SJSinNYC

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  • in reply to: How to Block the Internet from My Children? #1216667

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    To go back to the original question: I think it would be better to teach your children how to filter the internet for themselves. There is nothing inherently wrong with the internet – it is merely a “place to put information.” Teaching your children right from wrong is a big part of chinuch – you cannot always just cut your children off from the outside world.

    For example, you teach your children how to keep kosher. Aside from not mixing milk and meat, in your kosher home, what do they have to worry about eating kosher? Nothing! Because all the products are kosher. But still, you make sure they understand what makes things kosher to ensure that when they leave their home, they can still eat properly.

    If you teach your kids how to use the internet for kosher things, then they can learn to stand on their own two feet. That does NOT mean you should leave them unsupervised, but it means you should help them with support.

    By the time they are adults, the world will be even more dependant on the internet and virutally all jobs will require computer/internet knowledge (for the most part they already do). You are not doing them a favor by shutting them out.

    in reply to: An Impossible Wish #623905

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Cantoresque, I’m with you! I’ve found the people that are most inspiring to me are the ones who live with Torah, and dont isolate themselves.

    For example, although I keep strictly kosher, it never feels like a big deal to me. When I travel, I like that I am eating tuna out of a can 3 meals in a row. It makes me appreciate what keep kosher is sometimes about. Its almost just too easy in NY.

    in reply to: Riveting story: Mi Yichyeh, umi Yomis! #623052

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Honestly, I’ll take this story for what its worth – a nice story with a lesson. I am not quite sure it matters if its true or not.

    in reply to: How to Manage Tzaddaka Mailings #771775

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Just me, this post was about how to manage tzedaka mailings – one way is by PRIORITY. That was my only point.

    Personally, I know a lot of people in Kollel who start out wanting to learn and then kind of get stuck for a few years because they have no training in anything else. So a 2 year stint in Kollel turns into 6-7 until they can get their act together. Should I really divert tzedaka money from poor people to someone like that? Let him bag groceries at shop rite until he can figure out what he wants to do – not leech off the system. Of the 2 people in Kollel who I think are great learners and really should be there – one I sometimes give money to, the other has terrible middos. So while I agree he is a great learner and has unbelievable potential in terms of being a real Torah scholar, he hasnt seemed to internalize anything he has learned…so I refuse to support him. When I donate money for things like food, I know its going directly to people who need food and that makes me feel better (yes I realize plenty of kollel people get food from these programs).

    in reply to: How to Manage Tzaddaka Mailings #771773

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    The Big One: I prefer giving food to people to live. To me, people need food first. Learning in Kollel is a luxury (although people dont always want to admit it) and I have no problem with Kollel! I just dont think thats where my money needs to go. If someone is in Kollel, then their wife should be supporting them. If she cannot, then he should get a job. Its not a situation where they NEED my money, its a situation where they WANT my money. Need comes before want in my opinion.

    Shaare Tzedek is a hospital that does a lot of good for people. My Great Aunt was a big donor and I feel like to honor HER memory, its important to donate to causes that she felt was important. Its not specifically my first choice either, because I like to make sure food is on the table first.

    in reply to: How to Manage Tzaddaka Mailings #771765

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    I weed the letters out based on what the cause is, what my mood is, and how recently they asked for money.

    I also try to give money to organizations that my family members who died gave to (my great aunt was very involved in Shaare Tzedek in Israel, so I donate in her memory when I can).

    I also try to give organizations for food. Thats the most important to me. For Rosh Hashanah, I donated groceries and meat in Israel (I think the organization is called Mesamchei Lev).

    When my son was born, I donated a year worth (money wise) of formula/baby stuff to thank Hashem for the healthy baby I have. I also recently gave to a tzedaka that helps couples with fertility treatments because I had an easy time getting pregnant.

    I dont give to Kollels. There are too many important places out there that need my support, and a guy learning in Kollel can go out and get a job. He is much lower on my list.

    in reply to: Kapparos: Chickens, Fish, or Money? #660935

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Joseph,

    A Rabbi who taught in my high school told us that we are supposed to be bringing karbanot right now. I cant quote you sources (I forget them a long time ago) but there is that halachic opinion out there right now. You may not hold by it, but you shouldnt make fun of it. You can debate away, although I wont be a good partner to debate with since I dont remember what sources he pulled up.

    in reply to: Leaving children alone in the house #990836

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Shindy, I grew up in Monsey when times were safe. I realize its not what I would do now, but ten seems old enough (especially compared to what I was allowed to do at 6) to me…but again, depends on the child.

    in reply to: Abandoned Kids??? #990550

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    I understand the temptation to leave them while you run in for “just a minute” but its still unacceptable.

