Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Frumness Measurement Scale for Guys

How frum are you?

After receiving this question (or ones similar to it) more often than I would like, I have decided to make this question have a uniformed answer, so that I could just give a number.

If you have ever been asked this question, or even asked yourself this question, now is the time to figure out the answer. Just answer the following questions, refer to the score sheet and PRESTO you will know how frum you are.

Please note: This is the test for guys; the girl's test till be available shortly.

1) How often do you learn?
a. more than 2 hours a day
b. 0-2 hours a day
c. 2-5 times a week
d. less than twice a week
e. I'm in Law School

2) Which of the following best describes your Tefilah habits.
a. three times a day, with a minyan
b. three times a day, with or without a minyan
c. I daven most of the time
d. I daven sometimes
e. Who's Tefilah? Can I get her number?

3) Which of the following best describes your style of dress (outside work)?
a. black and white
b. dress pants and a button down shirt
c. khakis and a polo
d. Jeans and a t-shirt
e. PJs; unless I'm at a club

4) How long is your shemona esrei?
a. over 7 minutes
b. 5-7 minutes
c. 3-5 minutes
d. 1-3 minutes
e. I don't make it to shul in time.

5) Who makes up you friend list?
a. only guys
b. guys and their wives
c. mostly guys, but a few girls now and then
d. guys and girls mixed together
e. only girls

6) Where do you like to hang out with your friends?
a. in the basement of my Yeshiva
b. at my parents house/friends' parents' house
c. anywhere that is away from the neighborhood in which i live
d. at the movies
e. wherever there are girls

7) Who sets/set you up on dates?
a. shadchan only
b. shadchan/friends
c. friends/jdate
d. I find my own girls/I haven't had much luck yet
e. I go to a bar and find the cutest girl there.

8) Which of the following best describes your tv/movie watching?
a. No TV. No movies. Period.
b. I watch a little here and there (mostly on hulu), but never in the theaters.
c. I don't watch much because I don't like the time wasting. It's not a religious thing.
d. I'll watch whenever I want to. I don't restrict myself.
e. I try to watch the most inappropriate shows possible; the dirtier the better.

9) Which of the following best describes a first date?
a. airport/hotel lounge
b. Barnes and Noble/Starbucks
c. dinner at a nice restaurant
d. a movie
a. a bar/wake up the next morning remembering nothing

10) Which of the following best describes your musical tastes?
a. Shwekey and Lipa
b. mostly Jewish music, but I do have my 2 or 3 bands in the secular world
c. I listen to what sounds good; religion plays no part in it.
d. NO JEWISH MUSIC! IT'S TERRIBLE!
e. whatever the club is playing at 2:00 am

OK, now that you've answered these questions, here's how the scoring works:
take 5 points for every time you answered "a."
4 points for every "b"
3 points for every "c"
2 for "d"
1 for "e"

Add them up. This is your Frumness Quotient (or FQ). Post your total below. Since this all has to be done subjectively, I will place the results of the research on a later date. Once enough people have taken this quiz, I will know what the scale is. So send this quiz to as many people as possible to make the research more accurate.

I hope this has answered every question you have ever wanted to know about a guy's "frumness."

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Please be Sensitive

I am sarcastically impaired. I have been for a while now. It's gotten bad. It has reached the point when I don't know when someone else is being sarcastic, and others don't understand when I'm trying to be sarcastic. I have always thought that sarcasm should be prompted or at the very least hinted to when it is being done.

Many people have tried to come up with ways to avoid awkward situations where one party does not understand the attempted sarcasm. This is especially true in the world of Instant Messaging. There has always been a problem of miscommunicated sarcasm on IM and "lol" barely helped. So, some genius came along and invented the sarcmark for those people who need to spend money on nothing (lol).

I mentioned this great invention to a friend of mine who is quite familiar with my disability and he came up with a sign for me. Now, it is entirely possible that he got this idea from an episode of The Big Bang Theory, but the idea is that whenever someone is being sarcastic and they want a sarcastically impaired person to get in on the action, they will hold their fist up as if holding a sign attached to a pole.

I must say, it worked. I became more aware of sarcasm and when it's used, and gradually I was able to lose the signal. However, it made me a little too good at it, and from this knowledge a whole new set of problems arose, the main one being that I was not able to determine the appropriate time for sarcasm. So, I now present to you...

