Wednesday, July 27, 2005

This is My Folder

I tend to get overwhelmed in large groups (something I did not realize about myself until last summer), so I pretended that Steve and I were attached by the hip and stuck with him the whole time. I don't think he liked it too much. :) Anyway, here's a picture that properly depicts how I spent the past three days:
Hehe...Just kidding.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Newsflash!

It's better to be a dork than a nerd. Who knew?

According to dictionary.com, the difference between a dork, a stupid, inept, or foolish person, and a nerd, a foolish, inept, or unattractive person, is their level of attractiveness!

Well then...

Friday, July 15, 2005

I Can't Think of a Title

Steve and Jsirpicco sitting in a tree... Just kidding!

Well there I was, bored on a Friday afternoon when I shoulda been cleaning my room l'kavod Shabbat, and I find this article written on this dude Jsirpicco's blog. His grammar, his ideas, and his very adament way of shoving his arguments in your face, reminded me of Steve's blogging style.

So to all those who are fans of Mesiach's blog rants, you must check this guy's post out. It's about Jewish girls vs. non-Jewish girls.

Shabbat Shalom.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Bob Dylan and Me

Once upon a time, there was a man named Zigmond Zimmerman. Zigmond married a woman named Anna and the two of them left their shtetl, Dolhinov, together. They came to America in 1907 and moved to Duluth, Minnesota. They had a number of children here. One of them was Abe Zimmerman, born in Minnesota in 1911. Abe Zimmerman grew up, married, and had a son he named Robert Allen Zimmerman. The family moved to Hibbing. Robert Allen grew up in Hibbing. He later moved to New York and established himself as the man we now know as Bob Dylan.

Once upon a similar time, my Zeide left his small shtetl, Dolhinov, to learn in the Mir Yeshiva. The Holocaust forced him out of Lithuania and to the US via Japan. My father and I were both born in America.

So, in conclusion, Bob Dylan and I are meant to be because we're both three generations removed from the same teeny little shtetl. Crazy, ain't it?

(source: http://www.eilatgordinlevitan.com/dolhinov/dolhinov.html)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Talmud? Relevant? I don't know...

I thought it might be a bit weird to write about death on a blog, but after Brownsville's bird incident , I figured the arena was open.
My family (myself included) was making its way through Sunday New York traffic to visit Grandpa Jack in the hospital, but when we got there, we'd found out that he'd already been dead for about an hour. Throughout the car ride, I was going over the various things I'd like to include in the last conversation we'd have together. I wanted it to be emotional yet honest, because there is not a time in my life that I can say I had a conversation with my grandfather that traveled outside the realm of small-talk. I saw him three times a year on average.

So why didn't I make sure that those three visits with him were as fulfilling as possible? Family disagreement placed static tension between us, making it seem as though it were impossible to see him as anything more than a grandfather by title.

His second marriage, after my grandmother, was to a woman who facilitated the severance between him and his first family(my family). But who can say that she is solely to blame when he had the choice to maintain a connection with us and chose not to? And what does this therapy session have to do with the Talmud?

Well, I go to a Talmud class every Shabbat, and I felt that the topic from this past week applied especially well to my family situation. The topic was honor. Who is worthy of honor? We honor sages, "Mi she kana chochmo" or "one who acquires wisdom" (kana usually means "bought," but here it is used as "acquire") Kiddushin ch. 32. This includes both young wise people and elderly wise people.
So what about people like my grandfather? I hate to say it bluntly, but I don't consider him a wise man. The rabbi at his funeral spoke about how he was always there for his family and interested in his grandchildren. That just isn't true. We barely saw him...consequently making him a stranger to us. What is the Talmud's answer for that? Do I honor him just because he was elderly?

Yes. Even if you do not consider an old person to be wise, you still must honor the fact that they have been on this earth longer than you and had more experience. My granfather was not there for me, but he was there for his synagogue. He acted as President in past years and just this year as Vice President. I honor him the most for bringing my mother into this world and contributing to her life. For all the anger and resentment I feel towards him for what he didn't do, I still honor him for accomplishing 85 years of life.

So next time you have a question or a problem in your life, skip out on Dr. Phil and go look in the Talmud. Maybe you'll find something worthwhile.