    Do people shop that often? I go grocery shopping once a week and clothing shopping 3-4X a year. For a bigger family you might need to go grocery shopping twice a week, but what else are they shopping for? Cant they arrange for the husband to watch the kids while they go out?

    in reply to: Leaving children alone in the house #990833

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Is ten really so young? When I was six, I was able to walk one mile from my house to my best friend’s house. I guess it would depend on the child – is he responsible?

    Shindy, I agree with you on the year of fun. Sometimes, people forget that life is about LIVING (obviously while keepin the mitzvos), not just learning about what you cannot do in life.

    in reply to: Tircha D’tzibbura (Long Davening) #622842

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    muchcommonsense – how does your shul finish on Yom Kippur?

    I’m a slow davener – I find it just takes me a long time to say (strange, because I read really fast…). I am always left davening musaf on Rosh Hashanah about 20 minutes longer than everyone else.

    There is a difference between a long davening and a schlepped out one – long davenings are beautiful. They inspire you and keep your mind on your goal. Schlepped out davenings (even though they are the exact same words and even length possibly) are torture. I think its a real testament to who is davening if they can keep the congregation actively engaged. Where I grew up, the Rabbi’s son davened and was unbelievably inspiring (especially because he has such a pure soul).

    This was my first year where I couldnt be in shul much (I had a baby recently). I missed it a lot. The shul president got up before musaf and said to the congregation “This is a long musaf. Lets not expect more from our children then they can handle. Please send them to the basement so that the shul can properly concentrate.” [this is not a direct quote, just the basics of what he said] The kids who couldnt handle the sitting still and quiet for that long went downstairs to the teachers that were hired to watch the kids. It was a beautiful musaf.

    in reply to: Maaser #628197

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Leider – my husband asked our rabbbi about tuition and was told that 100% (boys and girls) can be paid out of maaser.

    Also, I asked my Rabbi about giving my non-Jewish coworker some money for adopting a child from oversees. [He is an amazing man and cant have children – he already adopted a daughter from China and is now adopting a son from Korea] I was told yes.

    As for aliyahs – this is my personal opinion about it not a psak but…you are not really buying the aliyah. You are given an aliyah. You are just pledging a donation to the shul. I wonder what the more knowledgable people think/know about this.

    in reply to: Maaser #628192

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Thank you all for clearing up some of my misconceptions. Its a shame this wasnt taught to me better when I was in school. It seems like a very practical aspect of halacha to teach.

    So far, I’ve been taking 10% of my after tax money, before expenses, but I wanted to clear that up with my Rabbi. I just wanted to try to understand the topic a little more first!

    in reply to: Chick Peas / Garbanzos Recipe #641450

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Workinmom is correct, but add a little bit of olive oil and pepper also.

    in reply to: Black and White #622664

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    So if its just something people do to “follow the crowd” or blend in, why is it such a big deal if someone wears a “colored” shirt? My cousin asked me that about every guy I ever set her up with (or tried to) and she wouldnt date a guy who wore a colored shirt. I still dont understand the significance.

    in reply to: Chicken Bottom Ideas #735159

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    I make pesto chicken which is yummy!! I usually use chicken cutlets, but no reason you cant put it on chicken bottoms! Just pour on any pesto recipe and bake.

    On a side note, my favorite chicken recipe is to put some rice in a pan, add spices (to your liking), pile on some veggies (brussel sprouts are the best but almost any veggie will do – zucchini, onions, broccoli, cauliflower etc), then put chicken on top. Add water to the rice, spice the chicken and bake like normal.

    Its sooooo yummy!

    in reply to: Internet vs. Yiddishkeit #627482

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    The internet itself is neutral – its just a virtual space where information can be found. Its what you do on the internet thats a problem. If you have a taaveh for pornography, you should probably stay off the internet.

    Personally, I dont visit any sites that I consider “treif” – most of what I look for on the internet relates to my day to day life. For example, now that my son is eating solids, I have been looking up information on what foods I can serve him at what month. This information is available in books, but this information is more updated and easy to get. Instead of purusing the library, I can get the information almost instantaneously.

    in reply to: Working on Chol Hamoe’d #847026

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Kitzur, Israel is just too hot for me 🙂

    In a practical sense though, living in Israel is just not for me. My entire support system (as well as my husband’s) is in the New York area. So I’ll keep my solid, stable job in America for now.

    in reply to: Any Runners? #695092

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    I personally dont run because I know too many people who have long term effects of running. It wears down your knees and puts a lot of strain on your body!

    A friend of mine was a big runner in high school. She could run for miles and miles without getting her heart beat up too fast or sweating too much. She was in awesome shape!

    Sorry I cant be of any support to you, but good luck!

    in reply to: Physical Discipline in Yeshivos #622793

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    In today’s current climate, I would say NO to anything physical. I wish they would also look at the mental abuse.

