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Monthly Archives: October 2008

Kallah Confrontation

I have/had a wedding every night this week. This of course brings up the question that everyone has, but no one talks about in fear of sounding socially retarded.

 

What do you say to the Kallah?

 

I never know what to say.

 

Tell her she’s beautiful? She’s heard that enough tonight, and seriously, there’s no substance, what’s she supposed to respond?

“Thanks.” ???

Besides, HELLO, it’s her wedding of course she’s beautiful and even if she isn’t everyone would be saying so anyway.

 

What can I say that not trivial and appropriate. For G-d’s sake, it’s her wedding. The usual small talk doesn’t do. I can’t talk about the weather, traffic, shopping or whatever stupidity we girls ploiter on about. It’s a wedding; say something significant.

 

Even if my best friend is getting married, I can’t talk about moral relativity, the genius that is Jane Austen, or my latest dating fiasco.

 

And I don’t do the bracha giving thing, I leave that for the Rabbis.

 

So what do you do? Dance and smile serenely at each other…Awkward anyone?

 

My friend tells me this why girls shriek.

 

 

 
18 Comments

Posted by on October 29, 2008 in Weddings

 

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My Job is Better Than Your Job

I love my job.

 

I love teaching.

 

I love my students.

 

I love my subject.

 

But most of all,

 

I love my schedule.

 

Teaching in a Jewish Girls High School lends itself to the best schedule EVER.

 

I am off in the summer

 

I am off for two weeks in January and the entire June due to midterms and finals

 

I am off for mid-winter vacation and from Rosh Chodesh Nissan till after Isru Chag.

 

I have periods off so my students can go on G.O. trips, be inspired by speakers, work on lel iyun, yom iyun, play, chagiga and what not.

 

Never mind that on a regular day, I only start work at around 2:15, and I make just as much as my friends who work full time.

 

I just wanted to make you jealous.

 

Have a good Shabbos.

 
14 Comments

Posted by on October 24, 2008 in Teaching

 

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Dating Duties and Desires

Dating is an overdone topic, yet, everyone still wants to hear about everyone else’s rules, expectations, disasters, triumphs and frustrations in this area. I’m count myself among the everybody, and I’m gonna add my little tidbit here.

 

Easy ways to impress me on a date.

 

-         Show up on time. Not fashionably late, but on time. My nerves are frazzled enough as it is, and besides I’m a Yekke born in a Hungarian/American body.

 

 

-         Say Hi with a smile and don’t blush while doing it when I walk into the dining room and you see me for the first time

 

-         Don’t open the door for me. It’s a empty gesture that makes me feel inferior in a feminist sort of way

 

-         Make yourself comfortable, take off your hat, jacket and loosen your tie, if that works for you, but don’t sit there awkwardly with a stiff back

 

-         Don’t interrogate me. Yes, I know it’s difficult to make conversation with a perfect stranger, but try to have some sort of segway to the conversation and a transition on subjects.

 

-         You will not be smote out instantly if you look at me when you talk to me

 

-         Do not ask me where I want to go. My effort was putting myself together, do your part and do a quick google search. Yes, it’s nice to give me options, but don’t make me ask for them, because we both end up looking stupid.

 

-         When you parallel park, and are in reverse, do not put your hand behind my seat. I’m a good Bais Yaakov girl, and I get uncomfortable. Period.

 

-         If you are tall, please watch that you don’t hog all the leg space when you spread yourself out. I don’t need to avoid playing footsie with you.

 

 

-         Don’t tell me about all the other people you dated and what was wrong with them. I have no interest in the competition or really even on yenta-value.

 

 

-         Please get back to the shadchan as soon as possible. I’m one of those annoying don’t eat don’t sleep type, and you make it worse when you take your merry time.

 

-         To save grace, make up a reason that doesn’t leave you looking silly for saying no, like “We have different goals, or “she’s not frum enough”, not “She’s too smart for me.”

 

-         Don’t prolong a date (six hours) if you have every intention of saying no. Take her (me) home and spare all our emotions.

 

 

I’m young, and my list isn’t that long…yet.

