Saturday, July 30, 2011

saw you at sinai

levi aron's ex-wife met him from  the dating website saw you at sinai. it wasn't from jdate and it wasn't from frumster.  bet that tidbit isn't going to get that website more  traffic. i don't blame saw you at sinai for having nut jobs on their site any more than i would blame any other dating website. they don't run background checks on their members. the only thing is saw you at sinai has 'shadchanim' whereas on the other dating sites you can contact prospective dates directly. i never joined saw you at sinai. i tried to on several occasions but that questionnaire is too tedious . the other thing is that the 'shadchanim' never actually meet who they are trying to match up so unless i chose a shadchan that was someone i actually have met i think its kind of bogus.
the worst part is that i can imagine that even shadchanim who personally knew levi aron would tout him as a catch. after all he was thirty five and divorced. he could even make a commitment ladies.what a sick world we live even if you actually meet a shadchan and they actually have met the individual they are trying to pass off on you there is no guarantee that he isn't  an ax murderer.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

morbid moments

maybe i'm the only one but before my father passed away i used to have passing moments where i would wonder which parent would pass away first and what it would be like. after awhile though i did not imagine anymore. it became more apparent over time who would pass first because that was the parent who was experiencing more health issues.  my dad has passed away. now i know the answer. i was hoping that it would have been a rhetorical question longer .

Monday, July 25, 2011

prayers for a "crisis"

i have always loved the "blame the victim mentality" . you know, when someone is suffering and then someone justifies it by saying it must be their fault anyway. a shul burns down because well they just didn't daven with  enough kavanah there. a person doesn't have kids, well, they must not want any. a person is single, well they must not want to get married. granted, some or all of them may or may not be true, but consider another option. perhaps hashem would like to hear the prayers of those he loves. the avos and emahos did not all have easy going lives where everything they wanted just came to them. i always remember hearing that hashem made things not so simple for them because the prayers of tzadikkim are dear to him.
im not suggesting that everyone who is single is a tzadik, but perhaps its because hashem really wants to hear our prayers not just that he wants us to suffer or because we did everything wrong and poof we are single. there are too many singles out there for me to believe that . i believe that our prayers are dear to him.
we do have to make our effort to find a spouse, but i don't think that everything is in our hands . just because a person wants something so much and tries so hard to get it does it mean that that person will get that thing. this is where praying to a higher power ( hashem )  comes in.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

time passages

when i was a kid and an older person would tell tales of his/her long ago childhood it would just seem so mythical. it was hard to imagine this senior citizen as a child  with parents and siblings. i must be getting old but now i can these tales come to life in my mind's eye when i hear the elderly speak of their long ago youth. perhaps its age or having experienced loss that helps me picture the past. i can close my eyes sometimes and i see my parents and siblings in our house as it was when i was ten years old. the weird part is that when i imagine it doesn' t even feel like long ago. but so much has changed. im not ten and  although my mother still lives in my childhood home, my father is no longer alive.
when my grandmother passed away the hardest part was realizing how the years will pass and it would be so long since i would have seen her. its been ten years now and it seems like just yesterday since i have heard her contagious laughter. i realize its been ten years but she is still with me in spirit. it hasn't been as long since my father has passed, but i imagine it will be the same.
one thing i have learned is to treasure the time one has with  loved ones. no one knows what the future will bring, but the present is ours to cherish.

Friday, July 22, 2011

never let them see you sweat

please explain this one to me. why on earth are many frum brooklyn women wearing sweater in the 95 degree weather that we are having and  they aren't passing out from the heat? i am not wearing a 'summer sweater' and i  feel like im swimming in perspiration. i  can barely move. i don't get it. they don't even seem to be sweating , even those who are wearing shaitels. how is this possible?
all i can say is wake me up when its september when the weather is  less oppressive.

p.s. the above photo was taken in september 2009.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

agree to disagree

although i'm a big believer in the phrase 'to each his own' i admit that sometimes it is hard to really internalize. sometimes i find it hard to understand why others are so convinced of their logic when clearly i don't see how they are being logical. of course , being an adult is learning to agree to disagree even when you know you are right. being an adult stinks. no wonder there are so few of us.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

another reason to cry

i realise that in view of recent current events that this tidbit is not on any one's radar, but it has not escaped mine. it is no small coincidence that the closing of all borders bookstores has been announced today (shiva assar b'tammuz). i for one am despondent. is barnes and noble far behind?

