Sunday, October 28, 2007

Reporting to the Highness of Blogdome

Oh, yeah, this is going very well. Very, very well. I've just returned for a few seconds to visit my new highly-successful, completely absent, dried-up blog in hiding that went into hibernation 15 seconds after its big-bang re-creation. This looks like it's going to be really big one day. I'll say.

I can't believe I restored my full Internet connection so I can give my laptop battery some rest. What from, Solitaire? What for, a few minutes on Yahoo Answers? Meanwhile, I've missed out on virtually nothing in our little chassidishe blog community, which, while I would've ranted furiously if I did, I'm ranting furiously that I didn't. Something has become so secular, educational and formal about the online blog community for -ironically- the very nisht secular, that the real issues have graduated and been filed away at Hasidic Rebel's archives.

But not surprisingly, XGH developments continued to come fast, insensitive to me huffing and puffing and trying to follow along, so I missed some pivotal events. He's declared the end of his blog, of all things! I'm not sure if that's a routine posting where he tries to grab control of the wheel of his life, before he gets swapped away by the claws of fame and blogging-adrenaline that drives him. Or if it's something that after a period of shiva, I'll realize is really gone. I hope it's just a routine pause when the kneeling fans are supposed kiss his toes. That I can live with.

There was so much to post here, so few to read. Not surprisingly, nothing was said. It's a shame there have been significant events in my life in particular and our lives in general that weren't vented. That's something to vent about, over and over again.

Oy. Like I said, this is going really well.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

KJ Wins a Loss – Again

Click: Record Online

The court ruled on Friday in favor of Orange County, accepting the county's request that KJ continue to study the environmental impact of its growth before the village can build the controversial water pipeline.

It’s becoming a predictable pattern. KJ’s development gets blocked by the neighbors, the battle gets dragged to court, the court rules in favor of their ‘enemies’, and the Village follows the ruling with a press conference where the Clerk, Mr. Szegedin, declares that the verdict is actually no problemo because he can still find a way to cut the line and avoid the full required procedure.

Says Szegedin “"The level of scrutiny and level of oversight is totally limited to the Village of Kiryas Joel trustees. There is no other forum for anybody to raise any other issues."

You can hear him laugh all the way through the paper structures we call home in this primitive place; the echo of his own high-five, as he declares that he once again outsmarted the system. After years of fighting against redoing the environmental review, he is now more than happy to do it! He’ll just brush it off in a few short weeks and get over with it. The results of the review are not even a matter in the equation. He just needed a way to get passed this hurdle and he has found it by approving the revised review only with his own board of trustees. Ha-ha to him! S'eiz ozoy git!

I wish the village officials would wake up and realize that legal requirements are not little pesky obstacles to move aside but important issues that need to be treated seriously. THe administration has to start reading into the requirements themselves, not the messengers that impose it. I’m sick of the the-world-is-my-enemy attitude we derive from the concept ‘eisuv sonah liyakov’. We are excusing ourselves from handling our mistakes by shifting the blame to the broad shoulders of anti-semitism. KJ is a delusional town shooting
in self defense at unarmed neighbors. Wake up Mr. Szegedin and stop the bloody murder!

There's not much hope for a change so long as the Weider administration continues with their self-destructive strategies. My hope is that the voters will raise the bar by expecting more of its politicians and elect according to performance. KJ should know better when it comes to getting the most from its government.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Click: BHB, Golden Handcuffs

Baal HaBoss returned. Oh, well, oh, well. I actually wasn't an active follower but I predicted he would return. (Just when I removed his link!) An on again/off again relationship usually means an intensity that gets too much. He seems to love standing center stage until the pressure mounts high enough. He suddenly yearns to get away from it all it all, then that nasty craving for attention wakes again. A lot like me actually.

His analogy is obvious and overused. The post is refreshing nonetheless. He seems to feel like he has to explain his ‘staying’ instead of ‘leaving’. That's entirely self explanatory to anyone on the inside and unexplainable to anyone from the outside. If you want to write something original and moving dwell on the nimshul and the struggle. Don’t apologize.

It's Time for Coats!

The fall showed its true colors today for the first time in the season. The summer hovered long enough to gift us with an unusually warm September. Now I’m enjoying the northeast change of color. The trees in bright shades of reds and yellows, the fences are lined with bundles of windswept leaves, the wet sidewalks keep the browned remains clinging to its cracks. A crisp air completed the setting for this atypical six grade descriptive writing composition to enthusiastically spin adjectives in my head.

Romantic appreciations aside, there’s a wicked laugh to all this. All through the yomim tovim the weather shed our layers. We all dragged the cotton clothing back out. On Simchas Torah babies were dressed in short built ups and little bubbles except for the few that couldn’t resist showing off the new velour. All that unusual heat - right after a whole shipment of hechshered coats were marketed to the masses. Oy, sweet irony!

Some of my family members have the coat hanging in their closets, probably relying on it like a watchdog against the year's evil. The design is just a better version of the burka. If you think about it, burkas are really bold mini dresses. This, in bland navy, wide, long, big plastic buttons and sans lining must really be the most celebrated invention in the God's chambers. I'm sure he's very pleased given that Erev Yom Kippur He hassled His people to personally send a pre-recorded phone messager to my home to remind me to be brave and not let the sweltering heat stop me from wearing it. (It did).

At the shofer blozen rush Rosh Hashana the woman pressed next to me wore it, The Zimmer Mantel, giving me an up close feel of how real it is. I suppose until then the concept seemed too radical to be seen as more than an exaggeration. This woman had about eight little children around her, unless I saw double, which I sometimes do. Giving birth so many times hasn't taken kindly to her shape. She was making small talk over the deafening noise while I was clumsily shushing my own honking horn. With the coat folded over her arm, she explained that her neighbor called before yom tov and asked that she too wear it. There was a tiny note of apology, maybe defensiveness in her voice. “I thought” she said “it’s Rosh Hashana, you know? It’s a zechus”.

I felt sorry for her honest attempt because I sincerely believe it's in vain. I heard an upset inner protest of ‘why?!'. Why, why, oh why? Why would this garment be manufactured, why would this garment be bought and worn? Why would this be an act of moral bravado?

I know the answers. I know, very well, the logical formula behind this enterprise. I'm fully aware that modesty has been deduced to a tribute to the almighty, not a female social identity. I know that this religious sacrifice is about offering up one's feminine desires to be attractive. I know why a woman with a weight issue is recruited to hide behind a frock just as any. I know why this is not about the sum of one's appearance but rather why it's about this particular cloth.

I know it. At times, these answers seem to make sense - to some degree. But when I'm alone with my thoughts it all seems like a confusing calculation that doesn't match up sensibly.

As for how the garment took with the general crowd, there's much doubt that this will be more than a new year resolution . The women around the younger age are snubbing it. They don't seem to realize that the radical few determine the middle, and if the radical are extremist enough the middle is right where most people want it. Regardless, the concept is going too far too fast. I predict this will be another righteous fad that'll just melt away with time. Think sunny.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Talking Points

Following are some subjects that are yet to be transformed into posts. That is, if my interest doesn't sizzle. Knowing myself I'm afraid the echo I'll get back after publishing a post will dampen my enthusiasm into oblivion. Well, anyway, here goes:

-Mothering and Indoctrinating

-Love Thy Fundie Husband

-Kissing Blogs and No Queens

-The Mystery of (Complete Stupidity and) Brainwash

-The Grazing Herd: Chassidic Black Sheeps Online

-Cowardism Chizzuk for the Critic. A how to guide for the sensitive soul like myself.

-Family Ties, Baggage

-Toby Grunburg and The Brave Ruffle (a true story)

-Both worlds. The Second One Found & How it's a Death Sentence.

-Alter Egoless: Being a Blogger.

-The Shtible. Why I'm Not a Learner.

-What makes Us Tick? Rebuffing the Stereotype

-Culture and beliefs/Culture or beliefs. Seperatable

-Conformity; Identity Theft.

-Political Anxiety. The Delusional Donkey that Thought She's an Elephant

-Skeptic Recruit, Sir. 100 Steps (and 4000 books) to Becoming a Skeptic Member.


Period. Beginning of Sentence.

I have finally gathered the courage to close this blog. Yes, it naturally withered and died a long time ago, but I just couldn’t let go. Maybe it’s my inability to look back. I think I’m more comfortable pretending this site of mine never was rather than facing it for closure. Or maybe it’s those fifteen minutes of fame I’m clinging to. Either way, it was an extremely rewarding experience, eh, at the cost of some personal humiliation. It’s time to get over that.

Blogging changed my life in too many ways to number. That’s cliché of course, but it is still an amazing truth. The fact that something as powerful as the web community is available to a people as powerless as the Chassidic community is all the more extraordinary with every next saucer-eyed chassid’l that declares that it changed a life.

