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Mistakes

7 Dec

Sometimes I wonder if I’ve made mistakes.

Too hasty of a decision.

Too quick of a judgement.

In hindsight, it’s all too easy to heap the blame–

On myself.

To say I wasn’t patient enough.

Wasn’t wise enough.

Wasn’t ready enough.

But there’s nothing I can do at this point except learn,

And relearn.

And accept, “Till this moment, I never knew myself.”

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I Have a Confession to Make…

6 Sep

Okay, I know this might seem shocking so if you don’t take change well, you might have to sit down.

With a seat belt.

Though the entire premise of this blog has been about dating in the Jewish world, I have come to the realization that I just don’t have enough to say about dating to replenish this virtual sound board on a regular basis. Sure, some bloggers can do it but conclusively, I am not one of those.

I still have a lot to say though:

As an ambitious Jewish educator and college student, there is plenty to say on education from pre-K to college.

As a Diaspora Jew, there is a plethora of stories to be told about the trials and triumphs of Am Yisrael in exile.

As a frequent flyer to the Holy Land, I have what to say about Israel, the State and its importance.

And over of course, I still have what to say about the searching for the Real Deal.

P.S. I will continue with The Best Part…so stay tuned!

How to be Single

31 Aug

There seems to be a very distinct issue in the Orthodox community with being single. I get it. I too want to have a home of my own according to Torah and Halacha, but right now I don’t have that. I don’t have a husband, I don’t have a boyfriend, heck, I don’t have a date for Labor Day Weekend. At this moment none of that is part of my reality. Tomorrow may very well hold a different reality, or the next day or the next…but until that day, I have to keep living my life as a single person. There are two ways I can do this:

1) Be happy with myself and my life

2) or not.

There is no question that many, if not all of us in search of the Real Deal, are taking every measure possible to find that special someone. Whether it be networking, making the time to date or seriously considering whether the person across the table is someone we can build a home with, each of us are taking the steps to get married. However, for those of us who do not have someone yet, there is no reason to be down in the dumps. Is it okay to get frustrated from time to time? Yes. There is no doubt that this can be a frustrating experience at times. But in the mean time, recognize the gifts of singlehood. G-d gives us each stage of life with a reason. Being single has its perks! And though you may long to have the comfort of having a full-time side kick and partner-in-life, enjoy being yourself as an individual. If you don’t enjoy yourself as an individual, it will be that much more difficult for someone to enjoy your company.  So…

A) Pursue Your Interests: Be ambitious. Don’t be afraid to do something with your life because it might get in the way of marriage. If you don’t have the need to achieve, that’s okay. Not everyone has the desire to be the most competitive, top-notch contender in their field. But choose something you like; something that you find meaningful. People like people who are passionate about life. One of the most intriguing people I ever met was an insurance agent. Why? Because he spoke about his job with excitement, humor and a sense of importance. Which leads me to…

B) Be Jessica: And by that I mean be excited about what you have. If the mirror thing is too much for you then mention a few ‘thank you’s to Hashem before ending Shmona Esrei or make yourself a list. Personally, I find myself quite entertaining. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qR3rK0kZFkg

C) Be Confidant: Let’s break this down into very simple concepts. You only live once. You only get to be yourself. One day, please G-d after 120, you will kick the bucket and be dead. So enjoy being yourself. Know your beliefs and live them with conviction. No one wants a wimpy neb who doesn’t see the good in themselves. So if you keep complaining about being single, chances are you will give off the above impression. Learn to love yourself and others will love you naturally.

D) Eat Ice Cream: Not because you are depressed, but because you can still afford it! Once you get married you have to start being economic, you know, for the sake of paying rent, car/commuting costs, health insurance, college loan payments, food bills…all very good things but things that put “weekly run to Baskin Robbins” at the very bottom of the list.

E) Have Sleepovers with your Galpals: I think that is what I will miss the most when I get married. No one understands the thrill of watching Newsies like my girls do.

F) Stay Off of Facebook: The overwhelming and most common message that people extract from Facebook is that everyone else is having more fun than you. This is true. They are out living their lives and you are watching them live their lives. I am not against Facebook. It can be a handy tool, especially for those of us involved in outreach, but don’t let it be more than that. Have sincere, genuine conversations with other people. Remember what it’s like to dial the phone and hear a voice on the other line. Strike up a conversation with the person next to you in the elevator. Put your social efforts outwards into the world rather than inward toward your smartphones and iPads.

