Sunday, January 30, 2005

Out of Curiousity...

Do you believe in love (or like) at first (or second) sight?
Do you think that people are being too picky in waiting to be swept off their feet and that love is something that is built?
Inerestin' discussion...just shows that if you argue with someone very close to you, it doesn't harm a relationship, B"H!!! On to chavrusa-ing!

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Just a Thought

R' Asher Wade once made a comment that struck me as, unfortunately, true:

"Don't judge Judaism by the Jews."

Yes, it's true, we are supposed to be making a kiddush Hashem in the world...and apparantly we're not doing such a good job, if the blogworld has any say in the matter (which I have other thoughts on, but that's not for now.)

But don't throw away something TRUE just because you see people that aren't living the life that seems ideal to you, or if someone does something that you find inconsistant with Torah Judaism. There are so many that ARE living such beautiful lives that you should model yours after. Or, if your way seems the best way for you to fill Ratzon Hashem (The Will of G-d), then go ahead! Torah IS real, and IS eternal, and has sooo much to teach us. One bad experience (or even two) should not be enough to turn you off. As I keep saying, when you look for good in people, it's amazing how much you can find.

Look for answers. From people who know. You'll be amazed by how much you can find once you stop complaining and start honestly searching.

Friday, January 28, 2005

The Question

I don't usually click on links, but this one was emailed to me by someone I know and trust. Cross-currents has a fascinating conversation going on about which path a BT should take: Charedi or Modern Orthodox. I didn't post, but if you actually go and see it, note which side is being defensive. No comment on that. ;)

Seriously, though, it's a really hard question, and I think R' Feldman puts it best. He broadly presents the good and bad of each side as the other sees them, and then asks the reader: which would you choose?

Go check it out!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

How Can One Be Frum and an Actress? An enigma...

Many people have asked about the title of this blog, and how it could be possible that the words "frum" and "actress" can go in the same sentence. I'm apparantly considered an enigma in the blog world (An enigma? What a terrible thing to call her!), which is highly amusing to me...I answered with the short list a while back, but here's the long one. I don't plan to do this again, so PAY ATTENTION (Constant Vigilence!!) .

Let's start: A long, long time ago, in the days of my youth, I was in my first play. In truth I can't recall, but I think it was in 4th grade or thereabouts. I loved it. I loved the stage, I loved the attention, I loved the audience. And I was good. So, I continued dancing through life, thinking that I had finally found my calling, often cast as the main part (the most memorable one, for me, included running through an auditorium, frantically asking audience members to "Help me, help me!" and thoughroughly confusing them.., but then again, I'm good at confusing people ;) )

When I reached the age of bas mitzva, I had a masquerade for my keeping with the theme of my life. Sometime in high school (probably during one of our productions-I never got along with the director), I realized that I would not be able to dream big dreams, but instead would have to spend the rest of my life dancing in [her] room, totally stifled. Then, through a random series of Hashgacha Pratis, I met an actress/singer who is now Shomer Torah U'Mitzvos, who introduced me to a director in LA (America's Most Wanted, some theatre) who hired me as a counselor for her performing arts camp for frum girls. (So anyone who's ever met me will now know that this is my blog...cause acting inevitably comes up in my conversations).

It was interesting-there were a lot of girls with talent, and each of the instructors at the camp had more impressive (theatre) credentials than the next. The one that had the most impact on me was the voice and dialogue coach (that's where I learned my Cockney accent that's been complimented by Brits..), who was in West Side Story and Jekyll and Hyde on Broadway, and was cast in Rent. Oh, she turned down the part in Rent-on Broadway. Why? Because she was starting to be shomer Shabbos at the time. Her love of Judaism was so amazing and clear, and listening to her talk, I understood that I wasn't missing too much (if anything) by not being in secular showbiz. We produced an incredible show (in Hollywood, I might add), but it was inspiring and beautiful, and the message was powerful.

Theatre has a very great power. It sucks you in (kinda like blogging), and grabs you, making you part of the story that's onstage. Perhaps that's part of the reason that it was forbidden to go to it throughout the ages. Performing in theatre includes an incredible high, (which probably has a lot to do with ego). Anything that has tremendous potential for bad also has tremendous potential for good. I think that theatre is like that. Over the course of two summers, I saw girls gain self-esteem, self-respect, and in general have a good time! I heard audience membars leaving a show discussing its message and virtues.

