Sunday, February 28, 2010

Goldishlocks & The Three Beers


One Purim there was a girl named Goldishlocks, who had golden, curly hair,
Who made beautiful mishloach manos of porridge, cookies, and gummy bears,
She knew her mishloach manos were not yet complete,
‘But what else can I add?,’ she started to think.

She decided to take a walk to clear her mind,
When lo and behold! What’d she find!?
It was all she could do, to not yell in fear,
While in front of her stood a huge scary beer.

He said “Hi Goldishlocks! What do you say?
You should give out some of me on Purim day!”
Goldishlocks stammered “A tax I’d rather levy,
Then give you out, Dad. You’re just way too heavy.”

She had scarcely walked 12 steps before she jumped back in fear,
After getting talked to forever by an overly energetic beer,
The beer pled her case, about how she goes down so smoothly,
And you never have to worry about her coming off fruity.

But Goldishlocks wasn’t to be so easily impressed,
And finally spoke up to the beer so well dressed,
“Imma, be careful, you gave me a fright!
But I’m sorry, you’re no good either – you’re just way too light.”

Goldishlocks was sad as she headed to her room,
All ready for Purim but with a small dash of gloom,
She passed by her baby sis, the cutest little beer,
And couldn’t help but think “Now isn’t she just dear!?”

She was about to give up and call it a night,
When she suddenly remembered an ad for Bud Light,
She turned and yelled, “‘Not too heavy, not too light!’
Oh this is perfect – Baby, you’re Just Right!!”

With excitement she turned and ran down the hall,
And finished making beautiful mishloach manos for all,
And in addition to giving out yummy treats to her peers,
She’s sharing the story of Goldishlocks – and of course, the Three Beers.

Megillah Times in Kew Gardens Hills

Cropped from Josh, originally put together by Yussie Englander as he kindly does for everyone every year, downloadable here:

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Purim Day5:55:00 AMShacharisYoung Israel of Kew Gardens Hills150-05 70th Rd., KGH
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Purim Day6:00:00ShacharisCong. Ahavas Yisroel147-02 73rd Ave., KGH
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Purim Day6:00:00ShacharisYoung Israel of Hillcrest169-07 Jewel Ave., Hillcrest
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Purim Day6:00:00ShacharisYoung Israel of Kew Gardens Hills150-05 70th Rd., KGH
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Purim Day6:05:00ShacharisCong. Chasam Sofer (R. Wiesel)141-50 70th Rd., KGH
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Purim Day6:05:00ShacharisCong. Etz Chaim147-16 73rd Ave., KGH
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Purim Day6:05:00ShacharisTorah Center of Hillcrest171-05 Jewel Ave., Hillcrest
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Purim Day6:05:00ShacharisYoung Israel of Queens Valley141-55 77th Ave, KGH
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Purim Day6:10:00ShacharisAgudath Israel of Kew Gardens Hills147-37 70th Rd., KGH
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Purim Day6:10:00ShacharisCong. Aderes Eliyahu (R. Teitz)144-49 72nd Drive, KGH
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Purim Day6:10:00ShacharisCong. Ohr Moshe170-16 73rd Ave., Hillcrest
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Purim Day6:10:00ShacharisQueens Jewish Center66-05 108th St., FH
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Purim Day6:15:00ShacharisCong. Tikvas Israel Shalom (R. Spitalny)141-25 70th Ave. KGH
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Purim Day6:15:00ShacharisKew Gardens Synagogue 82-17 Lefferts Blvd., KG
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Purim Day6:15:00ShacharisYoung Israel of Forest Hills7100 Yellowstone Blvd., FH
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Purim Day6:15:00ShacharisYoung Israel of Hillcrest169-07 Jewel Ave., Hillcrest
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Purim Day6:15:00ShacharisYoung Israel of Jamaica Estates83-10 188th St., Jamaica Estates
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Purim Day6:25:00ShacharisCong. Degel Israel144-02 68th Dr., KGH
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Purim Day6:25:00ShacharisCong. Nachlas Yitzchak (R. Oelbaum)141-39 73rd Ave., KGH
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Purim Day6:30:00ShacharisCong. Bais Yosef D'Ulam (R. Friedman)139-19 72nd Rd. KGH







