Forum Replies Created
Give Me a Break,
The PETA slogan is, “Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment.” But according to the Torah, animals do belong to us to use responsibly & without inflicting unnecessary cruelty (tza’ar baalai chayim). They believe animals have rights; I believe that people have responsibilites which include treating animals appropriately.
Their views on animal testing are a natural extension of this motto. Even if I agree with some of their positions, I could never support them, because their viewpoint is diametrically opposed to mine.
I agree–it’s possible to criticize someone’s words without impugning his character or his Jewishness.
I agree with the posters who suggested vocational testing.
Another point: if you like some aspects of teaching but have trouble with large classes & grading lots of papers, tutoring one-on-one or in small groups may be a better fit for you.
You may want to try to sign up with a temp agency; that could give you a chance to work at different companies & find out about different jobs.
illini07, who of all the primary candidates do you think would have been the best president?
SJS, I attended a midwestern state university. It was huge but I lived with my parents for free & paid only in-state tuition. I also preferred the classic ME stuff–I did work a summer for the local electric utility but only did intern-type stuff. That’s great that Con Ed is good about shabbos–do you do a lot of field work? I took the FE right after I graduated–that way I didn’t have to worry about forgetting all about electric circuits.
I worked for a defense contractor which sounds high-tech but was generally the regular engineering stuff, plus everything had to meet military specs.
I figured I’d like engineering because when I was in high school I liked math & physics and, even though everyone else disliked word problems, I thought they were neat.
Sorry about taking this off-topic.
I trained as an engineer too. I worked when my husband was learning in kollel & later when he was in school/ training. Now I’m home with my kids because that works better for us now, but I really liked the work.
I also got some reactions from people about engineering school, but in some ways I think engineering is less problematic than other degrees. One reason people object to college is that the course content can include ideas that are not compatible with frum beliefs, but generally engineering degrees require very few humanitites/ social science courses.
If you don’t mind my asking, what did you major in? I have a Masters in mechanical.
oomis, I often agree with you, but I disagree about the “lipstick on a pig” phrase, & here’s why:
Here’s the paragraph of Obama’s speech in which he used the phrase:
“That’s just calling something the same thing something different. You know you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. You know you can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change, it’s still going to stink after eight years. We’ve had enough of the same old thing.”
It’s clear from the context that he was saying that calling the “same old thing” something new didn’t make it different–his point is that McCain is more of the same even if he calls himself something else. The phrase “eight years” makes it clear he’s not talking about Palin, but rather that he’s trying to associate McCain with President Bush.
Obama’s used the “lipstick on a pig” several times, as late as a year ago.
Also, as Obama later said, if the analogy in any way refers to Palin, it’s calling her the “lipstick” to McCain’s “pig”, which is no more sexist than McCain referring to Clinton’s health care plan as “lipstick on a pig” earlier this year.
That’s not to say that I think Obama’s a good candidate for president, just that this phrase proves nothing either way.
Sometimes I think that when it comes to certain conservative personalities I think some frum people feel that if “the liberals” hate him/her so much he/she must be ok.
Personally I lost a lot of respect for Rush Limbaugh after he referred to Chelsea Clinton as the “White House dog” when she was 12 years old.
Thanks for all the responses.
My choice is much more obscure: the late Illinois Senator Paul Simon. He ran in the 1988 Democratic primary but didn’t get far in a crowded field; Dukakis got the nomination & lost to George H. W. Bush.
I think he had a lot of qualifications that made him a good candidate then & make me wish we had someone like him running now. He built a small-town newapaper into a chain of 14 newspapers & used it to campaign agaisnt crime & government corruption. He served in the Army during the Korean War & throughout his career on the state & national level he was known for his bipartisanship & success in working with Republicans. He was a fiscal conservative who campaigned for civil rights & against violence & obscenity in the media. He also was a university professor & author of over 20 books, & was considered to be pro-Israel.
Unfortunately all most people remember about him is the bow tie & the funny name.
Joseph & lammed hey, please write why you chose those candidates.
Wow, jent actually agreed with me. I’m speechless.
tzippi, what mileage do you get? I drive a 15-year-old Chevrolet Sportvan (12-seater also) & get 10 mpg on a combination of city/ highway driving.
the Rambam as quoted by Zalman says:
“However, it is degrading for a woman to always be outside and on the streets. A man should prevent his wife from doing so. She should go outside once or twice a month, according to the need.”
As I’ve written previously, childcare/ educational/ household tasks require that I do go out nearly every day, and most of my friends with young children do the same (we live in a large frum community in the northeast). This is clearly in excess of the ideal “once or twice a month” advocated by the Rambam.
