Monday, December 26, 2005

No excuses

The things you learn when dealing with people who don't like you...

You know, you are fully capable of dealing with your emotions. When someone makes a comment, there's a conscious decision that goes on that goes on in a split second in your head. How to react?

You can choose to see it as an insult; you can choose to let it slide. There's no "I can't help it." It's something I've realized recently. You have the capability to decide whether to get angry or offended. And I've seen it happen-it's fascinating. X makes a careless remark, which causes Y to hate X forever. But Y could have stopped and thought Hm...I'm sure X didn't mean it that way...people aren't malicious by nature...

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Those Wild-Eyed Radicals...

One of my jobs at work is organizing an archive of "alternative press." Alternative press is (like it sounds), anything printed that is not mainstream. I've learned some interesting things:

1. Only the people who call themselves "left" write alternative press pamphlets. Does that mean that "right" is mainstream? ;)

2. There's a lot of hatred. Most of these magazines, pamphlets, etc., are extremely incendiary (and I don't mean flammable ;) ), to the point that I actually had to put some of them down and take a deep breath (not 'cause I was angry with them, but 'cause I was angry AT them-for spreading lies, etc. FWI: There are lots of "Palestinian" reviews that are downright frightening.)

3. Everyone who publishes this "alternative press" is sure that everyone else hates them, and is out to get them, specifically, and so has to strike before the enemy. It's really weird.

4. There was an overabundance of "New"s and "Left"s as part of the title. People really want to show that their cause is different than everyone else's. (I guess it's like on a personal description on a blog, where the person writes "I am unique," like everyone else.)

Many many people today take on Purposes and run, very far, with them because they have nothing else to cling to. It's kinda sad.

Monday, December 19, 2005

History + Theatre

So what's the connection between a frum actress and history? I'm not quite sure yet, but I'm almost there. There is certainly some kind of strange connection between history and theatre.

So far, my two favorite history teachers used to be very involved in theatre, in addition to my boss at the rare books library.

Maybe it's a matter of giving over some kind of message? An inherant teaching thing? I'm not sure yet...but it's something I'm thinking about.

There are so many musicals (very) roughly based in history: 1776, Les Mis (because of which, incidentally, I thought the commoners "lost" the French Revolution until 7th grade), Ragtime, Assassins, even Chess, for crying out loud!

I feel like there should be a class teaching history through musicals. I think it would be fascinating.

Addendum: I was thinking about it more (especially 'cause I just bought the "Grimmoire" for Wicked), and I decided I would do it as a workshop if I ever make a troupe/drama school thing for frum high school girls. (Stx, get the notebook-Did you know that Stephen Schwartz and the producer wrote the entire story for Wicked on notecards before they started anything? Sound familiar? ;) )

A note on music

The שער שירה is just below the שער תשובה

I just want to point out the amazing power of music-to hurt and to heal, to create and to destroy. How one can live without it I just don't know.

I often find that I can express myself better through song than through prose. Not that I write music-I plagiarize shamelessly, but I wish I could. There is so much that you could say in a song. So much that is not said that is meant. For example, the other day, I sooooo wanted to sing "The Dangling Conversation." Instead, I was called intolerant and judgmental. Ah well. I still know I was right.

Sheeeeeeeee's back!!

So I was going through all the posts I saved as drafts during the semester and found some fascinating things. I'd basically written two or three words to describe entire emotions or thought processes. Dunno, it just taught me something about myself. But I'm glad to see that while there was an exceptionally depressed one, there was also a positive, bright one. And, as always, I tried to find a lesson from them ;)

I'll post two of them now (one kinda leads into the other):

1. The first was written one night when I came home from a community event. I was extremely depressed, because my thoughts the entire night while smiling and nodding at people I hadn't seen since high school were: They have no idea who I am anymore. They don't care. They think I'm weird 'cause I'm studying history for the sole reason that I like it! Why can't I have a close connection with one of my high school teachers? Why doesn't anyone think I'm special for being me? Why do I have to fit into everyone else's box?

'Tis interesting. During the semester, I'm usually very busy and don't have time to talk to many people, much less set aside time for serious Torah learning, etc. (aside from Partners in Torah, which I fit in 'cause it's ABSOLUTELY necessary), and I get depressed 'cause I have nobody to talk to. Strange? Nah...

Yeah, anyway. I'm over that.

*twiddles thumbs*

2. The second one is about my advisor, who is an absolute gem. He cares about his students to a degree that I haven't seen since...well...high school! ;) What I find about him is that he makes me believe that I can do things that I've always thought I couldn't. So the other day (actually, now it's the other month), he told me to apply to Yale Graduate School for a Ph.D. Me? L'll me? I don't know anything! I'm not that good! you really think so?

*Prepare for another self-analysis*

It taught me a lesson. YOU can change a life. YOU have the power to take someone's lowsy self-esteem and bring it up. Because Dr. G. believed that I could do it, I made the effort to prove him right. It's amazing the difference a few kind words will do.

(Incidentally, I'm not at all saying that my teachers in high school didn't do that-they DID! It's interesting what you see from hindsight.)

Now...that wasn't very coherant, was it? Oh well.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Not thinking coherantly yet.

No time to post 'till after December 19, so you get the song that most closely describes my thoughts.

Time it was and what a time it was
It was
A time of innocence
A time of confidences
Long ago, it must be
I have a photograph
Treasure your memories
They're all that's left of you.

-Simon and Garfunkel

Please daven for a refuah shelama for Shayndl Rachel bas Sima Leah.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

How surprising.

No time to post a real post, so here's a quick observation that I couldn't resist.

From Google Desktop News (sitefeed)

"Hamas Promises to Retain Truce in Israel"
-Guardian Unlimited (12 hours ago)

"Hamas will End Truce in Israel"
-BBC News (7 hours ago) I the only one confused?
And they're both UK'd think someone would be reading the other papers...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Amused While Procrastinating

Google search item that led someone to my blog:

"'Regel Achas' latin"

Aww...I can see where you'd think it's a nominative and an accusative, but it's actually Hebrew.

It means "one foot."

I really wonder what the context was...


Sunday, October 23, 2005

Rabbi Neuberger

I don't have words to describe Rabbi Neuberger, nor the tremendous loss that Klal Yisroel is experiencing with his פטירה. This was a man who loved every single Jew, and literally saved hundreds of them-both spiritually and physically. Governors, mayors, government officials-they all called him for advice, as did former students and plain old laymen. My mind kinda boggles when I think of what his reward is in the עולם האמת.

One story my father always told about him-one Yom Tov, the phone rang. To the surprise of his children and grandchildren, Rabbi Neuberger answered the phone. After a hurried conversation, he hung up and turned to his gaping viewers.

"This was a case of פדיון שבוים, the saving of Jewish captives (something for which it is permitted to break Shabbos). I therefore was not only allowed to, but was required to answer the phone, even though it was Yom Tov, because there are Jewish lives hanging in the balance. And for that, we must do whatever we can."

The article below was written by the editor of the Baltimore Jewish Times, a Jewish magazine that covers all types of Judaism in Baltimore. The full article can be found here.

On a cloudy early Sunday morning I sit over a cup of hot tea and don't feel as if the world is quite the same. The feeling has intensified since learning about the death of Rabbi Herman Neuberger.

For those who don't know the name and don't understand, he was everything. He was 87 years old and up until his death I guarantee you he had more energy than you or I. He was not old as much as he was enduring and moving forward despite age.

On one level, there was no one else we know who national and state politicians needed to see more than Rabbi Neuberger. He'd listen to them, encourage and offer advice if he agreed with them or not. Just three weeks ago, he sat with Governor Ehrlich in his modest Ner Israel Rabbinical College office, and reminded the state's top official that winter was coming and that there were plenty of poor people who couldn't afford the rising costs of heat.

He asked the governor what he planned to do to help. U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski, a long time friend of Rabbi Neuberger's, has visited the Mt. Wilson Lane office countless times. Friend and confidant, it was Rabbi Neuberger who she came to for a final validation of her desire to run for the U.S. Senate.

There are other, perhaps more difficult stories. Again, the modesty of his study didn't suggest that he'd been on the phone for hours rescuing fellow Jews be they from the threat of Islamic puppet states to the killer anti-Semitism behind a Communist regime, it was Rabbi Neuberger who got them out. The stories could consume the space of a library.

But then there are the localized accounts of people with no where else to turn, who needed direction, who needed help. And who knows what the help was. Nobody knew, because when they came to him for help, he would take care of it in a dignified, personal manner.

Two personal stories.

When my sister passed away in December of 2003, it was a very, very difficult time for my family. I wasn't entirely up to facing anyone during the shiva period. One afternoon during shiva, there was a knock on my door. It was Rabbi Neuberger. He came in, sat down in my living room, and all that I can say was that after he left, I felt as if my thoughts, my feelings during shiva were more focused or directed.

He didn't know my sister, but while he was there, I felt love, I felt strength.

Whenever I had the opportunity to meet with Rabbi Neuberger, before we'd get down to the subject of Jewish journalism, he'd first ask about my children. He knew where they were attending school, and he wanted to know "what the older one's doing" and "what's the younger one doing?" He wanted to know what seminary "the older one" would attend in Israel. He wanted to know about her fiance, now husband. And then, he'd talk to me about the issue he had in mind. Some of the time, he'd have difficult points to bring up. But all of the time, we left with warmth.

There was a time when I lived in Detroit that I questioned whether or not I'd want to stay in the business of Jewish journalism. On a visit to Baltimore, I was able to get on Rabbi Neuberger's calendar. I remember meeting with him at his Yeshiva Lane home. Most of what he said to me was very personal, very powerful. But he did say at the time that I couldn't leave the profession, that it was sometimes going to be hard, but to be brave and to keep doing what I was doing.
As recently as a handful of months ago, he reminded me of that conversation and told me to keep moving forward. His words had a way of penetrating all of the nonsense cluttering my head.

