Sunday, July 30, 2006


I've been tempted to just wear a bandana to see how differently I'm perceived and treated with the assumption that I am a married "woman" as opposed to a single "girl." It seems that in Brooklyn, certainly, a head-covering to signify your marriage opens up many new worlds for you. People listen when you speak. They value what you have to say. You're one of the guys. You're not a "nebuch" case.

In this case, age really is just a number. Girls who are a year younger than I am and are married have more credibility despite my age and education. I am nearing 21, and am almost a Senior in Brooklyn College. There are 19 year olds who are married, with a year of Touro under their belts who put dollar signs after the number, and they have more credibility than I do. Because of a ring on her finger.

Now on the other side of things, as an unmarried 20 year old, and having discussed this with many others in the same situations, it is clear that we have less credibility than our younger, but married, counterparts. I mean, what do YOU know, it's not like you're married or anything.

Some random memories come to mind when I think of this, but my friends have shared countless stories to denote similar experiences.

1) As you remember, I worked in a frum retail store last summer. These customers treated me like I was 12. I tried to give them ideas for gifts, but I was ignored--politely, but certainly not treated with decency. A married woman walked in, and I might as well have been an ant. Many customers (not all) second-guessed me endlessly and considered me clueless because I am not married. Do they know that I have lots of gift-giving experience? I cook all the time and I know what's good to use? Nope. I am not married, so apparently I might as well be a 16-year-old mother's helper.

2) My bungalow colony. Sure half of you know of which I speak, but too bad. I met a former classmate outside shul. Typical--Lakewood, living off her parents and in-laws, Bug-a-Boo stroller, dressed to kill, all that make-you-wanna-puke stuff. She happens to be nice kid, though. Otherwise, I would have just turned back. So there she was with some other married kids. I approached the group (so much for my self-confidence) and greeted everyone. The other married kids, and NO I DID NOT IMAGINE THIS, looked me up and down, probably glanced at my left hand, and turned away. Yeah. Turned away. Don't mind my whole outfit was the price of one shoe of theirs. It was not the economics here. I don't think so, anyway, but it was the simple fact that there was no sheitel/bandana/shmata thing on my head. Umm, Good Shabbos to you, too, you snot. "Maybe they wanted to give you privacy..." Ya buy that one, I have a bridge to sell you.

So basically, young women, if you'd like to be listened to and acknowledged as a real person, get married. Doesn't matter to whom. You don't even have to be happy. Just get married. And everyone will listen.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Rabbanim are NOT G-d

A signficant part of my chinuch involved the idea that Rabbanim are G-d's messengers. Does that mean that anyone with Smicha is a messenger? And doctors who "heal" are also messengers from G-d. My question is, how far must one go to believe in Rabbanim? How far do we have to take this undoubting, unwavering faith in our Rabbanim?

A few years ago, I saught Da'as Torah for a tough situation. He told me it would be resolved. Months later, it was, but in the complete opposite way that he had predicted. When I asked someone about this, she told me, "Well, the Rabbi is not G-d, and he isn't a Navi either." Understandable. Then a teacher in Seminary told me, "The Rav just did not have the Seyata DeShmaya for your Sha'ala." While this is a decent method of dealing with accepting that particular situation, it does not encourage me to seek Da'as Torah again.

I don't feel deceived by the Rabbi, because obviously he did not know better. Am I even allowed to say that about a Rabbi? But he was thoroughly mistaken on his analysis of the situation. I feel guilty saying something like that about a Rabbi. After all, we WERE taught that they are near-perfect figures.

A friend told me of her own experience seeking Da'as Torah about a situation. She had a choice in the matter, and did not take his advice. Will you call her an Apikores? Do you believe that she thinks she's "smarter" than this Rav? Certainly, we are the only ones who know our situations to the fullest extent. There are details that we might miss when describing the situation to the Rabbi, whatever.

Clearly, Halachic questions pertaining to Shabbos, Kashrus, Niddah, etc. should be asked. But personal things?

Many people, especially Ba'alei Teshiva express how they appreciate the presence of Da'as Torah, and that they no longer agonize over decisions. They have the Rabbanim make them for them. So, while that's really nice that they throw their whole selves into this, and have unwavering faith in these Rabbis, but is that a way to go?

Usually, in similar arguments,I say it's best to take a middle road. But how might one go about that here? Either as everything or nothing. Ask, but don't listen? Ask, and only listen if they said what you wanted to hear? Neither of these sound fair.

What are you experiences with Da'as Torah? Would you allow a Rabbi to dictate your personal (not spiritual or Halachic) life?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

17 Tammuz

I hate to bury day-old blog pieces, but it's kinda not worth it to write about 17 Tammuz on, like, 23 Tammuz.

The more I hear about the situation in Israel, the more alarmed I become.

I started to think about the meaning in all this, and the message G-d could be sending us. My next thought was,"I gotta blog about this," but- Waaaaait a minute---does that not sound familiar? I could have sworn I wrote this before.

Sure enough, I did some research. Sure enough, I found a piece with this very name from July 2005. It was just about a year ago that the bombings in London occured, and again there was heightened security and all that.

This afternoon, while running some errands, I listened to talk radio. The host said that he felt like World War III is pending. He spoke about the other countries reacting terribly to Israel's self-defense. Russia, France, Iran (of course) and others.

Am I noticing a pattern, or am I overanalyzing the whole thing?

Have we people become so desensitized, so obsessed with our shallow everyday pursuits that G-d needs to send us these messages at this time to remind us of the sigificance of this fast day?

Fast days are so much more than just not eating or drinking. They're about thinking of the day's significance.

May Hashem bring us the Ge'ula B'Karov.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Something You Never Outgrow

I recently had the opportunity to attend some weddings with my mother. They used to be my cousisns' weddings, but now that my friends are getting married, my parents know their parents, and thus we end up attending the same wedding.

This time, our tables were right near each other, and I noticed something scary.

The tables of the Kallah's friends were divided as per HS politics. Understandable. Didn't wanna sit with those people anyway. Nothing to do with them. How long can I listen to clothing and shopping talk anyway? So I sat with my budddies, a nice group of girls.

I looked over at my mom's table, and there she was, doing the exact same thing. There were 3 Table __, and she was with her nice friends, while the higher-upps had their own table.

This got me thinking. 3 years out of HS, okay, we're still kids. But women in their 40s and 50s are doing the exact same thing!

You think it'll end there? My grandmother goes to a bungalow colony with other elderly couples. A few summers ago, she brought a woman along with her and my mother to Wal-Mart. She later explained to my mother that this woman was completely ignored by other women. She described the social politics that went on between 70 and 80 year old people!!

But, really, who's the one doing the segregating? IS it the snobs, avoiding the simpletons? Or is the simpletons avoiding the snobs?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 2nd Birthday IMHJO!!

July 1, my blog celebrated its 2nd birthday.

I'd like to extend a heartfelt thanks to my readers, especially those who comment. Nicely.

I'd also like to thank whoever got me nominated for the Jerusalem Post blog awards. Hopefully this year, I'll be nominated again, and do better.

I really enjoy writing this blog. I love the feedback. I love the responses that make me think. Writing this blog has made me think a lot more, too. Simple things make me think more. I discuss certain things with people to hear other thoughts, to try to present both sides. I feel I have B"H grown and matured since the start of this blog 2 years ago. (Feel free to read those and comment. I'll get them through e-mail.) Thank you.

And if there's something you want discussed, please post it here!!

Thank you!!! :-)

L'Shana HaBah B'Yerushalayim