Sunday, August 28, 2005

The D-Word

In the world of Shidduchim, people are categorized according to physical attributes, intellectual ability, Hashkafa, and their parents marital status.

For some reason, people think just because two people are short, they'll make a perfect shidduch. Don't mind the fact that one speaks Hebrew and the other speaks Yiddish, and neither speaks English, or whatever-they're both short, so it must be good.

That's stupid, but the hurtful one is about the children from divorced homes. I have a friend who comes from a divorced home, and admittedly, she is one of the most well-adjusted of all my other friends. I think it's unfair to turn down someone just because their parents are divorced.

I understand that once people hear there is a divorce, they want to check into it more. That's okay, because the reality of life is that the children are usually affected, and they don't want their child marrying some nutcase. So they should be allowed to ask what happened. Why didn't it work out? How old was the child? Was there a lot of fighting? Did the child ever seek therapy?I know these are intimate details, but I still think divorce is something that people should be more open about, because it will enable people to know others who are totally unaffected. Why is it okay to limit one's prospects to just those whose parents are divorced?

Sure there is a guy and girl out there who are fine both from divorced homes, but for that to be the main reason for setting them up is senseless. Especially since so many kids are so okay and are missing out on great people because of a dumb bias.

I must stress that I still think more research has to be done in that situation, but turning down a great sounding girl/guy just because of that is a loss on both sides.

Another Mensch in the Place

"Where is that sign?" I demanded, almost the minute after I arrived at my bungalow colony. "can I go see it?" I asked-for Blog purposes, only, of course.

My mother explained that it wasn't there anymore.

Later my mother confessed, "Dad's friend swore him to secrecy, but he knows who did it. Somebody took it down."

I guessed who did it on my first try. Another special man. This guy, thank G-d, does quite well for himself, but does not gloat in the least bit. He is so nice and friendly to everyone he meets. He's a great guy. Nobody has anything mean to say about him.

He was courageous enough to take the sign down, and for that I applaud him.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

A Kollel Man? In CHEREM???

I've been ticked off before, but now I am outraged. My temper flares as I type this. In my "bungalow colony, " they are doing some condo/co-op conversion thing to save some money on taxes. Understandable.

Now, believe it or not, there are a few fine, Ehrliche, yeshivish families left in my place. The ones who were there from 15 years ago-before we were- shall we say- invaded by these, um, yeah, people? I can count these sincere people on one hand, but B"H they're there. I'm proudly part of that crowd--nice, hardworking, honest people.

When we were invaded, this new developer came and promised us the world. Of course, they were all a load of garbage, and he did not fulfill his commitments. When it came time to sign more papers, people were skeptical because of the negative experience we had previously. So, they had a hard time getting the "old timers," as we are called, to sign.

One family, who is real Chashuv, an honest, sincere Kollel family (who bought the house- with a lot of help -many years ago when they were half the price) has some complaints. To protect their ID, I won't specify it, but it is about Tznius, and can be fixed with a saw, a hammer, and some nails. This man would not hurt a fly if you paid him. If he is complaining about something that is so important, how can he go unheard? So he is one of the holdouts, (the last one, I believe.) Now I don't know if that is his only reason for not signing. But the way I know him, I trust he is doing the right thing. He must have asked a Rav and is doing this for a legit reason. A man who is learning in Kollel for more than 20 years with Bli Ayen Hora a large family, is sincere--and will not cheat anyone, and would not hold 95 other people like this if he wasn't advised to do so by someone chashuv. He could have left Kollel after child #10 was born, gotten a job, and driven up in a Lexus like everyone else, but he is still learning in Kollel and living a simple life.

In the shul this week, there was a sign that basically put this man in Cherem. Nobody is allowed to talk to him or interact with his family. This Chashuv Talmid Chacham--(who nobody ever spoke to anyway)--is in CHEREM????????????? Don't these idiots understand that it is HIS Limud Torah that allows the world to go round?? That lets them live their empty shallow lives?? Where is their appreciation for Torah? How can Jews treat another Jew like this??? Especially such a gentle, honest, learned man! How can they let that sign hang in the shul? How do these beasts sleep at night knowing what they are doing to someone? How do you think this man feels when he sees his name in big, bold letters, and he is not to be spoken to??

