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Thursday, December 29, 2005

I HATE WINTER SPORTS(If you call ski a sport)

I don’t know how many of you have had a chance to ski, but I bet that those who have, loved it and those who haven’t would very much like to try it out.

For me skiing is like math, both being awful childhood traumas.
I’m particularly sensible to the cold and skiing is certainly not a conducive activity to feeling warm and fuzzy.
But since the family packed up to join the hordes of sheep-like people going to the mountains every winter, I wasn’t exactly asked whether I felt like going along.
My earliest memory of skiing goes back to when I was but an innocent child of eight.
I went along with a group of kids and one teacher (only 1 for perhaps 10 kids!!). I kept falling and hurting myself, not to mention that with every fall snow crept in my clothes and slid over my already icy body.
The teacher didn’t pay much attention to me, he must’ve thought I was a troublemaker, and the other kids all seemed to be pros, as if they had skied right out of the womb.

So it happened year after year, I complained, even begged not to have to go, but it was easier to ignore the cries of a weird child (which normal person doesn’t like skiing?) than to find an alternative to keep me busy during the winter break.

The second year I feared the worst only to find out it actually gets worse, we went higher up and for that we had to take the “platter ski lift”. To me then a frightening engine that would surely drop me, and swallow me whole if I didn’t jump out on time before the platter turned back.

I've had needles the size of a pen injected in my back around the same age and wasn't half as scared of that than of these lifts. (just to give you an idea)

Needless to say I fell out sufficient times, got hurt and lost and only thanks to H’Ashem’s kindness found someone I knew after walking with heavy ski’s for 45 minutes. That same evening I vowed to recite 30 kapitlers Tehillim(psalms) if I wouldn’t fall off the platter lift the next day, and believe it or not, I didn’t. And yes I honored my vow.
This went on for years until one year I actually dared fight back against my parents. That morning I refused to leave the house and while they tried everything from cooing to threatening, I stayed at home. Being an compliant child neither my parents nor I knew very well how to handle this rebellion
It was a very unpleasant period; I tried to make amends but insisted on not skiing and so these issues we only resolved once we got back home.
Since then I haven’t skied and I don’t intend to ever again!

Rereading this before posting I realize it’s sort of a childish post, but with my friends all running off to the mountains to have ‘the time of their life’, all these memories flooded back and I needed an outlet!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005



Aside from the blogs by the so called rebels, disapproving of everything and everyone in orthodox Jewish life, the most popular blogs are the ones by single people decrying the awful situation that is today’s Shidduchim.
Having been there, I can empathize but offer little advice as I really don’t know what to do or what can be done about it.
Having been there, I’ve observed that not one of my many “friends”, if the word “friends” has taken on the meaning of casual acquaintances that call only when they need something, had ever tried to set me up. Their wives, coming from various cities and towns, must’ve known many girls that could’ve been an appropriate suggestion. A cousin, a friend, a neighbor...
Yet it never happened, none of those stay-at-home-spend the days at malls-wives ever suggested anyone.
Partly because I was hurt and slightly offended by their neglect, I try not to act in the same manner.

Shidduchim candidates often sigh how disillusioned and how torturous the road to one’s zivug (destined one) is.
They rant on blogs and in real life they kvetch and cry. Very understandably so, as a lot of emotional energy is often invested only to be rewarded with disappointment.
The flawed system is criticized endlessly and shadchunim are blamed for thinking too much of the potential monetary gain instead of thinking about appropriate matches.
These claims are legitimate, yet there is another side too, which I’d like to discuss today.
The following is not directed at anyone in particular, it is just a common recurrence that I think leads to hurtful and unpleasant situations.

The story on the other side of the mirror.