I know for sure there are literally thousands of lives he has impacted.

That he died after lighting his Shabbat candles says everything. Here was a man bringing light onto the world his entire life. One more time, he kindled those lights.

Now it's up to us. But for so many, there's going to be that desire to pick up the phone and call Rabbi Neuberger to get his advice or opinion. We're going to wonder what he'd do in certain situations. He made this world better. I hope we can live up to the lessons he taught us.

Note: I wrote this the night that I heard about it (Motzei Shabbos), and blogger said it "had errors," and it never showed up, so I assumed that it got lost in the Internet Black Hole. I only knew it showed up 'cause I checked my email and I have my blogs emailed to me...I'm not sure why it came up now (11/1), but I still mean it!

Incidentally, the mayor and the governor were both supposed to have been at the funeral, as well as some other government people...and the governor of MD definately went to be Menachem Avel his children. That's just the kind of person R' Neuberger was. As an aide said "I've never seen Governor Erlich change his schedule on two hours notice. EVER!" But for this, he did.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

בטול זמן

Ah, the lessons you learn from going to university...

Recently, I've been busy. Well, very busy. I'm taking a class that essentially involves writing a 40-page thesis, which can be a bit painful (although FASCINATING!!). I'm also taking four other classes, none of which are any piece of cake. And missing all these classes (and the time to write papers) for Yom Tov hasn't been helping very much.

But I just thought of something (which I do, occasionally, between thinking about Hebrew printers, the American Revolution, East Asia, the Italian Renaissance, and Latin). Because of my crazy workload (although not as crazy as Stx's ever was, but still...), I've been utilizing every moment. Any chance I have, I'm reading textbooks, translating Livy, doing reseach, and writing essays. I have not surfed the internet since the summer (and now that I've added Google Desktop, I don't even have to check and see when blogs are updated! ;) ). I've even learned how to create time! If you sleep less, you can steal hours from the night and add them to the day.

Because I've been so pressed for it, I've been thinking about time. Imagine if every mitzva had a deadline, if every chesed had a list of requirements that had to be fulfilled by a certain date. Would we then focus more on them? For me, if I know something has to be done by a certain time, I'll do it! In general, I find myself putting time limits on things so that I'll force myself to be good about getting them done.

But do we do that with mitzvos? Do we see our lives as something temporal, with an absolute deadline, after which we get a grade that will decide the rest of our existance?

We should do it every R"H and Y"K. No, we should do it every day, every hour. How do we spend our time? Are we working hard to meet our deadline? Or will we wait until the last minute and hand in a scribbled, unedited copy, having had "so much more important" things to do?

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Shana Tova

I just want to wish everyone out in blogland (and elsewhere) a C'siva V'chasima Tova, a place in the Book of Life ;), and a happy, sweet, and successful New Year, filled with peace and joy for all of Klal Yisroel.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Silly Historians...

I'm doing research for a paper, and found this fascinating quote:

"To a modern reader inadequately equipped with Talmud's knowledge, it is virtually impossible to penetrate...even a simple letter...even ordinary letter writing was heavily affected by the literary style flowing from the intensive Talmudic training..."

--The Jews of Early Modern Venice, essay by Robert Bonfil, 172-173 (Italics mine)

DUH. It's so frustrating to read studies on Jewish history by people who have never learned what the Jews of the period learned (and continue to learn...), and therefore have no clue of the mentality of the people, and so of course can't understand the society!!

At least this guy figured that out...'course, he then goes on to attempt to "penetrate" the culture...

Friday, September 23, 2005

A Note Before Entering Shabbos

From a girl in my class:

"Judaism is such a beautiful religion!"

Isn't it, though? ;)

Have a wonderful, meaningful Shabbos-selichos start this week...are YOU ready?

Saturday, September 17, 2005

What's on your...primary document?

As y'all know (or should know), I'm a History major. This means that I do a lot of reading of private books-journals, diaries, personal letters-to find the past within them.

So I was thinking about my personal journal (no, not my blog...the one I actually write in occasionally with, y'know, a pen...), which I use for detailing private things that I need to get out on paper but don't want to share with the whole wide world (the www..;) ). Could my journal be used as a primary document for a historian? (Not a biographer...) Do I describe world shattering events, politics, or natural disasters? I write about personal "world shattering events," many of which are not so world shattering...I write about the politics of my personal surroundings, and I don't think I've ever included an entry on the weather!

That's not to say that I think my journal is so important that people will later write papers on it (at least I really really hope they won't...). It's just a comparison. In years past ('s the Miniver Cheevyism again...), what went on it the world around them was so important to peoples' lives that they wrote about it in their most personal accounts. Now we are (or at least I am) so self-centered that the only world we care about is the one within our ד' אמות.

Just something to think about...

Boy? Crying?

I was sitting in class the other day, minding my own business (or rather, writing as fast as I can to keep up with the prof.), when I saw a male creature crying. It was weird. I got uncomfortable. He kept rubbing at his eyes, and every once in a while, his face would crumple and he'd cover it. It was scary, almost. I felt so bad, just being there and not being able to do something. (I wanted to give him a hug...but never fear, I held back ;) )

And I got to thinking (as I sometimes do). Why is it that we it's so much worse when guys cry then when girls do? I guess it's something to do with the whole masculinity thing..they try so hard not to show emotions that if something leaks through, it must be pretty bad.

It reminded me of a funeral I once went to (one of my first). It was a girl in my school, who had an anurism and suddenly died. I didn't realize the gravity of the situation until my principal stood up to be מספיד. And he started to cry. My unshakeable, infallable, pricipal...crying! Suddenly I realized how awful it was that this girl had been struck so young...

I don't know. I don't really have much to say about it. It was just a thought that struck me and I've been thinking about it. It affected I'm sharing it.

Why am I writing? I've finished an essay. I really should be doing research for my 7 pg. paper due on Rosh Hashana or my thesis...but I'm just gonna blog a bit before I disappear again. 'Cause...well...I'm an official quintessential nerd! ;)

Monday, September 12, 2005

Sakrfys: Get Out

Incidentally, my favorite ;)
'Cause I WANNA move to Omaha!

Ain't it comfortable to live in a big community,
Shuls and Touros every corner, and we're right near the city,
We got pizza falafel, Italian and Chinese,
Ice cream, candy stores, Mendy's and Dougie's.
This is Gan Eden on Earth - what an opportunity

Got my choice of Daf Yomi shiur morning and night,
Where to send the kids to school, wife and I get to fight,
It's like a ghetto where we live, every house another Yid,
You think we'd all be friends in the neighborhid,
But we don't even know the people living next door to our right.

Is this what the Aibishter really wants from me?
To sit here in my ghetto community...
I could be sharing and caring for Jews round the country,
Don't be selfish, live more sacrificially!

Get out of New York, New Jersey, LA, Chicago,
Toronto, Montreal, London, sayinara!
Move out to Edmonton, Charleston, Oakland, Omaha,
You wanna waste your life away or reach a Jew that's far?
They're all or brothers and sisters,
It ain't about survival of the fittest,
(If you wanna do His ratzon ultimately,
You gotta give up some of life's luxuries)
Go and make a difference - sheves achim gam yachad.

Meanwhile our fellow Jews are dropping off the radar,
While we're here enjoying our fire-poppers and potatoes,
We're losing more and more, more and more, more and more, more and more,
Brothers and sisters - they ain't gonna wait-a,
That's it, I'm off help the Jews, keep the change, see ya later.

Don't gotta be a rabbi, rebbe or schochtor,
There's loads of rooms for lawyers, therapists and doctors.
Just think of the impact you'll make - it's a piece of cake,
It won't be for naught, just living in our courts,
On a faraway brother, maybe Christopher Schwartz.

The disclaimer is one of the best parts of the song, but you have to buy the CD (which, by the way, looks like a vinyl record) to see it ;)

Why, Why WHY???

I see the negativity, the cynicism.
It could come abruptly, but sometimes it grows slowly.
"They don't care, hypocrites, selfish, two-faced..."
Why do we perpetuate this?
Can't we HONOR Hashem's Name?

Defeated sigh..

I'm sick of hearing the bad stories. Can't there be some good ones? Why don't the inspired ones speak up...wait...they ARE doing it!
It's zeh l'umas zeh in this world. There's gotta be a lotta good somewhere if there's so much bad.
It's just a matter of finding it...and I'm IY"H going to see the film next week.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Ktav Publishing?

Does anyone know about this publishing house? I was looking at some of their books, and am definately interested in them, but does anyone know anything about them?

Random Fact.

I'm doing a mini-thesis this semester on Hebrew printing-truly fascinating!

Did you know that there was only one printer in Portugal from 1489-1493 and he was Jewish? His name is given as simply "Rabbi Eliesar."
(Then there was that issue where they got expelled, so he had to leave...)

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Beloved Daughter - Sakrfys

I am a King writing a letter to a daughter that ran away from me.
Hoping that this will eventually find her and she will return back to me.
Dearest precious child, I wanna be close to you, I want it to be like it was before.
In the hardest situation, full of pains and tribulations, it is you I'll never ignore.

Please come back to me, join me for eternity.
I know it sounds crazy.
I know it's not easy.

But you need to know why,
Why I need you by my side,
Why you seem to terrified,
Why you seem so petrified.

Coz I know why,
Why you ran away,
From before my eyes on that early month of May.
You were mixed up, didn't understand,
You were running into a no-man's land.

Not knowing where to turn,
Not knowing who to ask for directions.
Not knowing if they're real, not knowing if they're illusions.
Not knowing what is true, not knowing what to believe in.

