Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ringing in the New Year-Alone

When I was younger I used to always be jealous of the older kids who got to stay up and watch the 'ball drop'. Tho I never knew what 'the ball dropping' actually was and why it was exciting, I just remember thinking they got to stay up all night long. 
Then I grew up. I stayed up late watching with my older sibs, then alone, then my younger teenage sibs. All the couples huddling into each other with frosty breathe and funky 2000 new year glasses. All the romcoms where the couples share a kiss at midnight. It's sweet to see, even though in retrospect it's kinda stupid. For us, New Years means nothing. It's iust a different date big WOOP. I go on Lotsa diff dates-lol!
All kidding aside, even though it's quite meaningless, each year as I watch sitcoms, movies, and even the real ball drop, I sorta get this lonely feeling, like I would wanna do something crazy and party all night long-with a HUBBY/boyfriend. I would wanna freeze my buns off in timessquare after. The hours of traffic it would take getting there and say we experienced this crazy thing together that is a once in a lifetime thing. 
I know it sounds meaningless and stupid and ever so girly, but sometimes you just have to enjoy the stupid things in life that you can do together and laugh about after. 
So here's to all the single gals/guys taking in the new year alone, or perhaps you have a bottle of Jonny walker, starbucks or Whoever with U. 
May we all celebrate many new things together!
Happy new year

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Travel excuses

Don't you just hate it when both the guy gives a yes and you give a yes and everything is set to finally schedule a date, however travel technicalities creep up?
Story of my life. Usually, being the girl, I'm the one doing the traveling. Actually to be fair, lotsa times the guys have come here for a first date. Yes, the "actual WORKING" guys. The doctors, lawyers, business owners, etc. But every so often, things come up and one party is nut able to travel, leaving up to three more flexible party to do the traveling. 
Lately, I've dated guys who have come up with the oddest excuses for not being able to travel, and I felt compelled to share these excuses with you, my dear readers. If you have any additional creative excuses, feel free to add it in the comments below. 
10. Can't find a flight, they're all's booked. 
9. Has a wedding, bar mitzvah, family simcha, exam, meeting. 
8. Has his passport stolen. 
7. Can't travel as he just took off (for vacation with his buddies for 2 weeks in Vegas). 
6. His Rabbi told him it's bitul zman if he takes off. 
5. Even though he works in an online company, apparently there's no internet access anywhere else in the world, other then his place. 
4. He can't leave his roommate, who is in a terrible state after just having broken off a shidduch. 
3. He doesn't feel comfortable going to places he's not familiar with. 
2. He's on the watchlist. 
1. He gets carsick, and airsick (apparently that exists)

Monday, December 15, 2014

When the Shadchan creates the Shanda

Most people would agree that communication is key to any relationship. 
Dating is hard enough as it is, especially FrumShidduch dating. Everyone is on edge, nerves, on their best behavior and its hard to read into people. Personally, even if the guy is the biggest nerd, or most obnoxiously chauvinistic, I will still remain friendly and smile until he drops me off . Hence the guy always thinks I'm interested by the end of the date, when in truth, I'm just yapping away, hoping he will take me home.
Which is why there are Shadchanim (or atleast, why I would like to think Shadchanim are there). They can act as a buffer, hear out both sides, and be your "true" voice when speaking with the other side. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes the Shadchans plan out the entire wedding in their head before you even get into the guy's car for the first date. When you come back and tell  them it's not for you, they just won't hear of it. They have made up their mind, as well as your future life together, it's already all planned out in the Shadchan's head. No matter what you say, the Shadchan will not relay your true feeling at this point, to the other side. They may convince you to 'give it another try' and go out again, or perhaps 'sleep on it' and call them back the next day. Meanwhile, all  you want to do is politely DECLINE.
The other side will get a totally different picture of what you're thinking and the guy might even end up calling you asking about a second date. umm, helllllooo?!?!?!Where did the Shadchan go and why was the message not relayed?
I had this happen to me twice, first the Shadchan was in love with the guy they set me up with and even after giving it a few tries, the Shadchan still wouldn't hear a 'no'. To the point that the Shadchan told me they cannot tell the boy no and hurt him, therefore I would have to do the dirty work myself. Which, in that case, I was forced to do. But rather tell the guy no, than let him wait around or perhaps think I was interested.
Another time, the Shadchan called me right before my date to tell me to handle it myself as we were all in different timezones/countries and with the time difference, as well as cellphone roaming/internet connection as well as the fact that both myself and the guy were only in the same city for 2 days, the Shadchan just dropped the guy in my hands. I must admit it was quite awkward when the guy leaned over in the car asking what time tomorrow he should pick me up and I hummed and hawwed and made up excuses and said I would call back. In truth, I was a coward=I couldn't say no to his face, yet there was no chance in H E double hockeysticks I would date him again. So I smiled, thanked him, promised to let him know, and then texted the Shadchan to call him first thing,
Oy! why does this have to be such a complicated mess?!?!

Six13 Shake it Off

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Switching Roles

After reading Frumanista's post about guys ending dates a bit too late, it sorta got me thinking. I remember that a guy once came in to date me. He didn't have a car and didn't know anyone in the city. Nor did he plan on renting one. I mentioned to him that I can borrow my mom's car if need be and he shouldn't worry about finding a car and he just seemed pleased. 
When he arrived I asked if he prefer me to drive or if he was comfortable driving in a strange city. He suggested I be the driver. 
I must admit it was strange. The entire time I was thinking: do i open th car door for him? Do I ask if the air/heat in the car is ok? What about music?
Suddenly it dawned on me what guys must go through and/or think. Thre is so much thought or perhaps I we just overthinking things cuz I'm a woman?
Again, when we went out (my choice of place as it was my city) I kept thinking-do I end the date or wait for him? Since I have the car keys does it make me the guy in the relationship tonight? From the driving to finding the place to choosing the dating activity it was aLOT of thinking, planning and decision making. Mostly it was weird as I had to drop him off at his place of stay and drive myself home. My luck was I knew it wasn't for me so I cut it short when I pulled up to the place and told him I had to get home and drove myself. 
The best part-not having to be walked to the door and waiting/chatting at the door with someone I wasn't interested in. 
So guys, I feel for you. It must be hard trying to read us complicated girls and figure us out and then decide how to move on from there. 
The date really taught me a lot and put the whole thing in perspective. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Age isn't something to tamper with

So my friend Mimi called me the other night to tell me about a shidduch. She met the guy at a wedding last week and he seemed really nice. She asked if I ever heard about him and went on to describe him, after I let her know I never heard his name before. 
When I asked how old he was she gave me an age that was a bit higher than the age range I'm comfortable with, but if all other information seemed suitable, then it would be something I would overlook. Mimi told me she would send him my info and get back to me. 
In the interim I took the liberty to do a quick google search. Only to have it confirmed that he is atleast 2-6 years OLDER than he told her. 
So, who to trust now? Why lie about age when it's something I will find out about anyway?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

When it's a NO-GO...

