TIME Magazine Sees Us at Sinai

A few weeks ago TIME had an article enititled, “e-Harmony, Meet Fiddler on the Roof” about the web site Saw You at Sinai. Anyway I had just found the article on the Internet and I simply could not resist posting and commenting.

Here’s the gist of the interview:


Why did you become a matchmaker?
My first match, I met a girl out of the blue. I looked at her, and I really believe God said to me, “Set her up with Mark Goldenberg.” They called me after their first date to tell me they were engaged.

My comment: Must have been a very successful date. Maybe a little too successful if you know what I mean and – ah never mind.

Why is this site better than others?
I’ll find out if the guy is really a good guy or not. I save everybody’s notes: “This guy was a schmuck; he was two hours late.” I have the information.

Snarkodox: First reaction: A heimish lady using the word “schmuck” in an interview? Cool.

Second reaction: So if I meet a guy can I just call you to find out he’s a schmuck or not?

Will this work for other niche groups?
Beautiful idea. Fantastic. Black women call me all the time; they want Jewish men, but they’d love black men too. Mormons, black Buddhists — you name it, you got it.

Snarkodox: Now that might actually make Saw You at Sinai a pretty cool site. They would need more Hashkafa categories.

Does there come a time when your spouse-seeking clients need to settle?
Oh, yes. These girls are 36, 37, 38, 39 — they’re not settling. They’re foolish! Your instinct tells you you have to. I settled.

Snarkodox: First reaction: Um, the interviewer didn’t say anything about GIRLS settling. I guess guys don’t have to settle because we’re all just so much more awesome than they are.

Second reaction: ‘”I did”? Does her husband read TIME? Maybe it was one of the things she settled on.


Text messages are banned.

Yes, it’s true.

The very latest from Israel’s List of the Damned and Banned: The text message.

According to my friend the new KosherPhones in Israel not only come without Internet but they come without the ability to text. I imagine you have to pay several extra monthly shkalim for the privilege of having someone deactivate these features on your phone.

Initially I thought that the ban against text was due to the fact that they encourage poor punctuation and spelling until I remembered that proper punctuation is not necessarily the strongest suit of the community in question. My next thought was that texts may be used to communicate with others in middle of class or shiur, the more technologically-advanced version of passing notes. Then I thought that perhaps the diction of text messages is too loose and casual; think of how pritzusdik ir is to use words like “cool” or “awesome” in regular conversation. Finally I considered the possibilty that people may use more brazen words when texting since not actually saying the words out loud may reduce inhibitions. But I was wrong on all counts. 

The real reason for the ban is that the rabbanim have discovered that texting is a common source of addiction among teenagers after being tipped off by the droves of teens who voluntarily turn their cell phones to their rabbis every Friday afternoon in order to protect themselves from the yetzer hara of texting on Shabbos. Naturally there is no yetzer hara for, you know, actually calling people on Shabbos. It is also apparent that it is not enough to ask a friend or family member to hold your phone for you; they may cave in if they entering withdrawal and enable your addiction further. It is well known that family members melt when they hear the plaintive cry of, “Please! One last text! Just one little text! I won’t even spell whole words out!”

Since unhealthy addictions and behaviors are clearly curable by bans – remember how the wedding takanos was going to cure jealousy and overspending – I hereby propose a list of new chumros.

1. Cholent is to be banned; it is too high in cholesterol and people are not capable of limiting their portion sizes and may be over on v’nishmartem nafshoseichem.

2. Credit cards are to be banned; they encourage people’s shopping addictions.

3. It is assur to build extensions to your home or upgrade the family car to a minivan; such trends put pressure on the entire neighborhood.

4. It is no longer permissable to take your date out to ESPNZone or Dave & Busters. Aside from the fact that pritzus exists in both places, playing video games may be addictive and arcade games are akin to gambling.

5. Chinese auctions are similarly to be banned since it is clearly the gateway drug to Atlantic City.

6. Since our liberal times have given way to sexual addictions, sex is to be banned, even between husband and wife. Hashem allowed in vitro technology to develop and we should take advantage of the fact that we no longer to engage in a potentially addictive behavior in order to have children.

7. Alcohol and tobacco will not be banned because the olam cannot be omed b’such nisayonos.

Are you allowed to listen to someone drumming with paint buckets on the subway during the nine days?

So I was standing at the 34th Street station the other day, waiting for the Q train, when I met a couple of subway drummers. I’m sure many New Yorkers out there know what I’m referring to – those people who drum with paintbuckets and paintbrushes on the subway platforms.