    When I was in elementary school, I had a teacher who would make up halacha and then taunt me with it. It took me four years of high school, learning a lot about halacha and how varied many psak halachas are to understand why she was really a sham.

    Just because they are a teacher in a Jewish school, does not make them a proper teacher. So unlike in the times of the gemara, where a teacher had the best intentions, I think it would be considered physical abuse and I would bring every weapon at my disposal (including alerting local authorities) to punish the person at hand.

    in reply to: Is it the correct thing to have takanos for weddings? #623108

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    In my humble opinion, the answer is no.

    Why are we trying to put a bandaid on the problem, instead of SOLVING the problem? I see the problem as twofold:

    1) People who cannot afford expensive weddings but spend the money anyway

    2) People who can afford the expensive weddings, but do so in a gluttonous manner

    I think #2 is more rare (how many of us can afford weddings of that ilk?) so I will address #1.

    If you cannot afford the expensive wedding DO NOT SPEND MONEY YOU DO NOT HAVE. This is a very american concept of “keeping up with the Jones.” I dont understand why we cannot educate our people to be able to live within their means. Its one thing to use money for the sake of a mitzvah, but its another to use that as an excuse to spend outrageous amounts of money.

    I’ve heard people say things like “But how can I disappoint my child?” or “How can I give my child less than what everyone else has?” This makes no sense to me – you are sending your child off to get married, and start a home of their own with their own responsibilities but you cannot explain to them that you cannot afford a lavish affair? Kids need to understand that money doesnt grow on trees and that you need to live within your means.

    Also, lets examine (arbitrary) takanos. So lets say 400 people max for the seudah – for some people, thats plenty and for others, its nothing! Case in point – my friend’s parents are each one of 10 and each of their 10 siblings averages 10 kids. Thats 100 first cousins on each side, plus 40 for the aunts and uncles (and then 2 parents from each side). And many of her first cousins have kids – so lets add another 30 for those. Now you are at 270 for her side, without a single friend or non-immediate family member. If she marries someone in a similiar situation, thats Thats 548 people without a single friend.

    Now, take someone whos parents have 2 siblings each and each of them have 3 kids. Thats 12 first cousins plus 8 aunts and uncles and 4 grandparents. Thats 24 people per side. They have plenty left over for inviting other family and friends.

    So does 400 people make sense?

    Why do we expect people to be able to keep shabbos by themselves or keep kosher, but “we” have to step in and curb their spending if they cannot afford it? I think if people stopped spending so much money on weddings, others (who also cannot afford it, or barely can) would stop also. The “Jones” would turn into 1-2 families rather than the entire community.

    Also, there are ways to pare down your spending without compromising the quality of the wedding. At my wedding, we didnt have floral centerpieces because we were working on a limited budget and that was an easy way to save a few thousand dollars. No one missed them at all. In fact, when my friend got married, she asked for my florist because she loved the flowers at my wedding. We got beautiful flowers for me (the bride), all my bridesmaids, and the chupah. We cut out where it wasnt neccesary.

    OK this has become a megillah!!

    in reply to: PETA #624516

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    OK I’m jumping in real quick. I dont have sources for my statements, but this is what my Rabbi told me regarding scientific events:

    1) He said that there were 7 worlds before ours (or ours is the 7th, I forget) and taht this “earth” world was built directly on top of what was here. So dinosaurs could be from past worlds…

    2) Carbon dating is NOT fool proof. The scientists have been looking at how carbon reacts now – but if for example, you look at a human being, they age/grow much more rapidly in their youth than as an adult. Also, the mabul would have had a HUGE effect on carbon dating old things because water ages stuff.

    3) He also said that anything based on the science of the time, and further proven wrong, just means that the rabbis were dealing with the scientific information at the time and are fallible. Therefore, the sun DOES NOT rotate around the earth, but vice versa. He did say that it could be taken metaphorically also that “the earth is the center of the universe” and the sun for example is significant because of what it does for the earth. This doesnt mean that they are wrong about halacha, just science.

    in reply to: Round Challah #968102

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Sounds like a lot of sugar, but I dont like such sweet challah. I might try it for Rosh Hashana though!! Thanks for the recipe.

    BTW – isnt this in the intermediary amount of flour that you are supposed to avoid? I honestly dont make challah very often (and use enough so that I can do hafreshes challah with a bracha) but I thought this was the strange realm where people werent 100% sure if you are supposed to make a bracha. Would love to hear any knowledge on this!

    in reply to: Is 3 Cups of Coffee a Day Too Much? #803317

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Personally, I avoid coffee because I easily get addicted. I cant drink one cup. I drink 7.

    When I was working the overnight shift, it was impossible to avoid. By the end of my shift I was always shaky and sick feeling from the coffee and lack of sleep.

