Monday, June 29, 2009

Query, waiting for an answer...

People are still discussing this link. Incidentally, if you look at the comments on this post, you will see that this "query yid" states, "When you are interested or not I am sincerely sorry for how you’ve been treated. And I never said I would justify how you or anyone else was treated but I can explain WHY! And the WHY is halachicly based and practiced by the majority of Orthodox!"

So Query Yid, I'm still waiting for this halachic reason to be downright nasty to someone who has already converted. Perhaps, this Query Yid is talking about those who are still in the process. If you're talking about dissuasion, that should not apply to someone who is already converted. I guess you're using a different Torah because the Jewish Torah says to love the ger over and over and over and over again.

Michal responds to a comment

Anonymous commenter said:
In my expereinces reform and modox hashkafa are very similair and the only difference is that one applies more level of observance. Still though they have a warped sense of what it means to be a Jew and what Judaism teaches. The fact that they call themselves "modern" orthodox says everything. They are more modorn then orthodox. They put the goyisha "modern" society before "orthodox" Torah. Modox is just a lesser degree of comprimising Torah for western societies norms and values. Take Ivanka Trump for instance, she is converting modox and they have already set the date of her wedding. Funny it is only a year after she started her conversion. And do you really think that she is converting for the right reasons? I dont think so! You think she will know all the 613 mitzvot? I dont think so... You think she will have even a basic understanding? lol please! Rabbi Angel and Weiss who apply this new age " open orthodox" who are becoming pure apikorsis. They are all but in cherem by most Orthodox circles. But they have wealthy backers like TRUMP who spread their ideologies. Of course it doesnt surprise me that most converts want the easy road. But guess what the best things in this world with greatest reward are the things you have to work the hardest for... The greater effort and work the more your merit! a NY Jew

Michal Says:
Unfortunately, the Modern Orthodox in Manhattan has given Modern Orthodox a bad name. There are, however, people in Brooklyn and Queens who are what I consider a true Modern Orthodox Machmir. I consider myself a true Modern Orthodox Machmir. However, that's heavy on the machmir. Plus, I don't want to be yeshivish, as I take major issue with this kollel thing where the women support the men. On the other hand, I'm not Manhattan-style Orthodox, either. Additionally, what I hear is that it changes from shul to shul what kind of Orthodox people are in Manhattan.

I will admit that my experiences with KJ and KJ people have included a serious lack of tznius. The mentality there is that women have to go to shul and be on time. However, the women quite often don't cover their hair when married or dress within proper tznius guidelines. Some are not even close. When I visited, I felt that the bar was lowered in the name of kiruv.

I have also visited Riverdale and Avi Weiss' shul, HIR. I only visited once. However, it didn't seem as bad as the KJ community. I found women to be dressed more acceptably. They did have a woman carrying the Torah the week I was there. However, I don't know if they always do that. She was a kallah, so it was part of her simchah. Someone freely told me that a woman would have a pen on her at havdalah, as she is not observant. I don't know much about Rabbi Angel's shul. I do know a girl from there who just converted and she is not like the girls at KJ. She dresses tznius. She doesn't feel the desire to carry the Torah on Simchas Torah. She would rather watch the men.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Chareidi vs. ??? conversions...

In this article, they hint that non-chareidi conversions are lax. BALANCE, people! There is a difference between Modern Orthodox and Reform despite what these people think and would have yout think.

Well, anyhow, the point of this article is that Rabbi Amar is asserting his power as chief rabbi over Israel (Sephardic). The author of the article hints that it's because of Sherman's outspoken overturn of conversions.

A convert throws in her two shekels on the overturning of conversions

Related links:

I'm torn on this issue. On one hand, as a sincere and observant gyoress, it scares me that someone maybe would accuse me of being insincere and poof, people would believe them because they were born Jewish and I wasn't. Also, I think the public hears this stuff and that's why sometimes they can be downright nasty and horrible to me and other gerim.

On the OTHER hand, I could say a thing or two about insincere converts. First off, it hurts me personally, because when the general Jewish public comes across insincere converts repeatedly, they are more apt to expect me to be insincere. Additionally, as someone who's been in the classes and spoken to prospective converts, I'm telling you there are insincere that get through. However, most of them are fooling the rabbis, so they have no idea what is going on.

