Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Yated Letter

I'm a bit behind on my Yated reading, so this is a Readers Write letter from January 30. When I read it, I was initially speechless. In a few minutes, I had something to say. Here is the letter and my comments are underneath:

Dear Editor,

I am writing about a daughter of ours who had a very good job in a securities firm in New York while her husband was earnestly sitting and learning. She felt that the best way to raise her children was to take care of them herself and not through a babysitter, but she still wanted her husband to learn. If she stopped working in New York, she couldn't financially make it, so with much research, after 7 years of marriage and 5 beautiful children ka"h, they made aliyah.

She didn't move to Yerushalayim, where rent and food are more costly. Tuition is less than 10% of the cost in New York. Health insurance is free, but she upgrades it for a nominal fee. there is no need for a car, as buses travel everywhere, with fares less than a token here in New York, which eliminates the expense of insurance, gas, etc. Her children don't mind wearing hand-me-downs from others. Many women there wear snoods or tichels all the time and those who wear shaitlach do not spend thousands of dollars just for a hairpiece.

When one makes a simcha, the neighbors send in cut cake (sponge or chocolate) on a paper plate, not expensive cakes or miniatures. A fancy bar mitzvah consists of a challah roll, salads and dips at every table. The fancy part is the boreka served with mushroom sauce.

The children are happy and are able to go out on their own. Yiddishkeit is all over the streets. Shabbos arrives with simcha and peace. The streets are full of playful children as all thoroughfares are closed to traffic. People don't have much, yet they are happy.

My daughter is home raising her children and her husband is still earnestly learning. There is no "keeping up with the Joneses"so one doesn't need all the material items that seem to be a must here.

Needless to say, we are proud of our daughter and son-in-law for having the courage to give up the so-called luxuries here to have the true happiness there, even though we miss seeing our grandchildren as often as we would like.

We are also very proud of our children here in America who are bringing up their children to live in a temimusdike way.

May there be a shalom here and in Eretz Yisrel.

L.L and C.E.L

Very Proud Parents

Where to begin, Where to begin-

1- "After 7 years of marriage and 5 beautiful children"

It took FIVE children when it finally hit her she didn't want the babysitter? What the hell was in her head after kid 1? 2? 3? ...

2- "There is no need for a car, as buses travel everywhere, with fares less than a token here in New York, which eliminates the expense of insurance, gas, etc."

Okay, so even though NY bus fares are more expensive, that doesn't mean you *need* a car here anymore than you do there. My father hardly ever drives, maybe once a week... And even then its more convenience than necessity. If we had to, we'd be just fine without a car.

3- "Her children don't mind wearing hand-me-downs from other."

Umm...that's only in Israel? I wore plenty of hand-me-downs. But you know what, there comes a time when the kids become too big for hand me downs, and they wear out clothes, as opposed to just growing out of it, and that means the people giving the hand-me-downs will no longer give 'em. Unless she means a gemach, which is kinda stealing, because you're living on charity when you're perfectly able-bodied to GET A DAMN JOB!

4- "When someone makes a simcha..."

Ok, so really, I find it hard to believe that the neighborhood this daughter moved into is a "normal" regular neighborhood. The mere fact that there are PLENTY of wedding halls in Israel, I find it hard to believe that it's a norm to have a few cakes on paper plate, and fancy boreka's as a bar mitzvah meal. Sorry, I'm a bit of a non-believer. And if its just that neighborhood, than it must be one hellish environment of frummies who suck up the Israeli economy, and don't even have the courtesy to join the army or do some form of national service.

5- "Shabbos arrives with simchas and peace"

As opposed to what? Gun fire and violence here in the states...what's her point?

6- "My daughter is home raising her children and her husband is still earnestly learning"


7- "...to have the true happiness there.."

WTH! True happiness there? Buy a farm in middle USA, shecht your own chicken, sew your own clothes, and your life will be simple too. Simpleness isn't a source of happiness, you find your own meaning of happy...oy vey.

8- "We are also very proud of our children here in America ..."

Ah yes, I'd say "good-save", but the parents signed anonymously, and their kids are Yated readers. I don't think they have any reason to talk about being proud of the other kids.


Moshe said...

5 in 7 years?! That better include twins or triplets, otherwise, WTF?!

I don't have a car or even a license. If I need to go to a store, or somewhere, bike.

Great thing about having a boy after a boy, no need to buy clothes.

Let's see how happy those kids, and the parents, will be in a couple of years.

someone from Israel said...

Well, I guess you're entitled to your opinions in most cases but some of the points you make just aren't true.
1) about bar mitzvas, kiddushim etc - you may find it hard to believe, but yes. that is exactly what a bar mitzva looks like. a bit exaggerated - not a "fancy" bar mitzvah, but absolutely a regular standard one, has a challah roll, some salads and dips in the center, and every person gets a hot boreka with mushroom sauce, sometimes they have a choice of rice-filled peppers (a regular Israeli dish).
2) about transportation - having lived in both places, there is no way to compare the convenience of the buses there. going everywhere, from anywhere, at all times , for very cheap(5.5 shekel for one ride, 220 shekel for a free monthly pass). I can't convince you, but thats the way it is. sorry.
3) the shabbos feeling she means is the peaceful, calm, of no cars in the street, even in the center of the city, on all main streets, all shops closed, soft music playing. she's just trying to give over the feeling, not to say there's anything wrong in the United States.

frumskeptic said...

