13 October 2006

Hoshana Blogger

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I know I'm supposed to be on hiatus, but I just could not resist.

This is for all of us who went around the Bima this morning reciting "Hoshana Adam Ubehama." - Whatever it's really suspposed to mean.

Here's my version.

HOSHANA Anonymous, Avi I & Also A Chasid, Hoshaana!
HOSHANA Ben Avuah, Billie Jean & Bshrirus, Hoshaana!
HOSHANA Chapztem
HOSHANA Daas Hedyot & DBS
HOSHANA Emes Ve'emunah
HOSHANA Happy with His Lot & Hassid Rebel
HOSHANA Irviner Chassid
HOSHANA Jewish Philosofer, Atheist, Skeptic & BiFem
HOSHANA Kylopod & Knowledge Problems
HOSHANA Lakewood Yid
HOSHANA Mis-nagid & Moshe Kappoya
HOSHANA Ohr Chadash, Orthprax & OTOH
HOSHANA Plony Almonous
HOSHANA Recovering Ortho Jew & , etc
HOSHANA S, SZHGKNB, Shtreimel & Spinoza
HOSHANA The Other Side
HOSHANA Un-orthodox Jew
HOSHANA Venting & Various ....
HOSHANA Winston, Hella
HOSHANA Yeshiva World News
HOSHANA Zei Gebentcht

Tekia Gedola

Note: The "N" is either missing on purpose or lost to history to be discovered somewhere in a Dead Sea Scroll; Just like the "nun" in Ashrei. Take your pick.

A Gitten Kvitel.

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    06 October 2006


    I am bursting. And I don't mean just about the food. I am bursting with issues I want to post about. And therein lies my problem. I have become all consumed with blogging, etc. And it's not just the time I spend posting and commenting. Even my normal day to day thoughts are being overshadowed by the verbiage I'm going to use for my next post. And then I sit down to post and have to re-create it all anyway. My wife talks to me and I just don't hear her the first two times or sometimes answer a question with something I've been thinking about in blogging.

    So I must take a break and I don't know how long I'll be. It's not just a break from blogging, I won't be surfing for a while either, at least until I break these terrible habits.

    I'll probably also revamp, add haloscan , maybe choose a different backdrop, add my favorite bloggers, etc.

    I agree with Hasidic Rebel about the proper way to handle breaks. So why am I advertising this now?

    Well, I really don't want to lose you guys and I notice via my Sitemeter that some visitors reach me by a Google Search for "Baal Habos". I would have thought some of this was first timers stumbling on my Blog, but that's not the case. Besides, earlier this week I saw a comment on XGH blog asking how will everyone know when he's back.

    So it seems that there are lots of people out there who don't know that you can register with some service and you get notified when a new Post hits your Favorite Blog. ;)

    I use Bloglines which was recommended to me by a prominent blogger. I don't want to be accused of namedropping, so I won't mention his handle.

    In any event you sign up, install something on your PC and if you set things up right you can, with a single click, add blogs you monitor. And you can install a notifier, so that you get notified when your favorite bloggers (Harumph) post something new.

    I'll keep commenting on for a couple of days.

    I've been in contact with quite of few of you via Email and I'll continue that; If you send me something specific I'll check out some blog, but to preserve my sanity, I need to stop surfing for a while.

    I had a dream my life would be
    So different from this hell I'm living
    So different now from what it seemed
    Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.

    Fantine - Les Miserables

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    04 October 2006


    Just as I came late to the whole BLOG party, I also arrived late to the “Unchosen” party. And I’m really upset that I did, because this book touched me. The problem is that I read it over a month ago and I don’t remember the details so clearly anymore. I kept on pushing off posting about it, because I wanted to be able to do it real justice, better than my typical hastily written posts. At this point, I’m reaching the “better late than never stage” so here goes.

    I was totally blown away by this book. (And so was my non-skeptic wife, but more about that in a later post). For those that joined the party even later than I, this book is about the lives of some Chasidim who either no longer wish to stay in the fold or decide to lead double lives within the Chassidic fold. And just like the characters I come across in Blogs, the characters in Unchosen each have their own story, their own path to the world of Skepticism. The real colorful ones have an emotional bent to their tale and others are more intellectually driven. In any event, I found myself identifying with and pitying some of these poor souls.

    Take Yossi, who is the protagonist of the book. While he does have serious emotional problems, I can’t help but shake the feeling that his emotional issues are exacerbated due to his being stuck in world he no longer cares for. Or take a Rabbi Fein (not real name) that remains in the system as a popular Chassidic Lecturer.

    As difficult as my situation is, it pales in comparison to these individual’s plight. Those that stay in a double life, are trapped in a much tighter web than I find myself in. And those that want to leave find they are unprepared and lack the social and educational skills to live in the secular world.

    The book also discussed “Footsteps”, an organization run by a Malkie Schwartz, herself being an Unchosen. The organization is devoted to providing support for those Chassidim who wish to enter or explore society outside their current boundaries. I believe Footsteps could use volunteers, so if you're in a position to help, check out their website.

    I was so moved by this book that I contacted the author, Hella Winston. My first Email to her included the following:

    “You have uncovered a deep truth about our society (Chasidic and Non-
    Chasidic), namely that peer pressure and public opinion plays a deep
    role in many peoples development.”

    Well, after several Emails back and forth, I had a long telephone conversation with her. She was, to date, the only verbal contact I’ve ever had with anyone about my situation. Let me now take a step back. Hella, while Jewish, is not from a religious background. Yet, she managed to gain insight and access into the workings of this subset of the Jewish Community. She was amazingly sympathetic and understanding of my own plight and the bind that I’m in. I am grateful to her simply for listening.

    If you have not yet read this book, check it out. You’ll be glad you did.

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