Thursday, September 28, 2006

The big questions

After Rosh Hashana, there are two questions you hear on the streets, and at Yom Tov tables.

1) "What time did you finish shul?"

I'm actually guilty of that one. I ask it all the time. Don't know why, but I care. What's funny is that some people use it as a guage to measure frumkeit. You finished at 2:30? Well, I finished at 3:00, so I'm frummer. I guess the fact that I finished at 1:05 the first day makes me a shiksa.

I was asked another question by many people that I found strange. I don't ask this question, frankly because I couldn't care less about the response.

2) "How was the Ba'al Tokeya? (Shofar Blower) Was the guy good? Did he screw up?"

Why do people care if the Ba'al Tokeya in a particular shul had a hard time? And if they were perfect? It's embarassing. It can be frustrating. Why would people talk about the man not being able to do Tekiya Gedolah? It's Lashon Hora on Rosh Hashana, and it's not even juicy. I mean, if it's juicy, and you get something out of it, that's another story.

3) How was davening?

Dude, no offense, but if I was unable to concentrate for the last hour on the second day because I was so hungry, do you think I'm gonna just tell you? When you ask that question casually, do you want me to answer with a whole meaningful, "I felt so connected...."? and make you feel like a bad person because you were bored?

Okay, so someone can answer, "long." Then you sound like a horrible person who considers Tefillah a waste of time. But hey, it was long. I have a right to say that because I can never sit through a 3-hr movie anyway.

Oh, and FYI, please consider this, shall we say, in jest. Don't take me seriously. It really doesn'tbother me that people ask these things. It's just interesting. That's all.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Happy New Year! And my prediction.

For those living under a cave, or in a non-secular media environment, there has been a massive recall on Spinach leaves. There was an out-break of e. coli, and a few poeple have died from it. Many are ill.

Sure enough in helping shop for Yom Tov, there was no Spinach to be found on the shelves. Certainly a good thing.

Somehow I just know--trust me--that many Rabbanim (especially in the Yeshivish communities) will have some variation of the following, "Months ago when there was a problem with bug-infested lettuce, not everyone was machmir. They found ways around it. They bought other companies, said that it was from a different state, or justified it in other ways. But now that there's e.coli, nobody will be found eating Spinach leaves. We'd tell you there are Shratzim, it wouldn't matter. But e.coli--ah. So, I can't understand it, (begin singsong tone) when the shratzim aren't good for your neshama, you find a way around it. But when the secular media! Goyim! They tell us there's something wrong with the Spinach. We stay away. What does that tell you about our priorities? Are we thinking with our bodies or our Neshamois! Klal Yisroel must..."

Not poking fun. Just predicting. (That is, unless they don't know about the e.coli, of course)

Anyway, I'd like to wish all my readers a Shana Tova, filled with health, happiness, and spirituality! May we ALL be Zocheh to see the Geulah B'Karov.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Why Israel?

Amid the recent scandals in the Jewish Community, word on the street about these people, again-not mentioning names-- but those involved in highly pulicized scandals have escaped to Israel to hide out.

Why Israel?

Why not Texas?

I mean, the one time I was in Israel, it was for my cousins Bar Mitzvah. In 4 days there, I saw more people I know than I do on Avenue J. I mean, the whole Flatbush/Boro Park was there. The Plaza hotel? Might as well have been Cafe K. So why do they choose Israel of all places when they need to escape? It's kind of a public place, they'll probably meet a lot of people. Especially if they stay throughout the Holiday season.

Israel is obviously known for its spirituality, right? so they just screwed people over, or whatever the case may be, and now they're going to holiest place in the world? Maybe it's the guilt, so they feel like they have to do Teshuva, and that's the best place to do it. But so soon? And everyone says, "he ran" to Israel, "he's hiding" in Israel.

Where do they stay, anyway? Who pays for the hotel? Can't get an apartment on such short notice. I doubt family would want these "tainted names" in their presence.

Say they would have stayed in NY, or wherever they were from. What would happen? They're ostracized either way. You think they'd get beaten up? I mean, what about the planeride to Israel? I saw so many people I know on the El-Al flight, of course most of them went up the steps, which I thought led to the bathroom. (My mother informed that that was First Class. Before it was too late) I mean, even in coach, these people probably saw others they know. What about the person they sit next to?

Ironically, these are usually people who would avoid Goyim like the plague. Now, they'd probably prefer to sit next to Goyim. They know nothing of the scandal, he hopes.

Friday, September 15, 2006

It's like Garlic Breath--it never goes away

I entered the Brooklyn College campus the other day, and spotted her from a mile away. The walk. I knew that walk. The hair, oh, yeah, that hair. And the skirt with that length that shouts, "I might as well be wearing pants, but of course I can't, because I'm 'frum'" (Truth be told, I can see the source of resentment. My school hated her more than they hated me, and that is not an enviable position.)

