Sunday, December 30, 2007

More good eatin'

Yes, I have no doubt that Brad's Organic Jams (OK parve) fall into the category that AidelMaidel so delicately described as "kiddie crack." But for those of us who are neither prone to sugar-driven behavior problems nor diabetic, pre-diabetic, or otherwise advised to restrict their intake of all forms of sugar (sucrose, fructose, maltose, dextrose, etc.), but whose health problems revolve around sugar specifically--some doctors implicate sugar in yeast infections--this fruit spread is a real find. For me, Brad's Jam (with or without nut-butter) on a corn thin is a decent dessert that's still healthier than a cookie.

Some post-Chanukah posts of mine

Please note that it is occasionally necessary for me to "hide" a post in a not-so-obvious place in order to preserve (what's left of) my anonymity as a blogger.

A quick visit from the kid-no-more

The Family Physicist dropped in between grad-school semesters for a quick hello. He spent a few days helping his dear olde dad pick a new laptop, visiting his aunt and uncle on his father's side, his aunt on his dear olde mom's side, and an old friend from high school, then headed back to "River City" in his trusty (not to mention rusty) jalopy to catch his breath before the start of the next semester. We don't expect to see the Son-ster again before the end of May. Eventually, we'll get used to being empty-nesters.

My new favorite Shabbat /Sabbath food

"Real Food" brand organic Corn Thins (popped corn cakes) with sesame
(They ain't kiddin' about the "thin" part--each cake is only about 1/4 inch thick.)

Australian hechsher (symbol of rabbinical supervision ensuring that a product is kosher)
Kosher Parve, Bishul Yisrail [sic]

The only ingredients are organic corn, sesame seeds, and sea salt (allergen warning: may contain traces of soy).

So these delightful puffed-corn cakes are not only slightly sweet--almost like a cookie without sugar--they're also completely free of anything even remotely resembling "mezonot." (And unlike some rice cakes, they don't fall apart at the slightest provocation, making them perfect for gluten-free, yeast-free nut-butter and jelly sandwiches. More on that later.)

After reciting what my rabbi says is the halachic minimum, namely, the brachot/blessings for Torah study (laasok b'divrei Torah, ha-m'lamed Torah l'amo Yisrael, and noten haTorah), the Torah quote (Y'varech'cha . . . ), the Misha quote (. . . ha-peiah . . . ), the Gemarah quote (. . . kibud av va-eim . . . .), and all three paragraphs of the Shema, I can now eat, before going to synagogue, a healthy "starch" (not junk food) that's neither bread nor "mezonot." (See here for previous "What may I eat?" discussions.)

(Actually, my usual practice is to davven/pray all of Shacharit/the Morning Service before eating on Shabbat/Sabbath or the Shalosh R'galim/Pilgrimage Festivals. After grabbing a bite, I then go to synagogue for the Torah reading and Musaf.)

In addition, I can eat these corn thins outside of a sukkah, since they're neither bread nor mezonot. (This is not necessarily a universally-accepted opinion.)

I found Real Food Corn thins at a good old Whole Foods health food supermarket. I hope you'll have good luck finding them, too. You might want to give them a try.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Politically-incorrect thoughts

