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Yeshiva Memories: The Girls

It’s Tu B’Av, so I figured I would write something about girls.

In my second year of high school an amazing thing happened, Rochester got its very own girl’s school and us yeshiva boys were ecstatic. We couldn’t believe our luck, there were actually going to be frum eligible teenage girls running around available for the taking, none of us knew what we were in for, but we figured it couldn’t be too bad.

The girls school was small, primarily made because one or two of the rabbis had high school age girls who they didn’t want to send away to school, but there was a dorm and it was conveniently located on the route to 7-11, one of the most common places for yeshiva guys to guy whenever they were bored, which was pretty often.

I myself was never a 7-11 guy, in fact I pretty much shunned the 7-11 practice as a futile attempt to do something without actually doing anything. Slurpees usually lost their juice in a few minutes and I secretly suspected that Big Gulps were watered down soda that cost way more than a two liter bottle anyway and you couldn’t drink the whole thing in one sitting. I suspect that the porno behind the counter held some allure for yeshiva guys trying to get a glimpse of them behind the Pakistani guy taking their folded up bills and change, but the porn magazines were always covered with slips of paper anyway, but suddenly the trip to 7-11 had some allure, because the Ora Academy dorm was right there, above Nahums Fine Clothing with the white shades always fluttering in the wind, with us always praying that we could get a glimpse if a gust suddenly came and threw up the shades as if God himself wanted us to gaze at the only frummies for miles in their birthday suits.

Just like trying to get a glimpse of boob through illegal channels that are mostly static, the Ora Girls were evasive; we never got to see them. We tried in vain, but our attempts proved futile, because we simply had no idea where they were. If they happened to be the JCC, we happened to not be allowed to go that day, if they happened to be going sledding, that too was made assur. Then somebody figured out that they hung around the Brighton Library and suddenly it was the awkward place to be, the sexual tension was palpable as yeshiva guys took computers situated across from Ora Girls as they became known and subsequently cows, even though I don’t recall that they were nearly as overweight as we suspected them to be. They actually took the Ora Cow joke to heart that one year I recall there was some sort of yearbook joke about it. Either way, we found ways to see them.

I myself coined the term Lecha Dodi Lookback while standing in one of the local orthodox shuls admiring the backsides of these young high school girls as we welcomed the shabbos queen in from her long week of idleness. I also figured out that if you waited a bit and pretended to be having a moment of serious kavannah you could see the fronts of them as they turned back around. The local shul where both yeshiva guys who were eating out at people’s houses and the girls davened became this tense game of staring without staring. I have written much on staring over the mechitza at girls and I think the mechitza at St. Regis in Rochester is where I got my start.

When you walk into shul, you must walk through the women’s section, they get a good glimpse of you, but you can’t really give much more than peripheral glimpses, you must pretend to not notice or care. The mechitza is one of those wooden affairs, the type that is carved out of wood with just enough to hold onto if there was a program and a Cossack tried to drag you away, but the wood is flimsy so it would eventually break. The problem with Regis, as the locals call it, is that it has a balcony as well, so if the girls decided to daven upstairs, which they started doing in later years – you had to strain your neck and risk being caught staring, if you wanted a good look.

The first time we got a good look at any of the high school girls was during one a bar mitzvah of one of the Rabbis sons, the entire yeshiva was invited and after a while all anyone had on their minds was the girl in the white dress. “Holy crap did you take a look at the girl in the white dress” she was hot by all standards and we couldn’t believe she actually lived in Rochester, she was one of the high school girls and it became this quest to scope her out wherever we went. Her brothers eventually wound up in yeshiva and I can remember several awkward conversations with people recalling the girl in the white dress and proclaiming her hotness to these people from her hometown who turned out to be her brothers (I withhold from more stories because I have no doubt that people who know who I am talking about will forward this on)

There wasn’t much in the form of kosher food in Rochester, years of community fighting, religious differences and the lacjk of a unified vaad hakasharus meant that the only one’s who got along with everyone was chabad (so odd considering that it has been the opposite in almost everywhere I have lived) so chabad decides they should do pizza night once a month on motzoi shabbos. So naturally I got a job serving pizza in exchange for pizza and so did other people, we would feel normal, almost like we were allowed out of our creaky old hospital building to pursue a social life.