Times NOT to be Sarcastic:

1) When at a wedding and signing the Tanaim, and the Mesader Kidushin asks "how are you going to sign your name," don't answer "with a pen." They don't appreciate humor at that time.

2) When having a conversation with a group of teenage boys about movies, and one of them says "I don't watch movies because I don't want to have any benefit from something made by a non-Jew," don't respond, "so take off your clothing." Because he will.

3) When on a date, and the girl remarks "I love Oprah," do not, under any circumstances say "Oh yeah, she's great." Or else be prepared to talk about nothing else for three hours.

I hope these help. If you have any sarcasm stories, post them below. I'd love to hear them. lol

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Out-of-towners

Why do Out-of-towners hate New York? What is it about this area that drives people batty? I mean, look at all of the good things we have to offer:

We are the city that never sleeps
We are the home of the largest Jewish population outside of Israel
We are the largest city in the United States (both in area and population)
We are the home to Spiderman
It is so convenient to live here that you don't need to own a car or even have a driver's license
Our mayor's name is known throughout the country (and more commonly than most governors)

I could go on for a while about what makes this city great, but my question is why are we hated? As far as I can tell, there are three possible reasons:

1) The Attitude - OK, I'll admit it, New Yorkers have this "I'm better than you" attitude, but come on, we are. And even if we weren't, that is only a handful of us. Most of us think that out-of-towners may be somewhat as good as we are. That's not our fault. I mean, look at us compared to you. We are just better. We don't waste time "getting to know" a neighbor or "making friends" or being social" or "being nice." we spend time with what's important, like our own families (sometimes) or our jobs (most of the time) or learning (twice a week if it fits our schedules). We know we're better than you are, and it's time you realize it.

2) You're Jealous - I know, it's tough to be on the outside looking in. We realize that where ever you are from can't live up to our great city. I mean, you love to hate us, right? You like to root against our always-competitive sports teams,* you like to take apart our convenient subways and love to mention that we have waaaaaaaay too many shuls and Yeshivas. This is all because you wish that you had these things. You want to live in a place that can afford these luxuries. Well, denial time is over. Come over to our side. Join us and finally be the citizen you've always dreamed of being.

3) Just Because - This is the most cowardly reason of all. You don't have a reason to hate New York, you just do. Just like you hate Michael Jackson's music because it's cool to hate him, or picked on Josh Raskin in fourth grade, just because everyone else was doing it. You don't have an identity, so you're creating one for yourself by hating just to hate. Pathetic.

4) I know I said three, but I'm a New Yorker and the rules don't apply to me. I could do whatever I want, whenever I want, especially on my own blog, and none of you Out-o-townies can do anything to stop me. See, I can even mispell words and not care about well grammar or run-on-sentences why? Because I'm a New Yorker and I said so.

I hope I've clarified a few things for you.

*except the Knicks, we've ostracized them

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Resumes

Are guys supposed to have resumes?

I think we need to first deal with whether or not girls are supposed to have resumes.
Short answer- no.
Long answer- not really.

There has never been an instance when I have responded to a shidduch (in the affirmative or the negatory- look it up) based on a resume. In fact, most of the girls I have gone out with haven't had resumes, and I thought nothing of it. There is barely any information on resumes that isn't mentioned by the shadchan.

But what about references?
1) I don't call references. Shhhhh. It's a secret. I never bother with the people placed down on a resume. I will usually only call one person, and that is a person who is connected to both myself and the potential girl (well, she is already a girl), so potential wife? (no, that's to forward), potential girlfriend? (I hate that word), potential significant other? (alright, but only becaus i have nothing else). OK, so I call someone connected to both of us and ask them one question: "Do you see it?" If the answer is yes, we have a date (at least on my end). If not, we still may have a date. It depends on the reason.

That's it. I get most of the information from a shadchan and if there's more to be said, I'll let the girl say it for herself. Girls do not need a resume.

So here's what it comes down to: What's the point of a resume? Well, I guess it's a handy piece of paper for the shadchan to have. It kinda lets him or her know just what is going on in the guy's/girl's life. That's a plus. So in terms of that, I don't usually take suggestions from people who don't know me. It's weird. You have no connection to me other than the time you saw me davening Mincha and thought "that's a good guy." You have no clue about anything I associate myself with. Don't make these weird attempts. So basically, I will only take a shidduch from someone who already understands a little bit about me. There goes that reason.

