Friday, July 31, 2009

Meet Ms. Maven

Not quite in the flesh but through her advice for selecting an engagement ring at http://www.examiner.com/x-18522-NY-Jewish-Bridal-Examiner

For an index to other very useful articles, see http://kallahmagazine.weebly.com/ and like it on Facebook. You can also follow on Twitter

A most quotidian post

It's all about laundry. All during the 9 days I had a nagging feeling that there was something I needed to take care of. I knew what it was. All during the year , I don't go longer than 3 days without putting in a load of laundry. Until a couple of years ago, I was still doing a wash during Sukkoth, Pesach, and the 9 days for my younger kids. I don't recall if I was able to make it through last year's 9 days without a load, but I did this year. And as today is Ereve Shabbos, and the Shmirath Shabbos concedes in the main text that the usual delay of doing laundry until after chatzos the next day is suspended due to preparation for Shabbos, I started on the mountain of laundry last night. That allowed me to respond to the kids whothis morning uttered the dreaded words, "I'm out of underwear," that, in fact, there was some freshly laundered.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Money and married men

Seen on a bumper sticker this morning: "Driver does not carry cash. He's married." Sounds like a somewhat misogynistic joke, right? In fact, my husband often asks me if I have cash on hand, as he keeps almost none in his own wallet. But that is not because I control the purse strings or put my husband on a very limited allowance. Actually, he has his own ATM card; he just forgets about using it because I take care of 99%of the banking and bill paying, not to mention the tax returns.The fact that husbands may not carry the cash in the family is a sign, not of being under their wives' control but of their having happily given up the duty of cash flow.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Is it still art?

I won't actually answer the question but will tell you about what prompted it. Yesterday hubby, daughters, and I went to the Met. We made sure to catch two children's tours. The second one was a slide show to introduce the temporary exhibit (you have until Aug. 2nd to catch it) called
"The Picture Generation: 1974-1984." See http://www.metmuseum.org/special/se_event.asp?OccurrenceId={2051DF8B-82AA-4AA7-85BC-22F72DE7F10E}

Some of the pieces were actual photographs, but some were either pictures or presentations made from various objects, drawings, even invitations. One of the exhibits that the guide directed the children's attention to was a video spin on, of all things, "Wonder Woman," you know the TV show starring Lyndar Carter. Now if you don't know, then the video would not mean much to you as it did not really mean much to the children who had never seen this program. I suppose that at the time the video was put together, the artist was safe in assuming that the people who would see it would instantly register the show and appreciate the critique inherent in showing the Wonder Woman character constantly spinning, the ball of fire constantly flaring up, interpersed with a short clips, parts of which are also repeated. For example, after spinning into Wonder Woman in a dressing room, she cuts through a the mirror with one of her bracelets (that part is repeated as are almost all the scenes in this video are), passes through the opening to another room, then speaks to some shlubby looking guy, (but, wait! guys actually had hair and clothes that style in the 70s) and then deflects the bullets shot at them with her bracelets.

Having seen the show when I was a kid, I can appreciate the point made by the video in which the absurdity of the signature features is highlighted by the repetition. But those children who had never seen the show cannot appreciate the point of parody. They see this video as a stand-alone piece without the point of reference it assumes. So they see the repetition and lack of structure to be a reflection of the video itself.

With the end date of 1984, obviously this video was made before YouTube, so that a mix of clips was something original and much more technically challenging. However, now that videos created by those wishes to satirize or show tribute to a show are ubiquitous, there is little to distinguish the artist from anyone with some technical skills and a desire to exhibit. Can all those who put together fan videos and such be considered artists?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Which shidduch question really matters?

See
Adventures in Chinuch (and other stories): Flipping out (Part IV: The Effect on Shidduchim)
.You can offer your own answers to his questions:

There are two follow up questions I have, and I would love some feedback in the comments on this:

1. For those who are or have been married: Based on being married, what criteria do you think are the most important when finding out about a shidduch (if any)?

2. Is there a way that change can be brought to this situation? Do community leaders (aka Rabbis) agree with these sentiments? Is anything being done?

