Sunday, May 29, 2011

"We Are Family...."

We all know that the internet brings people together.
The folks on twitter have a name for their global community. They call it the "Twitterverse".
The Jewish community refers to it affectionately as the "Twitpacha״.

This past Erev Shabbos a lone tweet went out from somewhere in New York City. So short and simple, you would almost expect it to be overlooked.
"Visiting a Yekke shul tonight! I'm a little more than excited :D"
Mere moments passed before a response appeared from somewhere in South Florida.
"I think @Gsix davens there. Say hello."
Another tweet followed shortly thereafter from Monsey.
South Florida asked what was so funny......

I finally jumped into the fray and answered -
"Because Guess Who's Coming To Dinner!"
Now, Hadassah in Monsey was snickering because she had in fact been the one to make the introductions and arrange for the invitation. What might be interesting to note is that neither Hadassah, nor the gentleman in South Florida have ever met my Shabbos guest in person, but "Kol Yisroel Arevim Ze Lozeh" - Every Jew is responsible for one another. They were both taking upon themselves the responsibility of making connections and helping people "find their challah".

It is in the zechus of this sort of unconditional unity and pure Ahavas Yisroel (regardless of where a person lives, davens, etc.) that I hope will merit the arrival of the geulah sheleimah.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Conformity vs. Individuality

A favorite bit of wisdom that I have on occasion doled out to those around me, goes something like this:

"You wouldn't worry nearly so much what people thought about you, if you realized how infrequently they did".

And yet.....
There is so much pressure out there to wear the "right" clothes. The "right" hat. The "acceptable" color(s) {or lack thereof}.
There is pressure to go into the "appropriate" professions.
There is little wiggle room left for personal expression and individuality.
But are those things inherently contrary to halacha?
Is color by definition untzniusdik?
Is being an individual and having free expression NECESSARILY a dangerous or bad thing?

There is definitely something to being part of a group and trying not to stand out too much. I understand that. But to what degree?

I'm throwing it out to you all.
Go 'have at it' in the comments section.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Good Shabbos - Don't Forget To "Omer"

I've mentioned in a previous post that where I come from "Omer" is a verb.
"Omering", or remembering to do so, has become much easier for me with the advent of email reminders, iPhone apps - all things not available to me in childhood, where the dreaded threat of "not getting any cheesecake" was the only incentive assistance available.
Nowadays, any time I have access to technology, I'm pretty sure to remember.
That leaves Friday night as the only tough night.
A nice Omer Counter left out on the Shabbos table, is tremendous help. When clearing the table after the meal, you're sure to notice it. Oh, right! That means you'd need to be sticking around and helping clear.... Well - at least some of us won't forget ;)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It Is Now SAFE To Come To Dinner!

You might have noticed that posts have been spotty lately.
Yes, Pesach has passed, but the challenges of my job have not.
In a continuing effort to build the Senior Center that I work for into the absolute best that it can be, I challenged myself to "go back to school".

I am pleased to report to you that after exhaustive study into the precise minutiae of e coli, salmonella, scromboid poisoning, vermin infestations, commercial kitchen design and plumbing, I am the proud holder of a New York City Food Handler's Certificate.

So for anybody who was hesitant to come to Dinner because they were worried about anisakis worms in the fish - I now know more than you'll EVER want to know about them!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Segulah Monday

It seems every place you turn today, you find new segulos popping up like mushrooms.

I thought my readers might be interested with this bit of research that I received via email, into bona fide, money-back guaranteed segulos.

The Hebrew isn't too difficult.
Enjoy the blessings they bring!

בשנים האחרונות מגלה הציבור הישראלי צמא מפתיע לסגולות ישנות וחדשות. אם אנשים כל כך רוצים סגולות שיושיעו אותם מצרותיהם, מי אנחנו שנבקר אותם.

לתועלת הציבור, הכין הרב חיים נבון רשימה קצרה של סגולות מועילות ובדוקות. ברשימה רק סגולות המופיעות במפורש במקרא או בדברי חכמינו.

"כל הסגולות המוזכרות כאן נבדקו, בידַי או בידֵי אנשים המוּכּרים לי, ונמצאו יעילות להפליא. בדוּק ומנוסה!", כותב הרב נבון.

1. סגולה לפרנסה: ללמוד מקצוע (בראשית ג', יט; קידושין כט ע"א).

2. סגולה לרפואה: ללכת לרופא (בבא קמא מו ע"ב; ברכות ס ע"א).

3. סגולה לאריכות ימים: לנהל אורח חיים בריא (רמב"ם, הלכות דעות ד', כ).

4. סגולה לחתונה: לחפש בת זוג. (קידושין ב ע"ב).

5. סגולות לשלום בית: אהבה, סבלנות וויתור (סנהדרין ז ע"א; בבא מציעא נט ע"א; ויקרא רבה ט', ט).

6. סגולה לפרי בטן: להתפלל לה'. (שמואל א א').