The only other reason I see to have a resume is for one's self. I have something I right down about myself (who I am, what I'm looking for, etc.) never to be viewed by others. If you are writing a resume for this reason, there is no need to publicize it. It's for your own good. Nobody else need read it.

The question I hate most that I've seen on various resume templates is "Briefly describe your hashkafa in the space given." My response is: "I cannot fully explain my hashkafa in the space given. Talk to me."

Resumes mean nothing. Not for guys, not for girls. DOWN WITH RESUMES!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Quote of the Month

"Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get, but if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you, amazing things will happen." -Conan O'Brien

Friday, January 22, 2010

Yeshivish Songs

Here are a list of non-Jewish sons that all yeshivish guys know. For some reason, these songs capture the attention of all Yeshiva guys, especially if they play an instrument.

The Final Countdown by Europe
Rock you Like a Hurricane by Scorpion (thanks Lev Tahor)
NBA on NBC Theme Song
NFL on Fox
Sweet Child of Mine by Gunns 'n Roses
Layla
by Eric Klapton
Land Down Under by Men at Work (thanks, Piamenta)
We Will Rock You
by Queen
Eye of the Tiger by Survivor
Every freecreditreport.com commercial
Superman Theme
by John Williams
Yeah by Usher (thanks, Lipa)
Welcome to the Jungle by Gunns 'n Roses
Enter Sandman by Metallica
It's My Life by Bon Jovi
Baba O'Riley by The Who (although there is no chance they know that's the name of the song)

These results are based on extensive research done at weddings, and listening in on Yeshiva band jam sessions. It should be noted that in many cases only the introduction to each song is known (or at least performed), and it is entirely possible that no lyrics to any of the preceding songs are actually known.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Insert Kanfei Nesharim Joke Here

Well, there is certainly going to be a large discussion about the flight from Laguardia airport that was detained in Philadelphia earlier today. So I thought i'd add my two sense before others use my same ideas.

First, let's not begin to give this kid nicknames, like the "Tephilin Terrorist," "Philadelphia Flyer," "Shacharis Standoff" or "Midair Mix-up." While these names may be humorous, they are wrong. We should leave it up to the late-night talk show hosts (who I can't wait to watch tonight) to label this incident.

Secondly, I want to point out that the flight crew acted responsibly. They did what they were supposed to do. Those who are going to say that there is a constitutional right for freedom to practice religion, are correct. However, safety of others comes first. The flight attendant did not recognize tephilin. It looked suspicious. She acted accordingly, and should be commended.

The 17-year-old acted correctly as well. He cooperated with authorities. He created no disturbance. He was a gentleman.* The only question I have for him is why he needed to daven on the plane. I understand zemanim and everything, but e should have planned ahead so that he should not have needed to daven on the plane in the first place. I could be dan l'kav z'chus and say that he did plan ahead, but was held up for some unforeseen reason, but it's easier not to.

Next, those who are ripping the New York Times article for referring to the passenger as a "disruptive passenger"should reread the article. This phrase was quoted from the local authorities, not made up by the reporter. He was simply quoting his sources, who by the way, he specified. I'm not one to defend the Times, but in this case, it looks like some of you are just nitpicking.

The more interesting side of the story comes from the Philadelphia Fox affiliate. This cite has three reports at three different times. The earliest one (which is last in the viewing list) refers to the passenger as "apparently caused some kind of disturbance on the plane." This is what was being reported. It's just the way the news-wires received it.

There is no reason to act with any alarm. Everyone did what they were supposed to do. The flight crew acted appropriately. The teenager responded well. The terrorism unit in the airport did its job. It was an unfortunate event that caused alarm. Let's hope this story ends here.

*Put it on his shiduch resume

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

LKS

Weddings are a trying time for many people involved. At the forefront are (duh) the chosson and kallah. It is clear that they cannot be responsible to remember to do anything, much less that which I am about to describe. When kaytzad merakdim hits, and the kallah (according to a custom which I will never understand) comes onto the guys side, where she is greeted with a lot of guys running away.

But then they come back with their "shtick," and patiently wait for the fathers, grandfathers, uncles, rabbeim, that crazy guy from shul, the kallah's brother, Joe the homeless guy from Main Street, and any other middle aged guy who never had bad knees to finish doing their "dancing" so that they can present the shtick that they spent three minutes preparing. Nice. But what happens when it's over?

