Monday, January 31, 2011


when i was in my twenties i recall being a regular shabbos guest at a particular family's house. the wife was in her early thirties and the couple had five children. i had a friend who used to sometimes join me when i went for a shabbos meal at this family's home. my friend was in her early thirties and never married. once i when i was visiting this family without my friend and  the wife told me that she felt uncomfortable having my friend over because they were the same age and  that my friend was single and childless. it was an honest reaction but at the time i was taken aback. my friend should have been the one feeling uncomfortable but she was not. i think a lot of times the haves feel more uncomfortable about having than the have nots feel about not having.
several years later when i was in my late twenties, early thirties i remember visiting a former childhood friend who had been married for ten years and had five or six kids. when i went to visit her i remember feeling ignored. i didn't say anything because i just figured she was very busy with her kids and that sometimes its hard to concentrate on a guest with so many little kids  around. i also figured that i wouldn't be  visiting again any time soon because she seemed too busy to have guests. when she drove me to the monsey  bus stop  motzei shabbos on her own she apologized for not spending enough time with me during my visit. years later i visited this same friend in monsey and though she had some small children at the time her other children were older. i think that by then she adjusted to juggling her kids and having guests. this of course is quite a difficult task.
i realize that my being single can make people uncomfortable. even as a younger single it made my married friends feel uncomfortable which i thought was quite odd. in my twenties i always had the attitude that my bashert must be right around the corner and i wasn't worried about possibly always being the odd woman out.  i think that many people who are married with children unconsciously do this to singles. i think its because they feel bad for us and they don't quite understand it. unfortunately sometimes it makes them feel so bad that they don't want us around. which makes the situation worse . who wants to be excluded on the basis of one's lack of marital status?
i have a friend whose husband had cancer . he went out of his way to make sure people felt comfortable around him when really it should have been the other way around. people should have made sure to make him feel comfortable . after all  , he was the one with cancer.
i had a friend who would hesitate to tell their childless friends about her children because she thought that it would make them feel bad. personally i think they were just thinking of themselves. it made them feel uncomfortable that their friends did not have kids. well, no one wants to be the one that everyone is afraid to talk about  husbands or kids with. it makes a person feel even more left out . yes it does feel bad that others are fortunate and have families. it feels even worse to be the one everyone walks on egg shells around. there is always something someone else has that another would like to have. its far better to concentrate on what we all have in common than on what others lack.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

hot or not

often when i attend a singles event there are many unattractive  in attendance. perhaps if they  had the good fortune to look like prince william or kate middleton  their lives would be different. through no fault of their own they are putrid looking. some of the unattractive have enough confidence to rise above their deficient appearance and are not nerds. others are not so fortunate. i always have thought that this is so sad. one has no control over being born ugly , being born beautiful or even of being born average. had the same individual been born handsome this individual would have had a much easier time finding a spouse. then again i know many physically attractive people have  trouble finding spouses due to their hideous personalities. this  is far worse than being physically unattractive.

