get comments and which don't.
thank you all for reading and im looking forward to posting more this year!