But My door is open for anyone here,
Anyone who wishes to live,
All you got to do is walk up the steps and be ready for the love to give.

Speaking of Honesty....

I'm all proud of myself, so I'll toot my own horn. I had an essay to write (yes, school has officially begun) for a teacher that I'd had two years ago. It was a different class, but he had assigned the same essay. Being the packrat that I am, I still had it. I know, I checked. But I didn't use it, 'cause it wouldn't be honest. Instead, I spent about 2 and 1/2 hours writing a new one.

I'm proud of me, and I know He is, too :)

You Take Jesus, I'll Take G-d

My return to university after a relaxing and enjoyable summer semester was a bit shocking. I walked onto campus the first day, and, although I'd been warned about them, it was quite unnerving to see the lovely people in their "Jews for Jesus" t-shirts...

As a rule, I'm pretty tolerant in terms of other religions. Judaism is not one that requires making the whole world follow it (although we do strongly suggest that people who are Jews look into their heritage before giong elsewhere ;) ), and is probably the only religion like that. I was talking to my Partner in Torah the other night, and we came to the conclusion that it's a matter of self-esteem. We're confident enough in our religion that we don't need to proove ourselves right by making others convert. In fact, we tell would-be converts to think it over. Again. And again.

But, hey. Some people want to spread their message around the world, and that's their perogative! But here's the rub...

I spoke to the lady. We both had fixed smiles on our face while she told me the verse in Genesis that proves Jesus's divinity or Messiahship...or something. I asked her if she had a Hebrew Bible to see if we could actually discuss the verse, but, quite unsurprisingly, she didn't. (I then brought a Tanach to school every day after that-except today, when I forgot, and they came back :( ) I looked up the verse. It doesn't fly. At all. (3:14-16...Jesus apparantly struck the serpent, and therefore is prophesized in about the serpent striking him at the end of the verse? And how is he THE "son of Eve"? Huh? HUH???)

So I took a pamphlet and told her I'd go look up the passage and get back to her. And THEN I got mad. The pamphlet was about how Moses didn't go to yeshiva, married a shiksa [sic], grew up in an Egyptian household, and STILL became a leader of the Jewish people. And so, apparantly, did the poster boy "Yeshua" But the point in this and another pamphlet I saw was to show the reader that the Orthodox way of living is pointless and cruel and thoughtless and...grrrrrrrr. Um. Hi. I'm Orthodox. I don't hate all non-Orthodox. I don't pronounce them dead, "like a snuffed candle," just 'cause I'm in the mood.

The methods they practice use deception and destruction. Deception, by using verses mistranslated and out of context to those who've never heard of them before. Destruction, by sowing the seeds of hate toward a community of Jews in order to preach their "love."

So I have one message for you people: Do your own thing. I don't care. But stay away from MY people. Unless you can give them a truly logical answer, showing all the evidence (not just that which suits your case), stay away. Get out and stay out.

And for all you people who wanna know what we should be doing? Redt mit Yidden!

[For those interested parties:
In general, classes are good-TONS of work, but no surprise there...;) and it was a REALLY good thing that I had that practice with Harrius Potter! ;)]

Monday, August 29, 2005

Mazal Tov Mindy!!

May the little one be zoche to grow to come to Torah, to Chupa, and to Ma'asim Tovim!! :) (Not necessarily in that order ;) )

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Soldiers of G-d

This photo is by Jodi Klinetsky Sugar. It's on the wall to my room and I absolutely love it. The title is by her as well. It's beautiful, no? :)

Sakrfys: Open up to Heaven

I really thought today
That there was no way
For us to change the way we are.

Let's take a look around,
Anything goes and no one frowns,
Everyone's happy in the wrong way.

The life we have is so real,
The challenge of it makes us feel
Like giving it up and living the easy way.

We gotta open up to Heaven,
we gotta put our trust in Him.
He wants to hear our prayers,
He really wants us to join Him.

We cannot live this way,
We gotta change the day
From a failure to a victory.

We gotta open up to Heaven,
we gotta put our trust in Him.
He wants to hear our prayers,
He really wants us to join Him.

שמע קולנו ה אלקנו
חוס ורחם עלנו
וקבל ברחמים וברצון
את תפילתנו

שמע קולנו ה אלקנו
חוס ורחם עלנו
וקבל ברחמים וברצון
את תפילתנו

...from disproving what I felt today.

Do You Want to Know?

It's something I've thought about a lot recently. There are so many bad things going on. A young yeshiva buchor from London, engaged to be married, is stabbed to death in the Old City. People desecrate the Name of Hashem. People cry. People get sick. People hurt other people.

Do you want to know? Would you rather remain blissfully oblivious to all those things that you can't do anything about?

Knowing creates responsibility. If you know something's wrong, it's up to YOU to fix it.

Are you up to that terrifying challange?

I don't know if I am. I'm scared of the world.

יהודי לא מגרש יהודי

We've heard the quote so often in the past few weeks, with the traumas of the disengagement and the constant rallying against it. People dressed in orange waved flags with this mantra, yelled and cried it to the soldiers, and used it as their motto.

But look a little deeper. Literally translated, the phrase means "A Jew does not expel a Jew." Does this only mean physically? Are there times when a Jew spiritually expels another Jew? When a Jew makes an impression on another Jew that causes them to run from Judaism because what they see is hypocritical or inconsistant? When the cruelty of one person 'expels' others?

I think it's a really good mantra. I think it's something we should continue holding up, regardless of how the disengagement turns out. This applies to us all over the world.

So, physically, spiritually, emotionally:
A Jew DOES NOT expel a Jew.

Or at least they shouldn't :(

Sakrfys: Sibling Rivalry

Your way's wrong and my way's right,
When are you gonna see the light?
You call y'self frum, y'aint even Yiddish.
Too modern, too black, Yeshivish, Chassidish.

Which yeshiva did you learn i?
Which seminary did you say?
Who's your rebbe and what's your hashkofo?
Are you bichlal worth my time of day?

Oh Hashem, you hate this rubbish,
It makes You kavyochal sick to the stomach
We are all Your kinderlach
Harbeh drochim laMakom....

I don't care what kippa you wear.
You are my brother love me if you dare.
It's okay whatever nusach you pray.
Hashem hears us all, to Him there's many ways

We are all brothers, Hashem is our Father
Let's make Him proud, respect one another.
We have different paths, can still have the love,
We are all children of the above...


I learn...

I learned three things this past Thursday. There was a goodbye party for one of my co-workers, and I started to understand why people have "issues" in the "real world"

1. I left my lunch at home. There was lots of food-bagels, cream cheese (3 different kinds), tons of cake and cookies, muffins...basically, I could have made up for lunch and dinner! But...I ended up going to the store and buying potato chips and an apple juice for lunch. Why? Hmmm...'cause I keep kosher. And the food wasn't. It wasn't even a question of whether I would eat it or not. And after I helped set up, I washed my hands off instead of licking my fingers like everyone else. 'Twas interesting to learn that about myself. I wish I had that kind of self-control when it came to dieting! ;)

Since I wasn't eating, I did a lot of watching. I noticed that people do a lot of hugging. Or rather, the guy who was leaving did. Leaving aside shomer negi'ah issues, it was interesting to watch. The women usually were fine with it, but the guys most certainly were not. You have to understand-this guy is an older fellow, really friendly to everyone, and he was genuinely sad about having to leave everyone-the hugs were truly sincere on his end-but it was interesting how some people were really uncomfortable about it (including myself...but I don't touch unrelated guys as a rule, so it's different). Most of them just gave a kind of loose, half-hearted hug, but one guy actually jumped out of the hug and stepped about 3-4 feet away from the hugger to continue his conversation with him. It was almost like he was trying to proove that even though he participated in a hug, he was still manly and non-emotional.

I mentioned that he was really friendly. He's amazing. He's the kind of guy that knew everyone's name, and remembered them from forever ago. So many people came from all over for his goodbye party-because made an effort to be friendly to everyone he met. He always said hi to people-but not just a hurried "hi" flung over his shoulder. It was a "Hi, Jennifer, how was your mother's surgery?" and then he would actually stop and focus on the answer. He cared enough about people to learn about them, and thereby left his mark.

It's lihavdil like the story of R' Yaakov Kaminetzky, where the nuns from the nearly abbey came to his funeral, because he used to say "Good morning" to them as he passed them every day. It made such an impression that they realized that he was a very special man and wanted to be there to say goodbye to him.

The way you talk to people is SO important!! This obviously extends onto blogs. PLEASE be careful with what you say and how you say it. Think a little!! The impression you make is lasting, and you are responsible for it. And it takes so little to create hatred or love....

Monday, August 22, 2005

Capture the Moment

At one of my jobs, I have to take old newspaper photographs (as in photos that were used in a newspaper-not the newspaper itself), identify them, and assign keywords to them (so one doing a search for "ballerinas" will be able to find photos of them).

It's really fascinating work, and I've learned a few lessons. I'm working with pictures from the first half of the 20th century, a time far removed from's fascinating to see the differences in priorities. The pictures from 1939-1945 don't show grisly photos of men bleeding and dying, but rather portraits of handsome young men dressed proudly in their uniforms, off to do service to their country, or of ostentatiously decorated officers shaking hands or speaking or looking at maps with other decorated officers. The portraits of soldiers...there aren't usually captions that go with these pictures, just names. Were they in the paper because they recieved a Purple Cross for saving a fellow soldier's life? Or was it a death notice? Killed in action...

Another thing that struck me were the many many pictures of screen "legends." I wonder where they are now.. The dashing bachelor and the ravishing maiden, the world-renowned soprano, are (if they're still alive) old, perhaps in nursing homes, no longer able to hold a fork on their own. Certainly not out wooing everyone in sight, their looks faded.

