Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Purim & Mom

Purim was awesome! I'm so happy I decided to stay in Katamon. I am also so happy I didn't spend it with my usual crowd :) I was right about how Purim would be spent with them, at least that's what I get from their stories. Purim morning I made some mishloach manot. I made chocolate snacks with cornflakes that were excellent, cute up peppers and a mini chumos (hey! it's Israel). I then delivered one to each of my building mates. They were all shocked and loved the gift. I think we now have new friends, kinda what the whole mishloach manot thing is about... I even gave to someone I would consider the "haman" of "ad dilo yada" that you should give to everyone, no matter if you think them a tzaddik or rasha... we got back mishloach manot from them labeled to the "banot chamudot" {cute girls} {ok, that was from the 90+y/o couple who've lived in this building for 50+ years...} Mishloach manot delivery ended around 3, the two seuda's were starting at 2 and then 2:30. I went first to the 2:30 seuda at the South African co-workers apartment. Very nice group. Met everyone - I was the only American in the group. I stayed for about a 1/2 hour and then excused myself to go to the guys apartment. {Yes Shauli, it does seem a lot of guys walk me home (so far up to 3) - but they never ask me out, just home...hmmm} The guys seuda was a lot of fun. I got there a little after 3:30 - I heard they didn't really sit down until about 3:30 anyway {aparently 2:00 was mincha followed by snacks and drinks}. I'm not going to go into all the details here, just I did not get even tipsy, I did have a great time, and I am trying not to read into anything anymore, and just go with the flow {in other words if you want all the details call me, or Golda}

My Mom's in town! This'll be awesome. I met her at the airport, and brought her to my place. We got to chill here a little bit before going to meet my brother and sis-in-law for a nice dairy dinner. {not my cup of tea - but it's nice all the same} She's staying with us Jerusalemites until Thursday night when we head up to Maalot for Shabbat.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Shabbat Rant... Seuda Possibilites

The Shabbat meal situation has been bothering me for a while. I was not sure what about it was bothering me until today. Back up... Since moving out of my parents' home, until moving to Jerusalem, every Shabbat (save for 4 weekends in 6 years) I found myself packed up spending Shabbat somewhere else ie not in my apartment. {ok,5 times in bklyn I slept in my apartment and ate somewhere else - I don't think that counts...} Sometimes that "somewhere else was NCSY Shabbatonim, but if there was no Shabbaton, or oneg to run, I would be at a family's house, with a family meal, and a family feeling. In New York these families were either friends of mine who were married, my friend's parents homes, or my cousins place. I stayed far away from the "NY single scene", scared away by the numerous horror stories that I'd heard. {i'm not sure if that was good thing or bad, but moving along...} After first moving to Israel I continued to go away for Shabbatot, however there is a different twist here. I do not have friends who are married here, and I do not have friends whose parents live here, so I found myself going to either my parents' friends, or to people I do not know. Both of those are fine choices, except for one major part. I am not friends with anyone who lives at the homes. That means every week I am starting from scratch with either "what have you been up in the last 6 years" or "so tell us about yourself". Neither of these questions leaves me for lack of what to say, however after weeks in a row of this I find myself hating going to people for Shabbat. Upon moving to Katamon, I started staying home for the first time since moving out of my parents' home. I enjoy it. I enjoy the company of single people, I enjoy the discussions, I enjoy having guests, I enjoy meeting new people and I enjoy the Friday night charade of shmoozing after davvening with the "where are you going" conversation starter... What I don't like is that some of the meals end up being 20+ people with 15 converstions going on simultaneously, and it feels a little like Shabbat meal is an excuse for a party with a prereq that you must be sitting...

This Shabbat we made Friday night dinner. Jessica invited two married couples, a friend of hers, and I had two ppl come, one of whom brought a friend. There was - for the most part - only one conversation at a time. Shabbat lunch I ate a newly married couple's place with 7 other guests... also one conversation. The factor that made those meals work was there was someone leading the meal. It was not a free for all. Seuda Shilisheet was given by a friend for whoever heard about it, and included not only the 25+ people who fit around the table...but also the 15+ people
who found their space on the couch. Nice group of people, and very Purim party feeling. I realized that was it. For shaloshudos (for lack of a better spelling...), that was great. For Purim it was great. For Friday night or Shabbat day it was not ok. For the last couple of weeks I knew something was bothering me about the meal situation, but I couldn't put my finger on it exactly. I thought it was the lack of Torah, aside from the d'var Torah I would make someone give - but it's more then that. It's the lack of a feeling of a cohesive group. Neither last night's or today's conversation focused on Torah...but the d'var Torah was not a seperate entity to the meal. It wasn't stop everything it's d'var Torah time - it was more of a so, does anyone have anything on the Parsha/Purim... part of the group discussion.
Now that I have the answer to what has been bothering me, I have to figure out if it is fixable or if I should simply roll with the knowledge that when I make meals I can try and roll them in the direction I would like.