Where Are the Standards?

Okay. Really, how am I expected to get any studying done when there are atrocities like this one being committed with no regrets? C'mon, AOL has so much money--why can't they hire copy editors?

Complications in Life.

I went online to check my schedule for classes the other day, and I found out that i wasn't registered for a single class. This bothered me a lot, as it would anyone, because apparently I didn't pay my bill. I was in Autralia for the wedding/funeral, and then I came straight to camp, so I'm going to have to call them today and see if I can do anything. On another note, I realized, could I do something else with my life right now? I can, and I might.

There's a program that's through the Israeli army where you can go and volunteer. It's called Machal, Midnadvei Chut L'Aretz. Basically, you serve 14 months in the Israeli army, but it's not like the porgram I already did, it's for real army. Guns and everything. I thought, what a great thing to do with my life. I also got thinking about my life, and how I don't think I'm ready to finish school yet. I'm going to be 20 soon, and I want to finish school, but I don't know what I want to do when school's over. I have the idea in the back of the head that I want to go for the rabbinate, but what then? I could go be a pulpit rabbi, or teach, or go be a chaplain, but is that it? Life is terribly confusing sometimes. Occasionally, I wish I was raised orthodox so that I'd have a job and a wife within the next year or so, and everything would be awesome, and I'd know lots of Torah. But as it is, I've got a lot of catching up to do. I've got to make up basically 17 years of Torah knowledge in a few years. Who knew Judaism was so hard?

So, that's on the table. We'll see what happens in the end, my mom is definately not behind my idea of going to Israel and joining the army, but it's not her decision anymore, is it? I've also thought about the fact that if I do join the army, I might be evacuating some Jews from the territories, and I don't know if I could do that. On the other hand, I really want to serve for Israel, I think it's something every Jews should volunteer for.

I'm off to do my job now, see you all in the fall.

-The Punk Exchequer of HM Treasurey/Freaternities

My Unknown Bird

I didn't want to open the door to go out back today because I didn't want to scare away the two birds and chipmunk who were munching away at seeds that had fallen from the birdfeeder we have. But then, of course, I got restless (after about a minute) and opened the door. The two birds flew off and the chipmunk skippity-hopped away. Then I noticed another bird. Only this one hadn't moved...and it was upside down.

Why is there a dead bird on my lawn? It looks like it died of a heart attack and I wonder what could have freaked it out so much that it died. But then, maybe it choked on a millet of bird food. Or maybe like my dead bird, Babaganoush, he died of depression.

I was going to take a picture of the bird and write a little eulogy, but I know nothing about this bird's life and was afraid to deligitimize any of its life's work with a silly little eulogy. So here's what I've got:
Unknown Bird
Born: n/a
Died: July 12, 2005
He or she had a pretty red belly and probably a pretty voice.
A bit pathetic, I know, but it's the best I can think up right now.

Ruth Reichl is Still the Best

My new Ruth Reichl book just arrived today from Barnes & Noble. If you didn't already know, I'm a huge fan of hers. But as I looked at the bright blue and red book in the box it had come in, I started to have doubts. Tender at the Bone and Comfort Me with Apples were such delicious reads, I didn't know if Garlic and Sapphires would be up to par with them.

To begin with, the cover has too many bright, primary colors. The background is blue, Ruth's outfit is red, and the table's white. There're also yellow words along the top of the book and yellow stars dotting the i's of "garlic" and "sapphires." I knew this was what the cover looked like from the picture online, but I still couldn't help but take a hard swallow. Tender at the Bone, Reichl's book about growing up and developing her love of foods, has a soft brown and greenish cover. Comfort Me with Apples follows similarly with greenish and brownish tones. Even the Gourmet cookbook I own (yes, the AUTOGRAPHED one) is a soft yellow with maroon lettering on the cover. Why, I wondered, would Ruth Reichl ever go with a brightly covered book?

I packed the book into my bag anyway, along with my math book and calculator, and headed out to school. Finding that my teacher wasn't in his office for our four o'clock meeting, I decided to take a little dip into Central Park and begin reading my new book before class.