All I see is the picture. I make up my own story...but sometimes I wonder-what happened to the people?

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Did You Notice?

Tu B'Av was on Shabbos Nachamu. I just found that in'erestin.'

Friday, August 19, 2005

New music!

Lvnsm27 introduced me to a new Jewish band called Sakrfys. (Or maybe they're not new, I'd just never heard about them before ;) ). They play secular style alternative (so my very wise sister says ;) ), pretty good music, I think. But the point is their message, which is absolutely beautiful.

Lemme know what you think!

Note: I am not writing anymore about Gaza. I can't. I have this thing inside me...I just can't talk about it anymore, and I'm not even sure how I feel about it anymore...except sad. It's too painful. So I'm gonna blog about other random stuff. But לבי במזרח. But look at the pics Joe Settler put up about the amazing Jews helping other amazing Jews in the Old City.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Evictor and Evicted

As long as they realize that they're sisters, there's hope.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

250,000 People!!

All davening together at the Kosel for Rachamim. Whatever happens in the next week, we'll need lots of rachamim and siyata dishmaya. Go look at the video. It's absolutely beautiful. Breathtaking. All kinds of Jews, dressed in all different colors, as Jews are wont to do. But all davening. That's all. No riots, no shouting, just the soul of a nation lifting its voice up to the only One who can help.

Edit: Read a first hand account at House of Joy.

Miniver Cheevy

by Edward Arlington Robinson

Miniver Cheevy, child of scorn,
Grew lean while he assailed the seasons;
He wept that he was ever born,
And he had reasons.

Miniver loved the days of old
When swords were bright and steeds were prancing;
The vision of a warrior bold
Would set him dancing.

Miniver sighed for what was not,
And dreamed, and rested from his labors;
He dreamed of Thebes and Camelot,
And Priam’s neighbors.

Miniver mourned the ripe renown
That made so many a name so fragrant;
He mourned Romance, now on the town,
And Art, a vagrant.

Miniver loved the Medici,
Albeit he had never seen one;
He would have sinned incessantly
Could he have been one.

Miniver cursed the commonplace
And eyed a khaki suit with loathing;
He missed the medieval grace
Of iron clothing.

Miniver scorned the gold he sought,
But sore annoyed was he without it;
Miniver thought and thought, and thought,
And thought about it.

Miniver Cheevy, born too late,
Scratched his head and kept on thinking;
Miniver coughed, and called it fate,
And kept on drinking.

My life, sans the drinking part ;)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

On Censorship

Two things (neither directly having to do with the other):

1. I'm working with a lot of old ספרים at work, which is, of course wonderful and quite cool. Some of the books have stamps in them that say that they have been approved by the "censor" of such-and-such town. In a others, I've found the following passage (or similar). It emphasizes the fact that no matter what the Jews did, they were being watched, and that people were just waiting for a reason to accuse them of being traitors to their sovereigns and thereby worthy of disposing...they obviously had to be pretty careful.

גם אלה החכמים יבינו מדעתם כי לא כגוים שהיו בימי חכמי הש"ס ז"ל הגוים האלה אשר אנו מתגוררים בארצותם כי המה היו עובדי כוכבים ומזלות ודבקים בכל התועבות לא ידעו את ה' ואת דבר קדשו לא הכירו אבל העמים שבזמנינו את ה' יראים ונותנים כבוד לתורתו עושים משפט וצדקה בארצותם וחסד עם היהודים דחוסים תחת כנפיהם וחלילה לנו לדבר או לכתוב שום גנאי עליהם וכ"מ שנזכר בספרים גוי או נכרי או אומות העולם וכדומה הכוונה על אותם עכום שהיו בימי המשנה

2. A blog is a bit like one's home. People come and go, visit as they will, and bring their thoughts and ideas with them. In general, I love visitors, and I love comments ;) However, I ask you to wipe your feet on the mat before you enter. If you bring filth in, I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to leave. There are plenty of other places that revel in such things that you can enjoy. If you bring it here, your post will be deleted, as at least 6 or 7 have already been. Thanks and have a great day!

Monday, August 08, 2005

"Defen"itions of TRW

1. What influenced (positively and/or negatively) your decision to attend college?

A few things. I went to a school that didn't condemn college, as I think I've mentioned before. We have a "college guidance counselor" that you can sit down with to discuss what you want to do, just like there's a "seminary guidance counselor." I also had some awesome teachers (Mrs. W., Mrs. L., even Mrs. B. went to college! ;) ) who supported me along the way. It wasn't really a choice for me. When I came home from sem, I was told to either get a job or go to college. I guess I was just lazy and didn't want to work yet, (although I certainly have a ton of work for school anyway!) plus, I really couldn't see myself as a secretary for the rest of my life (although I did that for quite a bit as well.. ;) ). I also love learning, and this was the only (formal) way that I could continue it. There are certainly atmospheric issues (and I don't mean the air) in college, and I remember the trauma of the first day of orientation, but I still enjoy the learning...

2. Within which historical period, if any, would you choose to be reborn? Why?
I had a very hard time with this question. Possibly the time Shlomo, because even though things were certainly not perfect, they were pretty near it. The Bais Hamikdash was in its glory, the king was the wisest in the world, and everyone all over was aware and conscious of Hashem's rule over all. Or possibly Chizkiyahu's time, when every child on the street knew the answers to the hardest shailos. No. The time of Moshiach. When the world is truly perfect, and we understand.

3. Truth or Dare?
Truth. Usually. depends on the person. If I know they won't be able to phrase the question that leads into my soul, I'll let them try it. But very few people can do that to me...(kinda like Anne's "kindred spirits")

4. Why did you start blogging? Do you continue to blog for the same reason(s)?
I got a blog name 'cause I wanted to post on Stx's blog ;) I actually blogged because I couldn't stand the tremendous amount of negativity and awfulness that I found on blogs, and I decided I had to combat it in my own tiny little way. I still try to do that, but my blog has become way more personal than I'd meant it to be originally...

5. What character trait or habit (not necessarily your own) irritates you above all else?
It used to be hypocrisy, but it's become negativity and cynicism. It ruins not only the life of the person doing it, but (at least the day of) everyone with whom they encounter.

6. (You know how people "make statements" with the things they say and do?) WhatÂ’s your statement? What do you want your statement to be? What statement would you make if you knew it'd be the last thing you did? What statement would you like to avoid making? [No answer required. I just wanted to ask the questions.]
I'm not going to answer this one, but thank you for asking it. It puts a different perspective on my actions. :)

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Rashi's 900th Yartzeit

I just wanted to link to ClooJew's blog where he discusses Rashi's 900th yartzeit, which took place on Friday. It just struck me. I guess 'cause Rashi's time is the time in Jewish history that I'm really studying, so it struck a cord within me. He's so important, so real to us today, 900 years later. What would we be without Rashi? He saw that Torah was getting lost, so he used to leave notes on the rebbiim's desks in cheders with the answers to "unanswerable" questions. And for us his word is almost pshat!

Just take note.

In other news, may these nine (now eight) days that we're in lead to גאולה and may we merit reverse the שנאת חינם and bring משיח before this ט' אב.


Friday, August 05, 2005

Today's Incident in Israel

My sentiments (almost) exactly. I dunno if I can forgive them for killing...

"I can forgive the Arabs almost anything. I can forgive them for killing our children. The one thing I cannot forgive them for is that they forced our sons to become killers."

--Golda Meir

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis

No, I didn't buy it for myself. But someone else did! (And it was a confirmed anti- that suggested it ;) ). After spending about two weeks on the first two sentences, I realized I was translating a word with a meaning that made absolutely no sense and that's why my sentence didn't either.

[For interested parties, I was trying to figure out how "uti" could be used as "ut" (which it can) if there was no subjunctive in the sentence and if it was right next to "neque" (which negates it). It just made absolutely no sense! But then I realized that "uti" was really the infinitive of the verb "utor" and suddenly the world was right again.]

The moral of the story? Look beyond your comfort zone. Sometimes things don't make sense 'cause you're trying to force circles through square holes. Stop, take a good look, and try to see the picture another angle. Sometimes you just have to turn over the puzzle piece before it'll fit onto the puzzle.

Ad of the month: IM ;)

In an effort to allow for some breathing space between interviews, I'm just going to mention my thoughts on IM. It's a lovely thing, Instant Messenger. As a general rule, I hate talking on the phone. Especially the cell phone. It never has reception, someone's always talking to loud, and your time is literally money-they add up every second.

The cute little yellow guy, though, just lets you talk when you want, what you want, to whomever you desire. You don't have to rehash your last 5 years with someone (they've usually read your blog anyway and KNOW what you've been doing the last five years...incidentally, you never know who reads your blog...former roommates, former stage managers, former elementary school teachers ;) ), and you can just get to the point and ask them what you need to ask them. There's no need for small talk, 'cause the whole point of IM is to make the conversation quicker. And there're no long distance fees! ;)

But I just realized something else cool about it. I've been missing someone 'cause she hasn't been on IM recently. I see her nearly every day, and when I saw her today, I told her I had missed her online presence.

She responded: "Why don't you just call me?"
Me: "Cause then I'd have to talk to you!"
Her: Look (Complete with the eyebrow raising..)
Me: "No, it's just that I don't even have to say anything, but I know you're there, 'cause I see your little IM box where you said hi and it doesn't say she has logged off yet!"
Her: Sigh

It's just a presence. With some people you can sit in a room and not talk to for hours, but the point is that you're with each other. You can be on the phone (arg!) for an hour and not say anything (be doing something else) for a full 20 minutes of it.

I like you.

Monday, August 01, 2005

There's something so beautiful about rekindling a friendship. Or at least lighting the match. I pray it'll catch.

