Askin' Shifra

Just like therapy- only free, unlicensed, and hopped-up on Hamentaschen and Manischewitz.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Cheerin' Up.


I've looked over some of my last blog posts and found them to be a real crazy mix, including weeping, weeping some more, getting the axe, being mentholated, cleaning vomit off my daughter's sneakers, and taking a vacation on my own fantasy island.

So...rather than write a whiney blog post, I decided that even with all my current job troubles I would actively try to cheer myself up. Today is technically my last day at work at my current job, so I'm going to give it my best shot to have a great day!

Putting my my power-sheital and downing some Motrin and a blueberry daquari, I decided to seize the day.

There are so many bright good things about my new job. I won't have to live in a broom closet of an office, or deal with annoying speakerphone bosses.

OK, my new job is brainless work, and they'll always be looking over my shoulder to see what I'm writing for my next edition of the "Modern and the Orthodox", but I'm going to try and stop the weeping, and put my best foot forward.

So, even though on my real blog I have my doubts if I'm going to continue blogging because I might have less time for my kids, may have less time to blog at work, and there that annoying big tv camera pointed at me which goes straight to desk of the snippy secretary...I will still try continue to blog. If not there, than here.

And thats a promise.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Questions I've been afraid of, part one

Dear AskShifra:

I recently took a trip to Israel on ELAL with my beloved dog, Kishka. Arriving at Ben Gurion airport, the staff held me off for a while without bringing Kishka to me from the luggage compartment of the airplane. I overheard some ground crew staff whispering that the pilot forgot to turn on the heat in the luggage section of the plane, and my dog froze to death. 5 minutes later, the crew nervously brought out a dog, which even though it looked very similar to my dog, I knew right away it wasn't.

"I want my dog!" I yelled at them. They thought they would pull a switcheroo on me?

"But, Madame, this is your dog", they nervously replied.

"Wrong!", I replied, "I was bringing my dog to Israel to be buried. He was ALREADY dead."

My question is, should I ask for an upgrade to business class on my next trip, or should I demand ELAL allow my next pet to accompany me in Economy class?



Dear Shirley,

Before I answer this question I have to speak my mind about the last bit of this question. While halacha may disagree with me, to my mind who you are working for makes NO difference with regard to the general ethics. While the readership of this blog is primarily Jewish I'm pretty sure there are a few non-Jews who stick with me despite the language barrier and frankly that kind of talk embarrasses me. If you are a moral person you will treat everyone with the same respect and ethics regardless of their religion or ethnicity. If you believe that you are among the chosen people then why not be a light to the nations rather than try to screw everyone who doesn't belong to your tribe....even if it is EL AL.

OK. On the one hand, you blame EL AL for attempting to fool you by replacing a dead dog with a live one. On the other hand, the fact is you actually attempted to fool EL AL by replacing what they thought was a live dog with a dead one. So technically, you’re both wrong.

Firstly, if you overheard the conversation saying that they knew where Kishka was, and that he was dead, then why didn’t you claim him? Clearly he wasn’t missing, he was merely a victim of mistaken identity. Or mistaken vitality. Secondly, they already reimbursed you for your dead dog by replacing it with a live one. So you can’t ask for something for nothing when they already gave you something for something. Right now you have a net gain of one dog. And asking them to bring your next pet with you in economy class isn’t even an option. What if you chose a quiet pet, like a cat, or a fish? EL AL needs every seat for passengers who make as much noise as possible.

I think you need to look on the bright side. Considering EL AL’s rigorous baggage-screening process, you should be thankful that no one thought Kishka was a bomb and detonated him outside the cargo hold just to be on the safe side. So treasure all the good times you had with Kishka (a”h), hug your intact new dog, and remember that life is short.


Monday, March 13, 2006

Questions I've been afraid of, part 2

Dear Ask Shifra,

I know you must get questions all the time, and are probably very busy at work and all that, but I would really appreciate if you could give me some advice on the following problem.

It's my oldest son...he's 11.

This is rather embarrassing for me as a parent, but I found him perusing a website filled with photos of Britney Spears.

Not wanting to overly embarrass him, I commented, "She certainly is pretty. Which picture do you like best?"

"I don't know," he mumbled, embarrassed by his newfound interest. "I'm just reading about her."

I came closer and peered at the screen. "Oh, really?" I said. "So when did you learn to read Spanish?"

What really irks me is that this isn't the first time I've caught him reading sites in Spanish.

