Wednesday, October 27, 2010

CUNY's Finest... thank you, NYC public schools

I have blogged before about some of the crazy comments on ratemyprofessor that students at my school make about the professors. It's always the same schtick. They pick on the teacher, but they can't spell and their grammar sucks. I had, at one point, looked through professors who are not business professors in an attempt to find more stupid comments. I actually concluded that non-business majors were smarter, as I couldn't find any doozies like those from business professors.

It seems I was wrong. Yeah, I know, happens once in a blue moon. :-)

Here I am taking English 2 that everyone takes. The professor has us read aloud sometimes. Some of these other students can't read anything with more than two syllables. "Perversity"- too hard, "constitute"-too hard, "voyeur"-too hard and the professor actually defined it in class at one point. Oy, veh!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Responding to another Email....

"i need an advise i am in a very bad situation my wife is a convert since she was a girl and now she went wild please let me know if i can ask you your opinion "

I'm guessing you're either an FFB or English is not your first language because I have trouble following your poor English. Why am I supposed to be able to help? Because I'm a convert? If her parents made her convert then maybe she never wanted to convert. I can only imagine what you mean by "went wild." Do you realize what the FFB girls are REALLY like? Ok, not all, but many of them are pretty wild when no one is looking. Furthermore, is your life so squeaky clean? You're not cheating on her? You're not on Craigslist trying to find a piece of @$$?  I'll tell you, the number of times I hear stories. From my black friend who says married Jewish men are always soliciting her for sex to a gay male who says the same of Orthodox men married to women.

I'm supposed to try to help you? Who's going to try to help me? It's a dog eat dog world and I see an aweful lot of people in front of me with their hands open. Do I look like a charity or something to you? Why don't you ask a rabbi and leave me alone?

Responding to an Email...

Note: I've tried to post this twice on the Yoseph Robinson thread, but it wasn't taking....perhaps it's too long. So, I've sent it to you direct. DES


I wrote the original comment asking you to look at the Emes V’Emunah blog piece, as well as to comment on Yoseph Robinson. Although you now have opened up discussions on both topics, in neither case did your discussion go in the direction I was hoping it would go.
Harry Maryles noted your ‘deep pain’ over the bias you endure from the frum community. You too describe that bias….often, and in no uncertain terms. However, what emerged from Yoseph’s death was a picture of someone similarly situated – who probably experienced the same bias, and more – who remained an incredibly positive person (I too knew him personally).
I was hoping you might consider how Yoseph was able to maintain such a positive attitude, in spite of the adversity he faced. Alternatively, and even harder to do, might be an exploration of why and how you have become so swamped in negative feelings….the ‘deep pain’ that is very clear from many of your posts.
I felt that discussing these issues might help you in the long run.

However, your post about the Maryles blog was limited to your back and forth with ‘chaim1’…..hardly helpful, especially given how limited this guy’s capacity is to come to an acceptance about geirim and geirus. Why bother with him? Yet, that give and take absorbed not one, but two recent posts, and the message of the Emes V’Emunah blog was totally lost in the shuffle.

And now, in spite of the incredible inspiration to the community at large that resulted from Yoseph’s murder, you focused instead on the dribble of some few and far between mindless fools. And you ran with it. Any review of the events surrounding his murder will yield the unmistakable conclusion that the Orthodox community’s reaction was AMAZING; hundreds packed his funeral, and an entire group of rabbis and activists accompanied him – to Jamaica, no less – for burial. Hardly the stuff for negative spin.

Whether you like it or not, you and Yoseph share a huge commonality. He took his struggles and challenges, and worked to inspire. He did so during his life, and he certainly did so in his death. I envy his portion in the next world…..few can accomplish so much, in so little time.

Your blog, OTOH, is a chronicle of your personal pain, much of it against our community for failing to live up to your expectations of us. You’ve chosen to share that pain in a public forum. Like Harry, I feel your pain, and wish it were better. It certainly could be better, but your negativity about the situation is, IMHO, less an indication of the situation, and more a spotlight on you.

At the end of the day, each of us can't change the world; only our own respective Daled Amos. That holds true for all of us, you too. So, I will again suggest that it’s time to take an overdue look at your reactions to life’s challenges. I think it’s time to consider how your own pain may be fueling the difficulties you’re encountering with life as a Jew.

