Monday, February 27, 2006

Things Change, Dude

Recently there has been a hock about the shifts to the right of two local schools - Rambam and TA. I have spoken to some friends and acquaintances regarding these changes and the responses have varied. Some, who would not send their children to Rambam, see the right-wing shift as positive for YR. However, I have spoken with two of my close friends and they have expressed utter dismay at the inevitable changes. One of these friends attended Rambam at its inception and the other's mother supposedly helped start Rambam and has a sibling there now.

Q: So, what is the source of their dismay?
A: Essentially, they claim that "these values (essentially segregating the school by sex) are not what the school was founded on."

I believe the way I approach their claim is the same way that I approached another topic discussed on my blog. On a previous post regarding alcohol/drugs in the frum community, I discussed (mainly in the comments) about how my Kiddush club is more than drinking - Torah is also an integral part. I received a comment from one of the founders of the UMD Kiddush Club who basically said that it was a crock of S and that KC was just an excuse to drink. I explained to him that as times changes, institutions change.

Change is inevitable. Everyone must agree that if this country were modeled after the morals and values prevalent at its inception, we would be a very different country - we would have slaves. But, as the times went along, we realized that blacks deserved the civil rights which they enjoy today. If George Washington were to come back to life and say it was preposterous that we changed the way we did things in the US today, he would be laughed at. The same is true by my Kiddush Club and Yeshivat Rambam. I find it laughable that the founder of the UMD Kiddush Club views its current manifestation the same way he viewed the original institution. I also find it laughable that the founders of Yeshivat Rambam resist any change to the school.

Now, I agree that YR has a "tzioni" hashkafa at its core. I agree that to change the core hashkafa of the school would be wrong. However, the job of a school, or any business for that matter, is (in no specific order): to grow, to make money, and to serve the community. If a school's population suffers attrition, if a school loses money, or if a school does not serve the community, it is not doing its job. I believe that the more kids a school has, the better it is serving the community, and logically, it will have more $$$. Therefore, anything a school can do to increase population (albeit, while holding on to core haskafos), is in its best interest.

Yeshivat Rambam will inevitably lose children with this right wing shift. There are those that cannot fathom their children learning in separate classrooms (let alone in separate buildings) and will send their kids to Beth Tfiloh, or down the road to Hebrew Academy. However, I believe this number will be small. I am confident that the number of students gained by making this shift will far outnumber those who leave. There are plenty of parents in the community that view Yeshivat Rambam's secular studies as worthy, but will not send their children to a co-ed school.

Personally, I grew up interacting with girls on a daily basis and would want my children to have some interaction with those of the opposite sex. When I have children, I may not find Yeshivat Rambam to be the best suitor for my children. But regardless of that, it boggles my mind to think that the founders of the school would rather the school stay co-ed and succumb to attrition (and perhaps its extinction) than to make a right-wing shift and flourish.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Parshas Mishpatim

In this week’s parsha, parshas Mishpatim, we learn an interesting fact about avdus, slavery. After 6 years of servitude to one’s master, a Hebrew slave is free to go on his way. However, if for whatever reason the slave does not want to be freed and wants to sign on for more time, he goes through an interesting ritual where he has a hole bore into his ear, upon a doorpost. The obvious question, besides for “why the heck are we doing this at all?”, is, why specifically the ear? Why not his arm, leg, or any other limb for that matter?

The answer given by the gemara (Kiddushin, I believe) is that because this person heard at Har Sinai that we were to be slaves to Hashem, and now, this person is choosing to serve someone else in addition to Hashem. Therefore, because he is, in a way, going against what Am Yisrael heard at Mt. Sinai, we bore a hole in the ear, specifically. However, a question arises from this. Why do we not bore a hole in a thief’s ear? After all, we heard at Har Sinai, “Lo Tignov”. Why do we not bore a hole in the ear of someone that does not honor their mother and father? After all, heard at Har Sinai “Kaved es Avicha v’es Imecha?” Why it is specifically in this case of avdus, of slavery, where this is the only time we put a hole in someone’s ear?

