Monday, May 28, 2007

Aimed At No One

A few weeks ago, there were these posters on lampposts in Brooklyn advertising a lecture entitled, "Menschlichkeit 101." I never looked at it long enough to figure out if I spelled it correctly.

My father aptly pointed out that it certainly isn't "Menschlich" to put your poster up illegally on a lamppost. The whole lamp post thing, by the way, is a terrible Chillul Hashem, but I don't want to get off topic.

Anyway, my question is, who is that aimed at?? Do you think someone would pass by, and think to him/herself, "Hey, ya know, I've been an a--hole all my life, and I'm gonna go to this speech to become a nice person."

It would probably be the person who is already a mensch, and is worried s/he isn't enough of a mensch. But the speech is wasted on the people who are already doing the right thing. It's like preaching to the choir.

I think we're all created with an inherent sense of right and wrong. Obviously that gets muddled throughout life, but people usually KNOW what they're doing isn't menschlich. They just don't care.

Like the people who double-park when they can easily pull over a few feet ahead. Or people who show up late and don't call. Or people who cut off others on the road for no apparent reason. The list goes on and on.

Also, "becoming" a mensch isn't something that's taught in a speech. It needs to be shown by example. And it takes a lifetime to instill in a person. Not just a few hours in a crowded room. (Ay, they can take those lessons and remember them....)

Similarly, I remember we had these Tznius posters in high school. Some cheesy puns about being "tight"...I don't remember, but they had them for shirts, skirts, collar bone...the whole deal. I looked at those posters, and laughed.

I've seen kids who were exposed to those posters breaking every rule and then some. They look like, well, I'll leave that to your imagination. Proof that this well-intended project was a dismal failure.

If a girl is already dressing B'Tznius, why does she need those posters? She knows what she can/can't wear. She doesn't need reminders about how assur slits are, since she'd never dream of wearing one.

Now, you might say, (which would probably only apply to the Tznius-poster issue)- What about the people on the edge, who can go either way? As the cliche goes, "If that poster changes one girl's mind, it was worth the whole thing." I don't think a poster'll do it for them. They're more likely to laugh at it than to say, "Oh, hey, this poster says slits are assur, so when I get home, I'll take all my skirts to the tailor." Certain things just have to come from within.

When a woman is ready to take the next step in Tznius, she'll know it. And it probably won't be from some cheesy poster.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Hot Guys- Frum v Non-frum

Throughout my four year stint at Brooklyn College, I've met many guys. Jewish, Orthodox, Athiest, Christian, --you get the picture.

Off the bat, I can name you about 5 non-frum really hot guys. The thing about them is, well, obviously I don't feel threatened by them since there's no chance. But also, they're not cocky. They act like everyone else, they're just hot. But they walk and talk the same way the ugly people do. Girls aren't all over them like a cheap suit. Sure, when they walk away, we talk about how hot the guy is, but we wait till he's gone, because it feels like he doesn't know it.

That's not the case with the frum guys. As we know, they come in very limited quantities, and the frum hot guys I've met KNOW IT. They know they're hot. Probably because all the frum girls fawn over them, and throw themselves at them. They're always surrounded by frum girls who are competing for the spotlight.

Hot frum guys become players. They have a way about them. I can't pinpoint what it is, though. It's a general attitude of, "I know these girls are gonna chase me." The few times I've been in the caf, and sat with these people, I was tempted to just laugh. I contributed to the conversation, but watching these girls flirt, as if they're all gonna get a piece of him, was pathetic. (And possibly true for all I know) I always see these frum guys with different girls hanging on them..and since the idea of platonic relationships with frum people is so lost, they're always flirting with one another. After spending much time in a same-sex environment, this co-ed environment becomes too hot for them to handle. The guys are happy to be hanging out with girls without the threat of being kicked out of yeshiva. Same for the girls.

These guys also find the need to boast about how they never do any work in school, and how they party. Do any hot frum guys actually do the work for school? Because many of the non-frum ones I know do.

I have yet to meet a hot frum guy who is as smart and modest as the non-frum ones.

And that sucks.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Candy Doesn't Kill

Considering the large selection of kosher snack available, especially in Boro Park, I'm sure most households are full of candy containing loads of sugar, food colorings, corn syrup, and chemicals. Perhaps that's why there are some frum mothers attempting to start a revolution against junk food.

But guess what? Nobody DIES FROM CANDY!!!

Around Purim-time, appropriately enough, the Yated was flooded with letters one more ridiculous than the next making brash statements like, "How could any responsible Rav give a hechsher on candy?! Doesn't he know it's killing the kids?" Puh-freakin-leez.

If a parent is so irresponsible that all their children eat is snack, yes, I agree with these women. However, these women need to GET REAL. I know that most new snacks are creative, yet full of sugar, chemicals, blah blah blah. But you don't have to give your kids THAT stuff. Get them Florida's Natural nuggets, string...all containing about 65% fruit juices. Tons of sugar, too, but it's not pure junk.

These chemicals, which are regulated by the FDA, in small doses would probably cause no damage to these kids. People claim all the sugar causes ADD-I agree with that--Hasn't anyone heard of moderation? Or actually giving your child attention, so s/he won't feel the need to act out?

If you allow no sugar, and no snacks, these kids will end up with serious issues. They'll feel like they're being controlled, which can lead to different types of eating disorders.

Either they'll grow up craving the stuff, or will die of anorexia.

All kinds of snack was available in my house growing up, and lots of it remained untouched. We all knew it was there if we wanted it. So when we went to other kids' houses, we didn't pig out on nosh, because it wasn't a novelty. If you don't make a big deal out of it, it won't be one.

I know there's a ton of crap out there, but if parents are selective and choose candy that their kids enjoy, they won't have to deal with it. And one sour spray gel--or whatever's hot now--once in a while as a treat, will not kill the kid.

But for someone to say that it's irresponsible to put a hechsher on candy---go read the Village Voice.