With the transformations in me came a rush of many thoughts that begged to be given voice. I’m thinking/hoping to do some routine posting on this blog to expresss them. Routine, spontaneous, or just the piping up of a long forgotten pitch; whatever. What’s important here is that I have a lot to say and the urge to do so. This won’t be about entertaining others in an act long not funny. Oh, I’ve done my gig, I’ve learnt my lesson. This also won’t be about conforming to what people want to hear (or, unfortunately, how they want me to spell it). I will just relay my thoughts, especially those I feel passionate about.

I might, as I go along, invite a friend or two I’ve had the pleasure to know anonymously, maybe even a husband I got to know anonymously. Not immediately though. When I prioritize I see blog commentary as the lesser important between that and honest writing --- not because I don't love zaftigeh shmoos; I do. Rather because I'll probably end up forming my writing through comment influence instead expressing my individual thoughts. That would defeat the purpose entirely. I wish to create a place where I can opine about anything and everything that might affect a stray apple, without holding back. I do, really, love the written word when it articulates a raw thought. I should add that it is not my intent tobe frisked for a gender ever again. Neither would I have my pockets be felt up for ID. This would be about the topic of the discussion, not the members thereof. If such a place can only be achieved with no more than one member, then that’s what it takes. A discussion of one member it’ll be. One member. That's a one whole member. Gather around everybody!

Well, let(s) chear up. Here, to new beginnings!


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Seeing Is Believing

Our optometrist confirmed today that my seven year old son will be wearing eyeglasses, like every other Chassidic cheider boy that sits and learns yiddishkeit, religion and belief for most of his day.

It seems as if almost all of our Torah scholars wear glasses as a direct effect of learning.

Yep. Seeing is believing.


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Treasure Hunting

I had to go through my storage closet to find some summer clothing. If you’re familiar with this business, looking for a single pair of short white pants actually means ripping through every unlabeled garbage bag, paging through old albums and letters, and trying on your not-so-fashionable school sweaters while trying to encrypt the mystery behind the need to wear these rather bizarre garment. Amidst all, I came upon a small duffel bag and dragged it down with me.

The duffel bag with its moth ball storage smell. In it, there are hundreds of threads of all colors, webbed around a folded picture of fruits. I opened the needlepoint. Only a fraction of the sewing was done. But goodness, a good portion of it was actually filled with hours of my threading it, in and out.

Yawn. ..

I actually spent my last few summers working on that piece, since the year that it occurred to me that sewing was just what I needed, especially whenever I was bored. My sister and I, pocket books hanging from our shoulders, visited a woman’s home on Hooper Street where she sold sewing material on her kitchen table. From then hours have been stitched together by sitting under a desk lamp and threading in and out. In and out. In. Then out.

Really, needlepoint? What was I thinking? That I was 82 and retired, living in a Miami facility? What occurred to me, spending fifteen minutes regularly licking the dark-green end of a thread, pushing it at the needle, and then dragging that needle itself around for the next few hours, then over to salivitizing the maroon thread for another walk of the clock? To sit immobile all that time and breath loudly? Did I require reading glasses too?

“Vell, childrin, my stomach didn’t vork so good enymore, [hiccup] I don’t heff deh young energy yaknow. The doctor said is gut for me to sit a little bit and make deh gublein.”

I was struck by old age prematurely.

It was a desperate attempt to find an artistic release, retired to what is available. Although this picture is living proof that I’m not a pro at sewing, I busied myself with what everyone did. Alright, so I can't be a professional boxer or sing at the opera, but heck, I could shneer a gublein!

Likewise, other basic chores were and still are turned into creative opportunities. Everyone retreated tornado-style under a table when I announced that I’m going to bake, because I refused to learn that you can’t mix flour, sugar and me and ever create something edible. Nonetheless, I baked three layer cheesecakes for shvuos and designed the whip on top in a lengthy process that involved strawberries, chocolate, consumption of said ingredients and cursing. Not just once did I end a whole day of baking by sending off a bag of charcoal balls, nebech - rugelech wannabees, to my mother’s house.

We are bored with ourselves. Although working is an opportunity to employ your strengths, for women a career means making copies for a male boss. And although parenting is the most rewarding activity of all, it’s not enough. We need a way to develop our community's treasure of natural resources, beyond the talent of memorizing who the entire shandenfreud database is for the Annual Yenta Festival.

It’s time for the exhausted rabbonim to stop putting hechsherim on clothing and start approving of recreation. They can go to a dance club, check it out and declare it assur. They can go to an art studio, check it out, declare it assur. They can go to the gublein lady, check it out, and declare it assur.

I’m going to frame my art, unfinished as it is. To commemorate talent in our community, an incomplete picture.


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Anonymity & Identity

Spring is here, just about arriving. Still a bit reluctant to disperse its freckles over the youthful noses, but it'll come around. The new season unplugs me from the PC and places me amidst fresh air and knee-scratched children. The early warming signals have me buttoned down afternoons with the kids in the park. It charms me out during the day with friends or neighbors, despite my usual reluctance to get into the shmoneh b’gadim, by releasing an intoxicating smell from its budding trees. It has me going down to the corner grocery store, for no good reason, to randomly enjoy sights like an earnest kollel yingerman running after his hat in a sunny wind, a sense of blithe riding in the air.

The season wakes me back to reality, out of the winterized hiding. I'm once again leaning on the park bar, clucking my tongue over much exaggerated hand-me-down chitchat; like just another frum mother, wife and yenta. I run after a fallen kid, wipe a runny nose, while sharing dinner menus and sewing tips. I haven’t been doing much socializing as of late, and deep inside I can’t help feeling a sharp stir. Everything and everyone is the same as the spring of 2006. Precisely. Yet so vastly different.

It was a long, long winter, in ways too many to number. Six months of blogging was a radical procedure that gifted me with new senses. A new level of seeing, a whole new level of thinking. It jolted me from a community I was a vessel in, and made me an observer to it. I learnt about planets beyond mine, religions above mine, a gender otherwise a mystery, about a person I am inside, a family I can approach more sincerely. At times I vent because I feel oppressed, at times I vent because the situation feels not quite right, or simply because I get completely carried away with the, I'll tell ya, exhilarating venting. I enjoyed experimenting with my pen, trying over the top slapstick, or exclusively-ours yiddishism that left the unfamiliar reader scratching his chup at the incoherency. I was allowed to be inquisitive, angry, opinionated, naive, inane, or openly eager for that last adjective to be contradicted.

Now, the outdoors calling my name, I wonder which name is actually mine. Reconnecting with my generic self, I'm trying to make sense of the two people I am; the pseudonym I’ve been covering under and the deceptive birthname that identifies me.

Those new perspectives reflect not just my own view of myself, but a new angle on the society. Nothing about the hob-hob of the typical social life now fits into the word 'routine' by any remote definition. Our community suddenly seems smaller than it was a year ago, less threatening. Women that were deeply hurtful are now just clueless themselves. Gossip seems empty, almost dull. I don't burn with self-doubt anymore for hearing a critical voice in my head disagreeing with discussions. That condescending tone once had a nerve wracking high pitch that wouldn't be silenced. Now, it's happily yelling away at some faraway blogspot.

Occasionally, the situation humors me. I’d be lingering amongst the women early morning after the kids embark their school busses, wrapped in a spring coat, seeming no less absorbed in the conversation or no more different than the rest. A tickle would suddenly flicker across my wires for the mystery of the other person I am.

But the remainder of the time I’m left with two lives, both genuinely mine, both downright different.

Nevertheless, ‘we’ have no regrets.


How has the web changed your life?


Thursday, April 26, 2007


[Provocative giggle] "Thank you for calling 1900-TALK. Mmm. "

[Thick male voice] "1900-TALK is known universally for its 97% success rate with a guarantee of permanent, lifetime conjugal contentment.

You must be (exactly) 18 to call this number. If you are under 18 we will be legally responsible to marry you off to a Meislish rebbisheh einikle.

[Male Voice, very-very quickly]

In the event you have not intended to contact 1900-TALK, or have not dialed this incomplete number, please continue to hold the line.

There will be a brief silence for the next 60 seconds. Please stand still while one of our representatives stares at you to evaluate you. 1900-TALK reserves the right to ask you to turn sideways, the other way, around, look away, hold your arms up, show your hair, smile, move, walk, turn again, converse with a friend, tell you to act natural, stand on your head, yawn, fix yourself, fake laugh, blush, die, revive, thank you for your cooperation. Section 246-D, NYS Havah Nivalilah. See our website for further details.

[Smokey, provocative female voice resumes]

Our automated prompts have recently been updated to enhance the personalized search query. Please listen carefully prior to entering your selection.

1 –Enter your two digit weight and 5.8 height followed by the pound key. Your profile will be processed after a complete stranger says it's not true. If you do not fit those bodily digits please leave a message in our voicemail box explaining what you were thinking.

2 – Press two and deposit: “ninety nine dollars, and ninety nine cents” for each of the following minutes. You will hear several clicks while our system retrieves a gelt shidduch. Our Gelt Shidduk Platinum Option is packaged with a state-of-the-art ceremony, knakadigeh match, 9 generations lifetime kollel learning, shpitzle headgear, 500,000 dollar home and many more including our bonus feature of a groom or bride.
[quickly] Only eligible millionaires can benefit from the supreme love criteria.

