Tuesday, November 01, 2005

My Uneventful Trip to the Library

All it took was one trip to the Brooklyn Public Library. Well, two, if you want the other story.
Alright, my books were due at the Library today, so I went between classes, and looked around a little.

Last time I was there, I looked over a guy's shoulder at the computer station and he was glaring at a picture of Paris Hilton, and as you can imagine, she wasn't too dressed.

So this time, I saw some frum middle-aged guy, (which just dawned on me, what's he doing in the library at 2 in the afternoon anyway?) at the computer. So I looked over his shoulder. All I saw was Yahoo. Okay. Kosher.

I went over to the magazines, because sometimes I like to be a nerd and take out Consumer Reports or some cooking magazine. This frum teenager slipped a copy of Fitness magazine out of the cubby, and looked at me through the corner of his eye to make sure I hadn't seen. He walked to a private spot in the corner, and started to flip through it. I was getting ready to hand him a Men's Health, because I don't think he needs to know the moves for a perfect Jean butt.

Then another frum teenage boy approached, and put back a copy of Cosmo. Huh? Meanwhile, the kid with the Fitness magazine was looking around to see if anyone saw him.

So I was done with the magazines, and figured I'd browse the cookbooks, and see if they got anything new. Everything was too heavy, and I wasn't in the mood. On my way out, I passed the computers again. I nonchalantly glanced to my left to see if the stereotype of frum guys looking at porn in the library was true, and there it was onthe frum man's monitor, "Your search for "Playboy".... With my own eyes, people.

I was in the library for 15 minutes, and that's what I saw. Don't give me this "boooring" crap. And I know that everyone has a Yetzer Hora. And maybe the frum guy was testing something, or who knows what. And everything else. This is not an opinion, it's merely a report of the facts. But OMG, if walls could talk!

50 Comments:

At 11/01/2005 3:54 PM, Blogger Semgirl said...

Sounds fairly tame to me. Like what about everyone who wasn't at the library. Where are the Williamsburg pervs going. Dress very SoHo sometime, Michelle, modest, yet not noticeably Jewish, and take a stroll down 42nd St and see what is going on.

 
At 11/01/2005 4:41 PM, Anonymous Chana said...

I agree with Semgirl on this one. And with that in mind, I must say I'm not really sure what the direction of the post is.

After all, sadly enough, aveiros are being done all the time. Even by frum Jews. In Brooklyn, Teaneck, Five Towns, even the holy city of Jerusalem.

And so, what's the problem and solution here, to deal with these guys looking at inappropriate things?

Should we all go the way of Lakewood and ban the internet? Which, of course, would mean the end of this blog. And, of course, is not practical in 2005 when almost anyone with a job needs to use the internet.

Do these few guys mean the yeshivos have failed in chinuch, and perhaps should totally change their approach? I don't think so. First off, most yeshivos give tons of mussar about shmiras ha-ainayim, and it's affected many guys for the better. There are always going to be a few bad apples. No yeshiva has ever had, or will have, a 100% success rate. (I also think the yeshivos are doing a much better job than the bais yaakovs and sems, but that's a whole other story).

Michelle, I respect you for being bothered by the aveiros going on around you. But as Semgirl pointed out, there's a lot of bad out there, stuff that would make you go nuts.

And this post brings to mind the other commenter, the one who complained about the negativity. Let's hear about the Torah and mitzvos of Brooklyn, too. And not just before rosh hashana.

 
At 11/01/2005 4:53 PM, Blogger Y.Y. said...

yes its disgusting to look at porn in the library uchhhh
tell them to get a room

 
At 11/01/2005 6:48 PM, Blogger Josh said...

I think its YY's sentiments that specifically bother Michelle - These frum people DIDN'T get a room. We all know that nobody's perfect. But when Aveira becomes so overpowering that every trip to the library or 42nd street shows frum people sinning not so discreetly, that shows that not only does our generation lack Yiras Shamoyim, but human decency as well.

 
At 11/01/2005 7:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least the guy at the computer didn't pull off a Pee-Wee Herman.... (Those of you old enough know what I'm talking about.)

 
At 11/02/2005 9:13 AM, Blogger Lost said...

Guys are sick pervs. Seriously, if you knew half the stuff that went on their heads Michelle, you would be sickened. Even the frum, shtark looking ones.. For some reason, these guys have a yetzer hara that girls can not comprehend, for good reason. Tis why girls shouldnt be casually socializing with guys.. *ehem* ;) See ya girl

 
At 11/02/2005 10:12 AM, Blogger JohnLocke said...

