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Wednesday, August 10, 2005



In my circle I’m the only one feeling this way, so I’m hoping to find a like-minded person among my readers.

There are no words sad enough and adequately tragic to describe the horror that was the Holocaust.
Pretending it didn’t exist would be foolish, hurtful to those who lived through it and grossly disrespectful to its countless victims.

Since I was a child there was always talk about it and around it.
My mother used to bring books from the library for me to read about it.
50 % of the Artscroll and Feldheim catalogs contain Holocaust stories (some really interesting).

Rebbeim often referred to it and it was a large part of the history lessons year after year.
Movies on the subject are made by the dozen, so many in fact I find it tasteless. Books written about it wouldn’t fit in the largest library in the world; and many countries have museums and shrines devoted to it.

Before I continue I’d like to emphasize that I’m not against being taught about it, reading about it, or even watching movies relating to the war.
I’m not saying people shouldn’t be told about it at all and that children shouldn’t be taught.
But I am troubled by something.

In recent years it has become common to travel to Poland, or other places where all the horror took place.
My wife, before we were married was on such a trip.
I feel this is a bad idea.
When asking people who visited such places about their experience, the answer is invariably, “it’s an experience one should have“
They rarely have anything to add.
It sounds like an indoctrinated answer, as literally everyone who returns from such a place will answer those exact words.
Those who organize these trips advertise it as a once in a lifetime experience and a spiritual journey but I don’t buy that.

The truth is most people resume their normal lives the second they’re in the bus back to the airport. And I have yet to meet someone who was inspired enough to turn his/her life around.

My grand-mother unfortunately was there 60 years ago, and had she had the choice I’m positive she would have chosen not to be there.
So isn’t it crazy to send our kids voluntarily to that place where so many Jews were cruelly murdered.
When I advance my arguments, people answer that the next generation needs to “know”.
I say yes of course they do, but they know, they hear, they read, they see, what’s next? “Spend a day in a concentration camp”? “
It’s so sad that the Holocaust had to happen; it’s tragic that nothing has been learned from it, it’s ridiculous that non-survivors make tons of money on merchandising (yes it exists!) and holocaust related stuff.
Baruch H’Ashem the Holocaust is over; the new generation is privileged and blessed to be living in free countries with actual civil rights.
Why do kids need to be confronted with what happened non-stop.
It should be taught, visiting a museum is instructive but going to a concentration camp and inundating the kids with information and images is wrong.
They don’t have to know all the gruesome details; it only serves to create nightmares and subconscious fear.
The Jews were punished enough during the Holocaust, why should the new generation be punished again?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


Monday, August 08, 2005



To commemorate her 69th birthday on October 1st, actress/vocalist Julie Andrews made a special appearance at Manhattan's Radio City Music Hall for the benefit of the AARP. One of the musical numbers she performed was "My Favorite Things" from the legendary movie "The Sound Of Music." However, the lyrics of the song were deliberately changed for the entertainment of her "blue hair"audience:

Maalox and nose drops and needles for knitting,
Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings,
Bundles of magazines tied up in string,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Cadillacs and cataracts and hearing aids and glasses,
Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses,
Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings,
These are a few of my favorite things.

When the pipes leak,
When the bones creak,
When the knees go bad,
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don't feel so bad.

Hot tea and crumpets, and corn pads for bunions,
No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions,
Bathrobes and heat pads and hot meals they bring,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Back pains, confused brains, and no fear of sinnin',
Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinnin',
And we won't mention our short shrunken frames,
When we remember our favorite things.

When the joints ache,
when the hips break,
When the eyes grow dim,
Then I remember the great life I've had,
And then I don't feel so bad.

Ms. Andrews received a standing ovation from the crowd that lasted overfour minutes and repeated encores.

Thursday, August 04, 2005


As if it wasn’t bad enough that music is prohibited during the three weeks from Sunday on, it is meat’s turn to become the forbidden fruit.
I won’t get into how excessively hard this is for me, for fear of repeating myself.

