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Ask Shifra

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

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Promises Promises

It's Wednesday and I've promised to post something.

To begin with, I'd like to let everyone know that I'm just fine. I've been traveling quite a bit with very limited internet access. None of this travel is what I'd really call leisure time but it was all for good reasons (family, special events, etc...)

I had an email conversation with another blogger yesterday and she said that the longer you put off blogging the harder it is to come back and it's true. After a break you really want to have something to say and nothing seems quite good enough.

So I think I'll do a bit of a mix n' match post just to get back into the swing of things.

A Busman's Holiday - My mother used this expression recently and I really liked it. I don't know how I've missed it all these years. It basically sums up my last couple of weeks - lots of driving, housekeeping, paperwork, Bureaucracy, and childcare.

The Anti-Shifra - This weekend I got to spend a lot of time with my four year old nephew. He's a sweetie and always calls me Anti-Shifra (his way of saying Auntie Shifra I suppose) It's very cute. Makes me think about my identity a bit especially in relation to blogging. Who is the real Shifra (the online version or the 3D one) and who is the Anti-Shifra?

Other Shifras - OK it's true I've been known to google myself. I've been tracking myself as Ask Shifra (I don't have much of a profile online as my real self) and I'm please to report that I'm google's #1 Shifra and have been for a long time now. Google's number #2 Shifa intrigues me -
we seem to have a number of things in common (although I'm not allergic to so many things) and I've been thinking of emailing her "Hey #2, let's be friends!" but it just seemed too random. Maybe she checks her sitemeter though (if she has one) and will find ME through this post.

In Search Of - What would an Ask Shifra post be without a short anecdote?
I recently attended a dinner with my family where my brother spoke (about his medical history and his miraculous recovery (still in progress) among other things. There was also a semi-famous Rabbi who spoke quite well. After the dinner my grandmother (who was also in attendance) mysteriously disappeared. One moment she was with us the next she was gone. After waiting about ten minutes we all split up and started searching the place. My brother and I ran up the stairs together to look for her and when we got to the top floor we were told that my grandmother was now safely in the car with my father. As we quickly walked down the stairs to find my brothers wife (who we had instructed to keep watch from the mezzanine) we ran into the semi-famous Rabbi. Recognizing my brother from his speech the Rabbi asked me "Are you his wife?" I replied "No, I'm his sister" and my brother replied "I'm still looking for my wife." to which the Rabbi replied "ah beseras Hashem..." (with God's help...)
My brother looked confused for a second and then I said "No, he's married he's REALLY looking for his WIFE." Too funny.

New Blood - someday, when I update my blogroll I'm going to add Rabbi Horowitz.
DovBear has been singing his praises for a while now but I'd just like to say that that it's a pleasure to read something written by a frum Rabbi who is more interested in solving problems in the frum world than pretending they don't exist! You can even comment on his site because he actually encourages discussion! Amazing.

New Labels - Speaking of normal Rabbis I'd like to offer a couple of new acroynms I've been knocking around:

OO: Oldschool Orthodox - Remember when Rabbis read the newspaper and had college degrees? Remember when kids were encouraged to have carreers and be "well rounded" as well as devoted to the torah? Remember when there wasn't SEPERATE SEATING AT SHUL DINNERS?! Yes, me too.

AO: Angry Orthodox: While still retaining the basic principles and belief systems of traditional Jewish faith these Jews feel that Orthodoxy has turned on them. Between being bankrupted by the yeshiva system, forced to conform by social pressure, and embarressed by rioting Charedim these Jews have become cynical and bitter. See Related: Kalte Litvaks, Orthoprax

Please make yourself comfortable in the comments section - a flight attendant will be bringing the beverage cart around shortly.


At 10:33 AM, Blogger Ezzie said...

I think that to some extent, everybody is AO... wouldn't it be weird if you were #2? Then you could be friends with yourself!

An easy way to track what people are saying about you is via Technorati. If you use Firefox, there's a plugin that you can click on to see who has linked to whatever page you're on. (It's called Web Comments I think.) I think most bloggers check what people are saying about them to some extent for a variety of reasons - I've found both good and bad things that way. (Good discussion about a post/good new blogs, or someone misconstruing what I'd said and even a couple times people making stuff up about me.)

At 10:40 AM, Blogger Shifra said...

I find that it sometimes upsets me to know what people are saying about me. There has been so much talk about the Hot Chanie thing that I've found myself referred to as both "annoying" and a "mysoginist" and of course I've been grossly misquoted.

I still do love the internet though, and suddenly, for some odd reason "blogspot" sites seem to have been unblocked at work...
Weird... but nice (at least for now.)

At 11:07 AM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Shifra: Maybe Hot Chanie works at your company and got the blogspot domain opened?

(And will the stewardess give out free headphones with the drinks, or do we have to rent them for a buck?)

At 11:13 AM, Blogger Shifra said...

Since you are coming to this blog from overseas I think I'll have to provide you with free headphones.
Ezzie unfortunately will have to cough up the dollar.

At 11:21 AM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Wooohooo! Free headphones!

I'll be back later to see what movies are playing.

(does anyone really listen to airline music on the flights?)

I dont think so.

At 12:30 PM, Blogger PsychoToddler said...

"I'm still looking for my wife"


And stop calling me Surely!

Welcome back.

I guess I'm the A-OS with the Hot Chanie.

(Mildly disappointed to find out you weren't abducted by aliens)

At 12:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

been waiting for you to return so i could get my DDOS (Daily Dose of Shifra)

Made me laugh out loud by the in search of.
Missed you.

At 1:26 PM, Blogger Phillip Minden said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1:29 PM, Blogger Phillip Minden said...

(Sorry, I had messed up the links.)


That's not at all far from what I call pre-hyphenated or altorthodox (palæo-Orthodox as opposed to neo-O doesn't sound as nice, though).

Have a look at this related post and this one.

At 2:12 PM, Blogger SJ said...

Hoorah, you're back!

