Monday, October 25, 2004

"Are you from around here?"

Ha! It happened again! I love it.
As many of you have gathered, I am from the dreaded borough of Brooklyn. Yup. That would mean that I'm a rich, materialistic, shallow, selfish little girl according to some.
However, time and time again, throughout my extensive experience of shopping and meeting people in Brooklyn, I've received what I believe to be the best compliment possible. People refuse to believe the fact that I have lived in Brooklyn all my life.
"You're so out-of-townish!" they tell me.
I was with my fellow born and bred Brooklyn friend, and asked if she ever gets that. "All the time!" she responded. See that? It's possible to have non-Brooklyn kids in Brooklyn! How do you think I have friends??

Monday, October 11, 2004

Cleaning Ladies Part 1: Raising Our Children

I used to work in a day camp in a fairly affluent bunglow colony. My campers were 2 years old.
I can count the numbers of the days their parents brought them to day camp on my fingers. I got to know the maids better than the parents. What do you think that leaves the child with?
These kids cried for their maids before their mothers. I corrected them, "No, you don't want [insert odd Polish name here], you want Mommy." and I took it from there.

These mothers are so worried about their kids' Yiddishkeit, they taught their maids "Shema Yisrael" so they can say it with them at night. Impressive, huh?

Listen, I understand that in this day and age, to get by without pinching pennies, both parents have to provide income, thus the mother is at work most of the day. But to never spend time with your children...there's something wrong. My favorite situation is the one where the husband rakes in millions, and the wives are out there spending them. They're not even working. They're shopping. I don't mean for groceries.

I also understand that raising children is extremely challenging and draining. After my 2 1/2 hours with those kids, I need a nap more than they do. But you can at least spend an hour with your children. Feed them dinner, put them to bed, help them with their homework, etc.

One of my teachers recently said, "Jewish mothers teach their maids to be their substitutes, they do everything for them," she listed everything, and continuted "Except..." she paused. "SHOP FOR THEM" we excaimed simoultaneously. Sure i got a buncha dirty looks from my classmates, but the sad part is, IT'S TRUE.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Commercialization of Chol HaMoed

This always frustrated me, but now that has come to a whole level. I'm way beyond frustrated, past fed up. I'm basically at "Had-it-up-to-here."

So this Miami Boys Choir concert that's advertised all over the freakin place. It's the "Chol HaMoed Capital." With a circus and an ice-thingy show, and the choir. Wow. You know what that means. If I'm not there, I am not celebrating Chol HaMoed properly. Oh, but it doesn't stop there. All the Jewish publications are stuffed with advertisements for more Chol HaMoed events. There's 2 on every page, and 10 in each Jewish community.

Now, I'm not bitter--Really--When I was younger, (and even today) my father was never able to take off work during Chol HaMoed. My mother doesn't drive highways. So, the most exciting thing I'd was get dragged along to a local arcade for an hour. I'd come back to school, still fair-skinned. The only one. "I went to Florida...we were in Disneyland...." All tanned and freckled. The five other kids who didn't go to Florida or Israel had gone to Hershey Park or Six Flags (things that don't interest me anyway) and of course, had seen some crappy show somewhere along the line. Maybe due to the fact that I'm a homebody anyway, I just thought to myself, "who needs it?" I don't think that's my way of fighting jealousy. I wasn't so good at it then. It's more like, why do you need to go somewhere and spend money to have fun? Plus, since when is Chol HaMoed time for fun activities?

It always bugs me when grown adults look ahead at the calendar and comment on the number of days of Chol HaMoed. A little maturity, people. Now, I know--the kids are demanding it. You know why? Because we are a bunch of spoiled rotten people who taught the kids that they must have fun, fun, fun at any opportunity. Fun isn't bad. I like fun. I have fun. I just don't make my parents go broke from my "fun." And I don't need to travel miles and go on roller coasters to have "fun."

One day, okay--you have off, and want to spend quality time with your family, etc. Okay. But to make a huge deal that you "go somewhere" every day, it's not healthy, practical or cheap.