Forum Replies Created
August 20, 2019 3:17 pm at 3:17 pm in reply to: Learning From the Recent Drowning Tragedies #1777198
Yes, it’s HaShem who decides, but we have to do our hishtadlus, according to V’nishmartem, and yes, it isn’t rocket science to wear a vest out boating or not to swim where there isn’t a lifeguard.
We need to make water safety – and other types of safety – part of the yeshiva curriculum, starting in yeshiva ketana. I can swim like a fish, but I would never go into the water on a deserted beach at night, not even knee-high, or let any child with me do anything like that. Every neshama counts.July 29, 2019 10:36 am at 10:36 am in reply to: Is Harry Potter kosher #1766394
It’s pretty obvious that a lot of people posting here haven’t read the Potter books. I read them all back in the days when they came out and there are two points here:
1) What is described as “magic” in the books has nothing to do with kishuf. It’s a genetically inherited ability to alter the physical world in ways “muggles” can’t. Thus it is similar to other genetic abilities like perfect pitch or perfect memory. There is no “paganism” involved. Far from seeking it, some wizards / witches actually seek to escape having it. The use of the terms “witches” and “wizards” is simply a play on the English words and doesn’t really refer to what most people over history have meant by them. Also, the wizarding world celebrates Xmas and Easter as well as Halloween (All Hallows Eve – instituted by the Roman Catholic church to replace a pagan holiday).
2) Having gone to public school, and spent years dodging my concerned friends who were trying to “save my soul,” I know far more about Xtianity than I would like. There is nothing in the books that is explicitly of that religion until the end of the very last book, in which Harry dies and is returned to life to save his friends. And if you didn’t know that was based on their doctrine, you might miss the religious reference altogether. Yes, the virtues of friendship, etc. are there, but there isn’t a visible element of religious belief that could be thought of as missionizing.
As far as religion goes, as far as I can see the books are OK. They’re well-written and keep kids’ attention while they build reading skills. Whether you allow your children to read them is up to you and your LOR. Books 4-7 of course have the characters as teenagers, and there are plot elements that don’t occur (we hope) in the frum world. If you allow your children to read secular fiction, I would recommend first reading the books yourself before giving them to your kids, and then deciding whether or not to allow them.September 4, 2018 8:05 pm at 8:05 pm in reply to: Some thoughts on Labor Day #1587235
It’s very obvious that Amil Zola is as old as she says she is, assuming she’s in the same age bracket as her husband who opened the account. Very few younger people would know who Emil Zola was. (One person here does seem to know – hence their question about spelling.) He was the principle defender of Alfred Dreyfus, whose anti-Semitic trial inspired Theodor Herzl to campaign for a Jewish state.
Yes, late life babies existed even back in the day, although they were rarer. We should be treasuring our seniors for what they can tell us of history. (Disclaimer: I’m 72- not old enough yet to be an authority, but working on it. :-))September 4, 2018 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm in reply to: Why are Children from divorced homes treated as second class citizens? #1586293
Yes, the stigma is there. And it gets worse when the time comes for shidduchim. It is generally less out of town, but all depends on the attitudes of the local community and of the particular rebbe. Some rebbeim are sympathetic, others – who are probably less sensitive to children in general – can be difficult.
Generally, the smaller the community, the more accepting people are. Best to get out of the New York-New Jersey area, far from the operations of the “cookie-cutter” that is driving so many of our kids off the derech.
ZD – Sushi free? That’s a new one on me. What could be wrong with sushi? I don’t eat it because I don’t like it, but what shaiches is there to how frum someone is?August 22, 2018 6:01 pm at 6:01 pm in reply to: Halachic question regarding bal tashchis and tza’ar baalei chayim #1578949
RebYidd – sorry, but there are no domesticated foxes, except those which are raised in cages for their fur. Having a pet fox is illegal in most places, and it’s wise to be careful of the wild ones anyway, since a few of them carry rabies. Foxes are indeed amazing, but if they’re eating your chickens or your cat or turning over your garbage cans, maybe you’d like to admire them from a distance.