  • It strikes me as interesting that no one (to my knowledge) has commented on the fact that the outstanding Muslim individual who risked his life defending Jews under attack on a New York City subway train was Bangladeshi. Sorry, but I can't help wondering whether a West Asian (Middle-Eastern) or North African Muslim would have done such a thing.
  • Much as I enjoy reading the witty writing of Ms. Bad for Shidduchim, I can't help thinking that any female living in a neighborhood in which the mere act of talking to a male can ruin one's reputation should pack her bags and leave. Would someone who knows this young lady please unpack an old Monopoly set and hand her a "Get Out of Jail" card?
  • I'm still bothered by something I read on the Internet a while back concerning an Orthodox Bat Mitzvah celebration in a right-wing community. It took several days for it to "register" what it meant that the celebration took place in the home of the Bat Mitzvah girl during Seuda Shlishit. To the best of my admittedly-limited knowledge, the Sabbath's Seuda Shlishit ("Third Meal") is generally eaten by the men of a traditional community in between the Mincha (Afternoon) and Ma'ariv/Arvit (Evening) services. Which means that the men would all be in synagogue for Seuda Shlishit. Which means that, for every single Bat Mitzvah celebration in that particular community, no father, brother, uncle, or male cousin would ever be present! I can't help wondering just how much a female's learning is valued in a community in which even a Bat Mitzvah girl's own father can't be present to hear her deliver her d'var Torah (Torah/Bible discussion).

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Links to my two-part series on Jewish continuity

The key to Jewish continuity: Prioritizing Judaism

See this (New York) Jewish Week article by Gary Rosenblatt concerning a new approach to Jewish practice by the Reform Movement.

"Cultural Judaism can be creative and exciting, but food, art, literature, music, film and theater alone — however rich in Jewish experience —cannot sustain a way of life that has been our history and heritage for many centuries.

“Other approaches to enhancing Jewish life have failed,” Rabbi Yoffie asserted, in explaining his renewed emphasis on Shabbat. Proclaiming “we need old ideas,” not new ones, he said: “We need less corporate planning and more text and tradition; less strategic thinking and more mitzvot; less demographic data and more Shabbat. Because we know, in our hearts, that in the absence of Shabbat, Judaism withers.”

An old friend of ours was raised a Secular Yiddishist, attending a Sholom Aleichem School as a child. By the time he was in mid-adulthood, he'd concluded, based on his observations of his own family, that a secular form of Judaism simply didn't seem to get passed from one generation to the next. So he and his wife sent their children to a Jewish day school.

In one of my earliest posts, "Little House on the Prairie," I complained about us being just about the only parents in our neighborhood who attended Shabbat and holiday morning services with our kid on a reasonably regular basis, and how it felt to have our son regard us as the neighborhood oddballs.

It gets worse, folks. The all-time winner was the Hebrew-School mother who was "too busy" either to come to synagogue or to join us at another Hebrew-School family's home for lunch on Rosh Hashanah. The nature of our Conservative congregation is not such that the women stay home to prepare lunch for the family, though many do leave early for that reason. And if food-prep had been the issue, surely being fed by someone else should have solved the problem. Under the circumstances, I think it's reasonable to assume that the woman in question was "too busy" to observe Rosh Hashanah.

In plain English, the problem with many of us in the non-Orthodox community is that we don't consider the practice of Judaism a top priority. It's more important for our kids to take violin lessons or go to Little League practice on Saturday morning than to go to synagogue. It's more important for a family to go to an out-of-town secular event almost every Sukkot than to join the community in the sukkah. As for Simchat Torah, when it falls on a weekday, the kids can't come to shul because they have school--heaven forbid that parents should take their kids out of school for a Jewish holiday; when it falls on a Sunday, well, somehow, the kids are rarely there then, either. (In the fifties, in my hometown in South Jersey , it would have been unthinkable for a Jewish kid to go to school on a Jewish holiday, lest other Jewish children lose the right to take Jewish holidays off. I don't know whether New Yorkers don't bother taking their kids out of school for Jewish holidays because they're not concerned with solidarity and/or whether parents today are just deathly afraid of their kids missing a day of school because the academic pressure is greater.) The parents aren't any better: Many won't take even a morning off from work to attend synagogue on the Shalosh R'galim/Pilgrimage Festivals, much less take off the entire day.

Yes, there are communities of highly-committed non-Orthodox Jews. We just don't happen to be living in one. :(

How will Reconstructionist, Reform, and Conservative Judaism fare in the future? Will they thrive or falter? Or will Orthodox Judaism--of one variety or another (though, personally, I'm pulling for Open Orthodoxy)--be the only form of Judaism left standing in about 150 years, simply because they're the only ones willing to make Judaism a top priority? Too bad we won't be around to find out.