Ah so THAt's the answer. Guys are sick pervs. Well, I'm glad thast's all settled. I'm sure all of the female posters here will confirm Lost's sentiments that men are to blame for everything wrong in society.

PUhleeze. Perhaps the problem is the overly sheltered lifestyles these bys have forced upn them. Hormoines affect boys and girls. Perhaps these kids have no outlet except for the local library. Give us all a break. No one is perfect. It's a phase that these kids will outgrow.

As for Playboy dude, well that's an entirely different story.

 
At 11/02/2005 11:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Lost:

And you plan on marrying one of those sick pervs someday, don't you?

 
At 11/02/2005 11:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From a more spiritual point of view, God gave every man a strong desire, and at the same time, the ability to control it. Unfortunately, society has made it that everything and anything goes, so men think nothing of looking at pornography. When you look at thingd from the Torah's viewpoint, you realize that these things are mot givens. You do have power over your temptations, and you can be a mentch. So you can have all these "thoughts" and there's nothing wrong - it's how you react to them and deal with them that's the issue.

 
At 11/02/2005 1:37 PM, Blogger doughboy said...

Dont be such a yenta and being so busy looking into everyones business. If someone wants to look at a magazine that is their right and they could take it up with God. Also why do you keep on going after the yeshivish crowd, maybe go after the modern guys. Or maybe you think its permissible for a modern guy to look at porn. Or maybe you think modern guys don't look at porn. But let me tell you something the modern people I am sure look at more porn than the yeshivish crowd.

 
At 11/02/2005 3:04 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Wow, there's a lot to respond to here.

First of all, I know it's none of my business. So they shouldn't do it in public. If the guy's computer screen is in a public place, I'm gonna look at it. And if a guy standing 4 inches away from me takes a magazine out of the cubby next to the one I was looking in, should I turn away because I don't wanna know what he's looking at? Come on, you're looking for something to attack me about.

As for the MO looking at porn, totally. I am sure they do. But I am not that exposed to them. I live here in Brooklyn among these people who try to consider themselves "Yeshivish," while you'll notice I do not use that term the same way the commentor used it. I use Yeshivish in its purest sense. The women who walk the streets with snoods halfway down their foreheads, minimal make-up, and skirts that cover their knees at all times. Those women make me want to go over to them and just say, "I respect you so much." and cry. I am inspired by them.I admire them. I am impressed by them. The others I describe, on the other hand...

Josh also brings a good point that I didn't say outright, simply because I was merely reporting facts. This shows a lack of Busha (shame) in these people. They know a lot of Jews will be there, but they still do it there? And if they're not scared of people...Well, I can't really say anything about anyone's Yirat Hashem, because that's something that's private and not always apparent.

When it comes to hormones, I failed to mention this as well. As a female, I honestly do not understand the strong sexual Ta'ava that men have that is often written about in Jewish books. So who am I to judge? How do I know I wouldn't do the same if I was in their position?

Again, merely reporting facts.

 
At 11/02/2005 4:07 PM, Anonymous Goldstein said...

>>Merely reporting the facts<<

So this is a case of don't-shoot-the-messenger.

Okay. But why is the messenger sending such a stupid message?

 
At 11/02/2005 9:15 PM, Blogger Semgirl said...

Michelle, using the same logic if this guy is standing four inches away from you, do you wanting him looking at you inappropriately.

But give me a break about Yeshivish. Boys are boys. At a Kiddush, often there will be a very frum looking bochur with a long scraggly beard saying al Hamichiya for like 20 minutes and eyeing me up and down thw whole time. And they think, I dont notice.

 
At 11/03/2005 5:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"merely reporting facts."

But why report such things? I could understand if you're trying to solve the problem (as many Jewish publications attempt to do), but "merely reporting facts" likely does more harm than good.

If I were a secular Jew reading this blog, I don't think I'd wanna become frum after reading it. After all, who in their right mind would want to join a group of money-hungry, sex-crazed, self-centered jerks? Nobody I know.

 
At 11/03/2005 6:36 AM, Anonymous Shimmy said...

I think many of these Jewish blogs are beginning to cause a chillul Hashem. Keep in mind that there are goyim that read these blogs as well. Pointing out the shortcomings of other Jews is not accomplishing anything!

 
At 11/03/2005 7:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There goes SemGirl proving that she's just as sex-crazed and horny as the guys she describes. Then again, that pushes her to #1 on many a guy's list....

 
At 11/03/2005 5:16 PM, Blogger BrooklynJewishGuy said...

You know, I have to agree with anonymous who said..........

