Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Rites of passage

What American Jew doesn't remember their bar or bat mitzvah? I remember mine.
My bat mitzvah date fell on Memorial Day, a Monday, which saved me from having to read a whole Shabbos-sized Torah portion. Immediately after was a luncheon for family and close friends. There were only a few people there that my parents made me invite. It was very good food at a kosher restaurant near the temple. I had the kids party a week later at a health club. There was swimming and basketball and other fun things. And it did not involve the mortifying slow dance with my dad* that a 'regular' party would've. The best compliment I got was from a male classmate- "Your bat mitzvah was the best of all of them because I didn't have to wear a tie to the party."

An article in the NY Times, My Big Fat 80's Bar Mitzvah, has some interesting insights about this major Jewish rite of passage. Though my own bat mitzvah was in 1992, I can relate.

The MTV-era bar mitzvah... was a time when an insular Old World ritual blew up into an all-American affair: inclusive, often suburban and, thanks to new Hollywood production values, unforgettably garish.

Parents are featured in the book as well, always lavishly dressed and often posing proudly in front of banquet tables overflowing with food. Many Jews of that era, said Jeffrey Shandler, an associate professor of Jewish studies at Rutgers University, saw their son's bar mitzvah as a way to telegraph their social standing and ambitions....For them, he said, their child's party was as much about networking and conspicuous consumption as about watching their child give a commentary on the Torah. Bar mitzvahs built around a "Raiders of the Lost Ark" or a Disney theme became common. Thanks in part to the introduction of the videographer, he added, the parties started to take on the look of movie sets.

I cannot tell you how many of those I went to. Where it was way more about what the parents wanted than what the newly anointed Jewish adult wanted.

*I regret that my dad will never be able to walk me down the aisle at my wedding. But I do not think that I missed out on something by not doing this. Having to slow dance, in the spotlight, with anyone is still not an idea that thrills me. Hopefully I can skip out on that at the wedding too. :-)

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Do they make turkey for one?

Alone in a new city on a holiday. Just the kind of fun I was hoping for.

I am working the day after Thanksgiving, which means that I can't go home to New York for the holiday. I understand that working in TV means working lots of holidays. It just sucks when you're the only one left in town, but not working the actual holiday itself. If I were working on Thanksgiving Day might at least get to be with the other people a work who are also unlucky enough to be there on that day.

I know that there's not much to the day aside from the symbolism- pilgrims, turkeys, football. Not to sound like a greeting card, but I have always liked the secular aspect of the holiday- that it is for all Americans to celebrate, regardless of race, creed, color, or sexuality. I missed family Thanksgiving two years ago because I had to pick up someone from the airport and would have never made it back to RI by Friday morning. But that was OK after all and I was invited to the home of my friend's mother. She is an amazing cook and it was the least stressful Turkey Day ever not having to deal with my family. I don't think that many of my friends will be in town (either Boston or Providence) since this is a day that tends to draw people back to the nest* This year is looking iffy (and kind of lonely), especially since most of my furniture will probably be up in Boston by then, leaving me in some sort of awkward in-between state of being.

*unintentional bird pun

Nice Jewish Girls

Last night I went to see a performance extravaganza put on by Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad. A good Shabbos was had by all (except for the one audience member who got thrown out for being drunk and heckling the performers). The Goddess handled the heckling ins stride. Her comedy and songs made for a wonderful interactive showcase of some of the best in Jewess stage talent. It surprised me that the audience skewed a bit older than I imagined for this kind of show. They looked more apt to see Fiddler than a show that featured a Hasidic striptease. The great cast was rounded out by some comedy, music, and hip-hop poetry.

I laughed so hard that I almost hyperventillated at the comedy of Ophira Eisenberg. Ophira is a beautiful name, but many people mess it up by doing things like calling her Oprah. She told this great story of recently meeting a guy at a loud bar and her asked her name.
"What's your name?"
"What? Your name is the fuhrer?"

