Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How do you think the president would feel if blacks could only live in certain states?

Can you imagine someone telling Obama that from now on blacks have to live here, whites have to live here and Hispanics have to live here? For example, Asians are only allowed to live in California. Let's give Utah to the Mormons since they already have a presence there. No blacks would be allowed to live in Utah or California. How do you think the president would feel about that? And who would get New York City? Or should we divide it up? Let's divide it up.

Another thing, if someone has a baby, they are not allowed to build an extra bedroom for their child, do you hear me?

You're furious reading this, right? Well, this is how Netanyahu and the Israelis feel. You don't understand. We are the United States, we can tell people where to live in other countries. The smuggness in these articles written by the goyim KILLS me.

The Arabs Are Squatters

You know, I was reading this article just now from the goyim about Israel: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/29/world/europe/29iht-letter.html?_r=1

I find the statement striking, "Neither the United States nor the rest of the world has ever recognized Israel’s claim to the territories — including East Jerusalem, which is mostly Arab — that it captured after its victory in the 1967 Middle East war." That's funny. It seems to me the UK which is part of the rest of the world was the last one to have ownership of Israel, not the Palestinians.

Britain gave Israel to the Jews in November of 1917 with the Balfour Declarations. End of story. It's our land.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Playing With Fire

The book I just finished reading is called "Playing With Fire" by Tova Mordechai. I googled it and it seemed to be currently called, "To Play With Fire," as well as revised.

When a conversion candidate gets tired of reading all the heavy books on straight halacha, perhaps, they could take a break and read something like this. I found this book in an interesting way. I was at a Shabbos meal and the rabbi's oldest daughter who is in her early 20's and I were talking. She recommend this book to me, as parts of my story are similar to Tova Modechai's story. She even lent me her own copy.

Tova/Tonica is the daughter of a minister and a Jewish woman. She left Xtianity and an Xtian college to become a religious Jewish girl. She kept a dairy so this is an extremely even autobiography. Most autobios are uneven because they come from the writers memories and maybe the memories of family and friends. They tend to be much heavier on the more recent happenings or not depict very accurately how the writer felt then about the experience then. Instead, the past is watered down by what happened later.

This book is a must read for converts, conversion candidates and baal teshuvahs. I couldn't put this book down as, I continuously couldn't wait to find out what would happen next.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Michal on the shidduch crisis

This is a string from the End The Madness bulletin board. Just below this and at the top of the post is my response. You will see the original post and one other reply to that post below my response (not in that order)

Michal response:
Some of these issues are real issues. I've seen people who are completely unrealistic about what kind of shidduch they could really attain. Cliches would be the 40, 50 plus year old men who run after young girls under the premise of they want to have kids. I know a 28 year old FFB who won't consider a BT or a ger. However, there are other issues. There really aren't any shadchans anymore. I called some lists off the internet and heard over and over again, "I don't do it anymore." The one or two that I found that did, sent me to SYAS and that was wholelly disappointing.

BACKGROUND-people are obsessed with background and "the family." If a girl becomes different from her family, she'll never get a shidduch because she will repeatedly be matched up according to her family and her background. I know of a girl who doesn't want to cover her hair and she comes from a family where women do. She can't find anyone because they keep setting her up with men who want a girl to cover. They tell her it's not important, get married and just cover. In other words, "we won't set you up with what's right for you, just marry what we say is right for you and change for him."

I myself am a gyoress. I went in front of a beis din and committed to being an observant Jewess for the rest of my life. For some reason, this indicates to shadchanim that I should be set up with men who aren't observant.

On Wed 06/10/2009 08:44:57 AM, Chananya wrote:
Was the author of this letter also anonymous? If so, how do we know it wasn't the same person who wrote the first letter? And why should we care what an anonymous person thinks, or claims to think?

In any case, the writer left out a few key things, most notably the lack of natural meeting opportunities for singles and the lack of desire on the part of many singles for there to be more such opportunities.