>>>>>>>
If I were a secular Jew reading this blog, I don't think I'd wanna become frum after reading it. After all, who in their right mind would want to join a group of money-hungry, sex-crazed, self-centered jerks? Nobody I know.
>>>>>>>>


and shimmy too, in that there are a lot of goyim reading this and it can cause a chillul Hashem.

Let's either use the internet and blogging for something positive, or let Hashem judge and report the facts.

Hey, we all have a yetzer horah, but maybe some of us can just deal with it in a more private setting. I agree that the public library (or 42nd street) is NOT the most appropriate place to deal with it.

So, michelle, wanna meet up some place and I'll show you how to deal with the yetzer harah??
Only kidding, don't take me seriously (wink wink)

 
At 11/03/2005 7:41 PM, Blogger ClooJew said...

"Perhaps the problem is the overly sheltered lifestyles these boys have forced upn them."--johnlocke

Ah yes, lulei demistafina, blame the lifestyle. Because by being non-insulated you will avoid all these problems. A permissive approach will create a society where drugs are the exception not the rule and where teenage sex is frowned not smiled upon (and let's not even talk about pre-teen sex). Ah yes, THAT's the way to run the world.

"At a Kiddush, often there will be a very frum looking bochur with a long scraggly beard saying al Hamichiya for like 20 minutes and eyeing me up and down thw whole time. And they think, I dont notice."--Semgirl

Sounds like you're terribly BOTHERED by all the attention you're getting....

"I think many of these Jewish blogs are beginning to cause a chillul Hashem."--Shimmy

You said it, lulei demistafina. People, let's be careful out there (name the show, Michelle!). We are spending an inordinate amount of time criticizing our community IN PUBLIC. That's a big problem. Let's either focus on the positive aspects or at least bring up the negative ones with views on how to fix them.

"Merely reporting the facts" is not, lulei demistafina, a good enough reason for this discussion.

 
At 11/04/2005 6:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brooklyn Jewish Guy - I'm sure SemGirl would take you up on your offer in a heartbeat. Talk about a blog that's a chillul Hashem.... it'll do wonders for her fragile self-esteem, kind of like that bearded guy who stared at her.

Re clooJew, I think blogs should be like seforim, and require approbation letters from rabbis who have read the content and approve. Of course, that would be the end of blogging as we know it.

 
At 11/04/2005 9:13 AM, Blogger Semgirl said...

Anon: At least come up with a screen name. Dont be a coward hiding behind anonymous.

And why are you on the Internet, instead of learning a Sefer. What would your Rebbe say about that ?

 
At 11/04/2005 10:12 AM, Blogger ClooJew said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 11/04/2005 10:14 AM, Blogger ClooJew said...

Anon,

I agree with Semgirl. I can be (somewhat) harsh on her because I so in a constructive way--and she knows where to find me. Also my criticism is sarcastic at worst; yours is just plain nasty.

 
At 11/05/2005 8:33 AM, Blogger yingele said...

Sorry, but... boooorin' :)

 
At 11/06/2005 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sem Girl:

If you're not a coward, why not give us your REAL name? Why would it be better if I called myself YESHIVA GUY?

Also, about me learning, two wrongs don't make a right. If I don't learn, that doesn't make your perversion okay. Come on, I wasn't born yesterday. I'm trying to set you straight, unlike the horny bastards who fawn over you. And I told my rebbe that I was trying to talk sense into a girl who blogs about what you blog about, he would probably express his approval.

 
At 11/06/2005 4:04 PM, Blogger Semgirl said...

Anon:

Not that I owe you any explanation, but like CJ already said, you are just plain nasty. He and emails me privately and criticizes when needed in a very menshlic way..

 
At 11/06/2005 4:29 PM, Anonymous Heimishe Gal said...

And besides being a mensch, may I add that CJ is extremely good looking!

 
At 11/06/2005 4:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, here's another approach:

Bubbeleh, you have a lovely blog and are a very talented girl. You have a great deal of personality, and are smart. Sometimes it's not nice to write about things that are either better left unsaid, or private matters, particularly things that might arouse good Jewish boys. So try to keep those to a minimum.

 
At 11/06/2005 4:48 PM, Blogger Lost said...

To JohnLocke - no girls I know look at porn.

To anon #1? - of course i'm marrying one of them. i havent met one guy who duzn't have a 'sicko' aspect of their personality.

And to the rest of you who have nothing to do with your lives besides spewing negativity and criticsm...get a grip. Blogs are created STRICTLY for the purpose of venting and pointing out inconsistencies in life, etc. Keep those pointless and negative comments to yourself. Trust, they make you look stupid. And lets be honest, I am SURE you dont need any help with that.

Wait, is this "Negativity?" Swallow it, try to be mature about it, and move the crap on, my friends.

