Tag Archives: Jewish

Tznius These Days

“My husband wants to know, maybe you can explain it,” my friend asks. I’m talking to her motziah Shabbos she’s driving home from Shabbos Sheva braches, kids conked out in the back seat, her husband driving and baffled. “My cousin was there, her husband learned a few years in Israel, she went to a top seminary everything and you should have seen how she was dressed. I get the grey lines of tight clothes and long shaitels and knee-skimming skirts, but here she didn’t even try. My husband wants to know what she’s thinking.”

Me the groiyse mind reader, Na, I just have enough opinions and perspectives for five people
“Who said she’s thinking anything,” I started. “These days there such a lack of regard to the authority of halacha maybe she views it as nice but optional.”

Or maybe she’s feeling disenfranchised that her husband’s not learning anymore, so she’s not in the “yeshivish” world anymore.

Or, she’s not in school no one’s telling her what to do, so she’s just acting out like this. Because she’s not an idiot you know, she knows the Halacha, sure, she can recite it and many other lessons that were drilled into her head over the years.

“Na,” my friend counters. “It’s not scandalous for her husband to be in college, it’s ok for her crowd.”

“I dunno,” I muse. “These days no one is tznius and what used to be black is now grey. They always hocked in school about skirt lengths, but have you noticed no one covers their elbows anymore?”

“People in Lakewood still cover their elbows,” She answers.

“Well people on Facebook don’t.” I say, “and these are my ‘friends’.”

“And what about shaitels,” my friend continues.

“What about them?” I ask. I wear short shaitels, not for tznius reasons (although it does work out) but because my bone structure gets lost in long and my face looks fat, so I can discuss it pretty neutrally.

“We came to a consensus on Shabbos that past your bust is prust, past your shoulders to your bust is long and until your shoulders is totally fine.”

I laughed; it’s all so arbitrary.

“My sister n law was hocking about some woman she saw in the pizza store” my friend continued “ ‘her shaitel was till her waist it was disgusting!’ I ripped into her. When you got married, your shaitel was 11 inches, now it’s 16. Her’s was 16 when she got married, add five inches, that’s 21. You started off more yeshivish, but you’re at 16, she started off less so, it’s the same five additional inches, what’s the difference behind the thought? My sister in law was quiet.”

So was I.

“I can’t listen to this sister in law talk about tznius,” my friend started again. “Every day she wears the same long pleated mid-calf skirt. She doesn’t get it. She doesn’t understand women when they’re pregnant… When I’m pregnant I struggle with my knees, they’re the only part of me that’s skinny!”

And I’m thinking, does her cousin feel as misunderstood as my friend does by her sister-in-law?

My friend came back to her cousin. “Her skirt wasn’t near her knees with a slit, there’s no grey area, it’s a straight up nisht. What can make a girl just disregard everything she’s been taught.”

And then I remembered. There had been a tznius gathering for educators in my community. “Shaitels shouldn’t be more than 2 inches past the jawbone.” A co-teacher and I exchanged looks and laughed. We both complied with his ruling, but no one else did. I didn’t think much of it until the next day at school when a bunch of teachers were firing off.

“2 inches past, that’s way too short”

“I’m not cutting my shaitel”

“Who is he to make up such random line?”

Then one teacher articulated what everyone felt but couldn’t put words to.

“I’m not a person who doesn’t listen to daas Torah. If I’m told something, I do it. But I’m not cutting my shaitel, so I’m mad that he is turning me into someone who doesn’t listen to Rabbanim; it’s not even Halacha. ”

Four inches were told, hair not past a shirt’s yoke, colorful shoes need not apply. These aren’t Halacha, but it feels like that sometimes, and if we don’t listen long enough, we slowly become people who don’t listen to Rabbanim even when it is Halacha…

I don’t know what my friend’s cousin was thinking. I don’t know why she dresses the way she does, but I walk the streets and she’s not alone. The reason can’t be solitary. What I do know is that tznius is complex. It goes to the root of who we are as women and yidden, and in this modern world that seems to contradict each other even if it shouldn’t. I also, know we’re going about it all wrong. I don’t know right answer and what we should be doing, that many opinions I don’t have, I just know that this isn’t working.

