Monthly Archives: July 2008

Careful what you wish for

You know the saying, careful what you wish for you just might get it? The last couple of days have sucked, I have been so tired and drained from the barmitzvah, all I wanted was some of my bounce back, some adrenalin……


Yeah. Thank you G-d for your cosmic joke, again! Tell me something, why is it that my kids have to get themselves in these pickles? Cant you have someone else’s kids get into trouble?


I very innocently sent them off to shul to daven shacharit – good mommy, right? I figured I could loll about in bed an extra half hour with only the little squeaker keeping me company. Lo and behold my phone rings. The kids are in shul – what could possibly happen?!! Oh me of little faith.


Guy starts telling me how wonderful my kids davened, blah blah, I am thinking ok, nice that you called me, get to the point man – umm well Son #2 somehow started bleeding, Son #1 saw the blood and promptly fainted. Hatzoloh and 911 on the scene. I am on my way, I say, yelling to #4 to get his shoes on.


In my panic I still have the presence of mind to dress modestly (it is a shul) and cover my hair, and the kid and I take off running pell mell down the block. Seeing that ambulance there for my kids gave me palpitations.


I got the story. There is a peddler who sells stuff at the shul to make a parnassah. He sells pocket knives. The child of mine who wanted one had the other make the purchase as he was too shy. He still is a kid, and the guy shouldn’t have sold him the knife. Kid wanted to look at the blade, and cut himself trying to close it. But even when the kid was bleeding all over the shul, the peddler didn’t come over and make amends. He minded his own business and slipped quietly out of shul. He had better watch his back because this momma bear is going to come after him.


My boys learnt a huge lesson this morning. When Ima says no its not because she is mean. Its because she does know whats best, every single time. The cut kid got glued back together, fainter kid is fine, ego a little bruised – fainting in front of your friends is so not cool.


Ah well, another day another saga……….


It takes a village

You know the saying that it takes a village to raise a child? It takes a village to do many other things as well, including put on a simcha. My village, my community, enabled me to pull of the barmitzvah of the decade. (In my opinion).  No one can do everything alone, even control freaks like me.


There have been many people who helped me pull this together. But not by telling me what to do, but by gently advising on what worked when they made a simcha.


In my old age I have learned that there is nothing wrong with asking for help or delegating. And when you have laryngitis the week of a simcha you NEED to ask for help and delegate or nothing will happen.


I have to tell you something about this community of mine. Yes, there are times when the ultra right wing factions drive me to distraction, and there are occurrences and opinions that leave me baffled and confused. But, with all of that, there is one common theme that unites this community – helping others. There are those who everyone knows that they are big baalei tzedakah, but there are many more who help quietly behind the scenes, wanting no recognition whatsoever.


The last few years have been very tough personally. There were some really rough times where if it hadn’t been for the wonderful people around me I would not have been able to stand tall at my son’s barmitzvah. They literally and figuratively propped me up until I was able to do it on my own. They took pride in my children as they did in theirs. They made themselves available to us night and day for as long as we needed. And I took them up on it many a time.


I look back and I know that without this amazing community and without G-d’s help there is no way this barmitzvah would have been such a success. There is no way that I would have been able to stand there greeting my guests, shining as if lit from within. There is no way I would have been able to plan the whole weekend, and pull it off without a hitch.


I said in a previous post that this Shabbat none of my self image issues were there. In  a way, I look on this past weekend as a sort of rebirth for me. Everyone knows we went through tough times. Not many know how tough, but they can imagine. And for me to be there, happy and healthy and proud of the fine man my son has become, well it was a major cause for celebration in my book. I made it. I needed to say a Shehechyanu. I got here, despite all the odds stacked against me, I pulled through. I did not do it alone. My village raised me up, propped me up, and pulled me kicking and screaming at times to where I am now.


So thank you, wonderful people, for the abundant gifts that you have showered me with, and for the self knowledge you have forced me to accept – that I am a good person, that I am worth everything good in life. Thank you for the lessons you have taught my sons about going above and beyond. These are lessons that cannot be taught in books or classrooms. You guys are the epitome of what it means to be a good person. To help without expecting anything in return. I am proud to know you.

What a weekend!!

My son’s barmitzvah was phenomenal. The whole weekend went swimmingly well. It all appeared effortless and seamless – do you have any idea how much work it takes to get there? Effortless take endless effort….but I did it.


It could not have been more perfect. My son did a fine job with his torah reading, his speech was warm, loving, emotional – as he thanked his parents he choked up, and I doubt there was a dry eye in the house. I didn’t notice because I was way too busy bawling my eyes out…such a sap. My speech was well received. My son’s dad spoke about the importance of menschlichkeit in this world – I see already that #1 son is a mensch, there were so many instances over the weekend where he proved it.