In completely other news... I have been invited to 2 seudas for Purim tomorrow. A co-worker invited me to her place, I was really excited about that one, because I would get to meet a whole slew of new people, being that she is in a completely different crowd then I'm in. I accepted and offered to bring dessert. Then confusion struck late last week. The guys from "cute guys' apartment" called and invited my roommate and myself to their place for seuda {don't get too excited...with 15 other people...} If that's not great enough, Friday night one of the cute guys I saw at an oneg I went to asked if I was almost ready to leave, cuz he'd walk me home... score! Then he asked if I got the message from my roommate that we were invited, and then asked if I was going to make it "cuz I know your roommate is coming late". If that wasn't great enough, he called tonight to ask if I'd bring dessert... Ok, so now i'm bringing desert to two seudas...one that starts at 2 {guys}, and one at 2:30 {co-worker}. I will probably go to the guys on time, and show up at the girls arounbd 3:30...how wrong is that? Or, I could go to the guys at 2, leave - go to the girls, stay for 1/2 hour and then return to guys... Oh the possibilites....

Thursday, March 24, 2005


My American phone line offers me the chance to shmooze away with my friends still in the States. We can talk about other friends, what's going on, whose doing what, who had a kid, etc... It's all very nice. I found out it can also be exceedingly frusterating. A friend said to me the other day, "So, what's going on in Israel, any busses blow up recently?" I was a little taken aback. For one because the last bus bombing was last August, and two because how could she assume she wouldn't know if a bus had exploded! I let it slide, and made a side comment about how we were all too busy dealing with being for and against the disengagement to have busses blow up. She wanted to know what that was. WHAT THAT WAS? What is going on in America?! Hello Jews of America, this is your country. Now yes, I understand that my friend does not represent all American Jews. I asked my father if the rabbi in shul has mentioned anything about the disengagement, he answered no. Why don't they care? Why isn't this a major Jewish/Religious discussion. Why isn't this being discussed everywhere two Jews meet? We may Gd forbid be on the verge of a civil war, and the American Jews won't even know why. I no longer have to ask myself why there is talk about disengagement...it's because world Jewry is disengaged. And they don't care...

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


The oddest thing about starting a program, is when your friends ask you for a job. I have a number of friends who have been/still are very involved in the Kiruv World. Being that this program is one of the main things I speak about, they all know about it. Now they want jobs. I have been approached by three couples about the position of av/eim tochnit. The truth is we are looking for a couple that currently lives in Modiin and has another source of income. Somehow I got talked into meeting with two of the couples today. I'm not sure how to go about it. I have already told both couples that we are really looking for someone in Modiin, and that the money is not great... Both said how about if we meet tomorrow. So at 3 I have a meeting at Cafe Hillel, and at four at my friends' apartment. What I am going to tell them, I'm not sure. I am specifically not wanting to sell them on the idea, I more want to get it out of their heads that they think it's a good idea. While remaining good friends and promoting the program of course! Dilemmas, man...

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

To Be Or Not To Be Scened

Israel may not be the largest country in the world, but she is 7 hours long... I can live anywhere in the country (this week - legal or illegal outpost) and I chose to live in Katamon. I tried living in Givat Shmuel for a year, but the lack of "scene"age drove me to Katamon. I am clearly here because of the single scene. Because of the chance that I may meet another single who also lives here and we will end our singledom together, and until then I can be surrounded by other singles. In fact all the singles who live here are living here because of the single scene. While they may say they hate it, and may say that they are not a part of it - they are all living here for a reason. That reason is not cheap rent, is not because they live with their parents, and is not becuase it is the only neighborhood that will let them in - they can be anywhere (Kiryat Moshe is cheaper and much closer to most of the bus lines). With that said, I am at a loss what to do about Purim. Do I scene it for Purim, or find a nice family to hideout by? Purim this year is not simply a meal...Purim is at least 3 days long. That includes a Thursday night party, a friday meal party, a Shabbat Purim drunken lunch, A Saturday night Party and a seudas mitzvah on Sunday... HMMMM If I leave Jerusalem I have to stay away until Sunday. I can not sleep in my apartment Sat. night b/c I will have missed Purim Yerushalayim which is really on Shabbat and then no one has given me a straight answer if I need to do mitzvot Purim on Sunday... Problem is I don't want to spend Shabbat with my friends all drunk. I don't want to walk through drunken streets, and listen to drunken chit chat all weekend. I don't want to spend Purim alone and depressed that I'm not with my family and the Hochheisers... But I don't want to spend it with friends. Purim will definitely be an experience, it will definitely be fun, and it will definitely be a weekend for the books, but to say "What happens on Purim stays on Purim" isn't really a way to celebrate a religious holiday. So, if I am here for the scene, and this is it, should I say Purim is above that...or should I just sit back relax and enjoy the show...

