Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Things We Do (or delete!!!!)

I just wrote this whole long post and then it got DELETED! oy!

I will cut the details short and get to the point.
Basically, I know everyone is writing about Rosh Hashana, what it means to them and the way they approach it.What I am interested in, is people's experience of the davening.

Year to year, we stand there, and pray for His mercy among other things. As we reflect on our lives, where we were standing a year ago etc..  we naturally pray for all that we might need or wish. While some of the requests vary depending on the year, some do not change: help in Parnassah, finding a spouse, to be successful...

Don't you get tired of asking again and again? Don't you believe He already knows what you're asking for and will give it to you when the right time comes? Then comes in Hishtadlus, right?

I know He likes our prayers and I know that there is nothing that equals putting in a request with our tears, yet when I see the many people in Shul I always wonder:

-What are you asking for? 
-What did you ask for last year? 
-Where were you last year? 

Not that the details matter to me, but I have this need where I try to picture people's experience of lifestyle, their Bitachon  and how it plays into their davening... Creepy I know but don't worry, when I start spacing out too much like that, I usually leave and go baby-sit so a poor mother can go enjoy her davening, pray for herself and for her kids. (and for that reason as well, I like to go at night so I don't get as much distracted by the many people there)

PS: If you were hoping to read one of my monologues about dating, or pre-dating, go visit Primum Non Nocere's blog as I was honored with being his first (and maybe only...) guest writer :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Simple Joys of Life

Every morning, while I drive to class or internship (which are both over an hour away from where I live) I listen to the local country station. Sometimes they have this early early morning talk show where people call in to tell the world about their simple pleasures of life. For some, it's to have hot dogs in the fridge for when they get back, or to have their dogs great them when they come home from work, while to others it's to have a meaningful conversation with their teenage daughter. Those  are all simple pleasures of life I've heard, I did not just make them up. 

Wanna know my simple pleasure in life?
-Being able to go through the metal detector every morning that I work at the prison without setting it off AND finding out that bringing in my diary and a pen was NOT contraband.  Therefore, I can now spend the whole day there and be writing in my diary during lunch break instead of simply being grossed out and nauseous by my environment. 

My biggest frustration right now?
- I just realized the critic paper I stayed up writing last night till 3:30 am and that is due Tuesday morning was written about the wrong article.... Yep, I know have to read another 20 page long article, write a critic, go to work tomorrow, study for statistics test on Tuesday....

I am so grateful this week isn't a full :)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ugh to Pre-dating

Us bloggers, we excel at analysing, mocking or simply writing about our dates, the people who set us up, the date itself and the conclusions we draw from it.

Tonight, I must vent about the pre-dating process, the one where you need to stand on a table and yell out to the crowd: "Hey, I'm dating, know anyone for me?", followed by the inevitable question you must answer: " What are you looking for?"

Maybe it's hard for everyone or maybe some girls do not care but first of all, I hate making it a statement -I am dating vs I am not dating. I understand some people set that barrier because they don't feel ready, or they don't really know what kind of life they want, nor do they feel like it's the right time for them. Fine, but to me, I can't even begin to tell you how that little phrase turns me off. If you wish, blame it on my desperate romanticsm, I still do not believe in making a lovely affair such as dating as it should be into a rational concsious decision. It's the sort of thing that should naturally happen.

So I am past the point where I realised it's a step I need to take because of the construct of our societies. I now answer yes to the dreadful "are you dating' question instead of going on a rant about the pointless meaning of the query. But the thing I struggle most with is the second most dreadful question, the "what are you looking for" question.

Of course I understand it must be asked and let me add that I appreciate it when strangers ask me out of a true concern or curiosity. They don't know me, the might know guys and they need to know somehow. I cringe inside but  if I see it might have potential, I answer. (not for the purpose of conversation).