#1 son also made a siyyum – he finished learning Seder Moaid in honour of his barmitzvah – this was a huge accomplishment, took him 8 months to complete all the learning for it. One of his rebbes was on hand to give a short speech, and he spoke of #1 son with such love and affection and yes, even respect. It was a very touching moment.


He told me tonight that he felt the love in the room at the meals. He really felt it, the warmth, the adoration, the caring – everyone who was a part of our simcha was there out of love for him and his parents. There was no awkwardness as there could have been, with divorced parents, blended families, etc. Every one got along, because we were all there for my son. This was his moment to shine, and shine he did.


He davened for the Amud many times over the last few days – and intends to lead the community in prayer many more times in the future.


I am so proud of him for all he has achieved. It was just a perfect barmitzvah. Yes there were issues that happened, but nobody else knew about them, and it didn’t spoil the main events. I had a major wardrobe malfunction (I bent to pick something up and heard rip rip rip – skirt ripped big time) 5 minutes before leaving for shul, which necessitated a total change of clothing for me – but nobody knew.


Standing there greeting my guests – my face started to hurt from the grinning I was doing. I was just so darn happy to be where I was, to know I have 4 wonderful sons who are growing up to be fine young men, to know that my eldest son has done me proud, but more importantly, he did himself proud. It was nice hearing the congratulations from people on what a fine son I have raised. It was also wonderful that people complimented me on how lovely I looked – I have some self image issues, what woman doesn’t, but at the barmitzvah they disappeared. I knew that I was shining from within. (Wish there was a pill you could take to get that glow when you really need it).


G-d blessed me and my family this weekend, and I am eternally grateful for His abundant blessings. May we all celebrate many simchas together, Amen!

Ima’s Speech

Welcome, bruchim habaim, Shabbat shalom, good shabbes……


Honoured rabbis, family and friends. What a wonderful day this is, and how awesome a gift it is to share it with all of you.  I want to welcome all of you, and thank you for the effort you all have made to come and share in our simcha.


I want to wish a personal mazel tov all the grandparents, on the barmitzvah of your eldest grandchild. What a wonderful day this must be for you. May you shepp much yiddishe nachas from all your grandchildren. May we all celebrate many more smachot together. Amen.


The last few months have been so very busy with planning and lists, and lists of lists, all leading up to this glorious day. Today our bechor has officially become a man according to Jewish tradition.


Son #1, watching you grow up these last 13 years has been such a wonderful honour and privilege, and to know that you follow in our footsteps in your close relationship with G-d is a blessing beyond belief.  Son #1, you have always been older than your years, you have displayed a thirst for knowledge about everything that is never satisfied. I love how tenacious you can be when looking for answers, when seeking the truth. You always listen to me, even though you know I can’t make you do anything seeing as you are now bigger than me. You work hard every day to try and make my life a little easier. You bring me joy every single day of your life. You are a fine example to your younger brothers, and I know sometimes their hero worship can get a little grating, but most of the time you take it in your stride. I am so proud of who you are, Son #1, and so very blessed to have had the privilege of raising you, of seeing you grow and develop, of seeing you achieve your personal goals.


I remember the Friday night after you were born, Sweetie, so clearly. I remember bensching you for the very first time, both Abba and I had tears rolling down our faces.


We blessed you, our son, that G-d should make you like Ephraim and Menashe. We asked G-d to bless you, and to watch over you. We asked him to shine His face towards you and show you favour. We asked G-d to be favourably disposed towards you, and then we asked him to show you Peace. We have continued to bless you and your brothers this way every Friday night. Every time I say the words I am moved.


Why do we bless our sons that they should be like Ephraim and Menashe. Who were these men that we want our sons to emulate them? They were the sons of Yosef, who was the second youngest son of Yaakov. What was so special about them? They were the only two of Yaakov’s grandsons that had tribes named after them. Yaakov looked upon them as sons rather than grandsons. Through reading and studying I have learned that these two brothers were possibly the first brothers in the history of the world to live together without rivalry. We all know about Cain and Abel, Yitzchak and Yishmael, Yaakov and Esav,  and Yoseph’s brothers, well, they sold him into slavery. Talk about rivalry there!


In Tehillim (psalms) it says “how good and pleasant it is for brothers to sit peacefully together”. Surely this is a remez, a hint, to Ephraim and Menashe and the good example that they set.


Ephraim and Menashe always worked towards the greater good of the community, always putting their own personal needs aside. They worked side by side and never allowed ego to get the best of them.