Friday, January 28, 2011

mehadrin buses

at the jewish film festival ther was a documentary called the black bus which is about two young women in their twenties who grew up chassidish  and later became secular jews. the documentary itself was lukewarm. it didnt tell  enough about each woman's personal journey away from frumkeit. it was almost as if we should assume that it was an obvious choice. they did however feature the mehadrin buses in israel which i found most captivating.
when i was  in israel last there were not any mehadrin buses.  ive wondered what they were like.
after seeing them all i can say is that i am so happy that they did not exist when i was in israel.
i think there is something horrible about having to board from the back of the bus. i suppose the only good thing is that if i rode one of those buses i would never have to pay . they have a hole puncher at the back of the bus so women can punch their own bus passes. yeah...right....
what i want to know is what happens if a woman is riding a bus and doesnt know the neighborhood one is going to. usually when this happens i like to sit in the front of the bus so i can ask the bus driver where i should get off. even if it would be permissable to go to the front of the bus to ask the bus driver i would be a little embarrassed to have to walk through a crowd of only men to go to the front of the bus to ask the driver directions.
i know from past experience on the now revamped monsey bus ( as in the mechitzah rule has been relaxed. ) that when there weren't enough seats for the women and children the men wouldn't move the mechitzah over so the women could  sit even if there was room.  however at least that bus was split down the middle . i guess that bus company was more concerned about collecting their fares.
i think that segregating buses by gender is demeaning. it also is bad if one is on a date or out with a spouse or ones family. i suppose the women always end up saddled with all of the kids while the husbands sit and relax at the front of these buses.
it is true that having segregated buses help the anti negiah issue because i remember how pushy the israelis were when boarding buses.  instead of making sure people have derech eretz on buses and not pushing other passengers they decided that it would be easier to create a mehadrin bus.
before gender segregation on israeli buses charedi or chassidic men would not sit next to women on buses and if a woman sat next to them they would get up. i guess they now would rather have a seat than get up when occasionally a woman sits next to them. after all there may not be another appropriate seat to switch to if you have to get up.
the other thing that used to happen on israeli buses before gender separation was the unmentionable. young yeshiva bachrim would stand way too close to women and.....well let me say you would have to get up and get away from them. so i guess now they cant do this to women on the buses anymore. the only place id seen this happen was in israel with yeshiva bachrim. i have not seen that on the nyc buses or subways. ive seen other very gross happenings  on nyc buses and subways but just not that one. so yes, i guess it would be better to  ride a mehadrin bus in israel so that  you would not have to encounter that.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

snow day

when i was a kid the sweetest words to be heard were snow day. it was what we lived for. no school, making snowmen and sledding on makeshift sleds in the common ground near my home.
though i will have to use a sick day because i cant get to work today due to the 12-15 inch snowstorm the words snow day are just as sweet.
for all of you in the nyc area who are snowed in, enjoy your day off!! again!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Socalled - You Are Never Alone

sunday night at the jewish film festival in nyc i saw a documentary the socalled movie about josh dolgin who calls himself socalled. he is a jewish musician in canada who mixes klezmer, jazz and hip hop music together to get a most amazing sound.
josh dolgin is as secular as they come but he is very drawn to klezmer music and jewish culture. though he hates religion he has to admit that klezmer music is part of jewish culture and that jewish culture is only jewish culture because it comes from  judaism, so in a round about way he admits that he has to appreciate judaism. he actually states this in the film. to me this statement is so profound. and so honest. on the other hand it really shows the power of someone who might not otherwise connect to judaism  music has the power of forging a spiritual connection  that on a logical level he might not explore.

Monday, January 24, 2011

the numbers game

this year at the jewish film festival there is a new seating policy. you show your ticket when you enter the building and they write a number at the back of your ticket. when its time to enter the theater for the movie they call out 15-20 numbers and slowly everyone gets to enter the theater. the great thing is that when you are waiting to enter the screening room you can go to the ladies room and not lose your place in line. you can also sit as you wait to enter the screening room.
the new seating policy for fully attended screenings at the walter reade theater began with the jewish film festival this year. im not sure if they will be employing this policy with all of their  screenings,but im sure this protocol will return next year for the jewish film festival. it made entering the screening room much less chaotic.
as chaotic as the entry to the theater had been at the walter reade theater it was always much worse with the israeli film festival. perhaps someone should suggest this seating method to them.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

picture this

my parents never hung pictures  on the walls  of their house when i was growing up. a few years ago they hung a few pictures in the dining room and maybe ten years ago they hung some up in the hallway upstairs near the bedrooms. until then the only pictures that were on the walls were in my bedroom or in my siblings bedrooms. when i was a kid my family moved into the house my mom still lives in . i remember asking my mom why we hadn't hung any pictures on the walls. i don't remember what her answer was.
every apartment  i have lived in i have adorned with pictures. to me it makes me feel more at home. this is odd  since my parents' home never had pictures hung on the walls . but it does.
i have always admired the family photos that lined the walls of other families homes. since ive lived on my own ive always had family photos on my apartment walls.
though my parents liked the house that we lived in they always wanted to move to another area of the city. though they were always looking to move they never did. perhaps this is why they never put up pictures until more recently.  maybe they never felt like it was really home so they never wanted to put up pictures. maybe i always want  a place to call home so i always hang pictures  on the walls of my dwelling.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

