Archive | May, 2010

Quote For Thought: “I Meant What I Said…”

28 May

I meant what I said and I said what I meant…an elephant’s faithful one hundred percent.

— Dr. Suess’s “Horton Hatches the Egg”

 

The older I get, the more I appreciate Dr. Suess. I don’t remember exactly when I first heard this quote; it’s one of those lines I feel like I was born knowing. I wasn’t much of a Horton fan when I was a kid, but still, somehow I always knew elephants are faithful one hundred percent. Recently I found a reading of the book on Youtube and was truly marveled by the story this quote originates from. If you have 11 minutes to spare, you can see it for yourself:

Part 1:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIlPFUE91Fk

Part 2:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNa-HLcc7hY

 

To be a person of such moral strength is to be the Real Deal.

 

Good Shabbos!

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Shidduch Dating: Informal

26 May

I have been meaning to write his post for a very long time, but with the harried nature of my life in the past few weeks, I haven’t gotten around to it. However, this post is of utmost importance, and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun because in this post I will describe to you…The Other Side of shidduch dating.

Note: This post is part of a series I began at the genesis of my blogging career. If you would like to catch yourself up, take a look at this method and this method.

Tired of resumes? Fed up with waiting for shadchans to get back to you or are you just plain old irate at The System? Well, I have a way, another way to go about shidduch dating. For the hardcore Formal daters, this might not sound much like a shidduch date to you, but what I am about to present is a fairly new version of shidduch dating. It has standards, it has rules, but the strategy is a whole different game. There are plenty of guides out there to weather the winds of the Formal Shidduch date, but no one has taken on the task of guiding those on the Informal Shidduch date. My goal today is to present a guide, an explanation for the Other Side of shidduch dating.

Let’s get one thing straight: Shidduch dating is for daters who are looking to get married. The terms may be more laid back with the Informal route, but rule #1 is the same as it is for Formal shidduchim– you’re going to the chuppah and you’re gonna get married. If you’re looking for anything else, you are not in the right dating pool. If you are in the pool, get out, get your towel and wait until you are ready. It’s almost summer, get a tan, read a book, but leave the serious daters alone. Shidduch daters, whether Formal or Informal aren’t in the mood for petty shtus. If you are looking to make new friends and have a good time then go on a cruise.

If however, you are looking to get married but you aren’t so into the Formal route, then give the Informal Route a try. Some people just aren’t into the rigidness of the Formal route. They want to see beyond the Mariott Marquise and the dimly lit aura of Starbucks. They want to taste more than the fizzling of a diet Coke. They want to take a different approach. It’s not about the Formal route being too frum, but rather, wanting to open up other horizons for themselves. Why can’t a guy and girl meet in a casual

Tools Needed

A good network of people.

2-4 references.

Nice clothes (and other items necessary for a put-together look).

A siddur (because no matter what route you’re taking, you need G-d to guide you).

A Positive, Patient Outlook.

The Rules for Getting a Date

1) You have to be proactive. Getting good grade and making friends might have come easy to you, but finding a suitable partner is not something to assume will just come to you. While the Formal route requires varying degrees of parental involvement, the Informal route does not. Mom and Dad could get involved if you want them to, but for the most part, you’re on your own. Mom doesn’t have to be up ’til all hours of the night on the phone trying to get you a date; it’s really up to you. Don’t be afraid to go after what you want. Doing the asking yourself isn’t fun, it never will be, but once you’ve found the right person you’ll be glad you did.

2a) Network. Though all areas of dating require some sort of networking, the Informal route is founded on this skill. Be aware of the people around you. There’s another Jewish girl in your speech class? Get to know her a bit. Maybe she knows someone for you. Have you been meaning to set up a chavruta but just haven’t yet? Get to it, you never know who knows who. Be amiable to your parents friends and the secretary at the doctor’s office. Go to shiurim, to go fundraisers, go to your roommate’s cousin’s vort. Now is the time in your life to be a little more friendly than you are used to because you never know. Besides for this building you people skills, it will potentially open opportunities you never imagined.

2b) Network through an USBG (or two if you are ambitious). I have used the term Unofficial Shidduch Breeding Ground a few times in the past, but I haven’t really explained it. In short, a USBG is some sort of organization that calls for males and females to work together. While a professional workplace calls for stricter protocols,  a USBG thrives on a “chilled”, casual atmosphere. NCSY, Yachad, Camp Mesorah, Morasha, HASC and maybe even The Purple Pear are all examples of USBG’s. Everyone is there on a mission (i.e. Kiruv, including those with special needs in the community, giving campers a great summer, making great food, etc.) there is an unspoken understanding that getting involved in such a mission might just get you a shidduch as well. Counselors/advisors/workers have the chance to get to know each other in a casual, laidback setting without the pressure of having to decide if a person is for you in a couple of meetings. You’re not interested in anyone there? Fine, you’re involved in a great organization, but if you are interested in someone…adhere to the next set of rules.