As an aside, it is interesting to point out the chashivus of the ear over all other limbs. The gemara (again, in Kiddushin, I believe) discusses damages one must pay for injuring another. The gemara states that if you chop off a person’s hand, you have to pay the value of that hand (not the place to discuss exactly what the value of a hand is). Similarly by a foot; if one chops off someone else’s foot, he is obligated to pay the value of that foot. What is interesting is that it says in the same place that someone who makes someone else deaf isn’t responsible only for paying the value of the ear, rather, he is responsible for paying the value of the entire body.

Anyway, to answer our question, it would be helpful to see what Rabbeinu Yonah says about the concept of hearing. Explains RY: hearing is the ultimate sense, as it has the greatest influence up us. If we see hear our parents arguing when we are youngsters, this is likely to have a profound effect on us (my example, not his). If someone says something nice to us, that affects us. If we hear deep words of mussar, they are likely to sink in. Says RY: what a person hears on a moment-to-moment basis can constantly be mashpia upon him.

R’ Chaim Yaakov Goldvicht, the first Rosh Yeshiva of KBY says that when we look at our question (why the hole in the ear only by avdus) in the framework of how RY explains the sense of hearing, it makes perfect sense. Again, the entire purpose of hearing is to affect us, to influence the way that we do things. However, for a slave, it doesn’t matter what one hears; his thoughts, ideas, wishes, etc, are all batul to his master. When one signs on for an extended period of slavery, he is signing on to have all of his personal machshavos nullified to the will of the master. This is why we bore a hole in his ear in this case, because a person has tremendous potential to improve oneself through hearing – and this slave is throwing that out the window. We all should be appreciative of his gift of shmiya that Hashem gave us and allow ourselves to improve ourselves and our Avodas Hashem through it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Interesting Phenonmenon

I discovered a personal phenomenon today; one that, while I just realized it existed, has probably been a phenomenon by me for years, and may be one by others as well ("by" used in the Jewish sense). Anyway, so I had some paperwork that had be dropped off on the complete other side of the building that I work in, (huuuuuuuuge building), but I had been waiting till I needed to go that way to go. So, I just happened to need to head in that direction, so I decided to shlep the paper work with me. Only problem was that when I was 10 steps out the door of my office (and probably another 1,000 to go) I realized that I had forgotten the paperwork. The following is this phenomenon which I was alluding to: even though I had gone approximately 1% of my walk to the other side of the building, since I had forgotten the papers, I found that I was trying to convince myself that I didn't really need to turn around, that I could just go down there later! This makes absolutely no sense; clearly it would've been smarter to re-trace my 10 steps and get the paperwork then make a whole other trip down there. However, I still found myself convincing my brain that it was no big deal, that I could just go later. I am curious if this happens to other people as well....basically, do our brains have something about going back, once we have already started a trip somewhere, even when this is the logical thing to do?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Russians at the J

I think everyone would agree that the job responsiblities of one in the field of customer service entail helping people. While this may seem intuitive and unnecessary to say, my recent experiences at the JCC necessitate it being said. While we do not think of people that work in the gym as having prototypical customer service jobs (like working in a customer service call center, working retail, etc.), certainly their jobs are to make themselves available to the customers ($61 freakin bucks a month) and help them when necessary.

A good number of the staff in the gym are Russian. Let's just say right off the bat that while I do not approve of Russians' drink of choice (vodka), I have absolutely nothing against them. It doesn't bother me that a large number of the people that work and work out there are from Russia (leading a friend of mine to put up the away message "Gone to the Russian Compound" when he goes to the J). What bothers me is that the Russian workers tend to talk only to the Russian people who are working out. Besides the fact it is poor customer service to stay with the same people the entire time, these conversations are in their foreign tongue, which makes me feel as if I'm intruding on some secret dialogue when I ask them for help. I have received grunts of disgust when asking them for help, which makes me hesistant to approach again for help. Sorry to bother you buddy, but I'd rather you spot me and feel 100% safe than have even the slightest risk of dropping 195 lbs. of weight on my chest.