The spoken word stylings of Vanessa Hidary were quite open, honest, and relevant to what it's like to be a contemporary Jewess. Michele Citrin and her guitar reminded me a cute, Jewish, and funnier Ani DiFranco. If this show comes to your area I highly recommend seeing it, Jew or goy.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Best mug shot: Tom DeLay

This is the best (quasi) celeb mug shot ever. (via Smoking Gun)

He combed his hair. Isn't drunk or on crack. Smiled nicely for the camera (unlike some of his brethren). This looks better than some head shots I've seen.

Lesbians plot world domination

A scary sermon sent to me by a friend. It's about how lesbians are plotting to take over the world, since lesbianism is what happens when women make too much money and say that they don't need men.


I think he misinterprets that phrase "I can make it by myself".

The reverend knows what a strap-on is....and mentions it in a sermon. 'Strap-on' and 'church sermon' are two things that should never go together. Ever.

Lesbians don't necessarily use strap-ons.

Why does he think it only goes in "the behind"? Women have two holes, in case he hasn't noticed.

The reverend must have a very small.....ummm....sense of self esteem since he obviously feels threatened by smart, powerful, financially secure women. (So families should starve because he feels it's not right for a women to make more money than her husband?)

Random note- he's right about the origin of the Hebrew word 'neged' (it means 'against').

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Flu prevention

Today we got flu shots at work. Very nice of employer to provide these. Now I'll be well enough to come in to work in the winter to report on how many people have the flu this year.
The nurse who administered them was nice but her technique could sure use some work. I'm not afraid of needles, do OK with blood tests and the like but it really hurt when she jammed that needle into my arm like she was putting a thumbtack in a wall.

Later in the evening I was looking in the mirror and noticed a small red bump under the band-aid the evil nurse had applied. It was the spot where she had jabbed me. She didn't even put the band-aid on the right area!

(Local) TV reality

A piece on the blog of a friend that points to some of the realities of working in local TV news:

Ah and a congratulations to Bernie who is now an official First Mate at a private airline in New Hampshire. No more late nights standing in the snow on top of TV stations filming the local highway to prove to all the warm viewers that it is snowing outside.

(background note- Bernie has a degree in communication but also has a pilots' license)

Monday, October 17, 2005

Workplace woes

Happy and healthy workers are more productive.

Things that could greatly improve the workplace experience for many of us here at the station:
  • Tell the shipping company across the street to move their damn tractor-trailers off the road. The roads through our office park are ridiculously small and for some reason, though this is an office park, people park on one side of the street. Park a semi on the other side and you've got a passage about the size of a Mini Cooper.
  • Have free 'feminine care' products available in the bathrooms (and not those scary ones you get from a vending machine in a gas station bathroom). We do not go to the ladies room with a quarter in hand anticipating that surprise visit from Aunt Flo. Female guests appreciate this touch as well.
  • We have a water purifier in the kitchen. The hot water tap on it does not work. What is the point of paying that company for their product when it fails to do 50% of what it is expected to?
  • I cannot say it enough- ergonomics! A pain-free employee is a more productive one (because I am not constantly shifting position to relieve the back, neck, and shoulder strain caused by my crappy chair and keyboard that I pound away on hurting my wrists).
  • Tell certain departments not to hog all the tickets and entry to events. The perk of working in TV (for little pay) is supposed to be the access to places...like Bruins games.

Friday, October 14, 2005


Whenever the meteorologist (or some other on-camera person) races towards the studio to make it on-air on time I am tempted to shout out "run Forest, run!"...is this mean?


A happy moment today when one of the suits at the station asked me if I was the new intern. I politely said no and then thanked him for thinking that I looked young enough to be.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Synagogue, singular.

My new temple made an effort to reach out to those under 30 and offers free membership for a year. But what upsets me is that they don't make an effort to address the a problem that I think of as the 'singular sensation'- the feeling that when you go to shul it is painfully obvious that you are there alone.