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Purim Day6:30:00ShacharisCong. Machane Chodosh67-29 108th St., FH
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Purim Day6:30:00ShacharisCong. Ohel Yitzchok (R. Arieli)137-58 70th Ave., KGH
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Purim Day6:30:00ShacharisYoung Israel of Hillcrest169-07 Jewel Ave., Hillcrest
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Purim Day6:50:00ShacharisBais Medrash of KGH (R. Bergman)75-02 137th St., KGH
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Purim Day6:50:00ShacharisYeshiva Ohr Hachaim141-61 71st Ave.
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Purim Day6:50:00ShacharisYoung Israel of Hillcrest169-07 Jewel Ave., Hillcrest
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Purim Day7:00:00ShacharisCong. Degel Israel144-02 68th Dr., KGH
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Purim Day7:00:00ShacharisQueens Jewish Center66-05 108th St., FH
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Purim Day7:00:00ShacharisYoung Israel of Queens Valley141-55 77th Ave, KGH
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Purim Day7:10:00ShacharisYeshiva Chofetz Chaim76-01 147th St., KGH
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Purim Day7:15:00ShacharisYoung Israel of Hillcrest169-07 Jewel Ave., Hillcrest
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Purim Day7:20:00ShacharisCong. Chasam Sofer (R. Wiesel)141-50 70th Rd., KGH
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Purim Day7:30:00ShacharisCong. Aderes Eliyahu (R. Teitz)144-49 72nd Drive, KGH
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Purim Day7:30:00ShacharisCong. Ahavas Yisroel147-02 73rd Ave., KGH
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Purim Day7:30:00ShacharisYoung Israel of Forest Hills7100 Yellowstone Blvd., FH
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Purim Day7:30:00ShacharisYoung Israel of Kew Gardens Hills150-05 70th Rd., KGH
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Purim Day7:50:00ShacharisYoung Israel of Hillcrest169-07 Jewel Ave., Hillcrest
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Purim Day7:55:00ShacharisCong. Degel Israel144-02 68th Dr., KGH
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Purim Day8:00:00ShacharisAgudath Israel of Kew Gardens Hills147-37 70th Rd., KGH
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Purim Day8:00:00ShacharisCong. Bais Yosef D'Ulam (R. Friedman)139-19 72nd Rd. KGH







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Purim Day8:00:00ShacharisCong. Etz Chaim147-16 73rd Ave., KGH
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Purim Day8:00:00ShacharisCong. Nachlas Yitzchak (R. Oelbaum)141-39 73rd Ave., KGH
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Purim Day8:00:00ShacharisCong. Ohr Moshe170-16 73rd Ave., Hillcrest
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Purim Day8:00:00ShacharisCong. Torah Lodaas (R. Blum)138-53 77th Ave., KGH
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Purim Day8:00:00ShacharisKehillas Ishei YisraelYCQ 150th St. & 70th Rd. Enter from Parking Lot)
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Purim Day8:00:00ShacharisKew Gardens Synagogue 82-17 Lefferts Blvd., KG
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Purim Day8:00:00ShacharisYeshiva Ohr Hachaim141-61 71st Ave.
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Purim Day8:00:00ShacharisYoung Israel of Hillcrest169-07 Jewel Ave., Hillcrest
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Purim Day8:00:00ShacharisYoung Israel of Jamaica Estates83-10 188th St., Jamaica Estates
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Purim Day8:00:00ShacharisYoung Israel of Queens Valley141-55 77th Ave, KGH
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Purim Day8:15:00ShacharisCong. Ohel Yitzchok (R. Arieli)137-58 70th Ave., KGH
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Purim Day8:30:00ShacharisBais Medrash of KGH (R. Bergman)75-02 137th St., KGH
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Purim Day8:30:00ShacharisLander College75-31 150th St., KGH
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Purim Day8:30:00ShacharisQueens Jewish Center66-05 108th St., FH
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Purim Day8:40:00ShacharisYeshiva Chofetz Chaim76-01 147th St., KGH
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Purim Day8:45:00ShacharisYeshiva Kesser Torah72-11 Vleigh Pl., KGH
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Purim Day9:00:00ShacharisCong. Chasam Sofer (R. Wiesel)141-50 70th Rd., KGH
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Purim Day9:00:00ShacharisTorah Center of Hillcrest171-05 Jewel Ave., Hillcrest
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Purim Day9:00:00ShacharisYoung Israel of Hillcrest169-07 Jewel Ave., Hillcrest
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Purim Day9:00:00ShacharisYoung Israel of Kew Gardens Hills150-05 70th Rd., KGH