At 2:22 PM, Blogger Ezzie said...

I find that it sometimes upsets me to know what people are saying about me.

Me too... but usually, the people who are saying nasty things aren't people whose opinions I'd care about or respect, so I get over it quickly.

Ezzie unfortunately will have to cough up the dollar.

:::grumble::: That's it, I'm flying JetBlue from now on. They have better (and unlimited!) snacks, anyway.

At 3:02 PM, Blogger and so it shall be... said...

Been AO for some time and bemoaning the recent dearth of OOs. Grrrr.

At 3:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I was finally forced to sign up for my own blogger account. People keep signing comments with names that are similar to mine but not mine. Such as "the one who will soon be bored..." or "the one who will soon be appalled". I didn't post under either of those names. So now I have my own blogger ID that I can post under without getting confused with others... Some day I will reveal my true blogosphere self... Until then you can find me here...

Great anecdote Shifra! Looking for my wife lol! I think you should contact the other Shifra. She does look interesting. You can say your readers made you do it! :-D

At 3:32 PM, Blogger Shifra said...

SW- I should give you credit for AO - I think we kind of came up with that together. You certainly seem like a bastion of that sub-group at times ;-)

At 4:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

forget the beverage, can I get a foot rub?

At 5:16 PM, Blogger DTC said...

Wow...headphones and drinks in the comments section, and it's shomer shabbos too (no boycotts allowed here)!!! I can't wait to see what business class looks like.

Should we rename your blog Air-Shifra or just ask his holy Airness (MJ) for some extra sneakers?

At 7:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your "OO" is a very apt label for me. I always say that my religious philosophy and practice would have fit in perfectly two generations ago. Now I constantly feel drowned out and marginalized by the Artscroll Generation.

At 8:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like to set up a link to you from the Travel Information blog. What do you think about that?

At 8:35 PM, Blogger and so it shall be... said...

I guess I'm known to be a bit of a bastion every now and then.

At 11:11 PM, Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

I think those free headphones can only plug in to the airplane....

If i get sick of this teaching thing, have a midlife crisis and go back to school to learn how to dig up dinosaurs, then I'LL be "paleo-orthodox"! ;-)

At 4:36 AM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Steg: Obivously the free headphones are only for the airplane...(the woohoo was for not having to PAY for them...on the airplane).

Shifra: Is the comment section, First, Business, or Economy?

At 3:55 PM, Blogger Orthonomics said...

Welcome back.

At 11:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if they had seperate seating when they were eating the korban pesach? Just a thought...

At 12:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just because standards in the world in general have moved to the right- does that make it a bad thing? I think that we should be proud that some things that were considered the norm or no longer. while i do enjoy sitting with mixed seating better, i fully understand why it is becoming tabboo. Many years ago it was considered that norm for women not to cover their hair- do you think that it's sad that the trend have moved to the right? I hope not.

At 1:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you really think that it's a bad thing that orthodoxy in general has moved more towards the right over the year? I personally think that it's something that we should be proud of, not bemoan. While I fully agree with you that it's more fun to sit mixed seating at dinners, i have to say i can understand why the trend has shifted. Years ago it was considered the norm for married women not to cover their hair- and b"h the trend has shifted towards the right. Do you think that that is sad? I hope not.

At 1:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

whoops! thought my thoughts got deleted so i rewrote. ignore one- whichever.

At 2:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with a shift to the right is simple: you lose those on the left. You've just pulled the blanket over to your side of the bed and someone is on the other side -- shivering.

At 7:48 PM, Blogger Shifra said...

Miriam - that was a brilliant anology.
I'm always marveling at your way with words.

At 9:03 PM, Blogger littlejerseygirl said...

My FIL is very OO. He often talks about how his Rav was so worldy and so polished - He obviously looked orthodox - but always impressive and dignified. Yehiva boys these days think it's impressive to need a shave. Clean up, people!

Dinners - If I'm spending $400 on Dinner, I am going to sit with my spouse - not random people.
The principal (a woman) of my Alma Mater was honored by the school and I attended the dinner with my mother who is also an alumna. The principal did not get to sit on the Dais (Chas V'shalom) and did not get to give any kind of words of acceptance and did not even go up to the Dais to get her award - they gave it to her AT HER TABLE. It's a girls school. And now you are showing everyone what happens to Orthodox girls. They get pushed down.
That was the last time my mother made a sizable contribution towards their dinner.
I'm fast becoming AO.

At 5:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reason why there is separate seating at shul dinners is because of an incident that happened in 1999. A woman's husband left the table to go to the bathroom and she accidentally had sex with the rabbi who was sitting on the other side of her.
To prevent this they started having separate seating at dinners.

At 6:15 AM, Blogger rockofgalilee said...

Did you see the definition of Shifra at Urban Dictionary?

At 1:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Urban dictionary is a load of hooey. Anyone can add a definition in it so definitions mean nothing. It is even worse than wikipedia because at least wikipedia has people correcting incorrect definitions. Urban Dictionary has nothing at all.

I really don't get this Angry Orthodox thing... Shifra, do you have a name for people who are bothered by the fact that there are so many angry orthodox out there?

At 2:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh and wow... Rabbi Horowitz gives really good advice...

At 8:39 PM, Blogger Nina Amir said...

Like your blog...just found it. Wanna check out mine? Www. purespiritcreations.com.

How does one track a blog? I haven't been doing this that long and I guess im in Bloggers Darness...

At 9:49 PM, Blogger Shifra said...

The urban dictionary is just a fun site. It's been around for a long time and is not meant to be "correct" the way wikipedia is.

Hmmm... if you don't understand why people are angry orthodox clearly my work here is not done. I'll get back to you.

At 10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reason why there is separate seating at shul dinners is because of an incident that happened in 1999. A woman's husband left the table to go to the bathroom and she accidentally had sex with the rabbi who was sitting on the other side of her. To prevent this they started having separate seating at dinners.

This is so obviously and ludicrously false that it doesn't even rate "urban legend" status. I really hope whoever posted this comment was just being silly.