Well, some kallah's have what is commonly known as Lingering Kallah Syndrome, or LKS. This occurs when the guys have nothing more to do, but the kallah still wants to be entertained. BUT WE HAVE NOTHING TO DO! So, what ends up happening is that we guys are forced to do things that we didn't plan, like high leg kicking, Yeshivish spins, the helicopter and the merry-go-round. These are all lame.

Side effects of LKS include:
"Bring our Kallah back" signs
Thumb Twiddling
"The Worm"
Nausea*

The point is that we need a way to prevent LKS. We are officially creating this position. It is going to be given to the girl who always complains that there is nothing for girls to do at weddings; that guys get all of the kibudim. Well, here's one for you. It is now your job to take your kallah back. Signs won't do the trick. Come in, grab her by the arm, and leave. That's it. You have the power. Only you can prevent LKS.

* We suggest Pepto

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Weddings are the Downfall of Dating

Obvious? Maybe. But this is not in terms of the chosson and kallah, specifically. It is in terms of the yet-to-be-married friends. Why is it that weddings tend to bring out the shadchan in everyone? I know. There's a wedding going on with a lot of singles running around and people can't help themselves. But what are they hoping for? Maybe if it goes really well, we could just wrap this wedding up and have another one right afterward. I joke. There is no way they'll be able to find a band on such short notice.

I just can't understand why someone would come up to me and say "I heard you singing by zemiros on Shabbos by the auf rauf. You have a really nice voice. I think you would be good for my niece."

My response: "Hi."
What I'm actually thinking: "What do you think my name is?"

Seriously, I appreciate that people are trying to be nice and everything (no I don't), and I like the fact that they have chosen me for the nicety (see previous parenthetical), but why? I'm not someone who you've known for more than the time it takes the kallah to walk down the aisle (which I realize can take upwards of three months- I'm talking about the less typical situations), and already you are convinced that due to my ability to recite the same songs I do every week, I am somehow suitable for someone you've known her entire life.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Do You Learn?

One of the most fundamental questions a guy receives when being set up is "Do you learn?" This is very similar to the question girls receive of "Do you cook?" only less informative of a person's character.

The point is that guys do not know how to answer that question either. Do I learn now? Do I want to learn in the future? Do I want to spend a year in Israel after marriage? Do I learn every day? How much do I plan on learning? Can my learning count for both of us? Does she want to know if I can cook?*

The generic answer is "I want to be able to have a seder X amount of nights over X amount of time. That tells you nothing. "Do you learn?" is what "How's everything" is in a regular conversation. I could answer anything and it will be fine.

Example 1:
Shadchan: Do you learn?
Me: Twice a week
Shadchan: OK

Example 2:
Shadchan: Do you learn?
Me: I try
Shadchan: OK

Example 3
:
Shadchan: Do you learn?
Me: Does she cook?
Shadchan: OK

Example 3:
Shadchan: Do you learn?
Me: Hugh Jackman
Shadchan: OK

"Do You Learn" is a mandatory, unnecessary question that people ask just to be yotzei. The question means nothing. It's just one of those resume questions like, "where did your mother go to college?" or "what shul do you daven in?" or "what's your name?"** Shidduch making can boil down to one question and one question only: "how long will the parents support until the kids have to start doing things for themselves?" If answers work out, we've got a shidduch.

*Because I can.

**Let's face it, that's pretty unimportant.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What's Wrong with Learning?

I hate guys who went to college. They are never sure what they want to do with their lives. They spend all that time taking classes, working towards a degree, trying to make a living for himself and having a plan hopefully involving something he enjoys. It's just such a waste of time. So many of them don't end up knowing what to do with themselves once they're done. They just sit around wondering what to do and all they have is whatever worthless degree they got in college. Why would any girl want to look for someone like that?

As little sense as this makes, I have heard so much of this regarding guys (friends of mine) in Yeshiva. I was recently speaking to someone about a friend of mine learning in Yeshiva who was recently married.

"He was able to fit into that family because he's not like most Yeshiva guys," she claimed.

"How is that?" I asked

"He has a plan. He knows what to do after he's done in Yeshiva."

After a little more prodding, I understood what she was saying. Most Yeshiva guys do not know how to handle themselves in the "real world." Guys who learn (excluding those going for S'micha) are wasting their time, they don't have any clue how to handle themselves in public and at best get a "worthless" degree from some fourth rate college.

"What are you basing this on?" I asked.

"On all Yeshiva guys," was the response.

"You don't know any Yeshiva guys," I pointed out.

"But you know what I mean."