3 – If you are from a broken home, por favor marka numar usinta and a sfardisha meidle will come on the line to marriage you, mucha gracias.

4 – If you are over 21 please continue to hold. Case personnel will be with you shortly. The estimated wait time is: “one thousand years, and one Tuesday, and fifty six minutes”. Calls are answered in the order that they have been received. If at any time your call is ‘skipped’ please hang up and give up.

5 – If you are a nebuch a divorce’ or if you are leider a bum, please marry each other.

6 - If you know your party’s extension, due to a previous beshow encounter, and would like to request an additional encounter, dial delete+delete for reputation and prospect removal. 1900-Talk takes enormous pride in offering love at first sight - only.

7 – Hey girls, got the looks? Are you a roytah maude, a red head? Congratulations. You can put on a wig already.

8- If you or your family has any history of illness or poor health, for example: grandmother has diabetes, second cousin epilepsy, or you had a nosebleed at age five, please fax medical records of entire family to us and we will hook you up with someone with bipolar disorder .
[Quickly] This crucial new feature is to credit the laboring of The Honorable KJ Rebbetzin.

9 – To cancel your order, please change your levish. Shidduch will be obliterated automatically. Otherwise, order will be shipped, wedded, charged, implemented and will produce off springs. No amount of hitting all keypad numbers angrily will change that. Ha-ha-ha. Please try me. There you go. Engagement still on. Ouch, not there, it hurts. Please review your hashkafa before blaming it on us. Okay – okay, you’re breaking the phone. I think she’s crazy. She’s crazy. Co su t yo r l cal rab … It s n t gon w rk… top it!
o der sta us – a tive! !

That’s true love children. Thank you for calling 1900-Talk.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

O' Baby

Every so often Yoelish wakes up in the morning especially enthused, the birth of a brilliant idea rousing him from slumber. "You know what just occur to me that we do?", he'd say to this snoozeaholic' "Listen to this great plan for a minute. It's about you, us!"

Then he'd explain. I can't repeat verbatim, but in general he says something like this:

"I think... how about... this plan: we get YOU very, very fat! But not only that, we make you sickly, and vomit daily, and dangerously moody, and sensitive to smell, and unpredictably and ravishingly hungry, and slow in motion, and breathless, and full of stretch marks and varicose veins, all bloated and blown up, a lot of nighttime heartburn, and also, prodded by a doctor where you like it least? And then we'll get you to the hospital to be hooked up to monitors and huge needles, with scrunching, crunching contractions and hell-raising pushes of the pelvic muscle. After that you'll have postpartum depression and temporarily give away all our other children!"

He'd sit up with a jolt, extra pleased with himself, and ask exceptionally cheerily "hu?! What do you think?! I think it's time! C'mon, you want it too"

I'll tell you what I think, and I'll tell you what I want!

I love that bearded fella in the nightgown from the bed across the carpet, for my life I do, but I don't want to hear all that fuss around another pregnancy. When he ever attempts to mention a combination of the words "baby" and "more" my face freezes over with a stepford smile only a married man can understand to crouch from. I look at him in my morning mode, while making a mental note to send him away first after the heartburn and pushing. If I say I want it, that's one thing, but him?

My husband is suffering from Birth Control Anxiety Disorder, according to my expert diagnosis. That's the result of a drastic, spiritually defeating change of pace in his life. Before he got married he'd been assured that he's getting a woman, a few truckloads EPTs (maybe even some free stretchies and sweater-sets) and soon enough, the dozen or so children would be generated. He'd be able to give kiddish in shul for all to come, make vacht nachts, drag a troupe of boys with him in shul, make sizable bar mitzvahs and eventually, knakedige family celebrations. The notion of having less than ten kids never crossed his mind. It wasn't a possibility.

When I first started to trigger his BCAD disorder by mentioning cutting my supply to him of babies, after a fair share of physical and emotional pressure, his reflex was to repeat like a broken record player that "m'meg nisht,", you're not allowed, and "nobody does!". Eventually, it wore him down. I'd like to say it was the hat-stand I bought him as a gift, but maybe it was just that babies made him snap. Or even more likely, the sleepless nights made his wife snap, and that really left him desperately running for a rabbi.

I proposed the strategy. Walk into the rabb's house, learn a bit of something Lashon Kodesh for good luck, and then proceed to take the sponge-tichel clad rebbetzin hostage. Yoelish should call 911, and tell the police that he's not letting go of the wife or the shep-weapon lest the rabbi gives away a two year break. Then he could come home with some of their soup, (might as well do it all the way) and we'll celebrate the heist.

I didn't get the soup, but somehow, someway, I got a nice hetter, much to my husband's surprise. From then on, if a kid wasn't on the way (and sometimes even if there was) we get those guilt ridden BCAD morning rituals where Yoelish wanted another kid NOW.

To cure my absence of typical annual maternal yearnings, I attend the "Boineh Oilem" party once a year. The ladies come to the party having left all their valuables at home, except those with a an inbound valuable. We sit around, yelling above each other's voices about nursing clean and nursing clean and nursing clean, and by the time the speakers would be through we'd all nod in agreement that we better not complain. On the walk home, late at night, all of us would talk about how ungrateful we are for always complaining when others have nothing.

I do sincerely feel sorry for couples that have infertility issues, but I have trouble comprehending how 16 for me would make it better for them. What I do know, while I'm not eager to go through child bearing again so soon, is that I love my children with everything I got. Every single one, deeply.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Shtible

Mazel Tov!

Here's the link to my new room, Shpitzle Shtible, where I'll be writing and discussing "sefarim" of all genres, each post consisting of a book review on any random title.

Feel free to hang your comments anywhere over its walls!

And please, shush during leinen ;)...


Monday, April 16, 2007

JIB Awards

The Jewish Internet Bloggers Awards are coming up!

I haven’t been sleeping much lately. The anticipation! I toss and turn wide-eyed in the wee hours of the morning. And like, then I don’t even have enough energy to do my daily abs-squats with the 50lb weights on my lower torso, or the 500 mile run with my personal trainer Santos Ulasita. I shouldn't really admit but I haven’t been eating lately either. I’m on the beans-only-diet y’know (I endorse this AmAzing program,!). Miracles, just, miracles. My sponsors put me on it and only two hours later I’ve shrunken into the ‘after’ photo. You surely understand that I must fit into my Oscar De Lerenta gown, which will go with a Gucci diamond-studded tichel over my newly-died-blond shpitzle. To that I’ll have my 14K gold kallah pearls. Ya-ay! I mean, the excitement of all this! The paparazzi, the reporters, the red carpet, the dates, the celebrities! Gosh!

I'm so nervous. I’m hyperventilating. Get me a paper bag! A papaper babag. Hoo, hoo.

Breath. Breath. Breath.

Kay. I’m cool now. No, really, I’m totally cool. I’ll have some of my beans though, please.

Anyway, so I’ve been naturally (duh!) vying for the award. This is my first year in Blogywood and I totally, totally deserve it. So I go down to the JIB website to check out all my nominations, all the while arching my back like my best BFF Pariz, and guess what! Hundreds of freakin’ blogs are being nominated, most of which I’ve never heard of! Is this about the indies now? Is that it? They call it “art”, hu? "Sinai Mountain", that makes it to the top, and why? What about my blog-buster music you pickle heads! Cheap sob liars y'all. They go about pretending that those stupid **** ****! @#$#------

(My publicist is back-spacing everything I write. Darn idiot.)

Well, (no, I’m not apologizing!) I have been preparing my un-acceptance speech. (No, I’m not apologizing!!! Did you ever?!) At least I’ll be able to go up there and chuckle into the microphone and say “this has always been my nightmare. Thank you so, so little! It was only with you guys that I could have not done this” and cry into the hostess’ chest with overwhelming thanklessness.
I decided that this rainy week will be a fine setting for me to pen my long and exceptionally brilliant speech. I’ve been sitting here in my twin size bed, next to my adorable pet Yoely, my pink laptop, and it’s just flowing out of me! God, I have so many talents, I keep on discovering more. First my beautiful voice and now this!!

I have about 1,256,549.25 written pages now. My therapist is so proud of me; she says that it helps me further develop my aura and psychic powers. It was just like that, I started to write about the people that helped this non-victory come about. I started with my parents. Man, like my therapist said, my parents are at fault for EVERYTHING. Even the liposuction disaster. So I wrote about them, about the way they raised me with a family of five million children in complete poverty and gave me away to the damaging foster care of Camp Machna Rav Tov. It’s a very sad story the way they abused me. I’ll be telling it on Oprah.

