Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Jelly Bean's Wedding Part II

As the chupah started, the snow was coming down at a fairly intense pace. In fact, the as the guy singing Im Eshkochech hit the high note, the roof of the chupah fell down from the snow (luckily it hit nobody).
After the chupah, three wedding guests left for another wedding (yes, I know - crazy). We will call them Ted, Lilly and Robin. They ended up on another highway, in a...wait for it...snow bank! That seemed to be the trend of the evening. However, Hatzalah was unable to reach them. They stayed stranded in the car until 5:30 AM!
At that time a police car pulled up along side and was able to get them out. The officer had a conversation with Marshal, who was driving. He told him that he should stay with the car, to which Marshal replied "arrest me." He didn't, but did get them home somehow. From what I understand from Robin's family, she didn't even go to sleep right away. Also, from what I understand, they still have not gotten the car back yet. Jusy another exciting adventure. Stay tuned...

Jelly Bean's Wedding Part I

Well, Jelly Bean tied the knot. She got married on one of the most memorable days of the year, Blizzard '10. In these posts I will be chronicling, not the wedding itself, but the aftermath, i.e. the trips home. The first victims I will be speaking about are my parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jones.

Mr. and Mrs. Jones (who were also driving home with my uncle and Jelly Bean's shomeret) decided to find an alternate route home, seeing as the highways were so bad. Bad idea. They drove into a snow bank and were stuck there for 3 hours. Hatzolah came and got them out of the car and brought them back to my house. They all spent the night there.

The following morning, I went with Mr. Jones to dig the car out of the snow bank, which incidentally was on the entrance ramp to another highway. It took us 15 minutes to dig it out. In the end, it was a good thing they didn't make it back because by the time they got back, there was nowhere on my block (or in the entire neighborhood) to park.

Now, this story may seem tame and that's why I told it first. Many more stories to follow...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Yoel Zilberman

I hate to do two videos in a row, but this one really needs to be publicized.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Incredible Hagbulk

I know I haven’t done one of these in a long while, and seeing as today is Thursday, and the system in my office went down for a while, I figured I’d see who else was on my PITYI list. Today (as the title reads) we have the Incredible Hagbulk.

Aside from having a lot of common people, every Young Israel has a number of common items. One of them is a Torah that weighs as much as an automobile. In this case, there is generally one person in the shul who can manage to lift it for hagba without needing an icy/hot patch afterwards. (Not really, but the gabbaim seem to think that there is only one guy who could do the trick – most of the young men can do it, but because the gabbaim have known them since they had to be brought out of shul by their fathers when they were crying, it never dawns on them that they possess the physical abilities to lift heavy objects, ESPECIALLY since the gabbai himself can no longer lift anything remotely close to that – not that I’m bitter.)

Anyway, there is always one guy who seems to be holding the Torah before musaf every week. For a visual, just picture the Sefer Torah being opened about 17 columns apart, and a large man doing a lutz with it. There will always be someone either shaking his head or yelling out not to do that; there will always be someone who (still) doesn’t trust that this guy’s got it, and will rush to his side to make sure nothing falls. The best part is that g’lilah is usually given to the one kid whose photo hanging in his mother’s living room is life size, and can barely reach the bottom of the Torah. It just ends up being fun to watch.

The Incredible Hagbulk is generally tall and broad. However, I know one who is average hight, but very broad. He doesn’t daven regularly in my shul, but whenever he comes, he knows what he’ll be getting. One time, I had the (mis?)fortune of being gabbai in my shul. I decided to have some fun byreversing the roles. I gave hagba to a guy who I knew could do it, but normally gets g’lilah due to his size, and I offered g’lilah to a really big guy. He declined. Oh well, I guess he never learned how.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Subway Subject

This morning on the subway, there was a man who I can only presume to have been homeless occupying half the car. Now I don’t mean that he took up all this space with just his body mass; he smelled. Badly. Half the car was empty and people who couldn’t find room on the car went to a different car. It was just interesting to observe how different people reacted to the situation.

First, there were a number of people who would stand and stare at the man, hoping that by their combined eyeball power, they would be able to somehow be able to awaken this man from his peaceful slumber and maybe, just maybe get out at the next stop. This has worked for me in the past (as I am sure it has for many of you) in a situation where you wanted to get someone’s attention, but didn’t want to approach them. You would just stare at them until hopefully your subject looks at you. For me, that almost always works, not so much for the people on the subway.

A second group of people stood their ground. They braved the smell as best they could for the ultimate subway reward: a seat! That’s right! As a sign of their bravery, these passengers checked their egos at the door in order to check their rumps in a seat, a very rare occurrence on an NYC subway (just ask Ezzie). I was one of these passengers, and I, like many of my brethren, sat there with my scarf over my nose. One man even got up and opened a window. On a subway.

Of course, there was the third type of person; one man who caught my attention. He not only braved the smell, but sat right across from the source. He did not cover up his nose. In fact, he seemed to be very entertained and by his book, hardly noticing what made him so unique, and did not give off the slightest bit of a hint that he was uncomfortable in any way.

This whole ordeal got me thinking how I would normally respond to a situation where something made me uncomfortable. Do I give away my displeasure? Almost always. In some form or another, I know that I make it obvious that I don’t like the situation I’m in. I never go overboard like a certain couple on the train who was laughing at their predicament until they disembarked, but I might glance over at a friend and make a face, try to wiggle my way out of the situation as quickly as possible, or just cover my nose with my scarf.

It takes great discipline to just do nothing. How many times do you get into a conversation that you don’t want to be in? For me, it happens all the time. Sometimes, I become one of those rude people, who try to get out of the conversation any way possible. Other times, I am that terribly understanding guy, who listens to the awkward questions being asked to me on the streets of Manhattan until the situation clears itself up. But never do I seem like I am not bothered at all by what’s going on. I have no popopopoker face when it comes to these things.

How does one behave like this guy on the subway? Where when faced with a situation in which even the most stuffed of noses couldn’t have bared, he showed no sign of aggravation. How does one face a situation head on, and not embarrass another in even the slightest form, like standing a little further away? How does one swallow their pride completely in order to not embarrass a sleeping homeless guy?