Monday, November 27, 2006

 

Push, shove, squeal....

Sometimes you need the cold weather, a lack of central heating and no where to go to lead you back to old friends. Ie... This blog.... Looking forward to seeing you all, as I will be updating VERY soon. Come back and join the party!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

 

Just Stop And Think.

Last week I took my younger brother and sister to the local park. There were a lot a Yiddishe children about, as the English days are now very long, and the weather mostly hot. Most of the children were playing nicely together. But one thing struck me as odd. When a child fell down and automatically burst into tears, none of there siblings or other children made a move to help, them. They just continued to play as if normal.

Is the act of Bein Odem Lechavarh( The Way one treats friends) and Veohavto Lerach Hakmoch (loving your friend like yourself), really so foreign to the generation of today. What are they taught in schools if not fundamental basics like this?
There are times when a parent may not have had the happiest of childhoods and look for a reproduction of themselves in there child. Sometimes they may not find it. So they will plant a seed for what they would like to grow there instead. I have seen this happen with the countless amount of fathers who take their child to Shul (Synagogue), most times before they are even old enough to read form the Siddurs (prayer books). I have also witnessed this with the mothers, who will push there daughters into as many after school programs as possible in a hope that they may succeed where they failed.

Most parents do it with out even realizing it. They do it on instinct.

Many bloggers that Blog, write about there continual dissatisfaction with Charadi and Chassidishe Jusdasim. Most of them write that they have stayed for the sake of their children. But isn’t a parental instinct to want better for your child then you yourself have had?
So they stay, as what we have been brainwashed into thinking is that everything amounts to the jackpot: The Shidduch (match). But are they not worried that there child might turn out like them? And so too is this what they really believe the "Better off" is?

The clinch is that in reality we are not really hoping for a second chance or orchestrating there lives, we are hoping that if this one takes root, it might take up enough light and space to keep something else from developing in our children. The disappointments that we have already lived.

But what we don’t realize is that this generation is observing us. And the world through a child's eyes is more black and white, than any of us will ever know and realise. And all the children are really doing is imitating their parents.

So too all you parents out there don’t be surprised if one day you little baby comes out and mirrors your actions.

BUT, instead of doing it behind close doors and in secret as you have been doing all along. They do it for the whole town to see.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

 

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

Motty is a sad depressed yeshiva bochur, sent to Israel because it was the right thing to do. Motty is drug addict. The only difference between Motty and the druggies who sit on the steps of Bank Hapolim on a Thursday night is that Motty has first hand experience of what drugs can do to you. His illegal girlfriend died of an inadvertant OD when he was 17.

Chaylah is a confused Chassidic girl. Brought up this way because her parents chose this lifestyle before she was even conceived. The only difference between Chaylah and the other besulos (as that’s indeed what they are) who attend the Dushinsky seminary in Meah Sheraim is that Chaylah has seen first hand what Chassidus can do to you. Her brother, senior by 2 years is now Motty's dealer .

If Chaylah would step outside the fold, she would see that her brother was not the only one. I am in essence a Chaylah. In no way am I claming to be an innocent as she is, but this Chayalah has doubts and fears as strong as the next one. We may all not attended a seminary as strict as the one belonging to the sect Dushinsky, but the way we are educated, to be ignorant of all outside doings, it may well be.

I have been accused by readers of this Blog of "beshmitzing" (dirtying) chassidus, in my portrayal of it. I have been told to "get the heck out of there". (In regard to My Chassdish lifestyle)

But you see, Chassidus is my drug, I can't leave even after I have seen the damage.

The first time I met Chayala was last year in Israel at my cousin's wedding. She was related to the groom and I to the bride. I don’t think Chaylah and I would ever have approached each other if not for the seating plan. She with her single braid and old fashioned clothes and me with my blown dried straight hair and Designers suit. When we eventually got talking I was amazed at what a closed insecure girl this was. She was nothing of what they speak of the families of Meah Sheraim - loving the faith, embracing it with all the hardships, no matter what - she was me in that setting.
Over the week I got to know Chaylah, I can say better then I have known some of my closest friends. Maybe I was wrong, to open her eyes to the outside world, but once she opened up to me and told me about her "lost brother" I felt a bond. Maybe it was something as superficial as the fact I to had lost someone too, Motty. Motty was one of my closest friends until drugs began ruling his life.

In essence what we were was two lost girls, stumbling on the rocks and boulders that life puts in our path. The only difference is that Chaylah had a quality which I didn’t - an instinct to see the positive in everything, and that is what I love so much about her.

The world to Chayalah is not what it is to me. The world to Chaylah, she has manage to learn, is Mitzvah Gedlah Lihiyos B'simcha Tamid, exactly as Reb Nachmen says. And so too in retrospect she sees the good of the Sect that she has been brought up with.

She sees how,although her brother was lost, they still have something that they can cling on too, they still have hope. Chaylah’s father who - credit where credit is due - is indeed a pious man, can go and cry to his beloved Rebbe, and he will accept his words as comfort. She knows that this will not destroy her family, as it has been seen in other families when suddenly faced with a gay son. She knows that G-d will still love her, even with "Temah" (Inpure) thoughts she sometimes thinks. All in all Chayala knows that that there is still hope, there is still life even after what can seem like the life shattering.

Maybe Chassidus is my drug, but am I never going to enjoy the rain, because I once got wet? I just have to learn to take an Umbrella.