I went to Kol Nidrei last night at the local temple where I am (now) a member. Everyone at the temple seemed to know each other or was a bonafide nuclear family unit. It was so lonely and isolating. Why do I feel so uncomfortable? Why I am letting myself feel so uncomfortable? As I sat there alone I began to wonder if Christians who attend church services by themselves feel similarly?

From what I've read on the wonderful world wide web I understand that this seems to be a problem for single Jews, especially the more Orthodox ones who are really fixin' for a shidduch. I am tired of family members asking me if I've met anyone nice lately (and they don't mean friends). Though I'm lucky, my own family is not too bad when it comes to this. It's being posed questions like that or situations like the one in synagogue that I start to have a sense of inadequacy that might stem from not having a partner there with me. And then I wonder what is wrong with me for feeling this way....that I am too postmodern to all of this or that get to me.
Frustration ensues.

On that note, I am off to shul for another round of 'stare at the single person'.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Movin' on up..

I began the moving process yesterday. I moved my futon, which previously resided in the living room, into the bedroom at my new place. Practical gal that I am I can now spend the night at the new place if I need to. It was weird but kind of exciting at the same time. I'm looking forward to exploring my new neighborhood and city.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Cold turkey

Change can be sudden, a cold-turkey alteration of behavior, or slow and steady, like time-lapse photography. I can change my name or my hair color or my ZIP code any change is risky, and frightening because people may not approve. But in my High Holy Day recommitment to improved behavior in the coming year, I'm also committing to the concept of change where helpful and necessary, even if it's scary not knowing who I'm becoming.

Esther puts it very well...the anxiety and fear excitementment that I've been feelings for the past few months. With this new job my life has taken a turn towards change. It is scary not knowing what will happen when I move and move away from those whom I have grown fond of. It is all geared towaimprovementment and becoming an adult. It is necessarysary so that I can become the person that I am supposed to be.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

New year, new me?

Happy 5766!

Rosh ha Shana is the Jewish New Year. We run on a lunar calendar so it tends to occur in late summer/early fall. Ten days later comes Yom Kippur- the Day of Atonment- where we ask forgiveness for our sins and other mishaps during the past year. The ten days in between the two holidays are for meditating on ourselves, our sins, our strengths and weaknesses.

As I sat in synagogue today I began to think about the all the changes in my life in the past year and pondered what the new year has is store for me. I keep coming back to a few themes:

New job- a future I think is more interesting than the one I might've been headed towards in my old job in TV Ad Sales. So far I like the new boss. I want to learn as much as I can, beyond the call of my job. I feel it would be practical to learn to do a bit of the 'traditional' production stuff as well as refining my editing skills. And brushing up on my grammar. I wonder if work might be willing to pay for a class, some sort of AP style boot camp or something....?

New address- I'm pretty sure I'll be leaving the Ocean State for the shorter commute to work that I'll have in the Bay State. In many ways I feel like I've finally settled into life here in this small state. At long last I have a mechanic that I trust. A temple I like. I'm finally able to give lost tourists directions like a real Rhode Islander ("...you go 6 blocks, past where John's Restuarant used to be, then turn...") and can navigate the parking garage at Providence Place Mall without getting lost. Moving is scary. (And I don't just mean the packing). I'll need to learn where to get the best NY-style bagels, shortcuts to take during rush hour traffic, etc... And make new friends (I have a few up in the new metro area, but not many of them seem like they really care to help me settle in...which annoys me because I would totally do that for them if they moved here). I've got to learn the ins and outs and patterns of a whole new neighborhood- how safe certain areas are at 3AM, the best shortcuts, where to find the best parking spots- those kinds of things.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Bullet for bullets

Palestinian police broke into parliament building in Gaza City to protest lack of bullets:

More than three dozen Palestinian police officers broke into the parliament building in Gaza City on Monday, firing in the air to protest a lack of bullets and equipment in what they said was a humiliating confrontation with Hamas

Firing into the air, effectively wasting the precious bullets that they were storming a building over. Can someone explain to me the logic of wasting bullets to protest your lack of bullets.