YCT, Open Orthodoxy, and my husband and me

Here's an interesting article about Yeshivat Chovevei Torah.

A conversation between my husband and me, after we both read this article a couple of Shabbatot (Sabbaths) ago:

Hubster: "Do you think Open Orthodoxy is for us?"

Me: "Not unless you're willing to give up eating non-kosher meat outside the "house" and I'm willing to sit behind a mechitza."

That shut us both up real fast.

On the other hand . . .

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Muslim, Christian states OK; Jewish state all wrong??

They don't call it the Church of England for nothin'. So why is Israel's status as a Jewish state being questioned? Are we Jews the only religious community that's not allowed to have one single state with our own religion as the official religion? See this must-read by David Bogner/Treppenwitz.

See also Baka Diary's "Why Can't We Just All 'Get Along'". Warning: Not "politically correct." (Hat-tip: The current edition of Havail Havalim, posted by Soccer Dad.)

Encouraging words

From an Orthodox reader, via e-mail:

"Keep up the blog as long as you can. Its an important viewpoint in the blogosphere."

Thank you. I'll do my best.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Shim'on, here. Remember me?

Okay, so some people call me Shimon and others call me Simeon or Simon. Whatever.

Look, I'm just a regular guy who was hanging out with his brothers, trying to figure out how we were supposed to keep our families fed during a famine. Then we heard that there was food for sale in Egypt. Needless to say, we got our asses, not to mention our camels, to Egypt as quickly as we could. How were we to know that the Pharaoh's second-in-command would get all paranoid and insist that we were spies? He gave us this whole song and dance about how he would neither believe us nor sell us any more food unless we showed up with Binyamin, our youngest brother, in tow. And, to boot, he sent the eldest, Reuven (Reuben, whatever) home to report the news to Dad and tossed me into prison as a hostage!

I'm sure my family wrote me off as dead. I could practically hear my father all the way from Canaan: "Yosef is not, and Shim'on is not . . ." Seriously, folks, Par'oh's head henchman could have done anything he'd darn well pleased with me--I woke every morning wondering whether I'd be the star of a hanging party that day--and what could my family have done to stop him? I mean, really, were my brothers in any position to take on the entire Egyptian army?! Believe me, I had more than enough time in prison, wondering whether every day would be my last, to see my life pass before my eyes. And that part about letting our brother Yosef be sold into slavery. . . I mean, sure, he was a preening pain in the rear, but still . . .

Well, finally, my brothers came back for more food, with Binyamin (Benjamin, whatever) in tow this time. So Par'oh's viceroy had me released from prison. Do you know those bum brothers of mine didn't say so much as "Are you okay?" Under the circumstances, maybe they were embarrassed, what with us having allowed Yosef to be sold to merchants headed toward Egypt and all. But even so . . .

And to top it all off, it turns out that Par'oh's chief henchman was none other than Yosef! Talk about getting the last laugh . . .

My other brothers can do all the atoning they want. I already did mine in prison, thank you very much.

(See Parshat Miketz, Breishit/Genesis 41:1-44-17, and the following week's reading, Parshat Vayigash, Breishit/Genesis 44:18-47:27. This story starts with 42:1 and continues, after what I've frequently described as the Tanach's/Bible's greatest cliffhanger at the end of Miketz (chapter 44, verse 17), through at least the resolution of the cliffhanger in Vayigash (chapter 45, verse 16).

