Saturday, December 30, 2006

Fear Not, My Child

I’m not gonna be kiddin’ myself. The American Dream whistles my name. It tempts me. Y’know, the big private house on the manicured lawn in a sunny-all-year-round state, the college degree, the double income, double garage. The great escapes ‘round the world, the well-tended women, the rowdy li’l mistah, the half-undressed teenage smartass….

Not the dog. Take that dog away from here.

And the cats too. Or any other haunting specie for that matter.

Come to think of it, it's probably because the Satmericana Drim is lacking in that respect. The over-populated apartment: Check. the B&H job: Check. The Ben Torah: Check. The overpriced, fourth-hand minivan... The road trip to the Arlington in the summer... The woman hidden somewhere under all the tsnuis, the little boysss, the little girlsss, the bochurim that do not teenage….

Check, check, check.

Where’s the cow? You know, a nice soft mooing cow. Or any other Kosher animal that can take the place of a pet.

Hey, maybe we could even get a chicken for every kid in the house.


Why do we really fear animals so much? It’s not animals exclusively, it’s more than that. We’re afraid of looking at people with disabilities, my kids are afraid of goyim, hell, we’re afraid of anything unfamiliar.

I sat in the kitchen last night, drinking something warm at 4 in the morning, wondering why we, The Jews, the people I was taught are above all forms of nature, are awfully afraid of cockroaches.

A couple of hours earlier I was having this wonderful dream when my subconscious mind detected some tugging. I turn the other way, but the tugs continue. I'm tired, leave me alonnne. I finally stirred with a voiceless, lifeless “Voos iz tsadikle?” and continued to dream on my distorted story.

He held his pillow and started to cry, hushed and desperate pleas. “Seiz doo a doggy in mine room”.

Oh no, not again. “Crawl into tatti’s bet, his is way bigger than mine”.

I think I was too tired to turn that thought into words, because I heard little feet shuffling at the foot of my bed. My cover began moving about, and in no time I was left with just a wee little piece of blanket in my fingers.

It was cold. Rubbing my eyes, I tucked him in and stumbled out.

Whereever he took the dog idea, I'm not worried. \ What does bother me is the array of objects that can evoke fear.

When everything unfamiliar is scary, familiar must at least vary. Otherwise we risk scaring our children from growing up. It's such a big world out there and there isn't always a mother's bed to climb into.

Eech hub nisht keyn moira noor fin daym heiliga boyrah.

Yeah, sure.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Blogged Off

I really hope that whatever the problem, solitary confinement won’t last forever.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Freilicha Chanaka!

Don't even think about it ringing my blog for tsedukah. I'll tell ya, this here 9 inch plastic plate holds my entire paycheck in coins. I juggle employment with motherhood; a part time office position that pays me just enough to keep my Chanukah charity fund afloat. Given that I started digging the gold mines at age 17 with a high school diploma (going for a major in Hilchas Shabbos) I can truthfully say my job's job is more to protect my sanity than to dress me in minks.

Eight Days Chanukah is the time I pause the hubbub of daily life to celebrate breadwinning.

It's called Chanukah Gelt.

Coming up, is the only holiday we actually work. 9:30 on a Chanaka AM in my office cubicle, I go about my daily life. I grab a bite of my sandwich, enter figures in QuickBooks but I somehow find myself day-dreaming over the children's faces. I can see my eldest especially; his dark eyes alive when his father hands him the $5 Chanakah earning. Oh, what do the children know about bosses, language barriers and taxes? What do they know about overworked, overtime and underpaid?

They'll know, in due time. For now I want to teach them that although we hustle through a fair amount of our life working, we can still spend the evenings gathered around a warm fire. After lighting the candles, we all sing muez tsuir, in what must be the most horse-crackled choir, but with every note I feel a growing sense of indescribable happiness. My husband tied up with the traditional thin gartle holds the little one on his tapping lap as she eagerly claps her dimpled hands together...The oh-so-grown misters, their tin menorahs burning over the windowsill, they shukel from side to side with the rhythm, a real example of deveykes. .

Deep inside me I feel a candle's flame igniting.

I just love Chanaka.

At night I serve latkas of my own making, customized with jam, custard or confection sugar as per individual order. I hum to them a Yom Tov Erlich song, one my mother would sing to us every Friday Night, while we watch the color candles extinguish one at a time.. For a special treat, there's distribution of chelkas around the dining room table, all bakers donning aprons. We mix flour and sugar, margarine and eggs and knead, roll and shape some delicious menorah themed vanilla cookies. Even Yoelish gets creative with the melted chocolate and sprinkles fiasco.

There's laughter. There's love. There's birth to memorable moments. All after a full day of gelt...

It's the 8 day miracle. A lesson to burn a whole year.


Saturday, December 09, 2006


You know these people that actually go through the hassle of writing a note to a manufacturer with product feedback?

My husband is one of them.

Lo and behold, he penned a letter to no other than Bill Gates. I held my sides, thinking it was ridiculous. For all you know we heard back!

I had to share this amazing correspondence:

(published with permission. please excuse the errors, I wanted to upload it as is.)

der mikrosuft word

i am ritink to yu tudai a jowish guy becos i whant to tank yu for all youre helps.. in my callage U.T.A, i only stude the torah so i don't know now aynglish, den one day my vife bore our first babi and i cant be in kollel because i got to go maik the monee because being a jow is vary ecpesif

i try to found a job wery long , bott its not asee for me , i don't speecking aynglish good or no compurers or no odder busnis tings, my vife tell dat i go to a gentyle skool but we dont haf teh resours,,,,

my swooger gives me a job but i have to learned to make the faxs and memos for the wendors , i 22 yar old end i only speeked jowdish and l.k. , in i was vary loost. i said for god to make me a nes.

won day i se a miraikl from god cald mikrosuf word, it fixes all errors, som'tims it gives mi a bettur wort and sometimes not, it is a large help

may god sand yu brachos and yeshuos and kul tuf uman

Joel strimpkond

n.b. pliz make the program mikrosof acsent becuz my acsent makes me tok slolech and sometime peoples dont understood.

And now for the reply:

February 12, 2003

Joel Strimpkond
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Dear Joel,

I am rethinking to you toady Jewish guy bacons I want to tank you for all you’re helps... In my collage U.T.A, I only stud the torah so I don't know now anguish, den one day my vie bore our first babe and I can’t be in killer because I got to go maim the Monee because being a jowl is vary ecclesia .

I try to found a job wary long, butt its not apse for me, I don't specking English good or no comparers or no odder basins tings, my vie tell data I go to a gently spool but we don’t haft the recourse.

My swinger give me a job but I have to learned to make the facs and memos for the wanders, I, 22 yarn old end only sleeked jewish and o.k. , in I was vary loots. I said for god to make me a nest.

Won day I se a mariachi from god clad Microsoft word, it fixes all errors, sometimes it gives mi a bettor word and sometimes not, it is a large help .