My sponsoring rabbi told me with regards to the insincere converts that the rabbis know what they are doing. This is to say that the rabbis will figure out if they are insincere. However, I'm not so sure they do.

In closing, I want to tell you very clearly, who is sincere and who is not is NOT black and white or cut and dry. Sometimes, they are converting for marriage and they are serious. For example, one of my friends converted Reform, so she got on EHarmony, "I'm Jewish seeking Jewish." The guy she found on E-Harmony had a relative who knew her conversion was no good. She is just finishing up her Orthodox conversion. She, on the surface, seems to be a conversion for marriage, however, she was already attracted to the Jewish faith.

I think that Hashem brings those of us who are supposed to be Jewish into His world. I was interested in the Jewish religion when I started working for a Jewish man. I took this as a sign from Hashem.

In contrast, I have seen and heard things to make me think that some of the single girls who are converting NOT for marriage are just hoping to land a rich Jewish guy post-conversion.

I will blog this more after Shabbos. For now, I'm just going to put this up.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

48 questions from Facebook


Yesterday, Shabbos

No, I wish it more graceful

It used to be ham… I think that’s a problem now. I guess Turkey is left


I hope so

Sarcasm, me? NEVER! :- )



Kashi Go Lean Crunch or Golden Grahams

Usually I kick them off and I’m forced to untie them when I put them back on.

Breyers Rocky Road

Their eyes


My left pointer finger fingernail

My mother, duh


plain blue long-sleeved top and a black schmati jumper and my PJ pants underneath

Lipa Schmeltzer on You Tube at someone’s wedding

Huh? Let’s not go there

Vanilla, chocolate chip cookies baking challah in the oven,

The lady hosting me for Shabbos

I don’t remember who sent it to me, I don’t think anyone did

Ice skating, gymnastics, dance

not sure, blonde?


I have them but, I never wear them.

steak and mashed potatos

Happy endings

Disney's A knight in Camelot




My JCO girls

males tagged

I’ve been reading the paper-Hamodia

I have a touch pad

I don’t have a TV




Many, I draw, act, sing, make people laugh, make corning rhymes

Buffalo, NY


I don’t have a significant other

Welcome summer!

Welcome, welcome, oh Summer!
When you leave it's such a bummer

The sun is bright up in the sky
Your yearly visit makes us want to fly

The children have a lot of fun
They frolic under the hot sun

To escape the heat they get cool
They go into a kiddie pool

Or to beat the heat,
they have an ice cream treat

Here's my plan
I will turn on the fan

because as for me,
I don't like the A/C

These rhymes were really simple
tough rhymes give me a pimple

So, just enjoy the summer while it's here
Unfortunately, the end will quickly near.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Solutions for a marriage between born Jew and ger/gyoress

In addition to being offended by this notion that anyone who is married to a convert is in the same category as someone intermarried, there is more that bothers me.

I am bothered at this notion that assumes a convert will take the kids to the grandparents for Xmas and Easter. Personally, most of my family is deceased. Actually, we were small to begin with. However, if I had family, the solution would be to have spend Thanksgiving and/or July fourth with my family and eat kosher. If I didn't have space at my place, we could go to a restaurant or I could bring the food and a plug in blech to the relatives to reheat the food. You would use the disposable stuff that people use on Shabbos anyhow. Fourth of July is easier because you can buy kosher food (hot dogs, burgers, potato salad, mac salad, potato chips etc.) If it's hosted at someone else's house, you can buy a small cheap grill and bring it with you.

Some people invite gentile family for Jewish holidays. I think that would create more problems, especially with Passover where the kosher restrictions are more than the rest of the year. Perhaps the gentile family could come for the seudah mitzah on Purim. I actually think Chanukah would be a bad idea because their non-Jewish cousins would be talking excessively about Xmas.

Which brings me to another point, one should be prepared to explain Xtian holidays to Jewish children. This would be more of an issue for children of intermarriage, a converted parent and Jewish children in public school. However, I have seen it come up with Orthodox Jewish day school children whose parents are both Jewish from birth. After all, there is all that stuff in the stores. Personally, I would tell them that some people think G-d became a human, which is silly. Xmas is when they think this person was born. Easter is when they think he died and came back to life. It's that simple.

