Monday, December 29, 2008

Lakewood, Wherefore Art Thou?

Oh, my Rosh Yeshivas, where is your public statement after the Neturei Karta marched with Palestinian Terrorists here in NYC? Is this how the world should view the slaughter of Jews, with acceptance and silence, with only dummies with beards and hats out there to say a "Jewish/Yiddishe" view?! I see movements to publicly denounced remove ourselves from Madoff, but not these guys? We're only concerned when it's about money? Where is the leadership? Weather or not you support the government of Israel, by not speaking up PUBLICLY you are encouraging these actions. Silence implies consent. Remember the silence of the Holocaust (that right wing Yeshivas don't even teach about anymore). There were Kinnos written after the fact. Personally, I'd rather be saying Hallel for miracles. Let's show a bit of Achdus. I'm waiting...

Please Daven

I copied this from The Muqata.
Volunteer United Hatzala EMT in serious condition after this morning's terror attack in Kiryat Sefer. As Jameel is an EMT in the same organization, he notes there is going to be a nationwide prayer service for his fellow medic at 3:30 PM, Israel time. Please add Aryeh ben Varda to your prayers (as well as for the safety and security of IDF soldiers, going into battle in Gaza)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Chumras I'd Like To See

Well, whether it's Chanukah or Pesach, every time of the year is good to make chumras. The newest one is separate shopping lines for men and women, which Mrs. LFD says reminds her of public bathrooms. The girls line will always be 10x as long. Anyway, this was interesting. While in shul last Shabbos, Gilmour points out to me that there are five people standing around the Bima. The Gabbi and the person standing opposite him, the Baal Korei, the person getting the aliya, and the person who got the last aliya. They were all "shuckleing" at vastly different rates, with minor variations on twists and bounces and head shakes. The Baal Korei was holding on to the Eitz Chaim and shuckeling at warp 8 and looked as if he was gong to increase to warp 9.9 soon. It was really quite dizzying, and also superhuman that he was able to keep the place. I thought he might actually pop the Torah off of the Bimah! Gilmour starts cracking up because it looked like a bizarre tribal dance gone wrong. It got me to thinking, why shouldn't the Chumrah Police make regulations to how people can shuckle? This would regulate what is a self stimulatory behavior, and decrease accidental bumping by at least 2% annually. Some more chumras I'd like to see:

1. When Davening in a particular Shul, one must use the pronunciation the masses use. (Elokei-nee, Booo-reeech, mandatory rolling of "Raish" is Sefardi shuls). It makes for Achdus!

2. Enforcers to throw rocks at people who don't answer "Good Shabbos" when the greeting is given. If Bain Adam L'chavairo is more important tha Bain Adam L'Makom, it should be a Mitzvah to throw rocks at obnoxious people.

3. A ban on shuls with no candyman.

4. A manditory Q&A session at the end of Shabbos Drashos. It would make Rabbeim think twice before introducing something to the masses if they know they will be hit up with 20 questions in a public forum.

5. The use of the word "Goyish". The excuse people give their kids many times is that "it's goyish". How smart our kids would be if we had to actually know why we do or don't do something.

6. Smoking (pet peeve-LOZ, I know it's been banned, but not by the heilige Chumara Police!).

That's it for now. feel free to add to the list!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's Beginning to look too much like Christmas

It's Beginning to look too much like Christmas. While at a seforim store buying wicks, I found Round Jelled Olive Oil Chanukah Candles with colors. The colors are red, green, and yellow. Do we really want these "holiday colors" on our Menorah's? I sure don't. I hope to get a better picture soon!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

LFD or Excuses, Excuses...

While reading this article on VIN about a Lakewood man being charged with armed robbery, I couldn't help but think of the times my parents had large bills, and I'd hear my mom say, "great, now all I have to do is rob a bank". Now, I'm not suggesting she ever would have, but the strain of frum living can be very great. So here are my Lakewood Falling Down's reason's the guy did it.

1. He wanted to learn, so he decided to support Torah in a proactive way.

2. He had to pay for part of his own wedding.

3. His sister went to Bais Faige, and he wanted her teacher to be paid.

4. He workred for AIG.

5. He has his Bar-Mitzvah presents invested with Bernard Madoff.

6. He wanted to ba able to eat out in a kosher restaurant, but couldn't afford the prices on the menu.

7. His parents owed back tuition.

8. He needed the money for a striemel.

9. He needed a shidduch.

10. He was planning a high steaks dreidle game.

Remember, always judge others favorably!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Artscroll Word of the Week

Well it's back to basics, so here we go. Page 69b2, explaining why Nechemia is sometimes (twice actually) referred to as Hatirshasa:
Note 15 : The Yerushalmi explains the basis of this cognomen.
Encarta- cognomen: a nickname or name that describes somebody, e.g. "Billy the Kid"
Have thesaurus will travel!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Chanukah, The Almost Yom Tov (Menorah Upside Down On Purpose)