There are times when, within the first few minutes that a guy shows up, you just know it's not gonna go any further. Be it for his looks, personality, attire, Middos, etc. sometimes it's just that obvious. 
As a girl, I'm proud that I've been brought up to be polite and sit out the entire date until the guy drops me off and then say thank you.
However, as a girl, I've also experienced the other side of the coin, when the guy clearly knew it wasn't shayach for him and made it quite clear by the way the entire date went. Just a few examples listed below will clearly show you how one shouldn't be treated, even when you know there's nothing to talk about. It can never hurt to be a mentsch and treat someone like a mentsch.
Once I traveled in for a date. The guy had rave reviews about him and we were due to go out for a lunch date. He showed up, was checking his phone the entire date, went to a restaurant where I was ignored as if I was a piece of furniture and he checked his phone and then 40 minutes later, he dropped me off. How did I feel? I would've rather stayed home in pjs, had a tub of ice cream and made myself a sandwich, eating it alone, rather than be someone's lunch company.

A separate time, I went out with a guy, who was also praised to the utmost on going out of his way to help others. The guy picked me up, complained the whole car ride about the place he was taking me (even though this clearly, was the place of his choice), didn't ask me anything most the date, shuffled around and looked like he was ADD. On the way home he decided he was hungry, so he double-parked, asked me to stay in the car in case a cop came (allowing me to move his car if need be), left me sitting there at night for a good 10 minutes, only to come back with a nosh for himself. Umm, hello!?!?! I'm here too! Then he ate it, offered me a piece of candybar (AS IF!) and dropped me home.

Point being, sometimes you just know there's nothing to talk about, but for some reason, you were meant to meet and it wouldn't hurt anyone to just be polite.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Dating Game

More and more often, I keep hearing about couples playing 'games' on dates to sorta break the ice. Only once, was I fortunate enough to have a guy offer to play a game with me...years back, when there was literally nothing else left to talk about on a date which just happened to be right near ToysRus Times Square. So for me, it was a great outer, where we killed 1/2 hour walking, choosing and going back to the hotel lobby. Although I havta admit it was weird playing a travel game such as 'guess who' with a guy who was hard to make conversation with.
Enter the new era of dating. Over Shabbos, I heard a shadchan talking about a game called the 'ungame' which she recommended her set-ups play when deep into the shidduch scene and trying to decide if they should continue or end it. She claimed it has great though-provoking questions and really helps couples see the other's opinion, etc.
And, to make things weirder, as I was writing this post, I just found out about this game called "Perfect Matches". Haven't spoken yet to anyone who played the game or even heard about it.
Have any of you, my fellow readers played it before? What do you think?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Guys vs Girls

When a guy says 'no' to a Shidduch suggestion-it's a fait au complet. 
When a girl says 'no' to a Shidduch suggestion, she needs to provide 3 valid reasons, acceptable to the shadchan along with names and numbers of people she spoke with and how exactly she came to her conclusion. 

When a guy has to date it's an 'oy; he has to pay for a car, pay for gas/travel, pay for parking, and still has to pay for a drink/meal/activity. 
When a girl goes on a date, no one takes into account that she just might be the driver, or might have just the right amount of cash (he only has credit card on him and of course the place she's at doesn't take credit card) and might be the one who spent money on airfare, bus fare and travel time. 

When a guy takes a month to look into a girl, that's ok. 
When a girl gets a name and its 2 days later, she gets calls from the shadchan asking why it's taking so long to get back to the guy with an answer. 

When a guy asks for a photo, he gets one. 
When a girl asks for a photo, she gets a raised eyebrow, and the look

Feel free to add your own below in the comments

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

New Outlook on Life

After reading and hearing about the terrible tragedy in Israel, which we have all been affected by, I cannot go back to a regular post. All the nitty gritty rants and details and nuisances seem so miniscule. These are small narishkeits in the game of life. These are not the things that matter. 
I saw this post on Facebook & it seems to sum it all up. 

This morning I woke up at the crack of dawn. I ushered myself out of bed so I could hastily don my Tefillin. But this morning was different than any other.. I didn't don them for the simple reason (alone) that we as Jews are commanded to do so, nor did I skip my way to Shul like an excited Bar Mitzvah boy putting them on for the first time; but I was in fact eager. Eager to wrap myself in the same phylacteries that Rabbi Akiva was burned and skinned in alive. The same tradition that has driven us through persecution for centuries. The same straps that have forced us into hiding in Spain. The same boxes that my great grandfather was caught in and for that gassed to his death in Nazi Germany. THE SAME TEFILLIN THAT 4 OF OUR BROTHERS WARM BLOOD ARE SOAKED IN BECAUSE THEY WERE SLAUGHTERED JUST HOURS AGO FOR MERELY BEING FAITHFUL AND OBSERVANT JEWS... Today, I wear my Tefillin not only as a observant Jew, but as a torchbearer, a symbol of continuity, a sign of prevalence, a message to all those who call themselves anti-Israel (you are anti-Semitic, don't fool yourself) that we shall treck forward, we wont be deterred nor frightened. Am Yisrael Chai. When you (or if you decide to perhaps) put on your Tefillin today, think of those who sacrificed their lives in them while we have the opportunity to connect to G-d without having to fear. Think of the beautiful chance we receive from G-d every morning to greet him and ask for our needs. And last but not least, think and say a prayer for the wounded men who were in that synagogue who are currently in critical condition and the 4 widows and 26 orphans who are left behind... May G-d avenge their blood. ברוך דיין האמת.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Black Hat Stats

People are judged by their choice of attire. Whether they like it or not, whether they are in style or not, it the skirt is too long or too short-it is human nature to judge base on looks. I, myself, choose cars, books and other items based on their esthetic alone. 
So, even though I used to be a firm believer of 'who cares what headcovering the guy wears?' I have changed my mind based on experiences. 
For example, you cannot say a guy with a black hat is frummer than a sruga or a tzitzis out is frummer than colored shirt. However you CAN say that someone who wears a shtreimel has a certain type of lifestyle (chassidish) and someone who wears a knitted kipa on Shabbos has adifferent  lifestyle (mizrachi). 
Which brings me to the 'black hat'. I'm from a black hatter family and am looking for a black hatter type guy. What I'm not understanding though, and what I'm reallt trying not to be judgmental about is why-if someone is from a 'black hat' type background, would they stop wearing the hat completely. Is it because they don't feel they are 'frum enough' or is it because they are too modern? I'm open to all explanations in order to understand. 
on a separate note: I just wanna say that it used to be black hat meant something, as did a 'learning boy'. Obviously there are many 'actors' these days and I have come to see that it's not always the hat that makes the person. I am however, curious to know why someone would remove it from their lifestyle. 
All explanations are more than welcome. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Talk Down