An article I found somewhat true but also very offiensively false

Counterpoint: Mixed-married and interfaith couples are a fact of Diaspora Jewish life
By David Forman

The commenters already jumped on him for the most obvious thing: to refer to converts as lesser Jews is not cool. While on the other hand, someone who converts for marriage and only for marriage might not be such a great convert. On the other hand, most who seem to convert for marriage, really didn't convert JUST for marriage. Many, many times I find that someone is converting and they have a Jewish fiance. People probably would think automatically, one of "them."

Some examples I know of of people that convert while engaged to a Jew follow.

She converted Reform, then she got on looking for a Jewish spouse. After all, she thought she was Jewish. Since he had a cousin who frummed out with the loobies, they found out she wasn't really Jewish. He is becoming more religious with her conversion as he is attending the classes with her.

Patrilineage Jews (products of intermmarriage or bad maternal conversion) think they are Jewish and don't discover until they go to get married. Therefore they convert while preparing to marry. However, they thought they were Jewish all along. In fact, I see many who convert that thought they were Jewish all along.

Also, sometimes, a gentile who had been thinking about converting starts dating a Jew and they decide it's a sign from Hashem that they should convert. Sometimes a couple meets while the gentile is studying towards conversion. Let's not forget that Jews meet someone who already converted.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Shabbos in Lakewood posts rearranged themselves

I put motzei Shabbos up before Shabbos in Lakewood. Now, they are reversed. I guess because they both went up at 1:57pm. I already put the pictures on the posts so, just read them in the order they are meant to be read in... Sorry.

The ride to my Shabbos in Lakewood (moved post)

So, I went to Lakewood for the very first time this past Shabbos. It was great. I went to stay with a friend of mine who is also the daughter of some friends/people I work for.

I left on Friday for the Port Authority bus terminal in Manhattan. I bought my ticket and went to the gate. To my surprise, there was a bus just about to leave. I was the last one onto the bus. There were few empty seats and most of them were next to men. I got to the very back of the bus where there were five seats in a row. There were McDonald’s bags of garbage strew over two empty seats with a female sitting on one end of the empty seats. Jackpot! I pushed the bags over and the man on the other side of the empty seats cursed me out and told me to seat elsewhere. I said, “There’s no other seats.” He stated that there were. I said, “no there’s not, I’m sitting here.” He huffily pushed the McDonald’s bags onto the floor.

I started to worry that I was on the wrong bus as I didn’t find any buses on my schedule leaving at the time we were leaving. The girl next to me ( who, by the way looked frum) told me that I was fine, phew. I pulled out some Hamodias from the week and started to read the paper. I offered one to the girl. She declined.

I came across an article in the Hamodia that made me tear up. In the 18 Sivan 5769 issue which has fall foliage and a lake on the cover, this was on page 8, “Questions & Answers.” The woman writes in that her husband is a ger and talmid chacham. Rabbo Zecharya Greenwald writes back mentioning gerim having to hide this fact is serious condemnation of our society.

I was looking through some other articles and I fell asleep on the Hamodia magazine.

As we were getting closer, people started getting off the bus. The frum girl from next to me got off and I worried that I missed my stop. I went up to the front and double-checked with the driver. We were in Lakewood on our way to the terminal.

Eruv Shabbos in Lakewood

When I got to Lakewood, I was looking for information for this connection that was supposed to take me by my friend’s house. There I was at the Lakewood bus terminal and I didn’t want to bother them to pick me up. There was supposed to be a bus to take me right near where they lived. I looked and discovered that said bus didn’t come for almost an hour. Great! I was surrounded by the type of people you would expect to see in a bus terminal. I mean, I’ve been around people like that. However, here I was dressed “Jewish” in Lakewood and I heard some whispers about, “there’s one of them…”

Then I realized there was a new dilemma, how was I going to pay for the other ride? I don’t think they’re going to take cash on the bus and there didn’t seem to be a ticket window or information booth inside. There was one Jewish guy there with his kippah on. So, I asked him for advice. He didn’t know but, he offered to drive me when his daughter came. I was thinking to myself, “what if his daughter doesn’t want to take me?” Well, if I can’t figure it out, I guess I could I could call my friend and ask her to come get me. I didn’t want to do that though, because people don’t always have an extra few minutes for something like that right before Shabbos. I’m not so sure that I would.