At 10:16 AM, Blogger and so it shall be... said...

"This is so obviously and ludicrously false that it doesn't even rate "urban legend" status. I really hope whoever posted this comment was just being silly."

You're right. The story is completely ridiculous and patently false. The way I heard the story, it was a wedding and the choson and kallah were sitting next to each other. Later that evening, they drove to a hotel and had sex. And thus, we learned ... mixed seating leads to having sex.

At 10:20 AM, Blogger Shifra said...

Yes, of course it was a joke, and a bad one at that.
I like SW's better!

At 10:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked the joke. It made me laugh.

At 2:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

SW's version was clearly a joke, but I wasn't at all sure about the original. Glad that wasn't meant seriously either.

At 5:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked the joke too :)

And I'm still waiting for that foot rub.

At 9:13 AM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Holy Hyrax: No foot rub for you! You only paid the economy priced ticket. (Which also means, YOU have to give out foot rubs).

At 10:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Orthodoxy moving towards the right is not inherently a bad thing. But the newly pervasive idea that outward facing looks count more than inner beliefs is a terrible trend.

Look at the black hats and black and white dress. How does this make one a better person? What about the yeshivas that send boys home for not wearing dark pants and a white shirt?

And my personal favorite is a well known Flatbush yeshiva that bombarded parents which warnings that a yarmulka that's not black velvet is unacceptable and any boy caught wearing one will be suspended.

This is SO pathetic and this precisely why we have a whole generation of AOs.

At 10:44 AM, Blogger and so it shall be... said...

"a yarmulka that's not black velvet is unacceptable and any boy caught wearing one will be suspended."

I'm sorry, but there's a remez in the chumash that teaches us that a Jew must always wear a black velvel yarmulka.

In Parshas Vayeitze, it says, "Vayeitze Yaakov." "...and Yaakov went." Would Yaakov go anywhere wearing anything but a black velvet yearmulka? Of course not!!

This is proof from the Torah that wearing anything but black velvet is unacceptable.

At 12:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I give no foot rubs to you Jameel. I've heard the rumors about your feet (or should I say, I'm the one started them).

At 1:19 PM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Still Wonderin':

No, thats proof that Yaakov wore a Shtreimel, not a velvet kippa.

Sheesh. Dont you know anything?

At 1:56 PM, Blogger miriamp said...

Such an interesting crowd on this flight. Where are we going, anyway? (I know Jameel's answer, but...)

Anyway, just wanted to comment on the separate seating at dinner thing... (warning, overuse of parentheses and run-on sentence to follow)

I actually prefer it, not because I don't love my husband, but because on at least one occasion where we were at a mixed table, there was an "extra woman" and the way the seating worked out (okay, our fault for being a bit late, but no one would rearrange for us) my husband wound up between two women (I was one of them, but still)... which some people (him included) believe to be usser (not allowed). So he didn't actually sit at the table, but back a few feet, making the whole dinner a very uncomfortable experience for us. I see my husband at home... I'd rather gab with my friends (in-between the speeches, of course) at a dinner anyway. We can go out together a different time for actual talk to each other time.

At 2:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm the opposite Miriam. I can't stand to be invited to a wedding and all of a sudden find out its seperate. I end up sitting with people I don't know and the same for my wife. In these special occasions like weddings I prefer to be with my wife. I love looking at how beautiful she is and reminsing about our wedding, while sharing in someone elses special day. I can go out with the buds later and gab all I want. But occasions such as weddings do not always come, and when they do, there is only one person I want sitting by me.

At 2:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And don't forget about the gartle Yaakov wore.

At 5:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the wedding is for a friend of one of the 2 of you, than that person gets to sit with all their friends and have fun, while the spouse gets to sit at the spouse table.

I once went with my wife to a wedding of her Super BT friend. She sat with her old friends, while I , being the only non yeshivish husband, was asked to watch the other men's hats/jackets/seforim while they went off to learn/nap/whatever.

Just curious, Shifra- do you agree with your husband on the sitting between 2 women thing?

At 8:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like people are talking about two different things... When you live in a big community with lots of simchas, these things happen all the time and it is not such a big deal.

holy hyrax- Sounds like you are talking about a smaller community where people don't go to simchas as often...

big fan- I think it was miriam who said the thing about sitting between two women. As far as I know it is a halacha that a man should not do so. However, I was under the impression that it does not apply if one of them is your own wife... I guess I better double check that one...

At 1:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

holy hyrax- Sounds like you are talking about a smaller community where people don't go to simchas as often...

not at all. I'm just a BT with mostly secular friends. Not too many weddings in my group. ;)

At 8:41 AM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Hi Miriam -

Since a wife is considered "Ishto k'Gufo" (part of a husband) -- then it's not an issue to sit between 2 women, if one of them is the person's wife.

(Well, that's an easy way to rationalize it anyway).

Personally, I can't stand seperate seating at smachot.

Though, I totally find it strange when there's a bunch of tables surrounded by mechitzot, minefields and barbed wire -- "for the seperate seaters". I usually think that's where the hand washing place might be, and I stumble in to get icy stares..."Hey buddy, this obvisouly isn't the section for YOU"

Sometimes, (and this is even weirded) the section behind the mechitzot is for the "frummer" part of the family or guests, who just don't want to sit with everyone else, and they sit MIXED at their own tables).

Whatever. As long as everyone moves to Eretz Yisrael, Im not really bothered too much by this...

At 9:06 AM, Blogger Air Time said...

The message in my email inbox shook me. My boss, Jenniferary needed to see me right away. And that could only mean one thing. Well, two things, actually. I was getting more work to do, or I was getting canned.

Neither option sounded too good to me. So I fired Jenniferary a quick, fake, out of office message, and snuck out of the work area, to the elevator. I was working on the eighth floor, and needed a quick pick me up bad. The feeling started in my shoulders, and now my whole body was shaking, needing that blast of nicotine to balance me out and settle me down.

