Sunday, March 25, 2007

Easter Hunt of My Own

First I talk about Pesach; a breath later, I talk about Easter. What's up with that?

Well, I have a pretty serious grievance about this holiday that falls around the same time as Pesach. Nothing to do with bunnies, nothing to do with eggs...but lots to do with clothes!

It's somewhat of a minhag to have a new outfit for a major Yom Tov, or at least new shoes or accessories. If not for me, I like to find something new for the kids to wear...whether they truly need something or not.

How many suits and shirts does my oldest son have for shul...but always chooses to wear the same pants, shirts and vests?

And my younger son is happiest with plain slacks and white dress shirt or his navy blue Shabbos suit.

And my daughter, Ms. Fashionista, is pretty finicky because I still buy most of her clothes, bring them home and hope/beg/bribe that she'll wear them. And if not, I'm a notorious merchandise returner at stores!

Okay, so for the last while, I've been keeping my eyes open for a new dress or outfit for my daughter for Pesach. I do not shop at chi-chi children's boutiques or in shops set up in suburban basements, but rather, in department stores. And knowing that Easter is a pretty major holiday, and formal with its church services and family dinners and egg hunts, I'm pretty sure I'll find something for my child.

Some department store flyers came into the house last week. Great, maybe I'll spot something for A, I thought.

What did I spot for girls? Cap sleeve dresses, sleeveless dresses, spaghetti-strap dresses, fancy tulle-pouffed creations that would suit a child in a wedding party, not a child going to church or synagogue for a prayer service.

Do these designers think that we all live bordering the Pacific Ocean, in the warm climes of Hawaii or California, or in the desert areas of Arizona or Nevada? It is about to be APRIL, designer people. Just a hint of spring is in the air in most of North America. What good will a thin-strapped, sleeveless dress do my Modern Orthodox daughter in shul?

I'm not exaggerating...just about everything I've seen being offered for Easter is what I deem summerwear!

Think about it: the Easter Bunny still wears a fur coat... Don't designers read into that and figure, "Hey, it must still be a little chilly. Perhaps we should design a dress with a matching sweater or a matching coat...and yes, even for girls." But they must think that as long as you've got your Easter bonnet on, you're fully dressed.

I think it might be time, after all, for me to expand the shopping horizons when it comes to buying shul outfits for my daughter. You know, actually, I realize, I've already done that. Last summer, while in Buffalo, NY, I bought her a dress that she wore for the fall Yom Tovs and again for an afternoon wedding in November.

I think I might just find out where the Easter Bunny shops. SHE is very cute-looking however she's dressed. Maybe the Easter Bunny knows something I don't...especially since that particular bunny has got "mass appeal!"

(Hey, have I set my own personal record for most posts in one day? I think I made up for last week's lull... Didn't I?)

Ode to Pesach

Ode to Pesach

The pantry is empty, devoid of its stuff
Pesach is coming, enough is enough
The chametz got sold to our rabbi, you know
It was time to get rid of it, time to let go

I bought my Pesachdik groceries, paid more than I thought
I kept buying and buying; I bought and I bought
But don’t Pesach prices always get out of hand
For one week out of the year, we just don’t understand.

We feel the need to buy up the store
To prepare seders and meals and have nosh galore
And after the week is done and we’ve put on some weight
We avoid our scale, those numbers we hate!

We might lose some pounds as we meticulously “spring clean”
Making “seder” in our homes, on that we are keen
At least once a year we do this overhaul
And then we rest for a moment before the cooking calls.

Let’s plan some “healthy” dishes that use lots of eggs and oil
And matzah meal and matzah, over menus we will toil
We have to please our family and friends who join us for a meal
Several variations on matzah can have some “mass appeal.”

There’s always prune juice and compote for you who gets “stopped up”
Or pour yourself hot water with lemon juice and sip it from a cup.
As for me, I love matzah farfel and lots of macaroons
And soup mandlen and matzah balls, I have no use for prunes.

I took a moment to stop my cleaning and write this little ditty
I hope you find it whimsical, I hope you deem it witty.
“Have a good Pesach” is my wish for you out there
May you enjoy your family and friends, together celebrate and share.

The J.A.P. Show

I just discovered this show that will be playing in NYC, off-Broadway. It's my kind of show...

Couldn't it play just a little bit closer to home, dammit!?

The J.A.P. Show

Did Jew Know...?

You will notice the last entry on my blogroll, Yeshiva World. I discovered that site a few months back and go on from time to time to learn what's going on the frum world, primarily in rather Orthodox communities.

Unfortunately, the website seems to have a field day with writing about tragedies that happen worldwide to members of the Jewish community. Many commenters appear to have trouble with that; they don't know how to respond and are plain tired of reading about sad news items, they claim. Other commenters just want to have reason to throw around lots of Yeshivish lingo and expressions that could stand to be translated for the typical reader (MO) like me who isn't even familiar with all the expressions.

A recent entry and its follow-up comments ended up like a barroom brawl. The topic: Kosher for Passover Coca-Cola. Look at this entry and the follow-up responses, and watch how the theory about having three Jews and ten opinions really holds true! Yelling across cyberspace. Jews pointing fingers at Jews. How unmenschlich is that?!

There should be a sister site to The Yeshiva World called "Having Derech Eretz in Blogland." Before commenting on The Yeshiva World entries, readers have to visit the other site first and learn a few "Netiquette" details.

I am not part of the Yeshivish world, but I am curious about it and interested in it. I visit this site to learn something interesting and new. If I want to see Jews argue and make nasty comments, I could sit in on a private school tuition board meeting!

Write from the Heart

On Shabbat afternoon, my nine-year-old daughter entertained herself by pulling my high school yearbooks off the shelf and perusing through them.
This is the type of thing I used to do: go through old class pictures, autograph books, yearbooks, checking out the past or trying to recreate it in my mind.
I was in the kitchen and my daughter kept yelling out to me, "Listen to this, Eema." And she proceeded to read some poem...that I'd written. And then another poem. And another.
As I listened to the poems, I couldn't help but think, "I wrote THAT?" But then I realized that I had, and I even remembered the circumstances around writing a particular poem. Many of them had the same themes: unrequited love/invisibility/trying too hard. Such is the world of teenage angst. Such was the world of my poetry.
My daughter was clearly fascinated by the fact that my name and poems appeared several times in these yearbooks. She also wondered why I didn't appear in photos of clubs or school bands or random people-in-the-hallway photos. I guess I was too busy writing poetry, I told her. That was my "thing." I wasn't involved in much else, I explained.
I remember many times sending my poems off to Seventeen magazine or Teen magazine from a very young age. Hey, I thought, they'll publish this. Of course everyone can relate to this/that poem. I'm the spokesperson for others like me, the ones Janis Ian sang about in "At Seventeen" -- the non-popular, nice ones.
Did my name appear in these nationwide magazines? Nah... I had to wait a few years more to start publishing outside of school yearbooks -- Holocaust poetry, Jewish-themed poetry primarily. I guess I'd "graduated" from those teen identity poems. Yet I still wrote about what I knew.
Every now and again, I pull out my "poetry books" -- blank journals and business ledgers whose pages I covered in ink and words from the heart. Every now and again, I pull out tear sheets that offer my published words and my name. Every now and again, I go through my posts from this 2 1/2 year-old blog.
And so many times, while looking at so many words, I think to myself or even aloud, "I wrote THAT?!"