Sunday, September 21, 2008

Pre-Rosh Hoshanah stuff

Considering Rosh Hoshanah is a week away and the idea of setting goals for oneself are the central theme to every possible shuir or discussion going on in the Jewish world, it really got me thinking. So I made a few goals for myself. I have a few very personal goals I've made for myself that I'd prefer not to share, so the ones I will share are more of the "random, for-fun things I'd like to try eventually" type things. Like not REAL goals like "I wanna say the bracha with kavana" type thing.


One of the main things I would want to do more in life, generally, is travel. I undoubtedly would love to go to Israel again (been there twice), but this time I would like to make the travel focus more on the dead sea/ein gedi and Jerusalem.

I would also like to go to Finland. Yea, I know, totally random. But really, its not. While reading through an issue of Forbes Life, a beautiful picture of the glass-igloo hotel in Finland came up. Basically, you go way up north Finland, and you stay in a cabin, and for one (possibly two, don't remember) night you can sleep in either a real igloo (icy) or a glass one, and if you get bored or cold, you can always go back to your cabin.

I would also really love to go to Venice one day. And for something more local, I wouldn't mind visiting the Boston Liberty Hotel, which is a remodeled prison! Supposedly it is absolutely beautiful, with awesome architecture and interior design. Now that would be an awesome location for a shidduch date! lol. On a serious note, Boston has alot of interesting history and awesome site-seeing, so it would actually be an awesome trip, even though it would be a bit expensive if I stay at the hotel and not with relatives like I normally would (and then end up not seeing anything at all, just the car and a few random apartments).


Lately I haven't been much of a reader. Which is shocking because I LOVE to read. I'm the type to randomly just pick up anything, read it, and then discuss it. I do have my preferences, like historical fiction or something philosophical, but if it has a good story, I'd read anything.

Either way, I have a few specific goals for reading. I'd love to read all the books by Jane Austen. She is awesome. However, I'm not even sure how many books she's written. Plus, I would like to read some Ayn Rand. I even have both The Fountainhead AND Atlas Shrugged sitting in my house, just waiting to be read. But I just won't get around to doing anything about it!

There's also the book I just ordered on Education called Disrupting Class, which is totally right up my alley on bookreads. The idea of changing around today's educational system partially by using modern technology just excites me.

Anyway, there are alot of books I would love to eventually get to, so I'm going to just change the subject before this post gets to long.


I would love to take cooking/baking classes and learn some interesting ways to have interesting dinners without too much trouble (who wants to come home from work and cook?). On the subject of baking, I would also love to make challah on my own. I try to make it as much as possible, but that really is not often enough. Like 5 times a year, At most! And if I'm lucky it actually comes out tasting better than when we buy! So yea...need to make more time for challah!


well, there's the fact that I would love to go swimming more often. The pool my friend goes to, she says has huge roaches in the locker room!! EWWW!! I hate locker rooms to begin with, never mind if they have roaches! So fine, in the summer thats really not an issue. I can just wear the bathing suit home, even if damp, under my clothes, but in the winter, going out wet isn't the most brilliant thing you can do, so I'd opt out of that. So...well...I need to find a pool.

Then I would really love to take ballroom dancing and learn conversational hebrew. My hebrew is awful!!!

So yea...thats it for now. :-).


Child Ish Behavior said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Child Ish Behavior said...

Ann Rand sure sounds like something to read if you want to get in God's good graces. I mean anything that puts down Charity as a worthless institution is something that the Torah would look at as something worthy of aspiring to.

frumskeptic said...

yea well if I only read books that would win me brownie pts with GD I'd be very bored

Child Ish Behavior said...

Shir Hashirim read literally is hardly boring. Though I've heard your not supposed to do that either.

realistic viewer said...

I was just day dreaming and thinking about how I really hate the welfare system, and a thought shot into my head that Ayn Rand would hate Barack Obama. Anyhow, as an Ayn Rand fan - I love the concept of charity, but as long as the charity is my choice. I feel (for me) its necessary to donate to helping special needs families and medical research and even some kiruv organizations. but the thought of my money going to some (mostly likely) African (personally don't care if shes African or not) mother of 5 who refuses to work and doesn't send her kids to school pains me like i cant even describe. K, just had to share that. don't know why :) good night

Jessica said...

