Wednesday, December 29, 2010

the dentist office

She walked in to the room with an air of confidence. She too appeared to be in her mid twenties but seemed to be everything I felt I was not. She was carrying a handbag indicative of a professional. Her outfit was modest yet showed an artistic inner being. Her hair was perfectly blown, side bangs feathered back to perfection. She annoyed me to the core. Here I was in agony and she had the audacity to have it altogether! In contrast, I had just thrown on a long skirt with a sweatshirt, slipped my hair in a pony tail and prayed not to meet anyone I knew. And if I did, too bad. I had a toothache. She approached the busy receptionist and signed her name on the clipboard. I prayed she’d sit on the other side of the room but no, of course not. On a day like this, when everything already seemed to be going wrong, little miss perfect had to sit down right next to me. I knew her type well. Choir head in high school, top seminary graduate and after the quick route through college landed the perfect job. And of course had her pick of perfect boys to go out with. And then to make matters worse, she had to smile at me. She couldn’t just be pretty, she had to be friendly too??? Smile back I ordered myself. And before I could help it I found myself turning and introducing myself, and then asking her her name. I expected a quick easy response but to my horror I watched as she struggled to get the words out. A stutterer. Who would have guessed. Something inside me softened. Perhaps it didn’t all come to her so easily either.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


A friend and I occasionally meet for lunch. As in all kosher restaruants it is inevitable that someone will come over to collect money. I have made it my policy to always give a dollar. I don’t really care whether they need it badly or not, that dollar will make no difference in my lifestyle and if they are asking its worth it to give. I also believe that by virtue of giving regularly it makes you a giving person and aware of others suffering. Early on in my outings with this friend she told me that as a rule she does not give. While I disagree with her stance I do not argue as she is allowed her opinion as I have mine. But last week we went for pizza and sure enough an elderly woman came over asking for money. My friend reached into her pocket and gave a quarter and I gave my customary dollar. After showering us with brachos worth much more than the money given, my friend commented that she is not sure why she chose to give this time when she normally does not. And the question that remains in my mind is how do you consider a quarter giving enough to make you question your motives? I am not saying that its not worthwhile to give a quarter, every bit helps. But don’t make a big deal out of 25 cents while eating your $10 salad.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

chanuka musings

Chanuka is almost over and still I am reflecting on the story. The Greeks were known to celebrate the body. Beauty and strength were considered the most admirable traits. Gymnasiums were the creation and pride of the Greeks. As a child learning this in school it was laughable. Why would someone care so much about these attributes. Yet as an adult I see our own culture mimicking that of the Greeks. Women are chosen for their beauty and shape. It is considered an ultimate accomplishment to spend hours at the gym. New jewish running networks are cropping up and organizations are using marathons and cycling events as fundraisers. i have a hard time making peace with what appears to me to be such diverse tendencies. To live a torah life may mean to take care of the body and appear to others as a regal image of God but it does not mean making a life of physicality. When look become the ultimate goal, they get in the way of being oved Hashem properly. The skirts get shorter and tighter, other things fall to the wayside. And sooner or later we are living like the Greeks. Ki archa lanu hayeshua- we are waiting so damn long. Let’s not get further entrenched in the galus. Let’s make our creator proud so he can finally put an end to all our suffering.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


While out to lunch with a friend last week she mentioned that a certain single guy told her that Chanukah is a depressing yomtov for singles. I laughed it off. Simchas torah, I can hear- all your friends dancing with their kids while you look on. Pesach, its hard to believe you are spending another pesach seder at the parents still single. Rosh Hashana means another year has gone by without the hoped for changes. But Chanukah? I didn’t buy it. Its not a very intrusive holiday. You go to work as usual and when you get home you light some candles. Not much room for depression I said.
And then the first night of Chanukah came. I pulled up to my house just as all the neighbors were gathering around their windows, lighting menorahs with their small children. I sat in the car watching, envious of them all And then I went inside to light my candles alone.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

rosh hashana thoughts

Just spoke to a friend, reminiscing about this time last year. Over last succos I got to meet the guy she was seriously dating. Now, a year later she is very pregnant. (Yes, I know you are either pregnant or not, no varying levels). She commented on how much has changed in one year. And while I outwardly agreed with her internally I was focused on how much has stayed the same for me. In one year that she has gone from being single to engaged to married and now nearing the birth of her child I have remained single. Dateless and hopeless. And while I can be grateful for all the good in my life I can also take this time to wallow in self pity. For a year gone by without a date, without a chance, without feeling any closer to my goal.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

picky? or realistic?