I don't. I wish she would have explained it to me. Is this what people think? Why do people associate guys learning in Yeshiva with laziness? I know that I couldn't sit in a Yeshiva for three sedarim a day, five days a week. That's a longer schedule than any guy in college ever had. Throw in the college courses that Yeshivas allow the guys to take twice a week at night and all the homework that goes along with it, and the question then becomes when do they have enough time to date?

Often times, Yeshiva guys have a much more difficult schedule than guys who went to college. they often have a plan that guys who went to a first rate school could only dream of. There are plenty of college guys who haven't a clue what to do with themselves. They sit at home, waiting for a job. They go back to school until they find a degree they like. No one can claim that they have the perfect solution of how to handle life, but to openly rip something which you have no idea about is just wrong.

So I Won't Talk About it Anymore

One thing about girls always perplexed me.* Why do they want to talk about dating if they are just going to complain about how they don't ever go out on them? Or go on normal ones? I always feel bad about discussing these things with girls.

When I share a recent story about a girl I went out with, girls will listen to it and respond with some sarcastic remark. Example:

Me: ...and so I told the shadchan that I had a great time, but I wasn't really interested girls who run over cats with their cars for sport.**

Girl 1: That's so funny, but at least you have dates.

Girl 2: Yeah, I don't even get to experience those things.

HOLD IT!
You're telling me that you would rather spend the time, effort and emotional stress (not to mention the money) that I have to invest so you can be repeatedly disappointed by people that you won't likely run into again? Is it better to have to make the time to do this, only to be let down in the end?

Additionally, why did YOU, not I, YOU bring it up to begin with? YOU asked me what happened on a date! YOU asked me to share funny stories! Now YOU are making me feel bad for actually going on a date! What is this? Is this the gender I'm dating? Is there a third gender that's available?***

If this is the case, I will just ignore the question from now on. I will not bring it up (not that I have until now), nor will I respond to questions regarding it, if I am constantly being criticized for having answers.


*This is a lie. Just go with it.
**This hasn't actually happened.
***Insert YU joke here.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I'm Busy; Leave Me Alone

Why do people insist on making dating difficult? Case in point:

Today, I received a call similar to on I have recieved in the past; this time from a friend of my mother. We'll call her Miriam (because that's her name).* Miriam wanted to set me up with someone. Here's the problem. I am currently seeing someone. However, like most conversations go when this arises, Miriam still wanted to listen to her sales pitch that she so thoughtfully rehearsed prior to calling me.

Does this need to happen? Isn't dating complicated enough that we don't need to add the "what if?" factor to every single (no pun intended) attempt a person makes at finding a spouse. I propose a new rule: If someone actually dating someone else, no shidduch attempt shall be made.

Oh, and another thing that is not appreciated is the awkward closing line: "Oh, well good luck and I really do hope it works out, but if it doesn't, I'm next."

No. You're not. There is no next. Don't expect me to have you in mind, so that if this doesn't work out, I will immediately call you to say "I'm ready." I don't write these things down. I don't keep track. I'm not available until further notice.

And don't pretend that you want whatever is going on in my dating life to work out. You don't. You hope it fails so I can go out with the girl you have for me. She's perfect for me. You KNOW so. Whoever I am currently going out with is wrong for me. Why? She's not the girl you had in mind.

I have no idea why people think I owe something to them to the point that I have to go out with the girl they want me to. People will get offended if I go out with someone before I came to them to tell them that I was available. This is especially true at weddings, where everyone from the father of the kallah to the cousin of the maitre d** has "the perfect girl" for me. They know. They've known me for all of 17 minutes. But they know.

*Just kidding. I would never tell you her real name to protect her identity. Plus, it's Rachel.
**Julio

Friday, January 8, 2010

Re: An Easy Way to Make Some Cash

I'm new to this blog world, and therefore I don't know if it's proper protocol to attack another blogger yet, but I saw something today that greatly disturbed me. A co-worker sent me a link that has been going around the internet. It is here.

That's right. Someone is actually selling the opportunity to have her wear tznius clothing for a week. When I first saw this, I had immediate thoughts of others attempting to sell ridiculous things on ebay. However, I realized soon that this was much different. This was an attack. It was a "cheep" way of attacking the right wing community. If you don't believe me, here's a link to the blog that pretty much explains her motivations.

