Monday, January 29, 2007

The "Rules"

I am constantly learning that [fortunately] I do not officially follow the unwritten "Shidduch Rules," so, I am fully aware that some things I write might be inaccurate. Also, bear in mind that these rules apply more to the "learning boy" community which is supposedly vast, and might vary from one community to another. Feel free to clear any misconceptions.

I recently received a phone call for a reference about one of my dearest friends, and it seemed that this woman followed practically every rule. So, in sequential order, I will try to inform the public of the unofficially official Shidduch Rules, From the "redd" to the dating.
  • The Shidduch must be "redd" to the boy's side first. If one "mentions" a boy to the girl's side, no name is allowed. They just say, "I might have someone for you, so give me your information..." But it ALWAYS goes to the boy first.
  • If the boy's mother approves of the family's background (yichus is a plus--and a requirement for some), all the schools and camps the girl has attended, and of course, all the previous Machatanim if there are any, she either attends weddings she is not invited to, or spies on the girl at work to make sure that she is good looking enough for her son. A woman once called me to ask when my teacher taught her last class, and which exit she uses(as if I'd know), so she can catch a glimpse of her.
  • The boy's mother must anonymously call the references on the girl's "resume". She proceeds to ask questions that may or may not make sense. Nobody knows who she is, so she can ask whatever she wants, right? The mother calls people in the nieghborhood about the family, and the girl's friends so that they can say that she's bubbly, and pretty, and smart. Even if she isn't.
  • If all that information proves "good enough for my son," the parents run it by the boy, and if the girl is fortunate enough, she is put on some sort of "list." He is always "busy."
  • They must wait for the boys to come out of the "freezer."
  • If the boy doesn't get engaged by the time it is up to this girl, she is given the option to go out with him. She does some quick checking, and learns that he is the top boy in his Yeshiva (like every other young man).
  • She must get back to the Shadchan right away before another bubbly Bais Yaakov girl gets to marry him. "Don't sit on it," they say.
  • The shadchan is in charge of arranging the date. S/he calls the boy, and calls the girl, and tries to arrange a date. Repeat. Repeat. They finally pick a day that they're both available.
  • The day of the date arrives, and the girl must primp. She gets a manicure, eyebrow wax, lip wax, cakes on the make-up, irons her hair, and dresses in her Shabbos finest. The boy showers and dresses in a suit and hat. After all, this is Shabbos, isn't it?
  • There must be cake, candy, and seltzer on the table when the boy arrives.
  • The boy is not permitted to touch the items on the table, even if they are for him.
  • The father of the girl sits him down, and gives him a farher.
  • When they leave, the girl is not allowed to bring along a handbag or cell phone, because that might convey distrust. And, what will they need while out on a date anyway?
  • The couple heads to a lounge, where they chat over water or soda, and observe the other Shidduch dates, and hope they don't meet their friends.
  • When the girl returns, she contemplates the decision, and gives a second courtesy date, dreading it.
  • The girl is not allowed to meet young men on her own, as she will be considered a "bum." She would never dream of talking to a boy anyway, since they've been Assur all this time. So she must depend on others to set her up with people they might have just met a few times.
Is it me, or does this seems lightly backwards?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Get the Hamodia!

In today's mail, I came across a postcard from Hamodia. A promotion for subscription.

Here's what it looked like:
On top it says: It's more than Home Delivery--it's Home Improvement.

Below that, there's a picture of that yellow mailbox thing that they put the newspaper in, and a row of houses.
The bottom reads: "This Box Outside Your Home Says A Lot About The Inside of Your Home."

Now, I'm not whining, or attacking. I'm just commenting. Sharing my opinion, if you will. They're catering to those obsessed with their images. "Well, if they see the Hamodia box outside my house, I'm considered a frum Jew. If I want the right reputation, I better get that paper! I don't have to read it, I just have to have that loud, yellow box on my lawn."

The inside describes what the paper contains, which is harmless. But clearly, the image is most important. Had they written, "most comprehensive news" instead of the image-itis deal, who knows how many people would be willing to open that?

After 9/11, TV reception was unclear, and a satellite TV provider sent people door-to-door selling subscriptions. The prices were good, and we decided to go for it. Under one condition--that the installers were able to hide the dish toward the back of the house so that nobody can see it as they pass the house. Who are we fooling?

Hey, I'm not hiding anything. I don't care. Yes, I have satellite TV. Like it? Good. Don't like it? Good.

So, all of us seeking Shidduchim--the newest solution: Subscribe to the Hamodia.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Self-Centered Much?

Last week, a woman wrote a letter to the Yated comparing her son who had been rejected from multiple Yeshivos to a child who had been diagnosed with cancer, R"L.