We've all been there before. Sitting at a table during a weding meal, or  standing at the desserts by a vort-and sorta being privy to 'the conversation'. By conversation, I mean the Shidduch talk. 
No, we are not actually included in this conversation, but it's almost as if we  are meant to purposely overhear the talk down. 
In my case, because I'm looking for a 'torah im derech eretz' (working/learning) guy, the talk will be about how aweful it is when boys aren't sitting in yeshiva learning. When they chas v'shalom work for a living, have a job, are taking courses and actually doing something with their life. Don't get me wrong. Just because I'm not looking to marry a learning guy doesn't mean I have something against them. But even though I believe everyone is entitled to their own opinion, looking down and quite outwardly 'dissing' boys who work or have jobs is rude. Especially when I was at a simcha this week and the women at the mechitzah were all talking about the fact that they were thankful their sons were in yeshiva and how it would give their boys a terrible name as well as ruin their shidduch prospects if they were actually (gulp!) w-o-R-k-i-n-g. 
So peoples: here's the story. We are all adults living together in a community. Everyone has different backgrounds, beliefs, etc. You don't have t necessarily agree or approve but keep the talk downs to yourself. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

the Timing Clause

A Contract. That's how I would describe entering into each new Shidduch. With every 'shadchan', comes his/her certain clauses, e.g. you must send a pic, you must come and meet me first, your resume must list your degrees/hobbies, etc.
With every suggestion that comes through, there are also clauses, e.g. the boy wants to date only young/beautiful/skinny/blond, or the boy's family only dates in towners.
There are also but-factor clauses, e.g. the boy will go out with you, but only if you come to date him, or the boy usually doesn't date girls younger than him however if you will plan on supporting his learning, they have agreed to make an exception, etc.
So every time the phone rings/beeps or buzzes, forgive me for having a mini anxiety attack about the clauses and conditions that each suggestion brings.
Yes, I've given in. I've sent my pic to about a dozen people, I've even sent other pix when they've not approved and asked for close up/full length/hair out of face/higher resolution, etc. I've agreed to travel in, I've agreed to meet the shadchans first, etc.
My one pet-peeve that comes from both the shadchans, as well as the boy/his family is the timing clause. Y'know where the guy can check into a girl for weeks, perhaps even months at a time, and the girl gets 1 day, or 2 days MAX to make her decision. 
and if she can't get through to her connections or the references on the paper?
What if no one that she calls is available or in town or doesn't know the answers to her questions, or hasn't been in touch with the boy for years?
Do the Shadchans understand that?? uhhh, no.
The way I see it, and the way which I have been spoken to in the past with these kind of shadchanim is the whole 'well, do you want to get married or not? I don't see what the delay is? he's a GREAT guy, from a WONDERFUL family, so what's there so much to look into? Why is it taking so long to get back to us? Boys like this don't wait around for girls (like you), so if we don't have an answer soon he will have to move on to the next girl on the list. You should be lucky that he is waiting so long to hear back from you'
Ya, so the way I see it, if we are pressured into making a decision on the fly, most of us (that I know of anyway) will not allow that pressure of timing to push us into going out with anyone without feeling comfortable and checking into the situation. A really decent guy from a good family wouldn't pressure someone like that, he would be a (bit more) understanding.
Hope it's worth your wait!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Dress for the Occasion

There's this ongoing debate amongst my siblings. As each one of us is so different, so too are our opinions on the matter. The matter which is boys letting girls know what 'type' of date they will be taking them on, eg coffeeז, lounge, dinner or a stroll on the boardwalk. Downtown hotel, botanical gardens or the city zoo. 
You see, as a girl there are many different factors to keep into account. Our main concern is looking good and in order to look our best we have to dress to the occasion. Without knowing where we are headed, what type of venue, walking or sitting, outdoor or indoor, we may end up looking terrible. Case in point, freshly blowdried hair, straight skirt and fancy blouse. Guy takes her to outdoor botanical tropical garden. The tropics make her hair frizz and turn into an Afro. Her feet, due to the humidity, swell in her heels, which are anyway hard to walk in as the gravel on the path is throwing small rocks into her shoes and the grass is muddy and swamped. Needless to say her blouse is half stuck to her from the sweaty air. Doubt she looks that attractive anymore. 
Or say she gets all dressed up for a formal first date, only to have the guy show up in casual wear and take her to baskin Robbins. Who looks rediculous now with a straight skirt, heels and suit jacket eating ice cream with her pink spoon?
So all I'm asking on behalf of us girls if that if you, as a guy, will be in touch with either the girl herself, or the shadchan, atleast if you are not sure of where you are headed but have some choices-inform the girl of what you have in mind so she can be comfortable in her dress/shoes as well as feel comfortable in the setting.
Trust me when i say you will both enjoy the date more if you are comfortable. 
Been there. Done that. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Misleading Photos

When you think of the term 'mislead' in reference to Shidduchim, what comes to mind is someone giving you false information about a potential single. Be it a total mistruth, a little white lie, an exaggeration or hesitancy, they manage to make you think someone totally different than you were originally presented. 
This post is about misleading photos. You see, I'm beginning to notice this new trend with the emailing of photos. The last few guys I went out with, i happened to have been sent their photos along with their resume. I also happened to be really confused when those last few guys each showed up looking NOTHING at ALL than photo which was provided. One photo was 10-12 years old (think summer camp), so when the guy showed up looking like George burns-imagine my surprise. The other was a photo of an average looking tall guy but the guy who showed up looked like an overweight quarterback without hair! The third photo which I was sent with resume was ok. The info looked good and one last inquiry about the guy delivered the final blow. Turns out the person I called dated him years back. He had that same photo then with his resume, which dates back to the 90s. Yet I'm told he looks nothing like the photo he sends. 
So when I think of being 'mislead' in Shidduchim, I now worry about the actual guy. Misleading me and being dishonest by sending a photo that looks nothing like the guy who will show up my door!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Wouldya Wanna Widower?

For the first time in months I was speechless and clueless. I've never been suggested a match of that sort and I didn't know what to answer. Usually it's the 'great guy but he's 10+ years your senior', or 'wonderful guy but was married for 3 months' or 'excellent shidduch prospect-divorced with 2 kids'. There's always the "but" factor and I'm ok with that. I'm not ok when the shadchans forget to tell me what that 'but' factor is.
So when I got a call this week about a potential shidduch and it sounded really good, I was caught off guard when the Shadchan said 'I have to tell you though-he was married, and before you say no, just hear me out. He's a great guy and his wife was a wonderful person but unfortunately she lost her life to cancer'
The first image that came to my mind was a scraggly old lady with a cane and chin hairs, wearing a large black cloak (think Disney witch). Then I heard his age and thought, well, that definitely ain't old and I thought how sad that must be. My second thought was I never had a suggestion like that before. Again, I guess I think of myself as a single, and a young single, and B"H a young single with a family, parents, grandparents bli ayin hara that I take these things for granted. It gave me a whole different perspective. I mean I wouldn't agree to date him just because I feel bad for him. I looked him up online and the sad part is, there were so many pix of the couple together. The account was loaded with happy couple moments, on the beach, at a party, on purim, etc. it may me tear up. How does one go on when losing such a spouse????
and then life goes on, and he gets suggested for new Shidduch prospects...
So I guess, come to think of it, now that it has been suggested, I think I would date a widow...