So, the bus pulled up and the driver got off and closed the doors to the bus. “I’m sorry, can I just ask you a quick question?” Well, everyone in the terminal came over to help, including a security lady. So, while the driver slipped off to, I assume, his break, the security lady showed me the pay-yourself machines inside and told me to get a one-zone ticket.

Phew! I bought my ticket and turned around to catch the bus. A girl (obviously Orthodox) came up to me, “do you need a ride?”

So, I found out that this man was there to pick up his daughter. I had assumed that he had come in on one of the buses for Shabbos and was waiting for his daughter who lived in Lakewood to come get him. Instead, they lived in Lakewood and she had gone away to see some friends and was coming back in time for Shabbos at home. These kind people will probably never know how much their kindness meant to me.

You see, when I picked out my Jewish neighborhood, I didn’t pick so well. Where I live, the handful of religious families cluster together and the rest of us who are singles without a family are left in the dark. People ask me all the time, “you don’t have a family in your area to go to for Shabbos?” I do not. Instead, I go away for Shabbos almost every single week. If I don’t go away, I cook some food for myself and eat by myself. The only other option is to walk about two miles or more for hospitality. Mind you, I live in a Jewish community. In fact, the shul I attend sometimes when I’m home is four tenths of a mile from me.

So, anyway, that’s enough of that venting. These kind people took me to my friend’s house. I received the warmest welcome from my friend, “thank you so much for coming! I’m so happy to have you for Shabbos. Let me show you to the guest area…” I got ready for Shabbos. I went to look for my friend and saw her husband but not her. So, I went back to the guest room for a little bit.

Shabbos in Lakewood

We lit candles and she was to tell me later the story of why she lights an extra candle- later. Shabbos with her was wonderful and the food was wonderful. For Friday night dinner we had gefilte fish, soup, potato kugel and chicken. I think there was broccoli, too. It was a pretty standard Shabbos menu. For dessert we had chocolate chip cake. I heard from her husband that there would be a bris and an aufruf in shul the next day. After dinner, my friend and I were chatting until after midnight.

The next day, her five, almost six year old led me to the shul. I saw women outside a door and figured out that was my door (ya, think?). There didn’t seem to be any siddurim in the women’s section with an English translation. Well, I was in Lakewood. So, I had to make do with all Hebrew. I’m capable of doing so but, there are some spots where I normally switch over to English, not that day.

After shul, there was an extensive Kiddush. The women’s Kiddush area was packed. I noticed that the children and women were all dressed extra frummy. There was a lot of black, some grey, some brown and very few bright colors. I did see three girls in red dresses with white flowers, though. I also saw a little boy that looked Chassidic. I snagged a seat on the side and waited for the Kiddush to clear out enough to get to it without tripped over too many people. The woman sitting next to me offered me some mezoynoys from a serving tray she had on the other side of her. “You haven’t had anything, here have some.” Again, there was such kindness from a fellow yid.

When they brought some potato kugel to the Kiddush, I gave in. I waded the Kiddush table crowd which turned out to be little girls between 8 and 12 or so standing there eating right in front of the table instead of moving away from it to let others in. It’s so typical at kiddushes that people stand right in front of the table so no one else can get to it.

When I got some food and drink, I went to find a seat, as the one I had been in was now taken. Just as I sank into a chair, my friend’s husband found me, “are you ready to go?” I was to finish my food and meet him outside the shul. Right after he left his son came up. Again, I was going to finish this food and meet them on the shul’s back porch.

When I was finished, I waited for the two of them who came up one by one. We walked back. My friend hadn’t davened yet so I got to see the kid’s playroom. I was not starving after that oily and tasty Kiddush potato kugel and sugary cakes and cookies.

For lunch, we had gefilte fish, chulent, lunch meat, potato kugel and some more stuff. Again, the menu was a very standard Shabbos menu. I didn’t eat dessert. I was tired and so, I bensched and went off to nap.

I woke up around 5pm and no one was around so I went back to the guest room. I found out later she was at the neighbor’s and didn’t want to wake me. We had a nice late shalosh seudos with dairy: ice cream, yummy! Her husband was off to shul and then we hung out chatting until he came back to make havdalah.