I sat on one of the benchs that line Fifth Avenue on the outside of the wall around the park, folded my legs Indian-style, and opened my hard-covered book. I began to read...
It steams unappetizingly up at me: a squishy brown square of meat surrounded by a sticky stockade of potatoes that might have been mashed last year. The wrinkled gray peas look as if they were born in a laboratory test tube. The roll glows with such an unearthly lunar yellow that I can feel its chill before my fingers even touch the surface. The lettuce in the salad has gone brown at the edges, and the tomatoes are too tired to even pretend that nature intended them to be red. The dressing in its little cup stares up at me, bright orange. I stare back. (That's from the third paragraph on the first page.)
After reading the line, "the tomatoes are too tired to even pretend that nature intended them to be red," I looked up and across Fifth Avenue. A man was waiting to cross the street with his huge, shaggy dog, and I repeated the line to myself, "the tomatoes are too tired to even pretend that nature intended them to be red." I looked up the side of the street I was on, and a woman wheeling a baby with huge blue eyes and even huger cheeks, was walking toward me. I said the line to myself again, "the tomatoes are too tired to even pretend that nature intended them to be red." And with that, I turned back into my book and let Fifth melt away into the city's summer and I into Ruth Reichl's words.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Blue in the Holyland

As if we havent had enough politics on this blog, i was thinking about what nukes wrote a article further down this page, and how i think the disengagment should be viewed. Its not like I'm a die hard leftist or some kind of communist, but i have thought that the disengagment is probably the right thing for israel to do solely because it has proven that it cannot win in a densely populated hostile urban environment. And if Israel cannot win it has no right to sacrifice its kids to a lost cause. I think that is the crux of the thinking behind it. I dont know if it will bring peace, it may not, but a different approach must be taken because the status quo is unacceptable.I dont see the purpose in simply killing soldiers, especially if its in defense of a rather small population, with a surrounding arab population which is much larger, incredibly densely populate, impoverished and desperate. I am sorry if jews have to leave their homes, its not something i cherish but if its for the greater good i think its a necessary evil. We had to leave Lebanon eventually for similar reasons. Israel wins conventional wars on conventional battlefields, but the fact is that big conventional armies have never been able to successfully maintain any "occupation" over a hostile population. if anyone could give me an example of a successful military occupation over a hostile population i would I love to hear about it. basically if u cant win you have to leave, theres no point in just killing soldiers for a lost cause, i dont care how unromantic or unpleasant leaving parts of eretz yisrael sounds, if u have to cut off ure foot to save the rest of ure body from being infected, then that is what u have to do, its not exactly a pleasant thought to say the least. I suppose if u could tell me a way that israel could actually win in the gaza i might be persuaded to change my position, but as long as this is some open ended war of attrition i think it would be sad to just continue sacrificing young men.

I would also like to mention that these settlers got their homes at a reduced price to begin with, which is why most of them moved there. the government placed them there because the thinking was that this would be the most effective way to control the territories. Apparently that is incorrect, especially in gaza and for the same strategic reasons that they were placed there in the first place they are going to be removed.

another point worth mentioning is that this whole yehudi lo migaresh yehudi is really warping the situation. the fact is that the army could just leave the gaza and the settlers who want to go with the army could go and get what ever compensation is available and the ones who want to stay should stay and face teh palestinians alone. the army is actually doing the settlers a favor by forcing them out, because without military support the settlers would quickly run out of ammunition and be overwhelmed by the hysterically hostile surrounding population. basically by dragging all the settlers out of gaza, the Israeli government is also saving the settlers from the palestinians who would inevitabley attack them, or even more so from themselves. The Israeli army is really saving the settlers from themselves and their own fanaticism which would otherwise get them killed.

sorry about being so frank

am yisrael chai

regards from israel i cant wait to see u guys when i get back

crazy moishele

Who Doesn't Love Steve?

Last night, I was talking to Steve. He just randomly said something along the lines of, "you know why Meshiach isn't here yet? Because I have baseless hatred for this guy I know."

Gasp.
Give yourself a few minutes for that to sink in.
You can read on now.

Steve used to be my secular Jew friend and now he's frummer than I am! I went to an old classmate's wedding last night and spent lots of my time there speaking lashon hara. Then I came home only to hear Steve's theory on the Meshiach's delayed arrival.