I also wonder why women shouldn't become lawyers or pursue hobbies that may "scare away" certain primitive men. He laments the way singles reject one another for petty reasons, and in the same breath he urges women to be untrue to themselves and even make major lifestyle decisions strictly for shidduch purposes. Seems this person is on the right track, but is still clinging to madness.


On Mon 06/08/2009 02:52:53 PM, Mr. LeShem Shamayim wrote:
Dear End The Madness,

The most recent Jewish Lifestyle Magazine (June 2009)
printed a long letter about the root causes of the Shidduch Crisis:

This is what they printed:

Dear Editor,

Three months ago, Jewish Lifestyle Magazine printed an article entitled:
The Jewish Singles Scene. The anonymous author of that article obviously had good intentions, and he or she will be certainly rewarded for that.

However, that article is merely urged Jews to attack the Shidduch Crisis by making more matches, without correcting the underlying problems that cause the Shidduch Crisis.

These causes, not listed in any order, include:

* too much interference from parents of Jewish singles

* Jewish singles who reject each other because of minor flaws

* Jewish singles who do not work to correct their own flaws

* Lashon HaRa and Motzi Shem Ra (popular myth says shiduchim are a heter)

* Jewish single men who are unemployed or working at low paid jobs

* Jewish girls who were taught that a learning boy is their ONLY choice

* fat singles who attempt to reduce by dieting alone without exercise

* judging Jewish singles by which yeshivah or Beth Jacob they attended

* judging people by which country their great grandparents came from

* myths and stereotypes about: Baalei Teshuvah and gerim and Sephardim

* Jewish girls who reject any man more than 3 years older than them

* Jewish girls who reject any man less than 7 inches taller than them

* Jewish girls who scare away men by doing martial arts or becoming lawyers

* Jewish singles who do not know how to dress themselves correctly

* Jewish singles who do not realize that their deodorant is not working

* Jewish singles listening to advice from the wrong people

* Jewish singles not listening to any advice

* paranoid girls suspect every man of harming women

* shadchanim who do not know what they are doing or care only about money

* Jews failing to judge each other favorably (LeCaf Zechut)

* Jewish singles who do not truly want to get married

* People who promise to set up Jewish singles on dates, and then forget about them

* our sins, both against G_d and people

Michal on the Shabbos Parking lot rioters

No matter how many people speak against it, they just dismiss those people as automatically, "not religious enough"

If you don't wear a black hat and riot on Shabbos, you don't count.

If you are women, you don't count.

In fact, if you are not me and my cronies, you're MODERN Orthodox, better yet, you are Conserv- I mean Reform, I mean you are not affiliated at all... So, why would I listen to someone un-affiliated on advice about Hashem.

Mind you, this is what they say to the black and white with an oversized suede kippah kollel guy but, no black hat. After all, surely, he is not good enough. In fact, they would say it to a black hat if he said that it was better to run a Shabbos home with the family than to be rioting in the streets.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Moving the blog over to this new blog...

Hello, I'm moving the blog over to this new blog. I started using this Michaltastik as a nickname, which some of you may know.



Anyone out there with Anemia?

So, it's the nine days and I'm trying to eat things that are not red meat that are high in iron. My friend's mom found a cereal that has 70% of the daily value of Iron so, my friend is taunting me to find something better. The cereal is from Costco. It is Kirkland, "Blueberry Pecan." Bamba peanut snacks ring in at 25% of the daily requirement. I've also found that some of the Tabatchnik soups have 10, 15 and 20% of your daily requirement of iron. Cashews ring in at 10%. On my quest to find foods that are high in iron for anemia, I also found soybeans and peas (8% and 6%).

Please readers, feel free to add any foods that have 10% or more of your daily % of iron. Has anyone checked cereal labels? I might do that. I checked my Go Lean Crunch to find it at 10%.

Just because people do it, doesn't make it right

I am sick of hearing things like, "well, I see girls dressing untznius, so I don't have to," and other variations of this idea. This reminds me of when we were all kids and our parents would say, "if so and so jumped off a bridge, would you do that?"