We are also told Ephraim and Menashe were born and raised to maturity outside of Eretz Yisrael, in Egypt, a place rife with immorality and corruption. Despite their environment they held steadfast to their Jewish values and did not compromise their beliefs. It must have been difficult for them at times, but they held true. In this world there will be many temptations to stray from the path of truth, and blessing our sons in this manner reminds them, indeed it strengthens them by remembering the commitment these two forbears had to yiddishkeit, never compromising, never wavering, not even for a second.


I would like to take a moment to address 3 very special people who have not yet been mentioned. Son #2, Son #3 and Son #4. You have all been so understanding and accepting of Son #1’s moment in the spotlight. You have shown no jealousy nor rivalry, and for that I thank you. Son #2, don’t get too comfortable where you are, 13 months from now it’s your turn, you had better start learning soon, and yes you will have to wear a suit then too. Thank you for being you, for your loving hugs and cuddles, for your unending devotion to my cooking. Your smile makes my heart sing.  Son #3, you have a while to go till it is your turn and I know you want to be all grown up already, but you are at a wonderful age and I want you to enjoy being a kid for a while longer ok? Carry on laughing your magical laugh for it warms my very soul. Son #4, where are the words to tell you how yummy and cute and delicious you are, and how your excitement for every little discovery you make translates to a smile in my heart? I love you.


I am so blessed to stand before you all today. I make this promise in front of all of you. I will continue to raise my sons in the warmth and love of Yiddishkeit, I promise to do my best to continue to imbue in them a sense of belonging to their people. I thank G-d for His abundant gifts, and I thank Him for the opportunity of having these children in my life. While we may never know what’s in store for us, I have faith that it will all be for the good.


Son #1, sweetheart, from the bottom of my heart, I wish you a sincere mazel tov on your barmitzvah. You have worked hard and earned your moment in the spotlight. I am so very proud of you. I love you so very much.

Oy Vey

just when you think you have everything under control, G-d reminds you who is the Boss. He is. Big Time. The last few days i had been so proud of myself that i was not stressed, that i was on target with all the barmy plans. Ha, I say, Ha bloody Ha! Woke up Sunday morning with a major scratchy throat – by end of day fever was sky high, I was achey, cranky and totally hoarse! Now who’s stressed??!!

but sick or not, things have to get done, and get done they will. i am calling in my support army to help me, even tho i hate asking for help, but push is coming to shove and i cannot risk my health more than i have already.

my boys have told me in polite terms to shut up. my voice (or croak) hurts them. i wont hug them right now coz i dont want them getting sick before the BM. They, bless ’em, keep bringing me tea and OJ and keep telling me to get back into bed. i make a horrible patient – after 5 minutes of rest i am dying to get up.

the family invasion starts in two days – that means i have two days to get my act together, to get better, to get the house in order, to finalise all the BM plans, and to find a serene look for my face to wear – what are the odds that i can manage it all?

Have a good thought for us, ok? will try to check in soon.

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Blogging Hiatus

i know i havent been blogging as much as i would have liked lately – barmitzvah is taking up all my time. I will be back, hopefully, in less than 2 weeks after the big event with a lot to tell you…in the meanwhile, behave, be good and keep checking back, because you never know when i will be inspired to write something, even with all the craziness around me……

Frumster Files

One feature on Frumster is the ability to see which people checked out your profile. You can then check them out, IM them, or email them or what have you.


My profile is very clear that I am in my mid-thirties, and have a few children, and am looking for long term commitment, not short term games. If I was looking for fun I would go elsewhere.


So then why, pray tell, are these 20 something year olds checking out my profile, IMing me and emailing me, offering me their “temporary friendship” when they are next in town? What business does  a 24 year old “Yeshivish Black Hat” bochur have emailing me? It isn’t “Tefillin Dates R Us”, its Frumster – dating for MARRIAGE.


I had this inane series of conversations with a NBM (never been married), he was 27, a doctor in an emergency room in a large city. He tried very hard to convince me that he wanted to marry a woman with experience in many spheres. Maybe he was looking for a cougar (or a JEWgar as my girlfriend coined the term) as he was too socially inept to find a girl in his own age bracket? He ended up emailing me 124 times in the space of 3 days…..and each email got more and more graphic, even asking me questions about the physical side of marriage because he was “curious” – I finally blocked him because it was getting ridiculous.


I don’t give out my name or my number until I am sure that it is safe to do so. Of course there are no guarantees and there have been one or two situations that I would have preferred not to find myself in…


I just cannot get over these young little whippersnappers believing that they have what it takes to tempt a mature divorcee. I have been told by one of them, that all divorcees don’t really want marriage, they just have an itch to scratch. I wonder who gave us this bad reputation. Not every divorcee is gagging for it. In fact I would venture a guess as to say most of us are not.