Anyway, I’ve seen this couple before, but this time their drum set was a bit more elaborate. They had six paintbucket units. By units I mean that they stacked some paintbuckets on top of each other in order to get a different sounds, with a total of 6 units of stacked buckets. There were three upturned units and 3 that wee right-side-up. They had about six different paintbrushes, all of different lengths and thicknesses. 

I was enjoying the drumming it suddenly dawned on me that it was the nine days. It also then dawned on me that I had eaten meat for lunch because I had forgotten and was now perhaps violating another issur – listening to live music. Of course I don’t think I was expected to plug my ears up, but then again, maybe I shouldn’t have stood so close to them and watched them attentively the way I had been doing.

I’m still not sure whether to think of the drum buckets as music. Would halacha classify the buckets as musical instruments? The science behind this drumset is the same science as behind real drums. Does the drumming not count as music because buckets don’t normally serve the purpose of making music? Does using buckets instead of actual drum constitute some form of a shinui? Then again, is the issue whether or not the paintbuckets are halachically classified as musical instruments, or is the issue whether or not the sounds that emanate from them are halachically classified as music? 

I was busy debating this when my train arrived. Perhaps it was a sign that Hashem did not want me to continue listening to the drummers. In any case I gave them a buck. They were pretty talented.

Everything I needed to learn about fashion I learned by wearing a school uniform for 12 years

If you were always wondering about all the little hidden rules of fashion that women appear to intuitively learn, this post is for you. Guys, pay careful attention. The secrets are about to be spilled.

If you really want to learn about fashion, you need to carefully observe Bais Ya’akov-type girls in their uniforms. Just don’t talk to them, because that would be assur. Observe from a respectful distance.


            First is the shirt. At first it may just seem a simple white or blue button-down shirt, but we are not deceived for long. Much can be learned about you by your shirt. First of all, there’s the top two buttons. Are they both closed? That means you’re trying to get into BJJ. Are they both open? You’re either asking for trouble or a borderline risk taker who button her top button whenever the principal passes by. Did you sew in a tznius button? Nice try, we all know that you’re an eleventh grader who wants to frum out but is trying to stay cool. It shows. Same goes for those of you who managed to learn how to fit in the safety pin so that it doesn’t show and doesn’t prick your collar bone either. We know who you are.

Then there is an issue with how fitted the shirt is. The best fit is snug enough to show a basic outline without being too snug to get yourself sent to the office, where you will cruelly and unusually punished by being forced to change into an itchy Oxford shirt about three sizes too large for you. Then there is the shirt’s tuck. Completely tucked out is schlubby, particularly if you get caught. Partially tucked out – a shirttail or so – means you live on the edge. A deep tuck-in – where the shirt is pulled down all the way – means you’re trying too hard. The best is the kind of tuck where the shirt just skims the abdomen but is not pulled too tightly so that there is a slight skijump where the shirt meets the skirt’s waistband.

            Next we have the cardigan or sweatshirt. Wearing a school sweatshirt is social suicide and should be avoided at all cost, unless it is a senior sweatshirt or committee sweatshirt that has a hood and is black. If you are attempting to get away with a regular sweatshirt in between classes (to be pulled off before passing a teacher or principal in the hall), the sweatshirt must have the words GAP, Old Navy, or Polo stretched across the chest. If you’re going for the cardigan, the cut of it is essential. Are you going for a v-neck with buttons? A brave attempt at a cardigan-wrap or one with a belt? Is it ribbed? How long is it?

Now for the skirt. Lately I’ve been seeing girls wearing knee-length skirts, which did not fly back in my day. That length would require tights or – worse – knee-highs. We did the ankle-lengths. If your skirt was more than two inches above your ankle, you had a fashion crisis. The skirt needed to be long enough to just skim the tips of your ankle socks so that standing in one position would completely conceal the leg – for when the principal passes – while standing in another would show off the tiniest strip of flesh between sock and skirt. But not too much flesh, because that’s sloppy.

 I’m not going to even touch the question of shoes, since that is beyond the scope of this post. Suffice it to say that when in doubt, go with Puma.

Working our way back up we have your makeup. If you are going to try to get away with light-colored nailpolish, you’ll probably try to get away with just enough makeup to look better but not enough to be obvious to faculty. Concealer and foundation are fine since after all you can always say it’s pimple cream. Light lip gloss might pass for chapstick. Eyeliner and blush are trickier, so go easy on the color.