You’ve noted that the words of the Rambam are not meant to apply only to his time, or to be understood in a figurative sense. The Rambam as quoted here did not make exceptions to say that it’s all right for women to go outside frequently if they are taking their children to the park or for a medical checkup, or if they are taking their children to or from school or buying groceries.
So, once again, here’s my question: Why do you suppose the Gedolim haven’t spoken out against these practices, and given advice on how communities should restructure so that women no longer need to leave their homes frequently to perform these tasks? And if Gedolim have addressed this issue, please share with us the names of the Gedolim & the suggestions they have made, without telling me to consult my LOR.
SJSinNYC, I agree with a lot of what you write. People do have to learn to live within their means. I also grew up having somewhat less than many around me, and I also learned to be careful with money. I don’t feel I need to use my limited financial resources (B”H we have enough, but none of us have unlimited funds) on a shaitel or a new vehicle when a hat or snood & used van (over 15 years old B”H) work just as well for me.
However, I think that a lot of people do find it difficult to have less than those around them. Also, some people in some frum communities are suspicious of those who do things differently than they do, even if it’s for financial reasons. Complicating these issues is the fact that young people incur some of the expenses you mentioned, such as seminary & wedding costs, at a time when their financial outlook may not have fully matured. For these reasons, many people may find takanos helpful, since they help take the pressure off.
I also think that classes in managing household finances should be manadatory in sll frum schools at the high school level.
Just for the record, Al Gore never claimed to have invented the internet; he claimed (correctly) to have worked on the legislation that funded the formation of the internet as we know it today.
As a side point, I can’t understand why Ann Coulter is so popular and widely-quoted by frum Jews, even in publications such as the Yated; there are so many conservative columnists who express themselves in a more refined way that there’s no need to resort to this Father Coughlin wanna-be.
Itzik_s, I guess I’m more gullible than I thought. Just to clarify, when you wrote, “Actually I know of a family or shadchan who requested the above information for prospective kallahs’ mothers and sisters as well.”, to which of the shidduch questions were you referring? Or were you really not referring to any of them?
Itzik_S, if you are serious, why did this gaon’s family feel these questions were relevant? Why exactly should a woman’s growth history & detailed medical history matter (I understand basic health issues are relevant)? I assume you are kidding about the security clearance part, right? Because those are done through DISCO, not the FBI or CIA. And even they don’t ask such irrelevant trivial questions.
Joseph, I guess I’m getting stuck on the Rambam saying that ideally a woman should leave her home no more than twice a month. Since I need to leave my house almost every day to take care of the aformentioned tasks, and most of my friends with similarly-sized families have schedules like mine, I don’t see how most women can meet this ideal. I was asking about ideas on how to accomplish this.
And in my experience a task performed with a child in tow tends to be more “public” than the same task performed alone. For example, grocery shopping with my children takes longer & involves more interaction with others (e.g., due to bathroom breaks) than grocery shoppping alone. I am comfortable with this because this allows me to spend more time with my children & model correct public behavior, which I consider to be a higher priority at this time than minimizing my time spent outside the home. But the quotes above seem to imply that this is not correct.
This is not to say that I disagree with the Rambam C”V. I’m just confused about how these statements apply to the everyday lives of myself & most of the frum women I know, given the daily tasks we perform. And the questions I’ve been asking have been an attempt to find an answer to this.
Jospeh, as I’ve indicated in previous posts, I’m not discussing the issue of women working outside the home. I’m asking about tips on how to perform household/ childcare tasks such as transporting children (to school/ camp/ playdates/ learning groups/ doctor & other appointments), supervising children at play & taking them on outings, & grocery & household shopping, all while minimizing time spent outside the home. I do spend most of my time with my family, but haven’t figured out how to do these tasks without leaving the house. (I usually bring my kids along, both to maximize the time I spend with them & to teach them appropriate public behavior).
It’s clear that you’d prefer not to share specific ideas, so I’ll end the conversation here.
Joseph, I would appreciate hearing these suggestions because I think I might get some ideas from them, even if they don’t come from my LOR. If they are not helpful to me, someone else posting or lurking here could benefit. Even if that’s not the case, I’d gain a better understanding & appreciation of how another frum person conducts her life. And isn’t that what this forum, at its best, is all about?
If Zalman or another poster would like to share ideas on this, I’d appreciate it too.
If you’d still rather not share, I understand. I’m just explaining why I think I and others could benefit from these suggestions.