Then I proceeded to write about my education; teachers, principles and who-knows-who-else that were roaming the Bais Rochel brick building. I mean, I devoted five pages to the secretary in charge of the copy machine herself! These people tortured me while they were teaching me all their dumb genius ‘stuff’. I mean, I know we need to learn all the scientific theories, college ligature, a major and Jewish Torah, but they didn’t have to do it so often as five minutes a school year! It really affected me, and caused my allergy to the bedika-mit-a-bendel. So many high-leveled too-challenging studies to memorize can cause permanent brain damage (as it did for me).

Those pages of essay I already wrote are awesome, awesome. I am even using the Merriam Webster Dictionary of Great Epithets to help explain the traumatizing story. There are gonna be a lot of bleeps, especially when I write about the neighborhood from like, my hometown. Oh, man, those people from the Williamsburg Ghetto! Only because of them am I here today not winning anything. It's their credit! There'll be for sure one page for every person who stared at me. I’m still in the middle of my crocodile leather diary with that. Then the people that told on me to the Satmar school and caused my depression. All the guys that I didn’t date – also an awful story for which I have a book deal already. And I was totally deprived of stuff because of these people's treatment of me, like, I mean, the stores that didn’t sell Madonna, the theaters that didn’t have a screen, the dressmakers that made all the hips big, the shaver manufacturers that invented electric shavers and the company that designed celibacy-till-marriage and then the company that made open-back hospital gowns and the sfardisha mikvah ladies. And of course, the maker of the human hair Indians.

Gotta return to my essay. This whole break I took now on this blog interrupted my flow and ruined the speech. Ugh! How much more are my parents going to torture me?! When will this stop?!


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Chassidic Anthem

Sung by Shtrimpkind

You out there
Watchadoin today,
Gochaself some rainin’
Gochaself some blues...

You can't hear no music
To get your spirits up
Cuz it's time o’ year
The sfirah, man
And the boombox
Is banned.

So turn up the volume
Listen to me rap
All'll get bettah
In a big white snap.

Mah children and their daddy
We’re makin music sway
We’re all dancin’ and swingin’
Our bodies away
My little baby gurl
Is bangin’ the drums
While my big ol’ man
Pointin’ pinky and thumbs.

Yo you out there
Watchadoin today
Aint nobody singin
Duddi’s or Lipa’s beats
Aint nobody listenin’
To Yom-Tov-Erlich’s leids
Can't nobody play
No music today.
And with the spring away
The whole crazy delay
The sun gone astray
We need some spirit on dis day!


Pop. Pop, O!

Tap, tap, tap.

Hip-hip, clunk.

So baby,
Don’t you be shy now
And all kind of crap
Turn up the volume
Listen to me rap
Shake and clap.

Yeah, me teachas in their kupshtik
Duster and it all
Gonna be real proud
Of this bangin’ doll!

Hallo, gleibmir,
Eech ken tsee zingin
Vee dee faryirige shney
Ubber eech trey
Yo, seiz a mechey
Shukkel in drey!
Yeahhh, gits a shrey!


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Humor Me

Pesach passed in a blur. It came and went in a dizzying cycle of changing from white to floral to white to floral tichel, or in clockspeak, from night to day to night to day. Our yom tov was a lot of the ordinary extraordinary. The weather didn’t catch the drift from the fires we stoked before Pesach began, and it remained cold on most days. The seddar was uneventful; there were the loud yawns from the ladies, the red-eyed coughing fits from the men who overdosed on handfuls of bitter murrar, or the little ‘thieves’ under the table heisting the afikomen. Eliyahu the Prophet – drunk as ever - winked at me upon shuffling in at his turn in the haggada, patted his belly to indicate he’s filled it steadily, and then downed his designated extra large cup. Nothing special you see, just your typical yom tov.

On the eighth day of Pesach, when we expand our food choices to mixing matzah with liquid, we were beating up eggs and matzah crumbs in a matzah-ball kneidle mixture, when my sister mentioned a letter in the newspaper Der Blatt decrying the age-old kneidlemaker joke. For those unfamiliar with it, the tradition is to send a child up and down to the neighbors to borrow a kneidlemaker. It's a gesture that we're finally sharing food and utensils with other families, unlike the previous days of Passover. Some neighbors would remember the prank from the previous year and laugh at the innocent child in the doorway. Others would go searching their cabinets thoroughly, making a mental note to get that kneidlemaker immediately after the holiday.

Ha, ha, ha. The kneidlemaker, really, for you out there that are now digging through your shelves, is one’s hands moving in circular motion to form the ball. Ah-hahaha! Not so funny, but a good effort to coax a laugh.

My father usually entertained us during that Passover meal of hot chicken soup and freely floating grayish kneidl, by telling tales of his own kneidlmaker stories. We'd be guffawing at those mean-spirited adults. It was a legend, an old legend, from Europe even, the kneidlmaker.

In the letter to the yiddish newspaper the author calls to stop the humiliation and child insensitivity of the old kneidlemaker joke. My family discussed the argument that was raised, acknowledged the cruelty involved in it all, and then, without much opposition, murdered the tradition.

I stood by, in this egg-shell of a world, without saying anything. There isn’t much to advocate in a joke on kids, but it’s just another example of a society that lacks a good measure of humor.

Reminds me of a world I grew up in. My family is not the one to huddle around tables at family gatherings and have loud animated conversation. We don’t dance at weddings with wild steps, or make fun of ourselves. Humor, especially the effort to produce it, has been renamed ‘corny’ and partnered with a swift move of the entire mouth to one side. Exaggerations and lies have become synonyms. Making fun of yourself in Yiddish is “machsteech tsi-nar”, you're being a fool. And what’s left, ego intact, is making fun of others behind their backs.

Needless to say, I too, at the ripe old age of eleven learned to hang one leg over the other and be ‘mature’. Forget funny, big, witty, real or light. “Oy, whew.” [pull down the blouse, pat hair] “So, vooz titsech epes?” [Cock the head.]

My first movie really reminds me of how seriously we take ourselves. Ahh, who could forget their first movie, hu? I was about 16, maybe 17, and I didn’t see another show before months, maybe years, later. But that was one movie I wound up watching after a supposed shopping day with a supposed chaperon supposedly with different friends. I pounced at the opportunity.

We sat at the edge of our seats, our rears mostly in the air, eying the audience for school spies. We were ready for more action from the back door than from the screen itself. There was something uncannily similar between one lady holding hands with a bald guy in the front seats and our school principle. To this day I could swear it was her in disguise.

The film began with a wife losing all her assets to a cheating husband in a bitter divorce. I can remember every detail like today. “Shoin, at least she didn’t have children” my friend whispered to us. At least she didn’t have children, that woman Chrissie or something. 35 and divorced! How’s she ever gonna get married again? Probably gonna get a gurish. We were concerned.

In a spontaneous move to improve her life, the protagonist moved to the nowhere, doomed by a place full of bad omen. When she entered her creaky little house we were shocked to look into the screen, as a wild bird flew clear over Chrissie's head. Wide eyed and appaled, we watched. The audience chuckled.

As she trotted up for her second story, all the stairs came crumbling under her weight and she landed with a jolt. We gasped. The audience laughed.

She got her tub running for a nice warm bath, and out came blasting in every direction, gooey brown water. The faucet itself flew off straight across the room. We looked on horrified. The poor woman. Divorced and now this?

Later, her window broke in a cold and harsh blizzard. Alone, in that old house. She huddled at the radiator for a bit of warmth when her electricity went baboom, sparkle – and gone. Darkness. She sat there in the cold, curled up in a blanket, without heat. The audience giggled with every development. I dabbed myself with kleenex. My friends looked equally somber. I blew my nose. We quietly cursed the movie. A comedy? Chrissie was a walking disaster in her social encounters and said all the wrong, morbidly embarrassing things. My ego bled.

The movie ended, after many an agony, with a sour improvement. I wiped my eyes in my sleeves and we all left, red noses marking our faces.

A good few comedies later, and I’m starting to remember this first one as the best one yet. For all it’s awful events, it told me a bit about how much easier life is with tougher skin and less sensitivity. It's also told me that above all disasters, those theatre-goers must have loved the three hollering chassidic girls best. Let them audience laugh away, those child abusers, I'm writing a letter to Der Blatt about that.

In light of all this, my summer’s resolution is to use my kneidlemaker on the keyboard more often. Seriously.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Desperate Housegirls

Yep, ladies. It looks like Jewish girls are known for being 'Desperate Girls'! A single Yiddish Meidle at the thirty? Vey!

I caught the latest episode of American Dad online, an animated show for adults, that consists of a combination of ridiculous family dynamics and side-splitting satire. It's one of my favorite shows. I had a good, gut cleansing laugh.

Their most recent episode 'An Apocalypse to Remember' depicted (as a supporting role) the "desproite Yewish meidele" in hysterical strokes. Oh, the nose! The Jewish nose! God help! No wondah she cain't find a shiddahch! (We're even stereotyped for a certain no-nonsense, thickly voice!)