Good luck. If anything, be aware that there’s many – like me – out here in the blogosphere who are supporting you through this tough spot in your life. I really hope it works out. I don't, however, agree with BeeZee: no one has the ability to "make sure things turn out right". Life can be tough...there are no magic cures for that.



I would like to turn the tables for a moment and point something out. I have posted countless posts that are not Jewish. My blog is not a "chronicle of animosity towards me" because of these posts. However, no one seems to read any of those posts. I get very few comments on those posts, with exception of some of my friends and regular readers. The vast majority of posts that people seem to actually read are those Jewish posts. If those Jewish posts seem like a "chronicle of animosity," I don't know what to tell you. The reality is that my process wasn't even that bad. However, once I converted, I have gotten a bit of animosity from the community. I guess they failed to make me aware that constant harassment is a part of being an Orthodox Jew.

When I first converted, I wasn't in college and of course I wasn't dating anyone. I was harassed to try to get married and I was harassed to go back to college. Trying to meet someone involved more harassment to get my bachelor's, so I decided to take a break from trying to date and I went back to college. As soon as I went back, I was under pressure to drop out. In fact, a woman told me to drop out and then I put on my Facebook status, "I most certainly will not be dropping out of college." She had the nerve to make some comment as if she were not one of the people who told me to drop out. Yes, I'm sick and tired of everyone. I know some people who have converted have had a nice warm fuzzy experience, but I have not. To a large degree, I have withdrawn myself from the community and I exist in a bubble. I have accepted that the Jews who I thought of as my friends are not. What friend, tells you not to do your best? I will continue to push myself to do my best in college and anyone who tells me not to, I don't consider a friend.

As for Yoseph Robinson, what I saw was the negative reactions. I saw the nasty comments online, I came across Facebook comments saying "NO ONE Jewish should go to this." That's what I saw. I call them like I see them.

I'm swamped in negative feelings, huh? I don't know about that. Like I said, to a large degree, I'm removed myself from the source. I stopped trying to interact with Orthodox Jews. That pretty much took care of any negativity I had in the past. I have one or two friends left, but, I'm not bothering with new people.

"I really hope it works out. I don't, however, agree with BeeZee: no one has the ability to "make sure things turn out right". Life can be tough...there are no magic cures for that." You quoted BeeZee wrong. No maybe no one can make it turn out right. However, when people go out of their way to see my situation and then they have me over for a Shabbos or a Yontiff and verbally attack me, I'm supposed to feel happy about it?  If a person or a group of people keep kicking you, you don't go back for more-unless something is wrong with you. You guys seeem to expect me to just keep going back for more verbal attacks. The fact is that the Orthodox community seems to enjoy being mean to me. I'm not going to subject myself to it.

Eye on Fashion: Pret a Porter vs. Haute Couture

When it comes to clothing and fashion, the ready-to-wear and the haute couture are at opposite ends of the spectrum. While nowadays, the ready-to-wear dominates, it wasn’t always this way. Who or what caused this switch of fashion dominance?

There was a time when today’s prĂȘt-a-porter, which is French for ready-to-wear, was instead “off the peg” clothing. This is what the poor masses wore. The rich elite, on the other hand, instead wore haute couture, which is French for “high sewing.” Fashion vocabulary comes to us in French because fashion was born, if you will, in Paris, France. An Englishman, Charles Frederick Worth fathered the Haute couture art in 1858. Prior to him, the sewing artists remained anonymous. Mr. Worth, on the other hand, wanted to become a household name. The fashion show was borne out to display a designer’s works. The high-end consumer would attend placing orders of the designs they liked which would be created according with their fabric of choice to their measurements.

As the industrial revolution took place, a large difference in cost for the manufacture came about. The waves of immigrants, many Eastern European Jews that came to America provided a ripe opportunity for cheap labor. The Lower East Side in Manhattan is a historically significant area, as many of these immigrants were living and working here. During this time of the 1800’s, department stores were also becoming part of the landscape in the United States.