No, I'm not Russian. No, we don't share the same mother country (said in the best Russian accent). But for the love of Gd, you work a customer service job in America. Speak English so us natives don't feel so alienated and be available to more people than just your Russian boys.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Shtickle Torah

As a general rule we hold that in order for one person to be motzi other person, both people (the giver and the receiver) need to be on the same obligatory status. There are, however, a number of instances where even though one has already fulfilled his obligation to do something (and is subsequently patur from doing it again), this person can still take others out from their obligation. The prototypical case would be Kiddush – that even though one has already said it, he could say it again (and again and again), if necessary. This theory should apply to Havdalah as well. It should be noted that it is a bit of a discussion regarding whether one could make for his wife (or other women) after one had previously fulfilled his obligation – this is because of the discussion as to whether women are obligated in Havdalah at all. But, for our purposes, lets say our case is that someone made in one house, goes somewhere else, and being the gadol that he is, is asked to say it again. As previously mentioned, our theory (of multiple sayings being okay) should apply here as well, and from the lashon of the Mishna Berura, this is the case:

…” וכ"ש אם יש אחד מבני הבית אפילו קטן שהגיע לחינוך שלא שמע עדיין הבדלה יוכל להבדיל בשבילו אף שהוא בעצמו יצא כבר ידי חובת הבדלה בבהכ"נ כגון שנתכוין לצאת וכמו לענין קידוש לעיל בסימן רע"ג ס"ד ועיין מה שכתבנו לקמיה לענין להוציא נשים:”

The inference from the Mishna Berura is that since one is able to say it for an older (but not Bar Mitzvah) child, who is less obligated than an adult, all the more one should be able to say it for an adult, even though one was already yoztei.
This inference of the Mishna Berura is codified in the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch:

“מי שהבדיל כבר יכול להבדיל בשביל בניו שהגיעו לחינוך להוציאן ידי חובתן, ומכל שכן בשביל גדול”…
Up until this point, it seems clear that our original hava minah, that one could say havdalah as many times as one wants/needs, holds up (even L’chatchila). However, comes the Shulchan Aruch haRav and says the following, which seems to reject our kol she’kain before of children to adults:
“ש"ץ המבדיל בבית הכנסת אף שנתכוין לצאת ידי חובתו וכן אחרים ששמעו ונתכוונו לצאת ידי חובתם יכולים לחזור ולהבדיל בבתיהם להוציא בני ביתם הקטנים שלא היו בבית הכנסת אבל הגדולים שלא היו בבית הכנסת הואיל והם יכולים להבדיל בעצמם אין למי שיצא כבר ידי חובתו להבדיל להם אלא יבדילו בעצמם “
It is clear from this Shulchan Aruch haRav that he is not entirely saying the concept of “af al pi she’yatzah, motzi” is a bad one, or that it doesn’t apply here. Obviously, he does hold it to be valid to some degree, as he does not hold that another recitation for a minor is a bracha levatala. I believe the inference from the SAHR to be that this concept of “af al pi she’yatzah motzi” only works in a B’dieved situation.
It would make sense that the SAHR would hold like this across all situations that “af al pi she’yatzah, motzi” applies to. That being said however, it seems that this L’chatchila/B’dieved hypothesis is only by havdalah, as the SAHR does not mention any such issue by Kiddush (our prototypical case). The question is, why?
R’ Ovadyah Yosef in his work “Yabia Omer”, in a discussion on havdalah, discusses our inyan when he says:
” ובשו"ת שאגת אריה (סי' יג) הביא סברת כמה ראשונים דס"ל דהא דאמרי' כל הברכות
אע"פ שיצא מוציא היינו בדרבנן, אבל בדאורייתא אם יצא אינו מוציא…”
If you think about it, this Shagas Aryeh makes perfect sense as to why the SAHR only brings down the “af al pi she’yatzah, motzi” by Havdalah and not regarding Kiddush. By Kiddush, which according to most, is only Rabbinic (certainly the daytime Kiddush, and even the nighttime Kiddush, according to most, assuming that one say V’yechulu in tefilah), it makes perfect sense, because according to the Shagas Aryeh “af al pi she’yatzah motzi” applies 100% to rabbinic commandments. But, by havdalah, as there is a big hock regarding whether it is Torah or rabbinic in nature, the SAHR’s psak makes perfect sense: in a perfect world, let’s be machmir and say that the other person should say it himself, BUT, in extenuating circumstances, we could be makeil, assume that havdalah is rabbinic in nature, and say that “af al pi she’yatzah, motzi” works. Amazing.
UPDATE: Please do not give much weight to this shtickle Torah. Someone has shown me where, in fact, the SAHR does say that Yatza Motzi isn't ideal by Kiddush as well, which is a major chink in my armor. While I have thought up responses to this problem as well, this is not the place to delve into this further. Basically, I was bullied into posting that d'var on my blog, so yeah. Essentially, what started out as me trying to cutely piece together a couple of halachic works was really me getting involved in a major Shas sugya, that of which I am not familiar. If nothing else, though, the opinions quoted are at least interesting.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Priorities in Learning