Well, next week, we will be very close to “the festival of lights”. Working as a frum Jew in a mostly Non Jewish atmosphere, I’m always amazed at how Chanukah, which really is a series of great miracles done for us, gets for lack of a better term “Christmasized”. What’s even weirder is how I’ve let myself get sucked into the mentality, and maybe sadly, I enjoy it a little. Here is what I mean. First, I have to (and want to, with a great staff) give presents. Now, I know how many Christians hate that the Heysuess (pronounced Jesus) has been taken out of the holiday. I don’t want to come across as a “politically correct” nerd, so I give them actual Christmas cards with a little $ (none of your business how much) and a lottery ticket. They are extremely appreciative, and want to reciprocate, and they do. Have I jumped on board the exchanging gifts at the holiday season bandwagon? The answer is yes. The other part of me that is always irked is how my co-workers will compare the two. Let me tell you, there ain’t no such thing as Hannukah Harry, but I laugh when they ask all the same. And the I feel guilty for minimizing our great miracles to silliness. That’s the “irked” part. Also (guiltily) I enjoy seeing them being able to “relate” to me just a bit. I think that Chanukah does get the short end of the stick by us, the religious. This lets other religions pull at it and make it something it’s not, and this is why. On every other Yom Tov, we are actively involved in it and it is outside of the workplace. On Purim, you wouldn’t give Shelach Manot to a non Jew, and you are busy. The other Yom Tovim keep you busy in shul, or away from work. You usually don’t bring your lulav and esrog to shul on Chol Hamoed, so the holiday is more of a private thing. Not so with Chanukah. Every store from Path Mark, to CVS has the obligatory Chanukah stuff. At least one (usually non religious) co-worker will bring in sufganiot or left over oily latkes. A staff that eats together can share the “holiday spirit” together. There is always the obligatory electric menorah at the holiday party that you feel obligated to be at, especially since the boss ordered kosher food just for you. Yes, I get a little sucked in, and it’s not a good thing. I just have one non breakable rule. No mistletoe in the classroom.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Nachas or Someone Knows How to Write

Surprise! Well this is always a point that I think of and miss, and I hope you take the time to read this and prepare yourselves if you have kids in school.
I was very proud of my son's report card. He got mostly A's. The thing I liked most about it was the teacher wrote a thoughtful and individual message. I was very impressed. Many teachers write generic messages like "your son is a sweet boy and a joy to have in class" (yes I do this in public school, but my students are profoundly retarded, so it's true). They don't really think about the impact the comments can make on your child, not to mention their Chanukah tip! Here is the part where I say prepare yourselves. Mrs. LFD and I have noticed when we go to PTA there is not a lot the teachers have to say unless there is a problem. So arm yourselves with some pointed questions that will draw out the best about qualities of your child. This is good for you, and the teacher too. I know that I forgot to prepare for our daughters PTA, and the teachers told us "She is very smart and funny, she talks with an 8th grader's vocabulary" (She's 5 years old). They gave us a bag of corn chips with a sticker on it for her, and after 30 seconds, we were done. It was a waste of time (other than showing we care about our daughter). I believe they would have had more to say if we asked them some questions. Here is one Mrs. LFD always leads in with:
1. "Hi, please tell me something positive about my son." Not that there is too much negative, but it reorients the thinking.
2. Who is my child's best friend? This will help you gauge if the teacher is aware of social dynamics in the class.
3. What is your recommended bed time? This gives the impression that you value your kid's teachers opinion of what goes on in the home. And good teachers really do know a thing or two about bed time.
4. How is my child coming in in the morning? This will help you gauge if the teacher is looking at the kids moods. Everyone has good and bad days, and teacher need to be aware of this, especially Rabbaim.
Well, if you have any other suggestions, feel free to add to the list, and good luck!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Hey Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime? or The Best Pictures are Always on Shabbos

This past Shabbos, the economic crisis came with it's hands out to Boro Park and Flatbush. The Roshei Yeshiva from Lakewood graced us with their presence, and came collecting for their Yeshiva. Very good, we should support Torah. In this climate, should unskilled workers en mass apply for jobs, it would be for naught anyway. Fine. The particular Rosh who I went to hear at an unnamed shul gave a devar torah (I wished him a Good Shabbos, I wish I had a picture of Lakewood meets LakewoodFallingDown!). Now, I understand pulpit speaking is different from giving a shiur, but I do think you need to know your audience.
The Rosh gave a dvar torah asking why Rivkah told Yaakov to hide from Esav in the Yeshiva of Shem and Ever. Esav, knowing his brothers nature would, and I quote, "look for Yaakov first in Yerushalayim, or maybe Lakewood". (Audience chuckles)...
One of the main points of humor is that if it doesn't have a bit of truth to it, it won't be funny. I think in some ways they do equate Lakewood with Yerushalyim. I would like to see the mitzvah of yishuv promoted the same way not speaking loshon horah, or keeping Shabbos is pushed. To send your base to Yerushalaim would hasten the end of our Galus, but if we do that, where would Lakewood be?
Getting back tothe Dvar Torah, the Rosh focused on how learning Torah creating "Ohelot". Since learning Torah insulates you so much, Yaakov was protected from Esav because he was on a "different world, insulated from outside influence, not like the NEBUCH college man, who has an understanding of the outside world, and is distracted".
Isn't the NEBUCH college man exactly who Lakewood is extending their hand to? In what way should Lakewood be Falling Down?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Yes. I caved in.

As you may know, I am teacher. I write many adaptive books, and have refused to write a Kwanzaa book. I don't write fiction. However, when I was the online company I work for asked me to pleeeeaaaasssse, I caved in. Point of fact, I wrote a song two years ago about how the holidays are smushed together. I wrote the lyrics and hummed out the tune, and my friend Vinny was nice enough to listen to me and bang it out acoustically. I did the animation in a specialized program so I had to capture using my digital camera and re edit the soundtrack to post it. Enjoy!