 
At 11/06/2005 7:33 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

First of all, this is not the forum for Semgirl bashing. She has her own blog for that. J/K. But seriously, why attack a girl who writes about her personal experience? Not saying I would, but that's beauty of blogs..we can write what we want. So please stop dissing her here. Thanks.

Now, for all y'all telling me my blog is negative. I can't make everyone happy. You complain it's negative, but when I write positive things, they're boring, and people don't comment, or they complain. Tell me what you want, people. I am here for your entertainment, as well as my forum for venting.

 
At 11/06/2005 8:38 PM, Blogger Semgirl said...

Thank you, Michelle.

And anon, if you meant that sincerely, that was very nice, I will try and tone it down.

 
At 11/06/2005 11:09 PM, Blogger The Rabbi's Kid said...

Semgirl,

You write whatever you want to write about, ignore the naysayers. There is plenty worse on the internet, if people want to get their kicks (as Michelle so rightly pointed out).

As for Michelle's point, yes it is wrong, but try and get inside their heads. Try and understand how powerful and dangerous the yester hora is in that respect. I think sympathy and understanding is called for here.

TRK

 
At 11/07/2005 7:40 AM, Blogger fsgsf said...

Interesting stuff! Boys will be boys!

Peace!
NJ from NJ

 
At 11/07/2005 8:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michelle:

I think the complaints about the negativity are legit. But not so much about the content per se, but rather how it's presented.

To just merely state facts about aveiros that happen has no toeles. I can't see why it isn't just plain a chillul Hashem. Again, like another commenter said, one has to think about the blog from non-frum person's point of view, and think about what his/her impression of the frum community would be after reading this blog.

The right way to discuss negative issues is to say - "ok, we have a problem, now, what can we do about it?" I think you have to focus not just on the problems of the community, but the solutions, too. You can't just vent. Rather, talk about how to fix our community's issues. That's how publications like Jewish Observer and Jewish Action are able to deal with negative issues without creating a chillul Hashem.

And that hypothetical non-frum Jew would then respect such a community, that, rather than sweeping its problems under the rug and pretending they don't exist, is willing to discuss and deal with such problems.

 
At 11/07/2005 9:25 AM, Blogger ms. shtark said...

hey, this post is no surprise. i have a little story of my own which i can atest to. i was flying home from lakewood and i won't get started about that "ir hakodesh" business b/c although it is a very holy place, it has its nasty things going on there (sorry lakewooders) neways, waiting in newark airport by the gate, going home after a very unsuccesful shidduch date. neways that is not the point. i get bored and go to relay to buy myself some pretzels and a drink. on my way back to my seat, i see these two little teenage boys all set up to go to camp out of town, their borsalino hat boxes at their sides. i thought i must be seeing things b.c their faces were buried in a real x-rated mag from what it looked like on the cover. neways, on with the story. i board the plane and lo and behold who is sitting across the aisle? these two boys. i talk to them. they turned out to be going to the same sleep away camp as my bro. ok, i thought i must have been seeing things b4. they tell me their names i yap about how fun camp will be and they borrow my siddur for tefillas haderech. nice kids. the little one has a little attitude but normal. i get out a book to read and settle down for my flight. all of a sudden the 2 boys switch seats and one tries to block the other one who proceeds to take out his x-rated magazine and peruse it greedily. neways, needless to say i was not just seeeing things this time. besides there were at least 3 other frum ppl on the flight who could have passed by any moment. they had guts!!! first i thought to myself, ah it's their life but it was really bothering me. so after debating with myself back and forth for 5 minutes, i go over to them and tell them: "guys, u r going away for the summer. no parents, no teachers life is good. i just wanna tell u that once you start with this kind of stuff, it never ends. u get more and more of a desire for it. it is very hard to stop so stop while u are ahead. i am not telling u what to do but i know u know what is right. the younger one smirked at me but the older one was highly embarassed and put it away. end of story....
but what happened after? they were going to camp with a bunch of teenage boys, with a very potent weapon. this really bothered me. and i highly doubt that this is the last time that this 15 yr. old and newly bar mitva would look at porn. how sad!

 
At 11/07/2005 9:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re Ms. Shtark:

Thanks for another chillul Hashem.

 
At 11/07/2005 3:00 PM, Anonymous elster2004 said...

Cloo - There is a big leap between growing up in a non-repressed world to growing up in a world where sex is smiled upon and drugs are the norm. I don't know about your world, but I grew up in a less repressed world. Am I perfect? No. But you won't catch me publicly searching porn sites either. I do or don't do things because of a sense of right and wrong I learned in yeshiva and from my parents as opposed to worrying about what my neigbos would thnk about me.