May god sand you braches and yahoos and kill tuff unman?


Joel Strimpkond

PS I feel for you, man. -Bill

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Women's Rights 'n Lefts

I don’t usually curse. I’m above that. Today I’m in an especially brazen mood. I feel like kicking a few dirty words around. Like, Gasp, “Slow down!, whatch**t!, care****!" . Or how about “Oh god, oh god, OH GOD!”

Fingers planted in your ears yet?

I learned these and a couple more of the sort during my days in the back part of the car. Yes, I’m a backseat driver. I'm sorry to let you down like this. You'll have to learn to live with who I am. A lowly backseat driver.

From as far back as I can recall, my mother sat in the station wagon patrolling my father’s swivels from lane to lane. (my ol' man isn’t much of a pilot himself). Mammi would bite on her tongue as if her mouth has been stuffed with towels and offer up some urgent prayer in odd yiddish. When Yoelish took to the wheel, I assumed the matriarchal role.

When we're out in the car, my fingers grovel into the armrests if he is in a rush, in hopes that my nails will find brakes to press onto. Sometimes when he’s calmly looking up street signs without a clue as to where he is, I just want to remove the steering wheel and take a long walk home. I swallow a short stop with just a tiny screech escaping my mouth. I sit on his outdated newspapers and ignore the empty Snapple bottles lying around on the floor. During every ride I say tefilos haderech with kevana, praying to hashem that I shouldn’t be tempted to commit the sin of being a backseat driver.

I’d like to think that Satmar women are so esteemed, they are chauffeured around. Such a Yiddish kroyn as her must be pampered. My Service loads me onto a pair of wheels and I’m driven in a royal carriage from door to door.

It’s a wonderful life. Just kick your pumps off and enjoy the ride. I’ll be in the seat behind you, on the Sharmash bus, relishing the odor of your foot-airing. Meanwhile I'll be multitasking; exasperatingly trying to control the volume on the custom stereo system I own called children. I try to straighten the seat up, lie it down, settle myself in a corner, shift to the other side and massage my own back because it hurts like hell. I’ll be more than delighted when another shpitzle woman spreads her belongings out beside me, after asking me to move the baby from the seat to my lap. She has so many things to share with me about the family of the kallah, I can’t help but listen with boundless enthusiasm. As we ride on the FDR, every move is a blessing from god. The bus jumps up, and I am thrust to the ceiling. I land with a few little bounces. It’s the experience of a lifetime…

There’s more where those luxuries came from.

I have a private escort service called Yoelish. It needs to be ordered to a place an hour before the actual time of departure for it is sometimes a little too busy preparing its limos for me, to be punctual. When I decide to go somewhere from one minute to the next, the Yoelish agents advise me to spend a few days walking to the destination, while they get ready to pick me up for return.

It’s not like all these royalties limit my opportunity for real-people activities . Nuh uh. Just for the kick of it I sometimes saddle up a carriage and push it up and down Lee Avenue. It’s thrilling. I huff and puff, begging the walking kids to hold onto the sides. Winter is carriage-racing high season. I have such a merry time walking-walking-walking, through snow or just smoke-breathing frost, I feel sorry for the men strapped up in their 'taxis'.

Take the keys. It's not gonna stop me from having the ride of my life.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


My wedding anniversary is coming up. I am commemorating these years from the nuptials by making Yoelish's favorite supper. But I will be marking not only the birth of my family and my love for Yoelish, but I also will be reflecting on other aspects of my young life that have changed when I got married. As I think back to the things of past and to this momentous wedding event, some very strong feelings envelop me. I'd like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to some very dear part of my life I lost when I got married, because of my marriage.

I've prepared a little ceremony, a little ritual of sorts, that I want to perform. I lit some vanilla scented candles and turned off the lights, and I will observe a few moments of silence in memory.


And I will now read a letter I wrote to express my strongest, deepest, broken voice of longing.

To my Dear Friend,

My heart aches with endless pain as I once again open this wound. I know that you are angry with me, and I understand your reason. I too, am really hurt.

I want you to realize that there was nothing I could have done about it. I was presented with a choice one should never know of. It was very clear that it was either you or him.

I love you very much, but after excruciating reflection I concluded that although my feelings for you are unconditional, you can not satisfy some parts of my life that he does. I hope it makes you feel better to hear that even though I have gone on to a happily married life, I still think of you every day.

I think of the special times we shared, and then of the times our relationship was under stress. I can now appreciate the extent to which our friendship made me a better person. You no doubt accented me in many ways.

I smile fondly at the memory of you under the rain. I remember your obsession with clothing. You had an endless collection of shoeboxes of ribbons, barrettes, ‘chuts’, ‘rifes’, brushes, mirrors… All of which were always updated according to the latest style and fad. Oh, you were so materialistic; I sometimes wondered how we ever got along.

Actually, very often we didn’t. In the Nine Days you were ecstatic. You looked awful, oil dripping from every end. You insisted that you be washed. In the earlier days, you owned pets; ugly ones that freaked me out. Because of them my mother tried to tear us apart.

You always wanted for me to spend over thirty minutes with you every morning, while you humored yourself by flipping out while I constantly tried to turn you in. You loved cuts, but when we arrived for the appointment you were a control freak. Not too short, not too long…

Oh, you were such a headache.

Despite all that. I miss you.

When I turned 18 and you became fearful that I will leave you for a man,you overreacted. You stopped being yourself. You attended hours of ‘therapy’ at the stylist, giving yourself the ‘of age’ look. You refused to look natural. You always had to be thoroughly conditioned and perfectly blow-dried.

I recall the summers with you most fondly. When you let go of all the uptight dos and you just had fun. You’d be wild, messy and bundled up in a bun. You were happy then.

I miss taking baths with you. I miss it so much. At first, when we broke up, I would stand in the shower and cry. I felt empty and alone.

I placed a memorial, some sort of tombstone, in your place. It’s called a shpitzle. Every day as I pile the plastic hair, sponges, tashtichels and silk paintings onto my head; I dedicate that moment for you.

You will have a special place in my heart, forever.


Monday, November 27, 2006


I have some great news for all you blogaholics. I think you’ll be mighty proud of me.

I joined the Yuniversity for Yiddishpeaking Yentas. Within three years, I should have my Masters Degree in Yentaology!

The first class was held in a small bes medrish off Bedford Avenue that is only in use on shabbos. All the attending yentas-to-be seemed very determined.

Throughout the 45 minute session the coordinator introduced us to the system and discussed a little the importance of the course, as for some it’s the key to community survival. I listen and nod enthusiastically. Everyone looks at me. I wonder what I did wrong. Oh, I realize, I should look back. So I stare hard and feel like I’m learning something already.

We were then given an assignment on Page 86 of the program textbook titled STARING IS CARING. Session dismissed.

