Daily Archives: March 1, 2010

How would you define “frum”?

From Ohr Somayach:

“Frum is a Yiddish word. It originally meant “pious.” In Europe, when all Jews were Torah-observant, “frum” meant one who was exceptionally religious and righteous.

Today, when so many Jews are not Torah-observant, “frum” has come to mean anyone who believes in the Torah and is observant of its laws.”

These days it seems everyone has their own way of defining it. Ohr Somayach’s definition is too broad for my taste, but just what does “frum” mean? I don’t like using the term, preferring the term religious, but then again, what I consider religious, someone else might label as “modern”.

So, over to you, readers. How do you define frum, or religious? How about Yeshivish, Chareidi or Chassidic? What does Modern Orthodox mean to you? Reform, conservative, conservadox, liberal?

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Sad sight

When we were at our hosts’ house for the Purim Seudah (festive meal) last night we looked out of the window every time we heard loud singing. It is a religious neighbourhood, so we did expect a lot of Purim merriment.

What I saw hurt me and saddened me. One particular time there were two teenage boys, maybe my son’s age (14), weaving their drunken way down the street. In the centre of it. One of them was gesticulating wildly with an almost empty bottle of what looked like scotch / bourbon in one hand, and a lit cigarette in the other. They paid no heed to the cars. They walked right up to a moving car, and motioned for the driver to roll down the window. When the car drove on they continued their drunken walk in the midst of the road.

Part of me wished I knew who these boys were. Part of me was glad I didn’t. If I had, I would have called their parents to come pick them up. If the parents had refused, what would I have done? Would I have called the police? I don’t know. There was a lot of drunkenness around, according to my boys, who I am proud to say did not get drunk. My 7 year old came home after spending the weekend with his father, and proudly told me “I didn’t touch a drop of alcohol”.

I am glad my message got through to my kids, but why are there other teens taking advantage of this day to put themselves in such danger??!! So many rabbis this year spoke out against drunkenness, condemned it in strong language. What can they do to actually get the message through to those who need to hear it?

I am told that as bad as I thought it was last night, it’s worse in Monsey. Please tell me it’s not so….

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WWYD – School

A friend of mine has her kids in a Jewish day school. One of her children has had some issues with a particular class, and after discussions with that teacher, it was decided that every Friday after school is over, the teacher would call to give a progress report. The teacher is not Jewish.

Apparently, the teacher called her last Friday evening, 45 minutes after candle-lighting, to leave a message about the child’s progress that week. My friend is incensed. How could this teacher call her on Shabbat even if it was just to leave a message? Don’t they explain the laws of Shabbat to the secular teachers? She hated the fact that her telephone rang on Shabbat, and many people worry that its bad news when the phone rings on Shabbat. The message indicator was blinking all of Shabbat and made her nervous.

She wants to call the principal and make a to-do. I told her it isn’t really worth it. It’s possible that the teacher was aware, but temporarily forgot. If anything, she should speak to the teacher involved, and gently let him/her know that in future s/he should please call before Shabbat starts. My friend wants heads to roll.

What would you do? What would you advise her to do?

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To be the best

I must have seen at least ten medal ceremonies of the Winter Olympics that just ended yesterday. I mostly watched the ones where the gold medal winners were Canadian. Every time, without fail, I cried as they played the national anthem. I deliberately watched a medal ceremony where it wasn’t Canada who won, just to see if maybe I was just being patriotic, yet I still cried.

I think KoD was a little taken aback with these specific tears – because really, it doesn’t seem logical. I tried to explain to him why I cry, why I am so moved. (He is used to me crying at commercials and movies, and really, pretty much at the drop of a hat….)

Imagine, being the best in the world at something. Working most of your life towards this one goal, that may one day be attainable. Due to hard work, talent, blood, sweat, tears and perseverance, you achieve your goal. To be awarded a medal for that achievement, to have won that medal for your country – that is huge. To be able to tell yourself that you are the best in the world. How many people get that chance in a lifetime? Being crowned the best is truly an awesome moment. Humbling and self-affirming all at once. It is indeed a God-given moment. I cry because I recognize the gift in that moment and my soul is touched.

I know I will never be the best at any sport, nor pretty much the best at anything other than being the best mother and wife. I am totally ok with that. I don’t need a gold medal or a country cheering me on. I am content to know I try my best every single day to be the best me I could possibly be. But what a trip that would be to be awarded a medal for being the best HSM I could be.

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