Yes, not every divorcee wants to remarry.  Second time around, marriage seems that much scarier, and some decide to remain alone. That’s fine for them, and however they choose to live their life is their own business. But we are all different. What might be acceptable for one person, is not acceptable for the next.


I want to find my knight in shining armour, but  it certainly wont be a sniveling 20 year old kid who is still wet behind the ears and has yet to learn to shave.

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Open letter to Mr PigMansky

Dear Mr PigMansky


On Shabbat (shabbes to you) my sons walked past you on the street and bid you a Good Shabbes. You returned their greeting politely, probably because they were wearing white shirts and dress pants and velvet kippas and looked like they belonged in your neck of the woods, or perhaps you recognized them from a function we all attended recently. I was about ten paces behind them, walking in 4 inch heels slows me down sometimes.


As I passed you I said “Shabbat Shalom”. I saw that you greeted my sons and wanted to be polite. I also recalled being introduced to you and your wife not too long ago. I was brought up to show respect, which is why I wished you Shabbat shalom. You looked at me like you had a very awful taste in your mouth. How dare I, a mere woman (and a divorced one at that), talk to you, a MAN? The way you looked at me was worse than rude, it was disgusting. I do realize that there are men who don’t talk to women not directly related to them, but those men don’t look at other women in the street. They don’t sweep their eyes up and down the non-related woman, mentally cataloguing her clothes and her looks.


All I wanted to do was wish you well, after you were kind enough to greet my sons. In return you looked at me as if I was a piece of meat up for sale. I guess maybe I wouldn’t have minded so much, if while mentally undressing me, you had wished me a good shabbos. I mentally inspected my mode of dress, perhaps I was not tzanua…..but that couldn’t have been the problem. I was wearing a sheitel, my collarbone was covered, as were my elbows and knees. I was even wearing panty hose in this high heat – I had been to shul, and I always dress modestly for shul. It’s the right thing to do. I wasn’t even wearing bright colours. In fact, Pigmansky, I was very modestly dressed, and the way you leered at me was most unmodest of you.


After taking a few more paces, I risked a glance back at you, and you were stopped in the street, staring at my posterior as I walked away. With the same disgusted expression on your face. I had an epiphany. You weren’t disgusted with me, you were disgusted with yourself. You saw a beautiful woman, and you behaved like a pig. The depth of my beauty and inner spirit took your breath away so much so that saying good shabbes was a physical impossibility and you were totally ashamed at your inability to behave like a mensch.


So I guess, Mr Pigmansky, I should be flattered that I rendered you speechless. But somehow I can’t bring myself to really believe that. A little derech eretz would have gone a long long way.




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Sailing away (inspired by a dream)

Smooth sailing, the seas were calm

Sparkling blue as far as eye could see

Drifting along a glass ocean

Enjoying the gentle glide


Suddenly a squall appears

On the horizon, far

It will pass by, it does not threaten

This dreamer steamer of life


The boat takes a sudden turn

To starboard it starts to lean

He has taken the wheel by brute force

Total control is now his


Dark clouds rush in, thunder too

Escorting his minions of death

The rain pours and pelts and soaks

As his wicked laugh is heard


Thunder and lightning strikes

As he wrenches the wheel to and fro

The seas start to show discontent

And churn up their ire


It becomes a maelstrom of water

Versus the will of a satanic ghoul

Who will win this awful fight

That occurs as God sleeps?


The sea is calm once more

No remnants of the fierce struggle

“who won, who lost, what happened?”

Questions that will be answered nevermore.

All Barmitzvah, All the time!

I am totally amazed at what I learned recently about planning a simcha. Caterers quoted me different prices for the men’s food at the Kiddush and the women’s food at the same event. Which was pricier? The women’s. Who eats more? The men. Why is this so? So I asked the caterer. He said that the men just care that there is food. The women want their food to look pretty. Does it really make that big of a difference? Not that I ever looked on the men’s side while a Kiddush was going on, usually the idea of looking at 500 men squashed into a hall meant for 100 at high capacity is enough to make me turn around and catch up with some girlfriends.


Apparently, and I write this as I am trying to decide what colour and material of tablecloth to use, there are some who give the men boring tablecloths and the women the fancier ones.  I guess the standard might even apply to plates and cups and flatware etc. I was also told to get fancy salad bowls for the ladies side, and not for the men. I understand the idea behind it, I just find it …….different.


I guess in all this there is some reverse sexism for once, that the ladies get the better end of the deal here, but come on? Different standards at the same simcha? Especially at a barmitzvah? Where the MAN is the centre of attention and he should have to have less than his female counterparts? What do you think?