I compiled my own list of question one should get answered before getting engaged -- though not before consenting to date someone -- in "Popping the Questions," which appeared int he fall2008 issue of Kallah Magazine.

Eliminate the hassle of dating -- outsource!

This guy sounds so like some singles in the frum world. The following appeared in a job posting on oDesk.com:

I want someone to manage my online dating profile and set up initial dates with women for me. Online dating is largely a numbers game and it is time consuming and tedious (for me), so I want to outsource it to someone else.

I will provide you access to one of my online dating accounts, some criteria for the dates (they will be realistic, I assure you) along with a list of preferences regarding what kind of women I'm attracted to and some photos of women I'm attracted to. I want to try this for a month (if things go well I may extend the contract). I'd like to have 1-3 dates per week as a result of this work. I will share an online calendar with you so you can schedule my dates.

The only required skill is fluency in English. Some experience with online dating and social networking may help.

In your application please provide a rough strategy for how you'll get me 1-3 dates per week and list any experience you have that may be useful. Also include an estimate of how much time it will cost you to do this work.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Follow up note: some people don't read

To extend the reach of the post, I put it up on a number of shul sites. I put the emailed replies in the comment section myself. As you see from the quote below, I clarified that I am only asking for research and not for an actual wedding. The reference to the blog post also emphasizes the point that this is a discussion. Nevertheless, I got more than one response from wedding planners who promised to fix all problems. There are two interesting things to note here: no regular people recommended using a planner, and the planners must have difficulty understanding what their clients want if they cannot even read to the end of a post that tells them, clearly, their services would not be required now

Question from Kallah Magazine [except for the 5 Towns Shuls list where I omitted the name of the magazine because they never put up my postings that reference it]
What would you change about your/ your child's wedding? Please don't answer," the bride/ groom /mother-in-law" and such. I am really asking about the wedding event, like the caterer, orchestra, photography package, number of guests invited for dinner, etc.

Also what piece of advice, beyond the general of "take everything in stride," is really helpful for those planning such a simcha?

Note this is for research and not for a wedding I'm planning. Please add to the discussion at http://kallahmagazine.blogspot.com/2009/07/if-such-wish-could-be-granted.html
Thank you,
Ariella

Monday, July 13, 2009

If such a wish could be granted

What would you change about your/ your child's wedding? Please don't answer," the bride/ groom /mother-in-law" and such. I am really asking about the wedding event, like the caterer, orchestra, photography package, number of guests invited for dinner, etc.

Also what piece of advice, beyond the general of "take everything in stride," is really helpful for those planning such a simcha?

Do I have an ulterior motive in asking this? Yes! I want to be sure to cover all important points in the book I am putting together now.

Nice and Not Quiet

While Pirke Avos teaches that shtika [silence] is the ultiamte good for a body, that is not the perception of the shidduch world. See http://serandez.blogspot.com/2009/07/on-quieter-side.html
People who are may apt to talk may be described as "outgoing" and "friendly," and or "loud" and "talkative." The latter carries negative connotations. In truth, quiet people can be excellent conversationalists, especially because they tend to avoid small talk and get into a real discussion. They also are able to listen before talking, which is something incessant talkers seem unable to do.
But studies indicate that women, generally, are perceived as talking more even if they talk only the same amount of men. I believe that women are expected to do more of the listening and less of the talking on the date, which is why the quietness quotient may be unevenly distributed.

But, no question about it, there is a serious bias against shy, introverted people in the world. The word "reserved" that is often applied to them is considered very negative with respect to relationships. It also is a huge liability in many work and school situations.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

"slim and pretty" -- what more could you ask for?

The following appeared on a Jewish site:
"I have handsome wonderful guys and slim pretty girls

let's exchange profiles and see if we can come up with matches.....i am happy to send my profiles first to you....i have guys with good jobs 31, and in high 40's who are very nice guys, good looking, well ask for profile and let me send them to you (what age are you interested in?)

girls: I have 30's 40's and 20's (some are quite good looking too!)"


Anyone else find something wrong with this posting?