Monday, March 14, 2005

How Wrong?

There are very very few things that I think are probably wrong, but do anyway. Illegal downloads are probably number one on this list. While I recognize that US law forbids it my bigger question is - is it only assur b/c US law forbids it, or is it stealing according to Jewish law. I have discussed it with different rabbis, most come out against downloads according to halacha, the others are undecided.

I think the answer can be seen clearly from Britas and peelers. There is are questions about using both on Shabbat, where we do not use objects designed specifically to separate. I have learned that if you can peel with a knife, and therefore the peeler is simply an easier form that using a peeler is fine. If you can drink the tap water, but enjoy the filtered water more, then using a brita is fine.

Using that manner of deduction...

If I watched the TV shows on the TV at their correct time, I could simply click off the TV at the commercials, or walk away. I could also tape the show, and watch it later fastforwarding the commercials. I could probably borrow my friends taped show without anyone from the US government telling me that it is wrong. So if someone who I do not know tapped the show and is letting me watch it too commercial free at my own time...is that so wrong? If it would be illegal to tape shows then VCR's would not be able to be sold with a the ability to tape straight off the TV...with the TV off...

Now, about software. If my friend has a program that I can not offord or do not want to buy is it illegal for me to go to his house and use his software? Would it be illegal for me to borrow his laptop, bring it to my house and work on my project with his software? Why would it be illegal for him to lend me the software so that he does not have to give up his computer? What about a program that you can download for a month trial. At the end of the 30 days, you can deleted the program, keep the files you've created, and redownload the program - continuing to work on the files past 30 days. So why would it be assur to download someone else's copy?

Lastly, I know you can not make a bracha on stolen food. What about publish Torah on the internet using stolen software?

I bring this all up because in less then 2 hours I will be the proud owner of a downloaded version of Dreamweaver. I am downloading it so I will be able to create a website for the year program I am creating.

I recently had an interesting discussion about downloading and if it is assur or not. The person I was talking to suggested that b/c the companies make so much money and this is a drop in the bucket it can't be assur. I argued that it does not matter if you are stealing a penny from the wealthiest man in the city...you are not allowed to steal. His status has no bearing on your allowance to steal. With that said, I will still continue this download, I will load it on my computer, and I will use it. I will not feel guilty about it. Is that wrong? I can not think of another action that I know is probably wrong, and yet I do it anyway. Does this mean I don't really believe it's wrong, or does it mean that I have the ability to know something is wrong, really want to do it, and therefore do it anyway? Maybe one day I'll be wealthy enough to buy all wonderful programs that I use.


assur = illegal according to Jewish Law
halacha = Jewish law
Shabbat = the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday)
britta, peeler thing - too long to get into just here
bracha = blessing

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


While putting together the program for next year the topic of mandatory tefillah has come up. I posted on an educators' forum asking what they thought about mandatory tefillah, explaining a little about the program and the background of the participants. I received a number of responses, mostly asking for more about the program. This response blew me away.

I don't know if it is worth asking:Is it "mandatory" to vote in a democracy? i.e. are benefits of the society contigent upon the participation in the political system such as in voting?
From my extremely limited perspective, participation in a minyan is a unique opportunity. Not really like voting in our secular society which has time and again been shown to be somewhat of a scam, and where violence and "graft" behind the scenes seems to have taken innovative modern forms. If my son had been asked to be present for a minyan after his father died, his whole life at age eight may have been different. In fact ALL the responsibility for the children and our home fell upon me with out any inheritance or support even after their father's long illness. How my son would have learned to stand with other men, to be shoulder to shoulder with them on a day to day basis, to study and pray, to say kadish, ...He was never asked. And now his ignorance of observance, his lack of a yeshivaish background will likely forever be too humiliating to allow him to turn to the male Jewish community. He has "married" a woman who is not Jewish.

As for me I was tired and distracted, but persevered with what I could (the basics of daily living (washing, cooking, cleaning tending to the children's medical appointments,shopping, finishing a "professional" degree while working and then earning medical insurance..