jews in the civil war

today i saw a film  about jews who fought in the civil war. it was called jewish soldiers in blue and gray. in fact in was the premiere showing of this documentary. the first issue that was addressed was that jews had  to decide which side to fight for.  many families had members who lived in the south as well as in the north. no matter which side they chose there were still jews fighting jews.
many interesting  facts were revealed in this film. although the civil war was being fought to abolish slavery it was not the only freedom that was created.
before the civil war the only clergy allowed to be army chaplains were christian.. during the civil war many jewish soldiers served their country and they needed a jewish clergyman as a chaplain. thanks to abraham lincoln there now are jewish chaplains in the american army.
general robert e. lee who was general of the confederate army was accommodating to jews who wanted to observe jewish holidays. general ulysses grant of the union army on the other hand was a big anti-semite. when he took over parts of the south he expelled jews for 12 days from tennessee , mississippi and kentucky . it was only 12 days because many jews rallied president lincoln who reprimanded general grant and repealed the decree of expulsion.
torah observance among the jewish soldiers in the civil war ran the gamut. many were secular and yet there were those who were quite observant. one veteran of the civil war went so far as displaying the kosher dishes he used when he was in the civil war on his mantle piece .there were passover seders as well in the army . they even had matzahs imported from cincinnati for one seder.
jewish soldiers blue and gray also recounts the stories of jews who held high positions in the army on both sides during the civil war.
after the civil war many anti semites wanted to say that jews did not serve in the civil war so in 1895  a jewsh activist named simon wolf compiled a book called the american jew as patriot, soldier and citizen which listed 7000 jewish american soldiers who served during the civil war. in 1895 there were still many civil war veterans around to compile such a book.
after viewing this documentary i feel a great deal of hakaras hatov toward abraham lincoln. not only did he abolish slavery he also preserved religious freedom for people of all religions in  the united states. he was especially kind to the jews. i will certainly  view the upcoming president's day as more than just  another day off of work this year.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Lies My Father Told Me

       i saw this movie today at the jewish film festival in nyc. it was excellent. it is the story of a six year old jewish boy in 1920's montreal and the relationship between him and his orthodox jewish grandfather. it stars yossi yadin as the grandfather and jeffrey lynas as the grandson. the grandson david would join his zaida who was a peddler every sunday . his zaida would teach him about life and the torah's view on life. at home daviid's secular father would berate religion as well as chase after dead end get rich quick inventions.
the relationship between grandfather and grandson was delightful. the little boy who played david was precious. the depiction of religious life was outstanding. it was a real slice of jewish life that most of us have never experienced because we weren't yet born in the 1920's. lies my father told me was filmed in the early 70's when  secular jewish filmmakers  still remembered what  yiddishkeit was .the portrayal of orthodox jews was quite authentic.
lies my father told me has recently been restored . its not yet available on netflix and its not currently available at the new york public library. there is a website for the movie itself that is selling a restored version of the movie. fyi this movie is rated r.


