Sunday, March 31, 2013

Leftovers. Yum!

The host of our sedarim sent us home with plenty of goodies.  Then the president of our synagogue, which had already provided us with a couple of meals from the not-so-local glatt kosher caterer, realized that the shul had far too many seder leftovers, and sent over even more goodies.  We now have enough turkey and barbecued chickens to last us not only through the last two nights of Pesach (Passover), but also for about three Shabbatot (Sabbaths) thereafter.  I suggested to my husband that we'd best skip buying any dairy cookies for a few weeks.  :)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

How to pass for a mugger :(

I took advantage of being back in my favorite neighborhood for the first two nights and days of Pesach/Passover, and went to services at the synagogue that I used to attend frequently back when I was taking the subway to synagogue on Shabbat (Sabbath) and Yom Tov (major holiday).   One of my buddies there had an interesting New Yorker's perspective regarding observant Jews who refuse to to push elevator buttons on Shabbat or Yom Tov.  She said that, if she were followed into an elevator by someone who appeared to have been loitering in the lobby until she got there, she'd be seriously concerned that she was about to be robbed.  Let's take that one step further, folks:  Imagine how the button-pusher would feel if the religiously-observant individual were one of those who wouldn't ask anyone to push buttons, but would, rather, ride as far as the button-pusher, then leave the elevator and walk the rest of the way--the button-pusher might very well expect to become the victim of a push-in robbery.  Hmm, maybe my reluctance to ask strangers to push elevator buttons for me is justified.

Our Seder host gets the last laugh

You may remember that I was complaining about our Seder-night accommodations being on such a high floor that we'd have to take the elevator.  What I hadn't realized was that our host's new apartment is also above the tenth floor, so even if our temporary housing had been lower down, we would still have had to "commute vertically."  It's probably just as well that I've decided that I'm just not cut out to become even a truly-observant Conservative Jew, much less an Orthodox one, because I'm really not kidding when I say that we might have to make all new friends if we became observant, and I'm not willing to give up my current ones.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Back to basics

For years, I've been plagued with skin problems on my hands , as you can see in the second entry here.  I've tried every treatment that I and/or my dermatologist could think of:  prescription medications, non-prescription medications, lotions, creams, and/or ointments.  I've added more healthy fats to my diet, and have started using olive oil or sunflower oil directly on my skin.  All to little avail.

Until my husband had a hunch:  "Maybe it's the soap."

So, as an experiment, we switched from commercial sensitive-skin bath soap and liquid hand soap to all-natural and 100%-vegetarian-ingredients glycerine-based bath soap and liquid hand soap.

Within about two weeks, my skin condition improved dramatically.

Leading me to wonder why I'm paying my dermatologist when I get better skin-care advice from my favorite CPA.

Proof of the pudding is that, now, I notice that my skin hurts whenever I wash my hands at the office.  I intend to take a bottle of glycerine-based liquid hand soap to the office after Pesach.

If you, too, have skin problems, try using glycerine-based soaps (unless you're allergic or sensitive to glycerine, of course).  Like chicken soup, it can't hurt.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Blissfully unaware

The long-winded talker

She dominates the conversation for close to two hours at a party.  Asked to give a d'var Torah (roughly, Bible discussion) no more than 5-10 minutes long, she talks for 15-20.  When saluting a long-married couple, she assures the poor fellows holding a tallit as a chuppah over the couples' heads that she realizes their arms hurt and will wrap up soon, then continues to talk for another 3-4 minutes.  Call her just to confirm some plans, and you may be held hostage for a 45-minute conversation.

I think she's probably one of the few people I know who talks at least as much as I do.  I prefer to think that I'm at least more conscious of how much I'm talking, but that may be just a delusion.  You'd have to ask my long-suffering husband, whose ear I've been bending for so many years that it'll probably never straighten out.  :)

The nibbler

She's been disabled and unable to work for over a decade, so both her health and her bank account are in poor condition.  Consequently, it wasn't much of a surprise when we noticed that she never ordered anything when we went out to eat together, insisting that she wasn't hungry and that she'd just take a taste to keep us company.  But in recent years, it's gotten to the point that my husband has actually complained that he's gone home hungry after sharing a meal with her.  At a recent get-together, we decided to ignore her insistence that we not order anything for her, and ordered two appetizers in addition to our usual one meal that's big enough for two.  'Twas mostly in vain--even with all that, my husband still had to order dessert.  So we've decided that, next time, we'll order two appetizers and two meals, as it's better for our health if we order more "real" food rather than making up for the shortfall with "junk" food.