 

 
23 Comments

Posted by on October 20, 2008 in Shidduchim

 

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Fat is Not a Fairy Tale

Fat Is Not a Fairy Tale

Jane Yolen

I am thinking of a fairy tale,
Cinder Elephant,
Sleeping Tubby,
Snow Weight,
where the princess is not
anorexic, wasp-waisted,
flinging herself down the stairs.

I am thinking of a fairy tale,
Hansel and Great,
Repoundsel,
Bounty and the Beast,
where the beauty
has a pillowed breast,
and fingers plump as sausage.

I am thinking of a fairy tale
that is not yet written,
for a teller not yet born,
for a listener not yet conceived,
for a world not yet won,
where everything round is good:
the sun, wheels, cookies, and the princess.

 

This poem is another favorite of mine, and my students. I actually have it written on my bedroom wall. I love how she uncornified puns, the visual imagery, the consistant structure and most of all the message.

 

 

 

 I’ve (still) been getting an awful lot of hits through the search term of the title of this poem. Apparently a lot of people are looking for a little elucidation and explanation to this poem. I’m going to expound a little on. This is not necessarily the “right” answer, but it’s definitely my answer.

Jane Yolen is taking a satirical and harsh stance on fairy tales. She starts off by taking the reader into her thoughts, letting you know that this is not reality. Through her word play on the names of popular princesses and fairy tale characters she expresses her love, or the need for healthy/ normal role models, and disdain for the cliché. She goes on with this parallelism for 2 stanzas.

The last stanza is the sharpest where while she’s still in her thoughts, she is talking directly to the reader and criticizing them. Saying, oh yeah, you think you got my point, you think you are listening to me, you’re not, you are still stuck in the same mentality, even if this did open your eyes a bit. (You’ll nod you’re head and say, “This is an amazing poem! And then skip lunch) This story was never told, the reader who would read this hasn’t even been conceived yet, and the world to which I want to tell this to has not yet been won over by my argument (that round is good, too).

Then she ends beautifully using bringing a common theme between 4 round objects to reiterate her message, each one representing something else, the sun - nature, wheels – inherently round, nessesity, and cookies – emotion, common love and affection, and traditionally round. She includes the princess in this equation, that it should have the acceptance that the previous items have. Where their “roundness” is never questioned, it simply is, and wouldn’t be otherwise.  “Where everything round is good the sun, wheels, cookies, and the princess.”  

Something to think about, consider Pixar’s Shrek. How many of you were disapointed that Fiona chose an Ogre’s body if that meant she’d have love. How many of you wished Shrek would stick to his human form. That would have been a real happily ever after wouldn’t it? Little twisted, no? Seems like Pixar’s got the right idea, don’t think most people are listening though.

Hopes this is what you were looking for. I’d appreciate if you left a comment just letting me know if this WAS what you were looking for, and if it helped :)

 

 

 

 
11 Comments

Posted by on October 19, 2008 in Poems, Teaching, Uncategorized

 

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The Great Debate

My entire family is watching/listening to the debate.

I’m avoiding it.

 I’m sick and tired of this election; I’m not happy with my options and frankly terrified of the results either way.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t care so much.

And I’m still all annoyed that 3 of my friends still haven’t managed to register, or have any interest in doing so.

 
10 Comments

Posted by on October 16, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

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When the Relatives Came (and don’t go)

Nieces and nephews are the best thing ever. You can love them, kiss them, spoil them, don’t have to worry about discipline or consistency, and when they get annoying, you ship them back home.

 

That is unless their home happens to be yours too.

 

Comes Yom Tov and all the married siblings come over. It’s great to have the whole family together, and my niece is definitely cuter than yours, but at the end of the day…they’re not going home for another week, and I need my space and sanity back!!!

 
7 Comments

Posted by on October 13, 2008 in Yom Tov

 

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Yom Kippur Elucidated

I love Artscroll. Not because of the obvious fact that when you’re davening and counting pages you get to divide the page number in half, and WaLah davening is half over.

 

I took a good look this Yom Kippur at the English translation, and you know what, the tefilos are beautiful.

 

People ask, why do we all daven the same words? How can we all say the same thing and convey our own message?

 

Besides for the explanation that same piece of music played by someone else will always be different, therein lies the difference. I want to focus on the explanation that we have lost the ability to fully express ourselves to Hashem and Anshe Knessess Hagedolah set up organized prayer for the laymen, so everyone can reach Hashem with eloquence.

