Tuesday, February 25, 2014


    While dating one often hears that the hard part about dating an older person dating is that one becomes more set in ones ways. Part of this used to scare me. Would I end up one of those "older singles" who is set in my ways? I have always tried to be a flexible person and to try new experiences and make new friends. Would that period of my life end before I would find my bashert? I really don't know the answer to any of these questions, but I have learned a few things along the way. Over time a person learns what they like and what they don't like. Unless one is depressed one tries to engage in activities one enjoys and spend time with those who are uplifting . Once one knows what one likes it makes it harder to try other things because one becomes busy and doesn't have as much time to experiment . Then again some people always like to try new things and others never did even when they were younger. Being settled can also be comforting. Its nice to have routine. Its wonderful to have the same friends one has had for over ten years. Its amazing to have people in one's life who know one's good points and bad points and have remained in one's life for many years. Its also good to know who one is.
      I think the idea is to strike the right balance. As much as one should not be too staid being x years old and being completely unreliable , unemployed and unstable are not good options either.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Don't Try This at Home

Ever leave the subway station through this type of exit? I have.I do, almost everyday
The most convenient exit at my subway station has an exit like this. Whenever I exit the station through such an exit I am always careful to let the person in front of me go fully through the turnstile before  I attempt exiting . Apparently everyone is not as considerate. This past Friday after a stressful crowded train ride  I attempted exiting the train station through the turnstile exit. As I am in the exit I realize I am stuck. Some moron decided to go into the space with me. I do not know what would possess anyone to do this right before Shabbos. I almost cried . I could not push myself out because the moron was so heavy and not helping me . Finally she decided to help me and we were able to get out . It really scared me because I can be careful not to go in the turnstile with someone else who is in front of me, but I have no control over someone following me into the turnstile. Please folks, be considerate of others. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Snow Days

The snow has visited New York City more times than I can count this winter. Usually I am in such a hurry that I don't get a chance to photograph the weather. Not this year. This year I have been able to snap some snow photos.Now that I am flipping through the photo files I realize how pretty the snow is. The snow kind of makes Brooklyn look like a sleepy town when snow blankets  the streets. How deceptive. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Meir Schuster BDE

     When I was eighteen and was in Israel for the year I had the privilege of viewing Meir Schuster standing by the kotel trying to get young people to experience a shabbos meal, or go to yeshiva. It was quite a sight to see. So many can thank him for being an observant Jew today. Meir Schuster passed away yesterday, February 17,2014 . Baruch Dayan Emet. I am including in this post a shorashim video . Its a little cheesy in my opinion, but it shows Rabbi Shuster speaking which is why I am posting it.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Leah Vincent

