Daily Archives: July 6, 2009

Step–parenting question

If a young step child tells the step-parent “I wish you were my mommy / daddy” what would be an appropriate response?

Is this really what the child wishes or is s/he just saying “I love you, thanks for being my step mom / dad?

How would you answer? I think an appropriate response is “you have a father / mother who loves you. But, I’m glad to be your stepfather / step mother.”

What are your thoughts?

No respect

I took the kids out to eat recently, to a place they love to go that is fleishig but not fancy. They like the steak sandwiches and crispy fries. I always get a stomach ache after eating there.

So we walk in, and no one is behind the counter. There is a young man surfing the web on his laptop bopping his head to his tunes on the iPod. My kids thoroughly enjoyed repeatedly pressing the bell they have on the counter, and laptop dude slowly and reluctantly unfolds his scruffy bendy self from the chair upon which he and his low rise jeans were slumped. Cool techeilet tzitzit though.

He saunters around behind the counter, one ear bud still in his ear, bouncing away to the music while he attempted to get our order right. The kids had to keep repeating what they wanted because ScruffyDude couldn’t hear it over the tunes screaming in his ear.

He kept looking over to his laptop, forlornly, as if it were a terrible thing that he actually had to work for a minute or two. I have never had such bad service in a kosher restaurant before. Even the kids remarked on the fact that he didn’t switch off his iPod in order to serve us. They thought it was rude. (this is coming from kids who are not even allowed to read at the table, so they definitely know manners). One even remarked that he wondered if the boss knew that his employee had no respect for the customers.

I generally don’t let this get to me, but this time I wanted to tell him off. But he wouldn’t have heard me anyway. Our food got to our table in a timely fashion and the kids enjoyed it. I left it at that. as soon as he had filled our order he was back to the laptop and the music.

If I got paid to sit and surf all day I would be a rich woman 😉

Chassidim at Chuck E Cheese???

Ok, folks, up here in Montreal there are no kosher Subway franchises, Dunkin Donuts is not kosher nor is it ever likely to have a kosher place here either. Us Orthodox Montreal folks are really big on doing nothing to promote Ma’arat Ayin – the appearance of doing something wrong.

When I visited Brooklyn last summer and first stepped into kosher Dunkin Donuts and Subway I really felt like I was eating treife. It just seemed weird. I have been to a few more Dunkin Donuts since then, and in Israel we did Burger King and Kentucky Fried Chicken and tried a Pizza Hut too.

monsey trip july 4th weekend 029On a Sunday afternoon there are plenty of things to do in NY (as everywhere else) – laundry, cleaning, cooking, but the kids don’t really like that kind of activity, so you want to look for something fun and inexpensive for them to do. Apparently there is a place called Chuck E Cheese which has lots of Arcade games and stuff for kids to put tokens in and win prizes. Awesomeness. Ok sure, let’s go there! Kids will have fun and stop whining that they are bored. What? It’s a treife restaurant too?

I dunno, it just felt kinda weird – going to a treife restaurant to play games? Not really my thing, but when in Rome and all that. So we go in, they stamp our hands with the same UV number, different from everyone else – that’s to make sure that when we leave we leave with our own kids who have the same code. Smart.

The place is huge with all different games and pinball machines etc. We got tokens for the kids and off they went to have a blast. The restaurant and eating area was separate from the gaming area – and it wasn’t obviously a restaurant in my opinion.

Once the kids were all settled I looked at the mix of people around me – white, black, asian, latino….and chassidish?? What? Ok, I am not exactly irreligious, far from it, but my boys in their baseball caps and short trousers don’t look obviously Jewish and kinda blended in. If I, a modern orthodox woman, had issues going into Chuck E Cheese – what about the Chassidim? I mean, what if the Rebbe hears that they went to a treife restaurant? The Ma’arat Ayin would be huge for them. (It would be huge for me too…..but MOs are not held to the same standard as Chassidim).

From what I have heard before and since, the Monsey community in general is OK with the kids going to play in Chuck E Cheese (ok come Chuck E Cheese, pay me a royalty for everytime I say your name, ok?? Speak to my agent…..). We know they aren’t going there for the food, I don’t think my children even noticed that they sold food there! They were too busy winning their prizes and having good clean fun.

Truth is – if there was something similar here there is no way I would have taken my kids. It is just not done up here. Are we more discerning about where we take our kids, or are we more afraid of what people might think? We are told to be dan l’chaf z’chut – to judge favourably – but why put someone in that position to even think to judge you?

I went along with it because it sounded like fun for the kids and they had a great time. There was a huge weirdness and ick element in it for me, but that didn’t stop their enjoyment. Would I go again? Probably….but only because it seems to be socially acceptable in our community there.

What are your thoughts? Do standards change community to community? Place to place? Was this acceptable? Would it be to you? if you are chassidish what are your thoughts? (and why are you on the internet 😉 )