the highest shelf

on sunday i wanted to buy some napkins. you would think that would be simple. guess again. not on avenue m. modern chemist was closed so i went to glatt mart. all of their paper goods are kept on a seven foot high shelf above the meat case instead of in the aisle with the paper plates. im not sure why. is it because no one uses napkins so they figure they will keep them on a high shelf ? there were some tall people around who could have helped me reach them but they were all holding raw meat. i know im neurotic, but i like to keep raw meat packages away from my napkins so i figured i would skip the napkins.
today i went to anteli's pharmacy to buy paper goods and was able to buy paper towels and tissues, but alas not napkins. they usually do have napkins so perhaps they ran out.
after anteli's i went to the news stand store that sometimes has paper goods. they always have paper goods on high shelves due to limited space. i asked the clerk to get me some napkins and they were so high up that when he reached for them the whole shelf fell down. i felt so bad. all i wanted was napkins.
once i was on a quest for dish washing liquid after a late workday. it was in the days before 7-11 was on avenue m. i found a store that had it, but again it was on the highest shelf. .after that anytime i went into that store the dish washing liquid was on a lower shelf because the clerk was an older man and he didn't want to have to climb .
why is it that so  many staples are kept on the highest shelves? is it just me? does anyone else who goes to mom and pop stores on avenue m use napkins or dish washing liquid?

Monday, July 18, 2011

lessons to learn

i would always cringe when the response to many a tragedy is that people need to dress more modestly. i always found this quite amusing. what ever happened to the importance of behaving more modestly ? now  more than ever i find this to be true.. leiby kletzky's murderer dressed like a frum jew, but he most certainly did not behave like one. it is so important for all of us who appear to be frum to make sure we are really behaving in the way someone who looks like a  frum person should.
i think that the focus on people dressing modestly is so a person will be embarrassed to act inappropriately because one looks so frum. from one standpoint i understand this . if you do a mitzvah you will internalize it eventually.  dress is just superficial , an action (mitzvah) is more powerful than a costume. we must aspire to doing many mitzvot and behaving jewish and have good midos . this way those of  us who are frum will really be frum and not just appear to be frum.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

in memory of leiby kletzky

this past week started out on the wrong foot. on monday kehillath jeshuran a one  hundred year old manhattan shul burned down. i thought that would be it, but i was wrong. on that same day a little boro park boy was missing  . by tuesday there were frantic signs on every corner beseeching everyone for clues  to the whereabouts of the missing boy. wednesday  morning i woke up to the news of the brutal murder of this not quite nine year old boy . my heart along with the hearts of all who were listening sunk. how could this have happened ? how could such a brutal murder have been carried out by a "religious " jew?
the outpouring of sorrow from people of all walks of life was monumental.. one of my gentile  co-workers broke out in tears when she heard the  news of leiby's  murder.
8,000  mourners lined the streets of boro park , brooklyn to pay their respects to this little boy's family.  i would have joined , but i worked too late that night.
i keep watching the news in disbelief. boro park is a relatively safe neighborhood.
when the murderer's neighbors and co-workers  were asked if they thought he would have been capable of murder they all said no. i believe them. who would ever believe that anyone you knew could be capable of such brutality ?
though leiby ketzky's demise was grisly, his demise revealed the largest outpouring of compassion from around the world and from every ethnicity. too  bad leiby's death was what was able to achieve this and not his life. why did a little child have to die for people to suddenly wake up and show compassion for another human being?
tragedy always seems to bring people together. though this is good, it would be nice for people to bond without having to have a tragedy occur. it would be nice if the ahavas yiroel would continue perhaps in tribute to leiby kletzky's life.
in conclusion , i would like to send my love to leiby klezky 's family. i know that i don't know them , but i know what it is like to lose a loved one and to lose a child in this way must be just inconsolable. i wish them the strength to survive this. their  son has touched the hearts and souls of so many. may he rest in peace.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

the scale is moving in the desired direction...

i've been doing the weight watcher's thing since the first week of june and finally, finally its starting to do its magic. weight watcher scales are as neurotic as i am. they measure to the .2 pound so i have now officially lost not five pounds but 4.8. well in my book its really five pounds.  whatever. i've learned that not only do i have to buy fruits and vegetables, but i have to figure out a way to prepare them so i will actually eatthem before they grow mold. i  have also figured out that every so often i have to switch it around a bit otherwise i get sick of eating the same old stuff. moving more boosts the weight loss, but if you really want to be svelte you have to make sure that you keep cake , ice cream and cookies ( or whatever your food  trigger is ) a treat and not a staple. sad, but true. fortunately i really love summer fruit, so it has made it just the tweensiest bit easier. i also have learned that at almost any time of the day i go to a weight watcher's meeting in brooklyn i will know someone who is at the meeting. either a personal friend, or someone who was at weight watcher's six years ago when i was in my last  weight watchers stint. on the one hand its a little depressing to see some of the same familiar strangers , but on the other hand its comforting. no matter how many times you fall off the healthy food wagon you  can still try to  get back on track and apparently im in good company.
i don't think that weight watcher's is the only way someone can lose weight responsibly, but its what works for me.