I remember the first time it happened, the first time they decided to let the girls work the cash register and serve the pizza. We were bummed, we couldn’t go and I remember me calling up my father and asking him if the Rabbis thought we were going to get turned on by girls handing us change, he in turn told me that they did the same thing in Boro Park, instead of handing you your change, they slammed it down on the counter – to crush any desire you had to sleep with the cashier – then he used his famous words and told me it was Narashkeit, but rules were rules. I was angry for days after we were banned from going to get pizza because the girls were working there, I wanted to tell the rabbis that the girls working in the mall and at friendly’s (kosher ice cream) were way hotter and more likely to touch your hand when giving you change, but I didn’t want them to think twice about our mall privileges.

The Rabbis had it all wrong, they figured that since the Ora Girls were frum that we had the possibility in our minds, but in high school I wouldn’t have turned down any girl and neither would any of my fellow yeshiva guys have. There were rumors, but I doubt anyone ever hooked up with local non Jews, that was saved for college, but I guess the rabbis felt differently or wanted to feel differently.

One year one of the dorm councilors came up to me and asked me how I knew all the girls. I didn’t know any of them and had never talked to them in my life, but I was intrigued – she told me that she thought they all had crushes on me because I was the extreme sports guy, the guy doing bike and skateboard tricks outside their window. I was 16 and felt totally cool, it happened to be that the curb right under the blue awning for Nahums Fine Clothing had a great lip to jump off and it was at the bottom of a hill, for years I had been launching myself off of it, never did I realize the girls were swooning each time I did it, I wish I knew how to talk to girls, I wish I knew what I know back then, but I was utterly clueless. I had a girlfriend when I was 14, but that was a failed venture – it was all wrong and it felt too forced, kind of like shidduch dating actually, except this was more about 1st and 2nd base.

After high school my relationship with the high school girls changed drastically, I happened to move into my friends basement down the block from the dorm and suddenly I found myself having a secret relationship with one of them, so secret was this relationship that there were several times that my roommate and I transported her into my house in the trunk of my car parked into the garage (I may have been out of yeshiva, but I lived on the same block as the Rosh Yeshiva and pretty much everyone else involved in the yeshiva) That was my first real relationship, it was also the most relaxed and just plain old fun, marriage was not even on my radar, all I wanted to do was go to concerts, go biking and go to the woods – I long for simpler times and simpler relationships.

{ 105 comments… add one }
  • yoy July 26, 2010, 10:17 AM
  • The Older KissMeI'mShomer July 26, 2010, 10:29 AM

    Enjoyed hearing you reminisce. 🙂

  • Rabba bar bar Chana July 26, 2010, 11:49 AM

    I remember when I was 14 and went to camp in the Catskills. This was a boys camp and there were no girls, except one. The daughter of one of the learning rabbeim. She was only 12, but that was old enough for us to dream about her. She didn’t have much of a figure at that age, but to 14 year old yeshiva boys, with no other girls around, she was the hottest thing imaginable. Until her 14 year old sister showed up for a Shabbat and smiled at me and even spoke to me. I was shell-shocked and stammered something back, and then thought about her endlessly for the next month.

    • kissmeimshomer July 26, 2010, 6:42 PM

      that cant be pleasant memories. To me that’s a screaming red flag that says ” maybe rasing kids so sheltered ISN’T so smart after all”

      • old fashioned modern ortho July 26, 2010, 7:32 PM

        I agree with #4 100%. I don’t get the long term benefit of creating socially awkward teenagers. Kids in my neighborhood take Shabbos walks in pairs. I think it is healthy and quite sweet really. I hope that you find uncomplicated happiness.