A post I read on another blog was discussing his frum pet peeves. One of this person's was "When people vocally espouse the belief that learning the Parsha is more important than learning Gemara." I do believe that for certain people learning gemara is more important than learning the parsha, but I do not believe that this is so as a blanket statement. More specifically, for baalei teshuva, people that are not frum from birth, yeshivas should emphasize a hierarchy of learning. Essentially, it shouldn't be the case that I know people that can lain a blatt (page) of gemara, but cannot properly recite Kiddush/Havdalah for their families.

For kids that are FFB (frum from birth), the parsha and the tefilos are taught in elementary/middle school. During the middle/high school years, the emphasis switches to mishnayos and then to gemara, an emphasis which is in place throughout the high school and post-high school yeshiva years. I do not mean to knock learning gemara. Everyone should learn gemara, as it is our way to be a link in the chain that is the Jewish mesorah. But, I believe that this is only true once BT's are well-versed in other areas of Judaism.

If one does not know how to read Hebrew without trouble, he should not be focusing all of his studies on gemara. If one does not know all of the main tefilos shegura v'piv (fluently, essentially), he should not be focusing all of his studies on gemara. If one does not know how to lead bentching, lead davening, recite the Kiddush or havdalah, he should not be focusing all of his studies on gemara. This is precisely how it is easy to spot baalei teshuva while they daven....they simply don't know the prayers. I was recently at a wedding and this, what appeared to be, chassidish man was honored with a bracha under the chupah. He had a bekashe, gartel, black hat, long beard, etc....only problem was that the bracha of Sos Tasis took him about 60 seconds to say. That shouldn't be the case. I'd rather these people know how to say tefilos, know how to blend in with the rest of the frum community then know what the terms "V'raminu" and "Svira Lay" mean.

So, regarding the parsha thing, I believe that learning the parsha, for someone that did not grow up in a day school environment, is much more important than learning gemara. How can one really have a conversation at a Shabbos table without knowing the basic stories of the bible?! I propose that at all BT yeshivas a BT course be taught, where all of the aforementioned things are taught. I am not suggesting that one neglect all of other studies....rather a course to be taught that should help BT's integrate into the rest of the frum community...instead of sticking out for not knowing how to daven, recite Kiddush, etc.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

College Experiences Pt. II

Disclaimer again: While I am not ashamed of what I have done in the past, as I would like to think I learn from my experiences, these stories do not necessarily represent the person that I am today.