The OP should just be happy that they’re not coyotes. Those have moved across Canada (interbreeding with wolves on the way) and are now working their way down the east coast of the US. And they’ll not only eat your cat, they’ll eat that fox, too.August 22, 2018 2:04 pm at 2:04 pm in reply to: Halachic question regarding bal tashchis and tza’ar baalei chayim #1578784
By the way, foxes are a protected species. It’s illegal to kill one without a permit. You could get in trouble if you do. Check with your local city/county office. Shooting rocks at in your yard is OK, though, as long as you don’t injure or kill it.August 22, 2018 2:03 pm at 2:03 pm in reply to: Halachic question regarding bal tashchis and tza’ar baalei chayim #1578781
Call your local city/county government’s Animal Control. They might have some good ideas, like trapping and relocating the fox, or sprays or other repellents to keep it away. Shooting stuff at it won’t help. Foxes are smart – it’ll just come around when you’re not there. Unless you want to get a dog and keep it out in the yard most of the time.
Why is it worrying you? Do you keep chickens or something that you’re afraid it will eat? Then it would be a good idea to critter-proof their pen. And if you’re keeping chickens, check with your local zoning people. In some places it’s against the law and you could get hit with an expensive fine. If you’re afraid it will eat your cat, just keep your cat inside. For a small dog, just never let it out without you. Foxes have a reputation for being smart, and they deserve it.August 22, 2018 2:02 pm at 2:02 pm in reply to: Getting a BTL and Going to Law School? #1578777
There’s an aspect here which many people aren’t addressing. The problem is that the country – and particularly the New York area – is oversupplied with lawyers.During the time I was in New York I had one lawyer acquaintance complain to me that it was difficult to get into a good firm unless you had either gone to a big-name law school or had a fantastic GPA. And this was in the ’90s. Children of friends who have become lawyers have had difficulty finding jobs. It’s just not a good career choice any more. Better you should take an extra year or two and do “real college,” perhaps even taking some STEM courses (math won’t bite you, believe me), and prepare for a career with a good future. Check either with Agudah’s COPE program or Touro College to get information on what would be a good career path. Instead of worrying about LSATs, you might have to take the GRE, which is a much more sensible type of test. You can actually prepare for it using some of the books available, or even the materials on the GRE website. I brought my quantitative score up by 150 points just using review books, so you can certainly prepare.
Don’t do something just because everyone else is. Remember, those everyone elses are going to be out there competing with you, and if the field is limited, as law is, it won’t be a happy situation.July 28, 2018 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm in reply to: Should YWN post the negative stories of Jews? #1566285
PJ – Thank you for defending me. I agree with you that Joseph seems to have some problems relating to other people. It would be nice if he got some professional help to figure out why he feels compelled to troll strangers in the coffee room. However, even when it seems that criticism is justified (more than amply justified in this case) it’s better for a religious Jew to keep the heat down and not get carried away. You’re not hurting Joseph by using extreme language – he just thinks it’s cool to be able to bait you. Don’t give him the satisfaction of losing your temper and using language that isn’t on the level we should keep.July 28, 2018 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm in reply to: Should teachers/rebbis get a full time salary? #1566284
For those worried about teaching skills: Torah U’Mesorah has started a seminar program for kollel yungermen OOT who want to become mechanchim and want formal training. The program has been conducted in Chicago, Detroit, several other cities and currently Baltimore.
The idea that if you can’t do anything else you become a melamed is way out of date. People going into chinuch nowadays realize that it’s a profession and they need training (perhaps because they remember suffering themselves from untrained rebbeim?).
Anybody who thinks teaching is an easy job needs their head examined. If you think so, try working as a substitute rebbe/teacher in middle school, and see how many days you last (assuming you even get throught the first one).July 27, 2018 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm in reply to: Should YWN post the negative stories of Jews? #1566067
If the story is well-documented and publicizes an issue that is useful for the community to know. Not long ago it was discouraged to publish stories about abuse, on the grounds of “lashon hara” and, “What will the wife and children do for parnossah?” and so forth. Some courageous people continued anyway, and the problem was eventually recognized and addressed, with countless innocent lives being saved from ruin.
Stories about Yidden breaking the law, if they are well-founded and not just internet-sourced, are also useful because they alert people to the fact that lawbreakers get caught. Cheating the IRS or your local zoning board isn’t a safe project (besides being against halacha), and people may be discouraged from doing it if they know that they could get caught. And those who break civil law sometimes are led by the Yetzer Hara to come to be oiver halachas, like the infamous store in Monsey that sold treif meat as kosher for years.
