Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Uncategorized category.

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.

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.


Hey there!

I gotta tell ya, I’ve tried doing this blog thing before but never really kept it for too long. I’ve learned that I was trying a bit too hard – my posts were too long, I thought I actually needed to make a point in each post, and I tried too hard to be diplomatic. So enough of that. This time I’m gonna try to keep it real – but still, you may not want to get too attached to me yet if you’re a sensitive type.

Anyway, as it says in my profile, I’m in a bit of an identity crisis here. I grew up Ultra Ortho, am finding my way moving more into the Modern Ortho community, and am trying to find my place here. Not wanting to piss people off shouldn’t stop be from snarking a bit about the quirks of the frum community, should it? 😉

Welcome to my world. Hope to see ya ’round.