Solely In Black and White: November 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

60 Seconds of Food for Thought

Because you know how much I love paradoxes...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bathroom Fun

Because just going to the bathroom isn't exciting enough anymore... 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Gobble Gobble. Don't worry this turkey is safe. It's a turkey in the Whipsnade Zoo, London.
I don't think they celebrate Thanksgiving like we do... :-P

First off I should apologize for my lack of posts as of late. In case you haven’t heard, things have been rather busy. ;-) Anyways…

I have always been amused by Thanksgiving. While I personally, or more specifically my family and my-in-laws, do not celebrate Turkey day, I have partaken in the modern Jewish adaptation of Shabbos Thanksgiving. I don’t really understand the underlying premise of it either. Sorry, let me rephrase that. I find it comical that Thanksgiving is celebrated in the form of a holiday rather than any specific act of giving thanks.

To preempt the most obvious of questions, no, I am not a one of those anti-thanksgiving Jewish fanatics. Like most issues or topics, I generally follow the doctrine of live and let live. As for the Thanksgiving being a problem of chukas hagoyim, all I can say is “seriously?” Even if you can conjure up a reason that it would be a religious holiday, you still have to ascribe to the notion that the pilgrims fled England because of religious persecution, which would imply it’s still not a religious holiday. If not, that would be some heavy irony. Regardless, the issues I do wonder about with regards to “Thanksgiving” celebrations are ancillary ideals that people shoehorn into the day, such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and patriotism. (Thanks Lincoln! By the way, what happened to Evacuation Day?) Perhaps, there may be a reason to be patriotic, but in that case why don’t we celebrate Memorial Day and Veteran’s day with the same gusto? Alternatively, if those were intended themes of Thanksgiving, then by default the way to celebrate Thanksgiving would not be to feast but rather to act as a model citizen.
Don’t get me wrong, I obviously and wholeheartedly support the concept of thanksgiving. Furthermore, I am all for the creation of one day of thanksgiving to encapsulate and reflect on the things in our lives which we are (or should be) thankful for. We live in a world that is not lacking in suffering or pain. As many recent events have proven, you only appreciate something either when it’s gone or when it’s in jeopardy. So regardless of how you spend your thanksgiving (or how you don’t) appreciate everything you have even those minute little things you take for granted every single day…  I know I do.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

An Alternative Shidduch Plan: 20

It has actually been a while since I posted about the topic of shidduchim, but I suppose the whole NASI shidduch "game changing" initiative deserves a response. While I suppose it would not be prudent to subject the proposed program to further degradation, criticism, and harsh scrutiny, I will add that the program seems counterproductive. Logically, creating a tiered system in which girls are charged more money as they age only furthers the societal misconception that the older a girl becomes the less desirable she is; thus, harder to marry off. Ironically, I thought the organizational goal of NASI was to encourage the closing of the age gap by promoting the marriageability of “older girls” and not pressuring girls to get married as soon as possible.  

Regardless, I would like to offer an alternative that perhaps might alleviate some of the ills that plague the current shidduch system, at least from the age gap perspective. 

First and foremost, you have to concede that G-d makes all shidduchim. That being said, any shidduch not being made is also a byproduct of G-d’s will. Alternatively any “shidduch crisis” is a voluntary act of G-d. Now, even if you are of the opinion that there is a divergence in numerical distribution, or simply put more girls than boys, you must concede that G-d has the capabilities of rectifying the situation without human intervention. So while we may theorize ways to “fix” the “shidduch crisis” just know that we are only mere mortals trying to do our best to ease the pain of others, but ultimately, perfect solutions are not within our grasp.  

That being said, the basic idea behind my proposal is a simple premise: Girls should not be allowed to date until they are 20. 

The reasoning, I think, is rather straightforward. While I cannot vouch for the accuracy of NASI’s numbers, I can say that their premise may be correct. From my informal fact gathering I was alerted to the notion that the birth rate is not an even 50/50 split, but rather, 51% of all births are girls while 49% of are boys . Parenthetically, even if the age gap were closed, approximately 3.92% of all girls on average would not be able to marry (within our community). Furthermore, the larger the age discrepancy, the larger that number grows to. Assuming a conservative compounded birth rate of 1.63%, the average birth rate for the entire Brooklyn as our benchmark, we can surmise that the bigger the age gap, the more girls will be left without boys to marry. Hypothetically, if the average age gap was one year of divergences, the amount of unmarriageable girls would be 5.46%, two years 6.98%, three year 8.47%, four 9.94%, and five years 11.38%. Clearly, diminishing the age gap, even by one year, would be a significant accomplishment. 

In the proposal at hand, the main goal of the idea is deterring girls from dating until they are 20. This change would diminish the age gap by at least one year and in many cases two. Granted, this is not a solution. Rather it is a step in the right direction. I will concede that there are many pros and cons to this proposal. Additionally, there are many practical considerations that need to be addressed, such as how such a program could be enforced. Furthermore, there are other ancillary individualistic and societal benefits that said proposal would promote that need to be elucidated. However, because I am currently lacking in time and this post is already longer than I intended, I will save my responses to those issues for another post. Regardless, I still believe that based solely on the facts presented above that the idea has merit.