In honor of Pesach, a yom tov that brings anxiety and longing to frum and OTD alike, I present to you a vort from Mar Gavriel, the author of a fabulous haggada which, due to my blogger’s nature I didn’t post on time for you to buy in time for this year’s seder but which you should nevertheless buy in time to pack up with the Pesach boxes so that it comes up with the newspaper-wrapped dishes, silverware and the Maxwell House haggada from twenty years ago. Stop using the Maxwell House haggada already!
This wonderful haggada will appeal to both the frum, who love digging up old forgotten piyuttim (and having them translated) as well as the OTD, who love unconventional divrei toireh. In other words, this haggada was made with the Frum Satire audience in mind. I apologize for not posting it sooner.
Avoodim Hooyeenee, we were slaves in Egypt. But were we really? Possible, but there’s no hard evidence for it. And way back then, was there really a “we”, anyway? And if not, why are we here at the seider table?
Because *this* seider isn’t about yetzias mitzrayim. In fact, no traditional seider is. It’s about how the rabbis said that there’s an obligation to tell the story, and then a story about how the Tannoim stayed up all night in Bnei Brak, and then about how you tell the story to four different types of children, and then about when you have to tell the story. [click to continue…]
I was never the rabbi type. When I’d listen to the tired old lessons drawn from the parsha, usually illustrated with the old king and prince trope, I’d wonder where the rabbi took his inspiration; did he really think this up on his own? Did he really draw that lesson from the parsha, or did he have to squeeze it out like a bad turd?
Well I’m thinking now that this business of drawing lessons from the parsha or the yom tov du jour comes with age, maybe, because I suddenly find myself thinking about what I can learn from Purim, or the upcoming Pesach, other than new, more creative excuses for getting out of the house while cleaning is underway. [click to continue…]
After Shloime had fasted for 12 hours, put the half-shekel in the pushka, davened mincha, took a nap so they would have energy to dance all night, ran to the liquor store before it closed so they can get wasted, and pulled out the torn jeans they’d bought at the thrift store Shloime felt ready for the happiness that would envelop him that night.
Shloime looked forward to Purim all year; it was the one time that he felt comfortable dancing and singing with abandon in front of his friends and rebbeim. This usually reserved 12th grader wasn’t exactly a morose bochur, but he certainly wasn’t the ebullient type either. He tended to avoid the gym and the baseball field, opting, rather, to sit in his room and read the books he’d borrowed from the library.
He attended to his studies when he had to, he would even raise his hand during shiur and ask a question, but he felt an uneasiness around his rebbeim, feeling like he was somehow apart, that he wouldn’t ultimately prove to be a source of pride to them.
But on Purim, after a few furtive sips from the double malt he would keep hidden in the Ginger Ale bottle, he would become a different person; he would open up like a rose in bloom, allowing everyone to look in. He would dance and sing at the top of his lungs. He knew he could sing on tune, enough people had complimented him on that, and through his drunken haze he had enough awareness to know that people admired his Purim antics.
Immediately after the megillah reading Shloime took off to his dorm room at a run. And, while everyone else shuffled out to the dining room to break the fast on franks-in-blanks and bourekas, Shloime took his first quick swallow of the scotch. This night was going to be great![click to continue…]
The fact is that frum schools simply cannot survive on tuition alone, as the posuk says “lo al halechem l’vad yichyeh ha’adam” (we’ll leave off the rest of the posuk for now because that’s partially responsible for the crushing financial burden in chassidish and yeshivish communities.) So what’s a school supposed to do if its parent body cannot afford to pay full tuition, its philanthropic pool is way maxed out and its alumni is helping pay their own grandchildren’s tuition with nothing left over to give back?
In the olden days they milked the lunch program, moving kids from school to school on inspection days to fill up every school’s lunchroom. When I was in school where they only had secular studies through 4th grade level (as you can tell), they had closets stacked with books through the 8th grade level. I don’t know this for a fact but I always assumed they must have claimed they were teaching all those classes, I don’t think it’s an unsafe assumption.