G) Be Social: Now is the time to meet new people, go new places, visit various communities. Unless you are marrying the traveling rabbi type, you ain’t gonna have time for this later. Working, planning and socializing with new people might give you a new perspective on who you are and what you want to do with your life. Enjoy their company and presence. Enjoy being a smiley, happy, flirty-face if that’s the way you roll. Whoever you are, just be yourself, your best self because marriage isn’t the magic wand that makes you happy– you are.

Is It Worth It?

12 Apr

There is no question that today’s generation is facing a difficult economic reality. Jobs are harder to come by, funding for public programming such as Pell grants and Medicare have been cut and the housing market is a faint whisp of what it used to be. Though on the outside it may seem like the Jewish community is gliding by without an issue, this is far from true. The lecture halls of Yeshiva University may be full, the waiting list may be long at Camp Dora Golding and the neighbors next door may be adding an extension, but so many, so many people are hurting.

An article in today’s NY Times reminded me of the hard times we are facing. As a college student myself, I understand that taking out loans is supposedly “just part of the process.” True, it has been a part of the process for a generation or so, but times have changed. There is no knowing what one’s salary will be once graduating school. There is no knowing if one will have a job. Yes, one must have bitachon that Hashem, the True Provider, will help those with debt come through it. However, I find it quite similar to “depending on a miracle”, an act G-d explicitly tells us not to do.

My greatest issue lies within private Yeshiva schools- be it elementary, high school or college. They are horrendously unaffordable. Some students score high enough on achievement tests to receive generous scholarships while others have parents or grandparents who are able to pay hefty tuition. Yet most are being carried along through the tedious and tiresome hard work of their parents, who have six-figure salaries but still can’t cover all the expenses. Read this article, look around your community, at your peers and cohorts and tell me, is this worth it? Though our homes are humongous and our schools are laden with intriguing extracurricular activities, are they really worth the debt shackled ’round our wrists? Are we, the next generation, really going to be able to sustain them?

Q&A: What Next?

11 Apr

You went out with someone. You were almost positively certain that this was going somewhere toward happily ever after, but hey, it didn’t. It stinks. I know. Maybe you spent a few days wondering if you’d been struck with an unforeseeable bout of insanity and really that person is meant for you and you won’t have to go back into the unpredictable abyss of dating.

So I ask you to answer the following question: what next?

What are the next possible plans of action that can move you onward in your search?I have a few ideas of my own, which I will share with you tomorrow, but until then…what’s your answer to the question

I’ve Got the Sun in the Morning and the Moon at Night

15 Mar

Monday was just one of those days for me. It was sunny, warm and pleasant outside but inside, I felt like doodie. My math homework was unfinished, my car’s tires were looking rather saggy and to top it all off, I still have no clue as to what I am doing next semester. Should I stay where I am? Should I go? Should I work full-time? Is it even an option not to? Life was looking pretty glum.

Then I turned on the radio. Now you have to understand, the seemingly simple act of turning on the radio can be a volatile twist of the wrist when it comes to me. As I mentioned once before, I am a Word person. When I say that I am a “Word person” I do not mean to convey that I am irreversibly smitten with Microsoft software. I am very astute and meticulous when it comes to words, specifically in lyrical form. So when I’m in a mood, be it gleeful, morose or complicated, the words of the radio are going to either soothe or inflame that mood.

When my mood is of the morose variety, I tend to not want to listen to anything. Sappy love songs make me want to throw an ax. It’s a good thing I don’t have one. Sad songs are sometimes cathartic yet most of the times are so dissimilar from my personal crisis that I turn them off anyway…So when I flicked the jazz station on that heinous Monday morning, I wasn’t doing so with high hopes.