I'm not sure whether the nibbler is really oblivious to the fact that she's eating as much as half of our dinners, or whether she simply can't bring herself to admit that, when we take her to a restaurant, it's a form of tzedakah/charity, but, either way, I'd rather just discretely order enough food for all three of us than embarrass her by explaining the problem.  I hope we'll still be able to afford to treat her to dinner once we're retired.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Methinks I'll listen to our son

After hours of searching, via Internet and phone, my hard-working husband finally succeeded in finding us a place to stay for the first two nights and days of Pesach/Passover that's within walking distance of the two sedarim in which we'll be participating.

Unfortunately, it's within walking distance horizontally, but not vertically--if I've ever in my life walked up that many flights of stairs, it was so many years ago that I've forgotten about it.

Our son the Ph.D. candidate in Physics has insisted for years that electricity is absolutely not a form of fire.  I've decided to follow his scientific logic and push elevator buttons on Yom Tov in our temporary housing.

The irony is, of course, that the whole point of our getting these reservations was to avoid violating halachah/Jewish religious law.  Do we get an E for Effort, at least?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Quinoa controversy: kitniot* or not?

Azigra published a guest post about it on DovBear's blog.  The comments are at least as interesting (and, in some cases, informative) as the post.

I say to heck with this constant adding to the forbidden-food list.  If it's kasher-l'Pesach/kosher-for-Passover enough for the Star-K, it's kasher l'Pesach enough for me--we just bought three boxes of quinoa with a Star-K kasher l'Pesach hechsher at Seasons kosher supermarket this past Sunday.

*Explanation here, list here.

See also:

Monday, March 11, 2013

Kochava on the hidden price of observance

I was going to write a post about the cost of trying to be more observant--for a variety of reasons, observing Pesach is going to cost us even more of a fortune this year than in previous years--but I see that Kochava has beaten me to it.  Yes, some of her points apply even to non-Orthodox Jews who are reasonably observant.

Parshat Vayikra, 5773/2013 thoughts

Basics here.

A question:  Why did some sacrifices require a male animal and some a female animal?

My previous posts:
  • Parshat Vayikra (Friday, March 11, 2011)  I recommend that you read the comment by Reform Baal Teshuvah.
  • Parshat Vayikra, 5772/2012 thoughts (Friday, March 23, 2012)  "I'm curious to know why some ancient altars had horns, and why the blood of animal sacrifices was put on them."
Conservadox contributes to the conversation.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Too dumb for a smartphone

I had to walk out in the middle of a shiur (Jewish-sacred-text lecture) last night because, even though I'd already had my smartphone for two days, I still hadn't figured out how to turn it off.  Note to self:  Find some non-existent time to read the manual, and hope that it's a smartphone-for-dummies version.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

What does this have to do with music?

I'm watching Justin Timberlake on a wide-screen TV through a store window.  Can't hear a thing, but I see he can play piano in addition to singing--and that he can name his tour the "Sex Tour."  Complete with salacious dance moves, totally unnecessary for a guy who clearly has some talent as a dancer.  Sorry, I just don't get it.

Fast-forward a number of months.  I'm watching Lady Gaga through the same store window on possibly the same wide-screen TV.  I've heard her sing, but I didn't know she was also a pianist.  The problem is that I can't quite get past the image of a woman playing the piano while (not entirely) dressed in what I can only describe as a spangled bikini.

Call me old-fashioned, but I liked the good old days when a song-and-dance man was a song-and-dance man.

Double-ParshaVayekhel-P'kudei, 5773/2013 thoughts

I give up--just see my previous posts.  I can't make construction blueprints interesting.

I'm glad that at least Conservadox (quoting Sarna) has something about these parshiot that's worth reading.

On a second thought, who were those "serving women," what did they do, and do we ever hear about them again?

ח וַיַּעַשׂ, אֵת הַכִּיּוֹר נְחֹשֶׁת, וְאֵת, כַּנּוֹ נְחֹשֶׁת--בְּמַרְאֹת, הַצֹּבְאֹת, אֲשֶׁר צָבְאוּ, פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד. {ס} 8 And he made the laver of brass, and the base thereof of brass, of the mirrors of the serving women that did service at the door of the tent of meeting. {S}

Sign up for the Sefirat HaOmer Daily Email

Click here to sign up for this daily reminder.  Click here for an explanation of Sefirat HaOmer.
<< List
Jewish Bloggers
Join >>