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Posted by on November 22, 2015 in Jewish, Musings, Uncategorized


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It’s Just A Haircut

The PeklachIt was E’s upsherin on Sunday, and I still can’t stop looking at him. My son is transformed into a new person it seems. Until of course he opens his mouth and as my grandmother said you’d realize he’s “still the same brat”. But such a cute brat. Now that his distractive (and so beautiful) hair is gone, I’m drawn to his eyes. They are soulful. Wide, asking, deep, framed by long lashes, they are the entrance to his soul and world. And I think he’s gotten more mature. Even if I know that that’s all in my head – maybe it’ll turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Cutting his hair was very difficult for me. I was surprised, considering that I hadn’t wanted to leave his hair uncut and do the whole upsherin thing in the first place. But it wasn’t about the hair, it was about the person I knew to be my child. This is a transformative haircut. E doesn’t look like anything I know. I couldn’t even imagine what he’d look like afterward. While they cut his hair, yes, we all laughed that it was a shame for such beautiful hair to be wasted on a boy, but I preoccupied myself with taking pictures the whole time, lest the tears on the edge of my eyes break free of the rim. I did feel like I was losing my child as I knew him. And even though I know it’s the same E, with his finitive language, and inquisitive nature, on Sunday, he was a different person.

There we two moments where it crystallized and I had to turn my face away from the crowd. One, after all the men took their turn snipping off locks of hair, I stood in the back and looked at his hacked hair, and a loud flashing sign in my head read “It’s OVER. This stage is over”.

Naturally there’s a gradually passing from one stage of life to another, a shade of gray, or green, where the red and blue are changing, a mixing of the colors, with the shades starting lighter, fading into on another and gradually being completely transformative in hindsight. It happened in a moment here. It was hard.

And then about a minute into the real haircut, my mother in law (also the barber in this case) had trimmed away enough so you could see the curve and actual shape of the back of E’s head. It was so round and perfect. And I thought, I don’t this part of my son. I don’t know this boy.

Now of course logically, I recognize that he is the same exact person he was the day before, sans hair. He still manipulated his toilet training to get more candy, he still jumps off any surface possible, and still speaks in finite terms of, can’t and need. But he looks so different. So beautiful, yes. But so different than the child I know, that I can’t help but feel I need to get to know him all over again.


Posted by on August 28, 2013 in Jewish, Musings


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Joining the Family Business

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Posted by on March 24, 2013 in Humor, Jewish


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Polishing a Reputation

Polishing a Reputation


Lakewood ain’t what it used to be – to blatantly advertise such gashmeis and pritzus.

Is no place to remain unsullied?

I must broaden my horizons, spread my wings and seek purer pastures.


Posted by on October 15, 2012 in Humor, Jewish


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An Intriguing Post With an Ironic Tone


Are they serious? Is that the best tagline they could come up with? It makes me question of they can accurately define ironic. And please, let me use some, just some of my neurons to develop the opinion they so subtlety suggested to me. No, I did not go to see it, apparently I’m not one of the ‘neshei chinuch’ who reccomended it (can you see that little note in the corner?) Embarrassing.


Posted by on October 12, 2012 in Humor, Jewish


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Good Enough for Some, Isn’t Good Enough

I’m am amateur baker, if you can even award me with that title. When my niece was born and my sister in law and brother in law made a Kiddush for her, I was a good aunt (and sister in law) and sent something over for the occasion. I usually send biscotti, in a cookie jar. It looks cute, doesn’t require much patchkening, and best of all, it tastes good. I’m not sure what possessed me, maybe because it was after Purim, and I had just made all those black and white cookies, and I didn’t want my newly acquired skill to go to waste, I made pink and white cookies.

I worked hard on them, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to results. I didn’t have the right shade of pink, it was a bit bright, due to my food coloring packaging description of “NEON” (I thought it was fun colors to get at the time, I didn’t actually think about how I might use it, and that whatever I would be coloring, I’d like it to resemble edible food, not radioactive waste).