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Father on Marrying off his Daughter

A Skirt & Pants Kinda Romance

Commencing this post with being thankful-so thanks to all those people who had me in mind and sent me emails/texts/phone calls regarding potential Shidduchim.
The purpose of this post is to try and explain why, sometimes when people are kind enough to think of me in terms of Shidduchim, it's sorta pains me that they aren't willing to do just a wee bit more to find out about the potential guy (like if it's at all shayach for me!) before they call me with the name.
Case in point. Someone I was in touch with years back and who had my resume, spread the word about me looking for a Shidduch and managed to get an answer from a random shadchan across the globe. The random shadchan had an older single, in the same height range as me, who was a frum, nice boy. Both this shadchan and the woman with my information exchanged emails and found out they knew a common person, Shuly, who was friends with me. They approached Shuly and asked her about the Shidduch. 
So poor Shuly, who is friends with me and knows nothing of these people (besides for relatives of relatives), let alone the guy, approached me and asked what I thought. There was no resume and only a few lines describing the guy. No formal breakdown or description. There were no references to help me out and basically I was to rely on this random Shadchan and just say yes.
Well, I have a skirt, he wears pants-we're both short and frum, so older singles, so what have we got to lose right?
But, 'nice frum guy' just doesn't cut it anymore. Everyone is nice, whether you know them well or brushed past them at the airport. The meaning of 'frumkeit' differs to each person. The only thing I can rely on right now is that he's a guy. and who even can confirm that he is actually single?!?!
So ya, we're gonna have to find a better reason for romance, aside from the skirt & pants!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

the Sukkos Date

Anyone not able to chap a date over Yom Tov? Here's the flip side of the coin: no need for you to walk with a guy carrying a larger than life purse, and then sit down on the grass of a park (hello? did he even THINK of a girl wearing a straight/pencil skirt and heels?!?!? how can one even inch down dressed like that?) and put up his pop up sukkah.
awkward much?
not to mention claustrophobia

Monday, October 6, 2014

Biblical Dating Advice for Girls

To all the girls who are in a hurry to have a boyfriend or get married, a piece of Biblical advice: 
Ruth patiently waited for her mate Boaz." 
While you are waiting on YOUR Boaz, don't settle for any of his relatives: 
Broke-az, Po-az, Lyin-az, Cheap-az, Dumb-az, Drunk-az, Cheap-az, Lockedup-az,Goodfornothing-az, and especially his third cousin Beatingyoaz. Wait on your Boaz and make sure he respects Yoaz.

reposted from my friend Chani

The Macabeats Coming Home Medley

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The New Year's Wish

For the past 2 weeks, I've been a proud recipient of many a squeeze, a hug, a tap on the shoulder, a rub in the small of my back and teary-eyed new years wishes. I get it. I'm single, I'm an older single, and a frum older single, who ain't getting any younger. Each sentiment comes with it's own additional 'Jewish guilt'. I know they are all well-wishers, and they truly do want the best for me. I just wish there was some way I can sorta explain that just saying 'shana tova' or 'gut g'bentched yahr' or 'Hashem should Bless you with whatever you wish', or the general Blessings they give everyone else, will be just enough to suffice.
It sorta reminds me of this: If you see a couple that you know has been married for quite some time and doesn't have kids-do you go over to them and say in that sad, guilt laid voice, tears in your eyes, 'I hope this year we will be at a Bris or Kiddush'
Do you go to someone whose child, nebach, is sick with terminal illness and tell them 'I hope there will be no more disease and things should turn out well'
Do you tell a recent widow 'I hope to dance at your Simcha this year, and it should be soon you know..'
Everyone has their own personal nisyonos. Some of us may know what they are, others may seem all happy on the outside and we don't know what goes on in the inside. Even if you wish and hope, it's always safest to keep it to yourself.
In the meantime, when people tell me they will dance at my wedding this year, I will keep the same joking response, 'honey, no offense, but I'm doin a destination wedding, so that'll be doubtful. Presents will be gladly accepted.'

Gmar Chasima Tova and a gut g'bentched yahr!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Mother's P.O.V.

When a guy says no....gals: hide all sharp and pointy objects from ur moms!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Getting Through to Shadchanim

Is it me, or is it becoming more and more difficult to reach Shadchanim? The old ones, the new ones, the ones who only email and the ones who only take calls during specific hours-each of them are highly impossible to get through to. It's almost as if they don't even want to deal in Shadchanus anymore. 
Does anyone remember the good old days? Before resumes? When you would make/take an actual call to a Shadchan, speak to them for a while, get to know one another and jot down the information you were given? 
Nowadays, if you get a text message back, consider yourself lucky. If I send an email, there is an correspondence, informing me that since 'said shadchan' has loads of emails flooding in, it may take time to respond. Another awaymessage, notifies me that 'said shadchan' only checks her emails sporadically. An answering machine at another Shadchan kindly advises me that if the call is regarding Shidduchim to email, 'such and such email address'. A separate voicemail informs me to only call during the hours of 8-10pm on Mondays and Wednesdays.
And those are actual autoresponses. Forget about the many I spend my evenings calling that DON'T RESPOND AT ALL. I mean, what's the point of giving out your number and advertising that you are a Shadchan if you can't even pick up a phone?!?!
To all Shadchanim: if you do NOT want to help people with Shidduchim-just leave an autoresponse stating so. Don't give us singles false hope and asking us to call back or send emails if you won't respond to those emails or voicemails. I rather not call at all, then spend hours making calls and writing emails that have no potential of even being heard/looked at.
Oh, and don't even get me started on the texting and/or whatsapp. I see those double check marks Shadchanim-I know you got/saw my message and don't respond. 
So, here's the situation. If you are avoiding us because you don't have anyone-rather just pick up the phone, or just type a 5 word email/text/whatsapp saying 'there's no one right now' or 'sorry I can't help' or 'don't have any "yes"s yet'. It's that simple and saves us many headaches, not to mention emotions each time we pick up the phone to make the call.
For all the singles out there=dont'cha just wish you can get a really awesome caller id, one that most Shadchans would pick up because it's an 'important' looking number/organization. Then, once they pick up-you can just say you're calling for yourself and they'd give you the 5 minutes, or even 2 minutes of their time?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Window Shopping

We have this expression in my family, when a boy's mom wants to check out a girl (and I don't mean the resume) in person-we call it 'window shopping'. Usually done in the Chassidish circles, the guy/girl walks down a certain pre-planned aisle in a local grocery/Judaica store, and the future mother/father-in-law walks into said store, and passes by the planned aisle so they can see the girl/guy and check them out.
I never liked the  idea. Mind you, I think it's great that the parents get to see who their child will be meeting, but they will see the guy/girl anyway when they show up at the door. I trust my parents and if they were to come home from grocery shopping telling me there was a goodlooking guy there, I would be out the door myself to check him out-however, does ANYONE even feel a wee bit bad for the 'checkee'? 
Nebach, the guy/girl has to get all pitzed up, just to randomly walk up and down the said aisle until when? What? The shadchan randomly calls/texts the single to let him/her know that they were 'seen' by the future in-laws and that they can leave? What if there are two singles in the same aisle, for two different 'window shoppers'? How does no one get confused? Do they have a pre-planned secret sentence just in case? (Imagine a woman with dark sunglasses, passing by girl dressed in shabbos clothing and stopping the girl to ask where the feta cheese is,wink, wink, nudge, nudge=awkward!)
I, myself, once experienced being a 'checkee' as I like to call it. I was extremely unhappy when I heard and even appalled when I realized what was happening. 
You see, I was at a cousin's Bar Mitzvah in Brooklyn. Of course, a shadchan called me the night before and I told her I would need to call her back as I was busy with a Simcha. Then came the 20 questions about whose simcha, where, for how long, etc. As I was leaving the house to drive to the Bar Mitzvah, the shadchan called my cell phone to ask if I had left  yet. I told her I was on my way, and still didn't forget to call her back. She understood and mentioned that she spoke to the mom of the boy she had in mind for me, and said she would have to wait to hear back from me, but I was busy with a family Simcha. The boy's mom played 20 questions with the Shadchan about which Simcha, where, etc. and once she found out, she informed the Shadchan that she would stop in to the Bar Mitzvah to check me out. Hence the Shadchan calling me to ask if I left. By the time I received the call, I had no say in the matter at all. Extremely uncomfortable was just hitting the tip of the iceberg as to how I felt. The boy's mom had such nerve that she didn't just drop in and walk by. We were all sitting down listening to the Bar Mitzvah boy speak. My family isn't that large, so no matter which table you sat at, you were clearly able to see all family members and friends, when the door opened and in walked this guy's mom. She sat at the table right across from me, pointed me out to the woman she sat next to and then stared me up and down for what seemed like 40 minutes. I was DYING of shame, and I don't even know why this woman had NO shame, walking into a party of a family she didn't know, asking if I was the single girl and just plain out checking me out, with me knowing. 
When she got up and left, I made a decision there and then. I don't give a rats grass who this woman is and how amazing her son is-I will not put myself into a situation, nor even think about entering in a family that behaves so brazenly and outright rude. 
Next time, I shoulda just taken out my phone, promptly take a selfie, walk over to the woman and ask her for her email so I can send it direct and let her zoom in and out!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