    Each person should decide on his/her limit. 3 may not be a lot for some, but can effect others more.

    in reply to: Lakewood School Crisis #622390

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    In Monsey (where I grew up), everyone was accepted to Bais Yaakov of Monsey, regardless of who you were. Everyone (basically, not 100%) went to Bais Yaakov of Monsey from modern orthodox to chasidish (the extremely chasidish people went to Bais Rochel and the extrememly modern people went to Bat Torah, with a few heading to Bruriah). As the neighborhood school, they felt (and rightly so in my opinion) that they had to accept everyone.

    As more girls started going to other schools, Bais Yaakov felt that they were no longer “the neighborhood school” and again (rightly so in my opinion) began rejecting girls. Girls had other options and were choosing to go elsewhere, so they were no longer obligated to the community. Case in point: my sisters (7 and 5 years older than me) 95% of their graduating elementary school from Yeshiva of Spring Valley went to Bais Yaakov. When I graduated from YSV, only 50% went. The rest scattered to Manhattan High School, Bat Torah, Bruriah, Maayanot and some other schools.

    While I do not condone the schools in Lakewood at all, there are no specific neighborhood schools. I think there needs to be a solution, but schools should have the right to accept/reject people if they arent the only school around. Please note: I am not condoning turning away students from Yeshiva, but perhaps the boards of schools have to get together and discuss their “rejections” so that before they send out rejection letters they make sure every kid has some place to go.

    in reply to: Whats wrong with a convert?!?!?! #622339

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Joseph, they were out of my family for years (this is one generation above me, so their kids are my second cousins). But bringing them back into the family is bringing at least one of their children towards being orthodox.

    I dont condone her way choice in life, but she made it. There is no reason to cut off her children (and without being in contact with her, I would have no contact with her kids) who are 100% Jewish.

    in reply to: Respect for other posters comments #624333

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Intellegent, I didnt think you were specifically talking about me, but given that using forums as a communication medium is severly lacking ( you can hear inflection, sarcasm etc), I am always nervous that I offend people without meaning to. It was more a shout out to the general public here, especially because I am more modern than most people here.

    Also, about your “more lenient” people thinking about whether or not what they are doing is appropriate: when I get a psak halacha and people tell me “that is against halacha” it bothers me. If I am unsure, I would go check, but a little tolerance is always appreciated from everyone.

    You can disagree with my psak/opinion/way of life and still respect my right to practice/think/act as I see fit.

    in reply to: Kosher Hangouts #634476

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Sorry I have disappeared for a bit, but everyone in my family (me, my husband and son) are all sick! Thank you for all your refuah shelaima wishes (its nothing life threatening!)

    I think there is something people are missing: Arranged marriages and limited dating is fine for many people in yeshivish/chasidish circles. Marriage works when two compatible people want to make their marriage work (for the most part). Love is a bonus. I fell in love with my husband before we got married, but I dont think its neccesary to love each other before marriage (although for me personally it was – I couldnt marry someone to learn to love them, though it works for many people). Marriage is hard work and many people are not willing to put in the time and effort. I think this is something we need to teach the younger generation – its not all about what the outside world sees, its about communication, understanding and often doing things you dont want to or arent in the mood for because it makes your spouse happy. But I digress…

    Its the kids who want to be in coed situations and will find ways even if their parents dont let – thats where the issues lay. If your kid tells you they want to hang out with members of the opposite gender, instead of saying NO, discuss it with them and then provide them a kosher way to hang out. You can talk to them about rules and regulations and make them see that they can “experiment” with coed situations without doing drugs and making out. Now, you have to know your child – this wont work with many kids, and I suspect the parents who are capable of having these types of honest conversations with their kids are much less likely to have kids go off the derech.

    Intellegent: About the Sternberg comment – I was a camper there for 8 years. What didnt work at Sternberg? I was a camper there from 1989-1997 (never worked as staff) so maybe its in recent years. There were people from various backgrounds and there werent any bad influences that I saw. The only thing that bothered me was when I was 7, I got yelled at for wearing coullottes but my bunkmate wore a skirt that was about 2 inches long and never a word was uttered. I had no idea what was wrong with what I was wearing – my mother bought me my clothing!!! I was 7!!!! OK, end of rant!

    in reply to: Working on Chol Hamoe’d #847015

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    I’m not 100% sure what you are asking or what your situation is, but here is mine:

    I dont get enough vacation time as it is (I barely cover the yom tovim days) so I have to work chol hamoed. I try to schedule more enjoyable things for chol hamoed if I can (like field trips to power plants), but its not always possible.

    For shabbos in the winter, I leave 1.5-2 hours before my shift ends, which usually gets me home 30 minutes – 1 hour before shabbos. I try to aim for 2 hours but it is not always feasible. My company has a strict policy of working 8 hours (plus 45 minutes lunch) a day, but because of my religious restrictions they grant me the allowance to make the time up throughout the rest of the week. I cannot take advantage of this though, so I take as little time off as possible.

