Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Punctual

A young woman, originally modern orthodox but now estranged from her family, told me how she had visited Crown Heights lots of times. She started the whole "Chabad is never on time" thing, which you kind of have no way to dispute. Then she started speaking about 770, how she was there and of course, nobody started on time.
"Nooooo..." I said, along with the other bochurim at the table, in a quiet, drawn out way. "770 is always on time. Perfectly. You can choose any other place in Crown Heights to complain about, but not 770." She started arguing with us, declaring that she was in 770 and whatever it was that was supposed to start, had not done so in its proper time.
"Noooooo...." we told her again. "Maybe you thought it was supposed to start at a certain time... But we guarantee that whenever they started, that was the correct time. 770 is always punctual!"
She wouldn't give up her claim, and we couldn't persuade her that we knew what happened that day better than she did (even though we did know).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Reggae RockBoxer

I went to a Chabad/JCC hosted Matisyahu Unplugged concert last night. It was in a small theater, seating 500.
(A friend asked me afterward how the pot was, but it wasn't that type of concert.)
I was going to demand a refund if One Day wasn't played, but thankfully no such actions were necessary.
It was just Matisyahu and a guitarist (who was also amazing), and a few times he stopped singing and took questions from the audience. It was a very heimish feel, but in a state of the art music theater.
He told us he wanted to sing a new song he had been working on, and we were the first audience to hear it. Matis kept warning us it might be a flop, and he stopped twice in the beginning because he forgot some lyrics. But he went right on to the main part of the song and it was incredible.
I heard that because of his contract, Matisyahu can only perform acoustic concerts like the one last night, on the side.
The first time I heard him, was about six years ago. I was in yeshiva in Pittsburgh, and Matis was just starting out. Barely anyone had even heard of him. He was staying at a family (Silverman), and doing a small gig in town. The Hanhala of our yeshiva agreed- and if they knew who he was and the music he played, I'm not sure if they would have agreed- to have him give us a private concert. So 40 bochurim crammed into the Silverman's dining room, and Matisyahu was there along with a guy Dugan (?) on bongo drums. He sang and beatboxed, and told us his whole life story. Later, he was selling signed CD's of Shake Off the Dust, standing in the kitchen. I bought one from him, because the music was ok, and I felt kind of sorry for him. It must be hard, needing to sell your CDs in someone's kitchen to some 15 year olds.

The title for my post is from something a lady in the audience said. Her question to Matisyahu was that she was doing a concert review for her college, and she wanted to know what genre of music he'd put himself into. He said it was a good question, and asked her what she thought. She said he's kind of a Reggae RockBoxer (a mix of reggae, rock and roll, and beatboxing).

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

In the sanctuary

I remember signs on the doors of the shul in Pittsburgh saying: If you come to shul to talk, where do you go to daven??
Last week when I was there, I noticed that now the signs said: No soccer or kickball indoors.
Hmmm. Yeridas HaDorois, it seems.
Now they don't mind if you talk, just whatever you do, don't start a soccer game when we're davening!!

Sanctuary

I did Kapparos this afternoon. It's the closest I can get to Erev Yom Kippur. Oh well.
After my chicken and I bonded over me telling it how it would take my place and be ritually killed (don't worry, it's the most painless way it can die...), a pleasant, smiling woman asked if she could take my chicken to a sanctuary.
Um.... what type of synagogue would let this woman just bring chickens into their sanctuary?? That's where people pray!! You don't need feathers and droppings all over the place!!
I gave her my sweetest you-must-be-crazy-so-I'll-be-extra-nice-to-you smile, and said, "No thank you."

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Shpitz

I was in Shpittsburgh for Rosh Hashana, home of Agent Emes and Itchakadoozie!
If my blog was fully anonymous, I would write a lot more about the people I met, and where I ate.
Alas, I never know who reads my blog, and whether they know who I am. Oh well.
Here's a line my friend's father told me: If you marry a girl from Pittsburgh, you'll for sure end up spending the rest of your life here.
Sound advice, just not sure if he meant I should or shouldn't.