As I was making my way out, the Professor, a middle-aged figurely woman, called out to me. “dee Pony veibele”, she refers to me by my maiden name, “come here a sekund.

“I know you can really use this cuhrs, mammele. Your Private Investigation IQ is at about 60. You’re not good at ‘detecting’ what’s going on in the lives of your lahved ones. You know, you can’t have them know everything about you and be so self-centard in return, right?…” I looked at her surprised, wondering where she took all those absolutely true details from. She winked at me with a knowing smile. She was a yenta champ.

But then she told me something that really boosted my self esteem. I learnt that although observation is an important feature in a yenta, I had high hopes. “You’re a natural at the Art of Exaggeration, an essential subject in this program. I think you’ll graduate in the top ten of this class”.

Ah, well. She’s probably right.

I was gonna share some excerpts of the textbook here because I know everyone can use some brushing up on their yenting skills.

THE NEWLYWED LAW: Monitoring the goodwill of the newlywed couple.
Example: You’re out shopping, piling four tunas into your cart per the grocery list, when two half-conscious people enter. The male counterpart is wearing a shtreimle. Upon the shtreimle clue, you hurry up to the chosen/kallah (from behind) and stare ‘em up and down. You should be able to determine if they are happily married. It is also important to observe the features of the new veibele’s headgear, as when you get back home you’ll want to report on that too.

THE 5 POUND LAW: Monitoring the progress of the unborn child.
Example: You meet up with a friend at a wedding. Her face seems rounder and her skirt seems a little choked. You don’t ask her anything, but you closely observe where the primary weight went. You can then ask around in hushed tones if Friend is pregnant again. Your keen observations will probably be confirmed with a positive.

THE GENDER LAW: Diagnosing the baby-room color.
Example: Your sister in law is pregnant. She can’t stop eating, has some acne, and gained weight in specific areas. In this chapter you learn exactly how to use these symptoms to declare the fetus boy or girl. Remember however, when you have come to the gender conclusion you have to voice your diagnoses with great conviction. You can also go out and buy a color-coordinated gift already, because you definitly won’t be wrong.

THE MUSEUM LAW: Enjoying the Williamsburg Waxes
Example: You walk by a woman whos clothing or demeanor is a little off the usual. This is your opportunity to enjoy a very interesting wax being. You stare it up and down, and then look closely at the face. It should not occur to you to mask your obvious ogle with a nod, greeting or smile.

THE STATUS LAW: Reading the label
So much of what a person's social status is can be read off the little tag on the clothing. Those that dress all their boys and girls in matching money-weaved designer label sweaters are country-club exclusive. Those that shop at H&M and Children's Place but do so 24 hours are still upper-class. Those that use hand-me-downs beg that you feel sorry for them.

THE SHIDDUCH CRITIC: Reviewing the match
When two families break l’chaim, everyone is a mechetanista. You should immediately research the who, what and where. You can look through the phone book to find out more about the ‘yiches’. You are entitled to wonder if it is an interesting thing, a gelt shidduch, or a PERFECT match.

That’s what I’ve learned so far....

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!


How do you celebrate Thanksgiving?

A. I'm a chassid. I don't celebrate these holidays.

B. I get off from work. (So that's pretty much why I'm lounging around on blogs)

C. I cook a turkey, bake the pies, and my kids ask the Mah Nishtana of American History.

D. What's Tanksgifinks?

Saturday, November 18, 2006


See, yours truly and her mister will take off for a two day escape – alone! Between a neighbor, my parents, and my nagging worries, I think the kids will be fine. With all the preparation I’m doing, I can’t resist indulging in a pre-vacation vacation; a nice trip down memory lane....

  • July 2006

    After hours on the road we finally pull up with our gold minivan to the hotel entrance, the clock confirming we’re going to be an early check-in. We eye each other with anticipation when a soldier-looking guy with white gloves knocks on my window. I ask him if I can help him. Turns out, he wants to help me. He wants to take our luggage.

    “Hmm.” I wonder nervously. Before we left Williamsburg we cleared the shelves in one of the groceries, and thought we’ll smuggle the piles of shopping bags in by ourselves. Now my husband reminds me to get our money’s worth. So as the bell-hop loads our odd and sloppy belonging onto his cart, I openly gesture my mister to give a tip. Yoelish fishes something out of his wallet, but with worrying uncertainty about the proper number a tip-bill should be.

    Our entrance into the lobby is a grand one. We stand there, tasting the reality of our dream. As I relish every crystal in the chandelier, my husband embraces the waterfall. Couches, paintings and five-star staff – we’re off to a wonderful start.

    Things get even better as we slip into room 752. I take in the ugly floral bedspread, the useless minibar, the smaller-than-pictured balcony. It’s all a source of great excitement. As I start to work my way through our suitcases and worry about a fridge for my milk, my husband is already busy piling the bite-size shampoos into our bags. He pretends he’s helping out a mighty load by checking the programs available on the TV. “This is cool!” he delights.

    Well, I’m not sure. I furrow a brow and try to make out a whole picture on the screen. Yoelish is pounding at his remote. Click, ball game. Click, news reporter. Click, killer. Click, crying gal. Click, cartoon. Click, another ball game. Click, medication ad. Click, another news reporter. My husband points eagerly at the remote he’s kidnapped. “I wish we could have one of those!”

    Yeah, keep wishing.

    Dinner time comes around with loud reminder from my stomach. We’ve read all about the hotel’s fine restaurants, and find a corner table in one of them. Yoelish digs into his little boxed microwaved kosher serving with gusto, ignoring that it's half boiling and half frozen. For some reason, my appetite is selective. It averts my eyes onto a neighborhood pile of fries and little drool-drops are released from my glands. I hate Meal Mart.

    What to do next? Not a question at all. There’s a gym in this hotel, and to us Chassidic peopes it’s like a manual amusement park. I peddle the pike. He runs on the treadmill at 8. This is so fun.

    When we’re done sweating, we go over to what I call the aqua museum. It’s a glass enclosed section, the inside a hole filled with water. We press our faces onto the window and watch a fat, hairy guy sit around in the sauna. When the pool gets empty, we venture in for a half second but run out like the FBI’s most wanted water-thieves.

    At night, my sleep is flavored with a special treat of affection, as I can put my arms around my husband in the queen size bed. It’s almost like in the movies; only in the movies they don’t have to kick the blankets around so much till they are covered with a decent piece of quilt.

    Morning comes early, as we sit outside and watch the sunrise in our sleepwear. It’s been a long time since we’ve been so alive. It’s been a long time since we remembered how much we love each other.

    Well, we got to love the vacation too, so we cut all the nostalgia short. I shower and get dressed, while complaining non-stop about looking out of place in the layers of headgear. When my husband starts with the shachris and tefillin, it’s payback time! I indulge in a good car insurance ad. Ahhh.

