Thursday Link Early: Marry Young, My Son, Marry Young

Not going to have a post ready by Monday, so here’s this to keep you busy:

Living OOT and not getting too many Jewish publications, you miss some of the more entertaining  notions people come up with. So I was unaware that men going to Israel at 21 is depriving poor spinster girls sitting back in the USA trying to get married. (What is wrong with marrying a 23-year-old boy, I’m not sure yet. Does anyone have an article detailing this particular solution to the “crisis”?)

At any rate, someone is calling them on it.  Controversy ensues. Arm waving, yelling, someone throws a tallis bag… Whattaya think?

In case the link becomes defunct, here’s a page with the full text of the letter (but none of the comments).

Trip to Israel in Summary

Excerpt from Conversation 1:

Mr. Shidduchim: Good bye! Have fun! Love you! Send my best to the relatives! And if you come back engaged I won’t be too upset.

Bad4 Shidduchim: Don’t hold your breath, please. I love you too.

***

My Luggage Contents:

“When you pack for England, you pack things for yourself for when you’re in England. When you pack for Israel, you pack stuff for everyone in the entire country of Israel.”

 

Contents of Large Suitcase #1 ( 100%)

  • For kinfauna (entertainment – 35%)
  • For kinfauna (clothes – 60.5%)
  • For me (3.5 oz deodorant – 0.5%)
  • For Also4 (electronics – 4%)

Contents of Large Suitcase #2 (100%)

  • For kinfauna (30%)
  • For Best4 (10%)
  • For assorted relatives, friends, neighbors, and random strangers who heard I was going to Israel (60%)
  • For me (0.0%)

Contents of Carry-on Suitcase (100%)

  • For me (95%)
  • For kinfauna (5%)

Personal Item (Knapsack – 100%)

  • For me (100%)
***

Excerpt from Conversation 2:

Passport Control Guy: Why are you coming to Israel?

Me: To visit my kinfauna. And friends. And brother and sister-in-law.

PCG: They live here?

Me: Yep.

PCG: They made aliya?

Me: Yep.

PCG: Why haven’t you made aliya yet?

***

Excerpts from Many Conversations:

Friend 1: You can wear a tichel to work in Israel.

Friend 2: If you make aliyah, they pay for your education.

Friend 3: You don’t have to waste your vacation days on chagim over here.

Relative 1: Why would you want to live anywhere else?

Relative 2: I bet we could find you a job if you came here.

***

Excerpt from Conversation 3:

Truck Driver: Why are you here?

Me: Visiting my brother.

Truck Driver: He moved here?

Me: Yup.

Truck Driver: He moved from the United States to Israel? Why?

Me: Um…

My Contribution to the Community

I have a great idea for an invention. (Listen up all relevant parties; yes I mean you.)

It started when Good4 and I were sprawled on my bed with our heads stuck out the window, enjoying a spring breeze. A young wife was shoving her way up the block, pushing a double stroller in front of her. She was practically 45-degrees with the ground in her effort to keep the heavy thing moving. And this was on level ground.

“When I have a double stroller, remind me to stand straight when I push,” Good4 said. “It looks so awful.”

“Not as awful as her husband strolling along behind, hands in pockets,” I observed. “But you know, she’s doing that because it’s heavy.”

“Yeah I know, but still.”

“You’d be like Black Beauty in the bearing rein if you insisted on standing straight. And that was outlawed as cruelty to animals.”

“Still. It looks terrible.”

I recalled that conversation a few months later while pushing a friend’s single stroller up a steep Israeli hill. I tried standing straight, but the darn thing (not to mention the kid) was heavy. I gave in to physics.

While I was pushing (and sweating), I thought about uphill bicycling.

Bicycle commuters are not always enthused about the exercise opportunities of their transit medium. That’s why they invented these motors you can attach to your bike. The smaller ones just kick in on hills to make it easier to pedal up. You still have to pedal somewhat, but it’s a whole lot easier.

I think we need something like that for double strollers. A small motor you can kick on that will make it easier to move those things.