She wants to prove a point (duh). This point is that if tznius is so important to people, they would clearly be willing to pay for the chance to have another person fulfill the halacha. However, if it's not that important, they won't be willing to fork over the cash to fit the $300 bill that she is asking for. Seems fair.

Until you read the comments. She was clearly not expecting people to pay for this and is now actually making fun of someone for actually trying to put together the funds to pay the asking price. I don't get it. If the whole experiment was to see whether or not people cared to pay for the keeping of this particular halacha, and someone is actually trying to do it, poking fun at these people just seems like a sore loser way of turning this into a win-win for herself. Either they don't pay and be considered hypocrites or they pay for it and get roasted for wasting their money. There is nothing they can do to be considered correct. They automatically loose.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Yeshiva High School Rules

Spending much time in and around a Yeshiva High School setting gives me the (perhaps) unique opportunity to delve into some of the policies and rules displayed in such schools. These rules are sometimes nearsighted and often broken without the knowledge of the administration, which renders them completely useless.

#1- Policy regarding secular subjects
It should come as no shock that Yeshivas take secular subjects a lot less seriously than their Judaic studies counterparts. That's fine. I understand the importance of learning and the mentality that Secular subjects are secondary. In fact, I will most likely send my eventual children to a Yeshiva that has a similar policy to this, but this approach has many negative affects on students and faculty alike.

Obviously, the students who see the school lessen the importance of a secular education will take the subjects less seriously. They will expect that all they need to do in order to pass the class is to simply show up. This is not the case. In fact, one of two things will result from this; either the students will fail or pass undeservedly.

This brings me to the problem this poses to the faculty (specifically the secular subject teachers). If a teacher is teaching in a scholl where there is no accountability for what they teach, the parents and students both believe their subjects to be secondary and students may pass for no good reason, what is keeping these teachers from simply mailing it in? Why should these teachers put any effort in to teaching? The vast majority of secular Yeshiva educators are retired public school teachers who simply need something to do, and if they have no reason to do anything other than to show up, why should they? You will often find a classroom in a Yeshiva where the teacher spends more than half a period joking around with students instead of actually doing any teaching. It is as if they are there to be a time waster and babysitter instead of an educator. Are secular subjects secondary? Yes. Should we let our children know this? Absolutely not.

#2- Policy regarding cell phones
It is a commonly known fact that many Yeshiva high schools and Beis Yaakovs do not allow their students to possess cell phones on school grounds. This notion is preposterous. As far as I can see there are three reasons for a student to not be allowed to have a cell phone:

a. Text messages: The problem with texting has become that students believe they can separate things said in a text message from things said face to face (or even in a phone call). This applies specifically to inter-gender conversations. Since yeshivish boys and girls are separated, the harm a text message can do is even greater. Teenagers do not understand the power of the written word and can often mistake something texted that carries immense importance with a harmless joke. I get this.

However, when a Yeshiva bans something, it only makes students want to do it more. There are students who will not violate the school rules simply because it's a rule. There are others who will violate them because they are rules. This ban on cell phones and texting will only cause these students to use them even more than they would. It will force them to search for more crafty ways to hide them so the administration will not find them. It will not allow for an administrator to deal with the issue one of their students is faced with simply for he reason that they won't know. This unnecessary ban on cell phones needs to end.

b. Internet: Of course, this only matters if you believe that there is something wrong with the internet. The fact is that the internet is available on just about every phone on the market today. While I agree in principle that this is a problem, it is not enough to cause phones to be outlawed. While the phones can have access to the internet, the don't necessarily have to have such access (my phone does not). Internet ready phones could be banned, and since I propose lifting the ban on cell phones, it would be easy to have a student hand over the phone at a random point and check to see if it contains any internet accessibility.

c. Use during class: This is most likely the main point behind the ban of phones in Yeshivas. For this, I suggest that the phones be treated like any other device or object that is out during class. The teacher has a right to take it away, tell the student to put it away, or do whatever he or she sees fit.

There is no use banning the phone. If a parent needs to contact a child or vice versa, the phone is there to help. The reasons for banning cell phones are noted, but not enough to warrant them being illegal.

#3- Length of School Day
In Case anyone ever wondered why Yeshiva students are always tired, it is for the following reason: The days are just too long. I went to a high school where we started every day at 7:30 am and ended at 6:30 pm. That is eleven hours of school. This didn't include mishmar nights where we stayed until 8:45 pm twice a week (sometimes until 10:00 pm in my senior year).