The elevator came and I was relieved to see it was empty. No stops, I prayed silently. No stops. But the Gods of the Elevator were not smiling down on me. Just as we started, we stopped, and two Russian women with fake platinum blond hair got on the elevator. They reeked of perform, and their choppy chit chat only made my nicotine cravings worse. Please go down to the lobby, I whispered, but they weren’t listening to me. The four button lit up, the doors closed, and I resigned myself to another unscheduled stop.

If only the elevator had reached four, I would have been relieved, but a pregnant woman with half her stomach hanging out of the bottom of her shirt got on at 6, and pushed five.

“Crap, I’m taking the local,” I muttered, wondering if anyone on the elevator understood my Hebrew. Jenniferary was probably looking at her watch and wondering why I wasn’t in her office yet. Oh well, I thought, maybe she can fire someone else, or give them the assignment.

We stopped at 5, and the pregnant belly-shirt-riding-low-cut-jeans green-with-yellow-stripes panty wearer got off the elevator. Two men came on the elevator, each one talking on their cell phones, shouting really, causing the Russian fake platinum blond women to rock up the decibel level of their chit chat. The guys didn’t press a button, so I hoped they’d get off at four, with the Russians, or at least get off with me in the lobby.

The elevator stopped at four, and the Russian women got out, looked around, and got back in to the elevator, talking even more wildly and pressing three.

A moment later we were on three, and they finally exited, leaving me with the two men yammering away on their cell phones. The door was about to close. Peace at last, I thought, no more stops, when a hand reached into the elevator.

The woman stepped in, with a bright pink shirt that said SucceSEXy in bubble letters on it, and pushed 7. The button didn’t light up, so she asked if we were going up, and we I shook my head no, she blocked the doors from closing, and exited the elevator.

Now, I hoped, we would move, but that all too familiar ding at 2 was followed by the elevator stopping, three women and one man got on the elevator. They were silent, but the air was filled quickly by their perfume, and the tenseness that had driven me to the elevator in the first place was replaced by the tension created by the elevator ride.

We went down to one, and miracle of miracles, we didn’t stop, but reached the Lobby. When I tried to exit the elevator, two men pushed their way past me, delaying m ever so slightly so that the elevator door closed, and now, I was going back up to my floor, to the destiny that awaited me in Jenniferary’s office.

I Tag Jameel to Continue This Story

At 9:33 AM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Continuing from AirTime...

Oh man...how bad was this going to get? I really didn't want to see Jenniferary today -- and based on my mood now, I wasn't looking forward to seeing anyone.

With anti-social thoughts whirling around in my head like a blender (and the panic of losing my job), my deoderant failed me and my dark blue Oxford Polo shirt started to get wet under the arms.


Huh? I didn't say anthing.


Those weren't voices in my head, and they weren't coming from those two men with dark sunglasses either.

It was the elevator.

Coming to a halt with a shreik of bending metal, the elevator stopped dead somewhere between the 3rd and 4rth floors.

Wonderful. What more could I ask for?

I looked at the two men in the dark sunglasses, yet I couldn't read their faces. They didn't seem concerned in the slightest...

I turned to the control panel and pressed the "talk in case of emergency" button, and one of the men spoke up.

"Don't Bother."

Turning around quizically, I felt the hypodermic needle break my skin under my neck.

"What the...?!"

"Easy does it," the other man said, and I collapsed like a heap on the floor...blinking stupidly...not able to feel my hands or feet, or anything.

I tag...the next person to read this posting! (OR Ezzie, HolyHyrax, or Miriam)

At 10:14 AM, Blogger Shifra said...

I woke up feeling dizzy and ill and forced my eyes open with some difficulty.
I wasn't in the elevator anymore, or my office building or anywhere I recognised.

I was missing one of my shoes and was feeling very sore under my arms like I had been dragged quite a distance (which I had been) and my and back felt as if I'd been dropped on a cement floor (right again!)

I could feel the hard floor beneath me but it was too dark to see anything at all. Still barely able to move I tried to listen for anything that might help me know what this was all about...

At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I came to I was strapped to an operating table, a bright florescent light shining in my face. One of the men was standing over me, grinning.

"What do you want," I asked.

"The answer," he said.

"The answer to what?" I asked.

"The answer to why Jews use the blood of a christian child for their passover meal."

I looked perlexed, "But that's a myth. It has proved to be entirely false, a ploy to rile people up, to get them to pogrom."

"We have reason to believe that it is not as much of a myth as you say it is", he responded. "Bodies have been discovered near your community.

"But Passover isn't for months!" I protested. "What could that possibly have to do with us?"

He looked at me closely, "Well, you know it always seems far away but the next thing you know it's right on top of you. That cookie you let little Shloimie bring into the living room last week, check underneath the couch. You are going to be cleaning the remains of that one up in a couple of months. I mean what were you thinking?
Where was I anyway? Oh yeah... dead children found near your house..."

Tag Miriam, Shifra (I can try, can't I?) or whoever the next person to read this is!

At 10:18 AM, Blogger Shifra said...

whoops overlap!
Let's say that the narrator passed out again and woke up in the second senario.

At 10:23 AM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Maybe he woke up in a parallel universe, and the story is happening to the character in 2 different scenarios?

At 10:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too complicated. Nothing happened in Shifra's that contradicts mine so Shifra's solution works fine. The protagonist passed out again and woke up in my scenario...

At 10:35 AM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Shifra: What sort of shoes were they? I can't believe you left out such an important aspect of the story.

Was it a converse sneaker? A croc? A penny loafer? A Docksider?

At 10:41 AM, Blogger Shifra said...

Who knew that men were so interested in shoes!

Since it's sort of an "everyman in unusual circumstances story" I'll give him oxfords... like this:

At 10:59 AM, Blogger Ezzie said...

The men continued questioning me, and I had no clue what they were talking about. To avoid the bright lights, I turned my head as much as I could to the side. At least they weren't torturing me... yet. :::shudder:::

I kind of space out, as they begin muttering to each other about something. I hear snatches 'Passover' 'blood' 'garage' 'chestnut'... but I'm not paying that close attention.