the "Follow Up"

One of my pet peeves has always been yenting.Y'know? The yachnas that get the odd phone call about you? The ones you avoid with a fifteen foot pole because they are so annoying and always in your business?
Well, occasionally, it DOES so happen that these yentas get a Shidduch phone call about you. You can't help it and you definitely can't control it. But what's worse, is that once that call is made and the damage is done that woman will make it her business to follow up with you.
She will call your house, to tell your parents/you that she received a call.
She will give a play by play of all the good things she told them and at the same time, will have asked them LOADS of questions about the guy in question (for her own yenting purposes, of course) and perhaps even let you in on some information about the guy.
She will meet you on the street/at the grocery/at a shiur/in shul and give you the nudge, nudge, wink, wink and in the sweet singsong voice 'nu?? what's happening with that guy I spoke to about you? Did you go out?'
This will go on, literally and you will have no choice but to succumb to the yachna that received the phone call. Since I'm in Shidduchim this has indeed happened occasionally and what I've come to realize is no matter how much you avoid it, and  how much it's always the wrong person-it will always be the most annoying person who gets the call. And she WILL follow up. She will MAKE it her business.
I usually just humm and haaww and try and make up any excuse that comes to mind.
I thought I might give you guys a try-see what you can come up with as a response to the follow up questions and we will post the comments below.
Use Your Creativity People!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Complimentary or Creepy?!

Similar to this post, I had an interesting dating experience last week. This guy showed up and almost immediately asked what color lipstick I was wearing. Within the first 10 minutes of the date. Literally.
I really wonder what my facial expression was at the time. Would've loved to have been punk'd, just so I could've watched my reaction.
In any case, I'm sure you can imagine the outcome....
Needless to say, the entire time his eyes were on my lips. It felt a little too intrusive and it may be feel sorta untznius at the same time-without even doing anything wrong.
Awkward can't even begin to describe it.
Needless to say, there was no second date.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Minding their Own Business

"So" she said, in that questionable nagging yenta tone, "how was your summer? I hear your daughter was away for a few week? Hhhmmm? On vacation with friends or just New York visiting relatives? It looks like she lost weight. SOS-come here for a minute please. I was just telling your mom how great you look! Have you been dieting? New hairstyle maybe? She droned on and on and on. I imagine if sounded almost like the peanuts cartoon teacher. 
She was asking. Questioning. If something..."anything" was going on. 
After all-can't a single girl go away and breathe a little, let alone enjoy herself without having a date? Can't I just look good just once without that look and clicking of tongue as if to prove they know or atleast think they know the reason why I look so great (which ABSOLUTELY MUST be a guy, obviously!)
Why can't people just give a compliment and move on? 
It's a shame that in this day and age, people still don't know how to give people privacy and back off. Just cuz I'm single doesn't mean you get to interrogate and assume things and ask about my personal dating life.
Sheesh people!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Just Call Me "Ma"

Awkward situations, that's my specialty. What can I say? I have a knack for getting myself into these circumstances!
This week's special: Standing on a platform at the local seamstress, with my skirt hiked up and her hand up my thigh, pinning the material in place. Not out of the norm. But when a familiar looking woman walked in and watched, whilst waiting her turn to try on her outfit, she had this look in her eyes that made me worry a bit. She kept staring and concentrating on my face (thank goodness it was only my face!) When the seamstress was done with me, she motioned for the woman to enter the room and change. The woman caught my arm and asked me to wait for her. 
I waited and when she was done she asked if I my name was "SOS" and I nodded. She then asked me a bunch of Shidduch questions and before I had a chance to answer the first, she quickly threw in the fact that she was asking because she had me in mind for her son!!! Talk about awkward!
Again, I don't know the woman that well. I knew her daughters from school, but we weren't the same age. Based on her and her girls, I wouldn't go out with her son for various reasons but I had no way out of this conversation.
She continued on and on about how her son was really looking for another 'type' of girl but we both live in the same city, are about the same age, single and looking to build a bayis ne'eman so why not just go out and give it a try?
I was stuck, and didn't want to insult her, but knew that there was no way I can say no, so I hummed and haawwed and then by chance, my cell phone blasts into the latest summer hit and I quickly excuse myself and tell her I'd be in touch.
How can I tell this woman 'Heck no, mam!' without insulting her?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Every Teppele has a Shtertzele

Even THIS guy has a girlfriend. Gives us hope...
Guess what my grandparents have been telling me all these years is true....Every "pot" has a "lid".

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Brave Bathroom Escape

They're the gutsy ones. My friends who have enough courage to ask their date for a few minutes of 'out' time in the excuse of using the ladies room. 
Each time I hear their stories of how they phone home from the bathroom stall or ask for an emergency call in 10 minutes, I truly am in awe. 
Don't get me wrong, I would consider myself gutsy YET I sorta have Jewish guilty mother syndrome where I feel bad leaving the guy sitting there. And I'm sorta embarassed to ask to use the washroom whether I need it or not. 
I can't understand how these girls do it. How they get away with it each time. Obviously the guys haven't a clue. After all "a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do". 
Sometimes you just need an out. When that time happens I just sit politely and not my head, all with a smile. I was brought up to be well-mannered and whether I'm having the most boring time or am really dreaming of an early night I will never ask for an out. I'm just hoping the guy will get the hint and end it there. 
Not sure whose better off tho; the bathroom escape or the smiling sailor who sits through the entire time. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tu B'av

Receiving spam emails lately? I know I sure have. Then again, I don't buy all the Mishpachas, Hamodias, Ami and all the other Jewish periodicals, so perhaps it's all Karma. 
The past week had seen my emails flooded with 'SEGULA', and 'DON'T LET THIS OPPORTUNITY PASS YOU BY', and 'WANNA GET MARRIED?' subject titles. Of course, I just clicked the friendly little 'select all' button and then 'delete', being that I'm a recipient of the national 'singles pity' emails around tu b'av. 
One email, though, did catch my eye. I don't recall specifically what it said, but I do remember thinking that it didn't sound like 'only one donation of $180.00' and I was curious was to what the "catch" was. When I opened the email, it was all glitzy and flashing colors with big bold letters about finding your bashert. Once I clicked on the actual words/link though, it brought me to a page that clearly stated 'no donation necessary'. I was mesmerized, especially as each of these 'segulas' comes at a price. 
There's the 'daven 40 days at the kotel for you', the 'chai rotel', the 'kupat ha'ir' and the 'erev rosh chodesh Tefilos' as well as many others, all at the small price of $_____.
So when I finally got to the website and saw that after completing all the information, the only way to send in your information was a minimum donation of $180.00, average donation of $360.00, with a maximum of thousands dollars, I can't say I was surprised. It was more like dismayed.
What happened to our society? Why do people do this? If I like an organization, am inspired or impressed with it, of course I give them money and donations. But taking advantage of someone in a tough situation = flatout disgusting!
Imagine if someone is unfortunately stuck with a terrible illness and they go to see a Rabbi or organization who can help them, only to be told, after providing all details of the disease, family history and Hebrew name, that he will need to pay large sums in order to be cured.
Come on, people. 
Do we choose to be this way? Do we choose what G-d gives us? No.
Do we accept it? Of course.
Should we be afflicted with all these 'pay for your segulos', milking them for their money and giving people false hope?