I saw her talking to someone, and walked right past her. Oh, yeah. It was her. I think.

I walked down to the cafeteria, and met a classmate there, "How are ya Michelle?" "Nervous," I responded. "But I just don't know why," I thought aloud. It was not nerves. It was resentment. It was just this feeling that took me back to the insecurities of high school. This girl was hell to me in high school.

When we were in Seminary together, she had the chutzpah to "break the ice" by asking for my notes. "Lemme get this straight," I asked one of the queens of my high school class, "you don't say two words to me since 1996, and now 15 minutes before a test, you want to borrow my notes." "Pretty much," she replied, coldly avoiding the fact that we played together as kids. "Okay," I said, my hands trembling. I handed them to her, and felt I had been whooshed back into high school mode.

Oh, and FYI, short story about the kid--she must have lost something, and asked the crossing guard to find it for her. We walked into the building together (a whole other story) and the crossing guard starting telling her about how she looked for her thing, and that she fell--the kid was just all, "thanks, thank you," and ran away. Didn't wanna give the woman the time of day. She continued to tell me what happened. "I went to find her thing, and then I fell, and I hurt myself, and I was screaming....but this girl, she don't wanna hear nuttin I wanna tell her. She don't care." The whole issue about this woman being mistreated, and many other chinuch issues that ironically take place in the building of Chinuch is for another day. Point here is just to vent about how I don't like this kid, and how she made me feel.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Bawk, Bawk

As I trudge through my Journalism major in Brooklyn College, I have subscribed to the New York Times, since I am required to read the A and B sections for one class, and the C section for another.

Last week, I picked up a Torah Times for my mother, on the way to the train station. On the way home, she read, "The whole chicken episode in Monsey..." it was foreign to me. "What is he talking about?" I leaned over at a red light. My mother had no idea either. Neither did my father. Until I walked into the house the next day with a New York Times. Hurray, two Chassidim made it into the Metro Section. "Ah-ha! Ma!! Check it out!" I pointed to the article, which makes reference to the blog Vas Is Naies, which received over 400 comments on this topic within 2 hours.

For those like me who have been unaware until now, apparently someone sold Treife chickens to a Supermarket in Monsey, that had the Kosher metal thingies on them. When they were tested for salt, they were rendered Treif. It seems the guy who runs the deal didn't pay his supplier on time, and replaced his Kosher chickens with non-Kosher ones.

A similar situation occured in a Brooklyn take-out store about 1-2 years ago. But I think those chickens were Kosher, not Glatt, or something like that, so it wasn't as dramatic.

So can we trust anyone? What was his motivation? Money? Who was the one behind this, really?

I mean, you go to your kosher supermarket, and just take for granted that what you're buying is kosher. Oh, Gosh, it better not become like the Sheitels--nobody eat chicken anymore because you don't know where it came from, etc.

Can we trust anyone? And What's Next?

Monday, September 04, 2006

"You Never Knooooow..."

Yeah. Just think of that expression being used by some Yenta from Boro Park or Flatbush. Makes you want to punch someone, doesn't it?

I was "redd" to a guy/young man a while back, by two people, and told them both no. Emphatically. Now, close to 2 years later, the shadchan calls back (and she isn't even the money-hungry type!) and basically talked me into going out with this loser.

Her line of bait? "You never know, he might just be the one..." Now, I don't fall for this. The only problem is that I forgot why I said no in the first place. I remember writing him off because something I had heard. Yet, she shoved that cliche down my throat, and didn't really let me hang up the phone until I said yes.

I knew about halfway through the phone call that this guy was not gonna be "the one." And I was mad at this Shadchan. The guy was barely listening, and had the personality of a doorknob. When someone says no,--TWICE-- even if she can't remember the reason, can you at least trust her?

"But, ay, NO, she might be turning away her Basherte Chas V'Shalom!" Enough of this already. Stop forcing people to go out when they don't want to. I know too many people who have shared this frustration with me.

My favorite is, "you know, there was a couple that I set up 3 times, and they said no all 3 times, and then finally, they said yes, and they're happily married with 3 kids, another on the way..." I have a few answers for that. 1) Okay, so they won the lottery. Should I go buy 10 tickets every day? 2) Happily married according to whom? For all you know, they just got so desperate, they were willing to take whatever they could 3)Every situation is different. Maybe they said no on a basis that is changeable, or something that they realized later is not as important.

I feel that many Shadchanim exploit our vulnerability and exasperation by reminding us that "it just takes one," and of course, "this might just be it."