Friday, January 14, 2011

sholem aleichem

its that time of year again. the new york jewish film festival is here. last night i saw the movie sholem aleichem : laughing in the darkness. it was quite informative.
sholem aleichem was a yiddish writer who wrote the ever popular tevye stories of  which fiddler on the roof  was based . i read the short stories about tevye when i was a teenager. they were very different from the hollywood movie  fiddler on the roof.  i did have the fortune to see the yiddish movie tevye der milker which was filmed in new jersey in 1939 and stars maurice schwartz (  and btw this is also playing at the jewish film festival this year) . the 1939 movie is a must see.  if you miss it at the festival you can also get it from the new york public library. first of all the ending was very different. though chava marries a goy she returns to her father after there is a pogrom and she finds that her goyishe husbands family stole her mother's wedding dress. i liked it better than the hollywood version. all the peasants speak yiddish in the 1939 movie. its such a hoot. once you see the original tevye movie you will have a different view of the subsequent  movie.
sholem aleichem wrote about the old jewish world in russia that was changing. modernity was approaching. though he himself did not end up remaining frum in his adult life he did believe in jews marrying jews. all four of his daughters married jewish men.
aside from the actual story itself the old shtetl footage was fabulous. it captured the joy of life that those in the shtetl had. it showed the genuine smiles of children and adults. there was much hardship in the shtetl , but even so these people were able to smile.
sholem aleichem's characters suffered, but had a hard time accepting the hardships that befell them. this is true about jewish people to this day. this is why we complain so much. goyim on the other hand are able to just say 'its g-d's will ' and they muddle through it. ive seen this continually at work. something bad happens and they accept it. the jewish people complain and try to improve the circumstances. its so hard to accept the worst as being inevitable. i guess this is why the israeli national atthem is hatikvah (the hope).
long after sholem aleichem's 1916 death he became well respected for his writings in russia. this continued even after the 1952 murder of yiddish writers in russia.. he was respected by jews and gentiles alike.
sholem aleichem is still respected in russia as a writer until today. last night was the premeire of sholem aleichem laughing in the darkness. the film's director joseph dorman was there, bel kaufman , sholem aleichem's almost 100 year old granddaughter as well as several of the film's editors, sound technician and others. there was a young woman in the audience who was born in the former soviet union. she said that she had grown up very secular but on her twelveth birthday her grandmother gave her a book by shoelem aleichem so that she would know her about her jewish heritage.  now she lives in new york and is living a jewish life. so even now sholem aleichem's purpose is being realized . he did not want people to forget the jewish world that had existed in europe even though he himself had become a secular jew in his adulthood. he felt that even if you did not continue all of the traditions that it was important to know where you come from.
in this documentary they focus a lot on fiddler on the roof  because it is the one sholem aleichem work that most people have heard of. the film also seems to think that sholem aleichem would have liked the fact that at the end of fiddler on the roof when they are leaving russia he sees his daughter chava who has married the goy and tells her she should live and be well. the filmmakers seemed to have thought that the evolution of sholem aleichem would be that he would have accepted intermarriage. i dont agree.
according to the film  when sholem aleichem had first come to america in 1905 he did not like what had happend to american jewry. the american jews did not like his stories and plays because they did not romantisize the old life and they just wanted to fit into the good life in america. sholem aleichem felt a sadness because jews were living a life in the united states that was better than anywhere else the jews had lived and yet they were becoming less and less observant and reliquishing all of their jewish culture. after such a bad reception he returned to russia. this does not seem like a man who would be so accepting of intermarriage even in the late sixties when fiddler on the roof came on the scene. fiddler on the roof had to be more accepting because by then intermarriage was on the rise and even one of the film's creators was intermarried. perhaps this documentary felt they had to say sholem aleichem's feelings on intermarriage would have changed because of modern audiences and the continuing rise of intermarriage these days. i for one don't buy it.
eventually sholem aleichem returned to the united states. at his 1916 funeral many public officials were in attendance. according to the film his funeral was the largest in new york city to this day. though he might have had a chilly reception at first in the united states , it had indeed changed. .the american jews cried at his funeral. the magnitude of his funeral also proved the power of the jewish community in the united states. sholem aleichem , a jewish folk writer passes away and many non-jewish politicians attend his funeral.
now that i have seen this documentary i feel compelled to read sholem aleichem's stories again. this is why i love the jewish film festival. you see a film and it broadens your interests.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

all i need is sleep...

forget love and romance. what i really crave is a good night's sleep. i don't have insomnia its just that i am too busy enjoying life to slow down and get 7 hours of sleep each night.
all through the workday i fantasize about my pillow and crocheted blankets. when i finally return home my second wind emerges.the computer beckons. phone calls consume  the night. i enjoy the crisp chill of my apartment when the heat has been turned down for the night.. by the time i finally wind down i spend a few measly hours lavishing in sleep.
i envy those who have the self-discipline to get enough sleep.
if you manage to get at least 7hrs of sleep each night please share your secret with me .