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Purim Day9:50:00Megillah OnlyKehillas Ishei YisraelYCQ 150th St. & 70th Rd. Enter from Parking Lot)
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Purim Day9:55:00Megillah OnlyBais Medrash of KGH (R. Bergman)75-02 137th St., KGH
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Purim Day10:00:00Women OnlyCong. Degel Israel144-02 68th Dr., KGH
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Purim Day10:00:00Megillah OnlyCong. Torah Lodaas (R. Blum)138-53 77th Ave., KGH
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Purim Day10:00:00Megillah OnlyMeadow Park Rehab Center78-10 164th St., Hillcrest
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Purim Day10:00:00Megillah OnlyYoung Israel of Queens Valley141-55 77th Ave, KGH
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Purim Day10:15:00Women OnlyCong. Ohel Yitzchok (R. Arieli)137-58 70th Ave., KGH
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Purim Day10:30:00Megillah OnlyCong. Machane Chodosh67-29 108th St., FH
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Purim Day10:40:00Women OnlyLander College75-31 150th St., KGH
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Purim Day11:00:00Megillah OnlyKew Gardens Synagogue 82-17 Lefferts Blvd., KG
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Purim Day11:00:00Megillah OnlyQueens Jewish Center66-05 108th St., FH
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Purim Day13:35:00MinchaCong. Ahavas Yisroel147-02 73rd Ave., KGH
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Purim Day13:35:00MinchaLander College75-31 150th St., KGH
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Purim Day13:35:00MinchaYeshiva Chofetz Chaim76-01 147th St., KGH
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Purim Day13:40:00MinchaYoung Israel of Hillcrest169-07 Jewel Ave., Hillcrest
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Purim Day13:45:00MinchaKew Gardens Synagogue 82-17 Lefferts Blvd., KG
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Purim Day13:45:00Megillah OnlyNY Hospital Medical Ctr. Of Queens (Booth)Main St. & Booth Memorial Ave. (917-863-8550)
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Purim Day13:45:00MinchaYeshiva Kesser Torah72-11 Vleigh Pl., KGH
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Purim Day13:45:00MinchaYoung Israel of Forest Hills7100 Yellowstone Blvd., FH
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Purim Day13:45:00MinchaYoung Israel of Kew Gardens Hills150-05 70th Rd., KGH







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Purim Day13:45:00MinchaYoung Israel of Queens Valley141-55 77th Ave, KGH
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Purim Day14:00:00MinchaCong. Ohel Yitzchok (R. Arieli)137-58 70th Ave., KGH
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Purim Day14:00:00MinchaCong. Tikvas Israel Shalom (R. Spitalny)141-25 70th Ave. KGH
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Purim Day14:00:00MinchaKehillas Ishei YisraelYCQ 150th St. & 70th Rd. Enter from Parking Lot)
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Purim Day14:00:00MinchaYoung Israel of Jamaica Estates83-10 188th St., Jamaica Estates
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Purim Day14:15:00Megillah OnlyYoung Israel of Kew Gardens Hills150-05 70th Rd., KGH
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Purim Day14:20:00MinchaYeshiva Ohr Hachaim141-61 71st Ave.
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Purim Day14:30:00MinchaBais Medrash of KGH (R. Bergman)75-02 137th St., KGH
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Purim Day15:00:00MinchaCong. Etz Chaim147-16 73rd Ave., KGH
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Purim Day15:00:00MinchaCong. Nachlas Yitzchak (R. Oelbaum)141-39 73rd Ave., KGH
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Purim Day15:00:00MinchaCong. Ohr Moshe170-16 73rd Ave., Hillcrest
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Purim Day15:30:00MinchaAgudath Israel of Kew Gardens Hills147-37 70th Rd., KGH
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Purim Day15:30:00MinchaCong. Aderes Eliyahu (R. Teitz)144-49 72nd Drive, KGH
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Purim Day15:30:00MinchaYeshiva Chofetz Chaim76-01 147th St., KGH
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Purim Day15:30:00MinchaYoung Israel of Hillcrest169-07 Jewel Ave., Hillcrest
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Purim Day15:30:00MinchaYoung Israel of Kew Gardens Hills150-05 70th Rd., KGH
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Purim Day16:00:00MinchaBais Medrash of KGH (R. Bergman)75-02 137th St., KGH
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Purim Day16:00:00MinchaCong. Bais Yosef D'Ulam (R. Friedman)139-19 72nd Rd. KGH
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Purim Day16:15:00MinchaCong. Degel Israel144-02 68th Dr., KGH
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Purim Day16:15:00MinchaYeshiva Kesser Torah72-11 Vleigh Pl., KGH







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Purim Day16:30:00Megillah OnlyQueens College Chabad144-03 69th Ave., KGH
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Purim Day17:00:00MinchaCong. Chasam Sofer (R. Wiesel)141-50 70th Rd., KGH
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Purim Day17:00:00MinchaKew Gardens Synagogue 82-17 Lefferts Blvd., KG
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Purim Day17:15:00MinchaQueens Jewish Center66-05 108th St., FH
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Purim Day17:15:00MinchaYeshiva Chofetz Chaim76-01 147th St., KGH
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Purim Day17:15:00MinchaYeshiva Kesser Torah72-11 Vleigh Pl., KGH
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Purim Day17:25:00MinchaYoung Israel of Queens Valley141-55 77th Ave, KGH
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Purim Day17:30:00MinchaYoung Israel of Forest Hills7100 Yellowstone Blvd., FH
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Purim Day17:35:00MinchaYoung Israel of Hillcrest169-07 Jewel Ave., Hillcrest
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Purim Day18:00:00MinchaCong. Chasam Sofer (R. Wiesel)141-50 70th Rd., KGH
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Purim Day18:00:00MinchaCong. Machane Chodosh67-29 108th St., FH
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Purim Day18:15:00MinchaYeshiva Kesser Torah72-11 Vleigh Pl., KGH
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Purim Day18:45:00MinchaKew Gardens Synagogue 82-17 Lefferts Blvd., KG
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Purim Day18:45:00MinchaTorah Center of Hillcrest171-05 Jewel Ave., Hillcrest
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Purim Day18:50:00MinchaYoung Israel of Kew Gardens Hills150-05 70th Rd., KGH

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Have a Safe Purim

Not getting into the to drink/not to drink debate, but if you are to drink please keep this video in mind of what Purim can become, if not worse.