Motzei Shabbos in Lakewood

After Havdalah, she showed me around the house and I took pictures of some of her Judaica and Chotchkies (spelling?). I finally heard the story of the extra candle. The family was on their way from New Jersey to Brooklyn one cold erev Shabbos. They got caught in some awful traffic and made it to a hotel right at skiah so, she missed lighting that Shabbos. There’s more to the story, but that’s the short version.

I stayed through until the next morning. I showed my friend how to make eggs over easy. She did not know this. This was like the first thing I ever learned to cook. After breakfast, my friend drove me to the bus station. On the bus ride back, I met a woman also from Lakewood. However, I looked her up and she doesn’t live near my friend.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Shabbos in Lakewood: The ride there....

Sorry, I moved this post so that people can read the story in order. I didn't delete it because there are comments on the post.

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Tradgic Agunah Debate

It seems that there was a Jewish husband aboard the plane incident that occured between Brazil and France. This was reported and commented on Vos Iz Neias.

My commentary follows as who knows if they will publish it.

Let's get something clear. Ruling if this woman is an agunah or not is not just tied into her ability to remarried. She is at least partially hindered from the greiving process while this decision is (I hate to say) still in the air.

The reality, if you have been reading the news on this plane incident-which I have, is grim. The plane flew directly into a tropical storm over the middle of the ocean. They have mentioned that the plane seems to have broken up in the air and then crashed. They have mentioned that maybe the plane was struck by lightning. If someone was still alive *in* the ocean, they likely would have been struck by lightning or drowned.

Incidentally, these comments about how he may be alive are kind of disgusting. #36 Yitzhok, you suppose that he got off the plane while it was in the air? That is what it sounds like.

Let me close by saying that this is such an unfortunate tradgedy. I sincerely hope that Hashem should comfort this woman and the children, as well as the man's other relatives, friends and co-workers.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Cherry Gut Shabbos To You

I was inspired to blog about my "cherry" good Shabbos at Shabbos lunch. For both of my meals, the hosting family had cherries. I thought it was an interesting coincidence to which I thought I might add blogtivity.

I went to stay with one of the girls from my Yahoo discussion group who lives in Brooklyn. She arranged that we should go with her friends to some people for Friday night dinner. At the table were a grandmother, her husband, her math-hating 13-year old grandaughter, another woman and the four of us guests.

On Shabbos day, we headed out on a 40 minute trek across Brooklyn to our lunch hosts. We actually gave ourselves an hour so we had to kill some time before we arrived respectably early. This lunch hostess was also the step-daughter of another one of the members in the discussion group.

She invited us in and introduced her daughters. I took the names of her daughters and used puns to turn it into a sort of song. I like to play with words like that. She showed us to the living room and the comfy couches. Her son bounced in and curled up next to me as if he had known me for years. It was cute. One of the her daughters had a situation with one her dolls. Apparently, the foot broke on Shabbos and she was sad.

Soon after we were swooped over to the table to eat lunch. There was no gefilte fish :- ( Although, I kinda expected that since this woman's step mother teases me that I'm mamish a Jewish newbie for liking gefilte fish. There was a wide selection of salads for the "fish" course. It was particularily familiar to me as she has the same dishes as two other people I know. She also served the super secret salad dressing (ketchup/mayonaise-I heard it whispered once, ketchonaise?) Somewhere shortly after starting to eat, we discovered that she knows the wife of one of my rabbis. Well, the food was good... moving on...

We took Ocean Parkway back to my friend's place. We stopped a sat on benches intermittenly to watch the passers-by. I enjoyed the Jewish flavor of that Brooklyn stretch.

When we returned to her place for a stop, her roommate exclaimed as we came in the door, "that's so weird! I just had this weird feeling you were about to come back." It's interesting, as my friend tells me that she is normally out all day on Shabbos.

I tried to convince my friend of the need for a Shabbos nap. Oy, vey did I try to convince her! However, she dragged me back out. At least I had changed my top and put sneakers on. I needed sneakers to go "Africa far" as she put it. We were off to the bay to look at the water. My right sneaker was pinching my foot the whole way there. While there, I carefully slipped out of my sneaker leaving it on the ground, so as to not pick it up eruv-less. I discovered a giant sock wad. So, the walk back was much less painful.

When we returned, we chatted with her roommate for a bit. She was dying to hear my story. Then, I managed to get some of that coveted Shabbos nap I wanted so badly. I made havdalah for the three of us with my friend's brand new havdalah set which she purchased for the special occasion of her first Shabbos guest.