At a time of year that our community is full of desperate housewives, pitzing and washing from daybreak till, um, daybreak, we all deserve some time out. If you can, take a few moments of your own, lock yourself someplace away from unauthorized personnel or vagabond shmuntzes, get a bowl of Kosher for Passover chips and a large, ice-cube-full cup of homemade grapejuice, and enjoy the latest episode.

You're desperate for a break. You need some time to rest the tired feet and fill the empty midsection. Trust me dear. I know what I'm talking about. Poisenell experience. Kum shoyn, have fun, and I'll waive the shadchanes gelt.


Monday, March 26, 2007


Buckle up people and get ready to scream.

Twice a year the chassidish community takes the entertainment world by storm. Roller coasters dip hundreds of feet with payos flapping in the air and sheitlech threatening to tear free and expose the secret of synthetic veibelech. Daunting spooky houses are fed whole schools by the classroomfulls, and mish-mashes get attacked by dizzy, blinking, boys that brave the ride over and over again. The train stations seethe with baby carriages. Museum lines consisting of shtreimlech, tichlech and restless children extend all through NYC or Washington DC. The wax forms of forbidden people are suddenly greatly admired, touched, and wowed, almost as if there’s a clue as to who they represent. Whole neighborhoods huddle around a borrowed computer to watch the riveting Al Naharos Bovel, yet again. Young families sit around in parks systematically goint through their plastic baggies of matzah. Even the shy Williamsburg streets get blocked off to host a mini carnival of its own. Women of all generations attend slide presentations; hollering loudly at the emotional balei teshuvah returning to her biological father, who, incidentally, is wearing the most hideous stick-on beard and baggy knickers.

So. Obviously. Chol Hamoed’s around again. God bless.

Throughout the year entertainment isn't very popular in the Chassidic society. You'd see a group of Yeshiva escapees take a park here, or a couple sans their children (or formal headgear) take a park there. I wasn't brought up really knowing date nights, movies, music, books, sports, eat-outs, great vacations or other healthy activities that typically need to take an important position in life.

I feel that entertainment is underrated. Without it, people never learn what they love, what they're good at, or what the hell they are rooting for (Vats deh score? Nee, Vats deh score hu?!). People don't get to bond together over therapeutic activities. We don't learn to refine our own taste, share hobbies, and air out after a tired day, week or year. Instead, growing up I got to enjoy a shpatzir to the bubby, building blocks, leminashin-puncher and Dertzeilung Fin Tsadikim stories. Later they were replaced by backing the ninth grade class in camp with heart and soul, 'groups' and for the particularly nasty stage, talking in hushed tones about, wink, the Korben Mincha siddur. Eventually it got even more exciting with shopping, countree, shopping, bikur cholim parties, EPTs, shopping and shopping.

It is so bothersome to me, that when Chol Hamoed does come around I celebrate it with exceptional flair. Just to show the world. Plan away, even if nothing comes of it.Entertainment is good for you.

Get crazy! Be spontaneous! Say 'gantz' Hallel on Chol Hamoed - the day is worth it...


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

It's Here!!


My much-anticipated post on the subjects of (1) Pesach and on (2) a woman's tafkid... It's here:

To clean and to be 'clean'.




(This post took hours and hours to scrub!)


Soul Cleaning

Here, chronicled, is the very original diary of my escapades into a second identity, my little trips into a life as a shiksa.

* * *

I heard about it from word of mouth. It's not really, ahem, in compliance with the law. But it seemed that with the right contacts you know where to go.

The other day, I summoned the courage and made my way there, to a corner in the City. There they all were, just as told. Lots of people mingling and interacting and doing their 'business'. People from different walks of life were gathering there. I was hesitant, wasn't aggressive enough. I leaned onto my baby carriage, and watched other people converse uncertain who I'm here for. After an hour or so, I found myself going back home empty handed.

A number of these trips followed. I came but went without advancing. I couldn't stop myself from doing this, but I couldn't stop myself from stopping myself either.

Finally, on Monday, things took a turn. There were just a few initial greetings between 'us'. That was all. We looked at each other for a bit, said a few words, and then I turned my stride homeward. Someone followed me this time. It was happening.

My boots dug into the melting snow with every step, in sync with a pair of light thuds coming from behind, along with the music of crackling of bags hanging at the sides of my follower. I continued to look straight ahead, never looking back. It was a nice day, a combination of a glaring spring sun at 11:00AM and layers of semi-white snow covering the sides. I left my baby girl with my mother, and my husband was off to work. I knew I had the place to myself.

We both walked into my apartment, but I offered no formal greetings. It was like following an old habit, where words were no longer required. It was only after the door was shut that I wondered where to begin.

"The pants." I said to myself. "Get the pants."


I locked my bedroom door.

Inside, alone, I shuffled through the bags belonging to my new friend, Maria. Indeed, there were a pair of hot-pink leggings, real pants, the ones I yearned for when I was little. I pulled them out. They smelled of shiksa, of thick, sweet strawberry perfume. Ahhh.

I slipped them on, and stared at my reflection. I felt my pulse racing. I didn't quite fill them out the way the real urelta did, the one that I just brought home from the corner on Division. There was something about her curvilinear figure that I couldn't quite imitate. The leggings sagged to the floor. I felt my hopes to break free crush with them.

I wasn't gonna give up there. All my life I've envied the shiksa with all her choices. All my life I felt oppressed and restricted. Here, now, I was finally gonna be one too, even if my useless rearing has crippled me unfit for its 'perfect mold'

I looked around, and the solution struck me. I put suspenders onto the legging's waist-band and I looked semi-shiksa-perfect. I fetched a short white frizzy wig out of its hiding and pulled a short-sleeved purple t-shirt out of the shopping bag --- and over my head. Pink lipstick I remembered, and penciled eyebrows like rainbows o'er the forehead. I looked like a dream. I was finally a shiksa --- a goyta!

"I am finally a goyta!"

I gulped. This was real.

In the full length mirror, I saw the door across the room vibrate. She was knocking. My cleaning lady wanted to know what to do next, it seemed, by the mix of demands she cursed through the keyhole. I had the urge to ignore her as I was too busy stealing her identity. I was conquering my dream. But a girl's gotta have a strategy, so I yelled at her to go clean the bathroom or pray, whatever she felt like.

The following step, of course, was breaking the law. As a teenager, I never got to break the law. No pot, no alcohol, no nifty little crimes. I was denied basic youth privileges. Now I was proudly an Illegal Polish (or Uzbekistani or Russia or African, if you can tell a difference) immigrant. @#$^% Amirica! Its laws meny-meny stoopid!

Of course, that wasn't enough. To get me on a high, I had to steal too. I hear that's what goytes do. So I grabbed all my Jewelry and I packed it into the cleaning lady's bag. The rush of adrenaline! Oh God!

Then came the peak of adventure... All my life I've been cleaning like a slave, especially Pesach season. A Jewish woman gets no career, just a broom 'n a mop. My labor is unrewarded. Now, I proudly walked over to rub my stove for $10.00 an hour. Here, I was getting paid, I was getting an agent, and I was getting a career!

Look at me!!

Maria Antsvigonaria'! I'm a somebody!

I sprayed easy off, and let the sprits whirl in the name of my mother, my father, and my awful education. "I went off the derech, eh?" I rubbed. I rubbed harder. And yet harder. "Zey go tell me what do? No Missis! I happy now! I become not-Jew!"

I took a break. I pulled Maria's bag out again, and scanned it. Finally, I'll eat real food, with real ingredients, not the hechsher stuff. I bit into the brownly banana with a clunck, full of relish. I was enjoying it. You know, it tasted good, it tasted real. Not like our Ungarishe same-ol' fushit.

My time, outside the realms of my society was coming to an end. I had to rush back to the role-play of my yiddene identity, before my boys come home from cheddar. I shuffled back into the floral punjello, the turban and took to cooking the same-ol' fushit.

For a moment, I lingered in front of the purple size xx2 top, reluctant to give it up. My fingers ran over the dinosaur design. Oh, what great things secular people take for granted. They don't know to appreciate basic things that when denied, become of such importance. I stared at the flip-flips before I returned them to its real owner. I had no choice but to go back to my double life. Spritz, Spritz, Spritz em all! For denying me a world that is neither as forbidden nor as sweet as you made me think it was!

I stuck the phone under the turban, as par, and was immediately transformed back into veibele mode.

So long.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Over the last few days, I’ve been keeling over microscopic dirt – too busy with 'em to even breathe. God bless me and my Erev Pesach Mission. Surely, needling the woodworks has a purpose. Ask me why we take apart our chandeliers and hose down the fridge. Ask me why. I was raised this way and against all logic, I won’t ever give up the shmata.


Misses mommy shepshka mucha nachas. Yeah, In some ways, I turned out just right.

In the midst of the aforementioned hectic zoobiz, I was planning to grab a few alphabets and scrabble some of my thoughts of the season into a post. Seems though, grabbing a few alphabets isn’t that easy either when there are legos everywhere. I didn’t even get around to check my favorite blogs lately. In the end of the day, from all my determination was left a heap of me, under the covers, in love with the magic of slumber. Night after night the day dies before its time.