These are positively the hardest times of the year, almost no simchas take place, and even Bar Mitzvahs are sad affairs with the real celebration taking place sometime after Tisha Be’Av.
Luckily after these trying weeks, it’s vacation time. And about a week after fasting, it’s Tu Be’Av a.k.a. Yom Ahavah, which seems to be a vague equivalent of valentine’s day.
Yep for those who are surprised even valentine’s day is inspired from something Jewish. (Like everything else)
This concept dates back to the times of Shaul Hamelech.(or Shloime not sure now).
It was the custom on that day to let the unmarried women run loose and for bachelors to go and grab the girl who pleased him the most.
It’s actually mentioned in the Gemarah((Talmud, Taanit 31a).
“The daughters of Jerusalem would go out... and dance in the vineyards" and "whoever did not have a wife would go there".
It is considered a very joyous day and despite it’s obscurity a very spiritual and important one.
The actual relative significance of the day can better be understood by means of this quote in the last Mishnah of Masechet Taanit.
“Rabi Shimon ben Gamliel said "Israel has no days as festive as the 15th of Av and Yom Kippur

Just as on Tisha Be’Av a number of unfortunate events came over the Jews at different times and places so too a number of auspicious events happened on Tu Be’Av.
  • The victory of the Pharisees over the Sadducees was on either 14 or 15 Av.

  • The different tribes were allowed to intermarry on this date.

  • Members of the excommunicated tribe of Benjamin were allowed to appear in the community.

  • The end of the death of the Exodus generation in Midbar Sinai, which was their punishment for believing the 10 spies' negative report on the land of Canaan.

  • King Hosea, last monarch of the northern Israelite kingdom removed the barriers installed by King Jeroboam the 1st which prevented the northerners making pilgrimages to Jerusalem (Melachims 1 12:29, Melachims 2 18:4).

  • The date when the Romans permitted the Jews to bury Bar Kochba's supporters who had fallen at Beitar.

  • It is great to know that when the three weeks are over there’s a day like that coming up.
    Just to lift our spirits and remind us that being Jewish isn’t all about sadness and mourning it’s equally about celebration, joy and hopefully numerous simchas of all kinds.
    I remain with one question; my wife pressured me to make an effort last valentine. Although I wasn’t enthusiastic about participating in a non-Jewish holiday, I caved in and bought her a nice gift, which I otherwise wouldn’t have for no particular occasion. Now on Yom Ahavah which is a Jewish festivity, am I supposed to ‘make an effort‘ again?

    Information about TU Be'Av gathered from general knowledge and
    Torah Tots
    Chabad Magazine

    Wednesday, August 03, 2005



    I wanted to post on the subject of Shidduchim, about how difficult it is from all point of views.
    How awfully frustrating it is for those searching, those dating and those looking to form dates between searchers.
    About how ‘mad’ the situation has gotten.
    Unfortunately I have yet to find the time to devote an intelligent article to such a complex issue.
    So in the meantime I’m going to direct my readers to a very interesting site.
    It was created by someone obviously very disenchanted with inquiries such as” plastic covering on Shabbes or not"?
    A visit to the bulletin board is highly recommended.

    Tuesday, August 02, 2005


    TAGGED BY Normaljew

    Turn Ons

    1) Getting email or comments on my blog or website
    2) Getting a compliment
    3) Receiving appreciation for the stuff I do for others
    4) 6 pm on a work day
    5) Lazy Sundays
    6) Fresh baked chocolate cupcakes
    7) Friday night meal (chicken soup, kugel, roasted chicken)
    8) Meeting someone who shares my worldview
    9) Being understood
    10) Listening to music

    Turn Offs

    1) Long drive
    2) Excessively Long Shacharis
    3) Haughty people
    4) Fishing and eating fish
    5) Overtime
    6) When I forget something important
    7) To suffer the consequences of somebody else’s mistakes
    8) Non returnable gifts
    9) Doctor’s appointments
    10) Cold weather



    Move aside peer-to-peer and make place for Blogger-to-Blogger.
    The latest trend in blogworld is personal interviews.
    Questions range from profound to absurd, but everyone participates.
    One of the popular questions, surely a reflection on the bloggers in general, is to share a discomforting moment.
    Since originally I planned to write about Shidduchims, I will associate the two in one story.

    It was my first formal date ever. I was in a strange city where I only knew bout 5 persons.
    The girl was from out of town as well but stayed by an uncle of hers.
    My hostess was kind enough to drop me off and waited in the car, curious to see what the girl looked like. We had been told that she was a rare beauty, so she wanted to know how trustworthy this Shadchanit was for future reference.