    Our day’s activity is golf. We set out to rent the hotel’s clubs, balls and cart. If you think golf is for old rich guys only you’ve get another think coming. My husband and I love golf.
    We speed the little car up and down acres of grass. It’s like NASCAR with a romantic setting. I hold on tight. It gets as close to a private plane as it’ll ever get for me.

    It just becomes a little sticky when a snobbish group of players in shorts and sneakers seem not to like us. No problem, the local mall will appreciate us more.

    Arriving back at the hotel at night, with piles of expensive toys added to our name, we feel above the world. My guilt for leaving the kids behind is a little appeased. We inch closer, fingers even brushing a bit. I’m all smiles.

    Out of nowhere a yiddish couple emerges. This is a disaster. They see us and quickly look away. I rush up to our room, taking the stares for security, and refuse to leave again.

    “You think they know me?” I beg my husband for no as an answer.

    “I don’t know”

    “She wore an uncovered sheitle. Maybe they’re Monsey. Maybe they’re Baro Park. Right?”

    “Maybe” he gives me another unsatisfying answer.

    “Think they’ll tell my mother that you wore a cap?”

    “Who cares?” He’s totally not getting it.

    “I care!”

    It takes some coaxing to drag me out again, this time I look 100% Lee Avenue presentable. We stroll in the hall, my confidence just partially recovered.

    In the bar, I wonder who the sick inventor of dim lighting is. High stools, I’m not sure why they’re there. We order two beers from the bartender.


    Oh. I have no idea. A beer is a beer, like everyone knows. I remember the big highway ads and I confidently order Budweiser. I hear my husband say Heineken. Probably they advertised that where he traveled.

    I try to nurse my beer, but it’s not working. I can’t make it go down my throat. The other end of the room is starting to interest me more.

    We both get our sticks, and load a pile of colored balls onto the billiard. I try not to make it seem so obvious that I am just doing what the other pool players are doing. Yoelish aligns his stick like an expert. He bends over. He decides to come from three o’clock. He hits.

    Amazing! I tell him he’s a pro. Never mind five of the balls that are rolling their way out of the bar. One ball actually made its way into the sack! Did I marry a genius or what!?!?

    You’d hear us make our way back to the room, with spasms of giggles. By now, you can be Jewish and see me. I don’t even care.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Shalom Bais

I’m eagerly awaiting the release of the book "Women are from Venus, Yungeliet are from Yeshiva". Until they publish this self help manual, I’m grappling in the relationship on my own.

Yeshiva is an odd planet. It’s a place buzzing with species dressed in loose, big black chalatlech gowns; Its living beings consumed with worries and debates about Rebbes day and night. The Yeshiva definition of fun usually incorproates flamables or similar destructive material. The Yeshiva definition of hygiene involves nothing at all. The Yeshiva definition of women involves sisters, period.

My parents drove down to that very planet, and brought me home one of them people. He was a good boy, they said, and we were to spend the rest of our lives together.

A couple of days before we wed, my Yeshivinite was briefed on the nature of the institution called ‘marriage’. He was introduced to the unpredictable female specie, with all her interesting ways, and given some important pointers as to how to survive life with her. His handbook mentioned nothing about seeking love. It was about nidda, about faking basic cleanliness, and the infamous moods of the wife. By the time I started to scramble eggs for him, he considered himself blissfully and eternally married.

Why shouldn’t he be happily married? He figured he’d executed all instructions in excellence. He proudly took his socks out of the bedroom every day and threw them next to the hamper. He volunteered to skip the disposables and use the corell dishes, and washed them afterwards. He thanked me a million times for every bite of my lavish breakfasts, and he issued a replica of the exact same compliment every time I got dressed. If you throw in a home he has to himself, and a few new men-gadgets on his belt, walla, he’s absolutely in love!

Well, this here Venus wasn’t all that delighted. At first, I was occupied with convincing my friends that I’m ‘In himle’, in heavans. Trouble began a few weeks post nuptials.

I remember one particularly dark evening. I was standing at the mirror, trying to make a headgear out of the scarf and all the pins, with hands numb and impatient. I overheard my husband beam his newlywed happiness via cordless waves to his parents, as he was gushing into the phone.

Then heard him casually disclose a most private secret. He said “oh, my wife doesn't wash my tsitses at all! She just says we can send it to the cleaners.”

My hands limped to my sides. I could not believe what I just heard. The secret was out, this baal habusta has a pact with the dry cleaner. My in-laws will now know that they’ve been really been had. The housewife they were promised is a fraud. The Shout technique they taught me really isn't what makes his tsitsis so beautiful.

I rushed into the kitchen and silently, with a face bright purple, motioned for him to stop saying so much. Later that night I explained to him that I do not appreciate the sharing of personal information with the in laws.

“Why not?!" he protested.  "They always ask me about you!”

“Because! They don’t tell you this, but when they hang up they ask themselves what sort of wife they got you.”

“What makes you think that?” My Yeshivanite didn't get it.

“I know that! Nobody sends the tsitsis to the cleaners. Everyone washes it by hand. It's just... I don't do well with the scrubbing.”

“Nah. They love you.” He returned to his beeper.

“HUH!?” I croaked, tears were swelling in my eyes.

“Okay. Then I won’t say it again. ”

There. Problem solved. We were blissfully married again. After these discussions, he considered the subject resolved and shelved. He could put his keyrings on the nightchest, turn out the light, roll to his side, and begin with the deep, long, snores.

Just a couple of days later I, woman and moodiness, created another one of these fusses. Again, the blissful newlywed life Yoelish was enjoying was interrupted by my emotional big-deals. It was after he asked the in-laws not to make the goulash supper anymore. “She doesn’t like it. Not the potatoes, not the chicken”.

I exploded in my contained way. “I told them a half hour ago that I loved the supper they sent! Why do you tell them everything?”

“Oh. I’m sorry. I won’t tell them anymore.”

Simple. Another little bump in married life was resolved. Did he learn anything? Oh, no need to. He just needed to avoid conflict. It wasn't about if I was right or not, if I was hurt or not, it was about not having any disagreements at all. I couldn't get Yoelish to agree to hash out my complaint. I hardly began crying and he soon had a solution and closed the discussion
. Thus, I began with the infamous, ultra-wifey "blowing", the silent treatment. The next time I had the urge to argue, but couldn’t summon his cooperation, I simply stormed away. How helpful! When he tried to go on with life in total oblivion of my earnest blowing situation, I’d answer in short monosyllables through tight lips. I participated in conversations with a lot of ‘adonoknows’. I ate my food with loud, angry crunches.

It took a lot of time for him to grasp the concept of a fight. To understand that it’s a cleansing ritual. It took a lot of time for him to understand that a marriage involves a relationship, and a relationship involves some good arguments. It was my Yeshivinite’s most important lesson and he wasn't taught any of this in all of his introductory courses. 