One thing I learned from the music of Julia Blum: 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. People are not given talents to stifle them. Contrary to popular belief, Judaism is not about stifling. So I'm trying to combine the two. As some of you may have figured out (or know already), I live on the East Coast of the US. I am trying to set up the same kind of camp that I had the chance to attend for people on this side of the continent. But FRUM comes before ACTRESS. Actress has to fit into frumkeit, because frumkeit is The Most Important-in this world and the next. What we do while we're here should be enjoyable, and we should make the most of what we have been given. I am attempting to do that. In my own small ways..

Note: The italics have nothing to do with emphasis. They're a private joke with myself...and maybe a few (one) other(s).

Don't Judge Me Without Knowing Me

I understand (well...I don't) that a lot of people are confused by my name. But don't, PLEASE don't put me in the same category as an atheist and an adultress. I should HOPE that my blog has given off a different impression. Either you haven't read my blog, you just wanted to have more things to link to, or you just don't care. Well, I do. A lot.
Wow. I am angry. I don't think I can explain the feeling that I have right now in writing. Hurt, (perhaps irrational) anger, fury at the mostly stupid, unthinking world of blogs.
Stx, maybe I should take the advice that doesn't apply to you. I'm affected.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Compulsive Away Message Checking (Stalking?)

IM is an inerestin''s really convenient, in that you can keep in touch with friends from far away, but when you spend more time talking on it to the person around the corner from you than you actually physically speak to that person, you kinda wonder ;) On the other hand, it keeps up relationships that you wouldn't necessarily keep if you hate talking on the phone..(not personal experience or anything ;) )

And away messages are like tiny little blogs. You can leave whatever your current theory on life for everyone to see and think about. Take this one, for instance:

"the world is a funny place...trying to figure it out is the ultimate riddle given to every human being. But I think that most humans just dismiss the puzzle as one that cannot be solved. This is only because people are often one of the puzzle pieces themselves. A puzzle piece looking at the puzzle pieces around him can hardly imagine what the entire puzzle will look like...even when the puzzle is completely finished. Disassociate yourself from the puzzle - perhaps that is the ultimate magic trick - and you will come to understand the true nature of the world"

Fascinating, no? That's from someone I don't even talk to on IM, but I have his sn just I check his away messages. They're usually sooo thought-provoking, I had to share.

Shabbos #4-Parenting

People are so interesting. It's a little frustrating having to find a place for Shabbos every week, but it's soooo nice to learn from people and to absorb all that they have to offer.

This Friday night I spent with a couple that had two children, and I learned about parenting. About patience and love. About teaching independance to a three year old that wants only to be supported. When a parent combines the "You can do it" and the "I love you" to a crying child that wants to be lifted onto a chair instead of climbing on herself, the child learns to grow on her own, while being reassured that, if she really needed it, help would come.

The child's teacher had told the parents that the child was afraid to try new things at school; afraid to do things without help. So the parents took the teacher's advice, took the advice of someone that they felt knew better than them, and acted on it. It was crystal clear that they love their daughter (and son ;) ). They want to give their children everything. But if giving a child too much will stunt the child's own growth, then they will hold back things from the child in order to let her grow on her own.

And it was a lesson to me. The Father, the Ultimate Parent, when He says "No", He's not out to harm us. He's saying "you can do it yourself" and "I love you" at the same time, as this mother was. And if we keep that in mind when things are hard, perhaps we'll have that wonderful smile that this girl had on her small, beautiful face when she finally did what she had been convinced that she could not do.

Thursday, January 20, 2005


They're beautiful, amazing, wonderful things. Some points (for me) to keep in mind at the next one:

1. The chupa is one of the most important events of a person's life. If the people at the chupa can't hear the brachos, they can't say amain and share in this amazing event. SO BE QUIET!! (I was slightly disturbed, can you tell?)