    My husband does most of the cooking for shabbos because he is off every other friday and has a more flexible schedule.

    in reply to: Whats wrong with a convert?!?!?! #622336

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    When my mother got remarried recently, she married a ger (who converted about 40 years ago). They are very happy together! FYI – he does say kaddish for his father per his rabbinic authority. He also goes to visit his mother once a year (she lives far away). My mother goes along and treats her like family too.

    I may be wrong, but some of the people shouting about not socializing with non-Jews may have zero practical experience with gerim in their family or non-Jews marrying into their family.

    Life is complicated, but that is no reason to get rid of your relatives!! My cousin married a (wonderful and respecetful) non-Jewish man. They were “out of the family” for many years but have since come back. He converted around 40 (orthodox conversion, full Bris) and one of his sons is on the cusp of orthodox and moving closer all the time.

    Be careful who you ostracize, as you might turn more people off the derech.

    in reply to: Kosher Hangouts #634442

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    muchcommonsense – I wouldnt neccesarily say that my mother and I were lucky. We found something that worked for us. My mother believes in open communication and wanted me to come talk to her even if I did something wrong. Because of her unending love and trust I never really did “bad things” because I had no need to.

    Once, when I was 17, my friend who only had her permit picked me up. My mother commented “Oh how nice she got her license” and I didnt dispell that notion. A year later I was so overcome with guilt that I confessed to my mother. Thats the worst thing I did as a teenager.

    Just and FYI – I’m 26. I still clearly remember the teenage years and what was going on. I always found that the more restricted girls were, the more wild they went when they “let loose.” My modern orthodox friends might have made out with their boyfriends, but my yeshivish friends progressed much farther…(not that all or even most of my friends dated in high school, but of those that did…)

    My mother’s rule was no dating in high school. So I didnt. It didnt really bother me because I was more interested in snowboarding and going to Yankee games and playing chess (yes I’m a dork). I met my husband when I was 19 in school and it all worked out from there.

    teenager – if you are looking for someone to talk to, you are welcome to contact me. (I’ll post my email address if you want) I’m not perfect (nor yeshivish if thats what you are looking for), but I understand where you are coming from.

    in reply to: Respect for other posters comments #624303

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    intellegent – that is not right either! I respect other people’s opinions (and if I have said anything that has offended anyone, I apologize) and recognize that they can practice according to their own path (rabbinically based) without being “wrong.”

    Sometimes people asked halachically based questions, and get hashkafic responses or machmir responses stated as “the minimum” (specifically, I am talking more about the tznius threads) and then both sides gets worked up. The more lenient side saying that its not halacha and the machmir side saying it is. Sometimes, it would be nice to hear a more machmir person say something to the effect of “That is the more lenient opinion, I hold by the more stringent” and vice versa for the more lenient opinion.

    in reply to: Eating Healthy During Yom Tovim #652578

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    1) Know your weaknesses – for me, its a bag of wafers. If I open it, I can easily finish it. So instead of trying to control myself, I avoid it. [disclaimer: dont avoid wafers just because I cant finish them] If you know you cannot avoid the temptation of the cakes and cookies, eat less at the meals. Yes your calories wont be as quality, but you wont be eating an extra 1,000 calories that day.

    2) Avoid kugels – they hide plenty of eggs and oil in them.

    3) Avoid having too much challah

    4) Help out a lot in the kitchen – if you are cleaning up from a course or serving the next, you will have less time to be eating at the meal

    5) Avoid caloric drinks like soda and juice. If you like carbonation, try seltzer

    Good luck. Now if only I can practice what I preach here 😉

    in reply to: Kosher Hangouts #634437

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Intellegent, coed gatherings do not have to be against halacha. I never had an issue. My mother supervised us and kept us out in the open. Although she never made any rules, it was assumed we would not go into any bedrooms or any rooms with closed doors. We usually hung out in the kitchen or den and were easily visible. We did not violate a single halacha that I am aware of. Maybe if kosher coed hangouts were allowed, less kids would be involved in non kosher ones.

    in reply to: Buying German Products #727662

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Yoshi, one my grandmother’s relatives had traced it back, but it was from family trees that they had. Its cool because it was constantly updated and I was able to see how far and wide my family has travelled. We have family all over the world!

    Don’t feel bad about the Red Cross – I dont blame the current administrators, but given how much choice there is of where to donate money, I avoid them.

    in reply to: Homeschooling in ‘Yeshivish’ circles #1137707

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    I am actually ANTI vouchers. Personally, I do not want any of my tax money going to muslim or christian schools. I have the option of using the public education system and if I choose not to, I pay for it.

    I think homeschool is an interesting idea. In lower elementary school, you can probably do all the Jewish stuff with your kids – as they get older, it might be harder.