    I rang the doorbell, quite nervous. It took a few minute before somebody answered the door.
    Finally a guy opened the door and I said “Hi, I’m here for whatever-her-name-was”.
    He looked at me like I had just asked to date his 15 year old, and after a moment just said “why”?
    I panicked a little and looked back at my hostess with my hands up in the air.

    This very moment ranks as one of the most embarrassing I can remember.
    I just stood there, disoriented not quite knowing what to do or say.

    Anyway 21 year old, inexperienced in dealing with strangers, me answered I came to take her out on a date.
    He looked at me and just said “oh”?
    He knew nothing! His guest didn’t find it necessary to inform her hosts that someone might come around 7 to take her out.
    I’m not advocating sharing all your business with an uncle however; it did concern him a little.
    At last he went inside, leaving me at the doorstep, to ask what this is all about.
    Needles to say, though not only because of this incident, there was no second date.


    Monday, August 01, 2005


    The main page of ‘the Hunger site’ features a quote from the Talmud.
    I was pleasantly surprised to see that on such an internationally prominent site.
    Does anyone know whether the webmaster or initiator of this great site is Jewish?
    By the way does anyone know whether these donations are real? I mean does something actually happen when I click?


    I just downloaded and tested this remarkable new internet based calling system.
    I’m not talking about Skype which is amazing already.
    I’m talking about software that allows you to call, no charge, to any non-cell phone in the world.
    At the time I’m writing it’s still in beta, but it works relatively well already.
    People I call using this software complain they don’t always hear me so well.
    I answer “at least I’m calling”. When it used to cost I thought twice about calling just to say hello.
    When that happens, sometimes it helps to put down ‘the phone’ and dial again.
    When calling out of town or overseas, getting a connection isn’t always easy but once you’re connected the sound on both sides is usually very acceptable.
    I’m not saying digital telephoning is ready yet to take over the long-standing analogue system, but it’s sure worth a try.
    The calls to any home numbers are completely free.
    But you will need to have a balance with them, 1$ will suffice, in order to call uninterruptedly. If you don’t create an account and balance your calls will be cut off every two minutes.
    When giving your credit card information, I recommend using Pay Pal as an agent.
    The Voip Buster Company is not so known yet, so it’s safer to go trough Pay Pal which is widely recognized and not dangerous.
    You need a recent version of windows, a microphone and an ADSL or cable internet connection to make this work.
    For more info visit their site.



    Disclaimer:I'm not as old and Shevy may or may not be blonde.

    Shevy's Questions

    1. What are your greatest pet peeves?
    2. What do you regularly eat for breakfast?
    3. Tell us about something you have done, and didn't tell anyone. A secret.
    4. What are your views on the Disengagment?
    5. Give us a review of 5 of your most favorite blogs.

    My Answers
    When I’m invited Friday night and the food is burned or simply not good, then can’t stop ranting about it until next Friday night.
    Of course I will say everything was delicious but inside and to others...

    I eat a bar of chocolate almost immediately after waking up, but for my real breakfast after davening, I usually eat cereal.

    Proud of: borrowed 200$ to a friend who was scammed and didn’t dare talk to his parents about it.
    Shamed of: Took some pills that weren’t so good for me after I hadn’t been able to fall asleep the whole week.

    I find this whole situation to be a terrible Chillul H’Ashem. And while I can’t put myself in their shoes, and have no right to judge them, I feel like the settlers are waging a war they can never win.

    Lately I have been reading the blogs of people who bother to read mine and leave a comment.
    In no particular order of preference:

    YM- My first commentator and linker
    A fair amount of humor and more often than not interesting to read

    NormalJew –Makes an effort to update every day and treats his reader to a funny image or quote from time to time

    The Anecdote teller- humor in use lots of lists, easy reading

    Shoe fetish- Daily dose of freshness. Lots about shoes.

    Knifedge Kvetch-Always something of interest straight from Great-Britain

    I’ll take this opportunity to post links to all my commentators' blogs.
    I enjoy reading all these blogs.

    -Semgirl- Zoe Strickman-The Real Me-


    Shevy posted replies to my questions
    Check them out now, and prepare for a laugh!

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