Archive for Rants

I Don’t Really Like Purim

Posted in Purim, Rants with tags , on March 19, 2008 by frumpunk

There, I said it.

Purim for me is one of the more annoying days of the year. My abiding memories of Purims past include watching people I formerly respected sobbing incoherently and trying to explain to some fascinatingly watching goyim why a bunch of 14 year olds from the local Yeshiva are stumbling around the street, drunk, swearing, smoking and… erm… pissing on their wall.

Being drunk doesn’t excite me. I’m of the legal age, I can drink whenever I want. I never saw the point of being drunk anyway. You act stupid until you vomit and pass out, then wake up with a headache. Totally killer dude. I’d rather be high. Better feeling with no after effects. (But I’m not endorsing either. Just pointing out drinking is anyway the worst form to get those effects.) I got drunk on Purim once, in yeshiva the first year we managed to get a keg. We started drinking right after the fast ended and we didn’t get much from the yeshiva to break the fast on so I was drinking on an empty stomach. I told some embarrassing secrets about my childhood to someone, danced like crazy at the chagigah, then decided to go to bed. As soon as I lay down my head started spinning, I began to vomit all over my roomates stuff. Then finished in the bathroom, and suddenly got diarrhea. So there I am, drunk, with what I’ve eaten coming out of one end and what I’ve drunk coming out of the other. So as not to get them dirty I took my clothes off, then decided to catch some fresh air. And… yup.

I know who really does enjoy Purim: Yeshiva people. From Rosh Chodesh they begin. You see, Purim is the one time of the year they can stop learning, legally. Seders become shorter and shorter as everyone “prepares” for Purim. Then on Purim itself, they can legally be drunk and sloppy, just like I suspect they wish they could be more often. For once a year they get to be frivolous, and they live for it. They even get to ignore halacha. See, there’s only a mitzvah on Purim to drink wine and get drunk off of wine… tell that to the bochur with the five flavors of Absolut.

Those of us who can do what we want because we decide our own lives, find this less interesting.  And I hear its a nightmare for the girls. Besides the fact the men are drinking while you serve food, they have to endure sanctioned sexism and comeons. I remember when I was in Israel the sems would lock up the outside gate all day Purim. I remember a friend having to escort his sister home through the crowds of drunk bochrim and teenagers in Har Nof. I remember being thirteen watching the Rosh Yeshivas seventeen year old son crying in the bathroom because he went over to a girl and tried to explain how much he liked her. (This was at a yeshiva purim party with the women behind a mechitza peeking in at the dancing.) I believe the first two points basically indicate that the frum world expects their men and boys to become rapists when they’re drunk and the knowledge that everyone else is drunk and won’t judge their actions.

Totally killer, dude.

Treif in Miami

Posted in Kashrus, Miami, Rants with tags , , , on March 12, 2008 by frumpunk

The Yeshiva World reports on Fu Xing

The Yeshiva World reports that the kosher chinese restaurant in Miami, Fu Xing was selling non-kosher chickens. Now it probably shouldn’t matter as Miami is trief anyways, but there is a silver lining; I now know conclusively that non-kosher chicken does not taste better than the kosher variety.

Now on a serious note, let me tell you what the problem is: the standard of kashrus. I know many kids who made extra money as teenagers working summers as mashgichem for restaurants in Miami. This is a typically low paying job and you can’t support a family on it, so its high school to college age kids that work at this. Now I’ve done this myself and I’m pretty sure I know most of the people who worked as mashgichem in Miami restaurants.

The only requirement was that they met with the rabbi who headed the position in the beis din who would ask them if they were shomer shabbos. Thats it. The only people who had any training were those who did it full time which wasn’t many. They were taught the basics of shomering: unlock the fridges, light the fires, check the fridge for hechshers on everything, lock up at night.

The main problem is that noone checked on the teenagers who were mashgichem and noone checked if they kept kosher themselves.

I know one person very well. He worked at a restaurant as the mashgiach for almost three years. He had gone off the derech years before. He didn’t keep kosher and he didn’t keep shabbos, yet he was responsible for a prominent restaurant being kosher.

Now in fairness to him I know he was actually meticulous. He knew his stuff (learned on the job of course) and nothing treif passed through that resturant. He may not keep kosher but he knows its importance to everyone else who eats there. Unfortunately, he split the shift (mornings or nights) with another guy who I’m pretty sure didn’t care.

The whole system needs revamping. Right now its based around money. Restaurants want the kosher business so they tolerate having a mashgiasch, however they pay around $7-8 an hour and so as not to have a dead hand around they always require the mashgiach to work preparing the food as well, further limiting his ability to be checking on the workers.

Good for the Jews?

Posted in Israel, Muslims, Politics, Rants with tags , , , on March 9, 2008 by frumpunk

I had a political conversation a few Shabbosim ago with a Rabbi who was very tied in politically, ie: he knows Joseph Lieberman personally. We talked about the upcoming presidential election of course. His view was that everyone should vote for McCain (or Republican in general) as they’re “good for the Jews”.

He claimed only the Republicans will keep the money flowing to Israel and that Obamas being advised by Jimmy Carter who is very anti-Israel. I argued that no candidate will reverse fifty years of foreign policy that is pro-Israel and furthermore, every candidate knows they need to be pro-Israel to be elected as the most sizable voting block is pro-Israel Christians as well as wealthy Jews who spend a lot of money on lobbyists. Furthermore, I argued that the Republican War on Terror is bad for Israel. First of all, the war is wrong and we’re not accomplishing anything by occupying a country where the people don’t want us there and which generates worldwide ill will for America. Secondly, this war is nothing but a catalyst for more terror as Muslims now have a sense of persecution from the west. The opinion of many right wingers as well as Muslims is that Israel is using its powerful ally to remove regimes that are anti-Zionist. Someone else argued that if America leaves Iraq then Iran will take over. So? I think history has proved that Muslims can’t handle democracy. No fundamentally religious country can. Democracy means that anyone can get into power and the will of the people chooses its leaders and policies. That doesn’t mesh too well with Islam. Muslims can only be ruled by a dictator who will enforce policies with a military hand. Its not good from a humanist standpoint, but its the only time they’re at peace for any substantial length of time.

Also, saying that only American money will keep Israel going is like saying that Israel will crumble without foreign aid. Whether that’s true or not, isn’t that a lack of faith in G-D? And I don’t think the hishtadlus argument applies here. I believe Israel picking leaders who can lead and hold the country together politically is far more important than America sending more guns.

Am I wrong here?