Keep in mind, the amount of money they plan to save is $1,000 a year. Yes, to some that is significant, but to those who pay $16,000 for landscaping IN THE COUNTRY can spare the thousand dollars, and this man's kavod--not even kavod---dignity!!! $1,000 to these people is chump change. Although I understand, you want to save it if you can. I wonder if they'd just fix that thing, if he'd sign, and that project costs less than $1,000 anyway.

I wish I could show you all what a special family they are. How I know for sure what he is doing is within Da'as Torah. He wouldn't have it any other way.

OMG I am too enraged to complete my thought. But what do you all think about this??

Monday, August 15, 2005

Hitting a New Lo(pez)

In my ever blossoming bungalow colony, they have started to distribute weekly newsletters to inform us all of the progress we are making in all areas.

For example, they listed the practically self-voted board members, and again tried to weasel more money out of us, claiming that the place has been running in the red for a few years, blah blah blah. Ironic how these filthy-rich Lexus and Caddy drivers can manage their own money but nobody else's.

But anyway, that is not even my point. Of the four page rampage, today I choose to focus on a short paragraph that read something like this, "To those of you who have housekeepers who like to use the pool, please be aware that some women find it uncomfortable in their presence, and that we are in the midst of arranging alternate hours for these women."

Whoa. Well, this place has had this nice collection of "housekeepers" for the last 6-7 years, I'd say. Once they built the new houses, there were many many more to speak of. Because, of course, why come to the country without someone to raise your children, cook your dinners (I wonder how many are ovehr Bishul Akum--I hope none!) and clean up after you? I mean, what would be the point in that?? But anyway, in years past, these women did not dream of using the pool. In fact, the only way to know whose kid was whose was at the pool. The maid would drop the kids off at the pool for half-an-hour while the mother got reacquainted with her own child. On the days she wasn't shopping, of course.

But now I hear reports of the maids taking the kids swimming. Better yet, they put the kids in the kiddie pool, and swim a few laps. Now I thought about the fact that there are complaints. I don't think there is a large enough percentage of people who don't have maids that their complaints would be significant. That means that perhaps there are women who have maids and are complaining. That tells me that they consider the maids as people only when beneficial to them. They are people when they are raising their children, or when they give the maids dinner, (or, rather, when the maids take their own dinner--silly me!) but when it comes to them swimming like other people, suddenly, they are not allowed.

I understand people feeling uncomfortable with the maids in the pool, and I don't understand how that line was crossed in the first place. They couldn't say no then either. Maybe one maid enjoyed it so much, she spread the word to the others. But now that the situation has come up, kicking them out is offensive. But then again, maybe these people need breaks from their maids. Or maybe that's where they gossip about their maids.

Anyway, rumor has it one of the maids found the letter, and is able to read English well enough to comprehend that they're talking about her, and that she is planning on filing a discrimination lawsuit with her friends.

That, ladies and gentelmen, is what I call, "hitting a new Lo."

Sunday, August 07, 2005

R-E-S-P-E-C-T -Part 2

This shabbos, I applied a cream that promised to make me invisible. And it worked!!

I attended a family Simcha. I sat at a table with my relatives. Or so I thought. They pretended that I do not exist. For some reason, my hands were there-to pass them things, of course. I have been seated with them at other Simchas, where I have tried to strike conversation and I am rejected and belittled to my face. I blush, look down, swallow my tears, eat my food, and don't talk.

When I saw who I was seated with, I decided to be mature about it and think, "It's just one meal--a few hours." Thank G-d that got me through, because now it's over, and I don't have to see them for a while. But I still wish to discuss what went on at that meal. They didn't look me in the face. They didn't say two words to me. But they seemed to enjoy discussing clothing and shoes and clothing and shoes. Even during the speeches.

There were two other young married women there whom I did not know, but when their young children disrupted the speeches, they looked at each other and laughed, rather than trying to do something about it. They didn't talk to me either. But then again, I didn't try either, so I won't blame them.