Saturday, November 11, 2006

God’s Guards

I have this black suit; it’s my suit-mate, I think. My body and the suit have gotten along even through the worst of times. Even when the doctor told me I was gaining too much in pregnancy. Even when my mother told me I was gaining too much over honeymoon dinners. Even when I ‘brisk walked’ all around town till my waist showed again. The suit (almost) always fit.

See, it looks pretty simple, but it’s made of the marvelous fabric called knit. As the female body goes through the miraculous experience of bearing a child, the body stretches. So did the suit. As my body was bouncing back after the babies, so did the suit.

But well, whom am I kidding. A mother’s body is never perfect. There are stretch marks and other imprints left by the child that once called your womb home. So is it with my suit.

When my friends and I went out to a tseduka event the other night, I didn’t spend too much time at the closet wondering what to wear. Besides, my shoes are black and best tichel has a matching border, so I was dressed and ready to go in no time.

I enjoy parties, for many reasons. One of which is food. Another which is the absolute confidence that I’ll walk out with the grand prize. But mostly it’s the catching-up factor. Sitting around and schmoozing about things we never thought we’d ever talk about.

I was having a good time, particularly enjoying someone’s pile of cheese that was meant to be a cheesecake, when an older woman tapped me on the shoulder. She was of a small frame and wore just a tichel.

“veibele” she whispers, sparing me the embarrassment from my friends. “Your neck is completely open.”

“Oh, thanks” I mutter, hoping she’ll go away fast. I know. One of my suit’s stretch marks is at the neck. All the knit got dragged down a little.

But she insisted. I wasn’t tsnuis. At an all female party she could not tolerate me going around with a neck. She wanted me to get a pin. Pulling down the shell from the back didn’t help. I must put in a safety pin.

So she searches her hem and asks around but nobody volunteers a pin. Until an idea strikes her. With all the loose knit I’ve got going, I might be hiding the treasure. And she was right. She kindly asked that I offer up the little silver thing that held together a bunch of fabric at the waist.

Me being myself, I didn’t decline. My party wasn’t ruined, but I got home almost blue in the face from lack of oxygen, and was dragging my skirt in both hands for or else it would’ve landed at my ankles.

Inside I felt anger stirring, as part of me wanted to open my mouth and give it to this frow for minding my business and making a scene. But the other side of me has been trying to respect that innocent attempt to do the right thing. I’m trying very hard to appreciate people that simply want to fix our little slips; a sign of hair that’s escaped the turban or a first button that’s been left open. They stop a conversation at its peak or 'humorously' point out that the pencil shoes you’re wearing look hideous (you yourself said it a few years ago…). They close your sweater if it fell to the sides or tug your skirt down a bit. The male guards shush in beth medrish when others shmooze or ask women to move over or stand up if they’re making themselves conspicuous. They’re just trying to help.

But should they?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Immodest Modesty

My shabbos evenings are sometimes very enlightening. As a Jewish mother in the city, my afternoon outings extend to the end of the gates on the window. While the kids, in sweaters, watch the cars go by, I watch out for the latest Chassidic fashion trends.

This shabbos I enjoyed a particular sight that spoofed this yenta’s interest. A young girl, about 17, was rushing down the block. Under a very short (and I’m learning, stylish) jacket I identified what was a popular long robe.

Her face spelled innocence. I guessed she was still in school and was learning all about a Jewish girl’s ‘kroyn’; her modesty. To her the defintion of an immodest girl is probably something about hair being a quarter inch below the chin, a sweater with a neck one can breathe out of, or stockings that aren't winterized. One very bold crime on her list is going outside in a long robe.

The poor girl had no idea she was doing something that she might need to knock another slicha into her heart for. She simply held the robe up, gathering all the fabric in something that resembled a flower at her crotch. Her rear, well, I’ll say it left very little to the imagination.

It got me to wonder if the emphasis on modesty without understanding its purpose doesn’t sometimes do exactly what we are trying to avoid, make a sexual statement.

As kids my parents would be very careful about keeping the boys and girls apart. We’d run out of the bathtub with the naked tush and Mother would frantically yell for the boys not to look. Well, it didn’t last long till they really wanted to look.

For now I let my children bath together and don’t make a big deal about it. I don’t think I’ll make a fuss about the grown up boy giving ‘shalom’ for the sister when he comes home from yeshiva either. I don’t think I’ll angrily talk about an immodest woman’s top so much, putting adjectives to it as ‘horrible’ and ‘so mees’.

The key to our structural homes is modesty, but we cannot explain the concept to our children until a few days before one gets ready to build his/her own home. So we set rules with hopes that it’ll keep us on the right track. We think up the most drastic methods and let our good hearted kids take it to their own extends...

Those hardly-bar-mitzvah boys walking with their face stuck in the side walk. The girls walking into a busy road when a man comes their way. The seventeen year old bochur’ll that’s hesitant to take the plastic glasses off, even when the mother says he’s ready. The girl that insists her mother must buy her four sizes bigger clothing…

All this is nice. The intentions are so pure. It’s a kiddish hashem.

So long as it doesn’t defeat the purpose.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

60 Seconds in America

Researchers are bewildered with us. They have yet to find physical evidence to explain the strong separation between the Chassidic Community and the American world. A barbed wire fence, a brick wall, a border - some sort of mechitsa.

I find it ironic that it’s just that, a mechitsa, that brings us together with the secular world.


Enter your voting booth and welcome to America. Where all votes are created equal. Your voice will not have a chareidish accent, wear a headgear or huge black glasses. Your vote is counted just the same as the vote of the Hispanic woman that voted before you. Just the same as the vote of Donald Trump or Rudolph Guiliani. You’re in America and you’re entitled to an opinion.

* * *

Americans often complain that although they very much welcome newcomers, the immigrants refuse to assimilate. I second that claim. My cleaning lady has been to America for 10 years but she still didn’t get rid of the horrible hair dye, the ridiculous leggings or the huge bag. She runs up and down Lee Avenue desperate, stopping preoccupied men and women alike, begging for directions. She points to the little sheet of paper in her hands and begs “Missis, Missis. Six-Vohn-Six Harrison?”

We’re not very much different when we enter our own America on Election Day. We hog the instruction sheet we received in the mail from the local authorities, put on our reading glasses and read off our little white sheet to the machine: “ah von Hillareee, Ah vun Spitserr. Ah von Patakee. No more Patakee? Ahh. No Patakkee?! “.

Our block vote has been ineffective for a long time. The laws our representatives pass affect us in our daily lives. There is no reason to casting a blank ballot. There are many reasons to learn more before voting. To assimilate.

The first step to choosing a candidate is understanding how your representative effects you. Gay Rights, Abortion and other laws that define the American freedom do not concern us since we have our constitution, the Torah. Rather, we should focus on issues like taxes and security.

If you are earning a high income you might want to vote Republican and save on your taxes. If you are benefiting from government programs as in Foods Stamps, Medicaid or Section 8, you’d probably rather vote Democratic, as they emphasize more on the catering to the lower class Americans. Those that own businesses, or even are employed, need to find out if issues are being lobbied that might affect their line of work. We are all fairly structured people so for us more security means more peace of mind.

