Monday, August 31, 2009

Many thanks (part 1 of 2)

The Whom What When and How on wedding thank you notes: Many thanks (part 1 of 2)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ben Sorer Umoreh

See the Divrei Chaim's take here.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Not exactly wedding season

It seems to be divorce season in the neighborhood. Here are two posts that appeared within hours of each other:
Advice Cheap Cheap Rabbi for Divorce (Gett): I am looking for a cheap and fast Rabbi that can do a gett. We are in the process of civil divorce, which should be finalized by the end of October and I would like to have the Gett done before that.

Advice Cheap (civil) lawyer: Anyone know of a lawyer to do a quick (civil) divorce? No chuppah involved. No get needed. Please contact ------- or reply to email.

tizku l'mitzvos->Actually, a gett is usually much faster than a civil divorce. But both want cheap and quick.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Anyone heard of "Harry"

It seems to be the pejorative term used in frum circles to describe the type of guy your parents would like but who is missing key social cues. The illurstration my siblings and their spouses offered was of a "frumed out" YU guy who may dress in white and black but still carry a backpack or wear white socks. Anyone else familiar with Harry? Is the female equivalent called "Harriet?"

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Update on post

A couple of comments were just added to the post: So you can see them now and add additional pointers. Your advice may still be included and credited to your name in the fall issue of Kallah Magazine (that is being finalized this week) .

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hachnosos Kallah as Reality TV

I'm not sure how I feel about that. This was posted on one of the email lists:
Regina and Emil have always dreamed of having a traditional Jewish wedding, but they do not have the resources to have their dream become a reality. JEC & Birthright Israel NEXT, NY is searching for people to donate talents and services for their wedding! If we work together, we can perform one of the biggest mitzvahs in Judaism – to help a couple a get married!

Do you make a mean butter cream frosting cake? Are you a make-up maven willing to prep a bride for her wedding day? Whatever your contribution, you will be a part of making this celebration the first of its kind - the most creative & exciting event of the year.

We are looking for leads in the following categories:
Venue, Food (Cake, Caterer), Wine & Spirits
Flowers (Centerpieces, Chuppah, Bouquets)
Music (Band, Celebrity Singer)
D├ęcor (Linens, Napkins, Tables, Chairs, Candles)
Attire (Wedding Dress, Bridesmaid Dresses, Tuxedos, Shoes)
Print Shop (Programs, Invitations, Ketuba), Favors
Photography (Photographer, Videographers)

The entire planning process will be filmed and shown online in a series of "webisodes" for the first ever JEC & Birthright Israel NEXT Reality show. Thousands of people will tune in to watch the wedding process.

If you are able to help with any of the aspects above please contact us at

Don't let socks ruin your shalom bayis

Which answer would you pick from the 4? See

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The questions to ask before popping the question

See them here

Heroines and male authors

I read fairly quickly and nearly always finish the books I start. However, I recently quit on a book about 2/3 of the way through. Though this was an award winning book, I was very put off by the language and situations they described. But I was put off by something else, as well -- the heroine. When I told my husband what I did not like about this book (he was the one who had checked it out of the library), he indicated that I only approved of female authors -- particularly those of the British19th century. I allowed that I do like some of the works by male authors of the 19th century, as well. But what I do not care for heroines who cling to those who abuse them -- physically, as well as verbally.

One thing that chick-lit (not the sappy romances, mind you, but the ones written as comedy) has going for it, aside from the sheer escapism of guaranteed happy endings, is a heroine who is not a dishrag. The central female characters usually have to both use their minds and stand up for themselves without becoming the witch-like figures that powerful women often are in male literature. The fact that chick-lit is primarily written by female authors while novels that feature the suffering female as heroine tend to be written by male authors (note the qualifiers here; I did not say all fall into these categories) would seem to indicate something about gender perspective.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cash payments mean no taxes

You would think with all the money laundering scandals people would have learned to at least be discreet enough not to openly suggest tax evasion on a public forum. This post appeared today: "Perfect as part time or telecommute: We need you to search the internet and databases (will be provided) for potential customers. Will pay $12 an hour in cash weekly (this is the equivalent of $24 an hour on a 1099). Must have some experience in business, research, sales, insurance etc to be able to define a "Qualified Potential Customer" Please contact us____"[the email addres sounds rather suggestive]

Breaking glass

I posted a condensed version of the article "Churban and Chuppah" that appeared in the summer issue of Kallah Magazine here.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Can a Jewish bride get married in a cathedral?

Find the answer and more at

Even experts err

I like to go bike riding in the mornings for 2 reasons: 1. It's before peak sun hours and is usually cooler. 2. I find I need to do exercise earlier in the day, as later I get too busy or too tired.
This morning my husband said it should be a good day for my bike ride, for it was cooler than earlier in the week. I said that it looked like rain, though. But he insisted that the weather forecast said it would only rain later in the day.

Well, I've learned to trust my own perception even if it is not corroborated by what the "experts" say. So I decided that I had better take advantage of the cooler and not yet wet weather to mow the lawn. Actually, that is a form of exercise, too, particularly because we have a rotary rather than a power mower. I was just about done when I first felt drops. Then there were some more drops. So the expert prediction turned out wrong, and I was right.