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Shlomo Katz in concert at Aish Kodesh

That's the last time we worry about being late 2 a concert at Aish Kodesh [link]--we got there at just about 8, & here it is 8:25 & the concert shows no signs of beginning.
We're downstairs--not in the sanctuary in which ths video [link] was made. The [room] is divided by a series of long tables, wth th men in front but a perfectly clear view for th women in th back. Interestingly enuf, the w's section is much larger than th m's. Also interestingly, we're among th oldest people here, leading me 2 wonder whethr we've happnd on a majr shidduch scene. Thus far, I count exactly 2 covered heads among th w--& I'm 1 of 'em!

More later--gotta return th pen!

[See translations and explanations at end of post.]

Okay, that was before the concert. I've got a lot more to write--and time to write in full words :)--now that the concert is over and we're back home (via Long Island Railroad and subway) listening to the rain. (Wind gusts of 40 miles per hour are predicted for tomorrow). I also have a computer with which to insert the aforementioned links. More's the pity we were in such a rush to make our train that we forgot the camera. (We didn't think to take any cell-phone photos--I don't think either of us is sufficiently technology-adept to figure out how to upload them to our computer.)

The concert actually started at about 8:40, and the room filled up quite nicely by about 9. (Ah, "Jewish time"--don't ya love it? :) .) The men's section becoming standing-room-only very quickly.

I lasted in the front of the women's section for about two songs--the minute the livelier music started, I was in the back of the room dancing. That actually got a bit interesting. Having observed that my husband was one of the few guys in the room wearing a head covering that wasn't black (a blue and white kippah s'rugah/"knitted" [crocheted] yarmulkeh/skullcap), I was dancing in a manner that was quite constrained, not wishing to offend this crowd that was clearly more religiously-right-wing than we're accustomed to. (See here for my illustrated guide to "the Orthodox dress code.") I'd spotted a curtained area in the women's section, but there originally appeared to be men in there fiddling with wiring, and I thought it might be an improvised backstage or tech area. Fortunately, the next few gals up relieved me of my concerns by schlepping me into the curtained area--is "mechitzaed" a word?--and all of us cut loose. I ended up doing a lot of "free-styling"--in my case, mostly Israeli dance steps in improvised patterns--in the middle of the circle: As a veteran Israeli folk dancer, I can only do what (former?) blogger Dilbert/Noam (I'm still hope he'll revive the Bava Dilbert blog--see link in sidebar) once described as the "yeshiva shuffle" for just so long without getting bored. Nut job that I am, I'm pretty sure I was the oldest dancer in the circle by, for the most part, at least 30 years!

A few observations:
  • My husband told me that the men did very little dancing because there was very little room in the men's section. I was quite surprised to see that there was noticeably more room in the women's section than in the men's.
  • The music was wonderful, and Nochi Krohn showed up with guitar in hand to join the band about an hour into the set. Shlomo and the band played songs from U'Sh'muel B'korei Sh'mo and K'Shoshana, as well as plenty of well-known Carlebach tunes. But I can't name you many of the songs that they played. This is the first time I've ever been to a concert at which I spent most of the time behind a curtain, and I realize, in retrospect, that since I couldn't actually see the band much of the time, I wasn't paying as much attention to them as I normally would at a live performance. Under what to me are normal circumstances, I find watching the musicians play almost as much fun as dancing. Under the circumstances that I encountered at this concert, it was almost as if I were dancing to a recording (but a darned good one!). Black-hat affairs do have their drawbacks.
That said, I had a wonderful time, as did the Punster.

And no, it wasn't my imagination that the guy selling CDs at the door who lent me the pen looked familiar--he was, indeed, MOChassid/Azriel (Elliot) Ganz!

shidduch: marital match-making

"covered heads among th w": Many Orthodox Jews consider it obligatory for married women to cover at least part of their hair, so the dearth of head coverings (hats, tichlach/scarves, sheitlach/wigs, snoods) among the women indicated that most of the women were single. Apparently, I danced my head off as well as my feet--imagine my surprise when I discovered that I'd lost a decorative button from my hat despite the fact that the button had been attached with a rivet!