Before you get that drunk, just STOP!

EZ Reads 2/25

  • A fascinating (albeit very long) piece in The New Yorker by Gary Greenberg on psychiatry that delves deeply into many of the key issues, including whether the key issues are just made up or exaggerated by a profitable industry. Excerpt:



    In “The Loss of Sadness” (2007), Wakefield and Allan Horwitz, a sociologist at Rutgers, argue that the increase in the number of people who are given a diagnosis of depression suggests that what has changed is not the number of people who are clinically depressed but the definition of depression, which has been defined in a way that includes normal sadness. In the case of a patient who exhibits the required number of symptoms, the D.S.M. specifies only one exception to a diagnosis of depression: bereavement. But, Wakefield and Horwitz point out, there are many other life problems for which intense sadness is a natural response—being laid off, for example. There is nothing in the D.S.M. to prevent a physician from labelling someone who is living through one of these problems mentally disordered. The conversion of stuff that people used to live with into disorders that physicians can treat is not limited to psychiatry, of course. Once, people had heartburn (“I can’t believe I ate the whole thing”) and bought Alka-Seltzer over the counter; now they are given a diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux disease (“Ask your doctor whether you might be suffering from GERD”) and are written a prescription for Zantac. But people tend to find the medicalization of mood and personality more distressing. It has been claimed, for example, that up to 18.7 per cent of Americans suffer from social-anxiety disorder. In “Shyness” (2007), Christopher Lane, a professor of English at Northwestern, argues that this is a blatant pathologization of a common personality trait for the financial benefit of the psychiatric profession and the pharmaceutical industry. It’s a case of what David Healy, in his invaluable history “The Antidepressant Era” (1997), calls “the pharmacological scalpel”: if a drug (in this case, Paxil) proves to change something in patients (shyness), then that something becomes a disorder to be treated (social anxiety). The discovery of the remedy creates the disease.
  • An interesting piece on Freakonomics about a family who pretends to be Christian for social reasons. Feel free to make analogies to Purim on one end and living in a frum community on the other...
  • Sometimes, I really want to do something like this.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tznius Lunacy

Good, if scary, post at Wolf:
my mother ending up slipping to me, that the tznius organization wasn’t going to be using any of the tracks that I sang on. They loved my voice, it’s beautiful, don’t get them wrong. However, in comparison to my sister-in-laws voice (which is quite nice) mine is much more trained, and since the purpose of the organization is to promote tznius, they didn’t think it was a good idea to have a voice like mine on their cd.

A trained singing voice is not tznius? Keep in mind, we're not talking about a woman singing in front of men, since were that the case, the women would not have recorded any tracks at all. We're talking about women singing in front of women -- and it's still not considered tznius!

The Benefits of Failure

A friend sent me this video last night. It's a speech J.K. Rowling gave at a Harvard Graduation a few years ago. It has nothing (directly) to do with Harry Potter, and everything to do with life itself. It's a great video and definitely worth the few minutes it takes to watch it.

One of my favorite lines:
"It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case, you fail by default."
Enjoy!

J.K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement from Harvard Magazine on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Shana Rishobia

...because apparently, unless I link to it, I'm going to keep having it sent to me over and over. (Plus, it's pretty darned good.) First place I saw it was Jughead's Hat. Excerpt from Son of a Posek's masterpiece on Shana Rishobia:
Shana Rishobia is the fear that you will say or do something that your spouse of less than a year will misinterpret due to the fact that they don’t know you so well and think you meant something bad, so you feel the need to go out of your way to explain yourself excessively and end up digging yourself in a hole when you were never in one to begin with. (Shew – yes that was in short.) It goes from the understandable to the extreme.

“Dear, the chicken you made tonight is delicious…. Not that the kugel was bad, that was good also…. No, really, the reason why I specified chicken is because that was the last thing I ate and I still had the taste in my mouth…. I should’ve mentioned that the kugel was good as well, but I was so enthralled by the aroma of the chicken I guess I got caught up in it… Not that I wasn’t enthralled by the aroma of the Kugel- I was, but I didn’t mention it. I’m sorry for being uncaring.” “I see. So you don’t like the Challah.”