So for now, my Pesach Cleaning pointers (and my Polish-immigrant auction) will have to wait.

However, at the moment I wanted to air some of my thoughts in regards to a conversation that took place in the comments section of a previous post about the legitimacy of the megillah, some on Exodus - Yetzias Mitzrayim, Bereishis or whatnot; Torah and Science. Or in its unfavorable name Api------sus. Personally, I embrace such information eagerly, but not without regret. In part, it shatters very clear and colored images created by my entire childhood upbringing, a mindset I so wish to preserve for many reasons. On the other hand, it fascinates me, and evokes a curious hunger to dig deeper.

On the blog level, I’m tsimished. While I don't have a desire to intentionally censor myself off of such info, I know that many believers are highly offended by such discussion, and are indirectly hurt. Coming from where I do, I know how sacred and important beliefs are, and what it means to tamper with them. Still, I think we all lose out a lot by walking in herds. Of belonging to a side of a fence. After all, many of us are now living in some hall closet eating salami and bread for dinner despite belief. Many of us are living in the blog closet hiding our identities like a 1st degree sin, despite belief. On the daily level, we all have a lot in common - regardless of godliness. Lots to share, lots to shmooze or vent about.

But in the same time, we also have a lot of uncommon ground...A hellofalot.

I’ve been chewing nonstop on these thoughts, and that doesn’t seem to quench the confusion a bit. I'm torn, totally.

Does a believer have to turn a blind eye to other views? And if so, do those that abandoned it have to be sensitive enough to respect their treasure? Is it ethical to be stomping around on a religion that’s been cherished for thousands of years, without any regard for those that are so hurt when it’s mocked and waived away?

Does a disbeliever have to shut up because his/her beliefs are not that of the popular person? Why? Does the world end where beliefs differ? Can’t a believer just ignore a conversation that he disagrees with, without making a big deal about it? Isn’t blogsphere a place we should avoid judgementalism?

Why do these conversations so often come in the form of bullets ‘n blasts anyway?

As the great ol' quote goes, "yaydem’s kigel is kigel". Alright. I made that up. But I do wonder if we shouldn’t just indulge in what’s served and enjoy it. What you don't like, leave for others.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Yom HakiPurim II

INTRO to Tefilla:

Dear Jewish Daughter,

The Holy Day passed and many of us have not done proper teshuvah. The Satan lures us in through glitz 'n glamour and successfully diverts our focus from what really matters. Those that have not busied themselves on the Day of Atonement to return to the ways of Hashem, fear not. The good father gives you a second chance.

Following tefillah is a Kitzur Megillah – and was designed to be said on shishan purim. Remember to write Amalike on your right shoe and to pound that foot against your chest at every "Vaeis". Let us hope that in this zechus all runway vashtis will grow tails and other bodily horrors, Amen.

(Taken from a Yiddish publication)

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Yom HakiPurim

My friend phoned me. Like clockwork, she does that. Every Erev Yom Hapurim a certain sense of holiness comes over her, and she begins the search for means to prepare herself for God. She calls me for forgiveness and it’s not beyond her to beg at my knees. I respect her for that. Then she wants me to help her find a kosher shpitzle, so she can approach the Day of Atonement all ready. She wants me to guide her to the light.

We need a gemach for headgear, she cries. Don’t you people know how to accept Balei Teshuvas?

Not funny.

I personally, don’t like that getup. For me, I’ve been found staring at the furry pom-pom tail of the bunny costume. I suggested to Yoelish that he could dress up as the zissa carrot, to complete the seasonal spirit.

But well, Yom HaPurim tends to pass and for all the shake-up, life goes back to the usual. So I can’t afford the adult-eared-one-piece just yet. Shishon Purim can be cruel on ex-rabbits.

In the end, I’m dressing up in a white dress coat. No, no, not as a doctor. Doctor S. Shtrimpkind, MD PHD VIP ADD, with a remote stethoscope. \(Wake up, not a doctor I said. N-O-Ttt. \ Damn.). I’m gonna wear that coat, because I believe that that is the only way a woman should approach the holy day. In a white kittel.

On the Yom HaKippurim for men, the one that takes place in ellul, I enjoy the view from the top. From the balcony I watch the men freeze their butts off all day in shul. I would never make it in one place that long. I guess the knowledge that they spend all this time alternating between one wooden chair and two blue feet, I kind of excuse the ones I watch abusing their beards. (Push, pull, krazel, other hand, stare into the ceiling, curl the knot, run through from mustache to chin. Repeat process - as many times as possible). See, when I leave shul after a meager hour of participation, and rush home to feed peanut-butter sandwich to the kids, I am convinced that this day is shorter for us women.

On Yom HaPurim, tables are turned without mercy. I start the month by preaching "ivdu es hashem besimcha" only to try to fool myself out of what an ivdu I'm about to be. As I say tehillim on Esther Tannis, I have one bakasha. I let the tears free as I ask hashem to be matzil of evil puke.


Like these things go, the pangs really start about 2:00 pm into the second day. We then visit the in-laws to get the brucha of Purim Gelt. We come bursting in to a house full of the sound of prayer. Who knows why these people insist on turning the volume knob around chay times, till the powerful layhidim niggun hilchs oop into your kishkes, and makes an imprint on your eardrum that shall forever remain in you kemoi kol nidreh.

I should find me a zits and stop complaining, I tell myself, because I’ll spend the rest of my day praying fervently.

Uvini Malkini, please, zei dich derbarem of deyneh, or meyneh, children... They vehemently refuse to take their coats off, leaving my hand-sewn work buried in sweat. They tear through every can or box for sugar shapes, the consumption of which is rewarded with ample energy I cannot compete. ThI give up when they challenge the tall furniture or younger folks. I have talk to small humans through their white beards that have already been tasted, and tongue-tunneled, by every human my kin with salivary glands.

I coordinate meticulously my gift bags with the costumes. I tease the ribbons into perfect payos. I unscrew the door before we drag in the eye-popper to my mother. I deliver the basket to my shvigger with a crane. I ooh and ahh over the slice of kindle my sister wrapped up in a saran wrap for me, look at the stunning small kedem wine with gustah, and pat her on the back. I'll taste it all, I say, as soon as I'm done eating all the grass you filled the bag with.

Then I take out my pissum and ramseys and give it to her. Nah, it’s nothing, I'm being anivasdig. It’s horrible. I wanted to bake you a seven layer cake instead of the mini mirangues, chocolate truffles and engraved cookies.

Ha. Eat your heart out. Hearty appetite. (Alright, I am secretly evil. Salachtuh?)

A guy comes bursting through the door, followed by his sons. I know him, only now his beard is down and teased and he wears that litvish hat, from which sly contentment drips down, into a wise smile.

"Nee, dee frowen?" One of his sons, hardly 18, asks a sheilah. We are all ushered out, and I continue to watch the spectacle from the dining room door, over my mother-in-law's shoulder. The men vitzle themselves amongst each other, upon which I curse the damn headgear for making me deaf - completely. The half-drunk litvak whispers something l'men. He then leans back, giggles heartily and fumbles through all the glass bottles for a 'real sip'.

As they get up and dance, I know that I am in gulles. My baby holding onto my hip, us leaning through the entrance, holding the breath for the vase to survive the storm, I wonder why I have to see all this. Like a hungry person watching someone eat, I yearn to pull up a chair and bend in.

I wink to my husband as loudly as possible. He holds up a big hand, and finishes his cup. "Don't worry. Just a bit, it's Purim, a mitzvah. I won't get drunk this year. You know I can handle it".

I roll my eyes deep into my head. Anyone hear that?

He's doing his third cup, and I'm not counting anymore, or looking. I eat my food but the my palatte does not respond to the gourmet. Yoelish is wearing a 1 inch shreimel that opens at every shpitz, and runs all over the place to the music. It's shake before drink, so he dances wildly before downing another one.

Then he comes over to his mother, a little too close, and starts to explain to her. "farvoos hustee eer nisht leeb? Mayn vaab, mammi, dee kenst eer nisht! Mwua" He kisses into the air.

Shoot me.

He tilts back on his heals and forgets why he came over here. He runs back to the men where they start to talk Torah, and do teshuvah with loud cries. They hug each tightly.

My sister in law isn't that lucky either. True, it's my boy that balled at the wall, but she gets locked up in a room where her husband is loudly telling her how many sins they're doing. When Yoelish starts to look at me that special drunk way, and wobbles over to me, I lock myself in the bathroom. Hashem Yishmoyreynee, yiddishe kinder, being romantic, in deh public!! Showing affection! I must stop this at once!

My father in law, who's been benching his bochur'l all this time - holding onto him as if he's a bottle of alchohol, -starts to feel 'shlecht'. By the time the bowl is around he's vomited all over the carpet, wall, himself and table. If I look, I can see all that in the vomit actually. Holding a towel over his face, he pours himself another drink.