It would have to have the following criteria:

(1) It has to be removable. For chagim and for locations with eruvim.

(2) It has to be small enough that we don’t wind up with motor-vehicle classification issues. It has to be legal for sidewalks.

(3) It has to be strong enough that a small woman, laboring under the weight of a large sheitel, could push a double stroller uphills without compromising her posture.

Someone, please invent this before I have my first kid.

Remarkable Replies

We often make fun of dumb shidduch questions. Because, let’s face it, they can be strange. What animal would she be? Why did his grandparents move to the USA? Why did she go to that seminary if she’s supposed to be smart? But sometimes the answers you get are even stranger.

Like the mother of a son who was somewhat put out to be told: “She would scrub toilets to support Torah!”

An excellent sentiment, no doubt. The sort of thing aidel bais yaakov maidels are encouraged to anticipate with great joy on a regular basis. But the mother of this son had not graduated bais yaakov recently. Thus, she found the image of her daughter-in-law on her knees enthusiastically scrubbing toilets for a living while her son learned a little off-putting.

While investigating a young woman for Also4, my mother once found herself listening to a description of the perfect family: nine children, the mother a loving housewife, the father in the bais midrash studying. A charming family portrait in muted oil colors. Only one thing was missing.

“Uh, how do they pay their bills?” Mother asked.

“The apartment is paid for,” the neighbor said. “There aren’t many expenses after that.”

“Really,” the Mater said. The conversation was beginning to leave the world she knew, but had not yet dived into the Twilight Zone. “But even so, they must have some sort of income. Nine children?”

“Well, not all of them are still at home,” the neighbor pointed out. “Really, they don’t need much.”

My mother raised a mere five children herself, and never got the impression that we didn’t need much. Especially when we were teenagers and it was supper time. Or lunch time. Or breakfast time. Or snack time. Or any time between.

“Not much, but something!”

“Well, it’s not for you or I to ask,” the neighbor said primly.

Okay, we have arrived. Play the theme music.

“Really,” said the Mater.

“That’s code for ‘he sends naïve yeshiva bochurim to Japan with drugs,’” I suggested. (I was at the kitchen table having a mid-morning, post-snack nibble.)

“They do live in Bnei Brak,” the Mother said thoughtfully.

We tried to put a positive spin to vagrancy. It was difficult. I  mean, that was a common conviction of Jazz era gangstas. It bodeth not well.

Of course it is possible that they wear clothing from a gemach, eat out of Yad Eliezer packages, use electricity only for emergencies, and live off their child tax credits. That would be better than trafficking illegal substances – by a photo-finish margin.

So Also4 went out with the Future Convict’s Daughter.

Nothing came of it.

We were all very relieved.

You Can Have My Nephew

I meet NMF #7, her mini-me, and mindy at Bonkers to do some catching up. (“My how you’ve grown since I last saw you.” “Gee thanks.”) Afterwards we go pick up a mended bracelet from a gift shop for the NMF. (Really I think she’s an MF by now, but since she’s co-opted the title for her blogger name, she’s going to remain in shana rishona forever.)

Naturally, we struck up a conversation and naturally it turned to aliya, and the woman said she had an American nephew who was in yeshiva now and wanted to stay in Israel, and I said that was typical – doesn’t everyone fall in love with Israel? And doesn’t everyone say they want to live there? And doesn’t everyone subsequently go back to the USA and develop a myriad reasons why they can’t make the leap?

Which, naturally, brought everyone round to staring at me, since I was the only person in the shop who didn’t actually live in Israel.
“You can have my nephew,” the storekeeper offered. “He’s learning in the Mir.”

Sounds like every other guy I go out with.

I handed her a ridiculously priced postcard, automatically asking for a discount and was automatically refused as easy, American, prey. But in with the postcard she slipped a business card with her nephews name, some details, and a phone number.

And here’s the best part: she’s the third person to try to set me up since I landed.

Matchmaking is the national sport, eh? I can see it.