Being Gray in the Modern Orthodox World: A Conversation

Transcribed by Eli D. Clark
This is for Chana, the original can be found here

Rabbi Schwartz: Welcome everyone. Our topic tonight is “Being Gray in the Modern Orthodox World.” Each of our panelists will talk about how it feels to discover that you are really yeshivish after growing up Modern Orthodox. Before we begin, a few ground rules: We are not going to discuss Hashkofoh, Halochoh or the Heisman Trophy. For that we turn to Gedolei Yisroel. Please save your questions for later; if you wrap them in airtight plastic bags, they should stay fresh for days. Our first speaker is Chezkie.

Chezkie: Thank you, Rabbi Schwartz.

Growing up, I never realized I was gray. I went to day school and Camp Moshava . I went mixed swimming (which was about 95% mixed and about 5% swimming). For seven straight years I watched “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” I wore my baseball cap backward.

But there were hints from an early age. I remember, around age 6, I cried when the barber cut off my payos. (He also removed half my ear lobe.) I always liked wearing black. When my friends played Nintendo, I would sneak off and read “The Little Midrash Says.”

But no one wants to admit that he’s, you know, different. So in high school I started going out with girls. But deep down I knew I’d rather be sitting in a Kollel with guys.

In 12th grade I finally told one of my Rabbeim I was gray. He was very supportive. He gave me a bunch of Artscroll biographies. He got me a subscription to the Jewish Observer. He took me shopping for my first black hat.

The hardest thing was telling my family. My father had taken me to baseball games, to the Israel Day Parade. He dreamed that I would study medicine and join his practice treating nervous gall bladders. Today he realizes that I will probably live in Passaic , work in computers and have children named Shraga and Pessie.

The good news is that I have met other guys who like wearing jackets, even though they grew up in Teaneck and the Five Towns . They helped me understand that I was not alone, that Boro Park and Lakewood are full of guys like me.

Rabbi Schwartz: Chezkie, thank you. Our next panelist is Nachi G.

Nachi: Hello everyone. My name is Nachi and I’m gray. It takes some courage to say that. I remember in high school all my friends were really into sports and I just wanted to sing like Lipa Schmeltzer.

My brother and sister would make comments. They’d say, “Nathan’s such a frummie.” And my mother would say, “Don’t say that. Maybe he’ll end up that way.” She tried to get me to join NCSY, Bnei Akiva, anything where I might meet some girls. But all I kissed were mezuzos.

As a teenager I stopped eating chodosh and cholov nochri and pas akum – I lost a lot of weight. My mother got upset, but my dad said it was just a passing phase, like the time I went four months without changing my socks.

I started talking yeshivish, everything was geshmak or gevalt. In my bedroom I hung a photo of Rav Aharon Kotler. I stopped shaving, but everyone thought I was trying to look like Brad Pitt.

After high school my father wanted me to go to a Religious Zionist yeshiva – Shaalvim or Hakotel. But I went to Toras Moshe and after Elul I switched to the Mir. What an experience! I sat in a bais medrash with a thousand guys who had stopped learning math in fourth grade.

Around Chanuka, my parents came to visit me in Israel and I told them I was gray. (At the time I was really black. It was a white lie.) To my surprise they were great, totally supportive. My mother switched to cholov yisroel and stopped bringing her smutty magazines into the house, stuff like Popular Mechanics and Accounting Today. My dad said I could go to the Mir in Brooklyn , as long as I promised to study accounting at Touro. He even gave me permission to live in Crown Heights , on the condition that I not marry a Lubavitcher.

My sister is still hostile. Maybe it’s because I said her Tinkerbell nightlight was pritzusdik. But I’m working on her. Last month I bought her a book called “The Adventures of Chanoh Soroh Fraydel, the Shayna Maydel in a Shtaty Shaytel.”

Rabbi Schwartz: Our third panelist is Mordy S.

Mordy: Despite what you see, it actually took me a long time to admit that I was gray.

Today I look like a typical chunyuk. But I didn’t always. I grew up in Boston , went to Maimonides, learned Gemara with girls. One of my best friends growing up was Irish Catholic. (Sadly, he was injured in a freak miniature golfing accident and now speaks only in iambic pentameter.) My mother taught me my bar mitzva parsha.

So there I was – a poster boy for Modern Orthodoxy. But little by little, I started to change. Once I criticized my sister for wearing pants and talking to boys; she was four and a half. I stopped going to movies. I stopped reading English books not published by Targum Press. I stopped eating broccoli and cauliflower. (Not because of bugs; I just hate vegetables.)

At my parents’ suggestion, I started seeing a psychologist. He was a shul member, a friend of the family. He dabbled in hypnosis. Every time he heard the word “marmalade,” he would start singing the “The Whiffenpoofs Song” in Pig Latin. At our first session, I told him, “Modern Orthodoxy is hollow and hypocritical.” “Yes,” he replied, “but what don’t you like about it?” He suggested I go to an Ivy League college for a few years, then decide. I told him that we were created to learn Torah, not to study “The Architecture of the Igloo.”