3) Have a Go-To person. A Go-To Person is someone who can act as a 3rd party in the making of a shidduch. Make sure it is someone who does not see you as a shidduch-stealing threat. With this being the case, it is best for your Go-To Person to not be single, but single friends can be good GTP’s as well. If you see someone you like, go to your GTP. Ask all necessary questions (i.e. Is he single? Is he looking? What is he doing? To get a better idea of this process here is a personal account of it), and see where it goes from there.

4) Have your friends look out for you and look out for your friends. Sometimes friends have great ideas, sometimes not. Either way, you’ll never know if it is a good idea or not until you look into it. There is an inherent trait of being skeptical of other people. It’s okay to ask questions. It’s more than okay, it’s encouraged (it is your future on the line after all). However, don’t be so quick to rule out potential prospects. Get a sense of who the person is and then make a decision because if you keep saying “no,” eventually your friend will stop asking you.

Look out for your friends. Why? What goes around comes around.

5) Facebook stalking is allowed. If you don’t want strangers seeing your profile picture, put it on private or simply don’t have a Facebook. The fact is, Facebook has given us the ability to find out more about our date before we go out with them such as what they look like and what they s/he is a fan of. For those of you without Facebook, disregard this message. And kol hakavod, for finding a way to stay socially in sync without joining the Cyber Vortex.

The Bright Side

The world is in your palm, baby! As willing as you are to go out there and find your RD is as fructuous as you will be in finding prospects. If you get involved in your community, make an effort to speak to fellow shul-goers during Kiddush and network with the right people, the odds of you finding dates (and thus finding your RD) are pretty good. If you get involved with an USBG, you get to know the person as they are in a non-date setting. They are probably on their best behavior, but there are many opportunities to see how they treat others and what is important to them (their job/their mission/their friends/schmoozing and noshing etc). If you are actually interested in someone, all you have to do is go over to a GTP and find out what the story is. You have a 3rd party involved so that there is a structured framework for the start of the relationship, and when you decide there is no longer a need for the 3rd party, bye-bye. They will want you to keep them in the loop but they are no longer privy to every detail of your relationship. The Informal route is dependent on the balance of sensitivity toward others and Halacha and the understanding that comfort around one another is prime to making a relationship.

The Not So Bright Side

Though I set out a slew of rules, the truth is, these are not the rules everyone in the Informal pool may go by. With informality comes a gray haze of uncertainty. Is it okay for the girl to call? If so, at one point? Does he expect her to call? Would he be insulted if she didn’t? Must a third party really be involved? Maybe a guy should just ask out the girl on his own, but would she reject him if he did that? These are just few questions that might come up.

With this gray haze also comes what might be the hottest topic in Modern Orthodox Yeshiva high schools– can guys and girl be “just friends?” When one decides that they do speak to the opposite gender outside of dating, they might form the much debated “platonic relationship.” That is a whole ‘nother discussion in itself, but in short, no matter how sure you are that “nothing is there,” there is always a chance that something is there and it’s not so unlikely. What’s wrong with a platonic relationship? I don’t see it as a matter of wrong and right but rather if it’s possible or not. Is it really possible for a guy and girl to be friends and never wonder if they could be more? This can be a serious issue in a USBG. Girl might think that guy is totally interested in her, but in truth, he’s just a really friendly guy. Relationships issues can sometimes absorb all Guy and Girl’s thoughts and prevent them from doing their job optimally.

Lastly, as nice as it is for friends to set each other up, you have to wonder just how well they know the person they are setting you up with. It could be their neighbor who she’s known for many years, or it could be the guy who keeps asking her out and just wants to keep him off her case. My theory is, if you like him, then it doesn’t really mater if she’s trying to get rid off him, but more times than not, she’s simply trying to distract this guy so she doesn’t have to hear more from him.

Conclusion:

This is probably the most vague and ambiguous dating method out there. There is no real way of knowing which rules are to be upheld and which ones fall to the wayside. The only way to be successful with this route is to try it out and see where it takes you. For some that might seem pointless or scary, and there is validity in such thoughts. However, if one is confident in who s/he is and know what they want, the resources which one can tap into on the Informal route are boundless. There is no knowing where the RD might come from and the truth is, no matter what route you decide to take, it just might be that small deterrence in your path that leads you to your RD.