2. The only two people who are supposed to be thrilled at the wedding are the bride and groom. How you personally feel makes no difference. You must act thrilled to make them happy, cause that's all that matters. It's their party, and the only reason that you are supposed to go is to be misameach the chasan and kalla. So do it! Smile! (I suppose that's why guys get drunk maybe? Though I don't think I'll understand that...never mind.)

3. Three inch heels-painful and destructive. I'll stop there.

May we all be zoche to see many more!

New: Subway Lessons!

So I'm not taking the highway to school anymore (tho I miss my driver soooo much! :).
For this semester, I take the subway. It's an excellent lesson on humanity. I noticed a lady-and it struck me-why? Her mouth, in its default position (I don't know how else to put it-when she's not making an expression consiously), was turned up. The entire ride home. It just was so nice.

Monday, January 17, 2005

On the Slifkin Controversy (or why you shouldn't read blogs when you have work to do)

So I read Mysterious Creatures. A long time ago. I didn't like the way he played around with the words of holy people from many many years ago that knew way more than him and how he made completely new arguments about established ideas.
Let me start with a famous story: They say that a great rav (I think I know who it is, but I don't want to get it wrong) was on a plane. Throughout the ride, his grandson, who was flying with him, constantly came over to him to check how he was doing-that he was comfortable, that he got the right meal, etc.
The man sitting next to him, shocked, turned to the rav.
"It's so amazing! My grandson couldn't care less! He would never have such respect for me! What's your secret?"
The rabbi answered, "Because my grandson realizes that I'm one generation closer than he is to Sinai. Your grandson thinks that you're one generation closer than he is to the apes."
What's the connection? Emunas Chachamim. There is a law in halacha that if a takana is made in a certain generation, it can't be changed unless people of equal number and stature come along and say that the takana is no longer necessary. An example would be Rabbenu Gershom's charem against one who reads letters that don't belong to him or marries more than one wife. Did you ever hear someone come along and say "I don't think this applies anymore. Let's get together and abolish this particular law."? No. It doesn't happen! Why? Becuase there is nobody in this generation that is greater than that generation.
The same goes with all the words of chazal. And this is the reason, from what I understand, after reading a paper signed by R' Elyashiv, R' Steinman, and many others, that a charem has been placed on Nosson Slifkin's books. He changes the meaning of chazal. He tries to interprete that those holy words in a non-literal sense, changing the meaning to fit his argument. This can have extremely dangerous ramifications, as it did when the Reform movement decided to "update" Judaism for "modern times."
Torah is eternal. The words of our Sages are eternal. That's why the Talmud is considered such a crucial book in the learning of the Torah. If one comes along and claims that the Sages are saying something different from what they've said for generations, then there's a problem.
Another thing: Gedolei Hador mean "The Great Ones of the Generation." I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Until you have reached their spiritual and brilliance level, until you completely understand where they're coming from, you have no right to judge them. You may try to understand them, but never criticize anyone until you know everything that they know.
We don't take science, accept it and fit Torah into it.
We take the Torah and accept it.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

One More Thing

If you're so insistant on being liberal and open-minded, don't only be liberal toward the left. Try to understand where the right is coming from too.
It's called consistancy.
Once you've made a sincere effort to do that, then we can talk.
Or-why not? Maybe it'll actually bring peace between one man and another! What a concept!

...And Who Are You Again?

I feel like this is going to be my permanent theme soon....
To all those convinced that the rabbis are confused, or twisted, or perverse, or just out to stifle the silly religious community that follows after them:
What are your credentials? You think that being around for 20, maybe 30 years, studying maybe a few times a week when you remember...does that make you equal to the Poskei Hador? Does that give you the right to put yourself on their level and judge them? Do you have any clue why they make the decisions they do? Did you ever try to see their reasoning? Or are you just out to find the negative...(why do I bother)?

What Ban?

Apparantly the blogging world is going crazy over an apparant ban of the books by Nosson Slifkin. Does anyone have some kind of source to the original ban? All I'm seeing is links to other blogs that also protest the ban. So I ask: If you have a source for the actual ban, please list it here. Thank you.