The probelem with this is twofold. The first is that teachers are afraid to give homework. If the students are in school for this length of time, when will they have time to do homework? How can a teacher assign anything outside the classroom when the students spend more conscious time inside school than outside? I have done this calculation. Let's say an average high school student goes to sleep every night at 12:30 am and has to be up at 7:00 am to go to school. This student is awake for 17.5 hours a day. 11 of these hours are spent in school. Throw in some travel time and we're talking about (at the very least) 11.5 hours a day.

This leaves 6 hours to the students. If there is one thing a student does not and SHOULD NOT be required to do after such a day is...wait for it...MORE WORK! Why should there be more involved? It is simply not fair to the student. There is no time to be a teenager. No time for exploration. No time for discovery. No time to be themselves.


But maybe this is what the Yeshiva system wants. They don't want to allow teenagers to discover who they are. They want to be able to control the students' growth. This is why emphasis is taken away from the secular subjects (that's not what the Yeshiva wants). Maybe this is why cell phones are illegal (it impedes Yeshiva progress). Maybe this is why the days are so long and vacations are so short (what do parents know about raising their children? We'll do it for them).

Yeshiva high schools don't understand that the way they teach is not for everyone. If a boy does not learn well, he is not given opportunities to excel elsewhere. Yeshivas don't have sports teams, debate teams, clubs, etc. Students don't have time for such things. They're too busy learning until 3:00 in the afternoon (a time when most public school children are already heading home). Now they must start the second half of the day. There is no time for creativity.

This is where the Yeshiva high school system fails certain children. Is this the right path for certain students? Of course it is. Is it for everyone? Certainly not. These schools can take a lesson out of the playbook of "Flip-out Yeshivas" in Eretz Yirsael. Such Yeshivas allow for their talmidim to have at least a certain amount of freedom to explore for themselves. This freedom combined with the pushing from the Rabbeim there allow for the perfect mix to push people in the right direction. It's not "brainwashing" as much as it is a chance of self discovery, and that is why their methods are so effective.

Those who want to say that there is a difference between teenagers in high school and talmidim in Eretz Yisrael are wrong. They are the same. Teenagers have been wrongfully labeled for years. They are not ignorant people who don't know what's good for themselves. They are intelligent. They think. They just need a little bit of guidance, not a strict set of rules and regulations to follow. Let them make their own mistakes and learn from them. Don't try to "protect" them from the real world. They will become ignorant and unable to do anything for themselves.

Wedding Shtick Rant

Before I had a blog of my own, I had the following rant appear on another blog:

I have not ranted about anything in a while. I don't know why; it just hasn't happened. However, it is wedding season, and I have been to quite a few recently, and I must vent my frustration at one incident that occurred at one such wedding.

I hate when people don't think. I know I do it at times, but it is much more frustrating when the lack of thought is a planned out idea. Case in point: I was recently at a wedding where two people of lesser intelect thought it wold be a good idea to bring on some "schtick." For those of you unfamilliar with this term, "schtick" in this case refers to thought out forms of entertainment usually meant to be humerous. In other words, it could be amazing and hilarious, or pathetic and disasterous. Case in point:

By this particular wedding, these two mental midgets thought of the terrific idea of dumping 50 gallon bag of styrophome peanuts on top of the bride and groom.

Hilarious!

Amazing!

Why didn't I think of that? Probably because I have an IQ higher than that of a shuffleboard disc. I assume that this is what the choson and kallah thought as well, judging by their reactions of bewilderment during and following the incident.

However, the story does not end there. What do you think happened after those peanuts were dumped? Of course! The people who dumped them out went and got brooms and dustpans and proceded to clean up the mess they made. Then the Middle East Crisis was solved, the Clippers won the NBA title, and Elvis came and sang Ben Bag Bag.*

Of course none of these things are true, and in fact, it would have been more likely for any of those three things to happen before the two styro-jerks would think to clean up their mess. What actually happened was that I went out with a friend, found two brooms and a dustpan, and began cleaning up the mess.

I am not trying to make it seem like I am perfect. As many of you can probably guess, I had a great time trying to sweep up the mess from under the feet of the still-dancing group of people. It was made trickier by the fact that due to the peanuts on the floor, and thus a tremendous lack of friction, many dancers were subject to sliding accross the dance floor. This included one almost disasterous and hilarious incident of a colision between a boy and a cameraman-holding step-stool.