This is one of those areas where the editors have to do a judgment call, and not everyone will agree with them. Ask yourself: if it were a matter of someone committing kashrus fraud, would you want it publicized? Why not abuse or tax fraud?July 27, 2018 11:57 am at 11:57 am in reply to: Proof Reading Forum Posts #1566063
Why not just read through the post once before posting it? Besides checking spelling and usage errors, you might have a second thought about what you wrote and want to change it a bit (or even just not post it). In writing, second thoughts are usually better thoughts.July 27, 2018 11:57 am at 11:57 am in reply to: Should teachers/rebbis get a full time salary? #1566072
Neville, and all the others here who think that teachers “have it easy.”
I know rebbeim and girls’ school teachers, and I can tell you that the average teacher works close to a full day. Besides the actual class time there are many, many other responsibilities. A teacher must prepare lessons, mark or evaluate students’ work, prepare written lesson plans and class rosters, plus other paperwork. They have to continually evaluate their students’ emotional wellbeing, and recommend them for special educational help or counseling.
And most important of all, a rebbe or teacher must be there 24/7 for his/her students. They think about their students and their problems when most people are relaxing at home or schmoozing after the daf yomi. They hold events for the children at their homes. I live on a block with two rebbeim, and both have gatherings at their homes for their students. They also give personal advice and encouragement. And frequently this intrudes on the time they need for their own families.
And then we must talk about how much time and effort they must spend interacting with parents. They respond to parents’ concerns, and frequently weather their (frequently unwarranted) criticism.
And then some of them spend money out of their own pockets for things for class, or spend hours online searching for and printing out new classroom material. Do you know that there are special internet sites sponsored by frum teachers groups (try Torah U’Mesorah) to provide supplementary materials for teachers to access on their own?
We put the future of our children and all of Klal Yisroel in the hands of our teachers. Shouldn’t we at least pay them a living wage, so they can concentrate on their jobs instead of wondering whether they’ll be able to pay the rent?July 27, 2018 11:57 am at 11:57 am in reply to: Should teachers/rebbis get a full time salary? #1566074
Another issue, which is also related to salary: shidduchim. In our age of money-obessesion, how many rebbeim can afford to offer to support a son-in-law? A friend of mine who was a rebbe virtually wept when he told me how difficult it was to find a shidduch for his daughters when he couldn’t offer any support. And he wasn’t the only one I’ve heard this from. Is this how we reward those whose hands literally hold our future?
And no, I’m not a rebbe or girls’ school teacher.July 25, 2018 7:35 pm at 7:35 pm in reply to: Hats and jackets in the street #1565152
Neat slacks, sport shirt and regular-sized yarmulkeh or cap – that’s all that’s needed. The rest is all branding – look at me I’m a “whatever.” A yeshivah bachur doesn’t need a “uniform.” What makes him what he is, is what’s inside him and how he acts. A suit, hat, tie, white shirt will not help him if he doesn’t have the pnimius. Worry about what counts, not what your mental selfie shows.July 25, 2018 7:35 pm at 7:35 pm in reply to: Yeshiva Tuition – question for executive directors #1565151
A very complicated question, since different families with the same income will have different needs. For instance, one may Ch”v have a child with special needs or medical problems that cost a good deal of money. An older parent may need help and care giving. And of course the everyday costs of life differ from place to place. Compare housing costs in Lakewood or Brooklyn with housing costs in OOT communities.
And again, different yeshivas have different budgets and different priorities. A yeshiva with a new building and a high mortgage will need a higher income than one in older or remodeled quarters, and the number of parents who can afford full tuition will make a difference too.
It would be a good idea if all yeshivas published a detailed yearly report on income and budget so parents could know exactly how much money is coming in and where it is going, letting parents feel informed instead of doubtful. For instance, doing remodeling or adding an addition instead of building a new building from scratch could avoid heavy mortgage payments and less financial strain on the school. It also helps if the school meets its payroll obligations in full on time. Financial strain on the teachers will prevent them from teaching at their best.
This is something that demands our immediate and serious attention, since the welfare of our next generation depends on how we solve the problems of our mosdos.July 24, 2018 1:55 pm at 1:55 pm in reply to: Henna tattoos #1563805
Mrs. Plony: Thank you for a voice of reason and moderation. We spend far too much time worrying about whether what the other guy does is assur, and far less time than we should wondering about what we should be doing ourselves. There is more than one way of being frum.July 23, 2018 9:41 pm at 9:41 pm in reply to: Jewish Nation-State Law #1563470
On its surface the bill is idiotic. Israel is a Jewish State, has always been a Jewish state, and no one ever suggested anything different. Arabs are given equal rights as a matter of common decency, as well as darchei shalom and belonging to the camp of democracy.
