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

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Team MoC Rolls On

My fantasy football team continues to roll. I am 6-1 with a big test coming up against the 5-2 Team Lou the Toe. I had no business winning this week what with LT on a bye and an underperforming Cincinnati squad (Palmer and TJH). I will take the wins where I can get them.

My biggest challenge will be remembering to adjust my squad next week after my bike ride.



Let's see. I have my Blackberry charger, my iPod charger, my Bose headphones charger, and my shaver charger. It seems that half my suitcase is taken up by chargers. I'm not sure there is any deep significance of this. I'm just saying....


Monday, October 22, 2007

Kavanah Deficit

Not that it takes much to dustract me, but on Shabbos, as I was walking into shul I met a friend who is also doing the Alyn Ride. I asked him how he was doing and he said he was ready. Then, he told me he was worried about the climb up the Carmel on Wednesday. He said it was a very big climb (I think he said 1800 feet) in just three miles.

So, instead of concentrating on davening, I spent the rest of the morning visualizing that ride. It's a good thing MHW davens with kavanah no matter what. At least one of us is pulling her weight.

Question for Steve: How does Carmel compare to Nes Harim and Maale Akrabim?

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Friday, October 19, 2007

On the Road Yet Again

I will be on the road on business and pleasure for the next two weeks so expect my posting to be light (not that anyone seems to care anymore judging from my skimpy hit numbers). Just wanted to let the few of you who still visit here know.

In terms of my bike ride, the good news is that I've raised more than $19,000 for my ride and am confident that I will break $20,000 in the next few days. While I don't think I will make my goal of $25,000, I am pretty pleased with where I am. You can still sponsor me by clicking here.

The CD is out and I'm hoping through word of mouth and some advertising that it will be well received. People who are not familiar with Aron Razel's style will probably have a harder time "getting" the music than those who are, but I think that after a couple of listens, most people will think it is pretty good. I'm just glad the project has been completed and hope that it does kavod to Shlomo Carlebach.

I am also looking very forward to seeing OOS, MHDIL, OYS and the grandchildren. It's been over two months.

See you on the flip flop.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Running Out of Time

Scary stuff From Rabbi Horowitz


Karduner and Matisyahu UPDATED

On Tuesday, Yosef Karduner had a gig at the Carlebach Shul.

In the audience was Matisyahu. After a while, he got up on stage and joined Karduner. I wasn't there but I heard it was wild. Wild is not exactlty a word that one associates with Yosef Karduner.

If anyone was there I'd love to hear an eye witness account.

Update: Shira's Take (although she left early; I heard it went on and on...)


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Bitterness Tempered

Although, as I wrote in my previous post, it's hard to stay involved in communal affairs without becoming bitter or cynical, there is also a side to it that can be very inspiring.

At the same hilulah where "Yankel" busted my chops for not publicizing the fact that there was a $10 suggested donation, the following incident happened that still puts a smile on my face when I think about it.

A young woman, probably in college or just out, handed over her $10 bill and asked sweetly, "do you think this is eligible for maiser?"

I was not expecting such a question. Frankly, I make more than enough money that a $10 cash contribution doesn't even come into my maiser equation.

A few things immediately struck me. First, this young woman clearly does not make a lot of money if she has to consider this question in the first place. Second, I was impressed with the seriousness of her question. She took this maiser stuff very seriously. Third, if she only knew that I am an am haaretz totally unqualified to answer her question.

Nevertheless, I put my best maikel hat on and thought about it. Since there was no admission charge, she could have gone in for free, so it was a donation. And, while it's true that she was getting value commensurate with her donation (and therefore would not be eligible for a charitable contribution under US tax law), I didn't think that issue was dispositive in halacha. So I told her I thought it would be eligible for maiser.

I hope that was the right answer. In any event, I put an extra $10 into the pushka this morning in her zchus; if, at the end of the year she is actually short of maiser by $10, the Aibishter should please apply that sawbuck to her account.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Mi She'oskim B'tzorchei Tzibbur B'emunah

It is very hard to be involved in Jewish communal affairs without becoming bitter. At least that's been my experience.

I spent three years as chairman of the board of a certain local school and left feeling as though I had accomplished absolutely nothing after spending literally hundreds of hours working on its behalf. The smallness, nastiness and self-dealing of some of the people I had to work with is hard to describe.

My six years as president of a shul were far less frustrating because much more was accomplished. Still, it was hard to deal with all the whiners and all the people who drive $50,000 cars and give $100 to the shul and think they are doing you a favor. (In fairness, there are also amazing tzadikim who give vast amounts of money and don't make a peep, and others who work tirelessly on behalf of the shul).