Let’s move to hair. This is really the break-it or make-it. You’ll probably try getting away with wearing your hair down. If your hair is long, sleek, and straight, you will not get away with this for more than two periods, but you can try anyway. You can also try pulling three strands of hair into a bobby pin and calling it a half-pony. If you are going to do the half- or full-pony, a lot will depend on the way your hair is parted and how it set. It should have some lift – not too much for a bad nineties flashback, but just enough to have some shape. Take care in choosing the clip for your hair. Brown or black is always safest, but you might want to try for a bit of colored rhinestone, particularly if you’re doing colored jewelry. If you are, stick with the small colored chandelier earrings. Don’t go for the big hoops. Your teachers will say it’s too Puerto Rican, especially if you’re wearing lots of hair gel and bangles on your wrist.

Got it, guys? Those of you wearing the penguin suit might take a lesson from us ladies. As you can see, wearing a uniform does not have to make you all look the same. After all, only two items of clothes are being regulated. 

My foray into the world of frum journalism

I’ve decided to attempt some forays into the journalistic world of the frum community. Unfortunately I doubt that the people at Yeshiva World News will approve of article because they may actually take it seriously and find it too explicit. Hence I am left with no choice but publish it here.


Community Members Organize Yom Tefila for the Republican Campaign


BROOKLYN – Members of the organization Nshei Tefila, Sgulos, and Tehilasi are busy arranging for a yom tefila for the Republican campaign of presumptive presidential nominee John MCain.

            “Mr. McCain desperately needs our tefilos,” explained Mrs. Miryam Grossenberger, one of the organizers of this event  and chief directress of the organization Nshei Tefilah, whose full name is Nshei Tefilah Ha’Mispalilos B’Ad Shlomo Shel Am Yisrael Kulo Ad Binyan Bais Ha’Mikdash Bimheira B’yamein Amein Selah. “I was just calling my daughter the other day to find out about the weather – she’s not as Jewish, so she keeps a radio – and she told me about a Muslim who plans on becoming the president of the United States. As if it weren’t enough that a woman who didn’t know her place was at home thought she could be president! Anyway, I knew that this was terrible news for Eretz Yisroel and decided on the spot that I needed to do something.”

            “It truly is a sign of our times that so many members of klal yisrael do not realize the seriousness of the matzav,” added Chana Bracha Leya Leba Rosengarten, assistant directress of Nshei Tefilah. “Like the yetzer hara, this man has charmed himself to so many people so that they are blinded to his true character. The young people are so blinded by gashmius issues such as the economy and the Iraq war that they forget that this man will likely pass resolutions that will allow, lo aleinu, people of the same gender to marry each other, chas v’sholom.”

            “That’s how you know something must be done,” chimed in Chaya Leah Lieber, vice president of Nshei Tefila. “I saw on the television at my doctor’s office how excited all the young people became in the presence of that man. Anyone who can stir up young people that way obviously does not have the best interests of klal yisrael at heart.”

The yom tefila will take place on Tisha B’Av in shuls across Flatbush, Boro Park, Lakewood, and Yerusalayim. Several rabbanim will be providing divrei chizuk via a live hookup that will connect the communities. Individuals who are unable to attend the event are urged to make their hishtadlus from home. For example, Mrs. Chana Bracha Lamm of Tehilasi has distributed Tehilim booklets to several nursing mothers who will not be able to leave their homes. “With Hashem’s help, we will be able to have the entire sefer of Tehilim seventy times within a period of about three hours,” she stated. The president of Sgulos, who would like to remain unnamed for tznius reasons, added that homebound individuals can also light candles while eating rimonim, a special segulah for yeshua during such serious times.

May Hashem reward our efforts by keeping this terrible tragedy from falling upon us and may we always be zoche to have presidents who are both white and male ad binyan bais hamikdash, bimheira byameinu amen.

The community’s best-kept secret?

The frum community knows well that all people who have become less frum -or not frum at all- must have had miserable childhoods and “at risk” teen years. They were abused by a parent or teacher or both. They got into the hard stuff, like pot. After all it is inconceivable that anyone in their right might with good relationships with parents, teachers, and friends would decide not to be frum anymore, since the legitimacy of the Orthodox movement is so obvious that the only people who can’t see it are being blinded by their desires or unhappiness.