An Interview From Across the Pond (Karl's Interview)

1. If you were a book, which would you be? Why?
Hmm...a type of book?
A battered, dog-eared, book, with pages that have been lovingly turned for years by generations of parents and children, causing laughter and tears, pain and joy.
A specific book? A diary maybe?

2. As you are so well travelled, which place would you want to live in and why?
You should have taken warning about this question from Eli7's blog. Ah well.
ISRAEL!! Or rather, ארץ ישראל. Why? It's where I belong. Where all of us belong. Period.

3. What was the craziest thing you have ever done?
Well...I'm a bit of a goody-goody.
For me, it was absolutely nuts to go to LA when I was finishing 11th grade to be a counselor in a theatre camp. I knew nothing about it except that a singer that I semi-idolized and had met twice had given a glowing recommendation about me to the director and that it was something I had always dreamed about, even before I knew it existed. And it was anything but ordinary ;)

4. Which is the most gashmius item you can't live without?
Non-tangible? Music. I'm the biggest sucker for Broadway musicals you'll ever meet. I know all the songs by heart, can't stop...I got rid of my Rent soundtrack, though. I decided that even though the music is incredible, the theme is really not so good for my soul, so I decided to chuck it. A very hard thing for me to do. :/

5. What has been the biggest life changing crossroads in your live so far? Do you think you made the right choice?
I know it's a cop-out, but I don't feel like I've made a life changing decision yet. There are times when I feel like the decision I'm making will affect the rest of my life, but nothing that strikes me per se. They (whoever They are, I do not know) say that there's a Chinese curse "You should have an interesting life." B"H, I haven't had one. I don't think I've had to make any earth-shattering decisions. IY"H the next one I have to make will involve a guy and the rest of my life ;)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Knowing Me, Knowing You (Leati's Interview)

1) Is Evolution a fact or theory?

It's a theory that could be a fact it you hold that a day of Creation was the billions of years that it took for the tiny bug to become a person...although I have issue with the fact that I may have come from apes. In fact, I just plain old don't believe it. Very distantly related, possibly. Direct descendants? Absolutely not. (We're also distantly related to ישמעאל, but we try to avoid that as well...)

2) If there was a movie about you, who would play the leading role?

Funny question, 'cause I'm the last one (well..maybe not the last one, but close...) to know all the actresses...the answer is that I'd just have to do it (aww shucks) 'cause nobody else can. For one thing, none of the actresses around today have my unique size and shape ('cept maybe Kristen Chenelworth...maybe her-she plays G[a]linda in Wicked). In reality, I wouldn't really feel comfortable with someone else playing me, 'cause I'd feel kinda usurped. The amount of personal emotion that goes into playing a part...I wouldn't feel uniquely me anymore-I'd feel like someone else was trying to be'd be yucky. So I dunno. They'd have to pass my very strict inspection, and I don't think it'd be so easy for anyone.

3) What gets you most angry?

Now I wonder where that question came from...? ;)
When people lie and spread hatred and anger for no good reason. (So no, that person is not that bad ;) )

4) What's the worst that might happen?

I'd rather not think about it, much less put it into words. I was uncomfortable enough just reading CJ's blog last week...although it definately made a difference in my Tefilos recently.

5) What's a question you wish you were asked? and the answer?

Um...they had that question on the Hillel officers application. That's why I didn't apply. Cause I didn't wanna answer this question (well...maybe that's not WHY I didn't apply, but still...)

6) Were you surprised by any of the answers here?

I guess the first and second ones. I never really thought deeply about my feelings on evolution, and I never realized I thought I was so important that nobody could replace me. Hmmm...

Good food for thought. Yum!

Now the rules again: Read the last three posts and see if you can figure them out...

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Eli7's Interview

Thanks! I really enjoyed this one!! (Not that I didn't enjoy the others-but this one was fun for me ;) )

1) What do you view as a defining moment - an epiphany or revelation - in your life?

It's interesting. During the time when I had this epiphany, I actually was really annoyed and rebelled against it. I was in sem, and the Aim Bayit was giving a...I guess a shiur, but at the time I saw it as a "let's get all warm and fuzzy and get to know each other" kind of class. She said one thing that really stuck in my mind, and, I hope, I have since remembered in my interactions with other people. She said that for every person, there is someone who's frummer and someone who's less frum. Everyone has someone who's too extreme to the right and someone who's too extreme to the left. The example she gave was with head coverings (okay, she was talking to girls, so it applied). Most of the girls there were planning to (and many do already ;) ) wear regular shaitles once they got married, so she described the shaitle-with-hat that as the next step right and a baseball cap + ponytail as the next step left. I don't even remember why I was upset about the speech, but I was. When I thought about it later, however, I realized that there's an amazing lesson in perspective to be learned.

We always think that our way is the only way. We stand at the center, and everyone else is waaaay extreme. For me, it led me to be a little less judgemental (stop laughing, leati) and to think about my initial reactions to people before I decided whether to like them or not (and it is a decision, conscious or not). For me, it was to look at people that are frummer than me and to think about what they do, not to see it as threatening to me and therefore "fanatic." I find it's much easier (for me) to accept people who I consider "left" of me than "right," so it's something I've been working on ever since.

2) If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would that word be?


3) What is your greatest accomplishment?

In general, when I have a big project and I don't think I can do it and it somehow gets done. I don't like responsibility, and I don't think of original ideas easily (hence my play that's taking so long to write). The first time that happened was when I was co-head of the gymnastics routine for my school. I COULD NOT (or so I thought) do it, and I only accepted the position because the other girl was desperate. It ended up being the best performance of the entire show, and I'm still very proud of it.

Is that my greatest accomplishment, all things considered? No. But it was the first time I realized that I, little old TRW, could do big things and they could even come out fantastic! :)

4) In a perfect world, where/who will you be 20 years from now?

In the Old City of Yerushalayim, preparing a huge Shabbos meal for the tons of guests that my husband will bring home from the Kotel or from the school where he's teaching, who've never seen a Shabbos before, and these people's intro to Yiddishkeit will be based on the way I've raised my kids and made my home and IY"H it'll be done absolutely right.

(Yes, I'll also be near Hebrew University, where I could pop in to the Hebrew Manuscript division and do research while the kids are at school, and the Kol Neshama Eretz Yisroel division'll also be nearby, where I can pursue performance and help girls realize their amazingness....:) )

5) What is your single most valued possession?

My soul.

Now the rules again:
1) Leave me a comment saying "interview me please."
2)I will respond by asking you five questions (not the same as above)
3)You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions.
4) You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5) When others comment asking to be interviewed you will ask them five questions.

Edit: I think I've interviewed everyone that's asked me so far. If I haven't, let me know. I'm still waiting to be interviewed by Karl, Stx, and NJ. (I commented in the previous post that I'm happy to interview y'all, but then you gotta interview me too! I'm beginning to like this game! ;) ) If you want to be interviewed, ask me on this post, so I'll know which one to check.
Have a happy day!

Monday, July 25, 2005

"En" Interview of TRW ;)

Good questions, En! They really made me think...which is 99.6% of the time a good thing ;)

Just a note...I almost done, and then the thunderstorm came and erased take 2.

1) Describe in detail a play that you would produce on Broadway.

The easy answer: If I knew the details of that play, it'd be written and in production stage already!!

The harder answer: I'm in middle of one...but I don't want to talk about it (except to my wonderful editor/songwriter) until it's really real and finished.

The ideal: A story with beautiful, catchy music that leaves the audience (and the actors) knowing more while continuing to think, proud of who they are while continuing to grow, and with a huge desire to go out and make the world a better place.

Ah...what would any of us to with the ability to inspire the world? (And what do those with that power actually do...?)

2)If you were to find a manuscript from the Rambam that was never seen by anyone, what would you do with it?

First I'd lock myself in the library until I'd finished going through the whole thing. After verifying it for myself, I'd take it to the local בקאי in כל התורה כולה and get his opinion on it. After it's been confirmed and verified, I'd take it to my local publishing house and make sure everyone can get a copy that's obviously true and real, so I wouldn't have to worry about words of תורה being doubted.

I would also scour the margins to try and find notes or personal comments that would help with an insight into the life and era of the Rambam so that we can make history really part of our lives and see its importance in terms of הלכה and מסרה (i.e. Why was this particular פסק so significant, based on what was going on in Egypt at the time?).

Once all the excitement dies down, I'll go back in the library and see what else I can find ;)

3)If you could be one character in HP which one would you be and why?

And what makes you think I'd know characters from HP? ;)

My favorite character is Ron. Perhaps because we share a birthday, but also 'cause I relate to him. I'm a bit nervous around some people and I don't always know what to say and I have friends that are better and smarter than me that sometimes make me feel a little bad but mostly I'm sooo glad that I'm friends with them. (Whew! Long sentence, no commas....but I'm not the English major ;) ). And no, that isn't just about one person, or two, or's a self-esteem thing.

Would I wanna be like him? Dunno. In terms of personality, I wish I could have Lupin's kindness, McGonnagal's brains (note that I didn't say Dumbledore's-sometimes too much wisdom can bring you down...:( ), Tonk's funnyness (when she gets over her issue at the end of HBP), Fred & George's ease among people, Malfoy's perserverence (just not for the same things..), Hagrid's huge heart, Ginny's strength of character, Hermione's practicality (but not her worries), and nothing of Snape.

But that still didn't answer the question ("one character"), did it? Ah well.

4)If you were to write a meforash on Torah what sefer would you write it on and why?

Megilas Esther. I spent a long time studying only one pasuk of it for a paper in seminary and it really speaks to me (and no, my name isn't Esther ;) ). It's really a מגלה for גלות, and so much of it clearly applies today. (אמונת חכמים, for one..)

5)Describe the best thing your future husband could do for you to make you happy.