     I just finished the latest off the derech National Enquirer tell all penned by Leah Vincent. I was thoroughly unimpressed. I would have preferred to have read The National Enquirer or Star Magazine.
     The book is called Cut Me Loose - Sin and Salvation After My Ultra-Orthodox Girlhood. It starts out with Leah , one of eleven children growing up in a yeshivish home in Pittsburgh. At that point I found it a little difficult to take her seriously. Growing up yeshivish in Pittsburgh is a lot different than growing up yeshivish in Brooklyn. She herself says she was sent to Manchester , England for high school because her family felt it would be a more appropriate so she obviously was exposed to people of different levels of religious as a child. Then again , I grew up orthodox outside of New York and though I was not yeshivish , out of town actually is a lot more sheltered than Brooklyn because you don't have  New York City beckoning only a subway ride away. Just being shomer shabbos and kosher and having a good Torah education gives you a different culture and when you mingle with secular people you are unfamilar with their standards. It may be a bit more pronounced if you grow up yeshivish or hassidish, but you are kidding yourself if you think being more modern makes you just like a secular person. So to begin with I forgave her a little for saying she had a difficult time merging with secular society. But then I read the rest of the book.
     Over time Vincent began to push the limits with her parents and after high school ended up in New York. Her parents found her a job and an apartment  and paid her first month's rent.  After that she was on her own. After this point the tabloid begins. She blames her parents for her lack of friends and loneliness which she claims lead her to years of living as a degenerate.
      Vincent lived in Kensington , Brooklyn which is on the outskirts of Boro Park and Midwood and are both chock full of OTD youth. Fifteen years ago when her supposed meltdown occurred there were plenty of young people who were full of questions who lived in the neighborhood that she lived in. I find it hard to believe that she was not able to find ANY of them to commiserate with . Instead she had a Rastafarian drug dealer boyfriend who she had an affair with. Gee that makes sense. I find it hard to believe that someone who grew up so sheltered would feel comfortable hanging with someone so degenerate. She eventually starts cutting herself, at some point is in a psych ward (where she should have stayed longer if you ask me) , becomes a prostitute for a few days and has an affair with an older , married Brooklyn college professor . Why would ANYONE  think that being a prostitute is a great idea? Why would someone with Leah's background not befriend any secular or modern orthodox or average respectable gentiles at Brooklyn college? Why would Leah think when her three times her age married lover's wife called her up and yelled at her for having an affair with her husband that she wasn't at fault since she was single?  Inquiring  minds want to know.
        The book reads like a bad version of a small town girl goes to the big city and does every bad thing she could do before she sobers up. Every time you think she could not have done anything more absurd she does. It almost seems fictional . How could anyone be so stupid? If she really did all the scandalous deeds she mentions why would she want put them in a memoir for all to see? Would she not be embarrassed?
       Vincent would like to blame all of her sins on her parents and a religion that is very strict about the separation of the sexes. She feels that because her parents equated writing letters to a boy to being slutty that it left her no choice but to fulfill that prophecy. Baloney. Her parents were not perfect. I don't think anyone religious or secular has perfect parents. After reading Leah's story I have sided with her parents. They were right to be strict with her. They were afraid that she would do the crazy things that she claims she did in her book.  However, it is clear from this memoir that Leah had a lot of untreated mental issues which it is too bad that her parents perhaps could have gotten her help for before she spun out of control . I am sure that they could not imagine that she would have such poor judgement. In my opinion not getting Leah proper mental health help was their only crime, the rest was her  own creation. You can only blame your parents and your religion so much. At some point you have to take responsibility for your actions.
        I think that part of my problem with reading these OTD  books is that I want to read the story about the person who leaves their hasidic or yeshivish world , gets job , goes to college, gets married , lives a normal life, respects that even though they may not want to be observant that there are different strokes for different folks and they just move on . When I find a book like this I will let you know. I guess the people who end up normal don't need to write books about it. Though he's a bit of a nut, Shalom Auslander's book Foreskin's Lament still remains the best of the OTD books so far.
        In the meantime if you want to read about scandal read about the Kardashians or Paris Hilton rather than read Vincent's book. They are much more interesting.


Monday, February 10, 2014


   I recently saw the movie HER with Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johanson. Her is a movie about a guy who falls in love with the Siri-like voice of his computer's operating system. They even become a couple. The crazy part is that I am surprised it has taken this long for a movie like this to have been made.
   A human- os (operating system) relationship is ridiculous, but there are so many people who are so attached to their digital devices that they really don't need people anymore and for them an os relationship is all they can commit to.
    The movie made a strong point when Joaquin Phoenix's character went of vacation with his os.  He would go places with her and speak to her. It made me think of people who speak to deceased relatives as if they are still alive. As unreal as this movie was I think that there are quite a few people  who would be interested i n these kinds of "relationships".
     I don't want to give away the whole plot, but I will say that it really made me think about how distant people are from each other these days. Human interaction is becoming so minimal. Let us never get to the point where a relationship with a computer seems better than a relationship with an actual person.The we would really have a shidduch crisis.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Bye Bye Braces

This sounds really cool. I wore conventional braces for three years. I would have preferred this option....

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

We are Family

     After reading the following blog post by Rabbi Maryles it really got me thinking. I appreciate knowing that great rabbis have relatives who observe all stripes of Judaism. It makes them seem more human and it makes people who are bt or who do not have the "right" yichus feel that they can attain greatness no matter what their background. King David himself was the descendant of Ruth who was a Moabite and look who he became.
    If we have learned anything from the Pew report we have learned that anyone who is Jewish today is not so far away from having good yichus because after assimilation there is so much intermarriage that a family is no longer Jewish after barely a generation.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What it all means

     I used to have a friend who wished she did  not want to get married because then  she would not feel bad that she was single.  I also know someone who worries that  her sick friend's daughter is too dependent on her mother. She feels she should not spend so much time with her mother because she feels it will be harder for her when her mother passes.
      I think that the purpose of life is to strive for something even though one may not get it and even if it hurts when one does not achieve one's goals. I may not find a spouse, but then again maybe I will and I would definitely regret not trying to find one more than the pain I am going through trying to find my bashert.
      Losing a loved one is always painful whether one spends a lot of time with them or little time with them. One is not going to escape missing them or wishing they were there to to help one navigate life when they are gone. I think that my friend means well when she fears her friend's daughter will be devastated when her mother passes on , but the daughter will feel distraught and alone when her mother dies no matter what . She would also feel even worse if she does not spend every moment with her now when she is alive.
      Knowing life is finite does not mean that one should avoid  people and things in life because they are finite, it means one should love and appreciate everyone one holds dear because we have a limited time to spend with them. Every moment is precious.