My real problem comes from the people who supposedly know me. If you know me, if we spend enough time together, wouldn't you be able to figure out if the boys you meet are a potential match?? Granted, I do not expect you to know everything about me and hashkafa can always be discussed and should always be discussed  among friends. But aspects such as personalities, hobbies, life style...?

I get physically nauseous trying to describe what kind of personality I am looking for. I am not looking for anything, I don't believe in lists, in plans nor in categories. I believe in getting a feel of personality, an idea of the hashkafic page and a picture of lifestyle, if you know what I mean...

Am I being totally unreasonable?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Jew in Prison

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am beginning a new internship in a prison tomorrow. A prison is no place for a Jewish girl to be, but if it must, then let it be me.

Since we bloggers have had many conversations about the meaning of Tznius, I wanted to share with you the conversation I had with my Rabbi yesterday.

You see, last week I spent the entire week at the prison for training and every day I came in looking cute in my skirt and shirt. I didn't need to put in much effort to look feminine for as you can imagine, the wearing of the skirt alone attracted the many stares of the deprived inmate and aggressive correctional officer. (Needless to say,  my dress was conform to Halacha and would have been befitted for Shul)

So yesterday, I decided to ask my Rabbi who is a well renown and respected Rabbi in town, if I would be allow to wear pants while I'm at prison. I explained to him that i didn't feel comfortable, even if the skirt was covering my knees because of its symbol and the attention it attracts.

His answer was yes.

He understood my concern and agreed that following the concept of Tznius, it might be a better idea to wear pants. Of course the pants need to remain business-like attire, slacks for example and no leggings nor jeggings. His other concern was that I would agree to leave my apartment wearing a skirt and only change into pants before getting into the prison. He worried that I would loose my sensitivity towards the matter if I got used to the idea of walking out in pants.
Fair enough.

Tomorrow is my first day, for the first time in my life I will just be like one of them. Well not exactly, only in appearance...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Gangs are like Marriage

Easy to get in, hard as heck to get out" said Captain Hamby to a class full of Correctional Officers in training, nurses and interns attending pre-service week in order to be able to work in prison.

Yes, you read it right the first time: prison. Me, blogger who responds to the spiritual name of Yedid Nefesh will be interning in a prison  for the next ten months. As I will be starting this week, you might get to hear some quite interesting stories.

Captain Hamby was once married but as he calls himself, he is a "free man". What is it about man that they will always joke about being single as equating being free? They love us, they need us, yet they can't accept it. They feel trapped in love. As if they were the victims of a powerful feeling that takes over control over their emotions, if emotion there is, and compels them to act on the demand of love... Please.

Anyways, Captain Hamby did have some other good lines. Among others:

"If you don't get along with a person, simply ignore them" --hmm great Middos demonstration....

"There is a very fine line between those in a prison and those who aren't." --Really? fine line such as .... oh, crime perhaps?

"As long as you're wearing your uniform, you are held to a different standard." Ah, finally something my Bais Yaakov teacher might have said one day....


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Romance be It

Enough about dating, enough about Shiduchim.
Enough about pick up lines and enough about brake up lines.
Enough about resumés, enough about all of them.
Let the romance begin. 

I am growing tired of hearing words, insignificant terms or subjective appellations to describe people, their wants and their needs. How I wish they could just be a system to be set-up smoothly without going through all of this. It pains me to have to answer certain questions and it aches me to have to listen to some of my friends do the same. Yet we need to know somehow about the other, we therefore need to ask.

In a recurrent dream of mine, I imagine I will know when the right person comes along because everything will just fall into pieces. Certainly, my imaginary world is full of romantic stories, as must girls love to dream about ... 

But guys, bear with me. 

The one scene that I very much would like to apply to my reality is the idea that MY guy will be able to look at one of my favorite paintings and see in it's arts the same beauty, strength and emotions as I do. Of course, that might not be so necessary, nor possible, but the general idea here is that he'd be at least able to understand where it's all coming from.