Very hard question. Are you asking what I'm looking for in a guy? Hmm..

The best thing that a husband could do that'd make me happy is to show me that he loves כלל ישראל and wants to do everything in his power to bring them closer to their Source. ('Course, I'm part of כלל ישראל ;) ). There's the usual support and caring and open ear, etc., all of which are crucial, but priorities MUST be straight as well.

Thanks again, En, that was truly an eye-opening experience for me!

Now the rules again:

1) Leave me a comment saying "interview me please."

2)I will respond by asking you five questions (not the same as above)

3)You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions.

4) You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5) When others comment asking to be interviewed you will ask them five questions.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Shoes, ships, sealing wax, cabbages, kings, etc.

A brief update on my trip: Absolutely lovely.

Oh. That's not enough? London is a beautiful town, and I had a wonderful time-the trip was far too short. We toured it high and low, touched most (if not all) the usual tourist spots and some very unusual ones. The frum community is quite warm and friendly (I can see why some use the word "ghetto" to classify it, but it's not any more ghetto than Flatbush or Boro Park ;) ) All in all it was a very good experience, one I would gladly do again (although hopefully when the pound is down or the dollar is up...). I didn't meet any bloggers, though I kinda hoped I would (though I dunno how I would have recognized them ;) ).

Culturally, a bit different...fascinating. And I'm not SUCH a backwards, uncivilized American, okay? And Americans are not as stupid as all you Londoners make them out to be...still smarting from 1774?

Skittles are absolutely delicious! (And kosher in England, for those who're wondering..)

The best sign I saw-on the other side of the tower bridge: "Caution -- Haschem" (I might be spelling the second word wrong, but I found it quite wonderful ;) )

For you fellow HP obsessors: we found a pub called the Hog's Head and couldn't resist-we went inside and ordered Cokes just to be able to say we did ;) Unfortunately, they didn't serve butterbeer :( And I would like to publicly thank the two people who cause the Deluxe edition to be sitting on my bed when I arrived home ;)

Hashgacha pratis:
1. We got a bit lost and met an Israeli couple that couldn't really speak very good English, but needed directions, and we were able to help them. In fluent Hebrew ;) It's always nice to see why you had to make that wrong turn...

2. We left this past Thursday. We had decided to take the Tube to the airport as it was cheapest, but at 12:30 AM Thursday morning our hosts convinced us that we'd be much happier taking a cab and paying the extra fare. Needless to say, they were right. B"H we got to the airport on time and didn't even hear about the bombings until we landed in the USA.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Everything Else vs. Money

My second job is at a HEBREW rare books library. Meaning that the books there are (mostly) כלי קודש. It's wonderful.

I am able to open a ספר and see the writing of someone who labored tirelessly over holy words to understand them, and then marked down his own הארות for posterity. (Interesting, isn't it, how the word הארות comes from להאיר, literally "to enlighten"? :) )

I open for the first time in 50 years the cracked pages of an ancient מחזור with the names of those for whom the owner would say Yartzeit written on the inside flap.

With chilling comprehension, I see the stamp of the Nazi Archives, marking a book to go to the museum for "those lost people, the Jews, who used to blight the world." And yet many of the books have been returned to their rightful owners, who outlived the evil ones. Many of the owners, however, could not be found. The books were then shipped to libraries across the world, where they could be accessed by the descendants of their former owners.

I wish I knew more Yiddish, German, Italian, and how to read music (those are the languages I've come across so far-aside from Hebrew, 'course). I found a book about an inch thick, filled with handwritten notes to songs that won't be played. I wish I could write them down and play them at home, learn them, and teach them for others.

It's with these books that I'm working now. On my volunteer time. And I love it.
This is Reality. This is Truth. This is not comparable to someone's twisted idea of "art," this is the truth about life! I feel like I know so little, and yet CAN learn so much. Cause it's just...right.

Money vs. Everything Else

...or "How I wish I didn't need money so I could drop my paying job and do my volunteer work full-time"

I shouldn't complain. I'm not really, in fact. It's just that the diference is sooo clear. Let's back up a bit. I have two summer jobs, each two days a week. They're both in rare book libraries (Yes, a rare book library is different than an archive. An archive collects data. Could be anything-like how much the company earned this year, or what courses a university offers. A rare book library has rare books.), and I'm enjoying both of them. They're just....different.

One's at a university. They have a large photography collection, lots of old photographs, which is very cool. Not my particular interest, but very inerestin'. Especially interesting are the ones from during an important event in history (like a world war) that shows the event as the people saw it THEN, rather than as we see it through the 20/20 vision of history.

Another interesting thing about working with the photographs (they're from a newspaper collection) is how media distorts. The photographs have coloring all over them-blacking things out, drawing things in, emphasizing little and unimportant things...and thereby telling a completely different story than what had originally been there.

But there are the disturbing parts also. There was a lecture given about Ethics and Photography. Their conclusion? You can take a photograph of anything, yes, anything, and that's wonderful, because it's art, so it's beautiful. Essentially (and I'm paraphrasing the speaker), ethics are different with every person, and so there basically are no ethics. My conclusion? אם אין תורה אין דרך ארץ.

What was even more disturbing was that he told me afterwards that he's always worried about giving this speech, cause sometimes there're really religious people that take offense at it. Hello!! I'm offended!!

What was more disturbing than that was when he asked me to file the extremely graphic photos that he'd used for the lecture. I'm disturbed. Very very disturbed.

On the other hand, there's my other job :)

P.S. Has anyone ever flown international on Priceline before?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Emotional Overflow #2: Thank You!!

I realized that I've been living a charmed life. No, not a charmed life, a siyata dishmaya life. As I get older and learn more about the world, I realize it more and more. I'm shocked by things I read. About family situations. About abuse. About lack of love. About lack of understanding. Things that many many people, rachmana litzlan, have been touched by.

So I wanted to publicly announce thanks to Hashem. 'Cause he runs my life, and whatever He does, he does perfectly. Of course!! There's an incredible weight that lifts from your shoulders when you realize that things that happen to you are from Him, and therefore are by definition good...even if sometimes it's harder to see than other times. You make your Papa happy, and He takes care of you! And even when you do bad, He's there, waiting, still doing good for you. And He loves you. And me. :)

(No, that still doesn't negate EO #1-cause we want to make Him HAPPY!! Seeing His children fight doesn't do that...:( )

Emotional Overflow #1: It's OUR Land!!

Lately, I've been feeling two opposite emotions really really strongly. I'm putting them in two seperate posts, 'cause they're really almost opposites, and I'm putting the positive one second, 'cause I want that to be on the top of my blog.

Here goes:

The whole disengagement thing. It makes me angry, it makes me frustrated, it makes me scared. I have family that lives in Eretz Yisroel, where we're all supposed to be, and I want to be there IY"H one day soon. But will it be there by the time I get there? They're giving away one peice of land after another, on the assumption that it will bring peace. ( know what assuming does...oh, never mind...) You can't have peace with someone that wants only to kill you and your people. Past circumstances have proved this, but it's all being ignored. Giving people that hate you the land next door to you is not a good idea, giving the people that hate you your brother's land and telling him to beat it is positively stupid!!

Which leads me to another rant...and I feel quite strongly about this-if we would make an attempt to get along with each other, I really really believe that things will improve. It's like Hashem is saying "You can't live together in My land? Then leave!" And it doesn't apply only to the charedim vs. chilonim. It has to do with US-wherever we are, in whatever countries. Just because your next-door neighbor is Modern Orthodox, or Chasidish, or Yeshivish or whatever doesn't mean that you have the right to mock him, his customs, and his way of life. Those of us who are following the Torah should work on following the Torah better, to the best of our ability-'cause THAT'S what we're here for-to serve Hashem!! Not to prove that our way is better!! So could we maybe maybe maybe try to get along?

We all need Moshiach sooooo badly. And the fastest way for him to come is to show Hashem that we're ready. I don't have the words to it now, but I once read a poem about Moshiach coming. He goes to a whole bunch of shuls, where they tell him that he can't be Moshiach, 'cause he's not wearing a black yarmulka/knitted yarmulka/black hat/streimel, etc. So he says "never mind", and leaves. Are we doing that??? Are we making an effort not to do that? Are we making an effort to make a Kiddush Hashem in the world? Or are we airing our dirty laundry where everyone can see it?

(No, I don't think the first and second rants contradict each other. I don't HATE the people who are arranging the disengagement. I think that they have preconcieved notions about the people they're kicking out and don't feel like they're brothers, and that's why they think it's okay!! If we'd attempt to show them Torah and the whole concept that places like Kever Rochel are HOLY and should not be given to the people who destroyed Kever Yosef, maybe thing'd be different...)

Monday, June 20, 2005

Yiddish, anyone? OR Yay Mindy!

I was wondering if there's anyone who could help me. I'm translating something from Yiddish for my work, but there's a minor problem. I don't speak all :/ B"H, my father does, and he's helping me with it, but there were still a few words that we couldn't get. How many do you know?

ערן וועד

Edit: I've got 'em all, thanks to Mindy-see, that chasidish education is definately worthwhile! ;)

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Desiring to Desire vs. Longing for the Longing

In this past week's parsha, in the description of the the complaints of the Eirav Rav, the pasuk uses a very interesting double lashon. Loosely translated, the phrase used means "and they desired." It continues on to discuss how they complained because they weren't getting meat in the desert.

If translated literally, however, the phrase means "and they desired desire." What does this mean?

1. The mon was purely spiritual. As such, it elicited no forbidden ta'avos within the people. The particular people who were complaining literally wanted "desire," those forbidden ta'avos that come with eating the same physical nourishment that animals do.