I was recently called by a stranger and set up with a guy. Although he gave me references to check with (all happened to be his own relatives) I decided not to use them and instead began asking around. I asked many singles, I asked people from his neighborhood. I had people asking people. But no-one had heard of him. Meanwhile upon hearing this story a friend took it upon herself to do the research herself. She began calling the references and reported back with nice information. Still I was hesitant. Why doesn’t anyone know him? He is in a service industry, people can know him that way. Girls who date anyone and everyone didn’t know him. I was bothered. The shadchan called again and upon my telling him my reservations he responded, “well he’s not mordechai ben david!”. This saga continued. My friend called me a few nights ago and said I hear hes a real mentch. What more do you want? This is the point where I can hear the tone – “oh she’s so picky”. I said I want common ground. I want someone who knows me to say yes, this is worth a shot. She decided on her own that she would speak to him directly. Late last night I received a text “just had a phone date with so and so. Hes not for you”. He may be nice he may be well liked but some things are just not evident until you speak to the person directly. Its not being picky. Its being realistic.

Monday, August 30, 2010

what now?

As frum from birth girls we are raised to serve a better purpose. Everything we do is for the ultimate purpose of serving God. We learn this as children and know that as adults we will do so by supporting our husbands and sons in their learning and help raise the next generation of righteous jews. Yet as we reached our twenties and then thirties for many of us this future never evolved into the present. No husband to send out to his chavrusa, no children to say modeh ani with. Initially we found other ways to serve our creator- chesed and tefila became our methods and we convinced ourselves that this was our role. Yet years into this we find that it is not enough. Sure we are still living as torah Jews but feel there must be more. God could not have sent us here just to wait it out. We are supposed to pass it on, leave a legacy. And more and more single girls seem to be questioning… what now?

Sunday, August 29, 2010


One of the things that frustrates me most about the frum people is their expectation of how life will turn out. Though we claim everything is up to Hashem, we still expect He will do what makes sense to us. Walking with 2 women on shabbos one exclaimed to the other "you’ll probably make a chassunah soon". Yes, there is a good chance that this 19 year old beauty in discussion will be indeed be married within months. But there is always the hopefully slim chance that she will not be. This also comes up when working with a wedding party. Many times comments are made concerning who’s next, in reference to those still years away from dating. They take age order into account and if a brother is only a couple of years older than the girl it is assumed she will go before him, but possibly the same year. When these comments are made I pray that they not have to learn the hard way that life does not always turn out the way we assume it will.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


When in my early 20’s I was a big traveller, flying from country to country, city to city. My friends, newly married were struggling with their finances and schedules and looked on enviously. Somehow now the tables have turned. My friends have established familes, and moved up in their careers. They are now able to leave the kids for a few nights or take them along, creating family memories. And for me, there is noone with whom to go. So now it is me, looking on whistfully while they show pictures of beautiful scenic vacations.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

moms and their misplaced values

I recently helped out the mother of a large family who was undergoing some medical issues. I cooked her delicious yet simple meals, sharing the recipes and shortcuts for her to use when life returns to normal. Yet each time I shared an inexpensive quick method she’d respond by brainstorming how to add to this and make it an impressive meal. Which it already was.
I used to look at the haggard moms on the street and feel bad for the stress they are under by sheer volume of children. Many “ultra-orthodox” women have many kids and it is nearly impossible to care for them all without losing control. But what I learned from this situation is that much of the pressures they endure they are placing upon themselves. It is a mothers responsibility to make sure their children are well fed at the end of the day. It is not their responsibility to provide a 5 course meal, or to provide respectful meals each time a neighborhood mom has a child. Baked goods do not need to be home baked, children would prefer a calm mom and a box of store bought cookies. It is time for the mothers out there to reevaluate their priorities.

