Wednesday, October 30, 2013


     One often appreciates something when one does not have it anymore The elevator in my apartment building is being renovated and I live on the top floor. I always have appreciated the elevator, but now I appreciate it even more. It feels as though I am having an elevator fast. I am always considering my steps before I get to my apartment building. Not too many heavy bags. I take the bus from the train so I am less tired when I get home and have to climb the stairs. I'm not sure how the old people  or the disabled are faring. I am conserving how many times I leave my apartment daily. The trek up the stairs is grueling when I am tired. I don't know what people did before the days of electricity. I am glad I did not live in that generation. Its hard enough surviving my temporarily elevator-less building. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Life is Strange

     The other day I was trolling facebook and looking up acquaintances. I saw the picture of someone I knew  a long time ago. I thought she was happily married. Lo and behold she has an open profile and I see a recent picture of her having a divorce party.
      Who needs tabloids like the National Enquirer? Juicy gossip is all over facebook. Then again, some things are better left unknown. My friend who is now divorced got married young to a guy who loved her even though she was very heavy. His mom was very heavy so he liked big women. I had always thought that this was so sweet. When I saw them together there was so much love. It helped me believe that men have different views on who they find attractive . Then again they had been married for many years and have a daughter. I don't know what really happened. Then again, sometimes its comforting to know that even when you think someone has a perfect life maybe it isn't perfect after all. Sometimes things start out great and then things don't always continue that way. I sadly admit that sometimes misery does like company, if maybe just a little bit.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Process

     I never used to understand how fiction writers would say that they  write and see where the characters  take them . Though I do not write fiction  the  more I write the more I understand what they mean. I start out with an idea for a post and as I start to put my thoughts together I see what the points I have to make are  and after editing I realize that my post may have a different theme than I had originally intended. Funny how that happens.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

On Akeidas Yitzchak

 This week's parsha was Vayera  which includes the story of Akeidas Yitzchak - the sacrificing of Yitzchak. As most of us , I remember learning of this as a child. I guess I wasn't as sensitive a child as I thought, or maybe the credit for this not bothering me as a kid goes to the rabbi who taught us this. I don't know. This shabbos I was able to revisit the mind of a child regarding Akeidas Yitzchak.
    I was at my friend's house this shabbos and her twelve year old daughter was very upset by the parsha. Me, not even remembering what the parsha was asked her why. She said that  Akeidas Yitzchak really bothered her. She could not understand why the idea of being willing to sacrifice one's child to Hashem would be an admirable thing. I paused for a moment and realized just how great a test Akeidas Yitzchak was to Avraham. Of course as an adult I understood how grand a test this was for him. He fathered Yitzchak at age 100. Even if 100 was like 65 at the time , 100 was still old to have a child . If I had a child at my age which is nowhere near  90 or 100 I could not imagine sacrificing them even to Hashem. Of course this is what made Avraham special. He would be willing to sacrifice the son he had in old age to Hashem. I think that the point of Akeidas Yitzchok is not only that Avrahm's faith was that great that he would do anything Hashem wanted him to  but also that Hashem would not really have him go through with it. Hashem would want us to feel we would do anything for him , but he would not necessarily want us to do anything (like sacrifice our own child) for Him. Its really quite profound.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


     Whenever I  find  something that I think would make a great gift for  a friend or a loved one I buy it. Who knows if the same item will be available when I might specifically be looking for a gift for them. Its always most difficult to find a gift for someone when one is under pressure.
      Lately I have been less likely to wait for designated  gift giving times and decide to just give the gift when I find it.Why wait? Life passes quicker than one expects. Why not make sure one makes the time to give  to those one cares about? 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Wanderer

In front of  FAO Schwartz on fifth avenue 
One of my most favorite things is walking around Manhattan by myself. Its not that I dislike walking with others, its just that I  really enjoy walking by myself. I like noticing the details along the way and snapping photos. Perhaps I would notice the details with another person by my side. Perhaps not. It does depend on who I walk with and if they are willing to stop along the way and take in the sights or if the destination is more important than the journey.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