Thursday, July 09, 2009

I was very surprised to find this on cooks.com

I often search the site for inspiration for new recipes or to find lower fat or lower saturated fat versions of recipes I have. Though the potato flakes in a cake recipe did surprise me, I was more struck by the directionse, especially given that this cake will be dairy rather than the parve so that it can be served at any meal. See if you spot it. BTW I did not make this recipe, so I cannot vouch for it.
CHOCOLATE OR CINNAMON KUCHEN (Babka)
8 c. flour
2 dry yeast dissolved in 1/2 c. warmed water
3 eggs, room temp.
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. oil
1 c. instant mashed potato flakes
2 1/2 - 3 c. warmed water
1 tbsp. salt
FILLING:
16 tbsp. butter
1 c. cocoa or 4 tbsp. cinnamon
2 c. sugar
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except filling. Knead well for 3-5 minutes, by hand or with dough hook. Grease dough slightly and allow to rise 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk. Punch dough down and allow to rise again for 45 minutes, or until doubled again. Take "Challah" without a Bracha.

Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Roll out each part on floured board to a size of approximately 14x10 inches. Spread 2 tablespoons softened butter to cover entire surface. Bring up opposite sides of dough to fold in thirds. Bring up remaining sides in the same manner.

Cover folded dough with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 1/2 - 2 hours. Repeat with remaining dough sections. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out again to previous size (14x10) and spread another 2 tablespoons softened butter on the dough. This time sprinkle 1/4 cup cocoa and 1/2 cup sugar to cover surface.

To make cinnamon kuchen, instead of cocoa, spread 1 tablespoon cinnamon. Roll up in jelly roll fashion, stretching dough as you proceed. Seal ends and place in ungreased baking sheet. Two rolls per baking sheet. Let rise for 1/2 hour. Pierce dough with toothpicks every four inches to prevent bubbles. Brush with beaten egg yolk. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until nicely browned.

What is it with girls' high schools?

They waited until July to do this. The board of HAFTR refused to continue to fund Shalhevet, the girls' high school that Rabbi Friedman of RAMBAM (and now Machon Hatorah, which includes HAFTR) opened just last year in Lawrence. See shalhevet-hs-funding-endedThis is not quite as late a declaration as the closing of Reenas that occurred a few years ago. That was only announced days before school was set to open in September. And we are well aware that even a long-established school, Shulamith, set itself up to dissolve the high school by not opening a ninth grade this year. Now I know that these issues all boil down to money clashes, but it is remarkable that the girls are the ones always left without. I haven't heard of sudden shut downs of boys schools.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Singles on the Upper West Side

See Serandez's post of the video, "Unattached"

YU's approach to the shidduch crisis

This job posting appeared on the KGH shuls list:

Full Time Position


YUConnects is looking for an outgoing and caring individual, with strong interviewing, listening, and interpersonal skills, to meet with single students and alumni of Yeshiva College, Stern College, and RIETS for the purpose of matchmaking. This matchmaker will use a large state-of-the-art database and perform searches to identify suitable matches for YUConnects members. Proficient computer skills are required as is previous successful matchmaking experience. The position also includes helping to create co-ed programs for young men and women to meet.

This is a full-time position including a benefits package, with the majority of hours performed at Yeshiva University in Washington Heights, NY, and some hours at Stern College in midtown Manhattan. There is a requirement of at least two evenings per week.This person should be excited about the opportunity to interact with students and alumni and help to design and attend YUConnects events and programs.This matchmaker will also network with a growing group of connectors, the volunteer matchmakers of YUConnects. This person should have an appreciation for the diversity of the student and alumni body, be non-judgmental, and be comfortable becoming an integral part of the Yeshiva University community.

Please e-mail resume and cover letter with your relevant work experience to yuconnects@yu.edu. YUConnects is a project of Yeshiva University's Center for the Jewish Future.


Friday, July 03, 2009

Can you pinpoint the cause of the shidduch crisis?