I Need to be More Patient

24 May

Just saying.

Quote for Thought: “Where is G-d…”

21 May

 

Where is G-d? Wherever you let Him in– Kotzke Rebbe

There isn’t much more to say than the quote itself. Sometimes life is rough. Sometimes we fall down in the mud and aren’t sure we can get back up. But what can keep us from losing hope? What will drive us to get back up and keep going?

Our perspective. Yes, this world can be a very scary, empty place without the proper vision, but when you are constantly looking toward G-d, when you surrender that obstinate mirage of control and cry, “HaKadosh Baruch Hu, I want You in my life,” reality shifts. Mountains are moveable, science pliable and nature defiable.

If we stop for a moment and just look…He will be there. He will not just appear; it takes effort to find G-d. He wants to make sure we really mean what we say and say what we mean. But all it takes is a simply recoginition…G-d is not in one place. 

He is where we let Him in.

Have a restful, peaceful Shabbos

Quote for Thought: “Good Things Take Time…”

14 May

Good things take time, but great things happen all at once.

— Rat Race

 

The above movie is one of the most disturbing, confusing and stupid movies I have ever seen. Yes, I admit it is very hard to please me cinematically. I have a very low threshold for shtus, so as you can imagine, I don’t watch many movies or television programs. You see, I’m one of those people who  likes to take away a good life lesson from whatever I do. And if you are wondering, yes, I do have a sense of humor. In fact, I think I have a very keen sense of what is humorous, but if I am going to plop myself in front of a screen, I want to feel that I am gaining something while melting my brain. Maybe, by watching something with a good message, I will cancel the brain-numbing effects of staring into a hundred watt Light Bright. I have no scientific backing for this theory, but I like to believe there is some truth to it. It makes me feel a little better.

So when I watched Rat Race a few years ago, I was not pleased by what I saw. It’s basically over an hour of the stupidest pranks some lackadaisical Hollywood big shots thought would get a good reaction out of people. However, viewing this sorry excuse of a comedy was not for naught, because in it, I found one of my favorite quotes of all time:

Good things take time, but great things happen all at once.

There is nothing particularly eloquent or original about this quote, but once I heard it in the movie, it got me thinking…how true is it? Of course good things take time. Good things take work, effort and patience…but do great things really happen quickly/all at once/k’heref ayin? The real question isn’t do they happen, but rather, will it happen to me?

I’ve heard a hundred shidduch stories with the same ending. Person dated. And dated. And dated. They wondered and hesitated and “didn’t know,” but kept doing their hishtadlus. They put in much effort, thought, emotion and prayer. But when they met the right person, when they found and recognized their RD, it all came to together. Even if the courtship wasn’t smooth, they knew. They knew this wasn’t just something good…this was something great.

I have seen it in my own life; not in shidduchim (yet), but in other situations. I have a goal. I want something good; a degree, a job, a project, a full grown tomato plant and  so I do what I must in order to attain what I want. It takes work, concentration and dedication even when I don’t want to work, concentrate or dedicate my time, effort and money. But when I do my part; when I put in my whole heart, my whole soul and everything I’ve got, when I say, “G-d I have done everything I can, the rest is up to You,” miracles happen. Miracles can happen in the blink of an eye. After all the time, all the work  and all the effort to earn the Good, G-d takes it a step further and turns the Good to Great. Good things do take time…but when you hold on to your faith, when you believe in miracles, Great things happen.  And when they happen, they happen all at once.

My bracha to you is that you are able to recognize the good and great things in your life, presently and  b’ezrat Hashem in the future as well!

Good Shabbos!

 

 

When Coral Met Harrison

10 May

There are no such thing as awkward moments. I rationally explained to my friends one long Shabbos afternoon, It’s all in your head. If you don’t treat a seemingly “awkward” moment  as such, it will not be awkward.

It made perfect sense to me. Awkwardness is as real as the Tooth Fairy and Teletubbies; it’s imaginary. If we simply convince ourselves that it is not a big deal to wave at someone you don’t really know or run into that person you broke up with a few months ago, then all will be well and the Awkward Moment will cease to exist.

I believed this for a very long time…and then I met Harrison.

Note: Said person’s name has been changed in order to protect his identity. His name is not Harrison nor does he resemble Harrison Ford, so if you think you look like Harrison Ford and are afraid I am talking about you, fear not, for I am not. I merely chose a name I know no one in my circle has.