Monday, December 1, 2008

See you next time

I was learning about a story where Moshe "sees" Hashem attaching the crowns to the letters of the Torah. He asks Hashem what he is doing and what they are. Hashem tells Moshe that there will be a man named Rabbi Akiva who will learn out many halochos from the crowns. Hashem tells Moshe to "turn around" and Moshe is in Rabbi Akiva's shiur. He gets upset because he doesn't understand the shiur, until he hears Rabbi Akiva say that he knew the halachos from Moshe from Sinai. Now, all of the other questions aside, I want to know, did moshe hear the shiur, or did he actually time travel?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Obama Kugel

So it will soon be inauguration night and we will be installing a new President. If you are the chef and are trying to keep the inaugural dinner multi-cultural, especially with Rahm Immanuel there, I humbly suggest serving an Obama Kugel. Now you might wonder what an Obama Kugel is, and so do I. What would you put into an Obama Kugel? Would it be sweet or spicy? Raisins or not? I like the suggestion of a bread & challah kugel made with pumpernickel, cinnamon and sugar. Remember, it has to be unique. It's time for a change!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Daven. Daven

Baruch Dayan Emes
Hashem should have Rachmanus on all of us.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

She made me do it- A guest post by Mrs. LFD

Sorry Guys, This One is For the Ladies.

This is Mrs. LFD. I know that I always say I won’t blog. However, this time I will make an exception. And no LOZ, the Mr. still cannot have his own secret blog! And I am still not interested in my own blog either.

I am not known for making these fantastic shopping finds as I actually hate shopping (the title for best finds and saves goes to Mrs. Gilmore,) but I recently had such a great experience with a web based company no less that I had to share. The company is called They are on the west coast and they feature gowns for flower girls, pageant dresses and tuxedos for boys of all ages (sizes go up to boys 18!) The gowns are beautiful and at the moment they are having a sale and also are featuring x-mas (read Shabbat) dresses. The prices are also amazing.

Let me share my experience with them.

I needed lilac colored preferably matching dresses for my daughter and my niece because they were in a wedding party. The kallah sent us some pictures of dresses to give us an idea of what she liked. These pictures were from another website. That website did not instill confidence and my sister and I found bad ratings so the hunt was on. With about two weeks to the wedding we needed something fast. We came across this website after some time searching and found beautiful dresses. However, they did not have sleeves. My daughter is already of an age that I felt she could not go sleeveless. I called the company and asked if they could send some matching material so that I could make sleeves. Not only did they agree they also sent the material for FREE. When I called to confirm they thought that they had already sent my dresses (I ordered for both me and my sister) and no problem they would send it that day NO COST FOR SHIPPING. It turned out that when the dresses came the material was with the dresses already so I did not have to wait for a separate box. Now, I am not naïve and most good companies will accommodate their customers but it really was exceptional service... keep reading and you’ll see. This was in September.

I had been meaning to e-mail them a thank you with a picture so that they could see how nice it looked with sleeves (they do offer sweaters to go with the dresses but not in matching fabric.) I recently e-mailed them the thank you with a picture. In the e-mail, I also noted and that the pin-on flower belt got ruined (my daughter decided to go skating on her belly) and I asked if I could purchase another one. They e-mailed me back a You’re Welcome and that they would be sending the belt for FREE! But wait, that’s not all, I wrote back to say that I appreciated it and that I would be recommending their website. I got another e-mail from them saying “thank you for recommending us. No wonder we have been getting lots of sales recently. JOHN” How nice was that!!!! They were accommodating, you could get an actual response from a person and they have amazing!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It has the "Ring" of truth or Are your Ears Ringing

OK, so Mrs. LFD doesn't want me to write about this, but if I change the names to protect the innocent...
Anyway, most yeshivas these days are really hurting financially. The market has caused people who used to donate $100,000.00 to maybe $10,000.00. Even worse, those of us who are poor like me went from the $25.00 table at the Chinese auctions to the $10.00 tables. You get the idea, there is less all around. Just to keep in the Lakewood Falling Down spirit, I'll point out that Kollel life when you depend on others is going to take a big hit. No more free ride. Anyway, Mrs. LFD tells me of a couple she knows that interviewed their first child for a certain yeshiva. The first kid means you pay full tuition. No discounts, we need the money, so pay up. I have no problem with this, a yeshiva can't run on air. The interview went well, and everybody was happy. Until the yeshiva in question expressed the desire for the Mr. to consider removing his wedding band. What? This is now priority? I know that there are Mr.'s in this yeshiva who wear a ring. I am hoping this is a fluke. I was once reading a blog (please excuse me I can't remember who's, please comment if it was you so I can link) about a girl pointing out how it's unfair for the single girls at weddings when they "shop". A wedding ring is like a giant "not for sale" sign that makes it easier. That aside, I can understand if you interview for a Chassidish yeshiva, and they tell you sorry, you need to have long payos and dress the part. But for our mainstream yeshivos, especially the more middle of the road ones, don't alienate people. I wonder if these parents are still on the mailing list for donations. Come to think of it, they probably are. They wouldn't dream of taking Nekamah. Sort of a catch 22 don't you think?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

So you think you can "Jew"

This is a follow up post regarding the in gathering of exiles. Now, I won't pass judgment on anyone who claims to be a Jew. I was just thinking, who would be the funniest people to reclaim their lost "Jewhood"?