Shabbos #3

I'm taking a break from Latin craziness to write about lessons learned this Shabbos:
1. Balconies at shuls are wonderful. It's sooo beautiful to see the little boys running, so excited up to the aron when they take out the Torah so that they can kiss it. It kinda fits with what Simple Jew and R' Pinchos Lipshutz said recently about the importance of mesora and children in our religion.
2. Zmiros on Shabbos have a beautiful power (especially when sung by people with trained voices! ;) )
3. Family is never as scary as they seem.
4. Toronto is COLD!!! But the people are so nice and warm! It's amazing what a difference a smile makes to a new person (or just to anyone!). Even if you feel stupid doing it, do it! It makes a world of difference.
Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

What did people think of Noach?

Imagine if, starting December 1, an old man with a beard was walking around Manhattan. He wore a sandwich sign, saying "The end is nigh! If you don't repent, there will be a big wave that will engulf 11 countries to punish the godless, killing hundreds of thousands. After that, there will be a major mudslide in California, with more consecutive days of rain than have ever been seen since they started measuring rainfall. REPENT!!"
Disclaimer: I'm not in any way saying that those were the reasons for the tragedies. I'm just trying to illustrate a point.
What would you do? Think he was nuts? Ignore him and walk away? What would you do if he was doing it for 2 months? A year? What if he lived in Sri Lanka and started building a ship 5 years ago, and told people that he was building a ship to escape the waves that would come?
It just puts things in perspective, perhaps. Was there a better way? Possibly. I don't know. I just wonder, had I been in the time of Noach, whether I would have listened.

Monday, January 10, 2005

On Anonymity

Dunno if I even spelled it right..
I recently recieved an anonymous email requesting information about someone I know. Not someone I know very well, but well enough to give references to someone interested in them. This is just a general message (since I refuse to email the anonymous author back) to let you know that I don't give information about people to people I don't know and have no reason to trust. I'm sorry. Either be honest and tell me who you are, or don't bother. How would you like it if someone gave information about you to someone whose name they didn't even know? Personally, I find it rather frightening.
I'm not trying to be harsh. Seriously, if you want to find out about this person, I'm happy to give shidduch information or send you somewhere to help you find info. Just reassure me that you're not a serial killer...;)
Oh, and another thing. I think I might spell things somewhat differently than you do, and considering the few people that have the specific email address at which I recieved the letter, a certain someone is way up there on my suspicion list..
B'Hatzlacha in all your shidduch endeavors!!

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Lessons at the gym

I joined a gym here in my new abode-it's convenient, I desperately need it, and I have lotsa time on my hands (well...before I started school). When I went to the treadmill the other day to start my "cardio" workout, there was a magazine on the machine already. With my walkman doing strange things, I decided to read it during my mechanized walk (which is so silly...the great outdoors is such a nicer place to walk...). Now, I haven't picked up a magazine like that in years, so perhaps it struck me more strongly now than it might have before.
Um...I was just kinda shocked. This was a thick magazine, full of articles, celebrities scandalous lives, clothing, a special on a brothel in Vegas that people're trying to make into a museum, and more clothing.
HUH? Is that it? Is that life? People, THINK!! There is so much substance out there! Focus on reality!! Lasting, eternal things!! (Y'all know I have my own take on what's eternal and lasting, but I suppose you don't have to be an Orthodox Jew to have meaning in your life...well...maybe ;) )
And that's my thought for the week.

Advantages of Living "Abroad"

So, it's an interesting situation. One thing I've learned so far is that people are soooo different. Second thing, and the point of this post, is that I'm gonna see different dynamics-cause I have to find places to stay for Shabbos, so I'm gonna learn all about how different families work, which is always new and exciting.
This week: My cousins. Lovely, friendly people (she actually called me Thursday to ask if I'd found a place for Shabbos yet...well...I hadn't-soo she invited me over!). They have two adorable little boys. I learned about being laid back, something I definately need to work on. When her son had what she called a "yogurt tantrum," she did not say a word. She went and changed, and cleaned up the yogurt. They love their children, and care about them. Not to the point of spoiling, but she allows them to do things without worrying about them.
So the lesson of the week: Be laid back, chill out, and don't be crazy worried about every step that your child takes. It's healthy for you and the kids, and will make life so much more relaxed!!