Note that the bill says that only Jews are entitled to self-determination. So only Jews have an uncontested right to vote. So the far-right can annex the West Bank and not give the Arabs there the right to vote, thus preventing the problem of a potential Arab majority.
There are people in the current government who are just crazy enough to try to do this. The result will be a catastrophe for Israel. The BDS people will be dancing in the streets, while Israel will be trying to figure out how to resettle at least a quarter of a million people who have been uprooted, including a large number of young people who have no idea of how to live in mainstream Israeli society. Not to mention the tremendous investment in housing, businesses and schools that will be lost.
And don’t tell me that Uncle Sam will protect us. The US can’t afford to support Israel economically all alone. We are in for a rough ride.July 17, 2018 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm in reply to: Would you let your children listen to non-jewish music? #1559661
There’s another issue here: how old is the child? Can an elementary school child be presented with non-Jewish music? In this case, the parent has control about what the child hears. Obviously, you’re going to be careful not to expose the child to anything confusing.
For teenagers? That’s another story. Teenagers have their own preferences, usually strongly influenced by their peer group, and may not hold with their parents’ choices. In fact, for the sake of establishing their independence they may go directly against their parents’ wishes.
Two separate problems, actually.July 17, 2018 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm in reply to: Two Children Caught With Radios In Catskills Interfering With Hatzolah Life Savi #1559633
I’m still foggy on one point: were these frum kids? If their parents are frum, that puts the responsibility squarely within the community. The parents can be warned, even threatened with cherem, if they don’t get rid of the radios and control their kids. The issue falls under bais din, and it can do what it considers necessary, unless the parents appeal to civil court, especially since it’s a matter of saving lives.
And for Heaven’s sake, let’s remember it’s the Nine Days.July 15, 2018 9:01 pm at 9:01 pm in reply to: Baltimores chassidish community is growing by leaps and bounds!!!! #1558226
Randalstown is pretty much gone. I know a daughter of the rav who used to have the shul there, and there are hardly any frum left at all. There are a few frum in Mt. Washington, but not so many, since the area is really expensive. It’s also far from kosher shopping. The Park Heights – Pikesville corridor and the northern extension into Greenspring are where most frum live. If there aren’t shuls already there, or the zoning laws will prohibit turning houses into shuls, then people just won’t move there.
I believe TA is outside the general eruv and mostly only TA faculty live there.July 15, 2018 9:00 pm at 9:00 pm in reply to: Baltimores chassidish community is growing by leaps and bounds!!!! #1558227
It is time… Goals without mitzvos are meaningless. You have to do it, not just think about it. If you don’t actually keep, then whatever you think is meaningless.
Mendelsohn was a tragic figure, caught in the middle of a change that no one understood at the time. That whole world is gone, and at this point he’s ancient history as far as frum hashkafos are concerned.
Baltimore is inclusive, not exclusive. From MO to Belz – we’re all one people with one Torah. And the ones without Torah at present are still part of us, even they’re currently a little confused.July 15, 2018 6:59 pm at 6:59 pm in reply to: Baltimores chassidish community is growing by leaps and bounds!!!! #1558112
By me MO is also frum. Commitment to Torah and mitzvos is the criterion. What you wear on your head is irrelevant. In Baltimore We’re one community.
BTW, CHAI is not “less frum,” whatever that means. The senior programs are an add-on. The focus is still on home ownership for famlies. If you’re interested in buying, they have great workshops and listings for potential homeowners, plus listings for rentings.
B-moreMaven – Yes, come for a Shabbos and just walk around, but get a little background first so you know where you want to go.
(No, I’m not on the CHAI staff :-), but I’ve volunteered there. They also have a volunteer day twice a year for people to help out those in the community who can’t do their own yard work or minor repairs, which brings together all the different groups in Park Heights.)July 15, 2018 6:41 pm at 6:41 pm in reply to: Carmine Free #1558116
check at the grocer’s. It’s reddish gold.July 15, 2018 6:41 pm at 6:41 pm in reply to: Mechanchim: See something say something. #1558113
Amen.July 14, 2018 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm in reply to: Baltimores chassidish community is growing by leaps and bounds!!!! #1557728
DovidBT – best contact that I know of is CHAI – Comprehensive Housing Assistance, Inc. It started out years ago when the Park Heights area was starting to change, with the goal of keeping the community affordable for Orthodox Jewish families, and has grown steadily over the years as a resource for home owners, renters, and now seniors, helping seniors age in place. Upper Park Heights is a stable, racially mixed neighborhood of mostly Orthodox Jews and middle class African Americans, who cooperate to keep the community safe and welcoming.
