Showing posts from January, 2010

I am considering going on strike

Not enough comments here. If you don't care enough to comment, then I won't care enough to post. Anyway, I have SAT scoring starting tomorrow. So, bye. Perhaps I'll resign altogether like my brother just did from a certain list. But I will be nice enough not to tell anyone to "jump in the lake."

It amazes me

that people post jobs online withe the promise of payments in cash. Yes, these are aimed at members of the frum community, but still it is an open advertisement that seems to promote tax evasion. Direct quote: "Good hourly pay (roughly $11/hr starting) cash, weekly." While listing doesn't identify the store, it is identified as Cedarhurst and includes a phone number and first name, which gives me a pretty good idea which one it is.

For Tu B'Shevat

See the adaption of Rabbi Brown's piece here You can also read his longer article in the Winter 2010 issue of Kallah Magazine. You can read that online by clicking on Winter10 link on the home page of

Picture perfect scenes

Want to take some really nice pictures? Here are some places on Long Island to visit with a brief slide show. You can see additional pictures of the exquisite flowers and plants in the green houses of Planting Fields on my Facebook page.
and the Nassau Museum
Comments on and subscriptions to are welcome!

So what is the Aishes Chayil

I was actually thinking of doing a series of posts on the "ideal wife" as described in Mishley. She is not exactly what men may visualize as their ideal when searching for a wife. I didn't yet plan out the posts, but I will address one misconception here in response to the comment that came in on the post do-smart-womem-make-better-wives
Zadok wrote:"However, not all intelligent men seek the same quality in a wife. An example of the latter is Einstein who divorced his first wife, a student of physics, to marry a housewife type

I think two issues are being mixed here. I don't know anyone who would want to marry someone stupid but I do know many people who would prefer being married to the 'Ashes Chayil' type over the 'career women' type even though they themselves are very into their careers.

I responded to him as follows: Zadok, on what basis, do you take the "Ashes Chayil" as the opposite of the "career type?" She is descri…

Consequences for a good man being hard to find

The "shidduch crisis" is not only found in the frum community. See the Wall Street Journal article (link). A woman sums it up as "'I've found a lot of Mr. Almosts, but I can't find Mr. Right.'" The article focuses on the college educated population: "Women are feeling the pinch from years of gender imbalances on college campuses, where today nearly 58% of all bachelor's degrees and 62% of associate's degrees are earned by women. Given that women prefer to find a well-educated, reliable earner as a husband, this creates a simple math problem. Well-educated women can't find enough equally or better-educated men to marry."

The key sentence defining the market appears a bit later: "Why settle down when you are a guy and the supply of eligible women appears to be unlimited?" Consequently, women in such situations sometimes give up on finding a husband to be a father to their children and go it alone. I've heard …

the ideal wife? Not young and dumb

as some cynically say of the nubile set. According to, they should be young, that is younger than their husbands (so much for the current shidduch crisis solution currently in vogue) and smart. My husband pointed out this article in his comment on
Well, actually he is not older, though I do have one degree higher. The same site further tries to make the case for younger wives -- in this case as much as 17 years younger -- in
But I can tell you that Ruben died while his far younger second wife was pregnant with their fifth child, so he didn't really extend his life by marrying younger. Another famous couple we save featured at the museum was Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier (26 August 1743 – 8 May 1794).…

It may not only be bad for shidduchim

All that info people feel free to ask when checking out a shidduch may reveal more about a person than they would want public --it may not only damage a reputation but a bank account. See
and be sure to thank the pope for putting you on your guard.

Do smart women make better wives?

Of course, I have my own take on the answer, but we'll get to it later. In general, intelligent women seek out intelligent men as husbands. However, not all intelligent men seek the same quality in a wife. An example of the latter is Einstein who divorced his first wife, a student of physics, to marry a housewife type. And most people know some men considered brilliant in some way whose wives are not likewise distinguished.

But women generally do not marry down on the intelligence scale. The social convention is for women to be in a position in which they can look up to their husbands. Many apply that in a literal fashion and seek a taller husband, but they also seek someone who has other qualities that allow them to look up to them. Hence the social convention of older husbands and younger wives that many are now seeking to try to break as a solution to the shidduch crisis. (Interestingly, though, in the past the difference in age could be far greater. For example, my mate…

Winter issue now online!

The magazine was distributed in the 5 Towns, Brooklyn, Queens and Baltimore. But if you are not near any of the locations, it is also available to you online. You can read Nancy's articles -- referenced in previous post -- and any of the articles that just came out in the winter issue of Kallah Magazine, including Rabbi Brown's, Rabbi Slatkin's, Ms. Maven's, and the "Kallah in the Kitchen" and "Money Matters" features, as well as sheitel maintenance advice, plus a special feature on what is black and white and redt all over by clicking on the Winter10 link to the PDF on the home page of

"Lights! Lights! Lights!"