I remember a speech in high school by a well-known rabbi involved with kiruv. It was a great speech and I enjoyed it greatly, but I found one particular passage somewhat confusing. The rabbi was talking about a particular case in which he got involved and a phone conversation in which the case asked him all of her questions about Judaism that were plaguing her and turning her off frum frumkeit. After listening to the girl patiently, the rabbi gently asked, “Tell me, why do you hate your parents?” At this point the girl broke down and revealed the truth about her abusive parents. The rabbi helped her find an apartment, a job, a therapist, the works. When he called her a few weeks later to continue their conversation so he could provide her answers with her questions about Judaism, the girl was puzzled. Questions? What questions?

I was impressed at how the rabbi helped her in such period of time. My classmates were more in awe of the rabbi’s prescience. How did he know? He responded that since leaving the community means “good-bye” to her family, it was clear that she had some serious issues with them. Apparently she was no longer worried about her questions because naturally those questions weren’t real. Their only function was to mask her true misery.

So the moral of the story is that if you have questions about Judaism that are plaguing you and causing you to question your commitment to Orthodoxy, you are obviously a very unhappy person who is in denial. Likely you have been miserable for quite some time and are currently in the midst of an emotional breakdown.  Instead of dealing with your real issues, you are simply trying to escape your life by leaving the community. What you are pondering is clearly not the product or rational thought or a stable mental state.

Perhaps one of the frum community’s best-kept secret is that there are actually a few who leave the fold who do so knowing exactly what they are doing. They may have had healthy and stable childhoods and may indeed be stable adults. They just – for whatever reason – stopped believing. They debated this carefully, rationally, and took their time making a decision about how they were going to proceed. Such individuals are quite rare, but present. We just don’t talk about them. After all, that would be admitting that there are very sane and balanced people may not view Orthodoxy as obviously true.

It is far more comfortable to assume that the people leaving the community represents some sort of crisis, some lack in our education system or a breakdown in our families. After all we know how to handle crises. We know how to draw up resolutions, form organizations, present speeches, and train advocates to handle crises. It’s the well-adjusted, happy people that you need to look out for. They throw everyone for a loop.

True confessions after a third date…

So I was schmoozing with a bunch of people and we were talking about having to bring up “sensitive” issues when you’re dating someone. I’ve heard the old adage of the third-date rule myself, which in a nutshell stipulates that you need to reveal any earth-shattering factoids about yourself by the end of the third date. So my peeps were giving examples of things that they think that people need to share at the end of the third date, namely including a history of a depressive episode or having been molested or raped. 

I have a hard time accepting this. In the traditional frum 10-dates-and-you’re-it-community, a guy or girl says she once had to take medications or has been molested is – most unfortunately – toast, even if the person have been treated and has been stable and functioning for several years. People are frightened when they hear this kind of information, despite the fact that both are unfortunately so common.

I tried to argue with the chevra, stating that – for example – there is a difference between someone experiencing a depressive episode where they cried a lot and had feelings of guilt and hopelessness and a depressive episode that results in hospitalization or a suicide attempt, but to no avail: they argued that people have a “right” to know if the person they marry has ever been depressed since it indicates a predisposition. Even if this were true, why do you need to hear this after the third date? When you hardly know someone, such pieces of information is more likely to influence everything thta the person does or says afterwards, particularly in a community where issues of mental health is still so stigmatized.

And what about a person who has been molested? Again, the chevra argue that people have the right to know this because – get this – “48% of boys who have been molested go on to later have some sort of homosexual experience.” (And what percentage of boys who have not been molested have some sort of homosexual experience…?) Even if this outlandish statistic were true, that still doesn’t change the fact that a person has a right to maintain his or her privacy, particularly before really feeling invested in a relationship! Suppose, for example, a guy who was once molested is trying to keep this info under wraps but tells someone after a third date because his rabbi told him that is what he has to do. Not only is it likely that the girl will get freaked out, but what are the odds that the guy will be able to maintain his privacy and the whole community will not find about this? And if the first and second girl respect his privacy, what about the fifth and sixth? What if someone asks her best friend why she stopped dating that nice guy after the third date?

I agree that people who are about to be married should ideally feel comfortable sharing their life experiences with each other. The difference is that once people actually have a relationship with someone, they can hear information and place it in a greater context. They have a better appreciation of whether – and how – this person is affected by their experience. They have a greater respect for the person’s privacy so that if they decide that this is something that they can not deal with they may be less likely to spill the beans to someone else.

While I understand that in some segments of the Orthodox community the third date is some sort of symbol that things are going well, I can’t imagine that it changes the laws of social interaction completely. It doesn’t change the fact that three dates is not enough to really feel that you are in a relationship with someone. It’s hard enough for so many people to get married because of their “stigmas” – shouldn’t they be able to at least have a chance to demonstrate who they really are before being forced to hold up the scarlet letter? And if people are afraid that once people actually know each other better – like after, gasp, the tenth date! – they would be more likely to overlook these “major” issues – well, that maybe that ought to tell us something about whether we really have the “right” to about certain things so early on in a relationship.