This past motsai Shabbos was a prime example of what one has to deal with. It's a small episode but gives you a flavor for what I'm talking about.

The shul hosted a hilula to commemorate the yahrtzeit of the holy Rebbe from Piazcezna, the Aish Kodesh, after whom our shul is named. For the past six years, we have brought in Yosef Karduner for this night. It is one of the highlights, and main events of the year.

This event costs a lot of money. We pay Karduner, we pay for his ticket, we rent the Young Israel of Lawrence Cedarhurst (our shul is too small), we pay for sound, we pay for security. It adds up. We have a sponsor who helps defray about 40% of the cost and we ask for a suggested donation of $10 to cover some of the rest.

We always lose money on this event yet we are happy to do it. The event anually draws hundreds of people, most from outside our shul, and is always very special.

This year, as usual, I got to YILC over a half hour early to make sure everything was in order and to collect the suggested donations. Sadly, I only get to listen to the very end of Karduner's performance because I stay at the door most of the night. I'm not complaining; that's my job.

Early on, a man in his thirties, lets call him "Yankel", comes to the door. He sees the the "suggested donation" signs and dramatically whips out a ten dollar bill which he drops on the table. Without making eye contact with me, he says in a gruff voice, "You shoulda put on the email that there was a suggested donation" and proceeds to walk in. I replied, "You should have said that in a nice way." He stalked off.

Yankel is not a member of the shul. In fact, he's a freeloader. Although he comes to our shul frequently, to my knowledge, he has never contributed so much as a nickle or lifted a finger to help. And, while he's right that we should have put it in an email, he also knows that we've been charging a $10 suggested donation for years.

Ich kenesht.


VISIT MY NEW WEB PAGE!!! and Sponsor MoC

(This post will remain until October 29th. Scroll down for newer posts.)

Check out my new Alyn webpage. Very shtoddy.


Friday, October 12, 2007

Sameach Podcast With MoC

Sameach Music's new Podcast is online featuring an interview with yours truly re K'Shoshana. They also play the title track. Don't know what minute mark it's at yet.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

O Solo Mia

After a summer in which I had fewer than a handful of business lunches (and fell way off pace for a 60-business-lunch-year), I was back in the saddle today at Solo.

Sadly, I have become a confirmed wimp and could not bring myself to order a steak. While the thought of eating a steak greatly appealed to me (and my weight is as low as it's been since high school so I could afford the calories), the thought of how I would feel after eating the steak did not appeal to me. Instead, I opted for the soup and trout combo.

The good news is that I partly redeemed myself by ordering a ridiculously good apple tart (new on the menu).

Eating at fancy restaurants appears to be like riding a bike....even after weeks off, you never forget.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Karduner at Carlebach

In addition to his Aish Kodesh gig this motsai Shabbos, Yosef Karduner will be playing at the Carlebach Shul next Tuesday, October 16th.


Ahead of the Curve

Way back when everyone else was extolling the virtues of the Yankees, MoC was way ahead of the curve and knew that they were done.

(As an added bonus, I had a great sense of how the Mets would do, as well).


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Self Assessment: The Ride

With just under three weeks to go before the Alyn Ride, it's a good time for a self assessment.

I did back to back 50 mile rides on the North Shore of Long Island on Sunday and Monday. The rides were mostly rolling hills and flats with a few short hard climbs. I did them both at a decent pace without much trouble. It was the first time I'd ridden outside two days in a row (other than a couple of 25 milers to Point Lookout, which doesn't count). I am starting to taper down my intense spinning and will do no more than two or three hard spins between now and the ride. I will go out again Sunday morning for my last outdoor ride, this time either 25 or 50.

The good news is that I'm not sore at all and I was just as strong at the end of the second ride as I was at the end of the first. The bad news is that I was just as strong at the end of the first as I was at the end of the second.

Bottom line: I'm a piker. I will always be a piker. I don't have the time or the inclination to do the work necessary to be more than a piker. Not that there's anything wrong with being a piker.

Realistically, I will be among the stronger riders in the regular road ride. The first three days will be relatively easy and I will be able to handle the climb to the Carmel with the Challenge riders on the second to last day and manage the climbs to Nes Harim and Ein Kerem on the last day. But I am glad that I am not doing the challenge ride because I simply don't belong there. Other than missing the company of PsycleSteve (and driving him crazy with my ability to sleep through earthquakes and Bedouin tents) I will be happier with my less intense friends on the regular road ride.

The best news is that I've so far managed to raise almost $18,000 for Alyn Hospital (which, at the end of the day, is what it's all about).


New CD: Next Wednesday

I have been told that the new CD will be ready next Wednesday, October 17th. Should be in the hands of Sameach that same day or the next.



