Thursday, November 29, 2012

Just call me Yente

Ah, the lengths we bloggers go for our craft!

{cue: dramatic sigh}

Take me, for instance.

I mean, sure, I could’ve continued to churn out my usual blogging fare – you know, things like Heblish, national parks, and so on – and no one would’ve complained. (Well, not TOO much, anyway…)

But instead of resting on my laurels, I decided that the time had come to take things to a whole new level.

To boldly go where no J-blogger had gone before.

To use my blogging powers for good.

To get my blog into the shidduch game.

And thus, I channeled my inner Yente…

…And deliberately caused my blogging world to collide head-on with my real life world.

My blogging friend relative G6 has all the details.

Mazal tov to the young couple and to their parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins – including, of course, those who now fall into more than one of the above categories!!

Open-mouthed smile

יהי רצון שתזכו לבנות בית נאמן בישראל!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

More signs that your son is an IDF soldier

As you may (or may not) recall, a few weeks ago, I posted a list of the top 10 signs that your son is an IDF soldier.

But in the wake of recent events, I think it’s time to update the list.

Thus, the Our Shiputzim Editorial Board proudly presents:

Five MORE Signs That Your Son* Is an IDF Soldier

(*Or Daughter)

1) Your son spent the week of Operation Pillar of Defense hanging out along the Gaza border.

2) You spent the week of Operation Pillar of Defense being, well, very much aware that your son was hanging out along the Gaza border and the week after Operation Pillar of Defense comparing notes with parents of other IDF soldiers who had been hanging out along the Gaza border.

3) Although ultimately, you’re just as unimpressed by the current ceasefire as you were by the ceasefire that ended Operation Cast Lead, you notice that your views and opinions are more nuanced and less black and white than they were four years ago.

4) Your son reports that during the war, not only did the rations include the requisite canned corn, tunafish, chumus, and MREs (i.e. cham-gashiyot for the Hebraically-oriented amongst you) with schnitzel, but there also seemed to be plenty of Crembos to go around…

5) While doing the aforementioned hanging out, your son bumped into numerous friends, neighbors, former classmates, and assorted acquaintances. (In other words, he got a lot of points.) Clearly, the Gaza border was THE place to see and be seen…


P.S. In case you missed it, here’s the original top 10 list.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Déjà vu?

From the moment the IDF launched Operation Pillar of Defense, the pundits have been comparing it to 2009’s Operation Cast Lead.

And to a certain extent, one can see where they’re coming from.

After all, once again, Israel faces the same cruel, merciless enemy.

Once again, the casus belli is the enemy’s vicious and relentless targeting of innocent Israeli civilians, while using their own civilians as so-called human shields (i.e. a double war crime).

Once again, Israeli men, women, and children are forced to cower in stairwells, bomb shelters, and security rooms.

Once again, an ever-growing number of beloved Israeli fathers, sons, and brothers are being called up to defend the country.

Once again, Israelis have opened their hearts and homes to our beleaguered brethren in the line of fire and are collecting desperately-needed supplies and treats for the soldiers on the front lines.

Once again, much of the world is rushing to condemn Israel for fictitious atrocities and promoting an obscene moral “equivalence” between sadistic terrorists and the IDF, who is – by every objective standard – the most moral and ethical army on the entire planet.

Once again, Israelis are walking around with the same fortitude and grim determination to get the job done.

Yet, as far as we’re concerned here in TRLEOOB (=the real life equivalent of our blog), there are several major differences between this week and four years ago.

It’s that the enemy is now firing missiles with longer ranges and that sirens and booms are now being heard in a much larger section of the country (including the area where our favorite bat sherut now finds herself).

It’s that this time around, we are B”H blessed with a very different government and prime minister, and that hopefully, HaKadosh Baruch Hu will grant them the strength and the courage to stay the course.

And it’s that after being told to keep his phone on over Shabbat, OS (=Our Soldier) finally got the call a few hours after Havdalah, and since then, he has been spending his days somewhere along the Gaza border.

May Hashem watch over and protect him and all our courageous men and women in uniform and keep them all safe and sound!

מִי שֶׁבֵּרַךְ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ אַבְרָהָם יִצְחָק וְיַעֲקֹב הוּא יְבָרֵךְ אֶת חַיָּלֵי צְבָא הֲגַנָּה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, הָעוֹמְדִים עַל מִשְׁמַר אַרְצֵנוּ וְעָרֵי אֱלקינוּ מִגְּבוּל הַלְּבָנוֹן וְעַד מִדְבַּר מִצְרַיִם וּמִן הַיָּם הַגָּדוֹל עַד לְבוֹא הָעֲרָבָה בַּיַּבָּשָׁה בָּאֲוִיר וּבַיָּם. יִתֵּן ה' אֶת אוֹיְבֵינוּ הַקָּמִים עָלֵינוּ נִגָּפִים לִפְנֵיהֶם. הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא יִשְׁמֹר וְיַצִּיל אֶת חַיָלֵינוּ מִכָּל צָרָה וְצוּקָה וּמִכָּל נֶגַע וּמַחְלָה וְיִשְׁלַח בְּרָכָה וְהַצְלָחָה בְּכָל מַעֲשֵׂה יְדֵיהֶם. יַדְבֵּר שׂוֹנְאֵינוּ תַּחְתֵּיהֶם וִיעַטְרֵם בְּכֶתֶר יְשׁוּעָה וּבְעֲטֶרֶת נִצָּחוֹן. וִיקֻיַּם בָּהֶם הַכָּתוּב: כִּי ה' אֱלֹקיכֶם הַהֹלֵךְ עִמָּכֶם לְהִלָּחֵם לָכֶם עִם איבֵיכֶם לְהוֹשִׁיעַ אֶתְכֶם, וְנאמַר אָמֵן.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Operation Pillar of Defense