oh sleep how i love you and miss you
frum single female

Monday, January 10, 2011

the people's court

i was on the people's court once. don't act too surprised. i was just in the " audience" . they used to film the people supposedly  standing outside the courtroom in what used to be mahattan mall.
back in the day they would ask people if they wanted to be in the peoples court audience and they would give you a free t-shirt if you did . they would show you an episode of the people's court on  a video screen and when they would cut to the people outside the courtroom they showed the "audience" and would ask us our take on the case. i was too shy to say anything. since i am short they let me stand in the front. it was so much fun. they even told us which day they were planning on airing the episode so we could set our vcrs.
the nicest part was that my parents and my grandmother were able to see me on tv.  even the doorman from the building i worked in at the time got a kick out of seeing me on tv when he realized i was in the episode.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

that seventies yarn

 as a young teenager i had learned how to crochet. i crocheted for a few years and then i stopped. and then i forgot how to crochet because it had been so long..... so a few years ago i took a crocheting class and i have been hooking my yarn ever since.
once , not long after i had resumed crocheting i was visiting my parents in the midwest. my mom told me that there was yarn at  my aunt's house and that my aunt does not crochet or knit so she gave me the yarn to use. when we opened the bag of yarn there were stacks of granny squares as well as yarn and a susan bates crochet hook. the yarn and crochet hook had belonged to my grandmother who used to crochet. the yarn was circa 1977.  so said the labels on the skeins of yarn. this project had been long abandoned by my grandmother who had passed away in 2001.
well i did the only thing that i could do. i proceeded to join the granny squares to create an afghan.
at first i left the afghan at my parents house. i thought that it might be nice to use it when i would be there.
a few years later i decided that it would be better to have it in my apartment. i recently brought the afghan to my apartment in brooklyn. i realized that my couch pillows did not match my new-old afghan so i covered them with granny squares to match.
as a kid i did not much like the retro color scheme of  granny squares. it looked so old fashioned. as an adult i love the kitchiness of the seventies style  afghan  that now covers my couch. it reminds me of my grandmother.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

bus stop mayhem

this afternoon i was waiting for the bus and there was a long red light. the bus driver was still halfway down the block but he decided to let the people who wanted to get off at that stop off before he got to the actual bus stop. at some point he kept motioning to the twenty or so people waiting at the bus stop  to get on the bus . the bus was quite far from the bus stop and between the residual snow and ice and the access a ride bus that was parked on the side of the street next to the bus all of the people remained at the bus stop. not one person went to get on the bus. we figured he was going to pull up the next few feet and pick us up at the bus stop. the joke was on us. the bus driver was so angry that he drove right past the bus stop where everyone was waiting. what a heel. what was he in a hurry for anyway? i can understand why a taxi driver wants to drive quickly. the quicker he drives to his destination the more people he can drive each day and the more money he can earn. a bus driver is just driving that same route. what's the rush?
i ended up just walking home after waiting about five more minutes for another bus that never arrived.. no bus passed me by as i was walking home on the bus route either.
now i really understand why they had to raise the transit fares. (not) .
i wonder if this episode would have occurred in another city or if its just a ny thing.
p.s. i realize that this is a summer photo but i really liked this bus photo so i posted it anyway.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

timing is everything....

this is something that many of the females in the audience can relate to . you talk to a guy at a party for a long time . you think he's interested and then lo and behold he does not ask you for your number. so obviously you figure this guy isn't interested . of course he just might not be divorced yet , just bored and needed to look like he was talking to an actual woman or he is socially awkward and isn't able to step up and actually ask  you for your number. either way, you as a woman are out of luck . obviously the next time you see this romeo you aren't exactly going to be so enthused to engage him in extensive conversation.
on the rare occasion that a mr chatty  does decide to ask for my number after meeting and chatting me up at many singles functions i always wonder why its taken him so long . then again that's if im still interested. a socially awkward guy really shoots himself in the foot if he waits until a subsequent meeting to finally ask a girl out. what had once been interest has now turned into annoyance or indifference . so really he has made it even harder for himself to get a girl's number. seizing the moment can be fraught with much anxiety. not seizing the moment can be even worse....

Sunday, January 2, 2011


yesterday was my blogoversary.  i have been writing this blog for three years. im amazed and relieved that i still have things to write about!! its been quite a journey. its great to put my thoughts out there and to find  that others have the same experiences. blogging makes the world a little less lonely. thanks for reading everybody!!