What do people have the right to know early on? Where do we draw the line? Does a person need to reveal that they had issues of self esteem at fourteen? Does someone need to share that their grandparents all died from heart disease, suggesting that there is a predisposition in the family? Does a person need to reveal that in fourth grade he or she was jealous of a friend and stole a watch before returning it the next day? I mean, maybe it suggests a predisposition. Does someone need to reveal that he or she was depressed and took meds for a few months after losing a parents in a tragic accident? Does someone need to reveal that he or she was once grabbed by someone but he or she managed to run away before anything really “happened”? Does someone need to reveal that that he or she was depressed but DID NOT take meds because he or she was afraid what it would do to shidduchim? Where does it end? And does the fact that people feel that they would “like to know” something about the person mean that they actually have a right to know it straight up? Maybe we should all hand in a complete DNA report at the end of the third date.

Travels and Travails on the Subway

Frum people will often give me a funny look when I tell them where my school is located and how I take the train there everyday. Then they give me the anxious questions or comments of my bravery. Whenever I maintain how non-scary the ride is, I always get small sympathetic smiles usually spared for those who have gone off their rocker.

So just to set the record straight – yes, I take buses and trains through neighborhoods where I am likely to be the only or one of the only white people, and no, I have never had a frightening experience. I’ve never been mugged, assaulted, or harrassed. In fact, I have a much better time than when travelling through the financial districts in Manhattan. Riding the train near my school is far more entertaining – the people are friendlier, more laid-back, and you meet all sorts of interesting – but non-frightening- folk.

First there are the Candymen. Not to be confused with the roly-poly white-haired guy in shul, the candy guys I’m talking about are a group of teenage young men who sell M&Ms and Jolly Ranchers on the subway, all making a variation of the following sales pitch: “Attention ladies and gentlemen, sorry for the interruption, I’m here today to sell candy, not to no basketball team or football team, just to have some money in my pockets to stay in school and out of trouble…” My favorite is the dude who says “I’m selling candy because it’s better than selling drugs…” How often does a bag of chocolate come with such a feel-good public service announcement? But seriously, these guys are often really sweet, even if a buck for M&Ms is a total rip-off.

Next are the hiphop gymansts. Every once in a while I run into these guys who play hip-hop on a boombox while they do all these cool dance and acrobatic moves on the subway pools. You gotta hand it to anyone who can do flips and somersaults on a crowded train. Not to mention anyone who can get a trainful of strangers laughing, clapping, and conversing amongst themselves about a common spectacle. Naturally they walk off the train with their own public service announcements, “Stay in school!” and “Don’t talk to strangers on the train, this is New York!”

Then there are the musicians.  For one thing, there are a few groups of Mariachis who play traditional Mexican music on their accordions. Then there is a barbershop quartet of middle-aged black men who sing spirituals or gospel songs with three different harmonies.  Yesterday I met a new musician who boards the train with an electric guitar and announces that he has come to serenade the Lovely Woman with the Gray Suit. He then starts singing “My Girl,” substituting some of the lyrics about the Woman in the Gray Suit, how she looks like a manager and probably gets to boss around lots of men at work, etc. He dedicated his next song to the Woman in the Yellow Shirt. At the chorus he calls out, “Come on, sing everyone! Even white people!” People then gave him money while he announced that he would accept cash, travellers checks, clothes, food, weed, and college credits. “I have three kids at home, and they all need iPods,” he said finally. Hopefully he was kidding, but in any case he seemed like such a sweet guy that I think I would have been willing to pay for one song off of iTunes for his kids. Yes, I’m a sucker. As is anyone who enjoys hours of subway travel.

But at least I don’t spend those hours biting off my nails, scared of all the frightening people with their carriages and children and packages who don’t hurt anyone.

How to Talk Shadchan

Here are some statements commonly made by shadchanim and what they may REALLY be thinking when they say them:

* Politically correct disclaimer: these translations do not necessarily reflect my beliefs, but a satirical view on what I presume to be the beliefs of shadchans.

What the shadchan says:

“She’s from a very balabatish family.”

What the shadchan means:

“Your son won’t have to work outside of yeshiva a day in his life.”

“He’s very well-rounded.”