Joseph, please share with us the suggestions your wife has implemented in order to minimize time spent outside the home performing household/ childcare chores, or advice given by your LOR on this issue. As Tzippi mentioned, she’d like to hear these suggestions too, & so I’m sure would others.
Joseph, would you share with us the suggestions that the gedolim have made regarding how household/ childraising tasks should be performed so that women can avoid leaving the home?
Joseph, I did ask my LOR, & he had no problems with this. Again, why do you suppose the gedolim haven’t addressed this important issue?
Joseph & Zalman,
In my previous post I gave several examples of tasks that wives in frum communities, especially those who are mothers, typically perform, even if they do not work outside the home. These include taking children to/ from school, camps, learning groups, & doctor appointments; taking children to the park & other outings & supervising outdoor play; and household shopping & other errands. In many frum communities, these tasks cannot be performed without leaving the home.
My question to you is, why do you suppose it is that there has not yet been a statement from the gedolim discouraging women from performing these tasks, & describing how these duties should be performed so that women are only required to leave home twice a month?
lammed hay, you write:
“The best learners (which you are rightfully looking for) have always married the rich mans daughter (and nothing came of them) or the rosh yeshiva’s daughter (and possibly became a gadol).”
I disagree with the first part of your sentence. Historically, many of the “best learners” who married the rich man’s daughter did not have “nothing” come of them. Offhand, I can think of the Chofetz Chaim as an example of this.
The last time Joseph mentioned this quote in a thread about tznius, I asked a question I’ll reiterate here, since I don’t remember receiving an answeer from him. Even if a woman doesn’t work outside the home, she still must leave the house to perform all sorts of errands, especially if she has children. Some of these include: bringing children to/ from school, camp, learning groups, and playdates; bringing children to/ from medical & other appointments; errands such as grocery shopping, buying clothers & other necessities; and bringing children to the park, zoo, or museum, or just supervising them outside while they play. All of these important tasks require that a woman spend time outside the home. So how can she fulfill “Kol Kevodo…”, if this is understood literally, while performing these tasks?
havesomeseichel, thanks for sharing your experience. Based on your experiences, would you homeschool your own children?
proud mother, do you believe that if one is not taking a tangible item then there can be no din of stealing?
chaimsmom, would you mind sharing the reasons you chose to homeschool? Do you have other children, and, if so, did you choose to homeschool them too? Also, how did you prepare yourself to teach him all the subjects he needed to know? If you’d prefer not to share here I understand.
Joseph, if you believe Azi is Avrohom Avinu, what does that make his mother? Sorry, but I disagree with you.
Your daughter is very young. You may want to try keeping her home with you for a couple of years & forgoing playgroup, and seeing how that works for you. That may give you an idea as to whether homeschooling suits you & your family.
I do keep my children home with me until they are 4 or 5; they socialize by playing with their siblings & neighbors, and start school in pre-kindergarten at around age 4-1/2. This has worked well for us. Even if you don’t choose to homeschool there are many ways you can supplement her education at home after school & during the summer.
I remember reading an article years ago in the Jewish Observer criticizing women who choose to space apart their births. At one point the article described a fictional Jewish woman who was feeling overwhelmed with several young children, & lamented her decision to wait to have more children.
I found this article very disturbing for a couple of reasons. Besides the fact that the article not once mentioned the possibility that this mother (or any of the other mothers mentioned, fictional or real) could possible get some help from her husband in caring for the children, this article was published shortly after the Andrea Yates case.
I attended an Israeli seminary over 15 years ago, so I’m not sure how relevant my experience is, but here it is: I personally felt that seminary was very helpful for me; I knew I’d be attending college, so I felt it was important to continue my Jewish education past high school also.
B”H I had a lot of financial aid from various sources, & used money from summer jobs to help pay for it. The seminary provided 3 meals/ day & I had relatives near the seminary so my other expenses were minimal.
I did attend a prominent “name” seminary in E”Y, because I felt it would be a more valuable experience for me; although I didn’t agree with everything the administration/ teachers said, I learned a lot from their views. Often disagreeing with a hashkafa shared by a teacher forced me to articulate (to myself) why I disagreed; this allowed me to either change my views or clarify them (or sometimes some of both).
Obviously no one should be insulted for wearing a snood or hat instead of a shaitel. This is especially true given that a shaitel is so much more expensive, & I’d guess that many in Lakewood are on tight budgets.