For some reason many vote the way they choose a rebbe. Why did they choose their Rebbe? For no good reason. Actually, for no reason at all. Still they fervently support the rebbe and all his mishigasen to a baffling extend. Not much unlike that do they political choose a party and run to vote with supposed intellect.

Well, this year when you go to vote, forget that. Enjoy your 60 seconds in America like a true American.

* * *

Most of the candidates I’ll vote for get my nod for personal reasons. Hillary Clinton however, I have a general issue with.

I’ve never read her biography but after following her political journey closely for 10 years, I think I know it: When she was six she put on her mother’s pumps and promised herself that one day she’ll be a big star. When she was sixteen she boarded a Greyhound bus en-route to Hollywood. For some reason she got off at the wrong stop and arrived in DC. She went on to live a typical Hollywood life, with the typical Hollywood husband and the typical Hollywood daughter. With American’s infatuation with celebrities she was given a seat in the US Senate.

Throughout her six years as your senator she has done very little for you as an American, even less for you as a New Yorker and practically nothing for you as a Chassidic Jew. Unless you count the political rally she held at both Satmar headquarters.

Her agenda consists of one thing. To promote herself. To be popular and admired. Unlike Chuck Shumer, who balances being a political leader with serving New York, Hillary cares very little for the state she represents.

I vote Spencer.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


I was having typical Post Shopping Trauma. I had spent a full day in Boro Park exhausting my credit card and I started to question the good the shabbos robe did for me figure. Maybe it does give away the truth?

I got a little aware of my surroundings when a yungerman besides me placed his order. I was after him in line, and I was gonna feed some soup to my rumbling midsection. Any other edibles will only increase my suspicion about the shabbos robe.

The misses behind the counter in this corner deli was taking instructions.

Hallo, mach es ah pickle size potion mit chullent. In zey nisht karg mit deh fleysh, herst? Git hys, git hys. A slice kishka. Hust kigle? Overnight? Geb noor.

As the guy was carting away his tray to the little table in the eating section, I suddenly heard a divine voice tell me what to do. I was to take the tray from the guy and tell him “Yo, go home and eat the chicken soup the wife made”.

I was amusing myself with the thought when I realized the man had already left. He walked out with a loud burp as a thank you to the chef.

Not all men are like that, but I know quite a few that simply lack some manners. Eating your food is fine, but take your time and treat it with respect. Don’t pounce on it.

A while ago somebody posted a question on Yahoo answers. The person was wondering why Hassidic men smell. Smell? That was very unfair. Especially using that expression.

But deep down, I knew that although it is not right to be stereotyped with any such labels, some of our bachurim have turned into yungeleit without being taught anything about personal hygiene.

I’d start by simply introducing cleaning accessories called ‘soap’ and ‘deaoderant’. I’d point out that a toothbrush is not just for making pesachdig. A hair brush, although popularly designed for his sister, can be borrowed for the beard. And socks must be changed once a day.

Please and Thank You is universally also known as ‘bita’ and ‘danka’ so language barrier is not an excuse. On the subject: holding the door for others is not a must, but slamming it into other’s faces isn’t either.

If the wife isn’t the balabusta to do the buttons or wash the tallis there are professionals that do that. Also, not looking at woman is tsnuis, but not looking at all is not a chimreh, so wash them’s glasses. I'm not sure if people know this, but understanding a peshetle needs digging into the upper part of the face called brain, not the lower part called beard.

And mostly, don’t forget. Chullent is not G-D.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Threesome

The first two years following my sister’s marriage were very traumatic for me. Memories of those times stir up feelings of anger and resentment. I'm sure if I’d see a therapist today, all my current troubles would probably be traced back to those times.

I remember especially the Sundays, I’d come home from school exhausted. As was customary, I poured myself a glass of milk and headed for the freezer for some heimish, frozen Kokosh cake. That, while reading the Balachtoongen, really did it for me.

Just four weeks after her Chassana and the trouble started. The Kokosh cake was gone. It wasn’t like my mother wasn’t baking them. Oh, sure she did. She’d spend hours kneading the dough and mixing the sugars till the entire kitchen just needed to be rolled up and baked. But my sister had just been tied to a lover forever, and she was destined to celebrate it with every piece of mezonas around.

She’d be talking on the phone to him in kollel, giggling into the receiver like an idiot, while devouring mountains of food. She had no conscious and no problem with keeping the zipper open.

She'd sit on my mother’s bed, crunching something onion-and-garlic, while shushing about things I wasn’t privy to listen to. From under the door I’d get lots of pronouns like ‘him’ and ‘his’. Most conversations ended with thankful words addressed to my mother. Hug, hug. “chachmes nashim, my dear…”

See, to her marriage was about being a threesome.

Sister would bring bags of laundry that she needed to wash ‘here’ because she’s eating dinner 'here' anyway. She'd be found cleaning in my favorite robe or only pair of slippers. It didn’t matter that she’d said good bye to me with a heart of sincerity. She was back in my life, this time owning my mother.

The kokosh cake was now being shipped off to her home, and the rest my sister burnt with a blink. My mother would do turnovers and lasagna but we got chicken. When Purim came around, our home was full of enough ribbon to wrap the globe, because my sister had a shvigger.

But my sister had no home.

Many of my friends have gone on to live such lives. The mother is there to cut the cord as the baby makes its grand entrance, the mother dictates what should or should not be done in the bedroom, and the mother listens to the daughter's cries and encourages her over and over again to practice savlanos.

To those, the men really belong in Kollel, where they should enjoy the big breakfast that the mother-in-law cooked up. The woman should be working hard to earn a living, only to fall into the mothers house where veibele would sit around and whine about how much she wants to quit work. The mother, the loving mother, is always there to make her feel better and get her through the tough times.

This bothers me, not only because the other children also need cake, but because a mother has no partnership in a young woman’s relationship. A husband and wife should learn to ride the waves themselves, and master the art of holding on. To each other.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


…the bachur is brought into the room, where he meets his bride to be. They spend a half hour scraping their vocabulary for words that can fill the gaping silence, clear their throats a few times, and trace the tablecloth pattern with the fore-finger till the parents finally dismiss them. They then hurry home where the girl can shout and jump with her pals and the boy can call the list of relative till the 6th-removed-cousin to get his mazel tov.

In short, the start of a Chassidic marriage is not very romantic.

It doesn’t get much better.

Hashem has created this world with a wisp of romance. He put the beaches, the sunset, the birds, the flowers, the greenery, the snow and rain, all onto his planet. The only problem is, he also put man.

Man and flair have never gotten along. Man tends to get to the point, consider himself less lazy for spending less time at an act. Especially since the feminist movement in the goyishe world in the 1800s, romance was amongst compromises man had to make to fit into a more female dominated society.