My parents suggested I change therapists. The new guy was an old guy, 83 years old and certain that all religious devotion is a sign of neurosis. “Do you think God really cares if you hold your tzitzis during Shema in your left hand between your ring finger and pinkie?” he asked me. “I don’t know about God, but I care more about the Mishnoh Bruroh’s opinion than yours,” I replied. After six months, he announced his retirement, left Boston and opened the first Dunkin’ Donuts outlet at Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul .

I asked my Rebbe what to do with certain Modern Orthodox seforim I still had from high school (Soloveitchik, Steinsaltz, Ibn Ezra). He said that they were not vaday kefiroh, so I mustn’t burn them, but it would be assur to give them away, because the recipient might read them and think they are true. In the meantime, I hid them in a box under my collection of Star Trek action figures.

I am still dealing with a lot of issues, but today I can proudly look at myself in the mirror and say out loud, “I am gray.”

Rabbi Schwartz: Our final panelist is Rachel O.

Rachel: It is very exciting to be here and be called by my new name “Rachel,” after a lifetime under the name “ Shannon .” I was born Christian. I started my conversion process with a respected rabbi, who unfortunately was not schooled in telephone etiquette and had a lot of friends he wanted me to …

Rabbi Schwartz: Um, Rachel? Do you know what the topic of this panel is?

Rachel: Sure. “Being a Ger in the Modern Orthodox World.”

Rabbi Schwartz: I think that’s all for tonight. Thank you to our panelists, our audience and the sponsor of this evening’s program: Borsalino. Since 1857: When Your Father-in-Law Can Buy You the Very Best.

Monday, February 22, 2010

JES Letter

I received this e-mail in the morning, and it meant a lot to me in showing the usefulness and impact of the Jewish Economics Survey.
Right when you came out with the survey, I took it. I also emailed you to say thank you for giving me the nudge to speak to my chasan. I am happy to announce that one year into our marriage, we are DEBT FREE and even have savings (two-months of salary!). You truly did a mitzvah, and for that I thank you!!!
Mazel tov to the couple on their anniversary and for getting ahead of the game early, rather than behind. Hopefully they can continue to move further and further ahead as their lives and family move forward and grow!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Heart to Heart with Myself

Over the past month or so, it seems like an disproportionate number of the Tehillim requests I've received have been for heart-related issues. A baby boy was born in my community with a heart defect. (Thank God, it has been properly repaired and he is doing very well.) A girl I know from my year in Israel had a baby girl, also with a heart defect, but much more severe. Twin newborn girls in Israel have just undergone open heart surgery. And just before Shabbos we began davening for the teenage daughter of a close family friend in my parents' community who, though healthy until now, is having some sort of heart problems. ** (Names for Tehillim are at the end of the article.)

And it's hitting me hard. Having a child of my own now, I understand the depth of love one has for a being they helped create and plan to raise. I cannot imagine the pain of seeing that child hooked up to monitors and tubes, waiting with bated breath to hear the doctors reports.

So it got me thinking. What message could I take from this? What is it about hearts- my heart, the collective Jewish heart- that needs to be fixed? Am I not loving enough toward my family members? Do I have a closed heart toward Jews who are different from me, in their practices or beliefs? What about my self-love, or my love of Hashem? Am I not putting my heart into the mitzvos I do daily?

I could go on and on. But instead of sinking into despair, I'm trying to be more aware of my thoughts throughout the day. Just as the physical heart functions to keep the body running, my inner heart is what fuels my actions, via my thoughts and feelings. The cardiovascular issues that these people are facing are constantly at the forefront of their minds, affecting their daily lives. Maybe it's time I paid a little more attention to the goings-on in my heart, in regard to others, myself, and God.

We should only hear good news.

** Please say Tehillim for:
Shalva Yakira bas Yardena Meira
Ayelet bas Eliraz
Miriam bas Eliraz
Yona Menucha bas Leah Chana

Girls Not To Date Until 21-22?

Rumor has it that a large Orthodox Jewish community in the yeshivish world will be coming out with an announcement this week, instructing its girls not to date until the ages of 21-22 for three primary reasons:
  • To quell some of the shidduch "crisis", by evening out the number of available men and women and by reducing the average age gap, and also to reduce the pressure on girls
  • To help the women be established with college degrees to better be able to support their families (particularly husbands who are in klei kodesh fields or in kollel).
  • To reduce what seems to be a major factor in the high, growing divorce rate in the Orthodox Jewish community.
If this is true, it is a) fascinating b) surprising and c) a huge step in the right direction, even if it's a strange one with a couple its own, possibly flawed assumptions.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Parsha Point to Ponder - Terumah

[It's been a while, but like LL Cool J said, "Don't call it a comeback!"]

So, I was reading about the Mishkan and saw that some scholars have done studies on the different dimensions and parts of the Mishkan and its assembly.

One of them estimates that the Aron with the Kapporet would have weighed a staggering five tons.

Which got me thinking about...