For the record, I’ve never lived in Lakewood. When my husband was training, we couldn’t afford to replace my shaitel when it wore out, so I’ve been wearing snoods or hats for the past several years. I find snoods & hats much more comfortable to wear, so I haven’t gotten around to replacing my shaitel. There are times when I am one of the only women at an event not wearing a shaitel, but no one has ever commented to me about it.
squeak, how does the halacha apply if the person (call him A) who prevents the other (call hm B) from living is the one who put B in the situation in the first place. In your analogy, if A ties up B & B starves to death, what is the halachah?
Although since one of the 7 Noachide laws is to set up courts, I’d say regardless of the halachah, the relevant point should be what US law has to say about it.
Is it tznius for men/ boys to wear crocs?
ulisis, most people never encounter rpn. Even in engineering school I used TI calculators or computers (by the way, I think spreadsheets are vastly underated as a tool for performing nested calculations, & make checking your work so easy) so I never had to learn rpn, though of course I knew what it was. Most people outside of technical majors have never heard of it though, & if you’ve never heard of it before it does sound odd (it did to me the first time I heard of it), so please take it easy on JosephII.
gavra_at_work, I briefly considered taking my kids out of school but felt that the socialization was important. Also, even though I am B”H well-educated I feel that I’m better equipped to supplement my kids education at home than provide all of it myself. There are lots of opportunities to reinforce their learning at home & I try to take advantage of these as well as I can.
When I lost my job my husband had only 16 months of training left, so I knew this situation would be of relatively brief duration, which made it easier to deal with. Also, after that first humiliating meeting, during which the administrator justified his behavior by saying “this is how the schools in ‘specific much-larger Jewish community’ collect tuition” I think he must have talked to some people in that particular community & found out that this wasn’t the case (I know someone who’s on the tuition committee in the main yeshiva k’tana in the community he named, & this person told me that this scenario would never have occurred there). In any case, during later meetings he seemed more understanding.
He never actually kicked our kids out of the school, & our children were not aware of what happened at the meeting. If he would’ve done that I probably would have home-schooled my children.
Joseph II, ulisis didn’t make up the term RPN, so please don’t take offense. And HP still manufactures calculators that use RPN.
ulisis, I hope you don’t find this too personal, but is your username a reference to Ulysses?
WolfishMusings, I agree with Feif Un that any task one does for his/ her family–feeding, diapering, and bathing children; cleaning laundry; grocery shopping, cooking, & baking; driving carpools; general house maintenance; and earning income–are holy tasks if done with the intention of performing the chessed of supporting & raising a Torah family. It doesn’t matter if a man or woman is performing the task.
I think the reason the holiness of these tasks is emphasized more wrt women than men is because women don’t have the same mitzvah of limud torah as men do. Also, often women perform many of the repetitive, seemingly mundane tasks of family & household maintenance, so reinforcement of this concept is important.
I also agree with the point oomis1105 raised that women often help their children with their homework in Jewish & secular subjects. Certainly if I hadn’t received the wonderful education I had, my 9-year-old son’s mishnayos homework would’ve been incomplete on the four nights out of five that my husband worked late (no, I did not learn mishnayos in school, but learning chumash & navi with commentaries taught me what I needed to know to read the mishnayos text & commentaries). But that’s not the primary reason for girls to receive an education.
He’s still there; I don’t know if his attitude has changed. But, B”H, we’re not there anymore. The most ironic part about my experience is that while I was working outside the home, many of those in the school community criticized me because I worked & was not a teacher, secretary, or nurse; however, those jobs did not suit me & would not have generated sufficient income to support my family. (For what it’s worth, I had a white-collar, respectable job).
This experience has taught me to be more tolerant of others & to truly appreciate the community I’m living in now.
Feif Un, there are many conservatives who believe that forms of contraception used by many in the frum community are also a form of abortion, & are legislating to make these medications less accessable. Many conservatives also believe that most forms of assisted reproductive technology, including those sponsored by worthy organizations such as Bonei Olam, are contrary to their religion.
Personally I think that the separation of church & state was intended to protect minority religions such as ours from prostelytizing or coercion from the majority. I don’t understand those who are so eager to tear it down.
When I lived in a smaller Jewish community, I had 2 children in school. My husband & I were not earning much; I was earning a little more than him, & nearly all of my salary after paying for childcare for my 3 younger children was used to pay tuition. We also gave most of our maaser money to the school, adding up to 2 years of tuition. This ended when I lost my job after my boss found out I was expecting another baby.