    You can also check out different types of educational styles to use with your child – I know there are some strange ones out there, but some work really well. Just make sure that if you choose to home school that you consistently arrange socialization into your schedule. Kids need to learn to socialize with kids and thats one of the fundamentals they learn in school.

    in reply to: Respect for other posters comments #624294

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Well, I think this is a general problem in life that is exacerbated in the anonimity of web forums. I have seen a total lack of respect for other people’s psak halacha.

    One example: when I moved to Brooklyn, I asked a rav about the Brooklyn eruv and was told it is kosher and I can use it. I was happy with this because I grew up in Monsey with an eruv and its so easy to forget that you cannot carry when you grow up with it.

    When I encountered people who didnt hold by the eruv they would say things like “There is no eruv – you shouldnt be carrying!” and I would explain to them that yes, there is an eruv though they might not hold by it. There is a big difference. I would get frequent eye rolls and mutters. So are these people able to pasken halacha (no, they cannot – none are Rabbis)? And yet they believe they know more than my Rabbi?? I understand that THEY dont hold by it, but they dont have to deny its existance!

    OK, this turned into a rant. My point is that just because your psak says no, doesnt mean everyone holds by the same thing. You can respect someone’s right to follow one path WITHOUT agreeing with what they do.

    in reply to: New Google Browser #623738

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    My husband is OBSESSED with Opera. He loves it and loves that he can personalize everything.

    My quick perusal of Chrome is good, but I need to really play around with it before I decide whether or not to use it.

    in reply to: Bizayon HaTorah in Lakewood #622122

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Shindy,

    If the schools are having so many problems with money, why dont they ask for more tuition? If you cant afford tuition and one of the parents is not working, make them get a job.

    Fundraising is NOT the answer to everything! I understand that many of the men in Lakewood are learning and kol hakavod to them, but when the community is having trouble with supporting the schools, its time to get a job.

    My husband and I are already saving tuition money for our 7 month old son because we see the economic times and how hard things are. Our little bit of savings is going towards that.

    in reply to: Should Yeshiva Bochrim Dress in “Style” ? #622196

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Hmm…I think people should dress as they see fit within halacha. I also would advise comfort over style because if you are uncomfortable and learning in yeshiva, you probably wont be able to learn too well.

    I’m not quite sure why yeshivish men only wear white shirts and black pants. Is there a halacha against color (besides for red)? [this is a serious question, not derisive!]

    in reply to: Buying German Products #727655

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    My maternal grandparents are from Germany. I’ve been to their hometowns, met people who knew them as kids and saw the house of the german kid who turned in my grandmother’s family for hiding on Kristallnacht, leading to the beating of my grandmother and great grandmother and the imprisonment of my great grandfather.

    No, I do not blame the current generation for the sins of their parents, but as long as anyone from the Nazi generation is alive, it really hurts me to support them. Its too fresh.

    My family has traced itself back to being kicked out of Spain in 1492 – I buy spanish goods and will hopefully one day travel there. It happened a long time ago, and I cant blame this generation.

    Also, I would never in a million years give a dime to the Red Cross. On Kristallnacht, they turned my family away. I dont think I could ever trust them as an organization to help people properly.

    in reply to: Kosher Hangouts #634423

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Teenager – I grew up in Monsey so I understand the scene you are talking about. I am 26, but I remember how things were changing when I was in high school. When I told my mother that drugs were prevalent, she was shocked. After a little while (and many details), she spoke to her boss, who was able to start a dialogue with schools and Rabbis. Thanks to my mother, a more proactive approach was taken (albeit not nearly enough and not universal enough, but my mother was instrumental in getting awareness up majorly).

    I think one of the biggest problems is that coed socialization is considered such a taboo! It wasnt so taboo 50 years ago – why now? Our parents and grandparents socialized and found their spouses in a much more natural way.

    It always irked me that throughout highschool all my teachers would say (in various different ways) “Boys are looking for one thing – so stay away” – and then 12th grade would hit and they would start talking about getting married. Whoa! Slow down – can we really change gears that quickly? Also, what changes from being forbidden to be involved in coed situations in April to graduating in June and being able to start dating. In my opinion, its bizarre.

    I agree with cantoresque, that I would rather have my son have some pitfalls of supervised coed situations then out on his own. I know from my own experience, that those who came from yeshivish families and wanted to socialize in coed situations, ended up doing far worse things than those who were allowed to and were supervised. Would you rather you child be able to come to you and say “yes I want to hang out with this boy/girl but I want to do it here so there are less influences”? Do you really want your kid out on the street? Accepting them in your home does not mean you condone everything they do.

