The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Monday, January 17, 2005

I'm Outta Here

IYH, I'm leaving on a Jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again. Actually, I do, but it's more than three weeks from now.

I won't be blogging for at least two weeks, possibly not until February 10th.

How will DovBear survive?
Jewish Music Cafe

A new home for its website
"Why Do You Think People Are Having A Hard Time Getting Married?"

A new blog by Rabbi Zak of Hashevaynu.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

MoC Weighs in on the Book Banning Kerfuffle:

Couldn't the Gedolim have at least banned Shinny Shoe music while they were at it?
Cover Story

This week's English-language version of Mishpacha Magazine features my Rebbe on the cover. Nice article. The quotes at the end of the article are particularly sharp.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

More on Trust

Robert Avrech points out that:

A pattern has emerged in mail that I receive from children who have read (his wonderful new book) The Hebrew Kid and the Apache Maiden. The issue of trust, whom to trust and the consequences of trusting the right person, comes up over and over again. I have to admit, but as I was writing the book, it's not something to which I gave a great deal of thought. Several children have pointed out that if Ariel, The Hebrew Kid, had not trusted a certain person then disaster would have befallen him and his family.

This emphasis on trust should not be surprising for children live in a world that is predicated upon trusting adults for their safety (emphasis mine).
Robert's point was really brought home this week. We* are fostering a couple of three year old potato heads for a few days. Their regular foster parents are away on vacation and we* are providing a five day respite. When they came the other day, they walked in the door and proceeded to lie on their backs on the floor in the vestibule and cry. Nothing we did got them to move. I tried all my old tricks (funny faces, funny noises, a video, food, etc.) but nothing worked. Finally, after more than a half hour, I said, "hey, let's play with some trucks", put my arms out to one of them, and he jumped in. The other one quickly followed.

I took them to the den where we had a whole bunch of toy cars and trucks. They immediately had huge smiles on their faces and dug right in. After a while, we got them to eat, take baths and get to sleep (rather easily). The next day, and every day since, they've been well behaved and amazingly comfortable. (Sadly, after less than 24 hours, they were already calling MHW 'mommy').

As Robert Avrech pointed out, I think these kids were simply displaying what comes naturally to kids; the inherent desire (need?) to trust adults for theit safety. As soon as the boys got comfortable that they were safe, their demeanor changed and they were with the program. I think as parents we need to think about this more.

* I use the term "we" in the "what you mean we, Kimosabi" way. I leave to shul before the boys get up and I get home either after they are sleeping or a half hour before, after they've already been played with, bathed and fed. MHW and my younger daughter are the real "we".


Many people have asked how 'fosterboy' is doing. Without giving away any confidences or going into detail I am happy to report that he spends most Shabboses with us and continues to do very well. Thanks for asking.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Superbowl in Israel

It just dawned on me that I'm going to be in Israel during the Superbowl. Although I don't watch any football during the year (no TV), I occasionally listen to parts of games on radio and I don't think I've missed more than a couple of Superbowls since seeing the greatest one ever played, Superbowl III.

What do US olim do for the big game?

The game starts at 1 a.m. and I have to work the next day but I still intend to see it. After all, Mesorah is Mesorah.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Thoughts on Matisyahu

I have a lot to say about this and this but no time. I'm leaving next week for a very extended vacation/overseas work gig and I need to prepare.

Maybe later in the week.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Not Only Is Talking In Shul Wrong....

It's Illegal!!

New York Penal Code:

S 240.21 Disruption, or disturbance of religious service.

A person is guilty of aggravated disorderly conduct, who makes
unreasonable noise or disturbance while at a lawfully assembled
religious service or within one hundred feet thereof, with intent to
cause annoyance or alarm or recklessly creating a risk thereof.

Aggravated disorderly conduct is a class A misdemeanor.

Hat Tip: The Holy Jew From Chase Plaza
Where Was The Lethal Injection When I Needed It?

This morning, as usual, I rode the Long Island Railroad to work. I sat on a three seat bench with a friend taking the inside seat and me on the aisle.

At the next stop, two middle-aged women sat down diagonally across from us in seats that face one another. The women, one of whom had a beehive hairdo that almost hit the ceiling (not that there's anything wrong with that) started talking in loud voices from the second they sat down. And, of course, they were talking narishkeit.

My friend, who normally sleeps the entire way to work, predicted that they would not stop talking the entire ride. In fact, he said that if they ran out of people to talk about they would discuss which brand of tissue is best.

Sure enough, that is (almost) exactly what happened. But, instead of tissues, they discussed whether neosporin is better than bacitracin.

Ich kenesht.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

My Latest Franchise

MoC Goes Both Ways
J Blogging II. Can't Anyone Admit He's Wrong?

Back in June, I posted about how J blogging was all about aggression; facts meant little, perspective even less.

I wrote:

[T]here are many bloggers and commentators who do not let facts get in the way of their arguments. You have 19 year olds who have never so much as opened a Chassidishe sefer spending most of their time denegrading Chassidus; porn-meisters waxing on about everything Jewish; unmarried 20 year olds pontificating about raising Jewish children; Single cretins who probably haven't had a date in five years giving dating advice; Self-described whackos who scream and curse about the depravity of eating meat, and people like me, who don't know the difference between a minor key and a major, going on ad nauseum about Jewish Music.
It occurred to me the other day that another thing that J Bloggers seem loath to do is admit that they are wrong. This is not that surprising. Many J Bloggers are political. Many have specific areas of interest (music, Israel, sexual abuse, etc.). Consequently, they are, almost by definition, kanois (zealots) and would be expected to hold firm positions.

Nevertheless, even when confronted in the comments sections (or by facts) with overwhelming evidence to the contrary of their positions, they refuse to give in. Two recent examples (and PLEASE, don't comment on the merits of the positions; they are not the point here):

In a recent post, Jewishwhistleblower gratuitously linked Charles Kushner to HASC. I pointed out in a number of comments how disengenuous and gratuitous this was (not because I don't think each situation isn't important but because the so-called link was so tenuous and unproven). Nevertheless, rather than concede the point, she continued to dig in, even when it became ridiculous. Another example: Many of the left-leaning J Blogs ridiculed president Bush over the initial small US contribution to the Tsunami relief effort. It is amazing how silent they are now that the US, as expected (and as they should have anticipated), is leading the world's relief effort and is raising more money privately than most governments will be contributing. I'm not saying you have to vote Republican, but please, cut the guy some slack; your initial posts now look silly.

As I said, these are only two examples. I'm sure if I look back on my own blog I will find examples where I should have just thrown in the towel. It's a virtue to occasionally admit that you're wrong.