1. The cast of Gilligan's Island. Eventually they should qualify as a "lost tribe".
2. The Bloods- and not to be outdone,
3. The Cryps. They could fight what colors go on the tribal Degel
4. Just so I don't discriminate, I'll throw in the Latin Kings.
5. Chasidim.
6. YU guys.
7. Misnagdim.
8. Modern Orthodox.
9. Lubavitch
10. United Union of Professional Clowns (linked in case you don't believe this exsits)
11. Pig Farmers Union
13. Hatzolah of Flatbush- Hat Tip to Logic 613!
Truthfully, I don't know why people want to be a part of the Jews. It's a difficult path, and if your not an FFB, you can encounter more discrimination than Barak Obama at a KKK convention. Do non Jews really feel we are the chosen people and want in? Maybe some of them. I have two black "Israelites" in my school who believe Ashkenazic European Jews are totally fake, and not Jews at all. To them, I am a faker, and not just because I'm orthodox. They believe that they are the chosen. I also get weird comments at times, but maybe it's just me. Feel free to add to the list.

On another subject entirely, my spider phobia continues with this article that a spider is missing-in space!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Mi Yehudi or Do "Goyim" know the difference

There were two items on vosizneias that caught my attention. The first was a story about the in gathering of Jews from galus. The story is basically how Israel has accepted some people believed to be the lost Tribe of Menashe. The full story can be read here. My main objection is to some of the more obnoxious comments, but I do like the fact that VIN doesn't edit people's thoughts. I guess I'm becoming more of a "Tzioni". I've been reading books like Dear Brothers, Eim Habonim Simaycha", and have come to the conclusion that we're in galus because
1. We want to be
2. Our Gedolim want us to be.
Of course, this is just my opinion. A certain Rov told me that his cousin did the english translation of Eim Habonim Simaycha, and he's now been ostracized and his fellow yeshiva crowd have branded him a Zionist. Crazy, if you even translate a book about the greatness of Israel, you are no longer one of them.

The other item was an article on It is a story about the Israeli Mafia, and a car bomb that killed the Kingpin of a crime family. You can read the whole story here. My question is, to the average "Goy" is there a difference bettween a Chasidishe Guy with long curly peyos, and an average non religious Israeli. Opinions anyone?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

It's been a busy week & Artscroll fun word

Well, it's been a busy week. Of course, right after I mention to Mrs. LFD how the kids have been overall healthy this year, my son got strep throat. I'm glad it was something that could be easily treated, but I needed to stay home with him for two days. For those of you that have a babysitter, you really never realize how much you need them until you run out of sick days. Mrs. LFD did a new watermelon for our niece's Bas Mitzvah, (I hate saying BAT mitzvah, I just don't like the way it sounds) and it came out great (see photo below). Check out the video clip!

Also, welcome to my good friend davenedbydekoisel !
May his blog have many hits!

For any of you out there who can tell me how to put hebrew letters into my blog, I'd appreciate it.

Artscroll word.
Now I used to love the show Thunder Cats, and I did have a Liono sword when I was a kid. That's why I cracked up when Artscroll translated the word "Hey Vav Yud" as Ho!
Kiddushin, 30 b2. Yes, I know it's from last week, but as I said in the beginning, it's been a busy week.
Have thesaurus, will travel!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A surprise Guest (Ma'ash Avos Siman L'Banim)

First, a shout out to Lion of Zion, Jacob Da Jew & Tr8ergirl who have linked to my blog. Thanks!
Usually we don't have guests Friday nights so we can go to sleep early, but someone asked if we could have a guest, & we never say no to a Shabbos guest. So we were up. Well on a short Friday night who should come knocking? Was it angels like our forefather Avrohom? Maybe, but what may be an angel, my family sees as our old downstairs neighbor Jacob Da Jew. My building was very unique when Jacob lived here, we had the perfect balance of personality types. My new neighbors are really nice, but hey, Jacob Da Jew is Jacob Da Jew. Being Jacob, I decided to have a L'chaim courtesy of Gillmour-who-lives-across-the-hall-who-had-rum-from-Mr. A-who-lives-downstairs-who had-left-some-in-Gillmours-fridge. You have to read it in one breath. My kids love Jacob, especially my daughter. We had a nice visit and a walk in the unusually warm November weather. The lord works in mysterious ways.

The Lion of Zion

Here's to a favorite post by Lion of Zion! Just don't give me the "raspberry".

Cut it out (off )

Today's daf deals with how we know that women are exempt from time bound mitzvos that are positive commandments (T'ffilin, sitting in the Sukkah). The Gemarah goes through many proofs and digresses to the prohibition of shaving, and weather women are allowed to shave their beards. Yes, I said shave their beards. Apparently, the shidduch crisis wasn't as bad as it is now!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Are you sick of the daily grind (or Moshiach is coming soon)

So it's Thursday night chaos as usual, and we're trying to make Shabbos, clean the house, do HW with the kids, and of course blog. Mrs. LFD says to me for the millionth time "I wish Moshiach were here". Less stress you see, along with a genuine desire for Moshiach. My Rov and neighbors have told me some very interesting stories about Moshiach being here in 2009. Here is a LINK to The Cool Jew that I found (I have no idea who he/she is I was just surfing for Moshiach 2009 on Google). What do you think? And of course, Moshiach will decide the shaitle question!

BTW, recommended reading:
Dear Brothers
What Did They Think of the Jews? by Alan Gould
Shadal by Daniel Klein

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

You Bad Hot Chanie!