  • Mahla July 26, 2010, 12:44 PM

    Yes, what great memories here. :^) Thanks for sharing. :^)

  • Talz July 26, 2010, 1:01 PM

    I go to a frummok BY hs, and none of us are allowed to even voice the word “boy” unless it’s part of the sentences “boys are there to be married” or something like that, and we had this school competition that families were invited to, and this frum hs guy was just walking around the school, and everyone was like, “OMG!!! DID YOU SEE THAT HOTTTT GUY????” when he wasn’t even that great looking. Sigh, how these frummoks totally ruin our perceptions of the opposite sex…

  • Rabba bar bar Chana July 26, 2010, 2:28 PM

    what is “frummok”? Is that a new slang for “very frum”?

    Excuse my ignorance – I’m a couple of years (or decades) older.

    • Yidishist July 26, 2010, 2:34 PM

      –ak is an old European denigrative suffix, as in Litvak, Paskudnyak etc.

      • Yidishist July 26, 2010, 6:02 PM

        And how could I forget? Chutzpanyak!

        [Although one could argue to differentiate between –ak and –nyak, you still get the idea].

  • MonseySixPack July 26, 2010, 4:36 PM
  • kissmeimshomer. new and improved July 26, 2010, 6:37 PM

    who said u cant have those simpler relationships now? just gotta find the right chick

  • guy upstairs July 26, 2010, 9:46 PM

    Ah, the Roch. Always happy to help a brother sneak his girlfriend into the house under a blanket. Great post!

  • flexidox July 26, 2010, 10:54 PM

    I fondly remember the summer in Camp Morris in Woodridge so many years ago. It was supposed to be learning camp and a few of us learned: about the birds and the bees across the road in Mashers Bungalow Colony. What can I say but to parapharase John Lennon. Some are dead and some are living….in my life I’ve known them all…….

  • 5T Resident July 27, 2010, 1:17 AM

    You struck a nerve in me with this post. I grew up in a frum family and to right wing, all boys yeshivas for both elementary and high school. There was a girls’ high school about 8 blocks from my yeshiva high school in Brooklyn but we were warned by the principal that any boy caught speaking to a girl from that school or even being within two blocks of the school without valid explanation would face automatic suspension, requiring a personal visit by the parents before reinstatement would be considered. I had no sisters and my parents davened in a shteeble where the girls were very frum Bais Yaakov types.

    The end result of all this repression was that I didn’t get the chance to talk to a girl my own age until I entered Queens College when I was 17. By that time, I had idealized girls to such an extent that I was the ultimate geek around them, causing them to reject me and give me a complex that I still have today, decades later.

    Repression is a bad thing.

    • Guest July 27, 2010, 3:23 PM

      Did you stay within the world of shidduch dating, or did you go OTD, assuming dating prospects would be better? If it’s the latter, it’s not surprising that you were treated like a geek. Everyone in the secular world knows that in order to get girls you have to (act) like you don’t give a shit. If you’re able to toe the fine line between pretending like you don’t care, but not coming across as a belligerent asshole than maybe you’ll stand a chance. Either way there are no guarantees.

      Either that, or settle for the first (hopefully fairly attractive) girl that appears to have an interest in you, which is what a lot of people do. Don’t hold your breath, though, because there are no guarantees that will happen, as a couple of my brothers are finding out. Dating like a secular American is no better, regardless of what freid-out-ex OJs think. There are even more mind games, and things are even more hit or miss. The prospect of ever getting married is more tenuous, although, paradoxically, there is a wider population of women to date.

      • 5T Resident July 27, 2010, 4:17 PM

        No, I didn’t go OTD (but my brother did after his 2nd divorce). My biggest problem was that I grew up being taught (1) girls are assur, period and (2) anyone who pursues a girl is a bum. So, naturally, when puberty kicked in, I didn’t know what to do. On the one hand, I discovered girls and hormones took over but on the other, I developed tremendous guilt for wanting to talk to girls. The few girls I tried to talk to in my shul basically turned their backs to me after I said a few words. I eventually started to believe that I was unattractive and that pushed me even further into repression. My teen years were hell. My early 20’s were no bargain either – I got to Queens College and there were modern frum girls everywhere and gorgeous shiksas too, but I had no idea how to approach any of them. So I lived out my college life in repressed misery. Then came law school with “easy” non-frum Jewish girls and more gorgeous shiksas. My two best friends in law school (neither of whom were Jewish – one is a Roman Catholic and the other has a Jewish father and Italian mother and was married to a black girl) had girlfriends galore and tried to teach me to be cool around girls, but by that time, I was sunk into just being a “nice guy”. And so, I got nothing.