So this Tu b'Av, I did not use Paypal, Mastercard or Visa. I did not add my name to any online list or pay any people to pray for me. I took a few minutes and said my own silent prayer to Hashem that by next Tu B'av, hopefully I will be spending it with my beloved and helping others find theirs-at no price!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Photo Fraud

Photos. Full length, close up. Family, individual. I was a hater. I was anti. I believed it was a total farce. After all, I spent the past few years fighting the 'photo system', then eventually giving in. Each time I gave in and sent my photo, I never heard back. I felt like I was 'donating' my images to some single guy's brag book. What was the point? Do the guys collect and share? Are there some photos that are worth more?
How dare they ask for a photo without even getting information? If they weren't interested, what was the shame in saying no?
All those thoughts would cross my mind each time the request came in from the shadchan, 'the boy wants to see a photo before moving forward'. I would cringe, and I believe my parents would cringe more when the request came to them, knowing how I would respond when they asked me.
But now, times have changed, I have moved on and am learning that sometime photos indeed ARE a good things. Facebook, instagram, LinkedIn=all these sites have enabled me to avoid dating some boys which clearly can be seen to be totally NOT shayach. So yes, I slow was turned to see the benefit of photos. Especially, as I was the one spending the money, time and effort to travel in to see the boys. The photo-finding has been very helpful.
Until yesterday.
I was redd a guy and all the information seemed pretty decent. The information sent to me, included a photo which was ooookkkkaaaayyyy (duh! I'm not expecting some supermodel hot dude!). But when the guy showed up at my door, I was totally confused. He did resemble anything close to the image provided. First, my father thought it may be someone collecting for Yeshiva. Then my mother thought maybe it was a father of a kid on our street. Yet, as shocked as I was, I smiled politely and went along. 
When I got home I didn't know how to tell the shadchan that the photo and the boy were NOTHING alike. Could it be he sent in a photo of his cousin, friend, or workmate? Perhaps
Could it be a photo he took at a wedding he attended when he was in high school? maybe
All I can say is that we were talking about two VERY different looking guys.
This experience now has caused me a new-found Shidduch paranoia=Photo Fraud!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Give Me a Name

The new trend in Shidduchim, for lack of a better word, is for singles or their parents to provide a name of a potential mate, to the Shadchan. When I started dating, up until recently, we always had to wait for someone to 'redd' a Shidduch, or even call with a name. We call it 'name-dropping', someone calls you up, asks if you ever heard of 'so&so' and then tells you to look into the person and get back to them-without any info other than just a name. Hence, it's usually 80% impossible to find out info and then nothing happens and the whole idea falls through.

Now though, you call a Shadchan and they ask if you have any names for them! What is happening? Why don't they have names for us?!?!? Listen up folks-if I WOULD have a name, then I would find a way to make it happen and NOT be calling you and 100 other shadchanim trying to help me find my Bashert!
Next time a Shadchan asks me, I'm gonna blatantly say 'yes, the name is Dear Husband'

Monday, July 28, 2014

The (first) and Last Supper

Yet again, I was pushed into going out with some guy, just because 'he was redd to me before' so it MUST mean something...
Honestly, the reason I didn't go out with him in the first place was because it WASN'T shayach, but this shadchan wouldn't take no for an answer.
So, I did what any girl in my position would do at this point-I did my research. I called references, asked around, checked him out online. There was no good reason to say "no". After all, he sounded like every other guy I called about....he was 'nice'. Somehow, though, based on everything I found out, I knew I wouldn't last more than 2 hours...but then again, my parents always tell me to stop being so negative.
And so, the date began.
It was, as I suspected, horrendous! From the moment the guy showed up (think Peewee Herman) until he finally got the hint to unlock his cardoors outside my house, and let me run off, I was simply mortified. No, folks, this is NOT an exageration. I was truly embarrassed-especially, since this gentleman decided to go out for supper. At the most busiest restaurant in town, where EVERYONE would experience my embarrassment. 
And so it was. 
Of course, all the tables were full, and with no reservation we were to stand at the front of the restaurant and wait until a table was cleared for us. Of course, everyone in the restaurant tried not to stare, but with us looking like the most oddest couple, and him dressing like a clown, I couldn't blame them. Luckily, a table emptied and we were squished between two parties of 10-elbow room only. I hid in my menu for as long as I could. I tried feigning every possible know sickness, but this guy was a foodie. He ordered most of the items on the menu (which of course couldn't possibly fit on our 2x2 table, and therefore would be served in courses, with 10 minute intervals in between each dish, extending this most awkward date to the longest possible time) and I literally just watched while he ate. Being a foodie, you would think he had manners, but no, this guy wasn't shy. He talked with his mouth full, grabbed across the table to the items he couldn't reach, used his fingers and double dipped! The girls at the right side of me were hiding their laughter, and I'm sure one of them took a pic of us. The family of 10 celebrating a birthday on the left, suddenly quieted down as they saw the array of dishes heading my way. The guy I was with, stopped talking each time the waiter appeared, to check out the dish.
I was thinking of spelling SOS with the sweet sauce on the right, but it was too watered down. Perhaps ketchup would be more effective?
Finally, I turned around and noticed, after this had dragged on for quite some time, that the entire restaurant was empty! We were the only ones still there and it was past closing time. This guy seriously couldn't get the hint. The waiters were snickering, and at last-they chose one brave waiter to come by with the cheque=MY hero!
When he stopped his car outside my home, he kept his doors locked, not allowing me to leave, and forcing me to listen to him talk on and on and on like a granma. I yawned like a thousand times until finally I heard the 'click' of the doors unlock. I grabbed my handbag, thanked him and RAN up the stairs to my house without looking back.
The only good thing about the date was coming home past midnight and spending time with my good friends Ben& Jerrys. 
Oh mom, in case you ever come across this post=we need more ice cream :)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Letter from a Soldier

With everything on in Israel, I received this message and am posting it here. It's the least we can do to help our fellow brethren fighting on the front lines. May they be successful in their mission and not be harmed. 