Thou shalt not oppress the ger, or should you?

This letter from an anonymous gyoress is going around some conversion blogs and online discussion groups.

A certain rabbi commented on this very harshly. However, I'm seeing he seems to be a little more reasonable about it now. One of the highlights from the article and his response is:

She writes: "The basic problem a convert faces in the Orthodox world stems from
the following mind-set: If you observe one mitzvah more than I do you are a
fanatic, and if you observe one mitzvah less you are an apikores, or heretic."

rabbi: This is most unfortunate. Does this mean that where she lives the
"Orthodox" Jews specifically do not keep all Mitzvoth? I've actually written a
warning about marginally Orthodox in Gerus Steps. We've occasionally run into
people like this. If this is her idea of "Orthodox" then her synagogue does not
have an Orthodox minyan. I would like to make it clear (I know that I'm being a
bit redundant) that merely living in a place without a community may not
invalidate a conversion but it certainly is far from the ideal and can lead to
many problems. What sort of education is her son receiving? Is he exposed to
true Orthodoxy (and I include Modern Orthodoxy as true Orthodoxy) or something

Michal: If the author is using the term mitzvos as the rabbi does, as in mitzvos, then yes, his rebuttal is perfectly fine. However, it seems to me that when the original author said mitzvos, she didn't mean the precise 613 mitzvos, but the chumros (stringencies) that people glue upon themselves as a loud and proud statement of, "I'm frummer than you are." One kollel wife told something like real Jews wear the black velvet kippah and if you wear suede, you were never on the derech.

I would hear Heshy Fried make fun of this stuff on his Frum Satire site and I thought I was removed from this narishkeit. "Surely, my friends wouldn't think like this." I was wrong. So, perhaps the author is pointing out the people that think someone who drinks cholav stam milk is an apikores or those who think that you have to wear a certain kind of kippah to be frum.

As I understand it from the bubbies and zaidies that in their day there was no requirement to wear black and white. However, I had man tell me he is frum because he wears black and white.

I also know of another story. An FFB man was in the parshah and a prospective shidduch turned him down because he was wearing a dark brown suit on the (first) shidduch date. He did marry a wonderful girl. However, why is it that no one sees this as riduculous. Also, people like this see "dressing Jewish" like this as a mitzvah. I like to joke that things are the 614th mitzvah. I started doing this before I really knew the extent to which these kinds of mitzvos are added.

Finally, will somebody please tell me, where in the Torah it states that men must wear a black velvet kippah. Why is a black kippah of another material assur? How about velvet of another material? Why can't a man wear a dark brown suit or a dark blue hat and still be accepted?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Obama making nice with the Muslims

Well, it was all over the goyisha free paper today that Obama is trying to make nice with the Muslims. I looked around on the train and I saw a bunch of these papers being read. It's funny, Obama was just saying that he was on our side a couple weeks ago because he fears Iran. Jews who don't already know need to start realizing he is not good for us.

Ok, I just looked over two articles about his speech. It seems as though he was very vague. Although, it did say he calls for us to give up some of our land to the Palestinians. What do they call that? A two state solution? Uh, huh... we'll see, solution... Hey, maybe the US should give Alaska to the Palestinians! No, they won't like the weather... Hawaii... let's give Hawaii to the Arabs.... I'm trying to make point....

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

10 Funniest Synagogue Newsletter Bloopers

Hat tip to my online friend Hannah for this list.

Here are our top 10.
Michal's responses are in eye-talics... that's right italics

10. A bean supper will be held Wednesday evening in the community
center. Music will follow.

...provided, of course by those who have just finished eating...

9. Rabbi is on vacation. Massages can be given to his secretary.
When the rabbi's away, the staff and congregants will play.

8. Goldblum will be entering the hospital this week for testes.
Talk about a transplant!

7. We are taking up a collection to defray the cost of the new carpet in the sanctuary. All those wishing to do something on the carpet will come forward and get a piece of paper.

Yeah, that's right. We want you paper trained like good little puppies....

6. If you enjoy sinning, the choir is looking for you!

Kol isha! However, the men will stick their fingers in their ears, "la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, lalala, la, la, la, la, la, lalala"

5. Don't let worry kill you. Let your synagogue help. Join us for our Oneg after services. Prayer and medication to follow. Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our congregation.