Of course none of these developments affected the religious. So the Chassidic community, for all the commotion, remained accustomed to its simple marriages, with more love and less romance.

Times are a changin’ for us as we learn to have better taste in entertainment. Yet, I struggle. The classic candlelight dinner is ‘so tinkle’ for Yoelish, the leisure walks are proper opportunities to discuss business, and birthdays happen only when you’re born. And even when Yoelish does express interest in any of these celebrations there’s not much we can do about it. There are no fancy restaurants you dress up for that I’ve enjoyed thus far. There’s no place I can steal a private pool from. There is no kosher beach we can relax at. And without a doubt, there is no way I can get that peck of appreciation in public.

That all without taking the little cherubs into account, those that are always 'game' right when you got ready for a two-player-only round.

The Fanceis

Satmar girl’s camp was one hell of a place. There’d be all of us Satmar from all over the place sleeping in large, hot bunks and spending every waking hour chairing and yelling for our team till-voice-do-us-part.

Although camp was a waste of time and energy, it taught me my first lesson of Chassidic society. And this lesson is still relevant today.

We’re all better then the next. The Williamsburg girls would pull at their sleeves, put on white tights and white sneakers and have a kick out of the way the Monroe girls were SO YUNCHY. The Borough Park girls considered themselves so smart, because they walked casually between people that the Williamsburg girls openly gawked at. When other mosdes would visit us there’d be busses full of ‘moderns’ that would make no secret of how hysterical the naïve, clueless Satmar ‘kids’ where.

And so it goes on. It’s the simple math. A chimreh less is a brain and a half more.

Things have changed within me, as I’ve learned to judge the human value by individuality, not heritage. But the world around me can not shake the feeling that you are better for being less restricted.

At the risk of bad-mouthing my own people, I must admit I think its time for the anti-semitism organization to take this matter in its hands. As they’re chasing George Allen out of the Senate for being an unenthusiastic recipient of the news of his Jewish origin we ourselves show no respect for the fundamental aspect of our sacred religion. That is, minhagim and mesorah.

How should the none-jew resist from mocking our traditions if we do the exact the same?

I’m especially unhappy about the sect I’ll dub ‘The Fancies’. These are people that drop SOME restrictions common in their society. They’d take this heroic act as an opportunity to find themselves ‘open minded’ and scientist worthy. They’d blow at their manicured nails and schlep at the stockings that get a run the first time it’s worn and feel like all others are SO schupid! Duh, they wear some mascara; they can now see the world a lot better!

Even those that are mature and open-minded find it hard to live the culture. I know some very brilliant people that understand that every culture has its quirks, and every culture is no more the NEB for ‘em, but still have a tattooed fear of acting it because they’ve been mocked for it as a child.

I’m not a doctor, but I think I’ve seen what’s in the human brain a couple of times. If you haven’t yet, let me tell you that it is very complex. No snowflake is the same. And if you are interested in escaping the block vote, learn more about being a unique person, not looking like one.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

No Women Allowed

The average Joe comes home from work, takes off his construction hat or loosens his tie, and falls into the couch where he flips the channel and catches the game.

The average Joel comes home from work, drops his tefillin and hat in a place that makes the wife cringe, eats dinner while asking the kids the sedra and then escapes to shul for two hours.

Two hours!

Two hours every evening, and two hours every early morning. That’s without putting Shabbos into the cheshbon.

As an unmarried girl, my calendar did not include any Shabbos mornings. There’d be Friday night with lots of food and socializing with friends, and then a circle of sleep until the men would come home from shul. I’d roll out of bed and serve the morning suda while stealing from everyone’s slice challah.

Becoming a mother brought with itself the ‘wonderful’ time of Shabbos morning. The kids are up at eight AM, and after a half hour of shushing them you gotta get your pack of bones out from under the covers. Then I’d spend 3 hours with a rumbling stomach waiting for the Yoelish to get home.

Three hours!

When he gets home he has no big social scandals or zaftig shmooz’n to relate to me. It’s simply shul, where you daven and learn. What’s to relate?

I can’t explain it to him, but having your husband spend more than half his non-work life at shul makes me really wonder about it. I’ve been to the veiber shul, popped one eye through the tiny hole but came out none the wiser. It was just black on black vibration.

I need a one day pass to check the place out.

I’m sure there are ‘kipkes’ men talking about things I’d stop and listen in, people from out of town I’d be obliged to stare at, bummes that spend all their time smoking out the window, or those that I’d watch from the corner of my eye taking a bedika to the dayin. I’d spend two hours soaking up all the pubic hair in the mikvah of course, then enjoy the showers that are supposedly warm and dry my face while making my way to the kaveh shtible. I’d sip my coffee while interacting with people Yoilish never mentioned he knows, then do what’s customary and drink another dose of caffiene. I’d spend some time learning and davening, and watch guys zoom messages to god through their cell phone.

The next day I’d spend telling Yoelish all about my day at shul.

Can anybody make the guy talk?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Yiddish Chayn

I have very keen memories of my grandmother’s house. I remember the smell, I remember the ‘brown theme’, I remember the candies, but most of all I remember the blush.

An einikle kallah would come in and she’d come running. Blush Bubby.

Blush Bobby would brush the makeup up and down the kallah’s cheek bones in a not very fashionable line with a not very attractive color. But she’d constantly repeat, A Kallah must be shayn, A kallah must be shayn!

Our aunts and uncles would krechts. Makeup is not tsnuis. But babby would insist. A kallah must be shayn!

Years later, and these kallahs are now mothers of families. I meet them at simchas, at parties or just anywhere and the blush is still there, deep imprinted on both cheeks. It’s bubbie’s memory.

But things changed. Below the cheeks another few chins have been added, around the forehead some wrinkles have emerged and at the place of the waist sits a 15 pound metzayveh, memory of the times that were.

I watch my friend get herself a new dress. She dons a size 18woman, walks back and forth in front of the Tauber’s mirror all the time wiggling her behind in both directions. Then she walks out feeling just fine with the way she looks. Wiggle, wiggle.

Only a kallah darf zeyn shayn?

I know that we women should be the symbol of modesty. We should not flaunt our figures or mess with our faces (admit it, you have acne. Everyone must know!). But on the flip side of the coin, how do we keep our men from looking if there’s nowhere to look away to?

I don’t suggest we should all stand in line for a lip-plumping procedure. I don’t suggest we go on the carrot diet. I suggest we acknowledge our duty and let our men know that at home too, there is a hot girl.

Drop the Kaff’s, go for a waxing.

Yes, mostly the important message that our gender holds should be communicated in the stark night, while you are following instructions A to F from the Kallah’s Heart Attack Manual. But some of it should be conveyed by presenting yourself neatly, femininely and modestly.

Why do we think the abdominal extra is another freebie we take home from the hospital after the birth of our first, to be filled with lots of chocolate while the kids are at school? Why do we think a healthy mother is one with folding hips? Why do we own just one decent dress, and live our lives in a big, baggy, La Smock robe?