Just because people do it, doesn't make it right

How long should someone be in the process before being converted?

I would just like to take stock from some of my readers. If someone has been in the process for six months and they are getting angry and upset that they are not converted, is this reasonable? According to written guidelines, the RCA claims to look for two years as a rule of thumb. My understanding was that it was supposed to be extremely ususual to convert in less than a year. It seems like every candidate seems like they are special and the exception to the rule.

I've stated over and over again, that a year minimum and the regular standard is that it usually takes longer. However, I know too many girls who become fully observant right away and then have a fit that they are not converted. Also, the extenuating circumstances when rabbis might lower the amount of time is generally for those who already converted under another stream or who were raised Reform or Conservative and aren't halachically Jewish.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I cannot put this book down....

It's called, "Playing With Fire"

I was at a Shabbos meal this past Shabbos and the rabbi's daughter lent it to me. It's really good. It's a must read for BTs, converts and anyone who loves stories about how someone became religious.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Lowering conversion standards

Did you all hear? Ivanka is now converted. It took her a whopping eight months to convert. She doesn’t dress tznius. She’s not Shomer Negiah.

I’m sorry doesn’t the Torah instruct not to bend the law for the poor or the rich. It seems this is what they did. They bent the rules for her because she’s rich and famous. People tell me it’s none of my business, but as a convert who worked very hard towards my conversion for two years straight, it is my business. When a guy says that he won’t date a convert because converts aren’t on his level and he thinks that because he’s seen this Ivanka Trump bit, it’s my business. People hear this stuff and it lowers the opinion of rabbis in their minds.

Discussing this opinion on a group that I comment on (other than my own), I was jumped on. I was told that she’s modern Orthodox. She doesn’t have to dress tznius. Also, the standards for conversion call for a minimum of two years of study and 350-classroom hours. Did she put that in? She definitely didn’t put in two years. I certainly never saw her at any KJ classes when I used to attend classes there within the last two years.

In the Jewish community, we have far too many girls dressing inappropriately, we don’t need to be allowing more of these girls to convert in. When I take my non-Jewish friend to a kosher restaurant. She sees girls dressed provocatively and she says to me, “I thought you were supposed to dress modest as a Jewish woman. How come these girls look like this?” It’s a major chillul Hashem.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Community review breakdowns

So, I want to break it down:
New Jersey: Lakewood, Passaic, Teaneck, Edison/Highland Park
Upstate: Monsey
Bronx: Riverdale
Manhattan: Washington Heights, Harlem, UWS, UES, LES
Queens: Kew Gardens Hills, Kew Gardens, Forest Hills, Sunnyside, Astoria, Jackson Heights, Hillcrest

Brooklyn: Flatbush/Midwood, Boro Park, Williamsburg, Crown Heights, Coney Island

Staten Island:

Long Island: Five Towns (+Far Rock, even though it's Queens), Merrick, West Hempstead

Outside NYC: Dallas, Baltimore, Washington DC, Seattle, Miami

Monday, July 13, 2009

Choosing a Jewish community

I've been discussing this with my pre-converts/converts for selecting their Jewish communities. I would like feedback on various communities that my readers live in. I'm including my list of things to consider for the readers, as well.

There are different factors that make different areas ideal for each person.
What kind of Jew you become plays into this.

Things to consider:
Am I comfortable financially, or do I need something more affordable?

Will I have a vehicle? Or do I need to be on the subway?

Will I want to be around modern people, medium strict people or really strict

How to I feel about being around sephardim?

How much commute might I want to make?

What kind of work do I do? Some jobs are concentrated in Manhattan but, others
are concentrated in the outer boros (like teachers and therapists)?

Do I want a lawn and a backyard? Or to be in a high rise? How about a co-op? Do
I want/need a doorman?

Do I want to be around young, old, a mixture or don't care?

If you consider yourself a Chabadnick, do you want to live in Crown Heights?