I thought that's what the kiddush club was for!

4. For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

I guess this applies to men, as women are generally aware that they passed at least five pounds out of a tiny orafice.

3. We are pleased to announce the birth of David Weiss, the sin of Rabbi and Mrs. Abe Weiss.

Some juicy stuff going on at that shul....

2. The ladies of Hadassah have cast off clothing of every kind and they may be seen in the basement on Tuesdays.

Strip club? The men will come to watch and then stone them to death so there's no witnesses.

1. The Associate Rabbi unveiled the synagogue's new fundraising campaign slogan this week: "I Upped My Pledge. Up Yours."

And if you don't like my little comments in italics....

My very first Hamodia ever!

I have my very first Hamodia here right in front of me. I signed up for a trial home delivery basically because it's only $10 or $20 for the 3 month new subscriber trial. I've been picking up the Yated because that's what my kosher grocery store carries. Hamodia has been trying to get it to me since last Wednesday. They had my address wrong. Anyone in Queens knows how we have say 1st Street, 1st Road, 1st Drive and 1st Avenue. Well, they had me down with the wrong designation, but finally today my paper came. I've never been much of a paper person, but, I ordered the daily news for three months. I figure it will give me material for this blog....

So, here we go....

Cover story: There was a record breaking plane incident on an Air France. There were 288 people aboard crew and passengers. This plane seemed to have flown right into a tropical storm over the ocean. They doubt there are any survivors. Because of the storm, they can't even get boats in to see if there are any survivors in the ocean.

Obama gets to take over GM, thanks to the crappy economy. However, Obama says he doesn't want to take over businesses. They don't know how long this will last. Well, the government has lent GM too much money and they are shareholders.

Netanyahu is caving in to international demands and having outposts in ehudah and Shomron dismantled.

North Korea (that's bad Korea, not good Korea) has missiles. We're not talking qassams like the Palestinians fired at Israel. We're talking long range missiles that could potentially reach Alaska and Guam, where there are US bases. Officially, the Korean war ended in 1953. However, as ex-Army, I happen to know things were never exactly peaceful there.

Passports required at borders. Well they've been talking about this forever. They are going to require passports at the borders. Well, it went into effect on Monday. I remember when I was a kid crossing the Peace Bridge. They would ask us, "Citizenship?" mom: "US," sister: "US," me: "US," "Where were you born?" "Buffalo," "Buffalo," "Buffalo," "Where are you going?" (together) "Niagara Falls" "ok..." and that was it. Well, those days are long gone. When I was in college, I went on a missions trip to Mexico but, we actually stayed in Texas and traveled over... Mexico was stricter than the US goverment. We only had one incident where our Japanese girl got detained once. Anyhow, most border crossings had very good passport carrying percentages and traffic went smoothly. They hope they hit 100% with a passport soon.

The test scores for math are up but they figure kids have substantial room for improvement. They mention the gains in NYC and Buffalo. (A lot of Buffalo in the Hamodia, that's two articles in a row, says the girl from Orchard Park/Hamburg which are in Buffalo's southtown suburbs) In NYC, the passing percentage from 2006 to 2009 went from 57 to 82 and Buffalo school system (NOT the district I came from) went from 28 percent to 63 percent. OUCH! Just the fact that it was at 28% is pretty scary.

Although, in Buffalo, I think there are more minority parents who manage to get their kids into affordable private schools. My stepmother (may she rest in peace) taught at an inner city Catholic school. She said it was substantially cheaper than the one to which she sent her oldest son. Her youngest son attended their northtowns suburban public school. Apparently, the Buffalo diocese used to subsidize the inner city Catholic schools. Although, I'm not sure if they still do, as they were financially pinched when I moved out of Buffalo.

The government is actually going to maneuver higher gas and electric prices. They want to make us use less as they see the supply running out. The government always seems to be damaging the economy, not helping it. The article figures we'll be back up to those $4+ a gallon prices in no time.

Oy, vey! Gevalt Geshriggin! The paper is MAMISH depressing. The goverment makes me sick. This was so much fun. We'll have to do this again.