More fun with my left foot

I'm happy to report that I'm still reasonably good for folk dancing despite the recently-diagnosed ganglion cyst on the bottom of my left foot that I suspect developed after last January's foot surgery, in which a tiny blood clot was removed. (Why else would my foot have appeared to recover fully, then develop another lump?) I'm generally able to manage about an hour to an hour and a half of folk dancing, particularly if I dance outside the circle and at a slower pace. (The Thursday night Israeli folk dance session with Tamar at the JCC of Manhattan is now one of my favorite sessions--the room is big enough and the crowd just barely small enough that there's room to dance behind the circle. And Tamar's a great teacher.) If my foot starts hurting, I just sit down for a bit and enjoy the "floor show." I've even developed a talent for learning new dances while sitting down. I just watch the teacher/session leader and do the steps while seated, getting up when I think I've mastered the dance. Saves a lot of wear and tear on the soles. :)

I'm glad I'm still able to dance, or I wouldn't have had nearly as much fun at tonight's concert . . .

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Dancer gets stomped on by Tzniut Squad/Modesty Patrol

Slightly improved version of poem swiped from a comment of mine on this post by DovBear:

There was a folk dancer named Shira
whose dancing was deemed "lo tzanua"
"Immodest!" they said
'cause she wiggled her head
So why stay on YouTube and view-a?

They gave her a song
though her skirt was quite long
and her sleeve buttoned down to her hand
Her blouse buttoned high,
head covered, so why
do they think that her work should be banned?

Her hips she kept still
but if comments could kill
she'd be off with the Angel of Death
"No ladies go dancing
'fore men's eyes," no chancing
a thought of a good-looking Beth

And singing's for men,
"Kol Isha!," they said, then
they all wondered why she wouldn't stay
"It's no fun for women
I'd rather go davven
where females feel free to pray"

(from here:
This post is dedicated to all synagogues where women as well as men dance during the hakafot on Simchat Torah, including synagogues in which tables are placed in the middle of a room and the women dance on one side while the men dance on the other.

Friday, December 14, 2007 update:
I sent this post to another blogger, who replied that I was mocking Halachah (Jewish religious law) and those who observe it. I responded that this poem expressed the truth as I saw it and had personally experienced it: I was extremely upset about being publicly pilloried (in comments posted on YouTube) for my own hard work--the dances that I had choreographed--simply because I was a woman.

When I wrote this poem, I was just trying to take a light-hearted look at something that was--is--actually quite upsetting. Did I cross a line? What do you think and/or how do you feel about this poem?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Hebrew and politics

Many years ago, when I was a member of the Ritual Committee of a previous synagogue, one of the synagogue members asked permission to chant a haftarah in Ashkenazi Hebrew. Why this was such a big deal that it even had to come before the Ritual Committee was beyond my comprehension. The rabbi had to explain it to me: Apparently, the founding rabbi of the synagogue, being one of the first Conservative rabbis to support the Zionist movement, insisted, as a matter of principle, that all rituals be read or chanted in Sefardi Hebrew because that was the official pronunciation of the State of Israel. (Last I heard, all services were still being led in Sefardi, but the chanting of the haftarah in Ashkenazi was permitted because that was deemed an individual choice rather than representative of the official policy of the congregation.)

I was reminded of that incident about a month ago, when there was an article in the (New York) Jewish Week concerning a decline in the teaching and speaking of Hebrew in the United States. (Naturally, I can’t find the article. It’s almost impossible to find an article through the Jewish Week’s “search” function.) When I was a kid, it wasn’t the least bit unusual for a kid going to a Jewish sleep-away camp to speak almost nothing but Hebrew for her or his entire camp stay. My impression is that “Hebrew immersion” in sleep-away camps is much less the norm, these days. And the article stated that it’s far less the norm, nowadays, for yeshiva students to graduate high school fluent in Hebrew other than what they need for study. The article posited that it’s because Israel developed a reputation as a secular state that the study of modern Israeli Hebrew became less acceptable in some Orthodox circles.