This may seem like a trivial instance, but there many instances in which "experts" tell us their own opinion as fact. They claim the authority to tell us things are so even when our own perception tells us differently. This was certainly the case when I was in labor with my first child. I was checked into the hospital because my water broke. But the "experts" thought it would be many, many hours before the baby would be born; they even seemed to think that they would have to induce the next morning. Plus all the birthing rooms were occupied. So I was left in a regular room rather than a birthing room. They did not offer anything to ease my pain, declaring that the contractions were "mild." Right, they knew what was going on better than I did because they were the experts, and I was only a first-time mother. At about 2 in the morning, when I said that I thought the baby could be coming, the resident reluctantly made her way to the room. She obviously thought I was wasting her time and was genuinely shocked to see the baby was indeed coming. Remember, I was not in a birthing room at the time, so she attempted to have me transported. By that point, it was rather late in the game. That fact, combined with the elevator going down instead of up, resulted in my first baby being born in the elevator of Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, though I had been checked in for 15 hours already.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Forget event planning, now it's date planning

I posted about outsourcing dating at Today I came across a post advertising a service to outsource the date plans. I imagine this man must have had an extensive dating career and decided to capitalize on his experience.
The Perfect Date Planner Trying to plan that perfect first date or day out with your special someone? I can help! My service is to provide an amazing day or evening out in NYC. I cater to each individuals likes and dislikes. I can plan you a complete day on a tight budget, or a lavish evening of wining and dining. Whatever the budget, whatever the time frame, I will make your date a one to remember. Each date I plan is completely unique. I charge $20 for my service and can be payed via paypal. I have a 100% successful date rate. Every day I have planned has left a lasting impression, The men always enjoy themselves, and the women always feel amazing that such an intricate plan was thought up just for them. My service includes making the reservations, directions, and an itinerary. Please contact me via email if you need a date planned today

But what does "a 100% successful date rate" mean? Does it mean the woman doesn't demand to end the date early? Does it mean she agrees to another date? Does it mean she agrees to marry the guy?

Ad conflation

I see that some of the Google ads now appearing on my blog page are the same as the ads appearing on my Examiner page. If you haven't yet done so, be sure to check it out at You can leave comments there, too.

Who you gonna call?

I know that the grammar is incorrect in the title; it is worded as it is in the Ghostbusters song. If your are troubled by ayin hora or just want to increase your segula power, now you have someone to call. The following ad appeared on
"EXPERT IN OYIN HORA REMOVAL/SEGULA expert from Yerushalayim in OYIN HORA removal by way of timeless traditional lead. Segula for relief of nightmares bracha, hatzlacha, shidduch etc. for a limited time only. For more information please call______"

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Renter beware of the gown deal

Today I saw an ad from a bridal shop that says, sympathetically, "We know how much it costs to make a wedding. We' like to try to help." The "help" consists of offering a $599 rental package that includes a gown, headpiece & veil, crinoline, cleaning (after the wedding), and platform sneakers. Most of those items are customarily included in a rental, though the sneaker (hey, whatever happened to just wearing satin slippers?) may not. However, there is something else that usually costs far more than sneakers that is not included.

The promo information continues: "Add-ons available.: / Custom alterations / Lace veil or mantilla upgrade / Undergarments/ Shoes."
I am not concerned with upgrading the veil or the possibility of buying or renting shoes. I'm wondering if they actually rent undergarments; that may give some people pause. But all those are options one can live without or easily purchase elsewhere. However, gowns usually need alterations, which is why the cost of alteration is often included in the rental fee. So the supposed bargain price of $599, it seems does NOT include the alterations that just about every bride will require to get a perfect fit, especially as the dress was not made for her but is just the one the store has in stock in that style. That could, potentially, add on over a hundred dollars to the cost.

Though it is listed under as an add-on, for most people it is essential in order for the gown not to sag, pull, or otherwise not look right. That is the reason many opt for the rental service rather than bridal gmachs. Some gmachs do not allow alterations. Even if the gmach does allow a gown to be altered, there are some that only allow particular seamstresses whose services are far from cheap. Add on a few hundred for alteration and a gmach gown ends up approaching the cost of a rental gown. However, if the rental adds on a hundred or two for alterations, then, I suggest checking out the gmachs instead. They usually lend out the headpiece and crinoline at no additional cost, and there are gmachs for "wedding sneakers," as well.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Making it legal

All set for a Tu B'Av wedding? lGetting married in NY? Be sure you have your marriage license at least one day before. See

Thoughts on Tu B'Av

Wednesday is Tu B'Av, identified as one of two of the most joyful days of the year. I did 4 posts on the subject last year. The first one which gives the origins of the day with the 6 positive historical events is at Then I quote some variants on what the nubile women would say in the vineyards at
So there's the textual analysis.

This year I've been thinking about further ramification for the Talmud's account in Taanis 31a
The daughter of Israel go out and dance in the vineyards. Anyone who lacked a wife went there. . . . Our rabbis learned: The beautiful ones among them would say: "Raise your eyes to beauty, for a wife is only for beauty." The girls who had yichus [well established, reputable families] would say, "Raise your eyes to family, for a wife is only for children." The ugly ones among them would say, "Take what you take for the sake of Heaven, and adorn us in gold jewelry."

The most amazing is that the girls who have the least to offer -- the ones termed outright ugly in the description -- declare that they too have a right to marry. Furthermore, they place the onus of attractions on their husbands-to-be with the assurance that the right jewelery and clothes (as Rashi, I believe, says) would work wonders on their looks.

After seeing some discussions by singles, I have a new angle on what this means. So many people are quick to dump someone after a first date because they were less than impressed by the first impression. What the ugly girls' s argument really consists of is something like this: "So we are not striking beauties but we can grow attractive to you if you invest in the relationship." This truth can apply to traits beyond looks; just substitute whatever striking trait you identify as attractive, ie. sparkling wit, charm, etc. Some people grow on you, but they have to be given the chance, and that takes a willingness to invest the time to allow their positive traits to shine through. And they would prove worthy of the adornments given them.