Suddenly I think I see something out of the corner of my eye. There's someone standing just outside the door, leaning his head as if he's trying to give me a signal. I quickly glance at the two men holding me captive - they're not paying attention. I nod slowly to the man, who seems to be hinting I should lean my body to one side. Huh? Okay, I guess I'll try it...


The two men, startled, jump up and then start coming at me, having flipped myself somewhat off the table, causing some things to crash to the ground. They pull their guns out as if they're going to smack me over the head with them... At the same instant, the man at the door bursts into the room, takes four well-placed shots, and drops them to the ground. They're finished.

He grabs me by the arm, picks me up roughly, and starts pulling me out of the room. 'Wha-?!' I stammer... "Let's go!" he whispers harshly. I give him a long look, and start to say, "Y-y-you look like Jack Bauer!" He stares at me, keeps dragging me along, and says, "Enough! We're RUNNING. OUT. OF. TIME. Let's go!"

[I tag HolyHyrax, Miriam, or whoever feels like going next.]

At 11:02 AM, Blogger Just Passing Through said...

My best friend Rufus was frantically licking my face. Did he want a walk or did he just want to play? Either way, all that slobber on my face was getting annoying. Someone really needs to invent breath mints for canines.

Wait, that’s not Rufus. Where am I?! I groggily started coming out of my drug-induced stupor only to notice that I was drooling like a teething baby all over myself. Now I couldn't tell the difference which part of my shirt was wet from my earlier losing battle with my deodorant or from my drooling mouth.

Where the hell was I?? I attempted to wipe my slobbery mouth only to find that my hands wouldn't move. Huh, THAT was weird… they weren't even tied down or anything. I looked around, and through the haze clouding my head, my surroundings vaguely looked familiar. I was in an office of some sort. I noticed a funny looking stuffed teddy bear sitting in the corner that seemed to trigger some memory, but I couldn't place it.

What the hell was happening?? All I remember was an elevator, overpowering perfume, green-with-yellow-stripes panties and men with sunglasses. Suddenly that visit with Jenniferary was looking more attractive by minute.

Wait a second! That's where I know that stupid teddy bear from! Jenniferary had that same Teddy bear in her office! Holy crap, I'm in her office! What the #@%!?

"Shalom Arye. I hope you're feeling a little better by now." It was my boss, Jenniferary, and she was handing me a bottle of water. She obviously didn't realize that my arms still weren't working at the moment and the water spilled all over my lap.

Great. Now I was wet with persipirent, drool AND water. There weren't many liquids left and I'd really have to avoid soiling myself with those at all costs if I was going to retain ANY dignity that I had remaining.

"You're probably wondering what you're doing here" she said.

"Duh" was my witty response. I know. I have to work on that.

"Well Arye, we're very sorry for the methods we used, but we think it's time we told you the truth."

With that, in walked my co-worker Liat. Remember her? She’s the South African who could never seem to understand who the Detroit Lions were. I was beginning to wonder if NOTHING was as it seemed for the last few months. Where was MY teddy bear when I really needed it??

Liat continued where Jenniferary left off, “Arye, all those seemingly inane marketing reports we’ve been asking you to write and that you’ve been blogging about? Yes Arye, we DO know about AirTime and, for the record, the Lions don’t have a shot in hell this year. Well, back to what I was saying, all those reports WERE in fact with no purpose.”

“You see, and this will probably come as a bit of a shock to you, but you don’t actually work for who you think you do…”

I tag Still Wonderin’ to do the next installment.

At 11:08 AM, Blogger Ezzie said...

Uh-oh. Cross-posts again. Maybe Jack handed Arye back to Jennifereary?

At 11:09 AM, Blogger Ezzie said...

Actually, I think that fits nicely with the end of that part...

At 11:12 AM, Blogger Shifra said...

Best...character (mis)name ever!

At 11:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This cross posting thing is getting a little ridiculous...

At 11:18 AM, Blogger PsychoToddler said...

I looked carefully at Jenniferary. Then back at Liat.

Then back at Jenniferary. Something wasn't right. It began to dawn on me that Jenniferary wasn't who or what she had initially appeared to be.

I mean, what kind of a name is Jenniferary anyway?

Then, she began to pick at the base of her neck, and in an instant she had peeled off the fleshy mask she was wearing--only to reveal a short tubby man in a red mexican wrestling mask underneath!

"So, you see that I am not really Jenniferary," he said, "but Dangeresque.

"I have an assignment for you, but it won't be easy...and the elevator is broken in this building, so you're gonna have to jump..."

At 11:22 AM, Blogger Scraps said...


Hi Shifra! Good to see you back!

I know what you mean about it being hard to come back and blog after a break, because you feel like you have to have a TOPIC to blog about and whatever little bits and pieces flitting around your head don't qualify. It's annoying.

At 11:34 AM, Blogger Jack Steiner said...

"I have an assignment for you, but it won't be easy...and the elevator is broken in this building, so you're gonna have to jump..."

Then again it is a lot better than having to spend a full winter beneath the gray cleveland skies or a horror filled night in detroit.

Slowly she turned.......

At 11:35 AM, Blogger Just Passing Through said...

Just for the record, Jameel IM'd me to post. That was before everyone else did. I guess while I was writing it all up, everyone jumped in too, lol

At 11:42 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Thinking "two can play that game," before Dangeresque could say another word, I reached for his neck and peeled off his mexican wrestler hat.

Under the mask was a face so shocking that I was completely unaware of what was about to happen next.

At 12:12 PM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Hello?! Is today "Im shy and not going to comment" day -- and no one told me?

(I think Hallmark has a card for that)

At 12:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there. Shout out from me... maybe I will join in the story later when I have a bit of time...

At 12:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there. Shout out from me... maybe I will join in the story later when I have a bit of time...

At 12:37 PM, Blogger Hot Chanie said...