2. The people wanted to find something to complain about. So they worked themselves up, searching for something that they could twist to their purposes. They discovered a few things lacking from the otherwise endless choices in the mom, and grabbed that as their excuse to complain. They tried to build in themselves a desire to do bad, and succeeded.

It just struck me, cause I find myself doing that sometimes. There're times when I don't really care either way about doing something, but I want to want to do it, so I work myself into it. For bad things AND for good things.

Think about it. The next time you're ambivalent about something, consider: Is it something you just want to create a ta'ava for? Or is it something that you want to build a ratzon for within yourself, because it coincides with the Ultimate Ratzon....?

There's a stone in the place where my heart used to be
And I'm longing for the longing once again
There's a small subtle trace of my sincerity
And it only comes to taunt me now and then...

Gut voch and shavua tov.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

My job(s)

Very cool!! I'm working in two rare books libraries-one volunteer, one paid. I've only started the paid one, but just being in the environment is awesome!! Lots 'n lots of really old stuff, artifacts, letters, stuff like that. Nothing Jewish (that's what the volunteer one is for), but still pretty exciting.

I said nothing Jewish, but I managed to find something ;) One of the archivists is writing a book, and asked me to translate something for him for the book (= credit line for me when it's published! :) ). He thought it was Hebrew, turns out it's I'm sorta learning Yiddish on the spot so I can do this. It's one of the five or so languages (including Arabic, French, German...) that I'm gonna need to know anyway, so better start early!

B"H. It was a good week. Even when it didn't seem that way. :)

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Cheap Flights to London?

Anyone? I have a wedding in July that I would really really really love to attend...but I can't afford more than $600 on a ticket right now...and Czech Air is not an option ;)
Any ideas?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Lessons from my past?

So I've gotten through all my notes from high school, and I'm up to seminary. In fact, I have been up to them for the past two weeks or so...but I'm afraid to review them. I'm not where I was, and I don't like it, but apparantly it's not affecting me enough to change myself...

It's a yucky day.

(Although...I got a job today in the Rare Books Library!! ;) There's always something good...and yes, I know y'all are soooooo jealous...)


What happened to the little girl
Who dreamed a thousand dreams she didn't keep?
Who woke up in the middle of a nightmare,
She was drowning in her sleep.
She had sold her dreams for cheap.
And as I cry all alone
Inside a frenzy of struggle and pain I would scream
PLEASE let me dream again (dream again..)
Please fill me with dreams once again,
And the strength to change...

-Big Dreams, Julia Blum

Saturday, June 04, 2005

ברכת המדינה vs. קריאת התורה?

Bracing self, taking a deep breath, preparing for all the attacks...

I go to shul pretty regularly, especially since I restarted my Shabbos morning chavrusa. Something's been bothering me a lot, and since this can be a venting ground for me, here goes:

I don't have a problem with the ברכת המדינה per se. I think it's a wonderful thing and that we should daven for ארץ ישראל and our people. What gets me frustrated is the lack of consistancy involved with it.

We usually have a תפילה for חולים during שביעי. In general, during קריאת התורה, there is always a bit of talking (only on the men's side in my shul, which I find rather fascinating...), but it usually ends at ברכו, when everyone does their quick shifting in their seats to complete the ברכה. The תפילה for חולים, however, seems to become free-for-all talking time.

During the Haftorah, however, it's different. Then, apparantly the need to talk is too great, and is so important, that many of the men actually leave the sanctuary to go and discuss their very important matters in the hallway.
Also inerestin.'

After all the laining is the ברכת המדינה et al. Suddenly everyone is back, standing, alert, quiet, and at attention. That's pretty incredible. The תפילה for חולים is not that important, the Haftorah is not that important, but suddenly this new תפילה, which has been introduced fairly recently and is fairly controversial, is more important even than the תורה and the words of the נביאים?

Again, I have nothing against the actual תפילה. It's just the hypocracy that goes along with it that frustrates me.


Wednesday, June 01, 2005

A message to all you theatre people (I know you're there...)

I've been getting a lot of hits recently from searches for things like "Julia Blum", "Shomer Shabbos Theatre", "frum acting", etc. I'm not sure exactly how BlogPatrol works-if it just shows me when Frumactress has been clicked on in a Yahoo, Google, MSN, etc. search, or if it shows that I've been linked just when someone searches for the terms-whether they click on the site or not.

Either way, if you are there, EMAIL ME!! Frumactress at gmail....'cause I knew I'm not the only person out there who needs to act, and all you searchers confirmed it, and it's really hard to start a theatre program for frum girls on my please? I'd love to talk to you!!

Monday, May 30, 2005

I've been tagged!

Just got back from a whirlwind, spur of the moment trip to my aunts' (the one with the secret passageway in her house ;) ) and found that I've been tagged by en to do RandomActsofKindnesses.

I originally found the definition on survivor's blog:

RAK (rak) n. a random act of kindness done out of the goodness of one's heart, the act of helping others, Etymology: Yiddishe Mamma

Whoever started this, I like it! ;)

1) Didn't get upset at all when everyone else thought I would. In fact, I was quite nice! (והמבינה תבין)
2) Didn't talk back to avoid an argument and just did as she said (and no, "she" wasn't my mother)
3) Called my PiT-on TIME, and changed the book we're gonna learn BEFORE she bought it so she doesn't see the awful editing (or lack thereof) that I found.
4) Called someone else about the elusive Rivka (who I think might be going by Rebecca these days), with whom only I can relate, from what I understand. I still havn't called her, but I need to figure out the situation first...
5) Finished cleaning up the kitchen so my mother wouldn't have to when she got home

I'm tagging:
Stx (you knew you would be ;) )
Ger-ish (although you've been gone for a while-I guess now is peak grading time)

Thursday, May 26, 2005

The Price You Pay

For Rivka. I don't know you, but I know how you feel. "When G-d gives you a gift, you are obligated to use it. Use it to bring GOODNESS into this world and HONOR to the One who gave it to you." Remember that and email me if you actually read this...

Trained monkeys at a photo session
Smiling for the camera
You can learn to do it to if you agree to pay the price
You think you're great if someone calls
You think you're awful if they don't
Let your self-esteem depend upon the rolling of the dice

But that's the price you pay for the money and applause
It's the price you pay for the fun and fame because
You ordered pain for twenty without looking at the bill
Now the fun isn't funny anymore...

Well they'll cheer when you win
And then they'll cheer when you lose
And when you marry and divorce and when the wrinkles crowd your face
You're an overnight success except it took you 15 years
They'll love you now, till next month when someone younger takes your place

But that's the price you pay for the money and applause
It's the price you pay for the fun and fame because
You ordered pain for twenty without looking at the bill
Now the fun isn't funny anymore...

It isn't difficult to smile 87 times a day
If that's the way you get attention and the way you pay your bills
It doesn't mean that you are happy or you're greatful to be living
You could fool the fans in Philly; I'd a heart that never filled

But that's the price you pay for the money and applause
It's the price you pay for the fun and fame because
You ordered pain for twenty without looking at the bill
Now the fun isn't funny
And the fame...ain't such a thrill

By: Julia Blum

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Newest Midos Book Posted by Hello

Book Review

A note: I stopped reading most fiction a while ago (with the exception of pretty much one series ;) ), mainly because of bad quality, bad content, and the fact that real life (or real
history) is sooooo much more interesting.

I just got the newest book in the midos series by R' Baruch Chait and Gadi Pollack. As usual, I'm so impressed, and I just want to share it. There're three books so far, about the journey of the travellors of the Gaavatanic and their trails and travails. It's pretty cool, because it has absolutely beautiful drawings, and the lessons it teaches are really real. Using the אורחות צדיקים as its "main source of reference," the books talk about Midos, something very apropos for during Sefira. It shows how character traits can be good or bad, taken to either extreme, and describes how NOBODY can be perfect without working on themselves. Not all of the Midos are "good" or "bad" per se, it's just how and when they're used that makes all the difference.

And I'm a sucker for pretty pictures :)

Another note: I just figured out how to post pics, but not how to combine them with text...if anyone knows, please let me know! Thanks!

Monday, May 23, 2005


Thanks to, I've been catching up on R' Tatz's shiurim. Wow.

In the one I just finished, R' Tatz talks about speech. Words make concepts smaller, compress ideas, and therefore necessarilly destroy some of the concept being discussed. Once one tries to solidify a concept into finite words, so much of the concept is lost, because so much is not describable. This is why a picture is worth 1000 of them. At least. Because words are empty, and very hard to use for describing Reality. Another thing he adds-the stronger a connection a relationship has, the less the people need to speak to each other.

Random:"Aura" sounds very much like "אורה". Coincedence? I think not.

Sorry. It's clearly a concept that can't be put into my words...listen to the shiur, it's beautiful.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Lessons from my past #3

רבי יהושע בן קרחה אומר: כל הלומד תורה ואינו חוזר עליה, דומה לאדם שזורע ואינו קוצר
"R' Yehosua ben Karcha says: Anyone who learns Torah and does not review is similar to a man who plants and does not reap." (Sanhedrin 99.)

So I've found. I knew so much when I was in high school (ironic though that sounds). I had chazals at my fingertips, I could quote from probably 3/5 of Chumash, I knew every Navi that I'd learned, often more so than my brothers (cause they don't learn Navi in Yeshiva for some unknown reason..).

And now? Now I don't learn..much. I try to, but I don't have the obligation that a man does, so if I have a paper/exam/anything else, I'll work on that instead. It's actually quite sad. Now that I'm on vacation, IY"H I'll be able to learn again. I've been listening to lots of stuff online, which eases it somewhat, but I want to learn something inside-I want it to be MY Torah, that I've learned on my own-not something that I've heard in a lecture.