Yo mama

I haven't posted a joke in a long time, so I thought I'd share one of my favorite Yo Mama jokes:

Yo' mama is so fat that she sweats mayonnaise.

(I just took a bow.)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Gut GeBentch't Yuhr!

Everyone should be written and sealed for a Shana Tova Umesuka!
Ksiva Vachasima Tova!

I've decided on what type of year I'll be davening for. I'm giving up on asking for a pony, and to win the lottery. I'm sticking with a basic game-plan. All I'm requesting from the Al-mighty this year is that no more of my friends should die, and that girls and guys who have waited much too long to get married should finally be able to do so, and enjoy a normal life.
I'm not asking for anything spectacular. All Hashem needs to do is let us live normal, uninterrupted, simple lives. I don't need to be drafted onto the Yankees, or save a plane from being hijacked.
Got that, G-d?
No dead friends, and only satisfied Kollel Yuhngerlite and their Kallahs.
You do Your part, and I'll stick to the davening, learning, and doing mitzvos.

Here's to a Happy and Healthy 5771!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Lost in translation

The other day I was doing laundry when a guy came in, and asked me, in Hebrew, what the difference is between the regular cycle on the washing machine which costs $1.25, and the Super Cycle option which one can purchase for an additional 25 cents.
I myself was not very confident in my knowledge of the answer. Nowhere on the machine did it say what the Super Cycle did, and what makes it so Super.
I started to suggest different possibilities, using my Hebrew lexicon. Perhaps it was a faster spin, or an additional rinse, for example. He cut me off soon after, gave me a look, and said (still in Hebrew), "So basically, you don't know how to tell me in Hebrew..."
"Exactly!" I told him, and he walked away.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Reason Number 2

Today for lunch, 1414 served..... nothing. There was just no food. None. When all the Israeli guests come in, sometimes in the past 1414 has served lunch in Getzel's shul. But nothing was there, either.
So there was just no lunch today.
At least we had dinner.
Care to guess what was served as the main course?
Sliced bread. The rest of dinner consisted of rice and/or variations thereof, like farfel.
So you can bet that Reason # 2 to get married is 1414.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Netzavim Vayelech

There's a great sicha in chelek Chof Tes about the connection between the two parshas of Netzavim and Vayelech (they're really one parsha! Not two that are combined! Even when they are read apart! I know!), and their connection to Shabbos Mevarchim Tishrei.
This Shabbos, we do not bentch the coming month. Don't feel bad. Hashem is bentching it! And as the Ba'al Shem Tov explains, this gives us the Koach to bentch the other 11 months of the year (this year 12, since it's a leap year).

I think everyone should learn the sicha. The Rebbe explains how Netzavim and Vayelech represent the general ideas of our Avodah, and of Hashem's Kingship, and hence the connection to Rosh Hashana and our Avoda on that day... Big big stuff.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Haircare; Reason #1

I"ll make this quick.
I was in Target, trying to buy shampoo (and minding my own business, of course), when I came to a big obstacle. Normally I had been buying the Pantene ProV brand, and I would make sure to get the one that has shampoo and conditioner, 2 in 1. On this shopping day, I could find no 2 in 1's that fit my hair description. The only one available for purchase was for Frizzy to Smooth hair. And I don't have frizzy hair!
So here was my dilemma: Is it better to get a nice smelling other shampoo, that's only a shampoo, and no conditioner, or go with the 2 in 1, that has a conditioner, but it's not for my hair!? If my hair is already smooth, will it damage it to use shampoo meant for frizzy hair? And what does a conditioner even do? Do men need conditioner? Why had I been using shampoo and conditioner up until this point?
I didn't know, and my mother wasn't answering her phone! The next best thing was to ask the woman standing next to me in the aisle, but she wasn't too helpful.

This leads me to the inauguration of a new part of my blog.
This is Reason # 1 to get married- for my haircare necessities.