Now along comes David/Trep and publishes a post about Jewish seasonal music, for a change, complete with a recording—ripped straight from a record (remember those?)—of Gershon Veroba singing his own version of Hanerot Hallalu. (See lyrics in Hebrew, plus English translation, here). I have a Veroba CD, "Reach Out," (reviewed here) that includes a somewhat rearranged version of that same song, and I was struck by the fact that the original was recorded in Sefardi Hebrew, but the new recording is in Ashkenazi. Is it becoming so "pahss nisht" (I think that means "it isn't done") for Orthodox Jews in some circles to be so publicly Zionist?

Egg-on-face update: Here's a comment to Trep's post from trumpeter Jordan Hirsch:

". . . As for the story, it's really rather simple.Gershon was working in those days with a very fine blues guitar player, Steve Simanowitz. (Who last I saw him is running a farm somewhere in Vermont or New Hampshire). Steve convinced Gershon, who grew up singing and davening in Havarat Ashekenazit, or Ashkenazis, if you will, that Sephardic pronunciation would supplant Ashkenazic and Gershon should get ahead of the curve. As anyone who listens to Yaakov Schwekey and Avraham Fried will tell you, um...not so much. Anyhoo, I guess when Gershon re recorded the song, which is sung in my house as well, he did it in his natural style. Anyway, that's how Gershon explained it to me.

Posted by: jordan Hirsch Dec 11, 2007 7:17:19 PM

I believe that my premise is correct, but, apparently, my illustration is not. Mr. Veroba, I apologize.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Onan's sin: Marital sexual abuse

Ellen Flax (I believe she’s a rabbi) gave an interesting d’var Torah (word of Torah/Bible) on the story of Yehudah/Judah, Onan, and Tamar (found in Parshat Vayeshev, Genesis 37:1 - 40:23), at Ansche Chesed’s Minyan Rimonim last Shabbat (Sabbath) morning. She posited that Onan was killed by HaShem not because he “spilled seed,” refusing to impregnate Tamar because her first child would have considered his deceased brother’s/her late husband’s child, but because he used Tamar for sex. Well, yes and no.

I suppose that we should first discuss the institution of yibum/levirate marriage. Here's a (the principle?) biblical quote discussing the matter:

Parshat Ki Tetze, Deuteronomy, chapter 25, verses 5-6:

5 If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not be married abroad unto one not of his kin; her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of a husband's brother unto her.

6 And it shall be, that the first-born that she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother that is dead, that his name be not blotted out of Israel.

My understanding is that the institution of yibum/levirate marriage cut both ways. On the one hand, it was a way of attempting to ensure that a deceased man would have a child who was considered his descendent. On the other hand, it was also a form of economic protection for women, who didn’t have many respectable options for making an independent living. My impression is that a woman of the biblical era was dependent on the men of either the family of her birth or of her husband’s family for her financial support, and that, therefore, attempting to ensure that she had at least one child would guarantee her support by her late husband’s male relatives. A childless widow seems to have been returned to her father’s family for financial support, a development that may not have been welcomed, since her father may have thought that he’d already ensured his daughter’s economic survival by marrying her off. (I’m probably not the only one who knows older parents who’ve found themselves with adult children living at home again after a marriage that did not work out and/or for financial, health, or other reasons.)

It’s true that Onan was clearly using Tamar for sex, since he refused to try to get her pregnant. But, despite Ellen’s protestations that Onan’s death was not about children, I don’t think that one can divorce sex from children in this context. I can’t help thinking that Onan’s grandfather, Yaakov Avinu (Jacob Our Father), had two full-fledged wives and two, er, concubines (if I may be so politically incorrect as to use that term). In those days, before rabbis even existed, much less had forbidden polygamy, what was to prevent Onan from marrying other women, having children with them, and leaving Tamar chained to him in marriage and with no opportunity ever to have a child for the rest of her life, just to spite his deceased older brother? Alternatively, he could have "accused" Tamar of infertility and divorced her, which could have reduced both her financial circumstances and her possibilities for remarriage. Either course of action would have been abusive, and it could be argued, from a traditional perspective, that HaShem took Onan's life to prevent him from pursuing either one.