Perhaps, it is because of these technological changes. Perhaps, it is just a coincidence. However, this is the time that fashion shifted from Haute couture to the current default, prĂȘt-a-porter. New York City, as a fashion center marked itself on the map. Another push to the ready-to-wear came in the 1940’s and 1950’s came as the middle class emerged. Many of these middle class women enjoyed freedoms, not previously enjoyed by women, as they spent hours wandering around department stores and shopping centers.

What was to become of the Haute couture? It still remains, as a driving force behind that more prevalent ready-to-wear. It distinguishes its designers and gives them an edge in their ready-to-wear collections. While many have forecasted the demise of couture, it seems that it will always have a place in fashion, even if it’s not such a large place, as they carry the lure of being for the elite. For those of us who would not even bother dreaming that we should have the sort of money for that, we are blessed that ready-to-wear affords us stylish knockoffs.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sharia Law in Democratic Non-Muslim Countries?

This is a little it of a recurring theme over the past week that I've been seeing these sorts of things in the media. I saw coverage that we may be dealing with this in Michigan. Then I later saw coverage that muslims have certain legal loop-holes from British law.

I was curious about this. I dug further and  googled to find out about the situation. It turned out a bunch of fundamentalist x-tians were being overly dramatic. A bunch of xtians  went to an Arab festival and tried to hand out xtian pamplets. They were arrested for disturbing the peace. I'm sorry, but to say that "sharia law is being enforced" is only readying the public to say "the boy is crying wolf" if something really did happen. Sharia law being enforced in the US would mean that women who both are and are not Muslim would be forced to wear the hijab.  I have a friend who is Muslim who is not a hijabi, as they call it. She meets all the other requirements they have for their own code of tznius: covered elbows (with a shirt underneath much like us Jewish girls-however they do full length not 3/4 length sleeves, the split of the legs covered (usually accomplished with a "butt covering shirt" and legs covered all the way down. ) She is Muslim, but it wouldn't matter. They would want her arrested for not wearing a hijab. The police would come into people's homes and make sure no one has any liquor. Thankfully, these were xtians running at the mouth. Hopefully, such a thing never happens, though. I like my vodka, thank  you very much.

The second thing that I saw online, involved a muslim police officer in Britain. He was assigned to guard the Israeli embassy. He requested to change duties because he was uncomfortable with the task he was given to do. Now, how many people can just ask to not do the job their boss asked for because they don't want to? AND NOT get fired? Lucky him! Well, truthfully, I don't think the Israelis want a Muslim guarding their embassy. It could have been worse. He could have taken the assignment and snuck his friends in so they could bomb the place or something. Perhaps, the mistake was in assigning him that duty at all on the part of his superiors.

Whew! Everything has worked out just fine so far. However, perhaps these incidents are still a little uncomfortable for us as Jews. Let's hope it doesn't get worse.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


So for my English class, we have a theme of war... conflict... so, we're reading books on or taking place during war and writing papers about them.

So, the first one was a graphic novel, Persepolis, by this woman, Marjane Satrapi, who grew up in the days where is it was Iran and Iraq that dominated the news. Oh, did I mention, she grew up in Iran? Now she lives in France. Which is funny because in Iran, they had to wear a veil and in France women are not allowed to. I guess we know how she felt about the requirement.

Now, we've just finished up this book called, War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning. The author, Chris Hedges, is a war correspondant. His work seems to obviously favor the place that wants to call itself Palenstine. Now stupid me, I mention that to my teacher after class. He gave me some statistics of how many deaths there have been. It was like 1300 versus 5. I thought, "great, we're winning." The professor likened the Israelis to a bully.

So, I was thinking about this since then and I've had some more thoughts. For example, maybe only 5 made the statistics, but what have all these othere Arab nations been doing to Jews? In Persepolis, there was one Jewish family she knew. They killed them. In fact, they did it on Shabbos. The fact is that the things that come out of the mouths of the rest of the middle east are this idea that Jews don't have the right to be there. The reality is that their ancesters killed someone to obtain that land from them. In the US, we slaughtered the Native Americans until they gave up this land to us. Then we were kind enough to make some reservations for them where they can sell cigarettes and gamble.

What are your thoughts on war? Do you think we could permanently eliminate war from the planet?  Do you think it's like a drug addiction?