My point, I'm not so sure LohnLocke is so moff base. I don't think he was attacking insular chassidic communities as much as dealing with a particular issue.

And you're better than that, you know that sarcasm is the last line of defense for those with not a better position to put forth.

Also Lost - a) not all boys are sick pervs
b) you think girls don't look at pornography/experiment? If so you need to get the blinders oof your eyes or get out more. Lord, just reading a few of the jewish blogs can tell you that....

 
At 11/08/2005 10:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could we get a new post to get away from this crazy one?

 
At 11/08/2005 5:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think rabbis kid gets off reading semgirl's blog. oooh dont stop semgirl

 
At 11/09/2005 7:40 PM, Blogger Josh said...

In Michelle's defense, I'd like to point out that just "laying out the facts" does have a Toeles. It tells anybody that wanders in here that, yes, we see you. You should be ashamed.

 
At 11/11/2005 5:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can make that argument anytime there's loshon hora. Try again.

 
At 11/14/2005 6:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What if comes down to is this: Has a shayla been asked if this type of thing is muttar? Unless Josh is a posek, he has no right to decide.

 
At 11/14/2005 8:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good!
Out of the thousands of frum Jews, three were in the library (how smart can that be?) looking for questionable material.

I would keep my thoughts to myself - and my opinion.

 
At 11/14/2005 1:54 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

To the last anonymous, you are 100% correct. Although it is not GOOD that they were there, we should hope that they are in a minority. If not for their sakes, for our own Ahavat Yisrael as well.
You don't have to keep your opinions to yourself, that's why this blog is here. Please feel free to tell us how you feel about this issue-maybe we can learn something.

 
At 11/16/2005 9:10 AM, Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

Oy...these posts give me a headache.

Why are we such an insecure society?
The bottom line is those days of "frum people" being honest...clean..upstanding cirtizens are over. They exist in the mind on R' Paysach Krohn...and that's it.
We've become a cultural group instead of a religious one.
This is the sad truth..at the end of the day it's each person and god...

I think I'll write a post about this soon...

 
At 11/17/2005 7:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree with David. There are still good people out there, but the truly good ones are under the radar. It all depends what you're looking for. If you're looking for chisronos, you'll find them.

 
At 11/17/2005 7:53 AM, Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

I'm not arguing with you.anon..
There are good people that are not Heimish too. I think we tend to view ourselves too much as a community instead of as individuals...and that causes problems..because when you see people misbehaving it causes insecurities in yourself..and your beliefs.

 
At 11/17/2005 10:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

David, you may be right, but (a) I'm still not sure what you're getting at, and (b) what is your solution?

 
At 11/17/2005 10:42 AM, Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

The solution has to be Educational.
More focused has to be placed on every individuals unique relationship with Hashem.
A child can go through 14 years of school..and come out knowing chumash, mishnayos, gemora..and still have no clue, what this religion is all about. Why are you here? How can you relate to Hashem?.The fundamentals of Judaism.
If that doesn't happen then we are ill equipped to deal with situiations later in life. Our whole relationship with G-d is only seen through the prism of the community and when the community falters we become dissillusioned.

D

 
At 11/17/2005 8:49 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

I know you guys could have predicted this in your sleep, but I must agree with David on this one. I actually am in the process of a long piece (it won't fit on the blog, and may bore some) on the Bais Yaakov system that I endured. That all we were taught was rules, but no love or appreciation for what we were doing, and that is a TREMENDOUS lack in the system that we are very obviously paying for in so so many deep ways, that I shudder to think about it.

As for knowing there are good people out there, there are definitely great people. Some are more hidden than others, and sometimes I think almsot everyone is great in their own little way, and only the people who are close to them know of their greatness..ironically because of the humility that comes from being such an awesome person.

As I have mentioned, Iknow people who are TREMENDOUS Ba'alei Tzedaka, but they never advertise it. They never show it. They live in an average house and drive average cars, and dress modestly--nobody would ever guess what kind of money Hashem blessed them with, yet they are SO quiet about that and their good deeds.

That's an extreme example, but there are so many people that once I get to know them well, I see greatness. Small actions are signs of greatness. Not everyone can see what this girl did for someone else or whatever, but she did it, and the fact that she had the strength not to advertise it shows her greatness even more.

So I am on both sides, as usual.

 
At 2/08/2006 9:17 AM, Anonymous Chani said...

I kind of agree that maybe this is something that shouldn't be publicized to the entire world. However, for those of you who want positive posts, just think about it-b"H I come from a home & community where people are appalled at the idea of boys & men looking at porn, instead of just saying "boys will be boys."

 

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