CHAI is now an affiliate of the Associated Jewish Charities. The director is frum and the organization is basically oriented to frum families. There are also resources and listings for renters.
Their website is chaibaltimore.org and their phone is 410-500-5300. Their website has lots of information about the neighborhood and their services, and if you call/email they can give you referrals to other organizations in the area. Some of the staff (including one of the receptionists) are frum.
Good luck!July 11, 2018 1:19 pm at 1:19 pm in reply to: Reformed Are Jews? #1556054
Ice – you’ve been living on an island. The historical story has been, the longer an ethnic group has been in the US the more likely they are to marry “out.” In the past, new groups of immigrants were stigmatized, looked down on, and not considered quite good enough. As they go through a few generations, acquire flawless English and get their own quotas of doctors, lawyers and congress reps, they become normalized and considered acceptable. We’ve just gotten to that point on the trajectory. The newer groups are still insular, but as time passes they will be more accepted, move into neighborhoods where they aren’t threatened, and blend in. We need to offer people more than “Don’t marry out, it means that Hitler won!” or “Non-Jews are horrible and Reform/Conservative not much better.” We need to show people the meaning and beauty of Yiddishkeit to create a positive attraction.
BTW, calling people names and ridiculing them doesn’t do much to attract them, as opposed to saying, “We’ve got something great – come and check it out!”July 11, 2018 1:14 pm at 1:14 pm in reply to: Plastic straws bring joy to people. #1556052
Back then vending machines gave you your glass bottle (gasp!) without a straw. There was a bottle opener (for the metal caps) built into the machine. You opened your bottle there and walked away drinking your Coke without the aid of a straw, just tilting it up in the air. We did this in our high school cafeteria, so I guarantee you we weren’t drunk, crazy or otherwise. 🙂July 10, 2018 5:47 pm at 5:47 pm in reply to: Plastic straws bring joy to people. #1555720
I don’t like plastic straws because when I use them I swallow too much air and it gives me problems. So no straws for me. And let it be known that just as we have the biggest economy on the planet, we also throw stuff away to the same scale, meaning that other people can’t afford to throw away as much. The odds are that the poor turtle was distressed by something thrown away in the US.
Whatever happened to “Bal tashchis?” Remember that one? How about things like all the food we throw out after chasunehs? and so on. People with some medical conditions need straws. I think the rest of us could get away without them. And survive with cardboard takeout trays instead of styrofoam. Do you know that milk once came in GLASS BOTTLES? And that you RETURNED the bottles to the milkman when they were empty? And that when something broke you took it to be FIXED, instead of throwing it out? Someone should do a popular documentary on what life was like in 1958, which also might make us appreciate the kashrus agencies a little more.July 10, 2018 5:47 pm at 5:47 pm in reply to: Reformed Are Jews? #1555719
Anybody remember the film “Gentlemen’s Agreement?” It’s from the 40s and anti-Semitism is the major theme. Yes, the taboo against marrying a Jew was strong (even if the Jew converted out), but it does seem to be gone if you’re not a white supremacist. Although at one time it was a status symbol for a successful secular Jew to have a blonde, WASP wife, from what I’ve seen the real driver is simply that people haven’t been raised with a real sense of Jewishness, and then go out in to the world where they study, work and hang out with non-Jews. I was asked by the mother of a high school friend who had married “out” what she had done wrong. I asked a few questions and confirmed that the family had done nothing “Jewish” to speak of since my friend’s bar mitzvah.