Judging by anonymous guest poster, a candidate for gyoress

Orthodox conversion is all about judgment. Before you even get in the door, your sponsoring Rabbi will pass judgment on your fitness as a potential member of the Jewish people. The community that you live in will scrutinize you, judging your every move, or lack thereof. You'll eventually get judged by the Beis Din, and if you are doing the whole process right, you should be constantly judging yourself, your motives, and your drive. All of this, I knew when I signed up; I knew that I would be examined completely by just about every Jewish person that I could meet. And I'm ok with this. I understand why, to some extent, my non-observant Jewish
friends give me the third degree. I have no problem sharing my story with any old stranger around the shabbos dinner table. Sure that person may not be officially weighing in with the Beis Din, but you never know who is related to who.

There is one type of judging that I really wasn't prepared for, that I have only encountered now that I am knee-deep in the process. You see, I'm judging all the other women who are converting, and I know they are all judging me. I know, I know, we should all be super supportive of each other, we should be empowering each other as we go through this most difficult, most emotional time. But really, how am I going to know where I am, if I don't use you as a frame of reference. You see, maybe you are further along then I am, then I can see you as an inspiration, something to aspire to. More likely though, I'm scrounging through your facebook profile to see how much cleavage you are showing, how many men you are touching, and how many times you are wearing pants. Or I'm smirking at the fact that my motives are pure and you and your boyfriend, certainly are anything but pure. Or maybe I'm just thinking that its a shame that you actually made it through the process, because you obviously weren't ready for the mikveh. And I'm sorry that I'm doing it, but I can't help it. Your silly questions, your mistakes, your confusion makes me feel like I finally, just a little bit, might have some idea as to what I'm doing.

I guess my only consolation is knowing that you are probably out there judging me too. Maybe you think I'm too machmir, maybe you think my politics are too liberal, maybe you think my skirts are too short, or too long, or I wear too much makeup, or not enough. Who knows what you think. But I know you are out there judging me. I'm sure after reading this you are thinking, "I hope they never let her convert, she isn't a good candidate". But the truth is that you aren't on my Beis Din, and I'm not on yours. And this is for the best I suppose. Because if I was in charge, no one would make it through. At least thats where I am right now. But the great thing is that this is a process, and as much as I am judging you, I'm judging myself. I'm working on it, I'm trying be a better person, and maybe, just maybe I'll know that I'm finally ready for the mikveh when my compassion outweighs my condemnation.

The background on Israel's problem

Courtesy of a commenter who didn't know what the problem is, I posted this response then realized it warranted being another post.

The PROBLEM is that there are not 2,000 but, over 300,000 "Almost Jews" in Israel who are not halachically Jewish and don't want to be. These are primarily patrilineage Jews from the former Soviet Union. However, there are patrilineage Jews from other countries, as well as converts with conversions good enough for the Law Of Return, yet not good enough for marry and bury in Israel.

These "Almost Jews" live, breathe, think and celebrate their Jewish year the same way that other secular Jews do. They don't keep kosher and Shabbos. However, they have a seder for Pesach. They celebrate Chanukah and high holidays. This is what plenty of secular Jews do. They are indisguishable from a halachically Jewish secular Jew. However, they are not Jewish due to a technicality.

This is a problem because there is now assimilation taking place in the Jewish state between these masses of "Almost Jews" and Jews. This is why they have overturned so many conversions from Rabbi Chaim Druckman. Originally, the solution was to convert them but since they don't want to be observant, they just sort of handed over the conversions after a they learned a little more than they previously knew.

Currently, non religious marriage and burial is not available to these people. What are these people to do? They aren't Xtians. They aren't muslims. They do not wish to marry and bury under either of these auspices. I guess you can say they are noahides, however, they grew up thinking they were Jewish and so, they are more Jewish than a regular noahide. However, the matter still remains, they are not Jewish.

Monday, June 1, 2009

I have the solution to Israel's problem!

Right here. That's right. I've got it!

Create a separate state for non-halachic Jews. They can meet each other, marry each other, bury each other in their own cemetaries.

Maybe, that's a little too much... What about creating a new religion for them? It would be the Jewish religion of non-halachic Jews and give them an infrastructure. Let them marry and bury each other. They can start an online dating service to meet each other. I just don't know what to call this new religion... Jewahides?

In this suggestion, they wouldn't be physically separated into a separate state. In the other suggestion, they would.

So, what does everyone think?