.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Ask Shifra

Something Different... Answering questions and making curious observations (online) since 2005.

Powered by WebAds

Friday, July 28, 2006

Shifra meets Corporate America

Note: Love clicking your mouse? Then this is the post for you.
I tried embedding all the photos into the text but they were all funny sizes and types - blogger is not too helpful as a photo editor and I have a lot of work to do today. Anyhoo happy clicking!

Many of you dear readers and friends have e-mailed inquiring about my new job.
I like it. For work it's not bad at all.
This is my first time working in a really "corporate" environment so I've been suffering from a bit of culture shock.

For example:
My former "casual Friday" shoes (PT: BizCasFri!)
My current Friday shoes

My work headwear then (note that is not ACTUALLY me)
My work headwear now (nope, that's not me either)

My office chair then ($49.40 and worth every cent)
My office chair now ($800! Comes with it's own video on how to adjust it!)

I've got plenty of this, none of this, and a full hour of this.

My paycheck then = X (you didn't really think I'd tell you my salary right?)
My paycheck now = X+ 10%
Minus gas money = X+5%
Minus this years Yeshiva Tutition = Bad News

Some things of course are still the same:

My car (Only a lot more scraped and dented)
My boss's car

Good Shabbos to all!


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Only Simchas VS The National Enquirer

I used to love to poke fun at the things I saw on Only Simchas then I felt guilty about it and repented.

I couldn't resist this one though it's a miracle!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Trief-est Company Picnic Ever!

Today is the company picnic at my new job.

It started a few minutes minutes ago, but I'm in no hurry.
Here's the menu and maybe also the reason:

BBQ pork ribs, BBQ chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers and cheese burgers, peel and eat shrimp, clams, etc... etc... etc...

It's scheduled from 11:30 to 2:30 and families are invited - yet work resumes immediately afterwords which is kind of a dirty trick if you ask me.
My kids are in camp, and my husband is working and even if they were free would they want to drive two hours for a two hour party where you can't eat anything?
I wouldn't- I can barely get myself down the stairs.
Did I mention I hate parties? I do.

OK yay for the company picnic.
I'll let you know how it went.

Ok it wasn't so bad, there was a very, very bad DJ so I didn't feel bad about listening to music I didn't enjoy, and I found someone to sit and chat with so that was nice PLUS I forgot about the saving grace of nearly every summer outing/event... Kosher ice cream!

This is soooo not worth blogging about - I just wanted you to know that I knew that ;-)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

RAL VS Nick Hornby

I love to read - it's one of my genuine pleasures in life and something I wish I had more time to do. For me reading is like dating. Sometimes I find myself surrounded by books, with no time to read them, other times I've got plenty of time and nothing to read.

Usually I have a few books lying around waiting for me but this Shabbos I had NOTHING. No library books, no loaners from friends, not even any magazines...nothing. So eventually my husband caught me re-reading "High Fidelity" by Nick Hornby for about the 6th time (that HE knows of.) I love that book (and most by others by Hornby) and I think I may have a bit of a crush on the main character (who can resist a depressed Englishman with a massive record collection?!) Being a good husband, and fearful that my brain would turn to rot he quickly offered to find me something else that I had not read before.

A minute later he returned with a copy of Rav A. Lichtenstien's "Leaves of Faith" (which I know for a fact he has not read although he bought it with the best of intentions at this year's YU sefarim sale.) Even the introduction was a hard read. That man has no mercy on his readership. I just felt stupid. I felt like a fourth [edited thanks P] grader reading the Wall Street Journal. Sure I could do it but it was so arduous that it just didn't feel like it was worth the effort.

I understood what I did read but after 4 pages I was tired.
"High fidelity" wins again. Sorry Rav Lichtenstien.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Getting Naked

Heh - got your attention with that one eh?

There has been a bit of banter in the comments of my "Supercuts" post about modesty.
Unfortunately there was also bit of really ugly name calling involved so I couldn't post them all (sorry I have my standards.)

While I feel that what goes on at the mikvah is a very private matter and one I'm reticent to discuss in such a public forum I'd like to set the record straight about what goes on a woman's mivka (ritual bath) as it seems that many men (and perhaps some women as well) have some gross misconceptions about what goes on there.

1) There are no men ANYWHERE on site.
Zero. Ziltch. None. No Rabbis, no yeshiva boys at the windows, no spouses in the waiting room. I even get annoyed when I see husbands waiting in their cars at the back of the parking lot or down the block, but that's as close as they are ever going to get during women's mikva hours. EVER.