7. סגולה ליראת שמים: ללמוד תורה. (אבות פ"ב מ"ה).

8. סגולה להתעלות רוחנית: לעמול בתורה ובמצוות. (מגילה ו ע"ב).

9. סגולה לתפילה בכוונה: לעמוד לתפילה בכובד ראש. (ברכות פ"ה מ"א).

10. סגולה לאמונה טהורה: לא להאמין בסגולות, אלא בה'. (דברים י"ח, יג).

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Senior Citizens' Group Vacation

What It's Like To Vacation With Senior Citizens

A few quick thoughts before the actual post begins:

Over a period of two days, the process of "deboarding" the tour bus at each stop, is whittled down to a commendable time of 9 minutes, 37 seconds. (Seniors seem to only remember their sweaters in the overhead bins, AFTER the aisle path has completely cleared in front of them.)

The first thing everybody does after said deboarding, is make a BEELINE for the nearest rest room.

I am embarrassed to find myself at the front of that line and realize that I am closer to "seniorhood" than I care to admit.

I feel a bit better about my symptoms of advancing age when I hear the lady behind me mutter to herself, "I sure hope I can go...." and realize that I am not quite THAT FAR GONE yet.

I spend the next few minutes in a stall pretending that I don't hear the entire conversation that another senior is having in the stall next to me with her son in Israel over her cellphone. (Be careful! Don't drop that phone!!!)

But in all seriousness, I just came back from a lovely two day vacation which I shared with over 40 men and women who could be my parents and grandparents.

And don't count seniors out when it comes to interesting conversation and/or eavesdropping opportunities. I learned more about Elton John, Shidduchim, Chastity Bono's recent operation (who knew?), Shidduchim, Outlet Shopping and Ralph Lauren's new flagship store on 72nd than I ever did before (Oh, and did I mention Shidduchim?). And everywhere they go, they ask you if you want to go back and get your sweater. Who cares that it's 76 degrees? It's BREEZY!

I love seniors. That's why I work with them. That's why when I take a coveted 2 day in 5 years vacation, I STAY WITH THEM. They warm my heart. (and make me feel really really young!)

We started our trip to Baltimore early on Sunday morning. Did I mention that senior trips are all about the food?. Cheese danishes and orange juice on the bus started our morning. After checking in at our hotel and eating a quick lunch (I said quick - I didn't say SMALL), we stopped at Sherwood Gardens and Avram and I did some house hunting. What do you think of this little gem?

I'm kind of embarrassed to tell you that it is more affordable than most cramped apartments in my neighborhood. New York City living might be making fools out of all of us......

We also took a lovely boat tour of Baltimore Harbor. I showed my rebellious side and went without my sweater.

What next? A visit to 7 mile market. I was told that this is the largest kosher supermarket in the States. I have not personally verified this, but I will tell you that it provided ample opportunity to purchase and shlep home bags and bags of items that are just as available in New York City.

I soon tucked my recently purchased, half-eaten pizza flavored Pringles away, because it was time to visit Yeshivas Ner Yisroel and eat dinner there. Rabbi Neuberger was an amazing host, dinner was incredible and I even got to squeeze in a quick visit with some Baltimore friends.

Off to bed at the posh Hyatt Place hotel. End of Day 1.

Day 2 began with a blur of overindulgent meals (Bagels & Lox, French Toast, Hash Browns, Eggs, Whitefish, Fruit, Danishes and more....) and bathroom breaks.

We then headed off to Gettysburg to visit the site of the historic three day battle and Lincoln's well known address.

I am no history buff, but I will say that if children were able to go on field trips and witness history as we did on those grounds, they might become history buffs. We teach our children in such a rote manner that the meaning - the flavor - the UNDERSTANDING is sometimes utterly lost. Our tour guide was 92 years old, a native of Gettysburg and his grandfather fought in the Civil War. He himself remembered meeting veterans of the Battle of Gettysburg in his youth. (It should be noted that I never ONCE saw HIM go to the bathroom....) {OK, I see you, BLD, poised to make some tasteless comment about Depends.... don't go there....}

In any case - in the words of Jackie Mason, "They tried to kill us. We won. Let's eat!".
We were exhausted from hours of virtual battle and decided that a quick stop at the Hershey factory was in order.
Taking the factory tour made me feel like a kid again.
We then went outside for a fried chicken dinner and I sat without a sweater again!

All in all, a relaxing and satisfying two day getaway.
I returned to work at the Senior Center this morning because I just can't get enough of our "Silver Citizens".
I did however, get MORE than enough in the way of nutrition. The diet began at 6 am.....

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wednesday's Wacky Signs - Your Freudian Slip Is Showing..

I know that many of my readers may have seen this quintessential Wednesday's Wacky Sign already, but there really can be no other this week.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Scene Around Town

I have no idea what they're doing here, but it's VERY loud and close to my home. Now that the windows are open again, I can fully enjoy the constant chattering of drilling into concrete.
I'd like to know what is going on and when it will be done.
Anybody have the inside scoop?