    Also, when you forbid something, kids naturally want it more. I was much more enticed to drinking before I was 21. My mother allowed me to drink in her home and supervised. It meant that if I really felt like it, on Purim I could get really drunk but I would be home, surrounded by my family and not able to do bad things or get taken advantage of. I did drink but not get drunk.

    The problem with NCSY events (I was a member) is that many of the events are highly unsupervised. There are a couple of chapter advisors watching hundreds of kids – if one wants to do something wrong, its easy to.

    My advise to parents of teenagers is to supervise coed situations IN YOUR HOUSE or in the house of fellow concerned parents. This way, you have more control. Keep them in a fairly well lit, semi public area. They can have fun, socialize and not get into (much) trouble.

    in reply to: Endless Job Search #622182

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Squeak – I dont think anyone should take halachic or hashkafic advice from ANYONE on the internet, me included. And I may not be as stringent as some, but I can tell “treif” from “kosher” – although the kosher part is a little bit more subjective.

    My rabbinic authorities have no problem with me learning things like English Literature. Reading Harry Potter is not going to turn me to witch craft. Reading Crime and Punishment will not cause me to nor prevent me from murdering my landlord for money – it just gave me an interesting perspective on someone who though the end justified the means and then what happened (he kills his landlord for money because he thinks he can change the world if he only had some money). It didnt corrupt me, just gave me a different view on things [yes, morals should be learned from Torah sources, and this is just a different perspective]. And honestly, I think its a good lesson for everyone to learn (especially some Jews who think they are above the law).

    However, if you think reading these kinds of things will corrupt you, even though it might be mutar, you should stay away.

    Most bachelor degrees nowadays require many credits of humanities. Many of these classes are very problematic. I opted not to take a psychology class because it was taught by a vulgar professor. I avoided things which were not kosher for me – but in my humble opinion (supported by my Rabbis), english literature is fine to learn. That is all I meant (and this might be a ramble). Since Engineering requires less humanities, you have less opportunity to fall into classes that are inappropriate. A little research goes a long way to find out how kosher a class is.

    BTW, why is “female” un-progressive? Is it different from “woman”? I’m not specifically a “progressive” person (I’m more of a striver for equality). And yes, I have been refered to as female.

    in reply to: Endless Job Search #622174

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Anon I am a mechanical engineer. I graduated from Brooklyn Polytech with a Bachelors. I am trying to get my PE (already took the FE) and I am debating going for my MBA.

    I love Math and its a career that drew me in. I work for Con Ed, so I dont work on “state of the art” stuff, but I like the classics (pumps, piping, heat transfer) etc which is what I am doing now. Con Ed is also a GREAT company to work for because they are really accomodating with Shabbos and holidays.

    I took very few humanities courses and only one time did I come across something that I found non kosher. It was a history class and the professor was showing a french video. He told us there was some nudity in it (which being female didnt really bother me), but it turned out to be male nudity. Luckily, I was able to look away and not really see much (besides, the scene itself was disturbing).

    I agree with you about being a less problematic degree, although I personally dont have problems with people learning things like literature that is not “torah mandated” as long as you know that you wont be influenced by it.

    I think people avoid engineering because they dont like math, but I think once someone shows you how to apply mathematical theory in a way you can understand, math makes a lot of sense.

    in reply to: Kosher Hangouts #634379

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    muchcommonsense – I grew up in an all female household. My father died when I was 6. If I had not interacted with boys I would have had no understanding of who/what the gender is about!

    Yes, thousands of couples are happy without spending time with each other before marriage. Thousands of couples are also divorced.

    When I got married I knew my husband very well. We had known each other for 3 years by the time we got married. We had been friends for 9 months, dated for 1.5 years and were engaged for 9 months. Marriage is work, but we understood how we would have to adapt. I’m not saying marriage is always easy, but the adaptation is easier if you know what you are getting into. I knew my husband’s flaws before we got married and he knew mine (at least most of them). We chose to accept each other and make it work. Compromise is key.

    Why would you want to marry an almost stranger?? I know plenty of girls who hate dating because its so awkward for them and after so many years of being told “dont talk to boys” find it almost like doing something wrong. THERE IS NOTHING INHERENTLY WRONG WITH COED SITUATIONS. Its all a matter of how the kids conduct themselves, and I hope to raise my son to know how to conduct himself and avoid temptation.

    in reply to: Kosher Hangouts #634374

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    I grew up with a paradox – my family is modern orthodox and the neighborhood we lived in was modern orthodox but my school was yeshivish. Some of my best friends growing up were boys and when I was 13 one of my teachers gave us the “boys are evil” speech. I thought she was crazy and I still do.

    One important thing was that we hung out at our houses, heavily supervised by our parents. No sticky situations ever arose with the boys I hung out with. We had plenty of clean, kosher fun in our own houses [assuming you consider watching TV/movies kosher, but that is a different debate for a different time]. Some things we did was play ping pong, board games, chess – we even went hiking and did outdoor stuff.