Also, it’s a pain doing each cookie, one side at a time, holding it between your thumb and index finger; I developed temporary carpal tunnel syndrome. But for a first attempt, they were ok. The place where the pink and white met up wasn’t always totally straight. The pink sometimes overlapped the white a little bit, leading to lighter shades of pink in some places. They were really pretty from a short distance though.

I made tons, so I froze most of them, and worked on the final presentation.

Exhibited on a trendy rectangular plate, wrapped in cellophane and tied with a ribbon, it was perfect – for Queens. And it was easily one of the fanciest things at the Kiddush. I beamed and blushed with all the compliments.

Fast-forward a month, and brother and sister in law were making a Kiddush for their newest addition. Pregnancy wasn’t being nice to me, and I didn’t have the energy to make something. I kept thinking I did, I even put up a cookie dough on Monday. Made the actual cookies three days later, but the decorating never happened (Pregnancy won that battle).

It was Friday, and I was getting a bit frantic, yes, my brother and sister in law would more than understand and forgive me for not sending something in celebration, but I wouldn’t be able to live it down for myself (besides I wanted my sister in law to send something when I would eventually be making either a Kiddush or shalom zachor – selfish motives, I know).

I remembered my pink and whites, pretty in the freezer, waiting to grace another Kiddush. I took them out, and looked at them scornfully. They weren’t good enough – not for a Lakewood crowd. I could never show my face and be proud of my confections here. Besides, these cookies in Lakewood would almost be insulting to Baal Hasimcha. She’d have to put them out, due to social dictums, but they’d most probably mar the balance and beauty of everything else presented.

Last minute I wrangled something together with my sister’s help (who I was hosting for that Shabbos for the Kiddush). Using the cookies I had yet to decorate, we finagled something that could pass muster in Lakewood and did not require great technical prowess. Shalom al yisroel, I can still show my face in proper society.

I ate those pink and white cookies with my coffee. They tasted great. My other sister in law in Queens is due soon. I might be making another test drive on the pink (or maybe blue) and whites, and see if I’m ready for primetime in Lakewood.

And for those who think I’m crazy, check out the cookies my sister in law sent over for my baby’s Shalom Zachor. This is what I’m up against, and she didn’t take this picture, I did. She thought they weren’t good enough to merit a memory.

It’s not totally about competition, and being good enough, but really doing what’s acceptable and expected in your community. For my ego though, I should maybe consider Queens.

On second thought, Queens is only 20 minutes from Far Rockaway – and my sister – who made these


Posted by on August 14, 2012 in Food, Humor, Jewish


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Take it From Me

Kach es Sheli, from Avrhom Fried’s new album has got me thinking, and once again recognizing the pathos of my mindset.

He sings,

“Rebono Shel Olma, Ani Yodeiah, ShBais Hamikdahs Hashlishi aino bunoi mei avanim, hu vunoi me demaos, v’im cul ma shatah tzaruch rok dmaah achas, kach es sheli”

Creator of this world, I know that the third Bais Hamekdsh is not being built from stones, but from tears. And if all that you need is one more tear, take it from me.

When I listen to it, I feel inspired, like I can do this, we are close, redemption is near, and I can be a part of it.
But then I look around at my life. I sit and complain all day, about the smallest the thing. The driver that doesn’t know to ease into the intersection when making a left turn, the secretary that misplaced my papers – again. When it takes me more than thirty seconds to decide what to make for supper, when my kid gives me a run for my money when I try to change his diaper.

Kach Es Sheli?

Who am I kidding. I can barely handle day to day stresses gracefully, appreciatively, what nerve do I have asking Hashem to make me cry for my benefit. I’m not even appreciating the tears he gives me on a regular basis, am I an idiot? A glutton for punishment, asking for more?

It’s a beautiful song, but if I’m very honest with myself – that Kach Es Sheli – let him take Avrhom Fried because, well, I’m a baby who cries from everything, but I’m not an idiot who attempts a muscle to look strong and says “punch me” hoping the other person won’t take me seriously.


Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Musings


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