But then I heard these following lyrics:

Got no diamonds got no pearls

Still I think I’m a lucky girl

I got the sun in the morning and the moon at night

Got no mansion got no yacht

Still I’m happy with what I got

I got the sun in the morning and the moon at night

 

“Whoa!” was my first thought, ” Good morning, G-d!” Usually I turn on the radio and feel like crud but this time…this time I was starting to feel light and alright. The Pacific has been rocked by tsunamis and hurricanes. An innocent Israeli family was slaughtered. The Middle East is starting to look like the Bronx Zoo without bars. What the heck am I complaining about? I don’t have my life in perfect order? I’m struggling with decisions? I’m feeling kind of alone? It’s normal to feel bummed out about those things. It can even be considered necessary in order to move me forward in life, but there is so much I do have. The difference between my pain and the pains of those in Japan, Israel and the rest of the Middle East is that I can change my situation. I have choices in the matter. They don’t. What’s gone is gone. What’s happened is over and done with, never to be repaired. And as I look at my life and wonder, “what I am supposed to do with it and how,” I remember that G-d has given me so much. Maybe my lack of appreciation has got in the way. Maybe what I really need to do is stop wondering and start thanking. Just life. Think, but not too much. Plan. Stop being afraid of the closed doors and search for the open ones.  I am a “lucky” girl. I’m a blessed girl. Sometimes it takes turning on the radio to hear that.


101 Reasons Not to Get Married

24 Feb

Sterngrad did an interesting post of 101 reasons why she wants to get married. I must say, that’s quite an accomplishment. Thinking of 101 of anything (besides Dalmatians) is asking a lot of the human mind. That’s why we stick to Top 10 lists (and even those are hard to work with sometimes).

Yet I, the fearless Coral Cap, have decided to put my own spin on the 101 Reasons list. You see, there are plenty of happy dappy reasons to get married, but there are also reasons NOT to get married. I am making this list because as a young woman “in the parsha,” I know the pressures put on young, Orthodox singles to get married.  Many of these pressures are not forced upon us, they are ones we have accepted upon ourselves. For example, there is a subliminal belief that part of a Stern girl’s  duties as a Yeshiva University student is to find a husband by the end of her senior year. Yes, I know there are plenty of Stern girls who don’t fall into this category, but let’s be honest, the ideal exists. There is no denying that at a certain point, it feels like all your friends are finding the Real Deal while you’re kinda just scratching your head wondering how this is happening so fast. This can apply outside the Stern world as well. I don’t see Touro or TI  girls going any slower. You’ll find young-marrieds at Queens, Brooklyn, and various other colleges and programs in New York. The bottom line is, marriage can start looking like a fashionable trend rather than a life altering decision even if you know the truth. I’m writing this post NOT because I am cynical about marriage (I’m not), but rather to remind myself and my readers that:

a) There is what to appreciate about being single and

b) marriage is serious business, even though you’re floating on the wings of love, happier than you’ve ever been before, so much so you find yourself smiling at completely inappropriate times.

101 Reasons Not to Get Married

1. Weddings are hard to plan

2. Weddings require lots of money

3. You have to make a guest list

4. Making a guest list means choosing who to invite and who not to invite

5. Choosing who to invite and who not to invite means unintentionally insulting people

6. Married life requires money

7. Undergraduate students don’t usually have much of that

8. Not everyone has parents who can fund a newly married couple

9. You have to make your own meals

10. You have to mop your own floors

11. You have to vacuum every week instead of never (oh you dormers know what I’m talking about)

12. You really do have to change the sheets every other week

13.  Dorm life can’t last forever, so why not enjoy it while you have it

14. The toilet seat will resume an upward position

15.  No more sneakily drinking out of the OJ carton-  it’s just not honest

16. If I end up marrying someone just because I want to fit in, I could end up miserable a few years down the line

17. I’m not sure what will happen to my health insurance

18. I’ll have to move my Hadaya ring to another finger since I wear it on my left middle finger and it just won’t look good next to a diamond ring and a band.

19. I won’t be able to PMS freely since doing so might scare my husband away

20. PMS is not a valid excuse for not wanting to do dishes or laundry like it was with my mother

21. PMS just isn’t a good excuse for anything. I’m a grownup now, deal with it

22. No more spontaneous trips to faraway cities

23. Doing homework becomes a privilege not the priority

24. No more sleep over parties with the girls

25. You can’t bring your husband to karaoke night

26. No time for fun extracurriculars like Model UN, Mock Trial and the shuffleboard club

27.  No more being a counselor at camp

28. I might expect to feel whole and thus, always happy

29. No more killing roaches

30. No more taking out the garbage

31. No more de-plunging the toilet

32. No more doing the man-jobs I’ve proudly mastered because it’s his job to be the man

33.  Because I don’t want to do it just because everyone else is

34. Being an ezer kinegdo is real work, not just some fluffy idea and I want to actually be responsible enough to take on that privilege before I take it