Friday, October 8, 2010

shidduch crisis = spoiled brat crisis

Much discussion has been made about the shidduch crisis and what causes it on this blog, other blogs, amongst the rabbis and lay persons alike. I would like to propose that the shidduch crisis is a direct result from the trend from mommies spoiling their little brats.

Everyone says that most of the singles don't really wanna get married. They say they want to get married, but can't find anyone because this is a good way to get friends, family members and random nosy and intrusive Jews to shut up. Why should they want to get married, though? They are usually living with their parents. They are paying little to no rent and doing little to nothing of the sweating of running a household. They might get mad at me and tell me, "I help out!" I'm sure they do. However, helping mommy is not the same as all of it being your responsibility. Besides which, parents today are not raising their kids with the mountain of chores of yesteryear. I'll be honest. I didn't spend full days on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor, as my mother and grandmother did. They had no choice. Their mothers required it of them. My grandmother told me a time or two that she had tons of chores and her parents and older siblings were outrageously mean to her. She married the first guy that asked her to get out of there. She was lucky that she married a good man. Many of her friends married to go from the frying pan to the fire.

This supposition I make gains ground if you think about the fact that there is not a shidduch problem in the chasidic community. If I'm right, of course there wouldn't be. These women have so many kids. I recently heard of a woman with TWENTY-THREE kids... oh and they tell me she still looks like a ballerina. In these families like this, the older siblings are raising the younger siblings. I know a boy who was raised, as he tells me not chasidic, litvish. However, I've seen his childhood pictures. He and his brothers sport peyos and his mom had 12 kids. That sounds chasidic to me. What's my point? Well, he also tells me that he was changing diapers at age 9. Soooo, seriously not spoiled! If you talk to one of these families in Kew Gardens Hills or Flatbush, they will tell you that their boys need to learn and only the girls can help out but, they can't because they have.... whatever is the Orthodox equivalent to soccer practice and dance class for girls. They are busy having a life that mommy gave them the priviledge of having.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Post Long Overdue: Yosef Robinson

I'm taking a break from studying to put up this post that I've been meaning to write, but haven't out of procrastination that I should do more informal research pre-blog posting.

I was asked, I don't remember if it was by Email or in the comments, to write about this man. I was actually thinking about doing so. However, I just want to point out that I wonder if I was expected to comment on this convert who died in an untimely manner purely because I'm a convert or because most of the other prominent Jewish bloggers wrote about it (not including the 20-somethings who mostly write about shidduchim, there's so many of those).

Anyhow, so I think most people know that a black male convert around my age was working in a liquor store in Flatbush, Brooklyn. The store got held up and the robber demanded Jewelry from Yosef's girlfriend-almost fiancee who had JUST gotten there. Yosef got in the middle and the robber took it out on him instead, meanwhile the girl was in the store's back room. That is the basic story.

Unfortunately, there was another story from this. That story is the story of many Jews who had to make comments about his conversion and such. After all, a convert was in the spotlight. Lacking the decency and middos to keep their mouth shut, they questioned the yiddishkeit of a corpse. As usual, white Jews were hating a black. They were hating a convert. They were hating a man who possessed both qualities. Most distastefully, Jews, even perhaps other Jews of color, were putting in their two cents. So, am I just another Jew putting in my two cents? Perhaps, I am. I suppose that's what a blog is, no?

I did not know this man, personally, which is why I was hesitant to blog about it. However, that's exactly what I want to talk about. How is it that people who didn't know him or inside information about the levaya could be going around running their mouthes? What am I talking about? Well, for example, a person might have posted levaya information on their Facebook status and another would come in and state that, "no Jew should go to this man's funeral." I saw articles online that mention that he was being buried next to his grandmother in Jamaica. The comments flourished that he was obviously an insincere convert and that he was obviously not being buried Jewish.

As a convert myself, I've felt the hatred towards us and I know how it can get out of hand. My inquisitive and analytical mind was thinking, "considering how they hate us, if he wasn't being buried Jewish, they would have flat out stated that instead of leading people towards that conclusion WITHOUT stating it. If he lost his connection, why was he complaining about a ex-wife raising a daughter not-so-religious? Finally, I can't see Brooklyn Jews giving business to a store that had a defunct Jewish convert working there. The store would have gone under. Therefore, I want to see if these accusations are warranted. They were not.