My husband & I met with the school administrator to tell him I’d lost my job & would no longer be able to pay full tuition as we’d been paying. The executive director told me to “just find another job”. I told him that though I was trying, I was having some trouble, due to my husband’s long work hours & the fact that I visibly pregnant. He suggested that if we had more mesiras nefesh we’d manage to find the money anyways. Years before I’d given up my once-weekly cleaning help & a replacement shaitel in order to pay full tuition; by this point I’d resorted to feeding my children powdered milk instead of fresh. (Once it was clear that I wouldn’t find a job I removed my younger children from daycare & kept them home with me; we also qualified for WIC services, which allowed me to feed my children B”H). So I asked the administrator in what areas he expected me to economize so as to afford full tuition. His reply was that we weren’t trying hard enough.
A friend of ours, who was a pediatrician, told us that when she had enrolled her children in the same school years before, this administrator told her that he expected her to work additional shifts so she could pay extra money to the school in addition to full tuition for her two children.
The problem was that in this school about half of the students didn’t pay any tuition because they were children of kollel members, teachers, or administrators. Therefore the administration was forced to balance the school budget on the backs of those who were not klei kodesh. We never wanted anything for free, but after I lost my job we were earning much less than these klei kodesh & were simply unable to pay full tuition anymore. B”H eventually the administrator agreed to give us a discount; however, this humiliating treatment was one reason we decided to leave the community when my husband finished his training & found another job.
This was Michael Colameco’s Food Talk program on WOR 710.
I asked about who mended his shirts because I think most men can & should learn how to sew on a button. So should most women, though, so you are right that his wife should have known how to also.
The term “colored” & the n-word were also originally descriptive terms. Nevertheless, because of how these terms were used over the years, they are considered racial epiphets today. Similarly, given that African-Americans may have unpleasant associations with the term “shvartze” (though not to the same degree), I’d avoid using it as well. In general, I consider it appropriate to use the most neutral (meaning connotation-free) terms possible when referring to someone of another racial/ ethnic/ religious group.
Practically, it makes sense to folow these rules in private as well, because it avoids bad habits. And obviously if one has young children this is especially important.
Thanks for your reply. I agree that mandating that Bais Yaakov girls wear the same plaid skirts as Catholic schoolgirls makes economic sense. But why is it considered appropriate to dress this way, when copying the fashions of a non-Jewish segment of the public would generally (as noted in multiple posts above) be considered unacceptable? This is something that has always seemed odd to me, perhaps because I never had a real school uniform (except in seminary, sort of–are students at BJJ still required to wear “blue & brown”?).
This is off-topic, but it is relevant to the point raised in previous posts about not wearing clothes that are worn by the general public. Why is it that so many girls’ school uniforms include plaid skirts that are identical in pattern (though not length) to those worn by Catholic schoolgirls?
When listening to a cooking show on the radio I heard the host suggest poaching tuna steaks–cooking in a pot of seasoned simmering water.
Your post said exactly what I thought but couldn’t articulate about this Jewish urban legend. Also by 1968 Kathleen Kennedy had died, as well as Joe’s grandson Patrick.
I don’t usually take my kids to a kiddush unless it’s for a close friend or neighbor. When I do take them, I watch how they behave & let them sit if there’s enough room. Usually I have a baby on my lap & have my kids share seats. I prefer for them to sit rather than stand because they are less messy that way, but if an adult needs a seat I will offer one.
ujm, I don’t think that was helpful. Even if the original poster’s clothing is not tznius (which isn’t clear to me from the letter), how does gossiping about her help? It’s especially inappropriate for men to be discussing the way she dresses; in fact, I’d call that pritzus.
To the letter writer:
I’m sorry you are in such a difficult situation. Sometimes people are just nasty to those who are different. I used to live in a smaller frum community where many people judged me because of my job. I held a regular white-collar job, and dressed much like the other women in my community (the only difference was that my clothes were older & I couldn’t afford a shaitel), but because I wasn’t a teacher or nurse or secretary (all perfectly honorable jobs that happened not to suit my situation) I was criticized & insulted. People didn’t care that my husband was attending school at that time & earning little or no income.
I’d never been the sort of person to tell other people how to live their lives, or to discuss other people, mostly because I’m trying to live my own life as well as I can. However, being at the receiving end of so much criticism has made me less likely to judge other people, even to myself. Now B”H I live in another larger community; I don’t work outside the home now, but my friends wouldn’t judge me if I did.
I didn’t mean to hijack this just to talk about myself, but rather to say that I really sympathize with your situation. I also wanted to add that your community may not be as homogeneous as it seems. It may be possible to find friends who won’t judge you by your clothes. If you have young children, you may be able to meet other people at the park or a children’s museum. If you don’t, a chessed group may be a good way to find friends.