Moshe- I hope its twins and triplets as well....or maybe not, as many as 5 kids is, if they're "single" babies, they're waaay easier to take care of. as opposed to having to teach each kid, at the same time, to walk, talk and get potty trained...


1) Maybe its standard in a few of the frummy neighborhoods. But I can't believe that halls manage to survive over there solely on the weddings. I've seen pictures of FRUM weddings and bar mitzvahs in Israel. They're big and extravagant just like they are here.

2)There are non-frum "happy" people here who also live simply and make bring-your-own food weddings. You make life how you want it to be. If you want a boreka simcha in the US, than do it. It wont be long before others follow you. The myth it can only happen there is wack.

But again, i dont belive its as common as this woman says. Maybe only in HER circle.

Israel currently has a flourishing economy (in comparison) how else you think it gets that way? Only by boreka simchas? It takes SPENDING money to flourish the economy, and I"m sure Israel's economy is not solely sustaining itself on fancy Boreka caterers.

3) As moshe said, you don't *need* a car here in Brooklyn. While our buses may not take us upstate (as conveniently as your buses may take up from northern to southern Israel), people without cars do just fine.

4) I know what she meant. I've been to Israel before. But she said it unbelievably stupid, and it irritated me. She has no appreciation whatsoever for the people who actually make this country work.

If she really wants she can move into a small town with a bunch of her friends, here in the US, and she'll have just as few cars drive by as her daughter has in Israel drive by on shabbos.

"I'm so proud, my daughter had to be poor to become happy"

WE're not christian. WE're not supposed to give up physical pleasures for "our savior".

I'm sorry, but I don't give a darn about other people, and alot of people I know are secure enough not to care about how the neighbors Bar Mitzvah was incomparison to their own. It takes self-esteem to really be happy. Not equal-opportunity poverty.

Moshe said...

Our shul goes to shabbatons to New Square. Hopefully going this year too. I very much doubt there are many places in Israel that are on par with this place when it comes to quiet and peaceful. Would never leave there, but it's nice to visit.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Re: Bar Mitzvas- No, seriously, I've been. "Real" Haredi Bar Mitzvas in Israel are really small. ..REALLY small..

frumskeptic said...

shlomo- so basically what you're saying is that super frummy jews in Israel do that.
isn't that what I was saying. its not the norm. its the charedi thing to do. its the people who leech of the gov't and don't even have the decency to do national service or send their kids to the army. nor do they pay taxes (cuz they don't work!)

that's not the norm. and what's absolutely mindboggling, is that no one even seems to notice that these people are povert stricken clones, who do the equavelent of keeping up with the joneses on who is poorer.

Off the Derech said...

>WE're not christian. WE're not supposed to give up physical pleasures for "our savior".

Sorry, but that's a common kiruv kvetch.

Of course, we're hedonistic Jews. Give me a break.

frumskeptic said...

OTD- u havea point. but not to the extent of what these people are doing. we're supposed to have our pleasures but not over-indulge. we're not supposed to give up our livelihoods to be 'happy',

its totally different. even froma purely secular standpoint, you get used to having too much of something. so if you limit it and ration it out, you're fine. From a Torah point its the same. it doesn't say not to have any goods or luxuries at all.

Off the Derech said...

>we're supposed to have our pleasures but not over-indulge.

I'm glad you're in a cool community. I come from a bit more of a monastic background;).

David said...

Eh. My only complaint would be if they're on public assistance. If a man wants to be a useless bum and his wife thinks that's fantastic, and they're willing to live on crumbs, who am I to complain?

frumskeptic said...

OTD- yup. cool community. unfortunately we have our own problems.lol.

David- what are thechances they're not on public assistance?

plus, if the parents are supporting them, it won't be long before the next generation goes on public assistance. money runs out. and it runs out quicker with them cuz of the size of their families.

Jersey said...

I just think it's cute that they refer to bus fare as a "token." It's like they've never heard of a MetroCard.

Moshe said...

If you've ever been on a B11 in Buripark, no, they haven't.

SubWife said...

Why do you have a problem with #1? Situations change, different children have different demands, priorities shift, etc? Why couldn't she change her mind about working vs staying at home?

Mikeinmidwood said...

If you ever ask people in israel how they get by on a kollel check plus, they will tell you hashem helps. Its an open secret that they live on gov't support, some people dont know the secret, and im pretty sure the writer here didnt know it either.

Sally Hazel said...

Agree with Subwife- situations and emotions re: babysitter change. Don't judge til you have your own.