Harrison and I are both consistent participants in a popular USBG (Unofficial Shidduch Breeding Ground) organization. I can confidently say that I am friendly with just about everyone in our USBG. I’m a nice, sociable person, the other participants are nice, sociable people, so although I don’t see most of them very often, we are still able to converse comfortably. I enjoy genial camaraderie with everyone.

Except Harrison.

I’m not sure how this all started. We were introduced to each other and exchanged the usual “hi, nice to meet you” as all acquaintences do. Something happened after that. Something embarrassing happened to me and he was was there to witness it. It doesn’t really matter what embarrassing mishap I encountered, but for the sake of our story, we’ll say I blundered over a folding chair and fell flat on my pretty (bli ayin hara, poo poo poo) face. I was under the impression that no one saw this because no one was around at the time, but just as I was about to thank G-d for saving me from an audience’s bewildered reaction, I noticed one person was in the vicinity, and though he didn’t say anything about it, I had a sneeking suspicion that my embarrassing secret was not my own.

But I wasn’t about to start believing in the Awkward Moment. No way! He didn’t say anything, nor did I so therefore, accodrind to logic, it was as if it never happened. We didn’t speak to each other any more on that first USBG event.  This didn’t bother me, as I was new to the  chevra, and expected that it would take another event or two for everyone to loosen up and just be themselves. That’s why when I saw him at the next event, I had no qualms with approaching him to chap a schmooze. He seemed to be a friendly guy so, why not?

It took about 30 seconds for things to get awkward. No I reassured myself, This is not going to be awakrd. Another 30 seconds go by, and then another, and then I realize I have no choice but to surrender. Our conversation had been hijacked by Awkwardness, and I had no choice but to walk away in shame and in defeat.

Even I, CoralCap, had to admit, Akward Moments do exist.

I looked back and wondered, what could it have possibily been? Did he think I was a freak because of that emabarrassing mishap? Were my conversational skills below par? I admit, sometimes I get nervous and unsure of what to say, but in this case, I wasn’t that nervous. Could it be that he liked me? Nah, I know “I-like-you” nerves when I see them. It’s just something you can sense. The signs are the same: He laughs a little too eagerly  and nervously smiles; the eyebrows raise in accordance with the level of excitment and the affirmative nod of the head is just a little more stiff than usual…the only difference is the vibe. Some people know how to read them and some people are far too oblivious to know what’s being said beyond verbal communication. I like to think that I am an astute reader of non-verbal communication, however, ask my friends and they will tell you I can be more oblivious than the Frogger frog trying to get across an interstate highway. I admit, I have been oblivious in certain situations, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve outgrown a lot of my oblivion. I don’t think I’ll get rid of all of it, since that will subtract from my easy-going, amiable nature, but the point is, I could tell this guy thought wasn’t comfortableo, so, I made sure not to start a conversation with him again.

The months fly by. Event passes after event and we don’t really interact. I was a little bothered by it at first, but before long I made my closer friends in the chevra and stuck with them. Harrison and I just didn’t end up in the same grouping. Everyone in our USBG is friendly with one another, but everyone has their acquaintence type friends and their closer friends. Ours didn’t overlap. Each event brought new participants and new people to meet , so I soon forgot that embarrassing mishap from that very first event. Harrison and I exchanged the “hello how are you’s” as appropriate and maybe a little elaboration on occasion, but there was always a tinge of awkwardness present.  And it didn’t stop at conversation. The sinister shadow of Awakwardness seemed to have captured our very right of free will. You know the awkward wave, when you are not sure if they are  looking at  you or not? I’m pretty sure Harrison and I have taken that to a level no other human beings have experienced before. I just don’t get it. I was the queen of Not Awkward, and now…Harrison.

Sometimes I wonder if G-d is saying, pay attention to this one. Put some effort into getting to know him. Then I wonder if I’m going crazy. He does always make the effort to say hi, goodbye or at least one of the two, but like all the people at our USBG, he’s a nice, sociable person. So I guess I will muster up the courage to talk to him next time I see him…or I’ll just ask a friend to find out if I’m overthinking things. After all, they are the ones who planted the Awkward Moment seed in my head in the first place.

Do you have any Harrison/Harrisonetta’s in your life?

Quote for Thought: What is Important…

7 May

Yes, I am a quote collector. There is just something really geshmak about a smart, clever quote. So, SiBW, I hope you don’t mind if I do my own little quote post; it’s a really good idea.

“…what is important? A shaft of sunlight at the end of a dark afternoon, a note in music and the way the back of a baby’s neck smells if its mother keeps it tidy.” — Stuart Little

Why do I like this one? Because it affirms my belief that the simplest of things can bring us so much joy, if we only open up our minds to do so.

Good Shabbos!