I once heard this beautiful thing about lashon hara. I can't remember who said it, but I'm pretty sure it was a rebbe of somewhere. Anyway, he said the following: "There's no reason to speak poorly about another person. You don't accomplish anything but to point out what is bad about the subject of your conversation to HaShem. And in today's day when so much random suffering happens to people, why would anyone want to remind HaShem that someone might be "worthy" of any of it?"

Uh, hello? I stopped speaking lashon hara practically cold turkey after that. But then I forgot, and then it was fun to poke fun at other people, and then I just fell back into my habit of being a really, really mean girl.

I find that mussar usually comes from the weirdest places. I needed my Catholic hairdresser to remind me of what tznius is all about a few months ago. Now I needed Steve to remind me of the power our emotions, let alone speech, has in this world.

So there you go, Steve. You might not have gotten the honor of "conversation of the day" :), but you sure did a good job reminding me that everything we do should have a pretty damn good reason.

Kids These Days.

So here I am, at a nice Jewish camp in the Hudson valley, being the best counselor I can be. I have the oldest age group in camp, which is, unfortunately for the few religious counselors, 13. As I told Dina the other night, services are kind of slap-dash because all the counslors are doing their jobs during tfillot, and only a few get the chance to do the whole bit. Oh well. Anyway, back to the point of the story.

The first couple to spring up in camp got together on the 2nd or 3rd day of camp. It was really cute, it was a girl who had never been here before and this "ladies man" guy. Note, this camp is not a religious camp. Regardless, I remember when I went to camp here, and the most I ever did was give a girl a kiss on the lips, nothing to spectacular (unless you're shomer). These kids cannot seperate their lips. They run around camp just making out all over the place. Then this rumour started that they were behind one of the bunks, and she had her shirt off! What have happened to the youth of today!? Don't get me wrong, intimate physical contact with a boyfriend or a girlfriend is prefectly ok, but at the age of 13, and in a camp relationship? Now she thinks she's in love with him. Who are these kids?

Needless to say, the situation went from bad to worse. As rumours spread, the boyfriend (Derek) had his posse go intimidate the kid who started the rumour. In the end, one of Derek's posse strangled the poor kid who's job is loshen hara and spread the rumour. Didn't go down well. Ah camp.

In other news, I've managed to swing a few opinions are camp to the orange side. Incredible, how I always argued with Randi to the death about how pulling out is the right thing to do, and now I'm doing comlpetely the opposite. I got this one Israeli girl to give me some Gush Katif stuff. I even got to lead a little activity on Disengagement, and while I was "just giving fact", I totally gave these kids my side of the story. Now they all want to know more. I'm very excited about this, maybe the kids will finally open their eyes and stop regurgitating what their parents tell them.

Lastly, all the staff at camp love the idea of the Punks of Zion. They all think it's hilarious.

So I'm off to do some more brainwashing (mwahahaha).

-Punk Exchequer of HM Treasurey/Fraternities

Friday, July 08, 2005

Shabbat Shalom

Today is the yahrtzeit of my Zeide's entire family. They were massacred along with their shtetl during World War Two. My Zeide survived because he was in yeshiva (the Mir).

You can't have proper hakarat hatov if you don't know what to be thankful for. I watched a PBS special about Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat who saved the lives of thousands of Lithuanian Jews during the Holocaust by giving them illegal visas because one of the people he saved was my Zeide. I want to write something up about him, but my notes are on my laptop (which is home). So for now, Shabbat shalom.

Holyland Hello From Crazy Moishele

Well crazy moishele has finally made his pilgrimage to the Naot shoe factory and in the process seen most of the holy land, aka israelestine, aka occupied kush katif-estine (actually i havent been there yet), aka old british mandate of Palestine, aka Medinat Yisrael, aka Haaretz, aka Israel. Well so it really wasnt a pilgrimage to Planet Naot or Gush Katif, it was NCSY Birthright Israel, and to even begin to discribe all the fun things involved would take a few pages, or many computer lines. How does this sound, it was AMAZING!! The only question is wether or not I get allah-credits in this case. why does mecca have to be so far away??

