Monday, December 27, 2010

Random Thoughts...

...while watching the wedding video:

1. You were there, and very much aware of everything that was happening. But there is still so much you either missed or can't remember.

2. Taking pictures is tedious and boring. But later, you'll be so happy you did it.

3. Like everything else in life, the night passes too quickly.

4. Watching yourself on video is not fun. It's much more fun watching everyone else.

5. Every person who makes the effort to show up is appreciated. (Although sometimes you don't actually remember that they were there until you see them on video.)

6. It's easier to remember those who wished you mazel tov during the kabbalas panim than those who came during the dancing.

7. If you're feeling uncomfortable while the video camera is focusing on your table, and you pretend to be looking at your phone, you will actually look like you're feeling awkward, and not like you just got a really important text. Just wave and say mazel tov.

8. Those people who take that opportunity to give long speeches to the video camera - no one gets to hear it. We just watch your lips move while we listen to some background music. Just wave and say mazel tov.

9. If someone you love can't be there, even if there are hundreds of other people there and so much going on, you'll notice and miss them.

10. Surprisingly, there is not that much more color on the women's side than on the men's. It's mostly black and white on either side, except for an occasional splash of color, which is probably the out-of-town relative.

11. A wedding is really exciting, but it's only one night. The real fun starts afterwards.

12. There are so many single friends of the kallah, and so many single friends of the chosson. Can't we match them up?

13. None of those single friends of the chosson are good enough for the chosson's sister, apparently.

14. If you spend your night avoiding the camera, you may succeed in not being caught on video, but you miss out on all the fun.

15. It is possible to be so happy and so sad at the same time.

16. Being at your child's wedding is one of the most powerful moments you will ever experience.

17. Sometimes, during your most powerful moment, you will not shed a tear.

18. The men seem to be having a lot more fun than the women.

19. They should really give the chosson a thinner glass to break under the chuppah.

20. I am so, so blessed.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Boro Park

I'm from Boro Park.

I love it here.

It's where I grew up, where I got married, and where I'm raising my children.

It's where I chose to raise my children.

I know all the stereotypes. Boro Parkers are loud and aggressive.  They are impolite and inconsiderate. They are unfriendly and rude and arrogant.

And they do not say "Good Shabbos".

True, the chesed here is unparalleled. Even the staunchest out-of-towners would grudgingly admit to that. But that doesn't really say anything about Boro Parkers. It doesn't say anything about the individuals. Chesed, after all, does not equal middos. Chesed doesn't compensate for the lack of civility, the offensive behavior and the rudeness. Right?

I know a very different Boro Park.

It's a lot of people living in a small place. It's crowded. And rushed. It's New York. People here think and behave a bit faster than they do in more laid back areas.

But I know the people. I know the individuals.

I know the woman who noticed when my little boy seemed lost. I know how she didn't wait for him to reach out for she understood that he was too proud to admit he couldn't find his way home...and how she helped him out, with his dignity intact.

I know the man who, while walking home from shul, met a guest of ours who couldn't find our house. I know how he wasn't able to help him, but he invited him to eat with his family instead.

I know my son who noticed the elderly man living near his yeshiva who likes to come daven with the yeshiva's minyan. I know how my son goes to this man's house 3 times every Shabbos to walk him to the yeshiva. I know how he helps him to his place and makes sure he's comfortable and has everything he needs.

I know the woman who knocked on my car window asking if I was going in her direction. I wasn't, but I took her there anyway. I know how thankful she though I drove her across the country instead of just four blocks.

I know the boys who wait at street corners in the cold, hoping for a ride. And I know the people who stop to offer it to them.

I know hundreds of these people. Boro Parkers...all of them.

If you ask us for directions, we won't bond with you. We may not ask you where you're from or why you're here. But we'll stop what we're doing and help you out.

We've gotten a bad rap. And people come here with an opinion...a preconceived notion.

If you expect people to be rude, you will see only rude people. But if you expect people to be nice, you will notice them, too.

Come to Boro Park with a more open mind. Expect people to be nice, patient and caring about others. See what happens. And let me know.

Oh...and say "Good Shabbos".

To quote Wayne Dyer, "If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change".