(Tangent..) There's such a big difference between a lecture and a class. Lectures are where people talk at you, feeding you information. In a class, you are part of the conversation, and therefore what you learn becomes part of you. I've learned that college courses are lectures. My Bais Yaakov courses were classes. For that, I'm grateful.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

A 7th grader's way of changing the world

I wish I could go back to believing that life is so simple.. :\

Dear Mr. President,

Recently my class has noticed hat there is a major problem with the compost heaps. In short, there is too much garbage! Therefore, I would like to respectfully offer you a few alternatives. Firstly, in some places in the North and South Poles there is virtually no wildlife. This being so, we could dump our garbage in the poles. If that would do something to hurt the environment, then I have another alternative. You could take a rocketship, put lots of garbage in it, and take the garbage to the sun where it could explode into nothing. However, that would be a little expensive, so you could instead invest money toward helping scientists discover a way to turn garbage into energy. That, I think, is the best idea of all.

A Fellow Citizen,
TRW, of Mrs. Bauer's seventh grade high science.

The RIGHT way to make a Takana

I love the Baltimore community.

Recently, the Vaad Harabonim in Baltimore published a letter in a weekly magazine describing what they call a "request..that the Vaad Harabanim would like to bring to the attention of the klal." The matter is indeed small, yet something that has bothered many people (on all ends of every spectrum). But that's not the point. It's worded so respectfully, with a note that "The Vaad Harabanim would very much like to hear people's response to the above suggestions." No, they don't have to write that. Yes, we know that they're much greater than the average person. And yet, they treat everyone like they're on the same level. They're offering a "suggestion" to the community (which happens to be very valid), in a respectful and thoughtful way that condemns nobody and offers suggestions on how to change.

I'm impressed.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Just Leave Us Alone!!

As I mentioned below, I'm not a rhetoratician. I know others who are, though! ;) I've had this article for a while. The copy I have is from the Hamodia, September 7, 2001, but it's been printed in a number of newspapers. I find it rings rather true.

This article...has been making the rounds as a "message from an unknown soldier"...

Upsetting the World, Again
Please, we understand that you are upset with us here in Israel. It appears that you are quite upset, even angry and outraged. Indeed, every few years you seem to become upset with us.

Today it is the brutal repression of the Palestinians; yesterday it was Lebanon; before that it was the bombing of the nuclear reactor in Baghdad and the yon Kippur War.

It appears that Jews who triumph and who, therefore, live, upset you most.

Of course, dear world, long before there was an Israel, we, the Jewish people, upset you. We upset a German people who elected a Hitler, we upset an Austrian people who cheered his entry into Vienna and we upset a slew of Slavic nations - Poles, Slovaks, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Russian, Hungarians, and Rumanians.

We go back a long, long way in the history of world upset. We upset the Cossacks of Chmielnicki who massacred tens of thousands of us in 1648-49; we upset the Crusaders who, on their way to liberate the Holy Land, we so upset at Jews that they slaughtered untold numbers of us.

For centuries, we upset a Roman Catholic Church that did its best to define our relationship through inquisitions. And we upset the archenemy of the Church, Martin Luther, who, in his call to burn the synagogues and the Jews in them, showed an admirable Christian ecumenical spirit.

It is because we became so upset over upsetting you, dear world, that we decided to come home to our ancient, G-d given homeland -- the same homeland from which we were driven out 1,900 years earlier by a Roman world that, apparently, we also upset.

What better notion than to leave you and thus love you -- and have you love us? And so we decided to come home.

Alas, dear world, it appears that you are hard to please. Having left you and your pogroms and inquisitions and crusades and the Holocaust, having taken our leave of the general world to live alone in our own little state -- we continue to upset you.

You are upset that we repress the poor Palestinians. You are deeply angered over the fact that we do not give up the lands of 1967, which are clearly the obstacle to peace in the Middle East.

Well, dear world, consider the reaction of a normal Jew from Israel. In 1920, 1921, and 1929, there were no territories of 1967 to impede peace between Jews and Arabs. Indeed, there was no Jewish State to upset anybody. Nevertheless, the same oppressed and repressed Palestinians slaughtered hundreds of Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa, Safed and Hebron. Indeed, 67 Jews were slaughtered in one day in Hebron in 1929.

And when you, world, proposed a U.N. partition Plan in 1947 that would have created a Palestinian state alongside a tiny Israel, and the Arabs cried and went to war and killed 6,000 Jews. Was that upset stomach caused by the aggression of 1967?

The poor Palestinians who today kill Jews with explosives and firebombs and stones are part of the same people who -- when they had all the territories they now demand be given to them for their state -- attempted to drive the Jewish State into the sea. The same twisted faces, the same hate, the same cry of "idbakh-al-yahud" -- "Slaughter the Jews!" that we hear and see today, were seen and heard then. The same people, the same dream -- destroy Israel. What they failed to do yesterday, they dream of today -- but we should not "repress" them.

Dear world, you stood by the Holocaust and you stood by in 1948 as seven states launched a war that the Arab League proudly compared to the Mongol massacres. You stood by in 1967 as Nasser, wildly cheered by mobs in every Arab capital in the world, vowed to drive the Jews into the sea. And you would stand by tomorrow if Israel were to face extinction.

And since we know that the Arabs-Palestinians daily dream of that extinction, we will do everything possible to remain alive in our own land.

We survived in your land -- unwelcome visitors -- by the grace of G-d alone. And we will continue to survive by the grace of G-d alone. We will stay in our own little, G-d given corner no matter how upset you get, and long after you forget why you got upset at us, by the grace of G-d alone.

In any event, dear world, if you are bothered by us, here is one Jew in Israel who could not care less.

Personal Feelings on Disengagement

I just read on Jack's Shack something called "The Exodus From Gaza," quoted from Daniel Gordis. I suggest that y'all go and read it for an account of a trip by a very insightful father who knows the importance of Eretz Yisroel to his children and his nation. He took his children to Gaza to show them the people that would be involved in the disengagement, the families that would be relocated from their homes, the parks and playgrounds that would be left barren, and the shuls and schools that will no longer echo with the sounds of children learning Torah....

I don't usually get political. I don't have the rhetorical skills for it, and it just gets me frustrated. But I feel very strongly that Eretz Yisroel is ours. It's a little tiny piece of land, and that's all we want. We saw what happened when they discovered Yosef's tomb. They destroyed it. That's not respect. That's not a desire for peace. This whole thing just makes me angry.

Can't we all just get along so Moshiach will come NOW?!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Lessons from my past-#2

I found this in my 6th grade notes, and I like it:
The Man in the Glass

When you get what you want in your struggle for self,
And the world makes you king for a day,
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that man has to say.

For it isn't your father or mother or friend,
Whose judgement upon you must pass,
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life,
Is the one staring back from the glass.

Some people might think you're a straight shooting chum,
And call you a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum,
If you can't look him straight in the eye.

He's the fellow to please - never mind all the rest,
For he's with you clear to the end.
And you have passed your most dangerous test,
If the guy in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartache and tears,
If you've fooled the man in the glass.

Lessons from my past-#1

I'm not sure if I've made it clear, but I find history to be important, and have believed this for quite a while. I'm also a bit of a packrat, and I therefore have my class notes from 6th grade through the present (which makes for very little space in my room, but that's another story).

I find it fascinating to occasionally go through this, in the hope of meeting a much younger, more idealistic, more naive version of myself, and it ends up being a very long trip down memory lane. There's also a lot you can learn about teaching when you see how your own teachers treated you. It's absolutely amazing to me, so I'm going to share a bit of what I've learned:

Positive Reinforcement: A grade on an exam is a number and only that. The student's reaction to that number depends on the teacher's reaction. (I'm also being a bit influenced by R' Tatz's tapes, thanks to Stx and Karl, where he speaks about the problem of schools when teachers compare students to each other, thereby destroying the "lesser" student) If a teacher writes "Great, etc" on an exam, the student is elated. Even if the teacher writes something neutral to negative, such as, "what happened?" or "please see me," it shows that the teacher is interested and cares. Getting a paper back with a 65% and no comment shows no interest, and the student reacts to that. I had a teacher in the Fall semester who said that the worst thing that a student can do when getting a paper back is to crumple it up and throw it out-because that shows that they're used to "failure" and don't want to think about another one.

For me, it was so important to know that a teacher cared about ME. It was partially a self-esteem thing, partially an ego, but I wanted to be special. Getting good grades didn't matter if there was nobody who cared about them...

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Why so much so suddenly?

I have a final on Friday. My last one. And I'm sick of studying. Can you tell? ;)

Update: I'm donedonedonedonedone!! Should have quote someone I know..."all well." But I got two of my grades back and they I will survive...I hope...and now-VACATION!!!

...and back to positivity ;)

On a totally opposite note, I'm feeling a whole lot better about children (no, not for me as of now-see below). One thing that has always made me kinda hesitate about teaching, and quite a bit nervous about raising kids in general, has been the rapid deterioration of kids and their midos at a younger and younger age.

BUT there is hope!! My sister has been here for the past week or so with her absolutely adorable children-3 boys and a girl. They're not angels-au contrare, they're quite mischevous, but the word chutzpa has NO place in their vocabulary. They'll destroy a house rather easily, but if one of their parents tell them to stop, they will-right away.

I was in Toys R Us with them yesterday, and, like any children, they wanted just about the whole store. But when told they could only get one thing, they chose it, and were thrilled about it! In fact, my nephew pointed out to me that they "already had" one of the toys, and was so excited! They don't get extras usually, so being able to buy a new toy is SUCH a treat!!

An interesting thing to note-they don't have a TV, they don't have internet. They live in a rather religious settlement in Eretz Yisroel. They don't have the newest toys or games, but the supply of love is never-ending. These are kids who DO live with constraints, and yet are soooo happy! Ah, the joys of simplicity and love of Torah! :)