I suggested a Shidduch to a friend of mine. I extensively researched the girl, talking to common acquaintances and relatives.
In other words when I was ready to suggest this girl to my friend I was armed with answers.
Then he shot his questions and I was silent.
What’s her relationship with her grandma?, how intelligent is she exactly?, is she interested in my type?, would she be agreeable to do this or that etc…?
To make a long story short I inquired further for him and while the outcome was very optimistic, he just couldn’t give me an answer. There was no question of long distance traveling or expending a large amount of money, yet it took him over a month to give me an answer.
By that time the girl was out of town and when she returned the slight interest she had showed a month earlier had totally vanished, probably because she felt insulted he found it necessary to research her past and present with FBI tactics before taking her out on a single date.
The point of this account is that now he really wants to go out with her, but she’s not interested anymore.
I can’t guarantee that she would be had he acted more reasonably, but I got the feeling that it was the long wait for his answer that completely turned her off.

Monday, December 19, 2005

I'm slowly getting into the Channukah spirit. I ate a Ponchke (special Chanukah doughnut) this afternoon and am posting this great joke.
Does anybody know what happened to NormalJew's blog?

Comic strip from www.offthemark.com

Thursday, December 15, 2005



Long time readers know what to expect of The Pragmatician before a holiday.
A rant! Yeah I know not so pragmatic.

Rosh Hashanah it’s the long tefilah(prayer), Yom Kippur the fast, Sukkos the cold and Pesach the diet.

Channukah is around the corner and there’s no escaping this very post.

I’d like to start by summing up what I like about Channukah.
First I get to leave the office an hour early (one of my 5 simple pleasures) during 8 days.
Unlike the other holidays where the Jewish idea and concept is a plagiarized by other religions, at Channukah the reverse is true.
The whole idea of lights originates from Jewish sources, but the gift part I’m afraid doesn’t. Nevertheless who can argue that getting gifts is pleasant? Wonder what I’ll get this year? I cross my fingers it won’t be another tie (hint to all wives reading this post)

Most years Chanukah and xmas have the same calendar dates, and this year is no exception.
In America I think that many ignorant people have come to confuse both holidays as one.
Channukah .is just the Jewish version of, they whisper..
I can’t help being very perturbed when hearing such statements.
Channukah is a story of survival, a story of real heroes (no capes or powers, just good ol’ courage and faith), the story of victory and miracles. It goes beyond the famous story of the oil that lasted for 8 days. The fact that a tiny inadequately armed group of people overcame a huge legion of well trained soldiers is a miracle just as great, if not greater.
For those who wonder why this great miracle isn’t celebrated, the answer is simple. It is.
It is related three times a day during the Shemonah Esrei, one of the most important prayers recited every day.
As far as I know xmas doesn’t celebrate any of this. Rather it has it’s own but very different meaning.

I’m not surprised though that it has gotten so far. Every store in NY City has a menorah right next to the xmas tree.
Last year I stayed at a beautiful hotel in Florida which had this huge gorgeous tree and in another corner stood one of the most beautiful menorahs I’ve ever seen, and you should see the menorah in our shul. It's quite expensive looking.
To top it all, books suggesting the best methods to combine the two have been published for interfaith families.
Why combine the two? they’re two different holidays and can be celebrated separately, for e.g. on different days.

On one hand I find this wonderful, Jews and their customs are so accepted in America that everyone participates in their holiday so to speak. I assure you it’s not the case everywhere in the world.
On the other hand I am deeply frustrated by the many comparisons drawn between the two.

There’s been much talk on the blogs about stores whishing their customers happy holidays instead of happy xmas this year.
Where I live xmas is still the domineering holiday so merry xmas is what is being said in stores. I have absolutely no problem with that.
When someone says that to me I just reply with something neutral, why should it bother me? It’s simply a friendly expression of good whishes.

Unlike the other holidays my rant wasn’t directed at something difficult that accompanies the chag,.
I just love Channukah, and that’s it. It’s certainly not the luscious ponchkes (bread-chamets) found in bakeries that bother me.
And even less the family gatherings (inside) that take place.

I hope you all remember where you put your menorahs away last year! At my place every year a new hunt for the menorahs start. I think I better commence looking now.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


I’ve been tagged again, this time for a different list, actually a very basic one.
Here’s the assignment

Name simple pleasures that you like most, then pick people to do the same. Try to be original and creative and not to use 5 things that someone else has already used

I’d like to thank Normal Jew for tagging me.