        In the end, I went the shidduch route and after several years and several dozen girls, I b’h found my spouse and here we are, 15 years and 4 kids later. But I will never forget the longing of my high school and college years. They were hell.

        You hit in the nail on the head about what girls want – they want guys who act like they

  • moshe July 27, 2010, 1:47 AM

    heshy write about the college chicks across the street from the yeshiva dorms and when the cops were called in on shabbos cuz of indecent exposure

    • Mush July 27, 2010, 2:12 AM

      I wanna hear that one!

      • the other shim July 27, 2010, 2:16 AM

        hey maybe Heshy will even have pics! that’ll drive up site traffic:)

        • Heshy Fried July 27, 2010, 3:09 AM

          Like any guy I took loads of first gf kissing pics – but that’s about as far as I go in that department

  • Esther July 27, 2010, 10:30 AM

    “…it happened to be that the curb right under the blue awning for Nahums Fine Clothing had a great lip to jump off and it was at the bottom of a hill, for years I had been launching myself off of it, never did I realize the girls were swooning each time I did it…”

    Heshy, you stud! Good for you! You may have been clueless, but that’s not what the Ora girls saw…

    Great post. Keep ’em coming.

  • Post FFB July 27, 2010, 11:01 AM

    I can definetly relate to this posting, during my time at Ohr Chodosh I volunteered in a Hospital in Jerusalem. My Rosh Yeshivah was very proud of me, but little did he know that all of the modern orthodox seminaries in Israel volunteered there as part of their respective chesed programs and I made sure to chat it up and plan stuff with them.

    Naturally, I got farther than anyone in my time at Ohr Chodosh. I raised my standards from Michlelet Esther to Neve Yerushalayim, Michlelet Yerushalayim, and many of the small time ones too. I must say that the hottest sem girls I have seen in Israel are from Neve Yerushalayim’s outreach or kiruv program. BJJ girls are the most frum/akward to be around with (By BJJ I mean Bais Yaakov of Jerusalem, NOT Brazilian Jiu Jitsiu)

    Overall spending that year volunteering in the hospital was one of the best ways to pass my time when morning seder was over at Ohr Chodosh. I also gave me the opportunity to explore town and go to the movies/mall/talpiuyot/beitar Jerusalem F.C. games while everyone was davening mincha or shteiging away.

    SIDE NOTE: Haoman17 denies entry to Americans, also avoid wearing any none yellow/black colors near Teddy Stadium/Malha mall on motzei shabbat

  • the real name of st. regis July 27, 2010, 4:47 PM

    according to anyone who knows, is the “holy rollers”. ironic since the shul is actually a church.

  • The Ex July 27, 2010, 11:18 PM

    ….so secret was this relationship that there were several times that my roommate and I transported her into my house in the trunk of my car parked into the garage… Were there other girls besides me?! I recall the only way to visit you was to come and leave your house after midnight so that it was dark enough, and most of Rochester would already be asleep to notice the Ora girl running down sylvan to visit her boyfriend. As far as being transported to your house via the trunk of your car this I DO NOT recall.

    • Partyjew July 28, 2010, 11:20 AM

      SO funny! Heshy is busted!

      Baby, you can ride in the trunk of my car any day of the week.

  • b July 29, 2010, 4:57 AM

    i remember when my sister was in ora about 7 years ago she hung out with all the yeshiva boys–one shabbos i visited her and we all hung out in some ghetto park and then motzash they all got high (without me, they thought i was too young….little did they know…) i guess times changed since heshy’s day.

  • An-on July 29, 2010, 7:23 AM

    Good to hear that Rochester has been achieving higher and higher levels.

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