That's what Claudius calls out after seeing Hamlet's "The Mousetrap." By then the play within a play is over, so he is not asking for better spotlights. That we won't analyze here. Instead, you can read why one may actually shout out lights no less than 3 times when using a camera. See the article written by Nancy Yachnes for the winter issue of Kallah Magazine posted in 3 parts on NY Jewish Bridal Examiner, beginning with

If kids would buy laundry detergent . . .

I don't really understand what some advertisers assume about the audiences of certain sites. My children go on some sites to play various online games. I take it they are intended for children. But some ads that seem aimed at adults regularly cropped up -- nothing objectionable, mind you -- for things like Oil of Olay, or, more often, Tide detergent or stain remover. My daughter just watched the Tide ad that declares it has more than twice as much cleaning ingredient than other brands. Her immediate response was to tell me that I should buy Tide because it's so good.

So the ads work as far in persuading their audience. However, that particular audience is not the one who purchases the laundry detergent or even does the laundry. I do it. I am aware that Tide is considered effective. However, I usually buy detergents on sale for $2 a bottle. The same size bottles of Tide, which do not claim to do more loads of laundry, go on sale for $5.50.

Kallah Magazine latest issue

The winter issue is now out! Distribution began in the 5 Towns today. The magazine should be appearing in Flatbush tomorrow. Check around the stores on Coney Island Avenue if you are in the area.

Just over 3 months until April 15th

You also have until then to decide on a Roth or traditional IRA. These were discussed in the Money Matters feature of the winter issue of Kallah Magazine, which you could read by clicking on the link to the Winter10 PDF at
There is a third type of IRA that I didn't include in the post because it is aimed at couples who would not yet have children. If you do have a child under 18, you can set up an Education IRA AKA Coverdell Education Savings Account - ESA accounts for them. Those are limited to $2000 a year per child and are not tax deductible. But the earnings can grow tax free if the money is only taken out for qualifying expenses. These types of plans are very flexible. The money could possibly be tapped even for high school yeshiva tuition. It may depend on the school. The money is also allowed to be used for education related expenses such as computers and books.

part 2 of shidduchim lecture

Did any of you go to the first one on January 1st and wish to offer highlights? Anyway, here's the info for part two: Cong. Shaaray Tefila
Central & Lord Aves., Lawrence

10:00 A.M.
at Shaaray Tefila

Rabbi Dovid Weinberger, shlita

Do you know what you are doing?
„« When and under what circumstances may one break an engagement?
„« Checking into the brother of the prospective girl
„« Birth control at the outset of the marriage ¡V the halachic issues
„« Support from parents for children learning/going to school ¡V what should be the arrangements?
„« The encroachment as a Shadchan when someone else is involved
„« Making a Shiduch with people who are not completely Shomrei Torah u¡¦Mitzvah
„« Offering unsolicited information that is damaging about either the prospective boy or girl

Extensive Question & Answer period to follow

Men & women are urged to attend

An occasion for Yerushalmi kugel

I made Yerushalmi kugel for the first time this weekend. I used the recipe here:
and even had to cut down the long noodles because I didn't have fine egg noodles on hand. I reduced the sugar slightly and cut the recipe down to 2/3 so that it fit in a 9" round pan. It came out pretty good -- with more flavor than you find in the Yerushalmi kugels served at kiddushes.

My motivation for making this kugel now was my husband's siyum on Yerushalmi. So you can all wish the Divrei Chaim a mazel tov on his accomplishment. Those of you who know my brother can extend the same congratulations to him, as well. He finished Yerushalmi for the third time. This was my husband's first time, but he is also quite a number of years younger. BTW he completed Shas three times already. But there is no Bavli kugel.

Mothers and daughters in Tanach

Last night was a mother-daughter event specifically for 7th graders. It consisted of song, dance, and buffet after speeches by the principal and a guest speaker imported all the way from Monsey. Some of what she touched on I did in this post. But something the principal said about the tradition of mothers and daughters made me think about what examples do we see in TaNaCh. I came up with zero.

We do see a lot of interaction between fathers and sons and a bit between mothers and sons (think of Rivka telling Yaakov what to do), then there are some father-daughter interactions, such as the one between Yiftach and the daughter he offered up to fulfill his vow. We also have extensive interaction between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law in Megillas Ruth. Yes, according to the Midrash, Shifra and Puah were Yocheved and Miriam and so formed a mother-daughter midwife team. But we don't see any conversation between them. There is a midrashic conversation between Amram and Miriam …

It does give one pause

I just saw a posting from someone who bills herself as a writing tutor. It reads as follows:
Can't catch your tongue?
Proscrastinating the inevitable?
Unable to articulate your assets?
Get comfortable and get it done!"