Yoelish sees someone to the door, a beggar that didn't get very royal treatment, one that heard a little more than he should about 'farshtinkene rashooim'. "Dee bist meyn breeder, all yidden are brothers" we hear him say and he too, is out the door. Hands wide open he swallows fresh outdoor air. He zigzags on the road even though I am yelling, stomping, and going positively off my mind.

A few good men take him home, against his will, and he falls into a calming routine of snoring. After I break the fast and furious by some quite time, 'I blow my own horn' knowing that I passed the test. I had my share of hell for the year.

Leshana Habah....

A K'Purim V'Purim Tovah :) !


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

That's a Wrap!


Purim/Pesach season is coming up so I won't be around blogger much over the next few weeks.

Y'know of course that I've got a lot of work to do, in preparation of the Purim2007 Suda I'm hosting at my blogspot. Most of you wouldn't typically attend a mixed celebration, but with all the costumes available in the vicinity, phhh, no problem at all! I can already see 'em coming, hundreds of bed-sheet-covered partygoers dressed up as Anonymous.

Naturally, I am casting a chusid as Purim Rav. Only a chusid knows how to fir a tish properly. I am sure I can find someone who knows how to bring about a storm, to act as Gabi. This is blogworld, after all. The Jewish Drama headquarters. Nailprint is the official fingerprint.

When you arrive to the party, make yourself at home. Find your niche, take out the coffee or chips you brought along and get the music goin'! If you're new to this, start by checking if your spouse/parent/children are here. Go over to the Australian Yeshiva Bochur and accuse him of being your neighbor on Fosse Court. Nice going, pal.

There is a fervent discussion on the crisis of the dating scene, or the shidduchim expenses in the chussid's version - next to the buffet. A Yiddish speaking geek explains to a long-wigged pregnant woman what the problem here is. His black glasses cover his eyes that look into no where, and he doesn't seem frazzled with the combination of English grammergoofs. The Satmar baldies are groping at the bookshelves for a sefar to prove to the red-faced frummy that he's wrong. Aha!! See? It seems so natural to see the Williamsburg lady sit cheek-to-jowl with a clean-shaven suit from the other side of the ocean, both arguing a gemera. A 21 year old chalat boy from Mondroe UTA puts his nose in, and walks away waving his hand. What do these people know? Mishigooim. They should hear what the Bayrach Moshe said! Nearby, an Isreali snood rebbetzin sits down on the bench, adjusts her long gathered skirt and tells a long story on topic. One commenter mentions 'judgementalism' and an army of outcasts storm the place firing off curse words.

A few 'special' winks are shot across the room and said parties escape us early, o'er to email. Pretend you didn't see.

An especially tall woman with a hairspray-stricken short sheitle shleps herself over to join the catfight. Her babbes on her stockings are untied and the shtrimp piled up at her ankles to reveal unshaven legs. In a flat ballplayer's voice she comments coyly to the petite female: "You're really a @#@%$ man, babe. Everybody knows. Stop lying already."

One table is particularly packed. There's a narrator there that's obviously keeping all others entertained with his multi-lingual accounts. He sits relaxed back in his chair, wears a pair of black pupuch on his knee-length socks, and thumps his cigarette into the ash-tray. He inhales again, ever so slowly, while scratching his balding head with his big black kapel. He thumbs the knip of his beard back up and goes on. From language to language he flips with such a straight face, all eager chassidim high-five each other. A chassidista looks on, listens in, and laughs loudly as if she got the joke too. She's left with her hand hanging in the air when she also tries to slap hands with one of the listeners, a colone-wrapped intellect that speaks an echta flisigeh yiddish.

Sirens and awful shrieks suddenly wail from the direction of the Link Room. Seems a bearded rebel with sunglasses is tearing at an English-speaking cotton-candy-bearded rebelle, both trying to cut each other's throat. Sigh. Yeah, the discussion over evolution didn't go so well. There have been some casualties.

Although the party is mixed, we still know our boundaries, so dancing is not. Or not really. The chassidim jump the horah up and down like springs, the litvaks kick their feet left and right into the air, and the "frum" guy waltzes in the middle of the circle with the rabbi, then they dip. Poor rabbi, he wanted to do it with the gartle! One clueless jewish grandma in pants dances along with the entire rekida of men.

See? This place rocks! Tol' you it's not all talk.

I get up to the bima next to the gefilta-fish-smelling Rabbi. I propose a toast. Clink, clink. I begin to thank you profusely for visiting my blog, the fun I'm having, and then I spend the next two hours wining about how my community made me wear this and that and that and this. By the time everyone is snoring I break down and holler. I fan myself to stop the crying. But then I burst out in bawls all over again. Blame my community.

"Cheers, Lechaim!" (sniff, sniff) (waaa!) (snore) (comment) (compliment) (snore) (attack) (nicey-nice) (mussar) (Lechaim!!)

Quit dreaming!

There is no party and there will be no entertainment. I'm gonna be home filling my hamen tashen with jam, curling the ribbon, retelling the Leibel Veinshtuk version of Achashveryosh's party to the kids, and scaring my husband with the George Bush mask. I do so love yom tovim and will spend my time passing the spirit on to my next generation.

(In case I was gonna be missed, I think I just did away with that possibility.)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Dress De-Code

The sixty-watt bulb above our vanity mirror doesn’t do me justice. So I went out and bought a lamppost, dragged it all the way into my apartment and got all the mechanics up and running.



Nope. I still don’t see it.

I’m looking for my Jewish nose. I know I have it, for sure. In a world full of diversity people can single me out in a snap. And Yoelish, he’s got it too. You can just imagine how our children look.

When I go to a place that’s not dominated by Jews, I feel like I’m walking with a gallon lump in the middle of my face. I'm accutely aware of my nasal entirety. Like a family of us cartoon creatures. In shopping malls, amusement parks, hotels and especially the theater. I get stares.

Sometimes I get more than that. Like the talkative cab driver that quotes the New Testament in eight places, showing off his religious knowledge. Then there’s the conservative 50 year old woman with the china doll hair that pats me on the back, counts my children three times and starts talking about the war in Iraq as if I can fix it, due to my great connection with God.

There are those from out of town that sigh loudly, and wonder when orange/maroon hair stopped being cool enough. They look at the action on my head, then the line running along my stockings, over to my boy's dangling facial thingies. Then they assume my tongue is pierced .

Some people walk quickly, so to prevent being involved in my suicide explosion. They grab what they can and get out of my way. They keep looking back with menacing glances and then quickly put in a phone call to the FBI.

I like the fellow Jews that don’t wear their bris on their face. They sound like your average goy (bald in front, pony in back) and suddenly come up to you with a perish on the parsha. What do you want of me? Did they just announce that I’m a Rabbi, available and looking?

It’s not good to compare me to the Amish. I suffer from a little envy. We got the beard AND the side-curls (and then some more) but we don’t get a chocolate factory to go with our little town. I betchya the Hershey's meant us. Just look at the name. And imagine all the tourism we could have! I'd be a sensation just by 'riding my buggy' to the 'market' wearing my 'bonnet'.

One particular instance ticked me off. It was a long time ago, when my husband and I stayed at some all-inclusive hotel in the Sunshine State. We were lounging around at the bar nightime when a man came up to me and informed me that there will be an adult performance.

“Okay” I said and sought out another non-broken pretzel from my Schwartz bag. C-u-runch.

The guy just stood there, hovering.

I love those tall chairs next to the counter and silly football games. Yoelish and I mock these players as if we’re wiser than the world. I was watching the HomeDepot commercial for the eighth time by running after the words on the screen with my mouth. That freckled guy started clearing his throat.

“Ahem. Ahem. Ma’am. I said there will be a show for, for, for adults. It’ll be like, a little offensive.”

“Good, okay.” I repeated absentmindedly.

“Ma’am. I’m not sure if you understand. They make fun of ---“ his hands tuned in a washmachine cycle “sexnstuff”.

I smiled up to that fidgety thin fella. “I can handle it Sir.”

“Are you sure, are you sure?”

The vein on my forehead popped out.

“I’ll get a nose job, okay! Just leave me alone!”


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

No Man's Land

Mother always tells the story of my birth. Despite all the deliveries that precede me and succeed me, her eyes still fog over as she retells the tale of the day that I was born. So many times I’ve begged her forgiveness, and apparently that was done every chatsus in the first half year of my life, but she’ll never give up recounting it, each occasion adding an interesting inch to the length of the pain. It’s made me a family legend.

In my own definition of things, I think it was disappointment that left this imprint in her heart. She had given birth to girls before, and good, feineh, meidelech that is. They made their way into the world and immediately took to sleeping, smiling and hanging over their mother’s shoulder.

I teased the doctors for hours before I finally decided to come storming out, according to the frazzled woman in hospital gown. But what she won’t tell you is that I made my debut wearing the shoulders of the traditional pink undei slung down to my arms and I was hollering like the world’s coming to an end.

As she cradled little puffy me, she was horrified to notice that I was born without, well, a barrette in my hair.


