Thursday, September 11, 2014

9/11/14 the Bar Mitzvah Memorial Year

     9/11 or Patriot Day as I once noticed they are calling it is again upon us. I still have a knot in my stomach when I think about it. It was the day America's innocence was lost.
    What can I say. The world is in just as big a mess if not bigger than it was 13 years ago. I suppose its the bar mitzvah memorial year. Now what would the haftorah be?
     A thirteen year old is a big  kid. There are thirteen year old kids out there who for them 9/11 is a history lesson. Time just goes on... I guess this how elderly people feel. One remembers certain events so clearly you almost forget how long ago they occurred.
    I pray for peace in the world . I pray for peace in the United States.  I pray for peace in Israel. I pray for an end to terrorism.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014


     The haven for religious Jewish singles is the UWS (upper west side, Manhattan) I lived there for a year in college, but not since. When I graduated college most of my friends moved to Brooklyn or Queens so that's what I did. By the time I really thought of moving to the UWS as an option I had been working for a few years and was able to support myself without the help of my parents. If  I would have moved to the UWS  I may have needed some supplemental contributions from my parents. I liked being able to pay my own way so I opted to stay in the outer boroughs.
     Eventually I could afford living on the UWS comfortably if I had roommates, but in the end I opted to use that type of rent to pay for an apartment sans roommates. Why pay so much money to live with roommates? Even good roommates move on and then you are stuck struggling to pay the rent until you desperately search for a roommate you may not even like just to pay the rent.
       Some will say that it is worth overpaying to live on the UWS because there are so many singles there that it is likelier to meet one's bashert there. This is probably true. People like to delude themselves and say that few on the UWS marry because there is so much choice. That is not really true. Though there are many confirmed singles there I know many who have met and married their spouses because they lived on the UWS.  Unfortunately the only way that I could afford to live  there comfortably is if I had several roommates. After having lived in my own apartment for years this does not appeal to me at all, especially since there is no guarantee that this type of arrangement would be short term.  Whenever I had roommates, even good ones, it did not feel like it was really my apartment. I cannot say I really want to go back to that.
          If I had the money to live as I do now on the UWS  I do not want to live like a grad student at this point . I want to enjoy my life, enjoy my space. I  do want to get married, but I also realize that my life right now is my life and I can't keep living life on hold. I have friends who will say one should only live in a basement apartment until one gets married because it will be an incentive to get married. Maybe, but maybe you will just end up  being middle aged and living single  in a basement. That would really suck.

Monday, September 8, 2014


     I remember learning in school, probably for the benefit of those who did not come from frum homes that where a ba'al t'shuvah stood it is a holier place that someone who always was frum . When I thought about it at the time I was thinking in terms of someone who did not grow up religious and then became religious.
     After awhile though I wondered what the meaning of  ba'al t'shuvah really is. I think when we say someone who did not grow up shomer shabbat and then becomes shomer shabbat, by t'shuvah we just mean that they are returning to being frum, but not so much that they are doing t'shuvah for transgressing. If one did not really know what sins one was transgressing  being an unobservant Jew is actually t'shuvah  really necessary?
     I thought some more. There are others who grew up religious , went away from it and then became frum again. I think that this type of person is more under the category of a ba'al t'shuvah. They knew about halachah , went away from it and then they returned to observance. This is a high level, because when one returns one has truly elected observance .
      Those who grew up irreligious and then became observant Jews really lie under the category of being 'born again' Jews. I have heard this term for ba'alei t'shuvah before , not always with such positive connotations, but it is an appropriate title. When people are 'born again' they have a lot of fervor for what they believe as do people who finally find frumkeit after years of being 3 day a year Jews.
        Alas , years later  I was taught that really it is more difficult to stay religious than to have been a chozer b'tshuvah because one always stuck to it even without having tried whatever else was out there. Kind of like na'aseh v'nishmah. We will do and we will listen. It is quite admirable to remain religious with true kavanah without going out to sow one's wild oats.
       Then again no matter how one comes to or stays with observant Judaism it is holy in its own right so why do we need to label one person as holier than the other? Maybe that's the point. Its all how you look at it. Everyone is holier than everyone else depending on how you look at it.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Cool Neighborhood?

      Recently I have noticed a change in the demographics of Midwood. It seems there are more Yuppies. Really. Lately when I sit on the benches on Ocean Parkway I see people jogging. It was not just once. Its been often. Is Midwood finally becoming hip and cool? I would say not quite, but maybe the Yuppies who cannot afford to live elsewhere are beginning to populate the area. I say bring it on. We need to shake things up around here. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Joan Rivers Dead At 81 - What Happened and Remembering Her

Moscato in the Cosmos

       Earlier today I was lounging around reading a magazine. Okay , I was reading Cosmopolitan magazine. Anyway, as I was reading it for a moment I thought that I had too much wine for kiddush when I spotted an ad for Bartenura moscato wine. I took a double  take and yes, its true. Bartenura wine has an ad in Cosmopolitan magazine side by side with an ad for Madonna's Material Girl clothing line which mentions Coney Island. I wonder if the ad for Bartenura wines is just in magazine editions being circulated to subscribers  in Brooklyn or if the ad has gone nation wide .  Inquiring minds want to know.....

Friday, September 5, 2014

Comedian Joan Rivers dead at 81

   During the week Joan Rivers was on life support there were many who davened for her recovery. On facebook it seemed that only her English name was recovered.  Her Jewish name was not known to use to pray for her health. It was quite interesting to read the desperation. It was touching and interesting. Some felt that the prayers were only valid if her Hebrew name was used. It is so wonderful that they wanted to daven for her recovery . I think that no matter which name was used Hashem surely heard our prayers even though she still passed away too soon. I do not think that lack of use of her Hebrew name had anything to do with the reality  of her passing. For reasons unknown to us it was what happened. Rest in Peace Joan Rivers legendary comedienne whose Hebrew name I do not know. You are already missed. Baruch Dayan Emes.