    I even used to go out to “non kosher” places like the pool hall nearby. Our parents trusted us and we never did anything bad. At one point, one of my friends met a guy who wasn’t so kosher and I sat down and spoke with her parents. I felt that as her best friend, it was my responsibility to make sure that she did not go astray. Although she was upset when she asked me if I had told her parents, she did thank me later.

    Its important to know your kids and help them develop into stable, solid adults. Rather than try to forbid them from so many things, help them gain the confidence to act as a true ben/bas torah in all situations.

    So no, I dont have a real answer, but what worked for me was my mothers trust and the ability to hang out at home. I never had a need to go out and do anything bad, because I had plenty of good, clean fun right at home (and at my friends home).

    in reply to: Endless Job Search #622170

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Don’t be afraid to look outside of the “normal” job range.

    For example, I am an engineer. Many people have said to me things like “how can you be an engineer, you are female!” and other ignorant phrases, but I just tell them life has progressed pass the 1950’s.

    Anyway, that was a little off topic, but my point is don’t be afraid to find something interesting that most people dont get jobs in.

    Also, look for a large company that you can move around in. If you decide you dont like human resources, then you can move to the accounting department (or anything else) without compromising your pension, 401k etc.

    Good luck!! Is there anything that you can think of that interests you even if it doesnt sound like a job? Share it with us and maybe we can help!!

    If all else fails, become a pharmacist since the pay is great.

    in reply to: America, Democrats, and Jewish Values #622942

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    In general, I vote by the following order:

    1) What is good for me

    2) What is good for the Jews

    3) What is good for the nation

    Usually, 1 and 2 line up very well. My stance on number 3 doesnt always match up 100% with 1 and 2. Also, I look at the issues that are extremely important to me vs what is just ideally important to me.

    For example, I am pro-choice for first trimester abortions (I think partial birth abortions are horrific). One reason I am pro-choice is because halacha allows abortions in certain situations. Although I would never have an abortion barring extreme circumstance and rabbinic approval, I need to be able to choose abortion if my Rabbi tells me to.

    Also (and I may be stoned here for saying this), I am pro gay marriage. Gay marriage is SECULAR – I had a Jewish wedding and a secular wedding. With gay marriage in place, they would be able to get health coverage from their partner and help prevent/treat more diseased people in the gay community. In addition, assuming monogamy amongst the gay community is the same as the rest of the population, you would also possibly prevent the spreading of diseases to more people. Not allowing gay marriage won’t stop people from being gay and allowing gay marriage DOES NOT mean that you approve, which I dont.

    So while that is my stance on those two (relatively) controversial issues, I won’t vote based on them, because they dont really affect my life. There are more important issues, which is why I am voting for McCain/Palin.

    in reply to: Tznius Standards #651236

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    I’ve avoided posting in this topic for a while, but I think its time to put my 2 cents in.

    Just because its not a halachic psak that YOU hold by, doesnt make it wrong. If you follow a real Rabbi who gives you a psak then you are fine. FYI – my friend, whos family is yeshivish and follows a yeshivish Rabbi, asked him abotu wearing pants. He said there was nothing wrong with loose fitting pants, especially if she were snowboarding and it were safer, just that most people nowadays dont so she shouldnt just wear pants in the neighborhood because it goes against the community. I’m not saying that is a psak for everyone, just that is what she got from her Rabbi.

    Many items on the OP’s list was more opinion than hard halacha. If thats the way your Rabbi tells you to live your life then that is fine, just dont look down on people who hold differently and dont shove things down other people’s throats. [Shoving things down others throats is something this generation really needs to learn about]

    There are many debates on what/how women have to keep tznius…read all the sources! Follow what your Rabbi tells you but remember, there is always someone out there who is more or less machmir than you. That doesnt make them any less or more observant, just not what you do.

    I think its much easier to say “Its all treif” or “If you dont follow this you are like the reform and conservative” just because you dont agree with a psak. But you are not a better person because you cover more than is obligated by halacha or choose to be more stringent. And honestly, that seems to be what I am taking from this thread.

    in reply to: Can’t Get Out of Bed in The Morning… #683516

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    1) Put your alarm clock on the other side of the room. This makes you get up and wake up some to turn it off (so you cant just roll over and go to back to sleep)

    2) Shower in the morning – get out of bed and shower! It will wake you up.

    3) If the alarm clock on the other side of the room doesnt work, get the alarm clocks for deaf people. They are REALLY LOUD and they vibrate the bed. Its so annoying that you cannot go back to sleep.

    4) Make a morning committment (if you dont have a job) so that you are obligated to be somewhere. For example, set up a chavrusa or volunteer to help an elderly person in the morning. Nothing gets you out of bed better than an obligation.

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