Monday, July 11, 2011

romeo and juliet in yiddish

when i was in high school in my modern orthodox jewish high school romeo and juliet  as well as west side story were on the syllabus. i read the cliff's notes version of romeo and juliet because the shakespeare version was so dry. west side story was a modern tale of feuding families which i found much more entertaining.
yesterday i saw the film romeo and juliet in yiddish. i'm not sure that the title really catches the essence of the film. yes this is a film about the telling of romeo and juliet but it is also a tale about what people who grew up only speaking yiddish would think of the shakespeare classic if they grew up in the shtetl of williamsberg, brooklyn or i would even venture to say that if it was your great grandparents who grew up in a very frum shtetl in europe and suddenly heard of shakespeare.
i've  often wondered how isaac bashevis singer has remained such a beloved writer since most of the people who read his books now are jewish but have no clue what frum jewish life is about. singer writes well, but a person really misses out on all of the jewish references if you aren't familiar with orthodox judaism.
many of the audience members at the showing yesterday of romeo and juliet in yiddish were non-orthodox jews over 65. some of them may have actually understood the yiddish, but i can't be sure. i do know that they did not understand the jewish references.  the secular 65+  jew is the typical moviegoer for this type of film but they are not really the target audience.
i am frum, but not necessarily yiddish speaking . after viewing this film i would say i would be more of the target audience for this film. i found that i understood most of the yiddish because it was really frum-speak not actual yiddish or perhaps the frum -speak is mostly  hebrew which is part of yiddish. i found the english subtitles distracting  because they didn't accurately translate the yiddish words that were being spoken.  i found the dialogue hysterically funny.and i was probably the only one in the audience laughing   (because most weren't frum and were over 65).
the film's story is about ava ,a  secular jewish nurse who is also in graduate school and is forced by her advisor to write a production of romeo and juliet in yiddish. ava finds twenty something chassidish juvenile delinquents to help her create this yiddish version of romeo and juliet.
the back story is that the chassidishe dropouts in this film are playing versions of themselves as they are all native chassidishe yiddish speakers. though they are experimenting with a world outside the one they grew up in they haven't completely rid themselves of their chassidishe upbringing. the idea of crab or pork makes them ill even thought they might do drugs or sleep around. because they were so sheltered from american secular culture they haven't even heard of shakespeare or romeo and juliet and in the accent of a greenhorn they mock the story even though they  eventually  realize that it is not as foreign as they think.. romeo and juliet is the story of two feuding families not unlike the satmar and the chabad and  not unlike the struggles these rebels have with their own families.
in dreamy sequences they imagine what it would be like for a satmar and a chabad to fall in love and what their families would say and do. to see portrayal  was laugh out loud funny. its not only a yiddish language  version of romeo and juliet but also a jewish re-imagining of romeo and juliet that has not been brought to us by woody allen or philip roth ( baruch h-shem) the english subtitles do not do the dialogue justice. i'd like to see the film once more to just watch it listening to the yiddish because im sure i missed out on a lot juggling between listening to the spoken words and reading the will also be easier now that i know the storyline.
the chassidishe drop-outs  were played by individuals who attend the chulent group  that gathers every thursday night .
the point of the movie is that there is too much jew vs.jew going on out there even in the frum world and its just as ridiculous as shakespeare's version of it. maybe just maybe the world would be a better place if we could all figure out a way to get along  and perhaps even try to understand where the other person might be coming from.
romeo and juliet in yiddish is playing at lincoln center this week.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


now that i  have shared the incredible this is your life interview with holocaust survivor hanna bloch kohner, i had to post this you tube interview with kohner's daughter julie kohner. this interview tells a little bit about the background behind how this historic interview came to be as well as more about her parents .its a little slow moving , but worth watching anyway.

The Film Archive: This Is Your Life: Holocaust Survivor Hanna Bloch ...

The Film Archive: This Is Your Life: Holocaust Survivor Hanna Bloch ... this is a link to this famous episode of this is your life.
this  is the first non-celebrity holocaust survivor interview on television  ever. its a little too 1950's syrupy sweet, but definitely worth viewing anyway.ralph edwards, the host of this is your life was a client of hanna bloch kohhner's husband walter who told him his wife's story and the rest is history.