A letter from a soldier in Gaza:
Today our hearts are pounding in fear. Who of us will die? And who will return safely?
We are your messengers in fighting . We are fighting so you can live peacefully with your children. So you can stay alive. We are your protection. Will you be ours? We are going to this dangerous mission knowing some of us will not come back, but will rise to their next position in a storm to heaven, as Eliyahu the Navi did. 
We are going with devotion and dedication. 
We are asking you to be our protection with your prayers. Protect us by going above and beyond yourselves through Ruchniyus and good deeds. 
Pray for us. Pray that you won't see another mother burying her son. Pray that you won't see our wives as widows raise our children in tears. Pray that our children will grow up knowing who their fathers are. Pray that we will eliminate the terrorists who aim to destroy us, and that we will not injure innocent women and children.
Please, we are begging you, as you are reading this, don't just go on to the next thing you are doing. Say a chapter of Tehillim. Wake up  David HaMelech to ask Hashem for full Geulah and peace for the all world. Take upon yourselves another good deed. And please pass this on. I'm certain that your prayer will make a difference.
Remember, we are in it together. We are on the front lines carrying the weapons and you are fighting along with us in your prayers. Each word of your prayer gives us strength, protection and success!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mi KeAmcha Yisrael

I just  received this email and it is too beautiful to not pass on. It just goes to show, we can never judge another person and how every Jew looks after each other. May we continue to make a constant Kiddush Hashem in everything we do.
I honesty do not know where to start
Driving to the airport on Wednesday afternoon, I was filled with sadness and incredibly broken spirits. I have never been so sad to be visiting Eretz Yisrael in my life.
I was feeling uncomfortable on so many different levels; will my presence be of any significance or meaning to these most beloved families? Will they just look at me as yet another representative, from just another organization, who is "paying his dues" by passing through their grieving home? Will I even have a chance to explain where I come from, that I have come to mourn with them, and convey some of our collective thoughts and feelings of their brothers and sisters in America?

But after all, I was chosen as our "shliach tzibbur", to deliver a piece of our heart to the Shaer, Frenkel and Yifrach families respectively; so the answer had to be to go, and to make the very best of this most unfortunate trip.

Getting stuck on the JFK runway for close to two hours, I said to myself; this special trip is starting off drastically differently than I had expected. I was meant to land at 12 PM in Tel Aviv, go directly from the airport to meet up with Rabbi Weinreb from the OU, and visit the families; and this plane delay would now throw off the entire Israel arrangement.

But boy was I mistaken. This was a trip that will be etched in my mind for all posterity. It was the most inspiring and uplifting trip I could have ever made, and I simply have to share my feelings with the tzibbur, who felt the grave importance of sending a shul representative.

In the middle of our flight, the stewardess began to speak with me, and we got into a very pleasant conversation. She then inquired when I was planning to return back to the States, and I said I would only be staying until until after shabbos, and I would then be returning home. She said "just four days? What kind of trip is that?" And I proceeded to tell her that I was sent by our shul to visit the three respective families, to deliver our beautiful letters, and to let them know that the affection of their beloved brothers and sisters in America, knows no bounds.

She immediately began to cry uncontrollably, and said, this kehillah of yours is something unique and something incredibly special. For you to get on the flight is no big deal; but this speaks volumes about your kehillah, that this is what they feel is important. This is where their hearts are, and this is what is occupying their minds - how incredible!

So the stewardess proceeds to make an announcement in tears, to a plane filled almost to capacity with Birthright groups; "Rabotai! We have on our plane, a shliach Mitzvah! Come meet a Rabbi who was sent by his Kehillah to perform the great mitzvah of nichum aveilim, for those whom they feel are their own brothers and sisters! Our plane is safe because we have a shaliach mitzvah on board with us!"

This led to a whole pandemonium, and after I finally got to sit down again, the young man next to me informs me that he is 26 years old, from Seattle Washington; he works in a national zoo, and is going to Israel for his first time.

He then proceeds to tell me that he was so inspired by our kehillah, and that he would like to borrow my Tallis to do a mitzvah that he has not done since his Bar mitzvah celebration (at age 16) in memory of the three precious neshamos.

I gladly gave him my tallis and then proceeded to ask him if he knew how to recite a bracha. He said "sure I do", and went on to take out a small piece of paper from his pocket, and recited the "Tefillas Haderech". This was the one and only Hebrew Bracha that he was familiar with, so he decided to recite it as well on the Tallis.

He then asked to borrow my Tefillin as well, which was followed by a long conversation with the other members of the plane, who were all taking pictures of this highly unusual scene.

But that wasn't it; after a few minutes he turns to me and says "Rabbi, I am so inspired, but in Seattle Washington we don't have these boxes. But I want to continue to do something special for these three precious souls, even after I return home. So what would you suggest I do?"

I was in complete shock, and overwhelmed with emotion, so the Satmar Chassid in the next row turns to this tattood and pierced young man and says, "Sweet Jew, if you promise me you will try and wear these Tefillin each and every day, I promise I will have a pair sent by FedEx to your home in Seattle Washington by the time you get back from Israel!" They then exchanged phone numbers and information, and the deal was done.

Now I ask you, is Klal Yisrael anything short of amazing and absolutely incredible? Look what our Kehillah alone has already accomplished! I almost felt like taking the next flight home, and calling this trip the greatest success I could have ever imagined!
But things only continued to became more and more meaningful as the day went on.
I landed in Eretz Yisrael over two hours late, and had already missed two out of the three homes that the OU was planning to visit.

So I met them on the way to the Shaer home which is located in Talmon, a neighborhood of 280 families, which is surrounded on all sides by Arab Villages.

We arrived there at 3:30, and were told by the Policemen, that the family was resting until 5:30. So the OU van decided to leave, but I chose to stay and wait it out.
So there I was, alone, in a far flung Yishuv that I have never heard of, drenched with sweat, with not a living person in sight, in any direction.

I begin to walk around looking for a Beis Midrash, and after about a minute, a women walks out of the Shaer residence, and I sheepishly asked her, "By chance, do you speak English"? And she says, "Yes, I am from the States, but I live in Talmon for over 20 years? How can I help you".

I said, "Well, I just came from the airport, I haven't eaten or drank anything, as I had a last minute flight, and they would not provide me with food on the plane, and I am feeling very disoriented..." She then invited me into her home, quickly served me a beautiful platter of fresh fruit; gave me a tour of the local shul and mikvah, acquainted me to the local shomrim and Chayallim, and proceeded to introduce me to many of the local families on the Shaer's block as well.

One after the other, families began to break down crying, as they heard that a guest had arrived from America to share in their pain.

But I watched as these incredible families, walked up and down the streets with bottles of water, delicious cake platters, freshly diced fruit, tuna and egg sandwiches, and everything else you can possibly imagine; offering the crowd that was beginning to form outside of the Shaer residence. Their outpouring of love was quite overwhelming to watch, and it is something that is so hard for me to properly express in words.

Signs were posted by a table at the entrance to the door, asking all visitors to write down what services they might be able to offer the family in the coming months, and when they would be available to render them. A plumber wrote that he has off on Wednesday's and would be happy to help them should they ever need. A therapist wrote that any day after hours they could feel free to use her services. A young teenage girl from Beit Shemesh wrote that she has the summer off, and would be happy to entertain anyone in the Yishuv who was busy caring for the Shaer's during this tragedy, and the list went on and on and on. 