I even had a drink or two, well only two drinks. does that make me a smirinoff ice-aholic? theyre the best! on the last night i was kinda hyper and stuff (who wouldnt be after hanging on the beaches of tel-aviv?), and having fun when i decided to practise my field goal kicking with a coca cola bottle, and well we were on teh 11th floor with no screens in our windows. lets say i managed to get it through the uprights to the amazment of my roomates. I think that was the closest thing ive ever done to doing something "while under the influence" except for falling asleep. I mean like one of my friends told me that I would be drunk the whole time, I guess that prediction was wrong for me, but seriously half of my group was literally shikur for the whole entire trip. I mean like once a couple of us were hanging with a hot female counselor in a our 3rd floor room in the novotel hotel in jerusalem. and below on the second floor there was a patio. A bunch of kids were down there partying and hanging out. well two of them took off their shirts and started swinging them. And then another guy who mustve been at least partially drunk literally climbed into our window from teh floor below. safe to say that it was probably one of the most hysterical things that happened on the trip, aside from me kicking soda bottles.

So up until now i havent actually said anything about the trip itself, and guess what, i dont intend to. Well maybe ill write more if im bored. I hope i speak to some of you guys soon, the whole time zone difference is a real problem.

If i dont, shabbat shalom from petach tikva, israel.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

So I'm having a little self-pity moment here on my period off, and I've decided to share it all with you. Camp is really fun, and all the kids I have are great, but there are a few things I have a problem with, starting with my schedule. Wake up is at 7:30, and we head straight off to davening. From there, to breakfast, pretty standard day. After that, I head off the pool for a full morning of teaching little Zionist pioneers to swim. No breaks.

Then comes lunch. After lunch, all the kids head off to Minucha, a nice little rest hour so that they can digest. Where do I go? To the pool to teach more lessons. Then, I finally get two hours off to hang out, but wait! I have to hang out with my bunk for one of them! So when do I get sleep? Never. Then free time (but i'm at the pool facilitating) and then dinner. After dinner, back to the pool to teach water polo, and then off to peulah erev with my bunk. All said and done, I'm in the bunk at 10:30, but sleep? Not a chance! Staff meeting time! I don't get to bed until at least 11:30, most times midnight. And I only get 4 days off in two months? What kind of operation are they running here?

Camp is by far the most tiring, stressful, yet fun job you can do during the summer. Even though all the campers here are really inappropriate (lets just say they're not shomer nagia), it's a lot of fun. On that note, I'm going to catch a power nap for an hour.

-The Punk of HM Treasurey/Fraternities

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Ode to the Candy Corn

I just made myself sick eating too many candy corns. The candy corn has the texture of wax and tastes like pure sugar, but for some reason, I am obsessed with it. Unlike how I am around Mike and Ikes, which I looooooove, I have absolutely no control over myself when found in a room with candy corns. And unfortunately for my dear stomach, my mother bought candy corn for Shabbat. I had on Friday, I had on Shabbat, I had on Sunday, I had on Monday, and just now, I finished the container. To be honest, I don't think anyone else had any of the candy corns (maybe Eliana or Julie had three when I held my hand out full for them to take) and now I'm just sick from the sugar.
But oh, how sweet surrender to the candy corn is.

Orange v. Blue

So for those of you who I've had the pleasure of talking to about the disengagement, you all know that I was on the "blue side" of everything. I thought that we should give away the Gaza settlements because it would be good for Israel, and then we'd have peace, and everything would be laddy da. But i was thinking about it the other day, rather, the past couple of weeks, and I'm really stressed over the whole thing. I realized first that on August 15th (the day after Tisha b'Av), we're giving away part of Israel. Forget about the Torah, forget about the Palestinians, we're running away. We are willfully uprooting our brothers and sisters, but for what? The great good of Israel? Better security? Peace?

As for the greater good of Israel, security is always going to be an issue. Whether it's on the boarder of Gush Katif, or the boarder of Israel, they are goign to fire kassam rockets at us wherever we are. Those 30,000 soldiers that are defending the settlements, now they're be on the boarder. I feel like not too much will change there, so why are leaving? On that note, are we doing this for the Israeli people? Why don't we do this for the 9,000 settlers who put their lives on the line since the 1970s (under a Labour government) to settle for the "greater good of Israel." Lastly, on this note, what positive things are we getting our of this? Nothing that I can see.