The chosson got up to speak, and so did one of his friends. People listened and laughed. Then a Rabbi came to the shtender. I have to admit he didn't look like the "coolest" man, but a young, chashuv Rav. He started to speak about the fact that it is hard to celebrate a Simcha while keeping in mind the Aveilus of the 9 days. It was something I had thought about and looked forward to hearing what he had to say. He wasn't speaking loudly. Then people got antsy. It was noisy when he started, but when he finished, nobody realized except the 5 people still listening. I kept quiet. I couldn't hear, and who would I talk to anyway?

On the way out, I heard people complaining, "That Rabbi spoke way too long..." I didn't time it, but I approximated about 20 minutes. I know that's long for a speech during a meal, but funny how when it's Nicole Kidman or Julia Roberts making the speech--at an awards show, or in a dialogue in a movie--it seems to fly by. Do people really complain that movies are too long? (With the exception of 3 1/2 hour Titanic and others) No. Because they're interested in seeing half-naked movie stars and hot hollywood hunks. So if a man wants to speak for 20 minutes about Torah, then let him.

I know that my hours in front of a TV far exceed the hours I have spent attending Shiurim, but if a man--better yet, a Rabbi-- gets up to speak Torah, how can people treat him with such disrespect? It seems this is what too many people have become nowadays. They have no respect or appreciation for Yiddishkeit. I think this goes back to my discussion about the schools being so busy promoting the outside, they forget completely about working on the inside. So they end up with a bunch of guys in hats and jackets but no desire for Torah. Nice work.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Experiences in Retail-pt 1

I recently started a job in retail. I work in a store where we make packages for bridal showers and things like that.

So a woman comes in 2 hours before closing and asks if I can still wrap something. "Sure," I respond in my most proper manner, my coffee-stained teeth gleeming. So, after an hour of deliberation, she made her decisions. That meant it was an hour to closing. She finally left. I headed to the room where we make the packages, and just as I put down the items, the bell rang. More customers.

20 minutes before closing time, I got started on her package. I had told her to come back 15 minutes after the closing time. I was quicker than I thought, because I was actually ahead by a few minutes. Or so i thought. I just had to put the final touch-the cellophane. So I cut myself a generous piece. Too short. So I went back to cut another piece, and the doorbell rings. She heads straight to "employees only" room--I may invest in a sign--and complains, "There's a few inches that look empty here--what can we put?" So, a broken pair of scissors, and a dozen different decorative flowers, bows and ribbons later, she decides to add something from the store. So I made a bow around it and glued it on. "Happy now?" I asked calmly, masking my teeming rage. Then we were back to the cellophane. It wasn't wide enough, "I can't take it like this," she threw her nose up in the air. Fortunately, the boss came in and showed me a wider cellophane that I had never used before (I'm only working here a few days, people) and I started to wrap it. This smart aleck starts "helping" me and we finally get it together. Then she complains about the ribbon. It's not enough. It's not nice enough. It's not fancy enough. There's not enough "color" Well, that's all we have, unless you want your thing to clash and make it look like your 6 year old daughter made it. Then her friend parks her car and walks in. She parks her fanny right there, and makes herself at home. She cut herself a piece of ribbon that barely matched, to say the least. "You can tie that yourself, since this is your project," I muttered. She tied herself an uneven, ridiculous looking "bow" and I thought she was done. Wrong-O. Then she complains about the cellophane on top. She took another while figuring out how she "likes" it. Just as I was about to get to the Wustohfs, she decided she was done.

Oh, but I missed the best part. While "we" were wrapping the thing, she got a phone call, she told her caller, "I'm still in the store, the girl here is new, so it's taking some time." WHOA. My fume-o-meter almost burst. I politely retorted, "Well, I don't think the fact that I am new here has anything to do with it. I think it might have been helpful if you would have come in a little earlier. There were customers all day after you left, and I can only do so much." She basically ignored me, and "apologized."

Does she think that just because I am a young girl she can treat me with complete disrespect and lack of consideration? Stick a sheitel on my head, and let's see what happens. Why couldn't she fix the bow at home? and the cellophane. Why does she come in 2 hours befre closing, leave me with one hour to work, and not believe it was still not done? I thought that what I made was nice. I take/took pride in my work, and the store's reputation. Why must she ruin that for me? I have experienced things that were not done to my satisfaction, but it was good enough, and I complimented them on it, rather than shooting down every bit of confidence the person had. If I wanted I'd fix it on my own later.