Friday, March 28, 2008

I'm No Yenta, But...

You should TELL us when you're pregnant.

No, I don't mean you should call me the day you find out and announce it to me.

But once you're conspicuously pregnant, assume it's common knowledge, and feel free to share it with friends.

I just mean that if you live in-- where else--Lakewood, so I certainly won't be seeing you in person and chances are the next time I hear from you it will be announcing the birth of your child, the least you can do is warn me.

Not like, "by the way, I'm pregnant," but something a little more subtle like if I ask how you've been, reply, "well, I've been busy with my doctor's appointments," to which I'd probably respond, "Is everything okay?" and they'd reply (hopefully) "Baruch Hashem, I'm due in ____."

Is that so hard?

Nor will I be the type to announce to anyone I meet, "Hey, guess what, ____ is pregnant!" However, if someone asks me how someone's doing (unless they told me not to tell) I might throw in that she's due in X number of months. Why? A little head's up never hurt anyone.

My close friend (A)who attends a graduate program with a friend who moved to Lakewood, with whom I've spoken maybe 6 times since she got married. I talk to my friend (A) at least a few times per week, but she never mentioned a word about it to me. About a week or two prior, "I thought I could let you know, since her relative told me, but ______ is due any day."
"Haven't you been seeing her the whole time?" I asked, looking puzzled.
"Yes," my friend (A) answered. "But I didn't feel it was my place to tell you until her relative told me." Don't get me wrong. I respect this girl (A) a lot for not being a gossip and respecting someone's privacy. After all, did I ask ONCE knowing that she sees every week whether this girl was pregnant? NO.
Now, I wasn't expecting a phone call, "OMG you know who I saw is pregnant?!" or "Someone told me ____ is pregnant!" Those are obnoxious, gossipy, and yentish.

But people know how to weave things into conversation.

Don't mind the fact that last I spoke with this girl, I would imagine she was "showing" already and could have easily let me know.

Girl D (I know I skipped some letters) is still close with one of my close friends (F). She explained that this girl (D) didn't do her usual Mishloach Manot because she "just couldn't." I figured the kid was pregnant, but I wasn't about to ask, "Oh, why, is she pregnant?"
But a few minutes later, in my house, we went on Only Simchas and found this kid's birth on there. "Ohh! She had a boy!" My friend exclaimed.

Same deal with this girl. Perhaps this is one of the many reasons I'm friends with them ( A & F). They're trustworthy, non-yentish girls.

But here she was, "ready to pop" as the yeshivish would say, yet my friend wouldn't tell me, "Well, she didn't make this Mishloach Manot since she's due any day and it's hard for her now."

One young woman called another friend of mine before Purim. They hadn't seen each other in a while, so this girl (E) called Girl J and said something to the effect of "I plan to come to you on Purim. I know you haven't seen me in a while, and I wasn't able to let you know last we spoke since I wasn't showing then, but I didn't want to show up at your door 6 months pregnant and shock you."

Now, I think it took courage for girl E to do what she did, but she is 100% right. I don't think she was trying to shove it into girl J's face. She just didn't want to shock her, and I think that's the right (albeit a bit harder) thing to do.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

I hate selfish little you-know-whats

A while after I wrote my previous post, I headed out to shul to hear Megillah.

While we were still in Perek Aleph, a child, who must have been about 2, and is probably pretty cute ANY TIME BUT NOW started babbling. Audibly. I expected to hear some shuffling as the mother dutifully lifts her child out of the chair and leaves the room. But I didn't. There was more babbling.

As far as I know, if you miss one word, you have to hear it again. In high school, a teacher told us that one year she had to hear it 5 times to be yotzeh. Well, I wasn't gonna have that.

Then the kid started to shake the grager--you guessed it--NOT when the Baal Koreh said "Haman." Between that and the babbling, I tried harder and harder to focus, and started to read along, whispering the words in case I missed something. (My brother later informed me that that was incorrect as well.)

I was pissed. I was pissed-er than pissed. There was steam coming out of my ears. I was FURIOUS!!

This selfish little you-know-what was gonna let her child and her own convenience trump everyone else's obligation/Mitzvah? People are depending on others not to disrupt the reading.

If any other women were disrupted because of her child, it should be HER fault. She should have to go hear it 10 more times. She should have left. She didn't.

She could have hired someone. She could have sent her husband now, and gone later.

There was no reason for her to disrupt everyone else. I saw other people turning around trying to figure out who it was.

All she was thinking was, "well, if I leave now, I might have to come back later, or go to another shul. So what if my little Moishele/Leah'le makes his/her adorable little noises? At least I heard Megillah, and everyone got to see him/her in her ADORABLE costume."

Like I said, it was so crowded, I couldn't detect who it was, but that's a good thing. Considering the choice words I had for her, the Ona'as Devarim probably would have been worse than not hearing every word of Megillah.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Do I have to say it?

Don't get drunk off your butt and make a Chillul Hashem.

Drink in moderation and behave yourself. You don't own Brooklyn.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

"Mommy, Why Do We Have A New Governor?"

I know you're probably sick of reading about Spitzer. So am I.

Now that he has resigned and we have a new governor taking office Monday, my sincere hope is that the teachers in the frum New York schools will deem this important enough to inform their students. But what will they tell them? Why are we getting a new governor? (David Paterson, ONE "T," thank you, Yated.) What happened to our old governor? Why did he have to resign?

I've been thinking:

The frum media, like the Yeshiva World, Yated and Hamodia didn't explicitly say what caused New York Governor Eliot Spitzer to resign. They alluded that he was involved an in "immoral crime ring." Last I checked, all crimes were immoral, but that's besides the point.

Are the papers right for hiding that fact? Say they would have written "prostitution," the paper would be deemed inappropriate to be brought into a frum home. A young Bais Yaakov girl would pick it up and begin to wonder what a prostitute is. Or worse, a young Yeshiva Bachur.

When I was about 11, I was reading the TV listings one Sunday morning at the kitchen table. (Some things never change.) I saw that "Pretty Woman" was airing. I had heard of it, and knew that it put Julia Roberts on the map, but that was all. The description mentioned a Streetwalker. Wise 11-year-old that I was, I asked my mother. "Someone who does non-Tzniusdik things," my mother answered, blushing. "Oh, you mean like a prostitute?" I clarified. My mother nodded. "Oh, so why didn't you just say so?" I asked, rolling my eyes, and looking back into the newspaper.

All this even before the Hamodia used the word "prostitute."

Basically, everyone knows what kind of "immoral crime ring" Spitzer was involved in. My question is whether the Jewish media's decision not to specify and use the word "prostitution" is sheltering people (most of whom already know) or a nice Tzniusdike standard that they can be proud of?