Politicians began to gather and many people could be seen waiting for the Shaer's to reopen their doors. Fellow school friends of Gilad began to recount stories of his youthful personality, but after just a few minutes, Mr. and Mrs. Shaer asked that people please make way for the Kehillah who has sent someone all the way from America to visit, "we want to hear from him; his visit means the most to us right now; though we may be closer to many of you sitting in the room".

I then received the most warm, gracious, gentle, and highly emotional embrace from Mr. Shaer, who was completely overcome with shock by our Shul's gesture.
The room grew silent and we began to speak with one another; I then proceeded to present the letters from our shul, which threw the room into a complete hysteria, and Mrs. Bat Galim Shaer began to speak with me about her feelings of love for our Kehillah.

Although there were numerous signs posted, that no pictures be taken at the shiva house, Bat Galim encouraged her friends and relatives, to take pictures and share them with both her family and our Kehillah, so they would remember, and that we would be able to see how much this special visit meant to them.

Surprisingly, she then proceeded to personally address our wonderful shul on video as well, and asked her friends to share her personal message with our shul via email before Shabbos; so we could all appreciate the Shaer family's tremendous appreciation, love and incredible sense of strength that they felt by our gesture.

I then traveled to Nof Ayalon to visit the Frankel family. I got to speak very personally with both Mr. and Mrs. Frankel, and they too were overwhelmed with our sense of connection and achrayus to Am Yisrael and its terrible tragedies.

Mrs. Frankel then said, "Rabbi, it is not only you who feel it for us, you don't even know how deeply I personally feel a connection to your shul. The Torah that you teach in The White Shul, I know you don't know, but I follow and listen to the shiurim on YUTorah, and I can't tell you how special it is, that one of my personal Rabeim has come from abroad to share this difficult time with me".

Mrs. Frenkel then told me that when Ambassador Dan Shapiro, came to speak with her last week about the continued mission to rescue her son, he said, "for an American citizen, nothing will stop us". To which she responded, "It makes no difference if my son is American or Israeli. If all three are not being equally emphasized, then I want none of them back. Klal Yisrael is Klal Yisrael!"

Being more familiar with America and the English language, the Frenkel's spent time reading the package of letters that were presented, and found many of them to be incredibly heartwarming.

And finally I visited the home the Yifrach's in Elad. A complete mob scene, I was brought directly to meet with Mr. Yifrach who stood up in the overly crowded tent, and tightly hugged, kissed and cried on my shoulder. He asked that our Shul consider joining their family when they make their next Simcha, so we not only connect with this special family under these circumstances, and that we always remember that life is usually, supposed to be filled with, and revolve around "Simchat hachayim"

I was then brought to meet with Mrs. Yifrach who was inside the house, and she asked that I share her personal wish with our shul. On Erev Shabbos, at 19:00 p.m. Israel Time, there will be close to one million Jews around the world, participating in a רגע של חסד.

Throughout Eretz Yisrael and various communities, people will be setting aside sums of money for tzeddakah, in the memory of the three precious kedoshim, the three pure and untainted souls. She begged that our Shul sincerely commit to join this meaningful campaign, and asked that when setting aside these monies we recite גדולה צדקה שמקרבת את הגאולה.

She begged, that her beloved brothers and sisters join with her as well going forward, to make this worldwide campaign of chessed, a most successful and life changing one, in memory of Naftali, Eyal and Gilad.

What more is possibly left to say other than מי כעמך ישראל on so many incredibly beautiful levels. מי כעמך ישראל, who feel such a strong bond and connection with one another. 

מי כעמך ישראל who stay committed and so incredibly strong at times of utter and complete devastation. מי כעמך ישראל who are willing to bat for one another at any cost, and are so overwhelmingly kind to those whom they have never, and perhaps will never meet! מי כעמך ישראל who have families the likes of the Frankel's, Yifrach's and Shaer's; families who talk about their most beloved Father in Heaven who is so deeply rooted in their respective hearts, minds and souls. מי כעמך ישראל who will pledge to join together to make our world a more meaningful and wholesome place to be.

I say a personal thank you to the most incredible Kehillah that I feel blessed to be a part of, for your abounding love and care for every single last member of Klal Yisrael. Our Rabbi, Rabbi Eytan Feiner has taught us all in so many different ways, to appreciate and value the contributions of each and every member of our own tzibbur and of Klal Yisrael in general. This gesture was yet another incredible display of how successful our Rav Shlit"a has been in educating us all, to be from the most sensitive, most loving, most caring, and most compassionate Kehillah. 
May Klal Yisrael know no more suffering, and may the coming weeks and months only bring בשורות טובותישועות ונחמות,בביאת גואל צדק במהרה בימינו אמן ואמן

בריחוק מקום ומקירוב הלב,
Rabbi Shay Schachter

Monday, July 14, 2014

Bullying Singles

I just had the most frustrating conversation with a shadchan. And by conversation, I'm being waaaay too polite. It was more like a 20 minute verbal abuse session, than a two way civil conversation. 
I had honestly never met or spoke with the shadchan before. I was referred to her by a friend of mine and we were in touch by text/email. She had redd me to a guy and it was someone that was redd before nothing happened. I guess the guy wasn't interested. And that's where it all went downhill. 
After telling me off about getting a college degree and how girls should be educated as most boys want 'college girls' etc. I politely replied that it says on my résumé that I have a college degree-hence I was in college. Although I didn't agree with her reasoning, ie girls shouldn't go to college just because guys want college girls, they should do it for the elves if that's what they want, I just closed my mouth to avoid a further argument. 
Then the shadchan let me know that in no way, shape or form, if the guy agrees to go out with me (once the shadchan confirmed to him that I so indeed have a college degree), may I give a "no". The shadchan txted me only minutes later to let me know she told the guy he MUST go out with me and so 'it will happen'. 
When I asked for references she brushed me off saying that it's hard to get people married these days, let alone go on a date and that I was no 18/19 yr old spring chicken so I don't really need references and know a good thing when I see one and her idea WAS a good thing, so she advised me to say yes without references. 
I must say at that point I was really disappointed and ready to tell off my friend who referred me to this crazy person! I've never had such a terrible experience and to be bullied just because she made a call and forced the guy to go out?!?!
But my dear readers, I stood up for myself. I have pride and just cuz I'm single, don't make that excuse enough to go out with every tom, dick and Harry that every 'shadchan' decides needs a coffee break. 
Anyone else out there deal with bully-shadchans? (We should really nickname them bull-sh*dders)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Married at First Site

What happens when you mix The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Millionaire Matchmaker & shotgun wedding?  'Married at First Site', a new show which aired this week. I'm not sure how long the show will last to be honest as it sounds like a reality show gone too far. I'm still confused as to why the cars would want to take part in what they call 'the experiment' which is to allow the 'matchmakers' to find them their suitable mate based on scientific methods. Thing is-they gotta marry the match which is found for them whether they like it or not. 
You got it folks-they are marrying a total stranger. That kinda freaks me out as it's the way I view shidduch dating. You go out with a guy a couple of times, you're both really polite, on your best behavior. There's no reason to say no so why not get engaged right? Then a few months later you get married and are thinking: but I barely even KNOW the guy!
And here-they don't even SEE their future spouse, which is really trustworthy on the part of the cast. I don't trust a fly, let alone a shadchan. Here these people out their lives into hands of mere strangers.
Let's see how long until their photos are on the cover of every newsstand and magazine about their divorce!