Monday, April 12, 2010

cell phones

Dear friend
We recently spent what should have been a nice day together. Fun activity, nice dinner out. But while I was there with you, you were there with someone else. You were texting and emailing all day. When you noticed something comment worthy you’d photograph it on your phone and send it to someone else. Instead of creating new memories with me you were rehashing old ones on your blackberry. Rather than fill me in on the jokes, you communicated them to someone who did not clear their day to spend it with you. Yes, I admit I do sometimes answer a call or text while out with you but it does not take over my day. And once I realized how upset I was getting over your behavior I put my phone away altogether to ensure that my behavior does not match yours.
So please, I beg of you, in this age of technology, where it seems we can be with anyone, anywhere, any time, please don’t use it to push away those who are actually there with you.

Monday, March 29, 2010


I just noticed an ad for an upcoming singles event. The ad mentioned a bonus for early female registrants- free makeup and hairstyling. This is yet another way that we shift the focus of singles to looks. We all know that there must be an attraction for a shidduch to work but is that the main thing we are pushing? I myself attended one of the events made by this program and the first woman to get engaged was from the least attractive ones there. She was overweight with frizzy hair and not at all put together. But her now husband of 2 years still went for her. He saw more. Cant everyone else?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

questions on life

My best friend is an exercise addict. I am a chesed addict. She spends her time on the treadmill, I spend mine doing volunteer work. Her day is not complete without running 5 miles. Mine is not fulfilled if I didn’t help someone. Her conversations revolve around her diet and fitness regiment. Mine don’t. Her schedule is made according to when she needs to hit the gym. Mine is made around the appointments of cancer patients. She has a beautiful family with 4 wonderful children. I live alone in solitude.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What Haiti has taught me

The recent earthquake in Haiti has taught me that mankind is still good. While many weep over the poor state of social affairs and how society has become out of control, I noticed the outreach that was immediate after Haiti. Driving home I just heard of a telethon taking place with many celebrities giving of their time to raise money for those affected by the quake. Stores have signs hanging with instructions on how to donate. Radio stations are running fundraisers in order to send goods. And all this was done immediately after hearing the news. Similar events were held following Katrina and it seems like the world learned from that. This time it took less planning and the efforts were almost automatic. And now I see that beneath the hard clothing and the i-pods and blackberries, people are still good and caring, hoping to help one in need.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I'm thinking .........

I'm thinking of the cold and hungry
While I lay warm and content in my bed
I am thinking of how I could feel lacking
But today I feel grateful instead

I'm thinking of the childless couple
As my kids- they scream and yell
I’m thinking of how I yearn for sleep
But should just be glad my children are well

I'm thinking of the terror victims
In Israel they suffer so
I'm thinking of the secure life we have here
We’re so lucky we all should know

I'm thinking of the family
Whose father suddenly passed away
I'm thinking of the sorrow they are enduring
While our families still laugh and play

I'm thinking of the mother
And her son who is so ill
All the treatments he must go through
Appreciate your health, if you will

I'm thinking of the unemployed man
and how he agonized before he spent
i'm thinking of the parnassah I have
and know its heaven sent

i'm thinking of all the tzaros
of klal yisroel far and near
i'm thinking of all the brachos in my life
if I just look, they are right here.

Monday, January 4, 2010


I resisted facebook for a while. Finally my friend convinced me to join as a way to see pictures of her children. So I gave in. I know its all fake and meaningless yet I somehow manage to be hurt by it. The friend who convinced me to go on never comments on my status posts yet she will comment on all others including MY real life friends as they update the going ons of their families. I also notice that many use pictures of their children as their profile picture and their status’es are exclusively about the kids. Others will automatically comment or “like” anything child related. So I found myself realizing that as much as in real life I try to convince myself that its not all about having kids, if I were to view facebook as a microcosm of the real world it leaves me once again realizing that if you don’t have kids people have nothing to say to you and you may as well not exist.