The Fountainhead is on my reading list too :-) I actually started reading it a few summers ago, but ran out of time (I took it out of the library and forgot to renew it, so I just had to return it). The first half was pretty good, though.

Stacy said...

The Fountainhead is my favorite book ever and that's really saying something, trust me.

You should read Anthem if you want something shorter to get into.

Realistic viewer- I would much rather give all my charity money to a lazy african with 10 kids than
one cent to a kiruv or yeshiva system.

frumskeptic said...

stacy- lol :-)

I'm not sure I agree, but I definitly hate my charity going towards kiruv or yeshiva!!

Joodah said...


I'd advise climbing masada before sunrise and catching it when u get to the top. It means waking up at the asscrack of dawn, but ask anyone who's done it, it's worth it. Also the dead sea spas are expensive, there are very pretty beaches that are free. Do the beaches.

Reading - You should check out 100 Years of Solitude by by Gabriel Garcia Marquez ( Very very worth it.

Food - Have you checked out The Food Network? Some of those shows are awsome.

I've also made a resolution to see more classic movies. The AFI top 100 movies is a good place to start. (

David said...

Ayn Rand is definitely worth reading. If you're looking for something that would give you a good flavor of what she's all about without the commitment of ploughing through 600 pages (NB-- I still recommend the long books, too!), try reading "Anthem." It's relatively short.

Alan said...

For a ba'al batish guy (or an aspiring one), it may be a pain to get up for slichos as early as they're in the morning. Yet, it's an important element of preparation for Rosh Hashanah. For folks in yeshivos, it's basically umnosom, i.e. their occupation, they better get up early. I go for the 10:15 pm slichos at the Young Israel of Avenue J attended by, among others, some "black hat" baalei batim. I got a call from the shul I go to asking whether I'd be interested to be mechazek a minyan. Knowing all along that the shul has an issue with the eligible pool of attendees weekdays, I asked, "how many people are interested to come now?" "You'd be the eleventh", was the reply. Then I inquired as to how long the slichos take. "Ten minutes - we only say one slicha". I diplomatically thanked the fella for his hishtadlus on behalf of the Klal and explained that I won't come as I typically daven in places where there is enough people at the agreed-upon time for davening, and that I say all slichos.

Lion of Zion said...


travel, travel, travel (if that's what you're interested in). it only gets more difficult as you get older.


i agree with your general thought here, but i think you should be careful about singling out blacks in this context.


"Shir Hashirim read literally is hardly boring. Though I've heard your not supposed to do that either"

even if you prefer an allegorical understanding, how does the allegory have any meaning without first making sure to understand it literally?

personally i'm not into poetry so i don't enjoy שיר השירים that much anyway. i prefer ספרי נביאים, especially נביאים ראשונים and the שיבת ציון period, with historical themes and old-fashioned war, gore and general intrigue. of course the overarching literary theme of ספר שופטים in particular is relevant to the upcoming ימים הנוראים

Anonymous said...

Are you sure you're not me?

I want to do all that stuff, except for the specifics on the travels, and I read the first page of Atlas Shrugged, but the font size was tiny, and I was I never read. Besides my brother was driving me crazy to read it, that I didn't just to spite him.

I haven't read anything lately but textbooks, education stuff which ay this point is coming out of my ears! Don't read Sense and Sensibility, it's dead boring. And Persuasion, well the main character is the nicest bore to almost never get married, I wrote a post citing her.

As for challah, I want to make just to show my family I can (I burned a few pots a few years back and no one will ever let me live it down, even if I've been cooking gourmet since)

Swimming, I only get to do 2 months a year, and I'm in heaven. I can't stand indoor pools, they smell like chlorine and urine.

Ballroom dancing, I love!!! I looked into taking classes, they even told me it would be ok to have a female partner, but I opted to take voice lessons instead.

Hebrew...ok maybe not that one.

Good Luck!!!

The Babysitter said...

FrumSkeptic: Your travel ideas sound cool. Although the idea of a former prison sounds kinda spooky.

I love Jane Austin's books too!

Cooking ideas sound great.

There's a pool at the Y that you can go to year round.

Ballroom dancing involves couples?

conversational Hebrew sounds good. There are sites that can help you with that. Check out Jacob Richman's site, he has lots of info on that.

The Babysitter said...