Now that the IDF has launched Operation Pillar of Defense (officially called מבצע עמוד ענן in Hebrew – literally “Operation Pillar of Smoke”) in response to the enemy’s vicious and relentless assault on innocent Israeli civilians, the Rav of our community has asked that one say a chapter of Tehillim after davening and recite the following prayer for our beleaguered brothers and sisters in the South as well as the brave soldiers of the IDF:

אחינו כל בית ישראל, הנתונים בצרה ובשביה, העומדים בין בים ובין ביבשה, המקום ירחם עליהם ויוציאם מצרה לרווחה, ומאפילה לאורה ומשעבוד לגאולה, השתא בעגלא ובזמן קריב. ונאמר אמן.

Our brothers, the entire House of Israel, who are held in distress and captivity, whether they are on the sea or on dry land:
May the Makom have mercy on them and bring them from distress to relief, from darkness to light, from subjugation to redemption - now, speedily, and very soon. And let us say: Amen.

As always, for up-to-the-minute, accurate reporting of the day’s events, be sure to check out Jameel and friends’ excellent live coverage.

May we soon be privileged to enjoy besurot tovot, yeshu’ot v’nechamot (good tidings, salvation, and consolation).

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Film Friday: Fill the Void Edition

Warning: The International Blogging Federation’s Oversight Committee has determined that the following post is in direct violation of Article XII-3298-A763 (“Posting Film Friday Posts On a Sunday”) of the Blogging Code. Proceed at your own risk.

Last night, YZG and I went to see a movie.

In the theater.

Which - considering the fact that as far as we can recall, the last movie we saw by ourselves in a movie theater was Sleepless In Seattle – was unusual in and of itself.

But that wasn’t the strangest part.

Because the thing that makes our cinematic date night blog-worthy is that we saw a Hebrew-language movie.

Which had no English subtitles.

And yet, we both really enjoyed the movie and highly recommend it!

If you live here in Israel, you’ll no doubt have guessed by now that we saw “Fill the Void” (i.e. “למלא את החלל” for the Hebraically-oriented amongst you) – a wonderful and critically-acclaimed movie that was written and directed by chareidi filmmaker Rama Burshtein.

The storyline is fairly simple. A chassidish 18-year-old girl’s mother wants her to marry her deceased sister’s widower. In other words, there are no major plot turns or shocking developments.

But the amazing and nuanced acting, the brilliant cinematography, and the painstakingly-accurate dialogue, sets, and costumes all add up to a charming movie.

A certain Our Shiputzim reader referred to it as “a chareidi romantic-comedy,” and IMHO, that’s an excellent description.

Unlike many other movies about chareidim, “Fill the Void” is neither a mean-spirited attack on the chareidi world nor a lame attempt at apologetics. Rather, it’s a warm-hearted, sweet, and extremely believable (the mascara scene happened more or less in its entirety to a certain Shiputzim family member) film that just happens to take place in a chassidish community.

Furthermore, Burshtein, who clearly knows her way around this community and gets nearly every single detail right, doesn’t insult her audience’s intelligence.

For example, when the characters sit around a table in dressy clothes and sing, the filmmaker doesn’t need to hit the audience over the head with a maudlin candle lighting scene to announce that it’s now Friday night. Instead, a character’s throwaway comment that he’s on his way to “the tisch” serves the same purpose – albeit in a more subtle and much more effective fashion.

Bottom line: As much as I tend to shy away from hyperbole, I have to say that “Fill the Void” is truly a “must-see” movie. You won’t want to miss it.

Have you seen “Fill the Void”?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Top 10 signs your son is in the army

The Our Shiputzim Editorial Board proudly presents:

The Top 10 Signs That Your Son* Is an IDF Soldier

(*Or Daughter)

10) His speech is liberally peppered with acronyms (i.e. roshei teivot for the Hebraically-oriented amongst you).

9) Not only have you started to recognize some of those acronyms, but you even know what a handful of them mean.

8) You’ve considered adding a new skill to your LinkedIn profile: washing army uniforms.

7) You’ve convinced yourself that there’s no need to iron those uniforms.

6) Mathematicians may insist that the shortest route between any two given points is a straight line, but you’ve learned that in the army, traveling home from one’s base involves zigzagging across the country and changing buses at countless obscure junctions and intersections.

5) You’ve long since ceased to be surprised that the army functions in a seemingly-constant state of balagan (loosely, disorganization)…

4) Somehow, you’ve suddenly been transformed into the stereotypical Jewish mother (aka an imma Polaniyah – a Polish mother – in the local vernacular). Whenever you speak to your son, you find yourself asking, “But are you SURE you’re getting enough to eat?” (Although to be perfectly fair, a certain hesdernik of my acquaintance is actually eating better now in the army than he did when he was in his yeshiva. Of course, that’s not really saying much… :-))

3) Many of the country’s burning political issues have become far less academic and theoretical and far more personal and relevant. (More on this, perhaps, in a future post.)

2) You finally feel like a “real” Israeli.

1) Every time your son walks through the front door, you’re once again amazed and filled with tremendous gratitude to HaKadosh Baruch Hu that the tall, handsome (BA”H) soldier standing before you is the same tiny baby boy you held in your arms all those years ago.

May Hashem watch over and protect all our soldiers and keep them all safe and sound.


P.S. Looking for “the Israeli view of yesterday’s US elections?” Here’s my take:

”.על מי לנו להשען? על אבינו שבשמים”
“On Whom can we rely? On our Father in Heaven.” (BT Sotah 49a)