Women rush out of the mikvah, with cold raw hands, and half-tsiflogen sheitlech. It doesn’t occur to anybody to stay for another hour and prepare an isha nooah.

Are we really modest or just living on easy street?

Monday, October 23, 2006


Give me a minute while I muster the courage.

Okay. Here goes:


I’m taking a deep breath. Saying this wasn’t easy.

As a chassidish girl, flirting is useless and embarrassing. Well, some of you might not think what I do is flirting, or ever realize that I am a flirting, but deep down I’m a terrible flirt.

I don’t get all pink in the cheeks, show cleavage, wink with one eye, take on a cheerleader voice and breath, hike up my skirt, run a finger through my hair. No, that’s the secular version of flirting. All I do is notice that something G&G is a few feet within me, and wonder if he notices me.

It is at its peek when I’m a niddah and I get this keen desire for anything man. Yes, I know, only the man has a right to be ‘undersexed’ and act crazy when he does not have a release, but I too can lose my mind, and I lose my mind from losing my mind.

Here’s what happens. I walk down Lee Avenue. There’s a guy coming in my direction. I move to the side – pushing the carriage almost off the curb. I look far, far away. I am thinking about my grocery list. I am really not noticing the man that just passed me. I don’t turn my head. I don’t look to see if he glances up. Because I know he isn’t.

But as I wait for the ‘WALK’ signal all I can see in my mind is the guy. His shape, his glasses, his glasses, his levish. I wonder if his wife is a stone while they are together. I wonder if he checks out porn every so often, I wonder if he has a whole secret life. I wonder mostly about his mate, and if she has any idea what it means to satisfy a man.
And then I wonder if I could do a better job at that…

When I get home the yungerman’s intimacy troubles  that he might or might not have are not with me. But mine are. Because I can’t stop flirting with chassidish men, my way of flirting.

The goyim in my building are easy. I come into the elevator, they push and wink, and I proudly ignore them. But the super-human super-cute chassidish men, that don’t acknowledge anyone woman, they kill me.

No offense to you Yoelish. You’re the best lover a girl could have. But still, feeling sexy in the presence of men is a torturing desire. I have yet to find another woman that admits to feeling the same.

According to my non-scientific assumption, no relationship can refrain from fizzling somewhat after 1 year. And no one can feel the same about a stranger and a spouse of 10 years. The heat in the relationship falls away and is replaced by deep love. And even more, I have concluded, that although deep love is more important than heat, heat still really calls your name.

Between Yoelish and myself we always feel free to admit attraction to others of opposite gender. It’s unusual for Satmar couples to acknowledge the presence of others in their life, but I really believe that the only other option is denial. Natural feelings don’t go away even if you have a very good marriage.

When my husband says that a guy from work spoke about me in shul, he enjoys seeing me blush. And I feel a rush of excitement. But I know that is stupid because whoever spoke about me doesn’t give a hoot about me.

I wish I could find out what’s behind your face while you ring me up in the store, put down papers on my desk at work, or review information over the phone. I wish I could hear that you find me attractive. But deep down I know it is good that you keep that blank face, because it is what keeps me and Yoelish so tangled up together.

Sunday, October 22, 2006 ??

My computer-mouth stands evidence to some overtime googling. There is a stark coffee smell on the smiling-family-picture-mouthpad in addition to what my husband refers to as the 'shiny area' on the mouth itself - a result of the stuff I munched on while oogling at the screen (won't even talk about that, it's just gonna take me down another food-related guilt trip. I've definitely been feeding one mouth too many.)

It started when I began googling the word 'satmar' for a work-related project. I alternated with 'satmEr' and 'chassid'. I needed some pictures to put into a document. No biggie.

Turned out, I discovered a gold mine. Being a chassidic girl, I thought we all utilize the web for the same reason. To get access to the news and information we're cut off from. There's mostly mainstream reporting but sometimes, I'll admit, there's stuff a little off my mainstream. Either way, I wouldn't exactly doublya-doublya for the Chassidic Bible. I have enough without the wire...

I was shocked to see how the web is a feeding tube for all Chassidic souls that have struggled with a community that does not acknowledge all sorts of people. What bothered me though was that there is no one to balance the boat. All young women and boys that are happily following the instruction sheet for life, and derive great innocence and comfort thereof, do not air any of their laundry online. Therefore, when one googles the word Satmar, like myself, you get hundreds of result pertaining to either the rift (let's not go there) or the restrictions. Consequently, the online Satmar has formed into a body resembling nothing of the innocence and happiness that our community actually consists of. As much open minded as I tried to be, deep down, I know it's not us.

No. I'm not one of the people blessed with 'innocence'. I've been out of here, returned, dubbed a 'bum' and later struggled to catch up with the robotic pace. With the help of DSL I now learnt that I'm considered a conformist. Baruch hashem for that. Identity crisis is just not something I can afford to put onto my to-do list.

Over shabbos I've been sitting on all the info I found on the web. The girl that asks questions on Yahoo Answers like "What do you think about Jews?" and then "Where can I get a small, cheap TV?". She later admits to being 18 and mostly unfamiliar with the details of sex. That makes her one of 'us'.
There's a blog that posted a newspaper piece. To sum it up, the piece suggested that the Kiryas Joel officials 'sent somebody' to sexually molest a girl, for political reasons. I'll tell ya, I wasn't sure what surprised me more, the article itself or the fact that all the eager listeners bought the shtism. They celebrated the garbage.
There's a blog, gay-ex-choosid, by a guy that was forced to leave our community because of the judgment we easily pass at others that are not template. I feel sorry for him, but I don't buy that he screws with MANY other chassidish men and knows that many men have other women while their till-death-do-us-part is in the Catskills.

Child molestation, wife beaters, extramarital relations, gay, lesbian, atheist, murder, drug abusers, mafia - - whatnot. It's all online. Almost the guide to proper chassidis.It's good we have a shabbos. One disconnected day helped wake up. There are no regular wife-beater. There are no regular 'wife swaps'. Tempted by the thrilling monster of gossip, I almost believed all of it.

Not that I'm suggesting this is the Tribe of Saints. No, no, no. Don't get me wrong. But it isn't the Tribe of Monsters either. Most people I know are innocents. Those that are not close their front door and cheat a little, with a movie - a book, a getaway - or clothing that's really inappropriate.

I myself, hmm, am a sad story in its own. I wish I could say my house is ready for audit, from above or those that have mistaken themselves as the representatives of above. But yes, I do stuff. I'm open minded. I listen to stories of 'brenen in gehinem' because of certain minor deeds and I think "what crap". I consider any good person a good person, regardless of observance. However, by means of learning more about cultures and ethnicities I have come to the conclusion that the Satmar society produces a high volume of good people.

The end justifies the means?

The big picture does away with the little mistakes?