Do you think she put the errors in on purpose? Usually when errors are purposefully left in ads, they are very obvious ones like spelling or subject-verb agreement errors. The errors here are more subtle -- the wrong word appears in context. The reason I think she may not intentionally be peppering errors is because even the title has the wrong word for the context. It is "College essay writing -- turn that drudge into a dream." A person is a drudge the type of work that makes the person into a drudge is called drudgery.

A new twist on a fairly traditional concept

Credit to Jay Monee for bringing this to my attention. There is a reality TV show now, "The World's Strictest Parents." See Kids who have not been exactly model children are put in the hands of these parents. What's interesting to me is that it is still a parental unit rather than a school or camp program that is entrusted with getting the kids back on the derech, so to speak. The approach is pretty much that of a fairly tightly controlled family -- a benign dictatorship, if you will. The five lessons the writer extracts used to be considered fairly fundamental in Jewish families. They are:
1. Education is critical.
2. Respect for authority is non-negotiable.
3. The kids must be involved.
4. Expectations are clear
5. The family is bigger than the individual.

Is The Little Prince among your favorite books?

It appears to be among Rav Aviner's In response to someone's question if the book should be avoided by Jews because of the Christian themes in it, he answers, on the contrary:
It includes moral lessons of value to all mankind. This work is read all over the world. It has been translated into 180 languages and dialects, and has been ranked number four on the list of the world’s best books from the last hundred years. It success derives from its having been written in a simple, endearing style suited to children. Its messages are profound, and are expressed in the form of symbols meant for adults.
Moreover, it encourages the adult to go back to the child within him and not to lose the innocence of childhood. It contains criticism about the illogical manner in which adults behave, in that they forget the simple truths:
“That's the way they are. You must not hold it against them. Children should be very understanding of grown-ups. But, of course, those of us who understand life c…

Modern day chasson damim

At the point that people are considering selling their organs to marry off their daughters, have we finally reached bottom? See,7340,L-3828250,00.html

Calling a teacher's bluff

Last week a teacher in my daughters' school tried a bluff. She told the class that if anyone doesn't want to be there, she can walk out, and she would have no hard feelings. Obviously, she believed that people would be too embarrassed to take up that supposed offer. But one girl was not at all inhibited. She got up to go. The teacher tried to give her pause by amending the offer with an additional condition requiring a talk with the principal. The girl still went. Surprise, surprise, after the fact, the teacher admitted that she did have hard feelings about the girl leaving and would be calling her parents.

Moral of the story: Don't take a position that only work if no one calls your bluff.
Note: it was not my daughter who walked out. She's not the type to do it.

found this link on a Facebook post

Perhaps we'll coin a new phrase, "Frankly my dear, I don't give a Tweet!" Check out this top 10 list at

I really don't get the inconsistency of the chareidi position

If you're familiar with Mishpacha Magazine, you would recognize it as one of the chareidi publications that considers any picture of women -- not matter how well-covered or how old -- unfit to be included in its pages. As a photographer who advertises in another such chareidi publication explained, you never know what may be viewed as provocative so no woman's face is ever to be publicized. I don't agree with this view because it renders all women invisible, which has far reaching consequences. It also seems absurd in certain contexts that clearly are intended for a female audience.
I believe in including positive images of women that are completely tzanua and do not compromise on standards of dress of depiction. I am forced to reject ads that have to low a neckline or too short a sleeve, etc. But most publications fall either in the chareidi camp or do end up relaxing standards with pictures that are not 100% tznius.
What I find very surprising is a conflation of …

Yosef reassures his brothers

Sefer Bereis end just after Yosef's conversation with his brothers. They are concerned that with their father gone, he will wishto avenge himself on them. He tells them he has no such intention and bears no grudge because he sees how his sale and the events that followed all fit into the Divine plan. He also assures them that he will support them. What's interesting is the assumption about human nature in his assurance according to Hakthav veHakabala. On 50:3 where Yosef says that he will suport them, he says, as he promised to support and sustain them from his own funds in a manner that they would be depedant on another's table, he comforted them by speaking to their hearts about this issue so that they wouldn't be saddened at this and they should consider it as if they were self-supporting with happiness and gladness of heart.
The assumption is that there is an element of sadness in being dependant on others and only a self-supporting person feel complete happine…

New Year Cliches

Remember the writing advice to avoid cliches? It should definitely be applied to people writing about attitudes for the new year. Here's one: "live life to the fullest." To the fullest of what? I don't think most people take it as full or Torah or full or mitzvos or even full of chesed. They may resolve to do more of those above when in trouble or at Rosh Hashana, but that is not because they are thinking just of enjoying the here and know but of how the here and now fits into the eternal picture. From that perspective, it doesn't necessarily matter if you never go on that trip around the world or go sky diving or do whatever it is people do when they think, "I'm going to live life to the fullest." It is not just experience for its own sake that counts but living with a sense of purpose beyond the moment.