To brake through for a few moments from all those miserable/aggravating/frustrating dating stories, I just want to share one of my favorite paintings called "Dante et Virgile en Enfer, 1850" (Dante and Virgil in Hell) by Bouguereau.  

This painting is an illustration of "The Divine Comedy" by Dante Alighieri, in which the story of Dante's descent to Hell accompanied of Virgil is beautifully described. Bourguereau took it to the next level by creating a vivid image of what the likes of human beings have the power to create:
Man can fight, man can destroy each other, and man can also sit in the background awaiting for the right moment to guide or to jump in.

There is so much that can be said about this painting, however I will not even begin to talk about it. (If you Google it, you'll find many different interpretations to its meaning).

For my part, I will simply continue to enjoy escaping the complexity of men and women though this cruel and vivid reminder.

Let this be too in the memory of all those who went through hell on this fatal day ten years ago...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Reputations: us versus "them"

When a boy fools around, goes around and then makes his way back into his community, he still has good chances to be considered an amazing boy. Sometimes even more so due to his journey and "experiences" by a twist of - "look at him today, after all what he's been through, he is a good serious boy..."

However, us girls do not get a free pass to hell and back.
If we fool around, we are forever to be tainted and preceded by our reputation. Girls are not forgiven, and nowadays, I think it's a pretty much accepted concept across the orthodox communities regardless of how fair or unfair it might be.

This principle might be associated with the teachings of our societies allowing a bigger leeway to male stupidity due to their nature and their uncontrollable impulse. G-d forbid a girl should slip and stain that pure soul of hers. It's all beautiful, white and romantic but at times cruel and unfair.

I was inspired to vent about this because I tried introducing a not so innocent but repented girl to a not so innocent and somewhat repented guy too. He refused to meet her on the grounds of her past (going back 5 or 6 years ago, when she was still in high-school). I understand his reluctance and discomfort about meeting her but I do blame society and it's system more than the actual pretext.

G-d judges "באשר הוא שם".

Perhaps it is one of His numerous qualities we should aim to acquire.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Broken Engagements

A good friend of mine soon to be married called me today. She was not bearing good news for she announced that as of last night, there will be no wedding. "At least not with that guy", she added positively.

I struggled with maintaining a caring but not pitying tone of voice, and the conversation went on. She is in a tough position right now since all her plans have crashed, at a time where everyone is getting back into their routine life.

Not to mention, that out of a class of 14 girls, she is the third girl to brake her engagement (all within 10 months)

I feel for her. And for the eight other couples I personally know that have broken their engagement too over the past year... (not to mention those I've heard of, but that I am not acquainted with). Among these couples, 3 had been dating for about a year if not more, 3 had been dating for approximately 4-6 months and 2 for less than two months.

Despite different stories and different backgrounds, they all ended up in the same situation.

Some blame the system, some blame themselves.

I wish to understand why and how broken engagements have become such a  phenomena setting the tone of a tragic trend.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Saw You At Sinai

 A way to redefine romanticism: cyber dating.

When my friend suggested I join the famous matchmaking website Saw You at Sinai, I must admit I was surprise. Like everyone else, I’ve heard about it, I’ve met people who met through it, but I never thought about it in terms of myself.

Subconsciously, I’ve been under the assumption that such websites are designed for the older singles who are despairing over meeting the right person. Given that I am pretty young and networking is one of the things I do best, I never considered having a cyber profile.  After all, why would I need it? And why would I want to be matched up by a stranger? On the other hand, I understand that you do not have to accept whom you’re being suggested and you can always conduct your own research (ie: facebook).

But the more I think about it, I wonder if my prejudice is a common one or is it just based on my ignorance of that technique. Granted, I definitely do not know enough about it yet to know how I feel about it. Right now, I’m struggling with the idea of having to describe myself in terms and characteristics versus someone having a feel for my personality and my aspirations (similar to the reasons I do not have a resume).

So fellow bloggers, we seem to be spending a fair amount on the web, what do we think about web-dating?