     I always love listening to friends who are no longer frum talk about what they prefer about the frum world. Usually its quite telling as to why they left frumkeit. I have one friend who went the Lubavitch route but decided it was not for her. The restrictions of being shomer shabbat were too much for her ,but she still liked the concept of the rebbe. Another friend had been modern orthodox, but after years of remaining single watching her friends marry and have kids she decided  not to be frum anymore. When eventually she did have a child she debated over what school to send them to. She would say she could not justify sending her kid to a modern orthodox school,, but a more black hat type she could. Meanwhile her kid remains in public school. Nothing like that all or nothing attitude. My friend could have easily returned to being modern orthodox, but would never have been able to swing charedi so she figured she'd do neither. I think that many think that idealism is best done from afar. When it comes to appying ideals to one's life its another story.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Let's Make A Deal

  Recently I heard a radio interview of 92 year old Monte Hall the MC from the 1960s and 1970s game show Lets Make  A Deal. I found out during that interview that Monte Hall is Jewish. His father was a kosher butcher in Winnipeg , Canada. I had no idea that he was Jewish. The most amazing part of the interview was when Hall told the story of the man who made it possible to pursue his dreams.
      Monty Hall could not afford to go to college, so after high school he worked in his father's butcher shop.  29- year old business man saw that he had potential so he offered to help him go to school with three conditions. 1)  He would not tell anyone who was helping him 2) he must retain at least a B+ average, 3) one day the say for someone else. Monty Hall has put many people through college and he has raised a billion dollars for charity. One person stepped in and helped him and so many people's lives have been touched. Until today I had no idea. I just thought of Monty Hall as a game show host. He has been so much more. Who knew?

Monday, October 7, 2013

IPhone Fever

     A co-worker of mine was so psyched when she bought her new iPhone 5s that she made sure her outfit matched her iPhone case the first day she brought it to work. She is all of 33 years old.  I'm all for appreciating the little things in life but somehow I found this bordering on the ridiculous. I don't recall her dressing to match her iPad case when she purchased her iPad but then again maybe she had.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

What's In A Name? Local Kosher Honey for the High Holidays

What's In A Name? Local Kosher Honey for the High Holidays 
 Behold, this is one more link  about Andrew's honey. 

Buzz, Buzz

Andrew Cote, Beekeeper -- PART 1 from THE NEX Andrew Cote, Beekeeper -- PART 2 from THE NEXT LIST on Vimeo.
T LIST on Vimeo.
     Its no secret that I like to go shopping at the  farmer's market in Union Square. For the past few years there has been a vendor called Andrew's  Honey.  When he first opened his booth he would give out samples of his honey. At his booth he has honey made in Brooklyn , Central Park , Manhattan , etc. At first I just thought it was just a gimmick until I realized the honey was actually made in these locations.
     Being the age of the internet I recently decided to google this beekeeper and I came up with these two videos. Its amazing how you run into people on a regular basis and you have no idea about their lives. So of course I decided to post these videos about Andrew the beekeeper.

Andrew and his honey

You Say Tomato

     Often at when I am at work seemingly  intelligent co-workers will ask me to pronounce last names of clients who have Jewish sounding names that I am so familiar with that I find it startling that they are asking me how to pronounce them. After being asked this so often I realized that its culture and not stupidity that inspires their question. When I look at some Latino, Chinese , Japanese or Greek names I am often not sure how to pronounce them but my multi-cultural co-workers are often  able to pronounce them . Its all what you are used to. I am used to pronouncing Jewish names, they are used to pronouncing names from other cultures.

Friday, October 4, 2013


     If you are part of the group that you are criticizing is it still considered racism if you make a demeaning remark? Specifically, is it racist if someone Jewish speaks about Jewish people in a way that a gentile would be accused of being anti-semitic? I really hate it when someone Jewish says something really derogatory about Jewish people and they preface their comment with " I can say this because I'm Jewish. " Well , if you ask me its still wrong . Though its not as bad as if someone gentile would spout epitaphs, it is still not ideal for Jewish people to bash Jewish people and I do find it offensive unless its constructive.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Two Sides of the Same Coin

     I admit it. I like romantic comedies that are the epitome of chic flicks. A lot of my male friends really like action movies with little plot.  Though many including myself will argue that romantic comedies always have the same plot and the same ending, I will argue that action flicks always leave out the plot and always have the same ending. Women like romantic comedies because they always have the same plot and ending. Men enjoy mindless action flicks because they are plot free. Really romantic comedies and action flicks are two sides of the same coin. Both are genres that are dependable. You watch each  genre and you get the same expected feelings afterward. There is something comforting about that.