All this to say that from a backwards glance I cannot believe that an opportunity will be bypassed for participating in minyan while in eretz yisroel! Did I say that I had visited in 1958 as a special Bnai Brith emmissary. I was seventeen,and toured for about eight weeks and stopped in everynook and cranny of the new state from Eilat toMetualla. Yet I do not recall prayer as any part of the journey! I recall how much I wanted to stay and not return, yet there seemed no where I could"connect" and I meekly returned to the states and began the four year B.A. program I had prepared to attend. Again in 1968 I was a guest with my children and their father at my father-in-law's home in Haifa. So many opportunities we had to begin to daven with a minyan and so occasions we really needed to be there to say kadish, et al. ...As a professional in the field of psychology, the minyan seems to me an opportunity for me to participate in a "group" and especially in ISRAEL during a summer program there ought to be some group process component (inclusive of tefillah) three times a day! As for the group process, participation of the young people, in planning and reviewing their experiences ... I do not recall that this occrred with any clarity when I was a young person. So I am thinking that in addition to a planned curriculum or itinerary, even more important that visiting tourist sites, is the way the group will digest their daily experiences and integrate tefillah...This is a JEWISH way and to bypass it is to take the soul out of the aliyah.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

....agon story

The political Tev Aviv death toll is up to 5. It is political only because both sides, (who am I kidding, this is not a two sided story - more like an octogonal or more story) ok, all sides...use these deaths politically. The planners of the killing use it politically to prove that they can and will terrorize, the killer's family uses it politically to show the world how horrible the Israeli's are for destroying their family's home (although Israel stopped doing that last week) The israeli left uses it to show how we must give more to stop this terror and make peace on and forall, the right uses it politically to show that it can never be stopped no matter how close to "peace" the left thinks they are, the fence builders use it to show the importance of the fence, the anti-fence people use it to explain the terrorist did not even come through where the fence was supposed to protect...the only people who are not using this death politically are the nonpoliticians...

Morons Code

To start, I do not expect that my two blogs will continue to read similar content, however I feel this deserves a space on both. With that said I'll assume you don't read the other one and start from the beginning here....

I have a few guy girl issues.
1. I seem to read into obvious signs (that other people see too) that were never sent out.
2. I have no idea how to flirt.
3. Most guys I meet just want to be friends.

With that said, let me be clear that this is not the first or second or third time that I have read signals that were never sent, it is sort of the story of my life. Since 10th grade I have been reading black and white in your face signs that were aparently never put up. Numerous times I have had friends tell me that so-and-so is obviously "into me" and I'd have to be blind not to see it, everyone else does, only to be told by so-and-so that no, he sees us as just friends and nothing more. I've even had guys tell me that they are looking for someone just like me, and why aren't there more girls like me in the world, but they were not looking for me. Some friends wanted to say that those guys were just not ready to be serious with someone, but it was quite obvious that when they were ready they'd ask me out, ooops invitations to their engagement parties and weddings proved otherwise. So, he we go again...

I met someone a couple months ago. He seemed like a nice guy, nothing too special. But then I started becoming friendly with him. A few weeks ago we were at a party together, he did not want me to walk home by myself, and so he offered to walk me home. That was really the first time we had a one-on-one conversation, and I found that he wasn't a bad conversationalist. He asked me what I was doing, and I told him about my program. The walk was under 10 minutes I went upstairs and he went home. That Saturday night we saw each other at a party again (parties seem to be the social events in this area). He asked me more about the program and said that he was really interested in it, and would there place for him on staff. I took his phone number to set up an interview, he did not take mine. I soon left the party, with him feeling very bad he was not walking me home, and aparently went on for about 10 minutes about how bad he felt that I was walking home myself, until he asked a friend of mine for my number so he could call me and make sure that I was getting home alright. That monday I called to set up an interview to tell him about the program, hear about him and see if there was something we could work out (program-wise). The interview took place in his apartment, he was having his door fixed and couldn't leave the apartment all day, and he offered to make me lunch. The interview was amazing, i found out so much about him that i just never thought. The guy that I was not interested in was no more. (I'm not hiring him, there wasn't really a place for him in the program) A few days later I ran into him in a coffee shop, on my way to meet a friend, we shmoozed for a little bit then I had to run, and then I ate at his place for for Shabbos lunch (with 15 other people). He spent most of the meal teasing me about something or another, and then later quit a game because I was killing him. Then, I spoke to him Monday and he asked if everything was ok, cuz i seemed a little upset about something on Shabbos...hmmm. So two of my friends are telling me that it is so obvious that he likes me, and maybe they should set me up. Ok, my friend calls to "set us up" and his response was that he didn't see it working out. Ok, so now I am to just assume his walking me home was because he is against any girls walking home by themselves, his calling me was out of guilt that I did walk home by myself, his teasing me was strictly friendly and his asking me today if I was upset about something on shobbos was b/c we're just friends. I give up. Not that I've ever gotten it right before, why should now be different.