1) Listening to music while lying in a warm bath, in a tub long enough so that I don’t have to bend my knees, which get cold out of the water.

2) Waking up, rolling over, damning the morning and my need to get out of bed, and subsequently discovering I can still stay in for an hour or more.

3) Getting to leave early from work.

4) My Chavrusa canceling our session when I’m too tired.(I made a deal with myself not to cancel because of tiredness, otherwise we’d never learn)

5) Playing with a baby and be able to return it to its parents when it’s been enough for me, when he gets difficult or when all of sudden he gets a tad heavier : ).

I’m tagging everyone on my LINKS list, of course those who've been tagged before for the same list are exempt!

Friday, December 09, 2005


My mother Taught me..

Private message to Eshet Chayil-I got your email and I replied to it, yet I got an error response from the email client?

Jewish Mothers, they are unique aren't they, they also possess an infinite amount of wisdom which they always share with their kids.
Today I bring you the story of a kid who learned everything he needed to know about life from his very own Yiddishe Mamme!

1. My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE. "If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning."

2. My mother taught me RELIGION. "You better pray that will come out of the carpet."

3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL. "If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!"

4. My mother taught me LOGIC. " Because I said so, that's why."

5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC. "If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me."

6. My mother taught me FORESIGHT. "Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."

7. My mother taught me IRONY "Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about."

8. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS. "Shut your mouth and eat your supper."

9. My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM. "Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!"

10. My mother taught me about STAMINA. "You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone."

11. My mother taught me about WEATHER. "This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it."

12. My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY. "If I told you once, I've told you a million times. Don't exaggerate!"

13. My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE. "I brought you into this world, and I can take you out."

14. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION. "Stop acting like your father!"

15. My mother taught me about ENVY. "There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don't have wonderful parents like you do."

16. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION. "Just wait until we get home."

17. My mother taught me about RECEIVING. "You are going to get it when you get home!"

18. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE. "If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they are going to freeze that way."

19. My mother taught me ESP. "Put your sweater on; don't you think I know when you are cold?"

20. My mother taught me HUMOR. "When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me."

21. My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT. "If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up."

22. My mother taught me GENETICS. "You're just like your father."

23. My mother taught me about my ROOTS. "Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?"

24. My mother taught me WISDOM. "When you get to be my age, you'll understand."

25. My mother taught me about JUSTICE. "One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you!"

If you need to laugh some more I highly recommend you check out the latest edition of KNISH, it's hilarious!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Mcaryeh tagged me!

Remember the interview mania? Every Blogger interviewed another and tagged others to interview them.
No censure, no shame all sorts of questions were posed.
Back then, Yiddische Mamme and Chayele were still blogging.
Aah the good times.

Well there's no time to indulge in nostalgia, there’s a new game in town and I’ve been tagged (=asked or instructed) to participate.

The rules:1. Turn on your mp3 player.2. Hit shuffle.3. Put the first fifteen songs that come up in a post. No matter how embarassing. No cheating

If you’ve read this post, you know already what a strange taste of music I have.
I blame my Mother…
Here goes:

Anne Marie Peysson-Comme un manege
Marie Laforet –Kathy Cruelle
Nathalie Lhermitte-Le bleu du bleu
Rene Joly-Communique de l’evangeliste
Noam-Viens maman on va danser
Michele Torr-Aventurier
Gerard Lenoramn-Tu viens d’avour 20 ans
Rene Joly-Communique de l’evangeliste 2
Art Sullivan- Monsieur tu madmae vous
Anne Meson-Jardin Secret
Rene Joly-Communique de l’evangeliste 3
Bernard Minet-College Fou Fou
Karen Cheryl-Aimee ou amoureuse
Marie Laforet-Mais je t’aime
Gerard Lenorman-Les matins d’hiver

All the titles are in French though I have some English songs too but they didn’t show up.
If you would like to be tagged, just leave a note.
The caricatures were taken from this great site

Friday, December 02, 2005



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