Don't get me wrong though, if Abbas showed control over his people and signed a peace treaty, I'd give away the Gaza settlements in a second, but that's not what's happening. And that's what I realized in my argument. I used to say we're doing it for peace, but we're not. We're giving it away for a maybe, for a possibility. Everyone, on both sides of this argument, say that this is a key moment in history, this is the window we've been waiting for since independance, and we may not get this window for another 100 years. So, think about it, and the past, and the peace that we used to have, and I realized that if this peace does fail, we've lost Gaza forever.

This was really sloppily put together, and my thoughts are still all over the place, but something inside me is telling me that this pullout is wrong. What I can say is what Randi titled his post earlier.

Yehudi Lo Megaresh Yehudi

-The Punk of HM Treasurey/Fraternities

Monday, July 04, 2005

Adventures on JDate

Yes! I'm back--many apologies all around for joining and then disappearing. This time, it's personal.... Well, not so personal. I have other blogs for that. But pretty personal. Okay, anyway.

I recently joined JDate. I suppose part of it was because I had deleted my friendster account and so my internet equilibrium was all out of whack. I suppose part of it was because the topic of shidduch dating has come up more and more lately; I know that at this point I could not be a part of the matchmaking matrix but the idea of a network of Jews looking for a relationship appeals to me. On JDate, of course, the goal isn't marriage per se but anything ranging from a "good time" to a date to a serious relationship. Jews on the site are Traditional or Reform or Conservative or Conservadox of Orthodox or "Unaffiliated" or "Another Stream" or Reconstructionist or Secular or, as in my case, "will tell you later". (I have to tell you later because I sure don't know where I am right now. Can't I just be Jewish?)

I just wrote out a whole paragraph about a boy I was just now chatting with from the site. I erased it because I didn't want to be misunderstood as being cruel or gossiping; it's just that I'm baffled by what happened. A completely frum Orthodox guy who grew up going to Yeshiva messaged me and we began to talk... though he was pretty taken with me I just didn't feel we had enough in common. But he wouldn't back down! I felt bad, like I was batting him away with a stick, but what could I do?

It's hard for everyone to find a match, regardless of what background they're coming from. Lately, though, it's seems like it's been especially difficult for me to figure out what sort of person I'd like to date, since I don't know exactly where I'm going religiously. It has to be someone who is constantly growing. Maybe I'll meet someone off of a website. Maybe not. But it's worth a try.

Damn it, even when I'm trying to not be personal, I get too personal.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Back and Better than Ever!

I am happy to say that my dream to be reinstated into Punks of Zion has become a reality. And now I'm here, typalking to you. What an honor. What an eventful weekend.

I spent Shabbat at Brownsvillegirl's house. One of the best I've had in a long time. So incredibly opposite to those I spend at home (mostly because of the pesto chicken that was TO DIE FOR). She lives in a very Jewish neighborhood...I mean, supremo-Jewish. It's not about reform, conservative, orthodox; it's about Breslov, Satmar, or Novominsker. So where did I go after this, I go to the graduation party of my Italian, Catholic cousin. Can we talk about the culture shock? It is astounding to be not only exposed, but also participate in the incredibly different ways that people live their lives...all in the same day. On that note, I would like to say that I look forward to all the future arguments/heated discussions to be had on Punks of Zion. Gay cocken offen yam!

Friday, July 01, 2005

We Make Your Dreams Come True-ue

Forced to go upstairs by my brother who won't tolerate my singing "when your room looks kinda weird and you wish that you weren't the-re, just close your eyes and make believe and you can be anywhe-re...Muppet Babies we make your dreams come true-ue..." anymore, I decided that the only way to get this stupid thing out of my head is to embrace it. So I went online to find some Muppet Babies somethings and I found the coolest website ever!

Check this out:
Muppet Baby Bios!

Personally, I always felt a certain something for Gonzo, since like him, I'm, "independent, imaginative, and just plain weird." I know Rands is a Fozzi person because of his, "wokka wokka wokka," line.
Check out our Punks tees!

And our really cool MFFC:HCC tees!

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