Monday, May 31, 2010

Any woman tempted by this shidduch?

To fill in for the nonJewish girlfriend that the man will willingly dump for a Jewish one who wants to take her place.   This was posted on one of the email lists:

WANTED: SHIDDUCH FOR NON RELIGIOUS MAN, who is about to intermarry. He is 51.
 He is willing to go out with a Jewish girl and is willing to keep a kosher home.
 and will break up with the non-Jew if
he meets a girl that he is interested in.
For more info call or email.

I know the person who posted means well, but usually a woman wants to be more than a substitute of the preferred religion.

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Moshe's half brothers?

See how this could work out at

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Note on the nursing mother's advantage in the parsha

 In the Behalothcha, Moshe expresses his exasperation with the demands and complaints of the people, saying "Have I conceived all this niation, have I given birth to it that you should say to me to carry it to [in] your chest as the nursing one will carry the infant" (11:12).  The commentator, Hakthav Vehakabala points out that the word for nursing one is haomein, which is the masculine form, rather than haomeineth, the feminine form, which is the usual usage for one who nurses.  He points out that the nursing woman is able to comfort her crying child with the milk from her body, but a man cannot do that.  In context, that would point out the frustration Moshe experiences in not being able to quiet the cries of the people.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Making numbers meaningless with Twitter followers

Today I got a notice that MyCoffeeStop is following me on Twitter.  I usually do a quick scan of those who follow me because I am curious about what may have drawn them in.  I don't subscribe to anything that is supposed to garner followers.  But that is just what  the top Tweet on my latest follower is about.

  It is for, which promises to increase your Twitter followers rapidly.  How does it do it?  Well, if you join, you commit yourself to following others.  So this is a sort of clearing house for scratch my back and I'll scratch yours in the form of following. .  Each person who joins must "follow all the VIP accounts and 20 randomly chosen regular accounts."  The one who joins has  "a chance in showing up as one of the 20 randomly chosen accounts." So you are, in effect, buying in to obtaining some random followers. To really inflate your numbers, though, you must opt in as a VIP.  I would be very surprised if the VIP account are not charged a premium.

In any case, all these followers are not following because they are interested in your Tweets but because they have to opt in to get more followers for themselves.  So of what value are these numbers?  I would say very little because followers who are not interested will not really read your Tweets and will not click on your links.  Yes, you'll have higher numbers, but they are, essentially, empty numbers.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Love, Lies, and Shidduchim

 I don't know i the shidduchim / dating / preparing for marriage classes that young women attend today makes a point about the phrase "falling in love."  However, I do recall mention of it when I was in seminary.  The philosophy teacher said what does it mean "'to fall in'; you fall in a pit!"  Other instructors would go so far as to say that the whole concept, invented by writers of fiction and popularized by Hollywood is a lie with no basis in reality.  In real life, they would say, there is no such thing as an instantaneous, magical connection; people do not fall in love with someone they have just met.Beware of sweeping generalities, I (nearly) always say. In truth, not everyone falls in love in Hollywood style, but some people actually do.