 

Whenever I heard that explanation I always thought, can these same words really express what I want to say to what someone else is trying to convey? Are these words really that beautiful. I never took the time to read the English translation. Following along with the Chazzan today, I fell in love with davening.

 

Take Kesser for an example.

 

The first line, (this is from the Artscroll translation)

 

“A crown, here give You, O Hashem, our G-d – the angels of the multitude above, together with Your people Israel who are assembled below”

 

As I was reading this I got such a visual picture of what it might look like, and it blew me away.

 

And there was plain old beautiful analogies, and metaphors which I as an English teacher appreciated.

 

“A man’s origin is from dust and his destiny is back to dust, at risk of his life he earns his bread; he is likened to a broken shard, withering grass, a fading flower, a passing shade, a dissipating cloud, a blowing wind, flying dust, and a fleeting dream.”

 

I can go on and on….it was beautiful.

 

Yom Kippur was good.

And then I looked at the seating chart and saw “Please do not sit in a seat WHICH is reserved” and I cringed at the obvious grammatical error rooted in Yiddish transliteration and the fact that I noticed it…on Yom Kippur.

 
10 Comments

Posted by on October 10, 2008 in Yom Tov

 

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Violin String

I have on my table a violin string. 
It is free.
But it is not free to do what a violin string is supposed to do
 - to produce music. 
So I take it,
fix it in my violin
and tighten it until it is taut. 
Only then is it free to be a violin string.
- Sir Rabindranath Tagore
 
3 Comments

Posted by on October 8, 2008 in Poems, Uncategorized

 

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Did I Miss Anything?

This poem is a favorite of my students (and me, well, I’m the one who introduced it to them). I wanted to share it with you, because I think it’s just so sharp and eloquent.

I think Fridays might become poetry days. Let me know what you think (of the poem and the Poetry Fridays).

Did I Miss Anything?

Tom Wayman

Nothing. When we realized you weren’t here
we sat with our hands folded on our desks
in silence, for the full two hours

     Everything. I gave an exam worth
     40 percent of the grade for this term
     and assigned some reading due today
     on which I’m about to hand out a quiz
     worth 50 percent

Nothing. None of the content of this course
has value or meaning
Take as many days off as you like:
any activities we undertake as a class
I assure you will not matter either to you or me
and are without purpose

     Everything. A few minutes after we began last time
     a shaft of light suddenly descended and an angel
     or other heavenly being appeared
     and revealed to us what each woman or man must do
     to attain divine wisdom in this life and
     the hereafter
     This is the last time the class will meet
     before we disperse to bring the good news to all people
          on earth.

Nothing. When you are not present
how could something significant occur?

     Everything. Contained in this classroom
     is a microcosm of human experience
     assembled for you to query and examine and ponder
     This is not the only place such an opportunity has been
          gathered

     but it was one place

     And you weren’t here

 
7 Comments

Posted by on October 3, 2008 in Poems, Teaching

 

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Pithy Pumpkins

Families never let anyone live anything down, especially if it concerns your “future”.

 

A very long time ago (meaning 6 years ago), I burned a pot. A fish pot, to be exact. Oh, and the fish inside of it. The pot was incapacitated, and the fish thrown out. My family made fun me the entire Shabbos.

 

“….Hmmm, fish looks good 2yng2tch…”

 

“2yng2tch, you don’t forget when the new HP book is coming out do you”

 

“I feel for your husband.”

 

“If you pay me, I won’t tell anyone when they call for info on you” (never mind I was 14)

 

They weren’t particularly witty, pithy or smart, but they made their point.

 

And even though I haven’t burned a pot since, anytime I cook or bake anything (generally hard, complicated stuff), someone feels the need to say,

 

“Remember when 2yng2tch burned the pot?!, I feel for her husband!”

 

This happened yesterday after everyone “Oohed and Aahhed and Yummed” over my pumkin pie (yes, I know wrong Holiday)

 

I get it, I do. (The reason they feel the need to remind me, not that I get that I messed up 6 years ago [it doesn’t take me that long to “get” something])

 

But seriously if all you’re going to do is remember something obsolete, at least make it funny, sharp, or even snort-worthy.

 
8 Comments

Posted by on October 2, 2008 in Food, Shidduchim

 

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