For the longest time the only serious argument against intermarriage in secular circles was, “It would mean Hitler won.” Now the involvement with Israel is being weakened by some of the current government’s policies, so the enthusiasm that lingered from the Six-Day War and the Gulf Wars has drained away. The Conservative and some Reform aren’t going to fade away any time soon, so it might be nice if we developed a friendlier attitude, not to them as anti-halachic systems, but to the individuals who identify, instead of calling them names and insinuating that they’re not really Jews.July 10, 2018 5:19 pm at 5:19 pm in reply to: Receiving birthday cards #1555701
I occasionally get cards. Depending on who it’s from, I may throw it out or put in my “keepers” box. Mostly I get greetings on Facebook, and then I just reply, “Thanks!” I don’t Twitter, Instagram, or whatever else is out there now. Us old fogy types pretty much stick with FB, and then mostly only friend people we’ve known in person and want to keep up with.July 10, 2018 4:28 pm at 4:28 pm in reply to: Baltimores chassidish community is growing by leaps and bounds!!!! #1555549
Yup, in general houses are going up, but there is still a lot of less expensive housing in the Upper Park Heights corridor. And there is a whole area of very nice garden apartments which is virtually a frum colony in the Pickwick area, the Fountainview on Ford’s lane, and others. There are also new frum-size town houses being built. The issue is that frum families are bigger and need more bedrooms, so there is also a lot of renovation/addition going on. (There are, of course, very expensive houses close to the northern and western county lines, but that’s only one choice, for those that can afford it.) It’s definitely a frum-family-friendly area 🙂
ice – chill a bit. We don’t need to go around pasting labels on each other. Around here, “Where do you daven?” is all the identification most people need. Let’s all remember that it’s the Three Weeks and we have to remember what destroyed the Second Bais HaMikdash and stay far away from it.July 10, 2018 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm in reply to: Reformed Are Jews? #1554825
Avi K – good post. And it’s not just Rav Soloveichik who hold that way. I’ve heard the same opinion many times over the years from many sources. This “They’re not even Jewish” business is something that’s fairly new, and only seems to have gained popularity with the current “us vs them” mentality that’s crept into our speech in the last 2-3 decades.
Maybe those of us who are frum should be properly grateful that we were born into/joined the ranks of the Torah observant, and not been stuck in some place where we never had a chance to learn Torah. It’s not kochi v’otzem yadi that brought us here, it was the kindness of HaShem.July 10, 2018 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm in reply to: Baltimores chassidish community is growing by leaps and bounds!!!! #1554819
akuperma – the first part of your post is 100% accurate 🙂 but we have plenty of frum businesses here already, and except for the niche ones they sell to everyone. And our businesses are run strictly according to Choshen Mishpat, with the oversight of the local Vaad Harabbonim. No shtick – as I occasionally saw in NY. We only want people who will uphold our local values, which are strictly Shulchan Aruch, no finagles allowed.
As for Yiddish in the shuls – probably a majority of the people here don’t speak Yiddish, or don’t speak it well. There are many whose ancestors have been here for generations, many who come from other OOT communities, and many baalei teshuvah. Tthe only people I’ve met who speak only Yiddish are the elderly from Russia, most of whom don’t go to shul.
Baltimore is a great place, and it’s very different from the NY area. Each to his own and all should flourish!July 9, 2018 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm in reply to: Learning modern Hebrew from online course #1554619
Let us know which you choose. L’hatzlacha!July 9, 2018 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm in reply to: Baltimores chassidish community is growing by leaps and bounds!!!! #1554618
Joe, the halacha is that you have to wear a head covering for davening, eating, making a bracha, etc. It’s not technically required all the the time. Now it’s a binding minhag, but it hasn’t always been. Back in the day a lot of the frum professors at Brooklyn College carried their yarmulkehs in their pockets during lectures and in the halls, because many people discriminated against the Orthodox, and Jews could be forbidden to wear yarmulkehs during working hours, too. And there was a time in this country when some of even the most Orthodox women didn’t cover their hair. It only really became accepted by all after frum refugees started coming here after WWII.
Aren’t you glad that you live today, when the Civil Rights Movement and Johnson’s Civil Rights Act made it illegal to discriminate on grounds of religion as well as grounds of race? We’ve come a long way since 1960. In fact, we’re downright spoiled. Case in point: look at all the fake chumetzdik foods that are kosher for Pesach – like we couldn’t go eight whole days without eating pizza or something. In fact, when I was really young there was no kosher pizza because no one had figured out how to make the right kind of cheese kosher – without using rennet from animals. Yes, we have the tuition crisis, but at least we have schools, something which was built up slowly and with mesirus nefesh over the years.July 9, 2018 7:21 pm at 7:21 pm in reply to: Baltimores chassidish community is growing by leaps and bounds!!!! #1554480
takah – The Yekkish-Litvish stream is still the strongest, the Chassidish are just adding variety to the mix. In terms of shuls, ye,s the chareidi influence is growing, but there is still a strong MO presence, although usually more in Pikesville and the county. In terms of number of shuls, there are probably more chareidi, but those are smaller than the average MO shul. Since Rambam school closed, though, the schools are definitely skewed right, although Or Chadash Academy is beginning to fill the gap.