2) Women are treated with privacy and respect.
While women may have to wait in a communal waiting room for a bit when they first arrive this is the only time you will be together with other women. Each woman is given a turn in a private room to prepare herself. The doors lock. No one comes in unless YOU tell them to.
In fact, the mikvah attendant is very careful to only allow one women at a time in and out of the corridor to and from the mivkah so that women will not see each other passing by.
When it is a woman's turn to walk down the short corridor to the mikvah she is dressed in a long robe and slippers (usually provided by the mikva) she can even cover her hair with a towel if it makes her feel more at ease.

3) The mikvah attendant's review is quite limited and often optional.
I have been to about ten or mikvahs all around the country. Some were quite modern, while other were a bit decrepit. Some were in modern orthodox areas which others were Charedi owned and operated, some were in tiny jewish communities and others in large metropolitan areas. I do not claim to have attended every mikvah on earth but my experiences have been both diverse and random. While each has it's own set of customs and practices I have never been asked to remove my robe while standing in front of the Mikvah attendant. Her job is to help you, not search you. I've had much more degrading experiences being searched at the airport than I have at the mikvah and in fact at many mikvahs you can ask not to be checked at all (just try THAT at JFK!)
Generally the attendant will check your hands and feet (while you are fully robed) and perhaps ask you a few questions about your preparation. Sometimes she will offer to check the back of your neck (or upper back) for any hairs that may have come loose during brushing.
The woman will avert her eyes (often holding something up over her to block her view) as the woman enters the mikvah. When you tell her you are ready she looks down from above only to check that you have fully immersed in the water. It is pretty difficult to tell if every strand of hair has been submerged on your own, and frankly I don't think it's safe to walk barefoot down slippery marble stairs into a deep pool of water on your own with no one else around.
As you come out the woman will once again avert her eyes and allow you to put on your robe again before looking at you.
After that, you take the short (private) walk back to your dressing room and immerge fully dressed.

That's it.

Now I'm sure that even the process I just described may sound pretty harrowing to the uninitiated, but I assure you it's a heck of a lot better than what some of you have been thinking (and/or posting) about what goes on there.

If you have any additional questions about the mivkah feel free to email me privately at Shifraq@gmail.com. Comments on this post will be heavily monitored.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I'm Tired

I'm tired.
I'm really tired.

I don't like fasting.
I need coffee to be a productive member of society.

Today is a good day to reflect on a large number of events both current and historical as they relate to Israel and the Jewish people and I know that fasting is supposed to engender just that sort of thinking... but it's really hard to think when your head feels like it's stuffed with cotton.

I'm really going to have to start cutting back on the caffiene as I'm starting to really dislike who I am without it!

*Blink... Blink....Yawn*

Have an easy fast to those who are fasting, and my condolences to the caffiene addicts - especially everyone's favorite Rebbitzen.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Do Good

I’m going to take a break from my usual casual style posting to say something that is pretty obvious but very much from the heart.

In my life I’ve been very fortunate to meet all kinds of smart, kind, and interesting people:
I have friends who grew up as Mormons and are now atheists.
I have friends with hippy parents who are now conservatives.
I have friends who grew up Catholic and returned to it slightly worse for wear after a rough (extended) youth.
And don’t get me started on my Jewish friends…

Some people I know have experienced doubts and a loss of faith.
Others claim to have witnessed miracles and have renewed their commitment to God.

Some people I know have made these changes along with their families.
Others have found matters of faith to rock the foundation of once strong relationships.

Some people I know keep their beliefs a secret.
Others shout their truths from the rooftops.

Changes are a normal part of life. If your faith is exactly the same as it was when you sat in your nursery school classroom listening to Bible stories it means you are not thinking and not growing. Life is a complicated journey sometimes things go full circle and sometimes you end up exactly 180 degrees from where you started- but no matter where life takes you being true to yourself is the surest path to liking who you are.

To all the people out there who are full of guilt conflict and confusion – whether you are moving toward religion or away from it I have this important bit of advice:


No matter who you are or what you believe: if you believe this life is all there is or if it’s your ticket to the afterlife there is only one thing you can do in this world to make it a better place for everyone and that is to do good.
Help people when you can, empathize with them even when you can’t.
Don’t look away from someone in need or in pain.
Smile when you talk to people let them know you are listening when they speak.

This world is a dark and complicated place, war, hate and suffering surround us – it is everyone’s job to make the world a better place. Being selfish is about the most unsatisfying way to live. A life filled with kindness, mercy, and good deeds is a life worth living no matter what you believe.