Afterthought: Perhaps it's no coincidence that, though levirate marriage was obviously an accepted practice even before it was presented as a law to the Jewish people, the loophole around that requirement doesn't appear until Deuteronomy (see Ki Tzetze link above, verses 7-10), several books after the one that contains the story of the gutsy Tamar (see first link in this post).

The story of Tamar gives new meaning to the old slang saying, "Take no prisoners." On the one hand, by discreetly accusing Yehudah of failing to fulfill his obligations while avoiding mentioning him by name, she did not take Yehudah prisoner. On the other hand, she showed the extraordinary lengths to which a woman is willing to go to avoid being imprisoned herself, and serves as a cautionary tale to those men who think that they can get away with being heartless.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

S'vivon gets blogger spinning . . .

. . . with help from singer, strummer, and drummer. :) See and hear here.

(For those of you with good memories, yes, I posted this last year.)

Chanukah greetings, AutoShapes version

Yep, I did the whole thing in Word for Windows AutoShapes (with a little WordArt on the side, er, title). In the previous generation of Word, click on the View menu, Toolbars, Drawing. (For WordArt, go to the Insert menu, Picture.) The Hebrew letter nun came from the Insert menu, Symbol (keep scrolling--you'll get to the Hebrew letters eventually).

Methinks Zahava Bogner, graphic designer, related by marriage to David, has nothing to fear from this so-called competition. :)

Moderation in modesty???: Both extremes against the middle

Here's part one.

On the one hand, does one have to be "religious" to dress modestly? (Or why I'm considered a prude by some of my non-Orthodox peers.) (First seen here. Thanks, Soccer Dad!)

But on the other hand, will burkas for Orthodox Jewish women be next? (Hat-tip to Jameel, who, at last report, was doing his annual stint in Miluim/The Israel Defense Force Reserves).

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Chanukah line-up :)

By way of explanation, here's last year's fun.

This year's additions are in the front row, last year's in back.

Here's a nice chunk of my s'vivon/dreidel collection. For a close-up and a much better view, click on the photo.

Happy Chanukah!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Tripping oneself up--SAFETY WARNING!

A likely scenario:
  1. The young lady on the left gets her ice skate caught on her skirt.
  2. She reaches out with her "good" arm--the one she usually uses--to break her fall . . .
  3. . . . and breaks her wrist, instead.
Been there, done that: I broke my left wrist--twice--trying to break a fall. And yes, I'm left-handed.

In all seriousness, any skirt long enough to touch the top of your shoe is almost guaranteed to trip you when you're skating, dancing, or even just running. And the skirts on the rest of the young ladies in this photo create almost as much of a safety hazard, in my opinion.

This is my favorite folk-dancing skirt. It may not be obvious from this photo--it was difficult for my husband to get a shot from a good enough angle--but the hem comes to just above my socks. The hubster was kind enough to measure this skirt from the floor up, and found that the hem is approximately 10 inches above the floor. My personal experience has been that I can't dance without tripping in anything longer than this. (I changed from my wedding gown into a shorter white outfit to folk dance at our wedding reception.) Translated into skating terms, I think that means that a skirt has to be short enough to clear the top of the boots to be safe. Tell me, is a skirt that's a mere 10 inches above the floor any less tzanua (modest) than the skirts in that first photo?

So I ask my sister Jews to do themselves a big favor: If you're going skating or dancing, or going to play tennis, please, please leave that "sidewalk sweeper" skirt in the closet and keep your bones in one piece!

I wish my readers a Happy--and healthy--Chanukah.
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