Yes, my family was devastated, much like you can imagine yourself. I know. Thanks for the condolences.

See, where I come from, women must be completely segregated from men, in order for them to qualify as real Yiddish kroyn. That little boy inside me, the rowdy nature in me that buckled up and rode the contractions before bursting into life – that was complete tarivas.

So here’s a tribute to all women out there that don’t fit the Perfect Pink mold. To those that aren’t all ribbon and frill, and 100% girly girl. A little performance presented by All Sides of Me.

Testing, testing. (the guitar strings, that is). Go:

Vish Vash.
Vish Vash.
Dee gantsah hoze is tip-top.

Eech aleyn halt in eyn vashen…
Dee gantsah hoez zoeber tsimachen…
Dee goyteh tit es nisht genig git machen…
Oy vee feyn iz alamool pesach tsee machen…

Click, clack.
Click, clack.
My head-to-heal attire is tip-top.

To put my nose out the door…
Or to run to the grocery store…
I get dressed in the shmoneh begadem…
Fin voos se-hayngt nisht kayn eyn foodem…

Ahem, Aha.
Ahem, Aha.
My thin voice is on the lowest notch.

I walk in military order…
To yell or run shows of a serious disorder…
I never get hyper or a little silly…
And those that do are crazy, really…

@$#@%$^$! Wohoo!! (Okay, don’t put me away again, please!)

Shsh, Sha.
Shsh, Sha.
I sing a lullaby la, la, la.

To be a mother is my desire…
And a wife to my husband, a very getrayer…
To have a baby every year…
Because I instinctively love only for others to care…

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Authorities Incorporated

I leaned back on the brick wall that lines the building exterior, my hands tucked into each opposite coat sleeve, and I tried to breathe in a relaxing pattern. I inhaled deeply and let out a nervous breath. Inquisitively, I bent over and looked around me. The place was different than I expected, in the sense that it was quiet, not the come-and-go rush I assumed it would be like. I pushed the lit doorbell again, held it down a little harder this time, and waited.

“Why aren’t they opening?” I whispered to my husband impatiently. “Huh? What's taking so long?”

I confess I didn’t come there with the cleanest of souls. My chassid had planned to go with a kvitle anyhow, and he thought I could use a blessing from a good yid that has a special bond with God. When he first mentioned it, I laughed till my guts spilled out, wiping tears away, but when the hysteria died down I noticed that I’d been doubled over alone. Yoelish didn’t think it was funny. He was convinced a trip to the Rabbi will do us good and that I have just to go to find out that he was right. He couldn't get much enthusiasm out of me when it comes to rabbis, but I did intentionally pick that old grey and navy, dull scarf to tie on my head. I figured a shpitzle veibele with sagging shoulders will distract the rabbi from my sinning insides.

By the time they ushered me in to the rabbi's room, I was already considering leaving the whole ordeal and walking right back home. I was tizzy with tension. Having never gone to the Rabbi before, what followed passed in a blur of men's black long coats and thing belts tied on top. I don’t really remember how I arrived into the big room, one laced with sefarim on its endless walls. I think we went there was a quick toll exchange between Moshe and the gabi on our way in.

In the room, I wasn’t offered a seat or a kichelech made by the rebbetzin. I just stood at the door of the fluorescent-blue room that was empty of props but the rabbi’s heavy table. My husband rushed over to kiss the rabbi’s hand. The Rebbeh Shlita shukled in a front-to-back motion and loudly benched us with wonderful things.

"Umeyn... Umeyn... Umeyn... Umeyn..."

I nodded amens fervently. Then the rabbi fell silent. Yoelish’l spoke; he said it. I felt sick with fear when he made the admission about my personal shortcoming, my hidden reality. Yoelish told the rabbi that I have a blog, and that I feel it’s starting to poison my mind. That I stumbled upon the Internet unintentionally, and I’ve been trapped ever since. What should we do?

I began chewing at my nails. I pulled my pocket book strap back over my shoulders.

“Ah Blok?!" The rabbi's question came in a learning tune. "And there’s J Net or any other such program?”

“Yu, Yu, of course!”

The rabbi gazed down on his sefar, his fingers running through his beard through his beard. Then he balled up the end of his beard in his hand. He seemed unable to sit without jerking in little movements. Finally he looked me in the eye and asked, “In Gugle edsense (Google Adsense), iz doos doo? (do you have that?)”

My husband turned to me confused about what that adsense was all about.

“Se-iz mayglech” I murmured, my eyes fixed on my nails. It's possible to install it.

Meyn froe zoogt es is mayglech, it’s possible” Yoelish repeated to the rabbi.

“Nee." came his hoarse, pshetldig voice, "Our educational institutions are struggling financially. The melamdim in the yeshivos are not getting paid and the buildings can't be covered. Oz men ken oroishelfen, if we can help out, that would be a big mitzvah. Seshteyt duch, "shliach mitzvah eyneh nizoykin" he who does a good deed cannot be in danger. Should der eybershter help you and you should be successful in alleh inyanim, amen!”

So very dear reader, I’ve put Google Ad Sense up. Let us hope that in the merit of a combined Blogger’s effort we’ll be zocha to see a lot of riches for this rabbi and a few more rabbjs, until moschiach tsidkayno, Amen!

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Chosen and Choices

Life as a Chassidic Jew is without doubt full of challenging restrictions. However, there are some very positive aspects to its lifestyle. To name one, openness to the unexpected. It creates for its people to a world of choices. As long as you abide to its rules, your future is yours to map. Go, do, live just as you want.Thus, the journey of my life has been full of unpredictable twists and turns. It’s been an adventure of ups and downs; the experiences all shaped by the choices I made. Here is my condensed dramatic autobiography:

The Unexpected

As a seventeen year old, three years into attending an all-girls high school, I decided not to pursue a college education. I was young and hot-headed, and on impulse, dropped out from my studies and picked up an employment offer at a fellow chasid’s modest business.

Work had little excitement for a young secretary like me, but relying on the income as I looked ahead at my lavish dreams, I touched-typed away. I made my way through the streets of Williamsburg ever morning, and I returned at five o’clock precisely. My days each resembled the next. I checked in each day for minimum wage and then used a fraction of that income to shop for designer European wear; as fine and modest clothing is the absolute product of my own taste. The rest of the gold-backed paycheck was stashed away for big times to come.

On one particularly foggy day, as I was walking home in my clockwork route, absent mindedly watching my feet upset the brown puddles lying lazily between sidewalk cracks, I made a detour in my usual route. I stopped by an aunt’s house per my mother’s request.

It was that very day, that very visit, that spontaneously changed my life. It threw my world of predictability into a disarray and hung a thick veil of mystery over my future. After that sudden detour, my trips to work would no longer be the same. There in my aunt's house, as I was sitting at her dinette, the doorbell rang. At the threshold stood a middle-age couple, behind them their son, a handsome young gentleman. His demeanor and attitude had me from the first minute. He looked down, shook with anxiety, and hardly acknowledged me. It was that moment that I knew I had found my soulmate.

In a spiral of unexpected events, what is a story in its own, the next seven months were consumed by an incredible romance. Despite my young age, our love developed something so much more, for instance, into a sparkling diamond ring, and soon I stood at the tall mirrors in Brodey’s Bridal shop, trying white dresses. I watched my own reflection, a glorified angel in endless tulle, and mulled over the irony. Me, married, hardly twenty.

I was looking over to the girl standing next to me, envying her better dress, when I realized I’d known her from school. What a coincidence, I gasped, amazed to see another one of us getting hitched.

“Oh, yeah” she said to me, while the seamstress fondled her shoulders. “We’re not the only ones.”

Much to my surprise, I found many other classmates bubbling between the racks. Some were donning tiaras, some trying on ridiculous off-color ill-fitted gowns, and others crying in their mother’s arms with anticipation.

What are the odds?!

Ironically, my fellow friends were all also locating in Brooklyn, NY, of all places. They too were marrying young chassidic scholars. They too held down secretarial jobs at small business owners. They too were absolutely in love.

They too, were making choices.

My eyes almost fell out of the sockets. What. The. Hell. Are. The. Odds??

Time went by, and I lost touch again. My husband and I decided to start a family immediately after the nuptials. Nine months hence, the baby was about to join us. We arrived to the hospital in the middle of the night, gasping for breath.

“The baby is coming” I stuttered, “cu-cu-coming, right this now!!”

The nurse looked up, nose high in air, and pointed her pencil to a chair. “Take a seat, ma’am.”

Dragging our bags to the waiting area, I nodded to the other much-overdue patients. I realized that many of them were women my age, and I’d gone to school with them. Only it was now that they sat back, drained of every ounce of strengths, as they stared into the ceiling like nothing mattered anymore.

“You all?” I gawked. “Having babies??”

“What then you think I’m doing here, like THIS?” an old friend looked at me, obviously ready to pop more with anger than with child.

I fell onto a bench and wondered about this wonderful life, a life so full of choices.