Despite the fact that my starting quarterback and top wide receiver, together averaging 45 points per game, had byes, and despite the fact that my replacement QB and wide receiver stunk up the joint (4.5 points together when they had been averaging about 30 points together), I managed to crush the previously unbeaten Team Akiva to take first place with a 4-1 record. I was helped by an uncharacteristically good points day from Kerry Rhodes who had 9 tackles.

Going into Monday night I had a strong lead. Only a monumental game from Tony Romo could have cost me the win. I went to sleep after the first half of the Dallas-Buffalo game knowing that the game was in the bag after Romo threw three interceptions. Sure enough, kach havah.

I have been extremely lucky so far in that my team has so far been entirely injury free. (I knew it was a good move hiring a world class trainer). I have also been fortunate to win even though LT is playing very pedestrian football so far. (He did cost me my one loss by scoring only 9 points; I lost that game by 5).

In a couple of weeks I go on a two week road trip where I will have very limited access to computers. I hope I can sustain the momentum during that time.


Monday, October 08, 2007

Light My Fire

As I have noted on frequent occasions, my shul is a very strange place indeed. Kind of like the Jewish version of the Bar at Star Wars.

It should not surprise anyone that on Simchas Torah the level of weirdness reaches its high point of the year, owing to the general leibidik atmosphere and the number of bizarre visitors who come for the "scene".

However, the strangest event of all yom tov had nothing to do with chag-related festivities.

On the amud in the main sanctuary, we keep a couple of small lanterns lit throughout the yom tov. This is very common in many shuls, particularly Chassidishe places. At the conclusion of hakafos on Thursday night, one of our members walked up to the lantern, lifted the glass and lit a cigarette from the lantern's fire.

I've been around a long time but I must admit this is a new one.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From The Tree

OOS recently posted about his ingrained need to beat the traffic. Where did that come from?


The New CD and Other Things

My new CD, K'Shoshana, is at the printer. It should be out in a couple of weeks.

I leave for my bike ride in less than three weeks (I will be spending a few days in London on business before the ride). I am inclined to take a short break from posting until after I return. I haven't been on my game in a while. I am tired and I need a break.

I will probably just post about the rollout of the CD unless the muse unexpectedly hits.

Best wishes for a gutten kvitel and a good yom tov.



I'm not talking about the Mets. That wasn't a disgrace, it was a debacle. There's a difference.

The Knicks, however, are a disgrace.

I wonder how Jim Dolan's father, a man who built a billion dollar company, feels about his ridiculous son running a great franchise into the ground. As Tim Marchman, the wonderful sports columnist from the New York Sun recently wrote, no other NBA franchise would have allowed the sex discrimintaion trial to take place; they would have done what it took to make it go away. Dolan, on the other hand, with his oversized ego, wouldn't back off. The result: Besides an $11.6 million dollar verdict, weeks of horrible publicity.

But why should we be surprised? He's the same clown who extended the contract of the sweet-talking, clueless coach and president with a penchant for trading away unprotected lottery picks for overpaid stiffs. The only mystery is how the Rangers have managed to escape his dopiness.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Karduner Is Back

Yosef Karduner will be returning once again to help our shul celebrate the yahrtzeit of the holy Rebbe of Piazcezna, the Aish Kodesh. The hilulah will take place at 9 p.m. on motsai Shabbos, October 13th (2 Mar Chesvan) at the Young Israel of Lawrence Cedarhurst, corner of Spruce and Broadway in Lawrence. Rav Weinberger will deliver words of hisorarus.

If you've never been to the hilulah, you owe it yourself to come.

Separate seating only but don't let that stop you.


Monday, October 01, 2007

Has MoC Turned a Corner?

Could it be that the combination of the spirit of the Yomim Noraim and MHW's spiritual influence has finally had an impact?

Let me explain.

Over yom tov, two of the most annoying people in the shul (davening-wise) sat in close proximity to me. One, Mr. Loud Davener, sat in the row behind me. He is the guy who says pesukai d'zimrah in a voice that can be heard in the next county. The second, Mr. Breslov Man, sat right next to me (since both my sons have abandoned me in my old age) and was having a personal discussion with G-d the entire time, hand-waves, eye rolls, sighs and everything.

In the old days (like last month) I would have absolutely gone crazy. I probably would have gotten up early to go the the hashkamah minyan. As it is, I simply moved into the aisle while saying the amidah so that Mr.Breslov wouldn't distract me and I tried to ignore Mr. Loud Davener. I think it helps that I happen to like Mr. Breslov Man very much; he's a very sweet young man who is learning in Israel and is completely sincere. He is not putting on a show; he is simply expressing how he feels.

I think I'm going soft.