While reading Rav Elyashiv's comments about sheitels on YWN, I felt annoyed. Lion of Zion pointed out to me the following:
"hakham ovadia yosef has already assured all sheitlach. period. it seems some ashkenazim now are just catching up to this (wouldn't want the sephardim to seem frumer.) on the other hand, iirc the lubavatcher rebbe said sheitlach are preferred, because a woman is likely to take it off than a hat. gluckel of hameln (17th c. ashkenaz) writes in her memoirs that she was impressed with the frumkeit of the men when she moved to metz because they didn't wear wigs (or something like that, it's been a while since i read her book)"
Comments anyone?

Thursday, October 30, 2008


In public school, we're not allowed to celebrate holidays in the school, but we are permitted to teach about them if we include all holidays. My principal, who is a very unreadable and weird lady announced on the PA that tomorrow will be "dress up as a storybook character day". On my way out the door, she happened to ask me who I was dressing up as. I looked her straight in the eye and said "Shylock". I also advised my staff to ask the principal if she was dresing up as Ms. Trunchbowl !(Don't worry they're used to my warped sense of humor)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Artscroll phrase

This is a weird Artscroll phrase. Page 20 A3 Abaye says “I am like Ben-Azzai in the market of Tiberius”. Note 33 “Abaye often used to make this declaration when he was in a jocular mood”.
Jocular -with a playful joking disposition (Encarta)
I didn’t know Abaye was such a funny guy. I also make declarations while in a jocular mood, don't you? Is there a list of Talmudic knock-knock jokes somewhere? Hmm... oh well,
Have Thesarus Will Travel!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Follow up and also, Spiders give me the creeps

My friend holeycow sent me this top 10 website that's kind of funny, and makes a great follow up to Why I hate Simchas Torah.
On a completely different topic, I found this article and was getting the "hebbie Jeebies" all day. Spiders really freak me out.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Lakewood Falling Down?

This is my first political post, so bear with me. I am McCain person. I don’t think he’s great, but to ignore Obama’s choice of whom he surrounds himself with, is ridiculous. To approve of anti Semites and then claim your are ignorant doesn’t give me great confidence in your judgment abilities. People who ignore this are saying –it’s OK to be stupid. I also can’t believe that a split Yerushalaim is acceptable to any Jew. This is an idea Obama supports. I titled this post LFD? because I know of many in Kollel’s that are voting to have Uncle Sam, (now Uncle Obama if he wins) provide more social programs to enable them to keep learning. I had company for Shabbos lunch that pushes the same line, that our tax dollars are going to social programs anyway, why shouldn’t they support Torah? The answer I would give in these times are that first, if the economy continues to fail, those who are in businesses who voluntarily support their kids will not have businesses left. Most Jewish Businesses are small businesses, and just like Joe the plumber, they will be taxed until they will have problems keeping a profit. The second answer is from Obama’s own statements he’s more a socialist than a liberal. Do you want to exchange money for poor ideas? But I guess in Lakewood Ir Hakodesh Yerushalaim doesn’t matter, as long as you are shteiging away…

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Euphemism for what?

So for all of you folks with that need to know, I was in Glatt Mart with my kids shopping for Shabbos. They were really behaving well, no fighting, and I had dragged them with me to Mincha at Landaus. I even had my son go around with the tzedakah box. But I digress. They were being really good waiting in line when I saw the dreaded euphemism-pop. I couldn't resist, and told my kids they could each have a lollipop for being so well behaved. I showed my daughter the dreaded pop and bingo- a photo op for you! As you squeeze, goo comes through the hole in the middle. The candy company that makes it is called Emzee. They call it the "Fr-ooze" pop. What would you call it? I call it disgusting!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What a Difference!

"I can’t imagine a more obscene candy, yet the Cahreidim haven’t banned it yet"- Yes I meant Chariedim. I had a typo, and Gilmour was making fun of me. Poor Gilmour, he had fever all of the last days, and we didn't make it to hang out with Jacob Da Jew. My family + Gilmour and his family went to one shul around the corner from us a night and aside from the insane amount of candy, we had a great time. We went to daven during the day with my brother in law, and the timing and amount of candy was perfect. It's easy to ignore whatever "shenanigans" may have gone on-I didn't know anybody, and I didn't care. There was a seudah in the shul after hakafos, and Mincha after that. My own shul I am told didn't end until 3:30 or so. I don't have it in me to go for so long w/o becoming crazy from claustrophobia. One more thing, kudos to my brother in law who carried his son on his shoulders for a majority of the hakafos. My nephew if quite the character and had a stuffed torah and flag. He was very funny in who got a ceremonial bop (or as we call it in my family a Ka-bong!) as he was paraded around the shul. He has his fathers sense of humor.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Hocker’s Strike Back! (Or Why I Hate Simcahs Torah)

