Tuesday, March 27, 2007
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
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
* * *
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.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
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
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)