With all the important messages we're trying to impart to him, it bothers us that instead of mastering other important skills, he wastes his time on Spanish. Any ideas how we can curb this now, before it gets out of hand, and starts detracting from other, more important things?

Thanks Shifra, I knew I could count on you.

Pasnisht in Lakewood.

Dear Pasnisht,

The answer is simple. In fact, I can’t believe you’re actually asking me. Via email. From Lakewood. I could understand the whole the whole Brittney Spears-Spanish thing being a problem if you were from, say, Passaic. Or even Tenafly. But Lakewood? Even my youngest daughter, “Chavi Kaufman,” could tell you the answer to that.

Unless you are running a home internet-related business, such as an online stock brokerage firm, or an out-of home internet shopping site, or a basement porn site, 10 out of 10 Lakewood rebbe’im agree, you shouldn’t have a computer with internet access in your home. While many rabbis and people and especially I might disagree with the ban, you chose to live in your community and OK, you stop at their stop signs and park no less than three feet from their hydrants, right? So I suggest you should lose the broadband. Not only would that keep your son from Ms. Spears and Spanish websites, it would protect him from “dangerous” sites like the New York Times and the RenReb as well.

Problem solved.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Find Shifra's Refridgerator Magnet!

Hi Guys -

Guess which one of these is on my refridgerator at home?

Chavi Kaufman (my youngest) says that magnet #2 looks the most
like me.

Kisui Raglayim (skirts, coulottes, pants) and Dr. Seuss

Emunah Threat Level: Through The Roof

My leg muscles hurt. They get chafed and I get a lot of mild to moderate leg-aches (I'd say daily) particularly between the hours of 7AM and 6PM Monday through Friday. As much as I'd like to blame the speakerphone abusers (CUT IT OUT! I HATE YOU! OK?) around my office I don't really think it's their fault. I think it's my skirt/dress that's doing it. Having something tight (or loose for that matter) flap around your calves for more than a few hours can be quite uncomfortable. I'm a very animated person by nature and the strain caused by unlimited movement of my legs because of my skirt/dress (often without realizing it) causes my legs to get chafed and sore.

Pants, it seems, is the way to go.

I know that I'm not the only woman who feels that way – Z.R. (who you may remember from my collapsing sukka stories) complains of a "skirt leg-ache" nearly every time we drive home together. My mother-in-law also wears pants, unless she is in Shul. My sister-in-law told me that she asked her about it (something I would NEVER dare to ask, but my SIL is sooooo gutsy) and heard the following story:

When my MIL was first married she had daily leg-aches, and she asked a Rav (no, I don't know which one but I have a sneaking suspicion his initials are GH-TAFKAPP) who told her that she could keep wearing pants! I had never heard a story like that before and I can't imagine that this psak is standard issue, even if you live in the 5 towns.

All this "enforced suffering" reminded me of a gripping short story by Dr. Seuss which many of you may be familiar with, called "Hop On Pop."

It's a hyper-realistic tale of a world where people know no boundaries. In this utopia, average citizens are always playing stretching the limits of their personal relationships with their communal structure.

Oh just read the story.
It's short.
Euphoric, and short.

Anyway, it got me thinking. While I understand many aspects of religious modesty, having to only wear skirts/dresses has me baffled. In this day and age, when wearing pants is considered the norm and skirts are considered far sexier than the average pair of corduroys (which make that fwoop-fwoop noise when you walk, which I HATE, but that's another post), sticking to skirts seems counter-productive.

Plus nowadays women can wear tunic tops over pants that stretch down far below their lower-waists for modesty purposes and still enjoy the comforts of pants. Is the forcing of women to wear dresses and skirts just another way of keeping women suppressed and limited from achieving their potential? Shouldn't they too be allowed the freedom to hop on their figurative fathers? Is this just another way of protecting the patriarchal system from girls trying to leap higher than boys?

Imagine what I'd be today if not for my years of skirt-wearing restrictions! If I could be calf-ache free I imagine I'd be more productive and patient.

I could run faster, jump higher, achieve so much more potential, and maybe not even have a broom closet for an office! Maybe I could even be the speakerphone boss, and I could show them!

Oh, right…new job coming up…maybe I’ll already have a better office. (we're hoping, we're hoping) Let’s ignore that for now.

So is Kisui Raglayim just man or God's way of handicapping women?

Or should I just keep my knees posed demurely together like a Miss America contender and stop walking so fast and see if things improve?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Coming Soon!

You thought that just because you figured out the purim parody name of this blog, that there would be posted content BEFORE the official link at the Muqata?

Give me another day...