To me, when I was a kid, Simchas Torah was a great time. We got to stay up late, dance, get a flag, and pretty much do whatever we wanted. In my shul, since there were so few kids, we got to get up and sing “Ain Adir” if we wanted to. And of course, we got to help hold the Torah. I felt so grown up. Fast forward 20 years and I hate it. Here are some reasons why:
  1. Bidding wars. The first issue is the silly grins the gabboim get on their faces when the bidding on aliayas starts. You also can’t really judge how bad the economy is when some Hocker bids $15,000. 00 on Chosson Torah. Many shuls have tried different approaches to stop the madness, but to no avail. And why should they when a large chunk of change will be coming the shul’s way and you get a Kiddush sponsored to boot!
  2. Next is the “cool guys” who go out for a smoke with all of the kids milling around. Way to set an example you Hockers.
  3. The orchestration. This is a time of year when shul board members and hockers come into their full prime. From telling you where you can dance (or even worse, that you have to dance), to what kind of candy you are allowed to even give your own kids, these guys are in their element on Simchas Torah. Heaven forbid you want to sing a different song after singing the same “Anah, anah anah…” 200 times.
  4. The dancing. I don’t really know what non Jews call dancing, but endlessly marching around in circles and occasionally stomping one foot seems a lot more like an ancient druid ritual than dancing. This is what Jews call dancing. Why can’t I stand on the side if I feel like it without some board member or hocker trying to pull me into a circle just so I can get my foot stomped on?
  5. The time. There should be a Kol Korei on Hakafos that last more than 15 minutes, and that’s stretching it. I always get so mad, some hocker/board member has stretched the Hakafa out really long and had been holding the heaviest torah, and sweating all over it. They come over and practically dump the darned thing in your lap and go on to more pointless foot stomping. It’s really annoying.
  6. No real food in most shuls on Simchas Torah night. I need to have something more that cake if I’m going to be held hostage until 11:00 at night. BTW, I’ve offered to co-sponsor some food along with two other friends, but the “board” doesn’t want it so it will not be happening. And for the record, I’m not davening with my shul on Simchas Torah.
  7. The drinking. This is not Purim, get a life people!
  8. The sugar factories. When I was a kid, we got peanuts, chick peas, sponge cake and a lollypop. Last year there was so much candy I thought my kids would go into sugar shock. Certain shul members noticed that the gross lollipops that the shul picked out. They looked like a male’s privates with a hole in the center that squirts up goo when squeezed. Thank you Pazkes. I can’t imagine a more obscene candy, yet the Cahreidim haven’t banned it yet.

So do you hate Simcas torah to? Feel free to add to the list. Chag Samayach!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Artscroll fun phrase of the day!

"These words are thus understood to convey an exegetical allusion."
Have thesaurus,will travel!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Artscroll words and phrases of the week

It was nice to end a mesechta on Yom Kippur and start a new one on the next day. I asked my maggid shiur why we learn Gittin before Kiddushin, the other way makes more sense. He smiled, and said "the classic Yeshiva answer is that G-d always provides the cure before giving the sickness". Again, I stand by the name of my blog.

On to the Artscroll words and phrases.
Kiddushin, page 3b1, note 1 translating the 3 middos on which the world stand, is referred to "the principles of hermeneutics"
hermeneutics: (Encarta dictionary) the science and methodology of interpreting texts, especially the books of the Bible.
Adduced, adduces, adducing: (Encarta dictionary) to offer something as evidence, a reason, or proof. Can't Artscroll use the word "proves"?
Exegesis: (Encarta dictionary) the explanation or interpretation of texts, especially religious writings.
And the phrase for you to translate: "Just as a maidservant departs her masters jurisdiction when she is emancipated." Now I know what this means, but I thought Artscroll was supposed to be for us laymen. The translations and notes in Kiddushin are more choppy and difficult to plow through.

Oh well, Have thesaurus, will travel !

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Eating with the Lion

So we had a great Shabbos meal this week. We were really excited for a lot of reasons. First some of our favorite guests were coming (my favorite twins), and Lion of Zion & his family! Now Mrs. LFD and Lion grew up together in the same community, and their parents are friends, so it was really nice. We also for the first time in a while had a new guest, a friend of Jacob Da Jew, who I found out davens with my brother in law. Mrs. LFD's brother and Lion have kids in the same school and grade, so all in all we had 9 plus us in our little 2 bedroom apartment. We ate and talked until 4 in the afternoon, and the kids didn't "melt down" until 4, so we had some nice "grown-up" conversation at the table. We covered everything from the Flatbush eruv to solving the problems in Israel. One of the topics was having tzedakah collectors come into your simcha. By our wedding, we set up a table for them slightly outside the main hall, and gave $ to the maitre'd to give to collectors. We didn't want our guests hounded. Mrs. LFD made a salt and pepper kugel, one of my favorites, and a carrot kugel that even my fussy kids both ate. We had great chulent and kugel, and Mrs. LFD got to make one of her pastrami-flower topped deli platters. We were all together from different walks of life, enjoying each others company and ideas. Now that's a great Shabbos!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Yom Ha- Ki-PURIM!

Have you noticed all of the Clopping going on for all of the "Zachreinu L'Lchaims" and other holiday inserts? In that spirit, Lakewood Falling Down presents an excerpt from last years anonymous Purim Newsletter. This was authored by originally by DK.

Q: If a non-board member klops on the Bimah on Rosh Chodesh to signal Yaaleh Veyavoh, is it considered a good klop or does a board member have to klop again? Similarly, if a board member and non board member klop to signal V’sain Tal Umatar at the same time, does one klop negate the other, and are fines imposed on the unauthorized klopper to be used for the building fund?
A: In both cases, the klop must be repeated. A non-board member may utter the words "Yaleh Veyavoh" aloud when he gets to it in Shemonah Esrai, for a small fee, but klopping is for board members only.
V’sain Tal Umatar is different because you need at least a week to get used to it. Since many more klops will be needed, the addition of a fine for non board klopping may be imposed to keep the unauthorized kloppers from getting carried away with themselves.. Our shul will be adding a small gold plaque on the “Klop Chart” for all those who klop properly. If you would like to sponsor a board members name for the Klop Chart, please send an email to the shul president at .