Friday, June 24, 2005

 

Fringes

She asked me "Is that man Jewish?"
Her tone was that of a stage whisper, her smallish finger was pointed at a gentleman in his twenties who's Yamulka was prominently displayed.I told her that yes, of course he is.Confusion filled her eyes.
"But", she exclaimed, for the discrepancies were too much for her to bear in silence,
"He's wearing a ring!"
I wanted to bury my head in my hands. To sit that way for a miniature eternity, to gather strength from nowhere and then beat the girl's father to a writhing pulp. As I would slam his head into the ground, I would repeat to the rhythm of his flowing blood, 'Who is a Jew? Who is a Jew?!'I didn't though; I'm not all that violent.
I looked her full in the face and said "That's to show he's married same as your Mummy wears one".
In our community, children are brought up inside a very small box, with very straight sides. Everyone must look like a cardboard cutout of each other - woes betide he whose fringe looks too much like a cowlick. Given that this is the situation, whether or not it should be, is it surprising that the little girl in question (who, come to think of it, wasn't too little at all) thought that anyone who looked even slightly different wasn't Jewish?

Allow me to digress. Does your child know and understand the meaning of Hodgkin's disease? Does he realize that a tsunami could kill him while he's playing on the beach, that pedophiles sometimes snatch little people from playgrounds? Do you sit and explain each and every Pigua to your five year old, so that she can be sensitive to Israelis with whom she may or may not come into contact with? How much children are encapsulated and sheltered is every parent's prerogative, but at what point does the encapsulation become smothering, and how much shelter can a child take before they are suffocated?

I know how I feel today, when I know how much my parents let me see and understand, and how I feel when I see grown men with an English vocabulary of approximately 200 words. How do these men feel themselves? Do they blame their parents, and will they provide their next generation with the exact opposite of their own upbringing, in a desperate attempt at counterbalancing?

The Rambam speaks of the Golden middle way. With edges so far and wide, where the hell is the middle?

I was sitting on a big red London bus with my nephew Motty the other day when a man who smelt of beer and had serious BO issues started amusing my tiny companion - by blowing pink bubbles in his chewing gum. Personally, I was quite impressed, these were big bubbles. But Motty? Was this guy going to be thinking of him during him evening when he does his business?
The thought makes me want to vomit, should I have moved Motty? Or should I let him see that some people aren't fortunate enough to know how important it is to keep clean?

And how about Braindy, our brand new kalla. Off she'll toddle to her kallah lessons, and the poor Rebetsen will have to use her creative talents to explain her Marital duties to Braindy in a way that won't make her faint. She may or may not warn her that it will hurt, she'll tell her to lie back and think of something she enjoys, say maybe of being back at home in her nice cozy room that she shares with 3 sisters, or a social in Sem. The Rebetsen may use a mirror to help Braindy do Bedikas. Hello, tampons? Braindy will have been so protected from her body's power, both of attraction and pleasure that she won't even know it exists.

I was never a Braindy, but if not for my inner instincts how many times could I have been a Motty?.

I am left undecided and still confused, and of course, just as tied up to my past. But I will not dwell on that, just, my biggest question and in a sense fear is; how do I know the middle way for MY Braindy and Motty?

Friday, June 17, 2005

 

Double Standards

I was called for shidduch information for one of my friends a few months ago. Being that this girl is of a litvish backround, I felt that since there was nothing wrong with her medically, all I had to do was sing her good praises and acclaim her good manner. I felt that I could leave the rest to the boy and girl to see if they are compatible personality wise when the eventually meet.
"But" replied Mrs MySonIsAnAngel "I heard she is simple, cant hold down a job and is modern"

Believe it or not, this story actually has a happy ever after fairytale type like ending. Next week my friend is getting married to this boy. It seems that the mother, being clever enough to take matters into her own hands and meet the girl before her son, and was extremly taken with her, as was her son. This girl truly is an amazing girl with a stunning personality and fabulous ethics as well as what every mother wants for her precious son - inborn Balabusta Insticts.

"If you look back in history it’s a common double standard of society
The guy gets all the glory the more he can score
While the girl can do all the same and yet you called her a whore
I don’t understand why it’s ok,
The guy can get away with it the girl gets named"


Moshe turns 16, discovers he has a charming power, actualy its more like he discovers a momentary weakness in Malki. He chats her up when he spots her taking her little brothers out to the park where he has been hanging around with his team of self named "Bad Boys".
Moshe messes around with malki for 6 months. After a while one of them comes to there senses, most likely from being found out by the Vad Haznius that is prowling the streets bored and looking for some action. They then notify the the entire community, because it would be a great tragedy if Yolie down in Satmer did not know about it.

Moshe gets shipped off to yeshiva in Israel, most likely the Mir as that’s the only place he can go at such short notice, he sits and learns some of the day that much I'll give him credit for. (Most of that is down to the fact that his father told him if he doesn't he's not sending him any money)

Malki has now lost the confidence of her parents, and that of a lot of her friends due to thier parents' obtuse values that deem her unsuitable. And on top of it all she has a blackened name.

When it comes to shudduchim Moshe will not have it as hard as Malki, although Malki has spent the last 3 years helping with special needs children, dresses very suitably for the community and is known by her true friends to be a fun loving and kind, who since that most unfortunate episode has not done so much as look at a guy. Moshe will marry an "Innocent". While Malki will most likely marry some one with a bit of a "Background".

It never fails to amaze me how a boy can clear up his name faster than you can say "I am in the Mir" while a girl will always have it sticking to her like the smell of "Shabbos Cooking on a Jewish Housewife."

My friend who is getting married has, I can honestly say not done a "So called what this community like to label a BAD deed" her only fault being that she couldn’t find a job that suited her, due to her lack of qualifications which is not in anyway her fault but the fault of the community which labeled her.

How Ironic.

Why couldn’t she go and sit in Israel, learn for 3 hours everyday, and find a perfect shidduch?

I look forward to her wedding next week. I am sure this boy deservers her as she is truly gem.

All that will remain in my head long after the festivities are over is the sound of her tears to me on the phone, crying why no one seemed to want her.

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