I have a little debate in the comments about the mathematics presented a year or two ago that proposed men dating women closer to their age or older as the solution. Somehow they come up with a prediction of 108 single women for every 100 single men resulting from men opting for women 3 or more years younger. This is brought up in the comments on Wolfish Musings' replication of a woman's suggestion for allowing singles to meet at weddings.
Wolfish Musings: A Common Sense Shidduch Suggestion... That's Doomed To Failure

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Dvar Torah on Balak

The piece written by Rabbi Chaim Brown for the summer issue of Kallah Magazine has now been posted to the divrei Torah page of kallahmagazine.com As they are posted in chronological order, scroll to the bottom for the latest addition. You can also see it in the PDF of the summer issue that accessible from the link on the home page of www.kallahmagazine.com

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Getting a bit creative in fundraising

My son's yeshiva is still working on selling raffle tickets. But they also partnered with AMBIT, which supplies gas carried by National Grid. The yeshiva is supposed to earn about $1,800 a year for every 15 customers that sign up, and the customers also get a 7% discount on the first two months . There are also points rewards program. So if you are interested in supporting the yeshiva and taking advantage of the incentive program, call Yakov Milstein at 516-659-6165.

Is that enough for a subway ride these days?

Just checked the Google ad revenue for June, the month I first set it up. It amounts to $2.35. So if the fares did yet go up to $2.50, that would buy one ride on the subway.

Rant on business people who only want something for nothing

I am not a last minute type of person, so I have already begun calling potential advertisers for the fall issue. I am offering incentives that include bonus free months online and discounts for early commitment. But that is not the point of this post. The point is to rant about business people who sell fairly high end things -- like invitation that start at $5 per person -- who claim they have no budget for advertising but would be willing to offer a "contest" prize of free invitations or informals (the cost of which would exceed the cost of an average ad in Kallah Magazine.) The claim on their side, "I don't want to spend any money because I don't know that the ad will bring in business. I want immediate results." So what they propose instead of an ad is a promotion that claims to come from Kallah Magazine that is solely intended to gather the information of engaged couples for the invitations company. I love how the proposal is win-win -- for the invitations company that is. What does Kallah Magazine have to gain from this? Absolutely nothing.

I told him that he could pay for the print ad and set up his online lisitng to direct browsers to his own site or email where they could fill out the information he wants. By being an accessory to gather his info I am compromising my own principles and creating more work and responsibility for myself with no upside whatsoever. I make it a point not to require registration for access to the site info. I only ask for information for access to the book samples but assure those who offer it that their information will not be sold or shared with others businesses. So agreeing to this person's scheme would undermine the principles of privacy I've upheld and offers absolutely no potential monetary gain. Why pay for an ad when you gain direct access to your market?

Who wants to be a Zevulan?

I recall putting up a posting from someone entering kollel who was seeking a "Zevulan" someone who would support him financially. Now here's someone who says he has worked but now wants to become a Yissachar. told my husband he can advertise the same "partenrship opportunity" for someone who would like to sponsor his divrei Torah. I'm kidding, ok. I guess the 5 Towns is the place people come to when they are ISO Zevulans:

Hi,

After numerous years in the professional world, I've been dedicating more and more of my time to torah learning and outreach. I've come to the point where I would like to do this fulltime. I'm looking for a "Zevulun" a partner who would like to share the merit of my Torah and outreach work by sponsoring me financially. If you are intrested in this partnership opportunity, please respond to this email address so that I can contact you to discuss further.


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Google Ads: Very odd connections

My last post brought up strange connections in the Google ads. I don't know why the quote and sheitels brought up "hot women" from Mexico and online. Please remember that I have no control over the Google ad content and should not be assumed to be endorsing anything advertised here. I do try to limit offensive content, though, by restricting the ads to text only.

Quotes and Context

I found this quote Oscar Wilde quote on a sheitel site: "It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearance. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible." The source is given by author and the title of the work, The Picture of Dorian Grey. Anyone who is familiar with Wilde as a writer would know that his sayings are not meant to be profound statements but witty twists on conventional wisdom, hence the alliance of shallow with those who seek something beyond appearance. And if you have actually read The Picture of Dorian Grey, then you know that the beauty seen on a person in it does not reflect his character and actions. But I won't give away the novel for those who have not read it. In any case, it is laughable to take a quote from such a work to promote sheitels.