The most important characteristic of Baltimore in these days is its diversity, and the willingness of people to get along with others of different groups. MO members are prominent in many community projects, and efforts are made to include everybody, regardless of hat/yarmulkeh/sheitel type.July 9, 2018 1:54 pm at 1:54 pm in reply to: Is there an organization that helps with high school tuition? #1554354
Different cities have different organizations that can help. You might want to contact Agudath Israel of America. They’re always looking to ways to help with the tuition crisis, and probably know what the resources are in your area. You can contact the central office in New York, or the local office if there’s one in your area.July 9, 2018 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm in reply to: Redting a shidduch with a previously married guy to a never married girl #1554329
This is a very dangerous situation.
A. You have to know why the guy is divorced. Maybe it was just a major-league mismatch, and maybe he was abusive. How will you find out? Divorces are like football matches in a way, everybody takes sides and defends their team/friend, so it’s difficult to find out what actually happened, doubly so if there was abuse. Why is this man looking for an unmarried girl? Perhaps because he thinks she’ll be naive enough not to know if he’s being abusive? The girl should be very, very careful.
B. Being married is a different planet. Until you actually get married you have no idea how closely you’ll be involved emotionally and practically with your spouse, and you have no idea what’s important and what isn’t. He’s asking for trouble, because he’ll risk getting misinterpreted all the time.
C. Why does this guy want a girl who’s never been married? Besides what I mentioned above, is it just a status thing for him? Has he got psychological issues?
This is not a place for people with realistic expectations to go, and if they do, they should do some serious couples counseling first.July 9, 2018 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm in reply to: Baltimores chassidish community is growing by leaps and bounds!!!! #1554318
TGI – A. You’re making lashon hara on a community, and during the Three Weeks, no less. B. I resent your remarks personally, since I live in Baltimore now (after surviving too many years in Brooklyn). The frum neighborhoods in Baltimore are safe, friendly and welcoming to newcomers. The crime rate in NW Baltimore, where the frum community is located, is low, and we have have two neighborhood patrols who work to keep it that way. Granted, there are other neighborhoods in Baltimore which have trouble with violent crime, but those are in the inner city, West and East Baltimore, not here.
And no, the Baltimore community is not being captured by the right-wing. The MO, centrist and yeshivish are continuing as usual, and the Chassidishe kollel is just adding on to the right wing without shlepping the rest of us anywhere. As far as I know, part of the reasoning behind the new kollel was to give Chassidim here a choice broader than Satmar or Lubavitch, who were the only groups here before. And Ner Israel provides a great anchor for the general frum community, so don’t look for the rest of us to be overwhelmed any time soon.
Especially since the greatest feature of Baltimore is achdus. The different groups all work together and we feel that we are one community, not a salad bowl of the different groups who originated in Europe. We have a great array of volunteer groups to support the community, too.
If you are a friendly, non-snarky community-minded person and want a place where you can live in harmony with your neighbors, Baltimore is for you. I couldn’t move back to the Middle West, but Baltimore is very much like it. If you like to make snide remarks and ridicule other people and communities, please stay where you are. You won’t feel at home in B’more.July 9, 2018 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm in reply to: Learning modern Hebrew from online course #1554337
I have no experience in learning online, since I learned in ulpan here and in EY and on the street there. However, I hear great things about Nefesh b’Nefesh, and have had several acquaintances make aliyah through them. If Nefesh b’Nefesh recommends them they’re at least adequate, but if you still have questions maybe contact them directly and ask if there are other options they can recommend.
BTW, no course, online or otherwise, will help you walk out of the airport and instantly be able to function like a sabra. You have to actually be there and using the language on a daily basis. and you have to put yourself in situations where you have no choice but to speak Hebrew (not so easy, since most Israelis are eager to practice their English on you). Try not to get encapsulated in the English-speaking ghetto. It’s very easy and you’ll never learn Hebrew.
And make sure you can read, if only for the street signs and other practical stuff, and to even eventually read a Hebrew language newspaper.