So, I asked a friend who knew him what the story was. She told me that he was indeed buried next to his non-Jewish grandmother. HOWEVER, she also said that some rabbi from Brooklyn went to Jamaica to bless or pray over or something the plot of land to make it all kosher to bury him there. I have more news for those of you who are still skeptics. Over yontiff, I stayed in Brooklyn and while I was there I was speaking with someone and the conversation actually changed to the Yosef Robinson topic. I didn't have anything to do with that topic change. Unbeknowst to this woman, I was plotting this post. She stated, unprobed, all of that which my other friend had told me. She knows the rabbi who "Jewish-ized" the plot of land, personally. Apparently, Yosef's family said they have no problem with a Jewish burial, but they really wanted him buried next to grandma. The rabbi flew down there and made it happen.

Now, seriously? To the those Jews that did, speaking lashon hara about a dead person? Can you stoop much lower than that? Incidentally, I tried to comment on one of these articles that speaking lashon hara of the dead is outrageous. Somehow, it didn't make it up. The media is out to mold your mind. As usual, the zombies followed.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Are You a Child of the 80's?

I found this list online and I wanted to share it on my blog. I relate to almost all of these statements, how about you?

Are You a Child of the 80's?

Take a look at this list. If you can identify with more than half of them, you are a child of the 80's.

•You know what "Sike" means.

•You know the profound meaning of "Wax on, Wax off".

•You know that another name for a keyboard is a "Synthesizer".

•You were only cool if you hung out at the Roller Rink and actually knew how to skate.

•You can sing the McDonald's Big Mack Filet-o-fish, quarter pounder, French Fry song while jump roping.

•You wore 3-8 different colored socks in layers and thought that the more you could wear the cooler you were.

•You know who Mr. T is.

•You actually believed for a minute that K.I.T. (The night rider) actually was real.

•You know who Fat Albert is.

•You wore fluorescent, neon clothing.

•You could break dance, or wish you could.

•You wanted to be The Incredible Hulk for Halloween.

•You believed that "By the power of Greyskull, you HAD the power!"

•Partying "like it's 1999" seemed SO far away.

•You thought that Transformers were more than meets the eye.

•You wanted to be on Star Search.

•You can remember Michael Jackson when he was black.

•You wore a banana clip at some point during your youth.

•You remember the garbage pail kids, and owned some.

•You knew what Willis was "talkin' 'bout."

•You HAD to have your MTV.

•You always wondered why Tootie always wore those skates.

•You actually thought "Dirty Dancing" was a REALLY good movie.

•You watched Purple Rain over and over again.

•Your all time favorite movie was Footloose and you actually thought that Kevin Bacon was HOT in it!!!

•You remember the episode of Good Times when Flo broke down after James' funeral.

•You remember when ATARI was a state of the art video game system.

•You own any cassettes.

•You were led to believe that in the year 2000 we'd all be living on the moon.

•You remember and/or owned any of the Care Bear Glass collection from Pizza Hut or any other stupid collection they came out with.

•Poltergeist freaked you out.

•You carried your lunch to school in a Gremlins or an ET lunch box.

•You have pondered why Smurfette was the ONLY female smurf.

•You know what leg warmers are and probably had a pair.

•You wore biker shorts underneath a short skirt and felt stylish.

•You had a Swatch Watch with the Swatch Guard.

•You thought UTFOs "Roxanne, Roxanne" song was the bomb!

•You remember when Saturday Night Live was funny.

•You had Wonder Woman or Superman underoos.

•You know what a "Push Up" ice cream is.

•You had to come in the house when the street lights came on.

Monday, October 4, 2010

I need school advice

So, I have to pick out like topics for some of my classes and I am open to any advice. You can comment or Email me.

English two: the theme the professor picked is, "Perceptions on a call to arms." I have to do a 12 page paper on this, well a further subtopic, of the research variety. I theorize and argue something in the paper. Any ideas?

Fashion Marketing: I have to pick a fashion company and research them. I'm asking myself why the hell I didn't take Ethnic marketing instead, but I know why. This profess had good reviews and the class is a hybrid instead of long once a week meetings like Ethnic.