Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Day in DC: A Double Duty Blog Post

It’s four weeks into the semester and five weeks until I leave for Biennial and guess what? That’s right – I barely have time to breathe, let alone write cutesy posts for my blog.

For the time being, therefore, my most recent post on RJ.org will have to do double duty here. Of course, the topic is an important one so sharing my slice-of-life day in DC in more than one place shouldn’t be a problem, should it?

As always, thanks for reading. I’ll get back to writing here again as soon as I can.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Shana Tova: A Craigslist Sampler

For all the obvious reasons, I really should give up posting personal ads on Craigslist. However, like Rev. Christine Shiber, a newly divorced 50-something profiled in a story in last week’s New York Times, I’ve found it’s the venue that brings the most responses. As she says, “While it’s glorious to have the freedom to divorce and create a better life, we’re not in college anymore with an unlimited supply of men our age.” Also like Rev. Shiber, experience has made me somewhat adept at discerning the good from the bad in this crazy cyber-marketplace, and so it is that on Friday, I posted this ad:

Shana tova - 46 (New York City)

Will you be eating chicken soup and brisket at a holiday table tonight, grateful to have friends and family close by with whom to celebrate?

Perhaps tomorrow morning you’ll park your tush in a pew at a synagogue in the tri-state area? After services you’ll be glad to loosen your tie and get home, optimistic that good things are in store for you in 5770. Am I right?

If one of the good things you’re hoping for is to meet someone special, I’d like to hear from you. I’m 46, youthful, Jewish, attractive (although ultimately you have to decide that for yourself), and have lots to offer the right guy. You should be age appropriate, Jewish, not already married, and, most important, real.

Shana tova.

Here’s a sampling of the more than 20 replies caught in my net:

Guy #1, bless his heart, wrote: “For various reasons (including age), I don't think you'd be interested in me, but I just wanted to wish you a shana tova, and I hope this year brings you happiness in every area of your life!”

Guy #2 has answered previous ads of mine with a photo and a brief note worthy of a reply. When I've reciprocated with a note and my photo (yes, the same one that’s up at the top of this page over there on the right), he hasn't written back. Apparently the photo is a deal breaker for him. Oh well…

Guy #3 is really Guy #3 and Gal #1. They claim to be Jewish and “seeking to develop an ongoing friendship with an exceptional woman!” Oy…par for the course on Craigslist, though, and the raison d'ĂȘtre for the delete key!

Guy #4 is named Tony Porcelli. (No, not really… I changed it to protect his innocence, but, trust me, the real one is equally Italian.) And, although I know that it’s dangerous to make assumptions based solely on names and the appearance of things – marit ayin, I think, is the expression in Hebrew – when I Googled his actual name, he came up as the owner of a general contracting company on Long Island. Jewish? No, despite his correct use of spilkes and tsuris, not so much.

Guy #5 wrote this:

I don't know if your [sic] Conservative or Orthodox...
Is it that hard to meet a nice guy in shul????
I'm married, Jewish & you don't want me..
However.... You seem nice.. so I am trying to help...
My only advice for you... don't settle...
If you look hard, you'll find a nice Jewish guy...

Thanks, Guy #5. Yes, it is that hard to meet a nice guy in shul (or anywhere, it seems), but I’m trying. I’m definitely trying…

Monday, September 14, 2009

Letter to My Blog

Dear Blog,

I haven’t forgotten about you. And, although I know this is no excuse, I’ve been sooooooo busy that I haven’t had time to “percolate” any posts. If it’s any consolation, I haven’t written for RJ.org in the last few weeks either.

Interestingly, shortly after one of my recent posts appeared there, I received a letter from the rabbi at my new congregation inviting me to bless the candles in the downstairs service (where new members sit) on Kol Nidre. Although I’m sure that the blog post and the invitation are unrelated (the letter from the rabbi was written before the blog post), I’m still feeling a bit chagrined at having written it in the first place. But, it’s a done deal now…and still an accurate reflection of my experience in the synagogue that night.

In a nutshell, here’s what else is going on with me:

  • School started right before Labor Day and I’ve got a great class on anti-Semitism as it relates to civil rights public policy. There are only about eight students in the class but in a true, it’s-a-small-world story, one of them left SCA (where I worked from 1991 to 1997) in June, moved to New York to go to school and, lo and behold, sits right next to me! The specifics of how we made that incredible connection is a story for another time. Right now, suffice it to say that the class readings at the moment focus on the history of anti-Semitism (in medieval times, in the Middle Ages, within the Catholic Church, etc.) and although there’s a lot of it and it’s not exactly page-turning stuff, it’s not bad either. A week from this Thursday, Abraham Foxman, head of the ADL, will deliver the Ackerman Lecture at Baruch, so of course we’re required to go. Should be very interesting.
  • On the work scene, Biennial food has definitely kicked in and the early mornings and late nights are soon to be the norm. At the moment, it’s all box lunches all the time. In addition, I’m doing my regular job, lots of Biennial miscellany that crosses my desk, and tracking RSVPs from invitees to one of 15 different Shabbat dinners, from rabbis who have been invited to be Shabbat morning Torah study leaders, and from lay and professional leaders invited to sit on the bema at services. Whew! If you want to know more about Biennial, click here.
  • Yes, the Schmuck Parade marches on. Nothing terribly new or exciting to report here, just the same old cadre of game players, endless emailers and guys who don’t – for one reason or another -- fit the parameters I’ve set for myself. These include: Jewish, 40-something, and divorced or equally seasoned. That’s it. What’s so hard about that?! I wish I knew because the pickings are oh-so slim. Oh-so slim…
  • I seem to be losing the battle against plantar fasciitis so tomorrow after work it's back to the podiatrist where perhaps more cortisone is in the cards. After that, a trip to Westchester for a shiva call to a colleague who just lost her mother. Another long day on tap…

So, that’s about all the news from here, Blog. Again, I apologize for not being a better correspondent. I’ll try to improve in the future. In the meantime, l’shana tova…see you in 5770!


Friday, September 4, 2009

The Moon of Elul

September 3, 2009...15 Elul 5769...New York City

(or click here to see a slide show of these photos)