The woman complained that when a child is diagnosed, people offer to help in any which way possible, they daven, they try to talk to people, whatever it was. And when her son wasn't accepted into any Yeshiva, she was did not receive the same treatment.

I don't mean to minimize the first woman's problems...well, actually I do. When I read her letter, I thought, "GET A GRIP, WOMAN!" There was an episode of Seinfeld where some guy pretended to have cancer. I think that was completely inappropriate and uncalled for. As was this woman's comparison of something so fleeting, something that might be resolved with some inconvenience and hardship, to something life-threatening.

I've already discussed the whole accepting boys into Yeshivos already, and I don't care to revisit it. But if anyone sees the connection between that woman's problem, and a woman whose child is ill, please enlighten me.

A woman wrote a letter this past week in response to the woman who complained about her son not getting into Yeshiva. My eyes welled up with tears as she graphically described the hardship that she and her family endure daily with the child who is ill. This woman doesn't know if she will be able to see her son alive tomorrow. Her very own precious child is weak, in pain, and there is nothing she can do about it. She can daven, she can talk to doctors, whatever. But what it comes down to is, no begging, no money, nothing, can guarantee her son's longevity. She recommended this woman volunteer at a hospital for just a few hours to see what real pain is, and to thank G-d every day for her son's health.

Similary, a few months ago, a single young woman in her early twenties compared her plight to a woman who was unable to conceive a child.

What is with these people? I mean, we all have Nisyonos. We all go through hard times. But they are different. Why would anyone try to compare theirs with someone else's?

I was on the phone with a friend one day, and we were venting about shidduchim and the usual. She spotted an individual. I thought the phone went dead. "Oh, my Gosh, Michelle. I feel SOOOO stupid," she said after a minute. She described the scene, which is painful to describe, and I blushed. I felt "SOOOO stupid," too.

I'm not saying that those who are healthy have no right to complain about their challenges in life.Everyone has a right to vent, and to be frustrated at "minor inconveniences" in life. I just think that people should leave illness out of the picture when describing emotional plight. If the kid can't get into Yeshiva, that is nothing, and I mean nothing, like dealing with a child who is ill!!

I wish this woman a Refuah Shelema for her son, and I applaud her for her strength and Bitachon, and for her strong words, which hopefully made the first woman feel, well, at least a little bit stupid.

May we all be Zocheh to good health for us and all of our children, and a yeshua from all of our Tzaros, B'mHeira BeYameinu. (Amen.)

Labels: ,

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Limudei Chol

Last week, I actually read something else besides Readers Write in the Yated.

There was an article about limudei chol. The writer had taught both limudei kodesh and chol in various yeshivos, and can't seem to figure out why the limudei chol programs aren't successful. They're always looking for new teachers, the kids never behave, never excell, and if they decide to attend college, they are way below standard levels in writing.

He also claims that the common idea that parents and yeshivos don't care is a fallacy.

I don't mean to disrespect him, or undermine his knowledge which is clearly more complete than mine, but here's what I have to say regarding the matter:

Maybe the Rebbeim do "care," but do they stress it? They say, as the author does, that Limudei Kodesh is more important, and that chol should take a backseat. Didn't he just answer his own question? Why not put them on an equal plane? OY! Chas V'Shalom!

We can't make them equal because Gemorah and Chumash come with us after 120, but knowledge of American History does not. But you know what else comes with us after 120? Kavod HaBriyos. What about Torah Im Derech Eretz?

When the kids are told that the Limudei Chol isn't as important, they lose respect for those teaching the secular studies. Some schools have teachers who aren't Jewish, and tell them that Goyim don't need our respect, which infuriates me. But, another topic for another day.

They start English classes at about 2:30, or later, depending on the Yeshiva. Considering they've basically been learning Gemorah, which is very mentally intense, since 9:00 a.m., can you blame these kids for not being able to concentrate? When I return from a 3 hour class at college, I can barely read the New York Post! Come on!!

And the fact that so much more time is devoted to the Limudei Kodesh also proves that they put it on the back burner.

Finally, further proof that the Yeshivos are essentially creating their own problem is the fact that some cheat on the Regents for them!! That enrages me beyond belief. They don't want to teach reproduction to 9th graders because sex is taboo and blah blah, so they cheat. Other Regents, too, they don't hold the boys responsible for all the material. Because it's "not important."

So let me get this straight: it's okay to CHEAT, and LIE, because you were learning Torah in the morning? It seems they've learned nothing from Torah if they still feel it's justifiable to cheat.

Teach them about reproduction rather than cheating, which is against the Torah!!