Translation: He knows his Gemara but can also recite all the recent stats of the Yankees.

“They’re a lovely family.”

Translation: They’re a bunch of weirdos.

“(S)he has a very interesting  perspective on things.”

Translation: (S)he is freaking nuts.

“She really has her priorities straight.”

Translation: She’s majoring in speech or occupational therapy.

“She went to all the right places.”

Tranlation: She went to Bnos Chava seminary and Touro College.

“He’s very frum but wordly.”

Translation:  Don’t worry, he still watches episodes of Law and Order: SVU.

“She’s a typical Shulamis girl.”

Translation: May want to get a virginity check.

“She’s a good Prospect girl.”

Translation: She may be a bum, but she’s a bum with good grades and she doesn’t sing Hatikva.

“You two are perfect for each other.”

Translation: I mean, she’s a girl and you’re a boy, aren’t you?

“The mother is very classy.”

Translation: You know I don’t work with families who stack and use plastic tablecloths.

“Oh, it’s m’shamayim, I’m just a shaliach.”

Translation: Don’t blame me if it totally bombs.

“Don’t worry, it’s bashert.”

Translation: He thought you were too fat.

“You need to make more hishtadlus.”

Translation: Better lose the Seminary Fifteen.

“No one’s perfect.”

Translation: Who do you think you are? Just settle down with any shmoe already.

“She said you two –  well, I personally never would have thought it, but go ahead.”

Translation: I don’t want her to get my shadchanus money.

“Trust me, (s)he’s not for you.”

Translation: You know I know what’s best for you. How dare you question my wisdom?

“Your standards are too high.”

Translation: Your parents are divorced, what do you expect me to have for you?

“They’re a very close-knit family.”

Translation: You will never get your mother-in-law off your back.

“I don’t have anyone for you right now. ”

Translation: I don’t work with YU people. Go find someone on your own.

“They’re very out-of-townish.”

Translation: They’re somewhat open-minded.

“(S)he takes dating very seriously.”

Translation: Massive commitment issues.

“(S)he is very passionate.”

Translation: Bring pepper spray with you.

“He’s very leibedik.”

Translation: He gets stone drunk at weddings and on Purim.

“She has a lot of simachas ha’chaim.”

Translation: You can’t get a word of sense out of her.

“He has a very long list.”

Translation: He’s too good for you.

“Why don’t you give it one more date?”

Translation: You don’t want end up as an old maid, do you?

“You can’t expect to hear bells by your third date.”

Translation: Your mind has been poisoned by goyish narishketit about love and romance. You have the rest of your life to fall in love.

“You don’t really know someone until you’re married.”

Translation: You won’t know him any better after twenty dates than fifteen, so you may as well just get engaged already.

“You have to have bitachon.”

Translation: No, I don’t have anyone for you, so stop bugging me.

“All in the right time.”

Translation: Ever consider getting your eggs frozen?


All in good fun, of course. 😉



Henry Higgins meets the frum community

Do you have a frum accent?

I was listening to a convo with my friends, who were discussing how you can always tell when frum people from Brooklyn call into the radio, and not because they say things like baruch Hashem a lot. This convo got me thinking about the phonetics of the frum dialect, at least the dialect I hear around me in Brooklyn.

According to an unofficial Gallup poll (Snarkodox, 2008),  many frum people believe that they can tell whether a wrong number they’ve dialed belongs to a frum person. (Of course, many of the right and wrong numbers will belong to frum people in this neighborhood, so that may be due to chance). Many also claim to differentiate frum Ashkenazim and Sephardim. Many of my surveyees also maintain that they can usually tell whether a non-Chasid or Chasida is from Flatbush or Boro Park solely based on accent. Most admitted to accent profiling when trying to determine whether someone is a BT or not (they claim it is not based on choice of words). 

Hence my non-official results are suggestive of the presence of a distinct “classic” Ashkenazi-frum accent, apparently discernible from the classic Syrian-Jewish, Italian- African-, Mexican-, Dominican-, and Russian-American accents. This is supported by the “yeshivish (dialect)” article by the highly reliable Wikipedia, which differntiates this dialect from the “Jewish New York” one. Of course not all frum Jews fit into this accent, just as not all people from other ethnic groups fit display “their” accent.

I’m curious about how people feel about their “frum” accent. Do you have  one? Have you ever had an experience when someone expected something of you solely based on the way you talk? (Because it’s not often to be judged by dress.) Anyone ever try to get ride of their frum accent, like at school or work? Ever told you sounded too frum (even by Orthodox people)? …