Click: The Magic of Instant Connections, the latest book from the team of Israeli-born brothers, Ori and Rom Brafman, touches on couples who have instantly connected, married, and stayed together down the road. (see their earlier book, Sway, mentioned in  The book opens with the story of such a couple.  They were not impetuous  teenagers like Romeo and Juliet but educated professionals in their thirties when they met.  They clicked from the first conversation, talked for hours, and decided to marry very soon. While there is a "magical" connection, and that book does use the term throughout, the connection is not one born of the magnetism of opposing forces but of similarities.
Click  reveals that a key component of relationships that click -- both romantic and platonic -- is the similar basis of the people involved.  They share values, beliefs, tastes, or, even,  names.  It is the sameness that draws people together. The shidduch system is designed to achieve matches by bringing like people together. The assumption is that those of similar backgrounds, hashkafa [outlook, usually as indicated by school attended], and similar socio-economic circles have better odds of clicking than those of divergent backgrounds.  So why doesn't it always work out? Well, there is more to clicking than matching on externals or being able to engage in small talk while sitting for hours in a hotel lobby. In fact, if people remain in the realm of small talk, which include "phatic statements" like "'How are you?'"  and "factual" ones that merely offer bits of information like where one lives or attends school.  Even "evaluative statements," which offer opinions, the conversation will not lead to a click between the people conversing.  They have to progress to to "gut-level" statements" which reveal our feeling-based perspective" and, finally,  "peak statements, where we share our innermost feelings, feelings that are deeply revealing and carry the most risk in terms of how the other person might respond." (pp. 38-39).  Now how many shidduch dates progress to the point at which there are revelations of feeling that lets down one's guard to the point of vulnerability?  Without it, though, the click is likely to elude the couple.  However, revealing one's vulnerable side to another is a necessary step in creating a deep connection.  As  it says on page 44:
When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable in engaging with another person, the emotional intensity of the conversation escalates as the other person responds in kind.  He or she recognizes our willingness to be open as an invitation to take the relationship to a deeper level.  Of course, the person may back away -- that is the risk we take in being open.  But when someone responds in kind, then we both are acknowledging that we would like to take the relationship to a deeper level. 

It is not necessary for a couple to arrive at this level on the first date, as those who instantly click do; it is possible to build up to that point without the  instant connection. In a study recounted in Click  married couples fall into 3 groups: those who clicked right away, those who decided to marry after dating in a typical courtship situation, and those who transitioned from friendship to a romantic relationship after a while.  Marriages in any of the 3 categories can prove successful, as they do in the study covered in the book, though there are differences in how the spouses think of each other and their relationship.  Ultimately, one size does not fit all when it comes to individuals' happily ever after.  Whether one falls into it or descends slowly, the components of a successful relationship are the same.   

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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Which issue do couples often fail to discuss before marriage?

The answer is money.  That can be a source of major conflict later. 
There is an excellent post the enumerates  5 key things to know before marriage at at
I posted my own quiz to help you find out about your own and potential spouse's attitudes in the "Saver vs. Spender, What's  Your Score?" article at
For other issues to review before popping the question and answering the affirmative, see

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Monday, May 03, 2010

Watch what you say and where

Ever notice how people who tout themselves as experts on somethign reveal themselves not to be?  There's a particularly annoying freelance editor who always pokes herself into every LinkedIn discussion to tout her own horn about how all her writers love her work, etc. and she tries to sell her expertise on being a successful freelancer.  But what she just posted indicated that she got stiffed by someone who said she was not satisified with her work.  She's better off not venting on the same forum where she boasts.
 Here's an extract from the person under whose name appears: "Get Paid to Write!"
I recently was asked to redo a brochure for a local colleague. It was awful - a cluttered Word or Publisher template; tons of typos and clunky, awkward writing; several tiny, mostly irrelevant images. I rewrote the text; asked for and incorporated better images; redid the layout and sent it back to the client; about three hours altogether, right in line with the two to four hours we agreed to use. She said it was great but wanted a couple little things changed. Did that, sent it back with an invoice and a note saying I'd be glad to do any other changes needed.

First she wrote back to say it was great and would pay shortly; then, a couple days later, she didn't like it after all and wanted a credit for part of the bill. It's been two months and she hasn't paid anything yet, and probably won't be. She's asked for another copy of the invoice so she could pay "this week" (don't you just love that "misplaced your invoice" line?) - and still hasn't done so.

Yes, I know that all of us can get stiffed.  I've been stiffed myself.  But I don't call myself an expert on getting paid to write.

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Love wasting money?

 I picked up the latest edition of Long Island Parent, flipped to page 80, and saw some of the most over-priced items imaginable touted as "Things You'll Love."   Guess what, I don't love it.  I also so don't love the feature that presents these items with high price tags and little utility as must have items.  You can live very well without them, or find much cheaper alternatives.   Read more at

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