Monday, October 27, 2014

I Can Complain

     One phrase you won't hear me say is "I can't complain" . I will complain and don't stop me.  The worst thing to do is to wax poetically about how I should not complain when I need to vent. If I am allowed to vent I will quickly vent and then it will be over. If I am not validated I will continue to harp about what is bothering me . Let me vent and just say nothing. I know that it shouldn't matter if others dismiss my venting, but it does. I just need to be heard. I guess that's why I like blogging. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Shabbos as a Project

     This was the shabbos that everyone was supposed to be mekarev non-frum Jews and have them keep shabbos for one day. A lofty idea. I am not in to kiruv so I was not so excited about the whole deal. Kiruv events are often created solely for those they want to mekarev and the the designated kiruv professionals. I guess this is okay but what about the rest of us who actually are frum but could use a little inspiration? What about a global shabbos that is like a shabbaton for all Jews not just those you want to mekarev? We could all use a boost of enthusiasm about religion. Maybe just I do, but I suspect its not just me. We continually lament those who go OTD when really the time to work on those who are OTD  is before they become OTD.
     If there is one thing that I have learned about modern health is to to practice preventative care. Go to the doctor for routine check ups. Take  necessary medication. Eat healthy foods, take vitamins. The same can be applied to frumkeit. Strive to make mitzvot less rote and more mindful.
      Torah observance should not just seem like a list of rules to follow, but a lifestyle one wants to follow and one should desire to follow the mitzvot.
       I think that expanding our circles to include less observant Jews is bigger than making it a "project". I have friends who always invite their non-frum neighbors for Friday night shabbos dinners  and include them  as guests at their family simchas. This to me is a more natural way of kiruv.
       Lastly , I think that enhancing the singing of zemirot on shabbos or singing with one's family or friends after havdallah instead of just rushing off to do weekday activities might deepen our commitment to being observant Jews. Mitzvot can sometimes become so rote that we forget how enjoyable they are .

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Statue of Liberty Reimagined

     I found this painting at the Jewish Museum on my last visit there. I could not wait until July fourth or Labor day to post this picture. I guess the artist envisioned the statue of liberty as a blond. I love that America is written on her crown in Yiddish. I don't have a lot of snappy commentary. I think that the picture says it all. Would have loved to see a picture of the same five people fifty years later. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Shavua Tov

     Sometimes seeing all the happy families together can be depressing. I almost felt that way this yom tov. I say almost because halfway through my pity party at shul I saw the other side of someone I envied. Someone who seems perfect and seems to have the perfect life is not so perfect. One of her angelic children was acting not so angelic and she was not so angelic toward that child. That was all I needed. I am no longer envious of her . I still would like to have a family but I am no longer envious of hers . I am embarrassed to say that sometimes when I actually see that someone else's life is not as wonderful as I once thought, I feel better. I wish that I could just say that I saw all of the happy families around me at shul and still felt content with what Hashem has given me without just feeling better about my lot because I was given proof that someone else does not have it as good as I had thought they had. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Is this the UWS?

     Occasionally throughout the years people would comment after I told them where I live and say "Oh, the singles building" I of course would look at them like they had 3 heads because  what I notice about my apartment building is all of the young couples.  Others have called it the kollel building or the yeshiva, which I would call more accurate.  Fast forward to this week. I have noticed that there are more single people on my floor than couples. To say there are more singles than couples is an understatement. There are three apartments with couples and seven apartments with singles. Oy . The singles are taking over in Brooklyn . Now we know there is a single's crisis. That or perhaps the city is getting so pricey that the single and frum have deserted to Midwood. A  sad state of affairs.

Monday, October 6, 2014


   I am posting these two videos together because they are both Shabbos related.
      Anyways , its interesting to see Paula Abdul embracing her heritage. I do not know if she will become shomer Shabbos, but I think its cool she is giving it a try. I know that those in charge of the Shabbos Project are hoping everyone who makes the effort to keep Shabbos this one Shabbos will continue to do so. I think that it is a wonderful way of raising awareness about Judaism to non- Shabbos observing Jews. I also think that it would be great if reform and conservative synagogues would promote it as well. They would not really be promoting keeping Shabbos as the Shabbos project suggests, but it perhaps it would get some of the Jews who attend their services to become more involved. Though it would be amazing if everyone would be fully shomer Shabbos, everyone is not going to be just because we want them to. Then again there is such thing as baby steps and it is not all or nothing. Just because someone is not completely observant it does not mean they should just throw in the towel as some extremists are so quick to  say. A person has so start somewhere and every mitzvah a person does has value.
      Finally  I will devote a few words to the 'shabbos app' that threatens to invade Shabbos as we know it. I am not so sure it is really halachically correct and if it is it would be more for an emergency or for a medical doctor to use . Even before cell phones and texting people were tempted by not being able to watch a favorite television show. Before vcrs and dvrs people were even more tempted. I equate the Shabbos app to setting the timer of your tv to go off at a certain time so you could watch a show you may miss on Shabbos. Actually, it is probably more permissible to do this than use the Shabbos App.
       Smart phones are a bigger yetzer harah than the internet on the computer ever was because it is so much more accessible. It fits in your pocket and it turns on so easily. It is easy to get attached . I am not as attached to texting perhaps because I was not a teenager when it was created. I can see how you can get attached to it since its on a cell phone and one can stay connected all of the time. I of course resisted getting a cell phone when it first came out for that very reason. I don't really want to be that accessible to others. Call me anti-social, I do not care. I do have a smart phone now and I use it often and find it a necessity, but my ablility to be off the radar is missed with all this wireless connectivity.
        Whenever there is new technology, there are pros and cons about  it. I like Shabbos because I am able to turn off technology. Its not that I do not have a yetzer harah to want to be connected to technology during Shabbos, but the rested feeling I have after Shabbos because I was forced to find other ways to amuse myself and I was able to turn inward and reconnect with friends would not be possible if I did keep my smartphone on or any other mode of technology. Its so nice to be able to have an actual conversation with people without them looking downward to check their phone, without them taking a call, without the blare of the televison or radio. I want the Shabbos smart phone cover that says MUKTZAH on it  in fuschia  to thwart any temptation of using it on Shabbos. Even if the Shabbos app is permissible I do not think that it is in the spirit of shabbos and I think that its only really ok in an emergency.But thats just me. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Mendy J- Sim Shalom (Official Music Video) מענדי ג'- שים שלום

   When we said Sim Shalom  during shmoneh esreh today it made me remember the old men singing it in shul when I was a kid. This video is an update on the tune that they sang in my shul as a kid, but this version is equally enjoyable. With all the unrest in the world this is such a lovely song for peace.  

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


     Fall is my favorite season . When I go outside on a crisp day it feels wonderful. I can finally breathe.  It  makes me feel alive .

Unlike spring, fall always seems like new beginnings to me. Perhaps its because of Rosh Hashannah and the fact that my birthday is at the end of the summer. Maybe its a left over feeling from my school days. September and fall were always the beginning of the school year.
          Whether or not you like fall, I wish you a good fall and a shanah tovah.