Friday, July 8, 2011

the jcc

when i was a kid the president of the shul i attended used to give a special appeal speech trying to encourage people to donate otherwise all that will be left on the grounds of the shul will be a jcc. it was a very entertaining speech that i admired for its originality. unfortunately the jcc in the city i grew up in is not as widely attended as it had been when i was a kid. though the shul i had attended is still in existence i don't find it to be such a positive stronghold for judaism either. but thats another conversation for another post that i probably wont write.
shuls are very important , but jewish community centers are perhaps more important. jewish community centers create a location that can foster ahavas yisrael whereas a shul if too consumed by its own religious fervor might not be able to ,
much as aish hatorah and chabad might believe  everyone is not going to be frum . however every jew might  still want to associate with judaism.  when jews don't care enough to identify as culturally jewish the next option isn't usually to explore frumkeit, the option is usually no affiliation to anything jewish. as long as jews are engaging in jewish events, even " just" cultural ones there is still a hope for them wanting to affiliate more with judaism. .
the jcc also sets the stage for mingling between religious and non religious jews because everyone is welcome. even an event that might seem interesting only to frum jews might attract non-frum because the event is being held in a open to all streams of judaism jewish  setting.
long live the jcc.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


the absolute worst time to phone me is nine p.m. on a sunday night. i never get why this is a favorite time of the day for phone calls .for those with who only have cellphones sundays are free anyway and for everyone else i ask just one question. you had the whole weekend to phone me, why on earth do you wait until nine p.m. on sunday night when im trying to wind down to call me?
no matter how many times i tell people this they still persist. it doesn't matter that i don't pick up the phone, they do it anyway on the off chance that i will pick up. the worst part about returning this type of person's call is that when you return their call at an earlier hour they will want to call you back later. i say don't bother if its after nine p.m. its not that i actually get to sleep so early, but i wouldn't mind having the chance to . anyway, its beside the point. i just don't want to talk to anyone on the phone after nine p. m.  if you can't call me before nine p.m. that's ok. i won't be insulted. we will talk when we talk. i'd rather have a little solitude than a phone conversation after nine p.m.

Monday, July 4, 2011

july fourth

july fourth is the celebration of americas independence from the british. . happy independence day. in honor of america's independence day may we all achieve independence from any and all things that may be preventing us from being our very best selves.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

love etc...

i was all set to see the serious movie crime after crime about an abused woman who kills her husband in self defense and ends up in jail and then almost 20 years later the case was reopened  and she ends up having a frum lawyer defend her. it was raining today. the fact that it was a rainy day really depressed me, so i decided to see a lighter film. i ended up seeing love etc.
love etc chronicles five love situations in new york city. i would call them love situations instead of couples because not everyone ends up part of a couple and not all of the love documented is couple love.
the first love situation is a first generation american indian couple. we see them before during and after their wedding. though i've never been married i believe that they were portrayed more realistically than any hollywood couple on the silver screen.
the second love situation was  a divorced dad with full custody of his two kids. while he was a hands on dad, and quite buff i might add, he didn't do as well as one might think with the ladies.
the third love situation was the first love of a high school couple.
the fourth love was an elderly jewish couple named al and marian. they have been married 48-49 years. al is , sit down folks, ten years younger than marian. marian had kids from a former marriage when she married al. in about 1960. now they are 79 and 89.
the last love situation was a gay man who wanted to have a child so badly that he found an egg donor and a surrogate and had twins. it was not shocking to me at  all that a gay man would want to be a parent. some gay men have feminine qualities that would make them a good father/mother to a child. i found this storyline intriguing on several levels. of course his actual story was fascinating, but it also made me think. a lot of women go it alone and have kids or adopt kids on their own when they fear they will never meet a man to have a child with. straight men get squeamish when a women is too gung ho on marriage and feel like they are only being loved for their donation to the possibility of a future child . hmm .... on the other hand many men will reject thirty or forty something women because they think they are too "old " to have a kid, but no one bats an eye at this. these men certainly are only looking at these younger women  only for their wombs and baby making abilities. come to think of it except for one lone frum male blogger whose name and blog name escapes me  who wrote about hiring a surrogate to have his baby i have never heard of any straight men doing this. why don't they? it would take a lot of the pressure off of dating for them. there would be less fifty year old men trying to unsuccessfully date under 35 year old (wombs) women and they would have children. women have taken charge of their parenthood. why haven't men? or is this fantasy of finding a much younger woman to have kids with just an excuse not to get married? hmm... i really have no answers just lots of think questions.
true love is the etc. true love is going through life with another person. true love is being able to deal with the changes life throws at all humans and still stay together. there is spouse love, friend love  and there is parent /child love. we are  lucky to have  any of these loves in our lives.
on that note, on some sunny day in the near future im going to have to go see crime after crime.