Do you want to live in a small community, big community or something in between?
There are communities made up of one shul, 6, 38, or over 200. The size of a
community is something to consider.

Do you want kosher grocery shopping right there or would you shop at a regular
store and supplement that with trips to another area for meat and maybe cheese?

If you are going to be married Jewishly in that neighborhood, do you need a
mikvah right there or would you want to travel to it?

If you aren't finished with your process, do you need a rabbi within the
community or would want to travel to meet with one?

What kind of women's role do you want? Some areas women never go to shul others
they are expected as much as the men.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

What's in a name?

So, this guy keeps leaving comments about how I picked my Jewish name. I thought I would humor him and make it a new topic.

I do know people who had it easy: Rebecca becomes Rivkah or Ann becomes Chana or maybe Amelia becomes Amalia. Maybe Molly becomes Malkah, Michelle becomes Michal, Suzy becomes Shoshana or Shoshi. If you have it real easy, your name is something like Sarah so you become Sarah.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

One hour and 25 minutes....

Will it ever get here?

More Shabbos etiquette....

It’s important to remember that they need to come to observe how a family spends Shabbos, not so you or your guests can pry into their personal business. On that note, some cues that someone doesn’t want to talk about what you are asking them:
they give short answers
they keep telling you they don’t know when they obviously should know
they give you the SAME answer over and over again.

I once heard a girl telling another girl, “I’m just trying to understand this…” Do you need to understand this or are you being a yenta? Do you think this person enjoys you asking all these questions?

Do NOT tell other guests before the meal, “I’m having a convert or a conversion candidate over for the meal.” Even if the other person you are telling is a convert or a candidate, you are still telling their business to someone else and it’s lashon hara.

If you are the guest with this information, do not bring up the other person’s conversion at the table in front of other guests. It’s better to let the other person bring it up or even wait until you’ve clicked with that person.

It would be nice if people didn’t start talking as soon as they finish benstching and others are still bentsching. This is coming from someone who bentsches in less than 3 minutes. I’ve timed myself. Also, bentsching so loud that it’s distracting to those who are still bentsching is not cool.

six hours and ten minutes

until food and drink but, you know, no one is really keeping track or anything (detect sarcasm?)

Let's drop in on Shabbos etiquette

Michal’s guide to hosting and being hosted

It’s a big mitzvah to have someone over for Shabbos. In particular, BTs, conversion candidates and converts tend to be the most likely to need hospitality. Many times guests are not comfortable telling a hosts that they are making them feel uncomfortable. When asked they may even deny it, as they feel more uncomfortable being asked. Instead, I’m composing some key clues that you may be prying into your guest’s personal business rather than getting to know them.

In general, converts and conversion candidates do not want to share their story with the whole world over and over again. Instead, wait until at least the second time you’ve had them over to ask their story. Also, be willing to accept a shortened version.

Do be on the look out for people who might need an invitation and invite them.

It's the 17th of Tammuz and I'm HUNGRY!!!!

Have you ever noticed how on a fast day, you crave all these things you never even eat? I mean you get cravings like a pregnant woman. Then the fast could officially be over and after being hungry all day, all the sudden, you're stuffed, BEFORE you've eaten. WHERE did that come from?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What on earth is Shabbos and why are you always lookin...

This is what I saw in my Facebook inbox today from my best friend from college.

She says:
So what on earth is Shabbos and why are you always looking for places to go and eat for it? Very curious and have been wondering a long time.

My response:
Shabbos, called Shabbat by others, is the Jewish Sabbath. It is the lifeblood of the Jewish week. It starts just before sundown when the Jewish woman lights candles and makes a blessing. Friday night there is a special Shabbos dinner. Saturday around noon, there is a special lunch. People invite friends and family. We sing songs around the dinner table. We discuss the portion of the week. In Judaism, the first five books are EVERYTHING to us. It's called the Torah which means Teaching. The Torah is divided up into weekly reads so that we finish it every year. The portion for the week is actually called the Parshah.