Good luck!July 6, 2018 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm in reply to: Why are any fireworks legal? #1553595
Laws about fireworks are fairly recent, and they vary wildly from state to state. Where I grew up private fireworks were illegal, but every town and city had official fireworks displays that were really great. A few people would drive out of state to buy things, but that was exceptional.
Remember that all these laws about seatbelts, etc. were only passed against stiff resistance. There is a streak of “Don’t tell me what to do!” in the American psychology, so it’s not so legal to get the law passed, and then to get people to obey it.July 6, 2018 11:45 am at 11:45 am in reply to: Anyone have any ideas for how to get the Thai boys out of the cave?!?! #1553586
Check out the BBC website – they’re keeping up to date. They’ve got all the experts in. Right now they’re hoping that pumping will work, but they’re teaching the boys how to use scuba equipment just in case it rains so much they can’t get them out by pumping. The boys are members of a soccer team, so they’re basically in condition and united as a group with their coach leading.
One of the miners who was trapped for months in Chile a few years ago has recorded a video to show them about keeping strong because they’ll eventually make it out.
We can also daven for them, and for the people planning the rescue to be successful.July 6, 2018 11:44 am at 11:44 am in reply to: Reformed Are Jews? #1553564
Let’s all remember that it’s the Three Weeks and we have to be careful that even when we disagree that we show respect for other people, Jewish or not, frum or not.
And remember that after Tisha B’Av comes Ellul, and then Yom HaDin.July 5, 2018 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm in reply to: Illegal fireworks #1553443
Fireworks are fun but very,very dangerous. People have to be trained how to use them safely, otherwise even a “harmless” little sparkler can cause injury. (Experience speaking, here.)
The problem is that most of the people setting them off don’t know what they’re doing half the time. When I lived in Brooklyn, fireworks were illegal but that still didn’t mean that you weren’t taking your life in your hands walking down certain streets, and one of the frum news sites there had a custom of before every Purim running an article with a photograph of someone who had had one explode in his hand. It was gruesome and meant to be so to discourage people from getting hurt.
If fireworks are legal where you live, by all means use them if you’re prepared to accept the possibility of an life-changing accident to you or your child. If they’re illegal – don’t get them. The law is still the law, no matter how many people think it’s clever to break it.July 5, 2018 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm in reply to: A strange temptation? #1553447
This has got to be the weirdest thread I’ve ever read in the Coffee Room.
Lightbrite – a good point. Some social scientists are saying that we now have an epidemic of loneliness in this country, and it’s really serious among older people. Let’s pay more attention to our elders. After all, we all hope to be elderly ourselves one day.
(Disclaimer: I was 72 last week. 🙂July 5, 2018 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm in reply to: Reformed Are Jews? #1553420
RebYid23 “Maybe if we start realizing that Republicans and Democrats both do not represent Torah values, political differences won’t matter as much.”
Exactly. For some excellent articles on this go to cross-currents.com and check some of the articles by Rabbi Avi Shafran. He’s the official spokesperson for Agudath Israel of America and also writes op-ed articles on frum life and outlook.July 5, 2018 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm in reply to: Reformed Are Jews? #1553418
Who is a Jew? That question keeps coming up in every generation in this country. The answer is simple: a Jewish mother or a kosher conversion. I doubt if there are any non-frum Jews today who are not tinokot shenishbah. The generations who started Reform and Conservative are long gone, and even their rabbis these days were brought up in ignorance. Obviously they couldn’t be a halachically valid witness, and their status regarding wine is something you would have to discuss with your own rav, but Jewish they are. And those of us who were born frum or were able to make teshuva should thank HaShem, not boast about it as kochi v’otzem yadi.”
Yes, there are serious yichus problems, but they have to be investigated on an individual level. How can we possibly appeal to the non-frum to join us if we keep calling them “goyim” and other choice words? This thread is unspeakably offensive to baalei teshuva who are being told that their Reform, Conservative or unaffiliated parents aren’t Jewish. (This also poses a logical problem, if the Reform parents “aren’t Jewiish” how can their child be Jewish and able to make teshuvah?”
And please, people, remember it’s the Three Weeks and the reason we cry on Tisha B’Av is because of how we treat each other (including the poor souls who don’t even know what Tisha B’Av is).July 5, 2018 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm in reply to: Bug Checking #1553431
Perhaps quote the original source from Rav Belsky zatzal?