Should I make a cameo appearance?

Hey Shifra...What name is the equivalent of a male "Hot Chanie?"

You know, the decent frum dressers, with expensive cologne or aftershave. Suspenders, cufflinks, and the hat?

At 12:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

damn it. Im late

At 12:38 PM, Blogger Shifra said...

A Hot Hocker, of course!

At 12:40 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

OK. Seeing as I killed the momentum, I will try to continue.

The face that was hidden behind the mexican wrestler mask/hat was Tzali, a fellow congregant at my shul. Tzali's full name was Betzalel, but as a kid I always thought that it was short for Hatzalah. You see, Tzali was our shul's token Hatzalah guy. Tzali would sit there every shabbos, his suit belt weighed down by a large walkie talkie which always managed to emit some sort of noise in the middle of kedusha requiring him to noticeably leave his place and march out of shul. Tzali was responsible for setting up the shul for kiddush after shabbos shachris davening. Tzali did all sorts of hilarious shtick on simchas torah. Tzali made clever remarks during the selling of aliyos. Tzali organized matza baking outings. Tzali sold hoshanos on hoshana rabba. Tzali was a very important person.

Tzali was also the father of the girl I planned on marrying. The only thing standing between me and a life of bliss with Tehilla, was Tzali, a man whose hilarious Purim costume of last year was in the firm grasp of my hand and whose idea of "checking up on the guy" apparently meant dressing up as his boss and spying on him at work.

At 12:41 PM, Blogger Hot Chanie said...

Women are hot (or not).

I wouldn't think of a well-dressed, decent smelling guy with a hat on his head as..."hot".

At 12:46 PM, Blogger Ezzie said...

That damned Tzali. I hate Brooklyn people...

Tzali was your typical Hot Hocker... about 20 years ago. How such a wonderful girl like Tehilla had come from him, I'll never understand. Unfortunately, Tzali thought he was *still* a Hot Hocker, and he and all his cronies loved to put me down, implying I wasn't "good enough" for his daughter. I didn't wear the right yarmulke (my black knitted wasn't as good as velvet), the right hat (they're not Texas fans, apparently), or the right shoes (though my Oxfords weren't too bad). And of course, who drives a pickup truck in NY?

But I never imagined he'd be spying on me at my office. Sick.

At 12:50 PM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Ezzie: I thought Tzali was from Cleveland. That would have explained alot...

(Don't hit me! Jack made me write that!)

At 12:58 PM, Blogger Air Time said...

Underneath the mask, behind the face of Dangeesque was the beautiful face of Jeniferary. I was blown away. She pulled off the rest of her costume.

There, in the tightest short leather skirt you could imagine, with a perfect body, and a shaitel that looked so natural I could swear it was real; a sweater so tight I could see the outline of her nipples atop her surgically perfected breasts, was the woman I had been looking for all along.

Jenniferary, beneath the mask of Danegresque, beneath the mask of the fake Jenniferary, was standing in front of me.

Jenniferary, Queen of the Hot Channies. The Hottest Hot Channie I ever saw. And then, she reached over to me.

"Arye," she said, "I know your secret."

You grabbed my hair, and pulled hard. I felt the mask loosen, then the face peel off. It was good to be free.

"Shifra," she said, looking straight at the real me for the first time.

I could hardly hear her. My undercover assignment was blown. It felt so good to feel the air on my skin again.

"Shifra," she said again, "You're mine."

She pushed me into the corner of the chamber I found myself in.

"Your days of persecuting Hot CHannies are over. From now on, Hot Channies will live without fear of being mocked, where we can continue to bend over and pick up our children in front of packs of rabbis and shake what we got because we got it."

She tied my arms behind my body, and tortured me by leaving my blog open in fron of me, too far away for me to report the latest in Hot Channie.

At 12:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok, quickly. I dont have much time. Where should I continue from?

At 1:00 PM, Blogger Air Time said...

Oops overposting, I started writing this before Hot Channie made her appearance

At 1:06 PM, Blogger Hot Chanie said...

Found this today in Nature magazine.

Hot around the clock!

Airtime: Aren't you being just a tad gratuitous?

At 1:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But then, all of a sudden, through the window crashed Ezzie to rescue me. He quickly grabbed Shifra and through her out of the broken window. What become of her, Im not sure, but I felt safe for now. He picked me up, posted quickly on his blog, and rushed me out to safety.

We found ourselves in a long coridor. It was reacking of some disgusting odor that I just cant describe. He set me down on the floor telling me he had to go back for something important

"Stay here" he said " I have to go back for something important."

I was waiting for quite some time and got worried. I managed to lift myself up and go back to where I was originally kept. I opened the door, only a crack, and there, I saw it. I can't believe it was happening. Ezzie, the guy that rescued me was putting on a pair of expensive high-heel shoes. It must have belonged to Shifra. But why, why was he doing that? And then if hit me. He got infected. Ezzie someone or another was infected with the "Hot Chanie Legacy Virus."

"Nooooooo, not Ezzie" I thought to myself.

At 1:12 PM, Blogger Air Time said...


There's no such thing as too gratuitous

At 1:22 PM, Blogger Hot Chanie said...

Air Time: Too thin, too rich, or too gratuitous?

Don't think so.

At 1:44 PM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Err, Holy Hyrax: "Hot Chanie Legacy Virus."

That sounds nasty. Almost as bad as "expensive high-heel shoes"


At 1:48 PM, Blogger Veev said...

Isn't Hot Channie All About the Gratuitous

At 1:48 PM, Blogger Holy Hyrax said...

Its a secret weapon the HC's developed. Just run with it.

At 1:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this has gotten too long. I can't keep up with the story in order to help continue it...

At 1:57 PM, Blogger Hot Chanie said...

Veev: sigh

It's not about being gratuitous.

It's just about looking your best (and then some)

"Hot" isn't the same as "gratuitous".

At 2:15 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Alas. My Tzali thread has been overtaken by Hot Chanies. If only I would have provided more detail regarding Tehilla clothes or body parts. Or at least called her Chanie.