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Who's in Charge? (or Mrs. LFD hates fighting)

This post was inspired by Mrs. LFD. This past week, (Parshas Vayelech), when I came home from shul my wife asked me what the Rov spoke about this morning. I said one of the things he spoke about was Moshe choosing a leader for B'nei Yisroel and presenting him to the people. Mrs. LFD was thoughtful and said this is a lesson for anybody who is a "Rebbe". Look at Lubavitch, Bobov and Satmar. Once at least they were respectable (no lashon horah please) coherent sects. Now, they are another news item for any news agency to point out how even the "right wingers and devoutly pious"" fight over power & money. If the past generations of Rebbes would have clearly stated and written down who is suppose to take over, there would be so much less sins chinam, (at least publicly) because the law would be laid down. This is clearly the leson Moshe is teaching us. One of the things that Rashi says is that Moshe told Yehoshua "everything depends on you. If necessary, take a rod and hit them on the head because every generation has one leader, not two." A leader, my Rov said has to be able to be forceful when needed. If Moshe hadn't told us Yehoshua would be our leader, do you think we would have even made it across the Jordan? So from Lakewood Falling down goes out my (our) first Kol Korie! A ban on anyone happy enough to be a leader without the courage to lay out concrete plans for the future.

PS- a thank you to my friend Moshe who provided the picture on a get well card I got 8 years ago after shoulder surgery. The Taco Bell Chihuahua Rebbe has chosen a successor!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Post Rosh Hashonah

So we've moved into the new year (5769). The stock market crashed, got bailed out (pending the house vote) and life goes on. I really try to have kavanah and daven for a good year for everyone, but It gets hard to concentrate for so long. I'm struck by how fast the Chagim seem to zoom by. I told Mrs. LFD, you know you're old when you know most of Davening for Rosh Hashonah and Yom Kippur by heart (well a lot of it anyway). There are always some things that bug me about Rosh Hashonah davening. First of all, I may be turning into a grumpy old man because my seat in my shul is right next to the main door, and I can hear the kids running back and forth screaming. I actually got one of the gabboim at one point. The kids, quite creatively strung a bunch of plastic hangars across the coatroom and were having a volley ball game. While entertaining, they were also spiking the ball (laffy taffys) onto the younger kids heads for fun. Call me a kill joy. I also sit right under an air conditioning duct. My shul has the airconditioning set at 66 degrees. When I'm sitting still, and especailly when I'm fasting, which to all intensive purposes I am until 2:00 on Rosh Hashonah, I get cold. I have no desire to come down with a cold before going into Sukkos. Grumpy, grumpy, grumpy. Of course there are the tunes. Now, I like a majority of the tunes my shul uses, but some are downright dirge-like. I looked around the room at one point expecting to see druids in long robes. Who else chants like that? Last on the list of things I don't like are the shul talkers. I actually went over to a pair of them during krias hatorah and said "There is no talking during krias hatorah on Rosh Hashonah or any other time". Of course, the person I was talking to was coincidentally then called up for an aliyah... Oh well, at least I got to have my fish head!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Foot in my mouth

Reading the Jpost article posted by Lion of Zion, I felt it necessary to relate this story. Last week, one of the girls who works in my school building comes to ask me a question, as she needs help with a school assignment. FYI, she is a really nice and black girl from Jamaica. Her assignment was to write a report on, in her opinion, which Jew had the most impact on Israeli culture (attending Touro, why Stillwell Ave gave this assignment I don't know). Now I have a blanket rule because I wear my yarmulke and want to keep in a friendly environment. My rule is I refuse to talk about politics or religion at work. I ask her stupidly on my part if she means Jews or Israeli's. What I was thinking was historic Jews vs. contemporary Jews, but it just came out like that. She asked me if there was a difference between an Israeli and a Jew. I carefully back tracked and said I didn't want to talk politics, and she knows my rule. She was respectful about it, but I saw she understood I was uncomfortable talking about it. Articles like this are a part of the reason why.

A Fish Head for Rosh Hashonah

OK for those who remember the song...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


It seems that since the preschool and elementary school are in separate locations, it caused some confusion. Each family got a note sent home with one girl, so if you have daughters in two locations, you only received one note. That's why some girls got a note and other didn't. My apologies to the school on that note. But my wife definitely still has great toes!

The Mrs. Toes The Line (or are we tznius enuogh for you?)

A few weeks ago, a girl who was over at our house remarked to my wife "you're so cool, you wear flip-flops". Mrs. Lakewoodfallingdown took the comment as the compliment it was and life went on as usual. Until... One day this week my 5 year old daughter comes home with a note specifically addressed to the Mrs. Here it is:

I get home from work first. I open the letter and scan it. When the Mrs. Comes home, I ask her if she's been to drop off little-lakewood-falling-down at school while wearing her flip-flops. She doesn't recall one way or the other, so with a grin, I give her the letter. So even with the long sleeves, sheitel and floor sweeper skirts it seems there is a problem. Out of curiosity, I asked my neighbor, Mrs. Gilmour if she got the same letter. If this was a general statement, I'd take it better than a specific letter. Yup. Mrs. Gilmour got one too, and investigated via her friends that also have their daughters in the school. As it turns out, the letter only went to some parents. Like I say, Lakewood is falling down. I will make a point of asking if a woman's ankles are actually considered airvah, and I will follow up with an answer. But it does get better. We went to orientation night and the principal asked the moms not to dress the kids as if they are going to a wedding. School has arts & crafts, she says, so the kids will come home dirty at times (true of any good preschool program). So one mommy (possibly a "Hot Chanie") asks if her daughter can wear a short skirt... I have to give the principal kudos for not rolling her eyes. She gently explained that in school there is davening, parsha, etc.. and that the girls need to learn to dress approriately. I don't know if this mom got a letter home, but hey, she's not as hot as my wife's toes.