Evetually we gave up trying to sweep the mess up because people kept stepping into our pile, so we left it, and the mess was evetually swept up by the grounds crew who had to pause the wedding for a rain delay. The point is that these people did not think their schtick all the way through. In fact, they didn't think about it at all. It wasn't funny. It had no point. It was unsafe. They didn't take responsibilty for their actions. Oh, and it wasn't funny.

If you are going to devise a wedding schtick, please do me a favor. Think before you do it. Ask yourself "what is the point of this?" If the answer is "because I want to," don't do it. Whew, that was tiring.

*Other things that would happen before the two guys would have cleaned up the mess:

Carot Top at the Appolo
Snow in Pheonix
Mike Tyson in Cambridge
Bridge from California to Hawaii
Mel Gibson in Tzitzis
Winter Olympics in Tehran
Switzerland fighting a war
George W Bush on "Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader"


Here's the original link:

Wedding Shtick Rant

Dramatization

The following is a dramatization of a couple, Gary and Patricia, getting ready for a date:

Patricia: I wonder what I should wear. If I wear something dressy, will he think that I am very materialistic, that I expect the finer things in life? If I wear something casual, will he think that I am not taking this date seriously enough? Maybe I should wear something somewhere in between so I could fit in no matter what. But then what if he wears a suit?

Gary: I think I'll change my socks.

Patricia: Ooooh. I hope he takes me to a place I like. I want to have a good time. Maybe we'll go to a nice restaurant or an arcade. I like arcades. What if he's really creative? Maybe he'll take me some place that I haven't been to yet. Yeah. that's where we'll go.

Gary (on the car ride over, on the phone with his friend): Where is it? How much does it cost?

Patricia (to her sister): Do I wear this skirt with the sweater or the blouse? How about my makeup? What color? Should I iron my hair? Do I take a purse? Heels or flats?

Gary: It's going to be cold. I think I'll take a jacket.

Patricia (to parents): He's coming at 7:00. You can talk to him for ten minutes max. I want to be able to be back by 11:00 so I can get to sleep on time tonight. I have work tomorrow and need to be on time.

Gary (to parents as he's walking out the door): I'm going on a date. See you later.

Patricia (when she sees Gary): Yes! I dressed like he did. Do I look alright? Do I have anything in my hair? Teeth? Stand straight. Look in his eyes. Can he hear my thoughts? Does he have ESP? Stop thinking so loudly!

Gary: She's cute. Let's go.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Chavrusa Shidduch World

I have always been under the impression that setting up a chavrusa and setting up a shidduch were similar in a few obvious ways. For one, they can both have an effect on your spiritual growth for the foreseeable future. It's difficult to find someone who can deal with the idiosyncrasies that come with a spouse or a chavrusa. Of course, it's always good to find someone on "your level."

However, I did not know until today that both can sometimes require a shadchan. I only say this after an encounter with a friend of mine (we'll call him Ned) who was dumped twice yesterday. Yes, twice. Once by a girl and once by his chavrusa. As you could imagine, he was quite depressed about both. While I tried to give Ned a little comfort, we were interrupted by a phone call. He answered the phone and you guessed it, it was the chavrusa shadchan.

Now there are a few issues with Ned. Obviously, he is going to need someone who can cope with him missing a seder here and there for things such as dates and weddings. Additionally, he has a pretty heavy work load between yeshiva, college and work. You could imagine Ned's joy when he heard that the shadchan had found someone who would be willing to learn with him. Apparently, this guy would be more than willing to sacrifice a little to learn with Ned. Why? Beacause Ned is a little older and might understand shiur better. So, he'd be able to explain it better than anyone his age.

However, Ned didn't recieve this news as well as I thought he would. He said many things that included "I need a little time to think about it" and "I'm going to see what else is available" and "Is he cute?"

But I did learn a valuable lesson in chavrusa shidduch making. It is just as delicate and difficult as regular shidduch making, only less money is spent. You can't just say things like "here's a guy and here's another one. They're both nice and smart. Let 'em learn." It just doesn't work like that. You have to take other important factors into consideration. You need to look into each family, their personalities and interests, and most importantly, what type of cook they are. Hey! A guy's gotta have a good Thursday Night chulent.

In the end, Ned didn't take the chavrusa. He's looking for someone a little closer to his own age, not someone who is just starting out in his shiur. But if you know a person (preferably a male), age 23-25 who is in the market for a chavrusa, let me know. Maybe we can make the shidduch. He comes from a nice home.

For more on this, click here.