Three more of my fondest, and not so fondest memories of college:
  • Getting held up at gunpoint - That's right, no way to sugar coat this one. I'm not sure how many people can say they've been held up with a gun to their head before, so, after the initial shock of it all, I wear it as a "feather in the cap" of sorts. Essentially, it was the night before my geography final (about 10:00pm), and I was about to go to the library to pull an all nighter before the exam. Before doing so, I stopped off and had a couple of beers at a friend's apartment...nothing major, just two beers or so. As I am walking from my friend's apartment to the library, I pass a well-traveled spot on campus, but at this time, it seemed fairly empty. I must not have been paying attention to the two shady guys standing suspiciously, because, before I knew it, there was a gun to my head and a demand for my wallet and cell phone. At this point, I knew two things: 1. They weren't getting my cell phone (I live and die with it...almost literally) 2. They weren't getting my wallet (pain to cancel credit cards, get new license, get new fake ID, etc.) Clearly the alcohol help bring upon these defiant attitudues, but nonetheless, they weren't getting these things from me. So, first I say I have no cell phone (it is sitting in my pocket, morons) and I quickly remove all of the cash from my wallet ($6) and give it to them before they can take my wallet - and before I knew it, it was over. I called the police, ended up staying in the police station all night, failing my final the next day (teacher lied to me and told me that because of the circumstances if my grade on the final deviated greatly from my previous scores he would do something), got a C in the class, and hurt my GPA. Maybe the two beers blunted the effect, but I thought the experience would be far more traumatic then it actually was. I was more pissed that I got a C in geography because of it.
  • My 21st Birthday - Well, this was a real event. There is an obligation to have 21 shots/drinks on one's birthday, and considering I was turning 21, this obligation was upon me. Now, if I were to take 21 shots in one evening, I would die (that's a bad thing). So, I spaced it out over the 24-hour period, that was my 21st b-day. We started the night before with a couple shots before we went to sleep. Then, after 8am minyan, at about 8:40 my roommates and I came back to our apartment and had a couple more shots (this is by far the earliest I have ever consumed an alcoholic beverage). By this point I've had about 6, so there are still about 15 to account for. I think I went to a couple classes, came back to the apartment, and started drinking with a couple of people. Only problem was that I was on a flag football team and our playoff game just happened to fall that evening. So, at about 9:00, after having 5 shots just previously, we played flag football. Nearly my entire team was intoxicated, and needless to say,we lost. Actually, I scored a touchdown on the first play of the game, but wasn't much of a factor after that, considering I couldn't see. The rest of the evening was the standard go-to-a-bar-and-drink-your-face-off routine, and there was a little incident with Lupo's phone, but we won't go into that now (Email for more details). The next day, usually a recovery day, was not so for me. There was a class that I HAD to attend at 9am. It was just for a short little writing assignment, but I had to be there to get the points; my grade was right on the border between an A and a B. As I recall, the writing assignment was graded out of 2, with half point increments. Most people got 1.5's, but yours had to be one of the best to get a 2. So, I trek to class the next morning LEGITIMATELY intoxicated. Not just "hung over dizzy", but DRUNK. Funny...it was the only time all semester I got a 2 on the writing assignment (got an A in the class because of it). Finally, my drunkenness wore off around 5pm, and for the next 3 days, I was hungover. All in all, a pretty successful 21st birthday.
  • The pool table incident - 2nd semester freshmen year, my buddy Jake and I decide we're gonna go check out some of the fraternities, and possibly join (I didn't, he did). So we knew a couple guys in ZBT, a jewish fraternity, and we go down there, for what I think was the MD vs. NC State game when we clinched the ACC title in Ralph Friedgen's first season. They were doing a power-hour during the game, and we kept going after 60 minutes had finished, for a total of 93 minutes. This was the longest I had ever gone, and I was a bit inebriated. After using the bathroom, I find that my seat was taken. I saw no other seats available, so the plan was to to sit down on the ledge of the pool table. I approached the pool table and did one of those running jumps to sit on the table and then CRAAAAAASH - the legs on the pool table crashed. I was mortified, stupified, etc. I felt like the twerpy kid from Road Trip did when they went to the black fraternity and as a joke they planted KKK garb in his luggage - I thought I was a dead man. For some reason, I escaped unscathed - they said it was on the way out anyway. I was truly more scared right after I broke that pool table than when I had a gun to my head. All is well that ends well.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Online Purchases