1) How the Aron is described as not being carried by man [The Talmud tells us the Aron’s weight was not carried by those holding onto the poles. “The Aron lifted up those who carried it (Sota 35a).”]
&
2) Uzzah's death [2 Samuel Ch. 6] when trying to catch the Aron now makes a lot more sense (so does the name of his death place, Peretz-Uzzah, consequently). The pesukim do make a point of telling us that the Aron WAS being transported by ox-drawn wagon, as well.

Well, I thought it was interesting, anyways...

Monday, February 08, 2010

Dr. Bernard Lander Passes Away - Funeral Information

(Hat tip: many)

Dr. Bernard Lander, the pioneering founder of Touro College, the Lander College for Men (my alma mater), Ohr HaChaim, and other institutions, has passed away in his home. From YW:
Today, Touro College/Touro University is a multi-campus, international university with more than 23,000 students at campus locations in New York, California, Florida, Nevada, Israel, Russia and Germany.

Dr. Lander is also an Honorary Vice President of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America.

He is survived by his son, Rav Daniel Lander Shlita, Rosh HaYeshiva of Yeshiva Ohr HaChaim (Queens, NY), his daughters: Mrs. Ester Greenfield, Mrs. Debbie Waxman and Mrs. Hana Lander, his many grandchildren and great-grand children.

The levaya is scheduled for Tuesday morning at 11:00AM at Yeshiva Ohr HaChaim, 141-61 71st Avenue in Kew Gardens Hills, Queens, NY 11367.

Baruch Dayan Emes.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Just Like High School

SpEd sitting watching TV with Elianna

Elianna: "Can you leave me alone please? I like you but leave me alone."

Misery

(Hat tip: Benny)

Bill Simmons of ESPN ("The Sports Guy") has been writing pieces on Tortured Sports Cities. In last week's rankings of the teams, he placed the three Cleveland teams all in the top 10; personally, I think they should all be top 5. This week was follow up e-mails from people regarding all the teams (those that should have been included and about those that were), and the last 1/3 of it is dedicated to Cleveland. The final summaries are the best (/worst) -

1969: Cuyahoga River catches fire.
1974: Ten Cent Beer Night.
1977: Indians sign Wayne Garland to a then-enormous 10-year, $2.3 million contract. He goes 28-48 before his arm falls off.
1980: Red Right 88.
1981: Lowest point of Ted Stepien era.
1982: World B. Free era begins, 23 wins guaranteed. In hindsight, this is akin to building a team around Ricky Davis.
1982: Indians trade John Denny to the Phillies for Wil Culmer, Jerry Reed and Roy Smith.
1983: John Denny wins NL Cy Young Award.
1984: Indians trade Rick Sutcliffe to Cubs. Sutcliffe goes 16-1 and wins NL Cy Young Award.
1986: The Drive.
1987: The Fumble.
1989: The Shot.
1989: "Major League" premieres in theaters. Producers insult Cleveland by filming baseball scenes in Milwaukee as Cleveland's Municipal Stadium is "too drab."
1992: MJ ends Cavs season again. Cavs become possibly the best NBA team to never reach the NBA Finals.
1993: Hurricane Andrew destroys Indians' brand-new $18 million spring training complex in Homestead, Fla.
1993: Steve Olin, Tim Crews die in spring-training boat crash.
1993: Indians are no-hit by one-[handed] pitcher Jim Abbott.
1994: Baseball strike ends Indians' first contending season in three decades.
1995: Art Modell moves Browns to Baltimore.
1995: First World Series appearance in 40 years ends in loss.
1997: Jose Mesa.
1998: Cavs sign "superstar" Shawn Kemp. He fathers a litter of children.
1999: Up 2-0 in ALDS, Pedro kicks the corpse of Cleveland fandom.
1999: USFL returns disguised as Browns expansion team.
2007: Up 3-1 in ALCS, Red Sox spit on grave of Cleveland fandom.
2009: Magic shock Cavs in Eastern Conference finals.
2009: Indians' back-to-back AL Cy Young winners, Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia, face off in Game 1 of World Series, neither pitching for Cleveland.
2010: LeBron leaves Cleveland, goes on to win multiple championships.

My lifetime: Three major sports, zero titles, one river on fire.
--Brad, Cleveland

You should change your scale for losing to the following:

Cleveland losing.
Everybody else.
--Brian S., New Rochelle, N.Y.

Finally, this part almost makes you want to cry if you've lived like this:
Also, has any other city had as many tragic deaths as Cleveland fans have witnessed (Ray Chapman, Ernie Davis, Steve Olin, Tim Crews, Don Rogers)? Late in this past Browns season my dad called me during one of their more wretched performances and actually apologized to me for raising me to be a Cleveland fan. During that same game my son called me from college to berate me for raising him to be a Cleveland fan (I kid you not, this actually happened). It's like an abusive relationship that just travels from one generation to the next. We all need therapy. "Thanks" for reminding us. I better sign off now before I lay down on my couch in a fetal position.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Reason #579 to Hate NYC

Assist to Special Ed
A penny saved is two pennies earned.
...and it's not much better in most other places, either. (And likely to get worse under President Obama.)