At 2:17 PM, Blogger Shifra said...

Ummm... I went to lunch, and now I don't know WHAT is going on here.

Ezzie in heels? Gratutitous hottness? Some joke about a Purim costume that I didn't get...

Whoa. Stop the blog I want to get off!

At 2:39 PM, Blogger Shifra said...

Oh and I also like Hot Tzali but that one would only be for Israeli guys.

At 2:40 PM, Blogger Holy Hyrax said...

Shifra, just continue from where I left off. That seems to be where it has ended so far

At 2:49 PM, Blogger PsychoToddler said...

I'm pretty sure that a "Hot Hocker" is one of those guys who leans over the sides of overpasses and spits at people.

At 2:55 PM, Blogger Shifra said...

HH I would if I understood what you wrote :-)

The narrator and Shifra seem to be the same person now, but you have them as two seperate people...
Cross posting maybe?

Who would like fix it? I'm too confused.

At 3:03 PM, Blogger Holy Hyrax said...

Basically, Ezzie rescued the character, but turns out he is transforming into a Hot Chanie himself. Shifra, whoever she is, got knocked out the window. :)

At 4:01 PM, Blogger Shifra said...

Well that's a story I really don't want to know the ending to!

At 5:17 PM, Blogger Ezzie said...

...Arye woke up to the glare of Jenniferary.

"It's this daydreaming of yours that has GOT to stop. We think you've got a lot of talent, but unless you start focusing, we may have to do something. Okay?"

Arye nodded, and glumly walked out of her office.

At 5:17 PM, Blogger Ezzie said...

(There, now someone can continue.)

At 5:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the elevator ride down, Arye decided that the problem was not himself, or even Jenniferary, but his stinking techie job that he was so bored of. But alas he had no one to turn to. Except...

As soon as he got to his cubicle, he posted an Ask Shifra Letter as follows:

"Dear Shifrah,

I am tired of my current job. But it's not just my job, I'm tired of my entire field (technology related). I feel like I want to do something else entirely, a mid life career change. I have a wife and children so I can't take too many risks though. Any advice?


making sure to add the extra H to preserve his anonymity, as he happened to have gone to elementary school with Ask Shifra where she would have been the spelling champion if not for him, and Ask Shifra has never forgiven him and may refuse to answer the question if she knew who he was, even though he believed that Ask Shifra should be content with being the run on sentence champion, that to this day he is trying to achive....

At 6:12 PM, Blogger Shifra said...



You guys are the best commentors ever.

At 6:16 PM, Blogger and so it shall be... said...

amid the crashing, bashing, pushing and groping between Hot Tzalie, hot Chanie, and Shifra noone noticed the door open slowly at first then suddenlt burst open. The door crashed with such force the hydraulic door stop pulled out of its screws and mashed into Hot tzali and Shifra who were wrestling on a toppled set of cubicle walls. Shifra took the blow of the door directly in the forehead. She dropped with a thud as hot tzali jerked his head upward to see who had ended the fight for him. It was no savior. it was Rabbi Kringle. He blanched in terror and tried to roll under the nearest desk.

Rabbi Kringle leapt on top of him and pulled his shoulders into a crippling lock. Rabi Kringle was an imposing figure to the ninth grade girls who met him on their first day of high school orientation at Prospect Field Yeshiva in Brooklyn. His wrath was mythical, but too incredible to believe until witnessed firsthand.

ninth grade girls would enter the auditorium to see a mannequin dressed in a long denim skirt and a tight shirt. Curious, they would wait until the beginning of the orientaiton to see what it was all about. The nervous din was interrupted suddenly by the roaring stutter of a ninety inch chainsaw.

Rabbi Kringle would appear form the rear of the room andbegan with a bellow that muted the thuderous roar from the chainsaw.

Is this how you plan to dress in Prospect Field?

The tremoring 14 year old girls vibrated the windows high above the auditorium floor. Or was it the velocity with which Rabbi Kringle lunged at the well covered store dummy. Rooooooaaaaaarrrrrr! He swung at the mannequin with full strenth slicing it in two qih the chainsaw. The dummy seperated at the waist and fell to the floor what seemed like slow motion. The chainsaw quited in low throttle as Rabbi Kringle pulled himself to his full 6' 9" feet and shreiked in an odd falsetto, "dress like this slut and you'll pay the consequenses!"

He shrugged at the dismembered window prop and then began to stomp on its face, its chest, its jagged torso, jumping, kicking, punching, and slicing over and over agina with the chainsaw he screamed in words he mouthed under the screeching chainsaw. Spittle spun from his maniacally contorted mouth.

At this point, girls were weeping in the open. Several huddled together and shaking as Rabbi Kringle reached forward to silence the chansaw motor.

In a wavering, singsong whisper, Rabbi Kringle described the pact he demanded every girl agree to uphold. "Dressing tznius is your role in life. a Jewish girl must dress tznius. Tznius is your goal and tznius will make you free. The way our girls dress is the most important message Prospect Field Yeshiva makes. This is what we stand for. I don;t care what you think. i don't care what you believe. But if you act the part, if you look the part, you'll do fine. If you deviate..." His voice trailed off and his ferociously bushy eyebrows drooped in the direction of the mangled denim wrapped around the chainsaw.

"Anyone who agrees to my rules may leave...." Before he finished he grabbed the base of the bottom of the mannequin and heaved it toward the back of the room narrowly missing the ashen face of an incoming freshman.

No one moved a muscle. no one took a breath.

"Now get out of here....," he squeeled in his maniacal falsetto.

Hot Tzali never met Rabbi Kringle. He had heard stories. He knew the legends. He knew of girls who diaapeared under mysterious circumstances. Now, his neck was being crushed by the meaty fingers of Rabbi Kringle.

Now Hot Tzali saw Rabbi Kringle's scorching black eyes fixed on his. His hot, putrid breath was on his face. He could not talk. He could not breath. Shifra moaned and appeared to be coming to.