Mimicking my sister's post about online shopping, I will go through my recent online purchases. With plenty of extra time at work, there is nothing better to do than buy things at a ridiculous price online. If you have never been to www.slickdeals.net , I highly recommend it. On the front page they have the best deals of the day, but if you click the link to "Forums" in the upper right hand corner, all of the deals are listed. Basically, whenever people find a great deal online, they post it on there so we can all waste our money on it. Here goes:


  • Half.com - Michael Jackson's Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch - I'm trying to become a connoisseur of sorts, but considering I can't taste the "fruity flavors" most connoisseur can in scotch, I'm not sure I'll get very far.
  • E-bay - REMINGTON MS2-270 TITANIUM Microscreen Shaver NEW - shaver broke.
  • Office Depot - Memorex(reg) CD-R Media Spindle, 700MB/80 Minutes, Pack Of 50 - I am also a CD burning connoisseur
  • Amazon.com - Geoffrey Beene Wrinkle Free Fitted Fancy Dress Shirt- Spread Collar Style#: A30B1296 Color: 540 TIGERLILY Neck: 16.5 Sleeve: 32-33, $11.25 - Yes, that's how much I paid, and I wore it this Shabbos...saw the deal on slickdeals.net
  • Artscroll.com - Gemara - Bechoros II - clearly I'm learning this with someone much frummer than myself..I mean, who learns Bechoros? (not the same as Berachos)
  • Amazon.com - Sennheiser over the ear headphones - my nice Bose ones broke :(

All of those purchases within last 2 weeks...

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The College Experience

A friend of mine likes to rationalize the fact that he didn't go to college. In a recent conversation, he said that college is entirely overrated as being an educational experience, because someone that works 40 hours a week certainly works much harder than someone with a 15 credit course load. I can't disagree with that - on the craziest of weeks, I can't remember doing more than 15-20 hours of schoolwork. So, if you look at it from that perspective, jumping straight into the work force certainly requires more work (at least in hours). However, there must be something else that one gets out of the college experience which makes it a far superior choice than to jump into the work world? It seems to me that the experiences one has in college, and the life lessons one learns there are worth just as much, if not more than the education itself. If I paid $75,000 for the experiences and the friends I made in my time at UMD, then it was worth while. Just happens to be that I also got a degree...Anyway, I will go through some of my favorite college experiences and give details (funny how most of these experiences were alcohol induced).

DISCLAIMER: While I am not ashamed of what I have done in the past, as I would like to think I learn from my experiences, these stories do not necessarily represent the person that I am today.

In no particular order:

  • My first keg party - I mean, what else do we go to college for? While there was drinking in high school, usually involved 5 dollar vodka or cheap beer. Most of us had grown a taste for beer by the time we reached college. So, to see a container holding close to 150 of these drinks, which we had come to know and love, was an awesome sight. The hoards of people around the keg at any given time, and the 10 minute wait to get foamy beer, was not so awesome though. It was at this point in the party you would have to become buddy buddy with the guy holding the hose to the tap so that he would hook you up first. Usually I'd scream out "Hey buddy! We sat near each other in history!". I would then hope that he was too loaded to realize that he never actually took history or that I never took a history course. Or if that didn't work, just send a female friend in for you, they always seemed to get first.
  • My first MD vs. Duke game - When you sign on to be a student at MD, you officially sign up to hate Duke. This is not something that changes with time. I hate Duke. Alot. So, the hype to my first MD Duke game was tough to live up to. Most people had to wait in line for tickets to the game; luckily (just joking) I had a heart procedure done around that time and was in the hospital. Because of my ailment, it was not tough to convince someone that they should take my ID and get me a ticket too. Suckers. Interestingly enough, this memory does not involve alcohol. As a die-hard MD fan, I like to watch every game. I don't know if any of you have ever been intoxicated, but it is tough to focus on a sporting event in this state. I actually prefer to watch MD games alone, because the distraction of other people throws me off (which means don't call me tonight between 7pm-9pm, as MD is playing UNC at home). Anyway, the game was rediculous. Clearly the best part of this game, and the best sporting moment of my life was watching that F'er Jason Williams look back to his coach for a play and watching Steve Blake scoring a rediculous layup with the first half expiring. The atmosphere at Cole was better than it will ever be at Comcast; oh yeah, and we rioted after the game (see later note).
  • "Rioting" - I put this in quotation marks because, even though we refer to it as rioting, it really isn't. The term is what makes it sound cool, and more importantly, newsworthy to the media. Basically what happens if people go down to the main road in College Park, Route 1, stand there and cheer. Usually, on frat row, some frat boys would start a bonfire consisting of whatever they could get their hands on. That is the extent of what the students would do. However, the scummy locals (PG County) would come and inevitably start all the real trouble. They would break into stores, steal things, break things, etc. The main reason people view MD fans as crazy due to our rioting was simply because the locals (and not the students) would cause heavy financial damage to the city. But, as a general rule, the students were peaceful. But, the police were not. They would approach these "riots" as if we were a bunch of terrorist Iraqis in Baghdad. Dressed in full riot gear, on horseback, tear gas and pepper spray in hand, they left no stone unturned. They would use all of these to disperse the crowd, which usually led to chants of "F the police" and causing the student body to hate the police force at MD. My senior year, after beating Duke, we won, and of course, we "rioted". This time, I didn't fare so well. I always tried to stay on the outskirts of these riots, as to be as far away from the police presence as possible. This was the case during the senior year riot; I was on the side minding my own business. I'm not sure why the police thought I was a threat (I was REALLY just standing there), but an S-head F'er police man got me right in the eyes with pepper spray. I don't know if you have ever been pepper sprayed in the eye (as I am assuming that you've never tried to rape a girl or been to a UMD riot), but it SUCKS. I can handle alot. Honestly, the tear gas stuff they would use, that stuff was overrated. Sure, it dispersed the crowd and made us cough, but all you had to do was put your mouth under your shirt and you were fine. But pepper spray sucks. Currently, my eyes are watering thinking about the pain. It is impossible to open your eyes, because every time you do it feels like someone is stabbing your eyes with knives. Your only pain-free hope, then, is to keep your eyes closed - only problem with that is that you can't see. Luckily I had a friend with me that led me back to my apartment and got me in a shower, but after about 45 minutes of washing my eyes out in the shower, it finally stopped. Then, after about 48 hours of my face burning, the ordeal was over. Whatever you do, don't get pepper sprayed - it's a real buzz kill

Yep, this is what I paid $75,000 for...

Topics to be covered in Part II of College Experiences: Being held up at gunpoint, my 21st B-day.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Why I Blog

I received a comment on a previous post saying that I come off very negatively in my posts. While looking back at my previous posts, I either come off as being very dry (the halacha posts) or negative/angry. That being said, I feel the need to explain the purpose of this blog (with some background).

While I have been frum for some time now, I just recently, for the first time, started living in a community teeming with frum people and frumness. Before this time, I was either living at home (small town) or at UMD - which, while it has a bunch of frum people, these people are clearly not representative of the frum community (Gd I wish they were) at large. I think it is only natural that while living in a frum community for the first time, one will encounter new situations and develop new ideas about the frum community. For the most part, this blog was made to rant about things that peeved me about frumness/the frum community. The point of this blog is not to be representative of my personality - but just a place where I can put down things that bother me about the community. Am I too sensitive? Probably. Am I too quick to judge? Sure. Over opinionated? Yep. I believe that people should be willing to change themselves and their personalities a bit as necessary, but overall, I believe there is a part of our personalities that is fixed. Have a problem with what I say? Tough beans. Quoting an Adam Sandler Skit on his CD "What the Hell Happened to Me?", "I am who I am!"

I am not my blog and my blog is not me. It is simply a place which forces me to really think out things that bother me. Essentially, everything that has bothered me up until this point is on the blog. Anything that isn't here - I either haven't encountered it or it doesn't bother me. Thanks for reading. Just as I don't have a problem sharing how I feel, you should feel the same way about commenting.