The NFL is getting a boost soon


NHL Star Called Up To Big Leagues To Play For NFL Team

Only cause I knew you would like this Ezzie

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Elbows & Tefillin Dates

Eliezer StrongBad sent me a really good piece from Guernica by a freelance journalist by the name of Corinne Ramey on the singles scene predominantly in Washington Heights, but really discussing the approach and subsequent difficulties of dating as a single Orthodox young adult. It's a fast read, but does a good job of giving over what it's like. Excerpt from In Search of a Modest Proposal:
The denizens of the singles community in Washington Heights are largely Modern Orthodox Jews. They dress conservatively, and all men attend prayer services three times a day. Every Sabbath, from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday, they don’t use electricity, write, drive, or take public transportation. They don’t rip toilet paper, use umbrellas, take photos, or talk on cell phones. Every day, they keep kosher and obey dietary restrictions, including using separate dishes and silverware for meat and milk items.

When it comes to dating, they believe that touching creates an intense emotional bond and can cloud the judgment of both parties. And besides, not being able to touch often speeds along the process of dating and engagement, leading to quicker courtships and earlier marriages. Although singles say that keeping shomer negiah isn’t always easy—and that they’re certainly curious about the physical side of relationships—most said they felt it kept them from becoming irrationally attached to a partner. “Aside from the fact that it’s much harder to set limits within having physical contact, it’s also that when you do have it, it makes you see the person through rose-colored glasses,” said Kuznetsov.
It's a really good read - check it out.

Future English Major?

Elianna didn't want to come to dinner because she was coloring and drawing. After a while, she finally came, but the french fries were too hot so she went back for a few minutes while she waited for them to cool enough for her. When they were cool, Serach called her back to come finish eating, to which she replied:
"I can't come eat right now, I'm writing in my journal!"
Oy.

Moron

You know you're in bad shape when even most YW commenters think you're nuts:

“When Americans are suffering economically and millions need jobs, it’s shocking that the Administration is focused on its ultra-liberal militantly homosexualist agenda forcing the highlighting of homosexuals and homosexuality on an unwilling military. This is the equivalent of the spiritual rape of our military to satisfy the most extreme and selfish cadre of President Obama’s kooky coalition.

We agree with Eileen Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness that this will hurt the cohesiveness of the military, cause many to leave the army, and dramatically lower the number of recruits, perhaps leading to the reinstatement of a compulsory draft.

“Thirteen months before 9/11, on the day New York City passed homosexual domestic partnership regulations, I joined a group of Rabbis at a City Hall prayer service, pleading with G-d not to visit disaster on the city of N.Y. We have seen the underground earthquake, tsunami, Katrina, and now Haiti. All this is in sync with a two thousand year old teaching in the Talmud that the practice of homosexuality is a spiritual cause of earthquakes. Once a disaster is unleashed, innocents are also victims just like in Chernobyl.

“We plead with saner heads in Congress and the Pentagon to stop sodomization of our military and our society. Enough is enough.”

Whether gays should or shouldn't be in the military is a decision that military commanders have a better understanding of than anyone, and let them debate this with the White House and Congress. But this is just insanity.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Balloon Love

The adventures of Elianna and Erachet continue in these week's episode...

[Elianna rubs a balloon on Erachet's hair, laughing]

Erachet: Elianna...don't do that, please?
Elianna: [while still rubbing the balloon on Erachet's hair] I'm just making your hair nice...
Ezzie: [snicker] Your hair's going to look crazy.
Erachet: Elianna... Stop. Really.
Elianna: [Huge grin. Not stopping.] But the balloon loves it!

One Day, Two Lessons

I liked this:
Today I learnt two lessons. The first was in an Intel interview. Sometimes you do what you what you were asked to do and no more. I was asked during the interview how I would respond if I was part of a project and part of the project was undefined and wasn't getting done. Would I step up and do it? Now the challenge is in the fact that while stepping up and doing something without being asked is a wonderful thing - it shows initiative. On the other hand, in most cases, when you take on the job you were not asked to do, the job you were asked to do often suffers. I answered that I tended to take initiative and pick up the slack on a project when I saw that something wasn't getting done. They wanted to hear that I would focus first and foremost on the job I was assigned and then, once all of my work was done, to look around and lend a hand with other aspects of the project.

The second lesson I had today was to smile. I met with a fellow who is a sales and organizational development guru. He told me that from my body language when I walked in to our meeting he could tell that I was depressed about my job hunt. He said that I should practice smiling more and that I need to take more initiative and chances. Walk into the bank and talk to the branch manager. Call up friends and ask them if I could do free work for them in exchange for a recommendation. Contact and cold call folks. And view every meeting, interview & sales pitch as a learning experience.


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