35. I am naturally stubborn and thus go at my own pace (sometimes to my detriment)

36. My body is not my own anymore

37. I’ll have that huge lump in the back of my sheitel if I want to keep my hair long

38. People will start looking at my stomach expectantly

39. No more bunking with NCSYers on shabbatons

40.  I might allow myself to believe that I don’t have to look my best anymore since I’m already “taken”

41. I hate having all attention on me – and that’s what a wedding is

42. Taharat HaMishpacha aint the walk in the park they make it sound like in seminary

43. To heck with social pressures!

44. Because marriage isn’t the be-all-and-end-all: Finding the right person is

45. People expect you to know how to cook

46. Fruit Loops are no longer a viable dinner option

47. Just because I will gladly eat leftover chicken and potato kugel until Wednesday night doesn’t mean my husband will

48. I’ll forget  how to be empathetic toward singles

49. I’ll have to start cutting my nails really short

50. Everyone will know whether I’m a niddah or not depending on whether I can put my arm around my husband in pictures or not

51. I might start posting photos of what I made for dinner on Facebook

52.  First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes morning sickness

53.  Kids means forgoing sleep for the next 20 or so years

54. People will start grabbing my left hand to get a look at my ring, as if it’s public property

55. I’ll have to break the news to my husband that jewelry doesn’t make everything better in his case because I don’t like jewelry

56. I’ll have to pretend I like jewelry (my Savti says I have to so he won’t feel bad)

57. I’ll have to stop watching football so he can while I watch the kiddos

58. I’ll have the yetzer hara to compare my marriage/life to my friend’s

59. If I marry for the sake of marrying I’ll always wonder “what if”

60. No more staying in the library til midnight, getting lost in a sea of literature

61. Solitude is harder to come by

62. Marriage isn’t a cure for loneliness. Even married people can feel lonely

63. I’m not looking to join a club, I’m looking for true friendship and partnership

64. I shouldn’t need just this to see Hashem in my life

65. Truth be told, sometimes I like sitting by myself at an ice cream parlor

66. I might be untrue to myself and compromise things I really care about just to be like everyone else

67. I’m shy about my singing voice and would rather not have to share it

68. Because I don’t need to prove myself to anyone

69. Most men don’t know what a DMC is and would rather not engage in one after a long day of work

70. I set people up now. I don’t need an MRS to make me a valid shadchan

71. B”H I can eat whatever I want now.

72.  I’d rather not fall off the face of the planet, thank you very much.

73.  Love doesn’t solve problems, actually, if you look in Tanach, it only causes more

74. That is why love isn’t a good enough reason to marry someone

75. Because you have a really cute story of how you met someone

76. What I think I need in a partner and what Hashem knows I need in a partner might be different. I’d rather marry what Hashem knows is best for me than be a “cute married person”

77. The wait makes that which you want so much even dearer

78.  Because Mom and Dad say so

79. Because everyone is asking you why you haven’t met anyone yet

80. Because being called picky is better than having a miserable marriage

81. Because you are in love with love

82. Because all your sisters got married by 21 so you have to also

83. Because everyone pegged you to be the first to go

84. Wanting a wedding is not a good enough reason to want to get married. If you want a big party, make one for your birthday

85.  Keeping up with the Jones’ is what puts people in debt who don’t have to be

86. So people tell you how “well” you did

87. Just because you’re the world’s best wife doesn’t mean he’ll make it any easier for you to wake him up for shachris

88. My secret stash of chocolate will be at risk of being discovered

89. Because he’s sooooo cuuuuttteeee

90. Because being a married lady is soooo cuuuutttteee

91. Because our kids would be soooo cuuuuttteee

92. If I don’t marry him then someone else will

93.  Spending all day in bed is not reality

94. Paying the bills is

95. Going on couples vacations- are those really fun or do people just like to take pictures so it just appears fun?

96. Thinking you’ll get more respect just because you cook, clean and take care of a man

97. Because you don’t want to be the last one single

98. Because you don’t believe Hashem has someone who truly compliments you

99. Because you have half your Onlysimchas page filled out and are impatient to fill out the other half

100. Because the mitpachot you bought in seminary X years ago have been sitting in your closet long enough

101. Because you sure as heck don’t want to be blogging about singlehood any longer