Stacy: "I would much rather give all my charity money to a lazy african with 10 kids than
one cent to a kiruv or yeshiva system."

At least your willing to giving to someone with 10 kids, I'll give you credit for that. But why not support your own people that have 10 kids? if the African's are lazy, and yours are too, why the African's?

frumskeptic said...

babysitter- I'm not sure of Stacy's reasoning, but I personally expect more from my people, so I feel that my own people should jsut take care of themselves

Stacy said...

Well first of all, I would never ever give money to any BY or yeshivas for quite a few reasons, one of them being that I was treated so horribly in mine. I personally know so many girls -and guys- who arent religious anymore, or weren't for a while directly because of the way they were treated in their yeshivos. It just makes me sick.

If I wanted to give charity I would never go through an organization, it would be directly paying someone's tuiton or bills or whatever.
I work for a major charity organization where people donate millions of dollars a year, yet most of the money gets absorbed without any kid or family benefiting.

And yes I do expect more from my people.

The Babysitter said...

FrumSkeptic: You can expect more of your people and therefore provide aid to help them perfect themselves.

Stacy: I'm sorry for the way you were treated in your school. But perhaps with more money they can train the teachers better or higher better qualifying teachers, if that was the problem.

I'm not saying people should only give charity to Yeshiva's. I'm just saying there shouldn't be a hate towards giving money for that cause. It still is a worthy cause.

Stacy: Your right it may be better to give to an individual. But then unless you know the individual you don't really know if they are credible. At least with the organization it has a name of an honest one that you can trust your money with. Whatever the organization may be.

mlevin said...

My Rabbi once said that a job of a wealthy person is not just giving Tzidoka, but making sure it's a worthy cause. Meaning just throwing money away is not a Tziddokah

Lion of Zion said...


"At least with the organization it has a name of an honest one that you can trust your money with."

you'd be surprised how much money goes into the overhead of a charity organization, especially one that is either not run well or very top heavy. the name or haskamos mean zip. (there was a religious guy plastered all over the news last year because his cancer charity ate up something like 90% in "administrative costs")

the least you can do is check with the charity's IRS 990 filing, which will tell you how much they claim goes to the cause. but this is not always helpful, as many jewish causes (to avoid disclosing this information?) incorporate as churches (i.e., religious orgs.), which don't have to file 990s. this includes a lot of schools, mikvaot, central hatzalah, etc. (this is why on the official paperwork a lot of orgs. are listed as congregation so and so even thought they aren't shuls.)

rebecca said...

Hyla Brook

By June our brook's run out of song and speed.

Sought for much after that, it will be found

Either to have gone groping underground

(And taken with it all the Hyla breed

That shouted in the mist a month ago,

Like ghost of sleigh bells in a ghost of snow)---

Or flourished and come up in jewelweed,

Weak foliage that is blown upon land bent

Even against the way its waters wnt.

Its bed is left a faded paper sheet

Of dead leaves stuck together by the heat---

A brook to none but who remember long.

This as it will be seen is other far

Than with brooks taken otherwhere in song.

We love the things we love for what they are.

-----by buy runescape gold

The Babysitter said...

FrumSkeptic: in class the other day we were learning something, and we came across the posuk in Yehoshuah, perek aleph, posuk Ches that says "Vehagto Bo Yamum V'Laylah" to contemplate Torah day and night. So there is a source for Kollel and therefore they serve an important function and shouldn't be destroyed and unsupported.

Lion Of Zion: The thing with these organization's is, even if money does go to their administrative costs, it's overall going to help the organization. A non for profit has to use all the money they get to run their organization, they can't use it for themselves, they are not allowed to make a profit. So it's all going to benefit the people getting help by the organization. You may say that some may spend too much on extra stuff, and instead should be spending it on the people's basic needs, you may be right. But there are trust worthy organizations, that make sure to say everything goes to help the people. That by Chinese auctions not one cent is spent by them, it's all from people donating for the Chinese auction.

frumskeptic said...

babysitter- The system of Kolel we have today needs to be destroyed. Any "reformation" is impossible.

My idea--> Wanna be in Kolel? Find a sponser.

Stacy said...

frumskeptic- well said!
If torah has to be learned day and night how about a women's kollel?

Babysitter- my HS was terrible because the teachers were trained exactly the way they were supposed to be, that was the problem.