Rabbi Kringle felled her once again with a vicious kick to her right temple.

Hot Tzali's gaze broke with Rabbi Kringle and he glanced to see if Arye was still in the office. Arye was on the floor in a dead faint. The face masks, bandana, and hyperdermic needle lay near his feet in a low pile.

Rabi Kringle followed his stare but made no comment.

"I've got you, you bastard he snarled at Hot Tzali."

Hot Tzali went limp. "What...why...who...why...," Hot Tzali managed to croak.

"Don't play stupid with me," Rabbi Kringle roared. "You think you can play games? You think you can get away with your little games? You think I'm going to sit still why you spread internet rumors about my school? My girls? My reputation?"

He sput each word out with measured intensity. The vibration of his words tore through Hot Tzali as he wondered incredulously what in the world Rabbi Kringle could possibly be talking about."

The confusion on his face registered involuntarily. Rabi Kringle released his grip and shoved Hot Tzali hard. He fell to the ground and found himself looking up at Rabbi Kringle's huge frame. THrough Rabbi Kringle's tree trunk legs, he could see Shifra slowly moving. Hot Tzali tried to look at Rabbi Kringle but instead spent with his last bit of strength to lunge across the room to grab the fire extinguisher hanging on the office's center support beam.

He nearly made it. Rabbi Kringle roared and leapt after him. Hot Tzali felt something grab his leg and felt a searing pain in his ankle. He looked back and in horror, saw that Rabbi Kringle has his left leg in his mouth. His iron jaws clamped down and Hot Tzali felt a trickle of warmth.

Blood, Hot TZali's blood, dribbled down Rabbi Kringle's left cheek, staining his stringly yellowed beard. Hot Tzali yelped in pain and started to go down. BUt his arm grazed the chubby base of the fire extinguisher and wnet flying.

Hot Tzali grabbed at the air and felt a gush of relief to feel his hand wrap around the fire extinguisher trigger. Rabbi Kringle was going for his next bite when the solid metal fire extinguisher flew into his chest. He released Hot Tzali's leg and rushed Hot Tzali. But Hot Tzali was smaller and nimbler than Rabbi Kringle's huge frame would allow. He swung the fire extinguisher once again, connecting with the crown of Rabbi Kringle's nose, just beneath his eyebrows.

Blood splattered across the room. "Aaaaarrrrrggghhh," Rabbi Kringle roared. "I'll get you..." His words were interrupted by a torrent of yellow powder that shot from the stubby rubber hose of the fire extinguisher into his mouth. He grabbed his throat and started gagging. Hot Tzali swung the fire extinguisher agina. It connected with Rabbi Kringle's larynx and he collapsed ionto a choking, twitchin heap of muscle. Hot Tzali quickly swung the fire extuisher towce ... on the top of his head and the baseof his neck.

Rabbi Kringle went stiff and lay still.

"Heaving for air, Hot Tzali stood over Rabi Kringle's crumpled body to catch his breath.

"You bastard," he screamed at the hulking waste. "Don't ever F**k with me. No one F**ks with me. No one. You hear?!!!"

Shifra, now conscious, her eyes darting form Rabbi Kringle to Hot Tzali to Rabbi Kringle once again.

"We have some unfinished business," said Hot Tzali to Shifra. He turned to her.

"Not so fast." Hot Tzali spun around. Arye stood in the center of the room. He was holding a gun and slowly raised it to Hot Tzali's face. "The only one going anywhere is me....and her," he said jerking his chin toward Shifra. "Now move real slow and we won't see your brains today."

Hot Tzali froze in place.

"I don't know who this goon is," said Arye looking at Rabbi Kringle's body., "Or what this goon is talking about. and I don't think I want to know right now. All I know is I moved to Israel because thats's what nice Modern Orthodox Jews are supposed to do. I applied for a job. I got a job. And now I'm in the middle of some insane bad dream. Now move really slow," he said to Hot Tzali. "I swear to you, if you so much as give me the impresiosn that you're going to pull anything funny, I'll drop you like a old girlfrined. i'm from dEtroit and we don't f**k around. So don't try me."

Hot Tzali stared with empty eyes and an unbelieving expression.

"you," Arye barked at Shifra. "Get up and step into the hall." Shifra slowly got to her feet and shuffled to the doorway.

"What are you going to do with me," she groaned.

"You're going to clear this all up for me. You're going to tell me what the hell is going on and you are going to get me out of this building inone piece so help me god!"

"I'm afraid it's to late for that," said Shifra. "The building is already surrounded."

"SHIT." Arye yelled. "Wait a minute," he said. "This building isn't surrounded. You're full of crap. Now let's go. Shifra moved to the hall and Arye spun around with the gun extended in front of him and connected with Hot Tzali's left ear. Hot Tzali went down hard.

Arye ran to the hallway, grabbed Shifra by the arm and headed for the fire exit...

At 6:48 PM, Blogger Irina Tsukerman said...

Hi! Found out about the commentfest from Jameel... Sounds like a great idea!

I've heard of a number of people commenting on the phenomenon you've aptly described as "Oldschool Orthodox"... This latest trend seems to be coming from somewhere... and yet there are so many people critical and wanting to go back to Oldschool. So my question is: How pervasive do you think is the "anti-oldschool" Orthodoxy and why? What can be done?

At 2:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what's up with all the arm grabbing
isn't anybody shomer negiah anymore?

At 3:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, other Shifra -- I just got an email you sent through my site, so I figured I'd come introduce myself. I suppose it's not really surprising that two American Jews named Shifra would have a lot in common, but I was tickled to hear from you (I don't really track traffic to my website in any way, so I wouldn't have used sitemeter to find out you had linked to me). Anyway, maybe I'll dress up as you for Purim!

At 3:56 PM, Blogger Shifra said...

Hey there my sister Shifra!
It's so cool to see you on the blog.

I think I will dedicate tomorrow to all things shifra on the blog.
Stay tuned!


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