BTW- At my son's orientation, the tiny brand spanking new bais yaakov english teacher was saying to all of us parents how derech eretz must come first. I noticed a ripped piece of paper on the seat in front of me (all of us adults were squezed into 4th grade desk-chair combos) numbered 1-100 with one line written over and over - "I will not burp in English class. I will not burp in English class. I will not burp in English class....". I could barely contain my laughter, and of course passed the "note" around. Ah, yeshiva memories, they start so early in life!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Artscroll words an phrases of the week

This weeks gemarah has a large chunk of aggadatah. The Maggid shiur asked not to ask to many questions, as he didn’t know the specifics of why each story was being presented, and Daf Yomi has to move. There are also a whole daf of medical cures that were for the times of the gemarah. We did pester him a little, and he gives a great and interesting shiur! That aside, the story of Shlomo Hamelech an the capture of the Demon King Ashmodai is interesting and held my attention a little better than some other gemarah’s that can be a little…dry for lack of a better term. One of the questions I was curious about is where exactly was the Royal Jewish King’s palace? Was it in Yerushalaim, or near the Bais Hamikdash? Just a curious thing. O.K. And on to the Artscroll fun translation. Now I’m no expert on birds or the Aramaic language, but the story in brief was that Shlomo HaMelech needed the shamir worm and sent Benayahu (the head of the Sanhedrin)to get it. Benayahu captures the King of the Demons, Ashmodai, and he tells King Shlomo & Benayahu how to find a certain bird that is entrusted with the shamir worm that Shlomo needs to quarry stones w/o using metal tools. Benayahu puts a glass cover on the nest so when the bird comes back from wherever, it will try to feed this shamir worm to it’s young. It puts the worm on the glass and Benayahu gets takes the worm. The bird who lets this happen then gets so upset that it chokes itself to death. The word the gemarah uses for this bird is Tarnigola (Aleph at the end) Bara, which Artscroll translates as a wild cock. I called a friend who is studying ornithology and asked if the word cock is ever used in relation to female birds, thinking that it is usually mother birds who feed their young. He said cock in reference to birds is always male. I don’t know who came up with the translation, but I guess he didn’t fully realize the gender issue. My friend also mentioned that between my wife’s melons and the wild cock, my posts are getting to raunchy. Hey, I’m not the guy with the thesaurus! Here are some more of this week’s weird phrase (in my opinion).
68b1 note 12: The shamir cleaves asunder to any hard object it comes in contact with. Asunder: Encarta-into separate parts, pieces, or places
69A1 The Gemarah is listing illnesses, one being blindness. The note translates blindness into heralopia, of which I can find no definition!
69B1 I just love this due the alliteration. Instead of saying an alternate text, the note reads “a variant version of text”.
Have Thesaurus, will travel!

Monday, September 15, 2008

The End of an Era (or my car died)

So as my Rov told me, baruch dayon ha’emes. My ’97 Bonneville finally died. It was a long time in coming, and it was the worst investment we ever made. The sad part is that someone in my immediate family has owned a Pontiac for the last 40 years. So goes the end of an era. I was really lucky to be able to get a 2001 Camry. Driving a Japanese car is definitely a different experience. First, even though it’s a used car, nothing rattles. It was always something I looked forward to in an American car, getting used to the sounds. Every GM I ever owned had its own unique sounds at different RPM’s, and I could tell if something was going wrong by different rattles. Not in this car, everything feels like one solid piece. It also doesn’t have unwieldy pieces of non functional molding that fall off. This falling off of pieces of car is a way us American car owners gauged how much longer our cars would last, as well as how “Yeshivish” our cars looked. It also would help us keep our wardrobes current, because you’d be likely to rip your pants on a stray bracket that used to hold on a piece of molding, so then you’d need new pants. The new shirt would come from the invariable grease stains you’d get while jumping your car because a light was left on and the battery got drained. Japanese cars tend to shut the lights out after an allotted time. GM cars as a rule also have bizarre electrical problems. My Bonneville had a short that caused the engine to die right in the middle of normal driving. I’d be halfway down the street and everything would shut off. It would refuse to start up again. My mechanic charged me $400.00 to change a module. The same problem happened a week later when I had a day off and decided to take my daughter to the Children’s Museum in Staten Island. AAA charged me for tolls, and I was panicked because I had no idea where I was specifically, and it was at that point in time when my daughter was toilet training. No bathrooms in the middle of unknown residential neighborhoods! The problem persisted so many times that my mechanic eventually ripped out many parts of the electrical system, and as a result the domino effect of things not working properly took place. (BTW, my mechanic never charged me more than the original $400.00 and worked on the problem four separate times). What finally got me in the end was the fuel and break lines corroding through. So goodbye Bonneville and hello a used car in our price range. A non-descript plain gray Toyota Camry with a plain gray interior. My wife said we should just put a black hat on it and pronounce it Jewish.
Anyway, I got to thinking about Japanese cars. Do sales drop on Pearl Harbor Day? And just how did the Japanese start making better cars than us? The obvious answer is that we bombed them! Let’s just take a look at history. Bomb the Japanese, get Honda and Toyota. Bomb Korea, get a Kia. Bomb Germany and get Audi, BMW, Volkswagen, and Mercedes-Benz. Now I finally know why we’re at war with Iraq! We need better made Iraqi cars! Now if Mr. Bush could only bomb Detroit…