Posted by Julia Bendis
Attending a wedding the other week of a couple that I introduced, made me think of the many Mitzvot that we are supposed to perform in our lifetime. Having been somewhat of a Matchmaker since I was in high school, I had never really thought about it as a Mitzvah, or a good deed. All I did was put two souls together, mainly because I had a feeling that they would like each other and hopefully build a life together. But as I sat listening to the Cantor during the wedding talking about the Torah, and the significance of all of us performing a Mitzvah, my husband leaned closer and whispered: “I’m so proud, you made all this happen, yet another Mitzvah!” To tell the truth, it caught me off guard, I had never thought of it that way. My amateur matchmaking had always been a bit of a hobby, on the side of all my other “real” jobs. And as my husband would say, a bit of an annoyance and hindrance to our personal life.
So as I started to ponder about all the people I introduced over the last fifteen years, and realized that a lot of them have continued to stay together, and in this case get married and start a family! I had an epiphany! I was doing a service to the world, I was performing a Mitzvah each time I matched a couple! It only took me about fifteen years to come to this realization… But, then again I am a bit of a slow learner. Then more questions poured into my head… Are we supposed to accomplish a certain number of good deeds in our lifetime? Am I good now? Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love matchmaking, especially when the two people hit it off and continue dating. However, it does not come without its problems.
Some of my past “couples” are eager to share their first meeting with me, along with every detail of their dates after that with its ups and downs, leaving me wanting to “fix” the situation. Others I hardly hear from again until I see a post on Facebook that they are getting married, which brings me to yet another thought. There has to be some kind of an etiquette when it comes to using a matchmaker, especially my kind of a matchmaker, a.k.a the free kind! If I introduced you two, and somewhere down the line you decide to get married, along with your first phone calls to Mothers, Fathers, Sisters and Brothers, shouldn’t I be in there somewhere well before Facebook, Shmacebook, Twitter and whatever else? Is it just me or does something feel a little odd about having to find out on Facebook that the couple you set up is getting married? Again, maybe its just me.
I also get my husband involved in it, which he happily goes along with screening people with me, trying to look for single and available bachelors at his work, gym, basketball league, etc… Poor guy is so tired of me waking him up a 2 a.m., only to hear me squeal with excitement because I thought of a girl for my single guy!
So, going back to my original question: Is Matchmaking a Mitzvah? And how many Mitzvot are we as human beings, and Jews are supposed to perform to be good with the man above? Or does it not work that way in Judaism…
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February 25, 2011 | 1:42 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
1. Don’t you love those people that use ALL CAPS when typing? What is the thought there? That unless you use all capital letters nobody will read your email, or that its a lot more important that other people’s emails? And furthermore the same people that use all caps, don’t know how to spell and apparently have never learned about punctuation marks or anything else that normal people use when writing… Do you have any idea how hard it is to read an email that is not only in ALL CAPS, but missing commas, periods and grammatically incoherent? This is an example of an email I received the other day:
I JUST GOOGLED ALL THE GAMES PLACE SO WE CAN HAVE THE ADD:
THIS WEEKEND ON SUN IT’S AT CORNA GYM @ 2:15 THE ADD IS 502 S VICENTIA AVE, CORONA , CA , 92882
THEN 2/26 @ 2:50 AT LA MIRANDA HIGH SCHOOL ADD : 13520 ADELFA DRIVE, LA MIRADA , CA, 90638
AND 2/27 @ 3:25 AT NORCO RILEY GYM 3900 ACACIA AVE , NORCO , CA, 92860
IF WE WIN WE WILL GO ON TO A 4 TH GAME THAT WILL BE ANNOUNCED.
ALSO WE AS A TEAM HAVE TO PAY A $10 FEE TO THE SCORE KEEPER PER GAME FOR ALL 3 GAMES IT’S LIKE $3.50 PER KID IF YOU COULD GIVE THAT TO THE COACH ON SUN GAME THAT WOULD BE GREAT.
ALSO WAS WONDERING WHAT EVERYONE’S THOUGHTS WERE ON A TEAM PARTY AFTER ALL THE CHAMPION SHIP GAMES ARE DONE?? SHOULD WE HAVE ONE ???
PLEASE EVERYONE LET ME KNOW YOUR INPUT ON THE PARTY ??
*** TREAT AND DRINK I HAVE SEAN FOR THIS SUNDAY MICHAEL FOR NEXT SAT AND WE STILL NEED SOMEONE FOR SUNDAY’S GAME PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF ANYONE CAN DO SUN??? THANKS IN ADVANCE TO THESE PEOPLE FOR BRINGING TREAT AND DRINK AGAIN.THANKS
Can any rational person understand what the hell any of that means?
2. What about those morons that abbreviate every other word! I am talking about a long email, not a text that only allows you 160 characters. Are you that fricking lazy that you can’t even write out all the words in your pathetic e-mail? How the hell am I supposed to know that ADD stands for address and not actual ADD illness? Or are you trying to tell me that you have ADD, and therefore can’t sit long enough to write out words correctly?
3. How about those of you that feel the need to post your every move on Facebook or Twitter! “Going to the supermarket with my wonderful hubby, then for some romantic dinner at Blabetty Blahs” Really? Do you really think people give a damn? Or my favorite one: “What a beautiful day! I want to thank God for my wonderful husband, my perfect little children and my perfect little life! If it wasn’t for God, I couldn’t be enjoying this incredible day!” Yes, we get it you love God, you are a born-again whatever, you found the meaning of life, you are all of a sudden not a miserable person that you used to be, and even though you used to do crack, smoke everything under the sun, steal, lie and cheat, we get it that now you are a changed person, all because you found… drum roll… GOD!
4. Speaking of Facebook, how about those socially inept human beings that post their engagements, pregnancies, and other special, private moments on Facebook prior to actually picking up the phone to share the news with their family and friends! I am all for people making making their own mistakes, looking like fools and all that but how idiotic is that?
5. Yes, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Vests! What a waste of money and material.
6. I absolutely love those people that insist on licking their fingers while eating. I can not think of a more grotesque habit than that! Can you imagine sharing food with that animal? Hey imbecile, that big white thing you just put on your lap is called a NAPKIN, and you wipe your hands on it. It’s not just there for the food that misses your mouth.
7. How about those parents that refuse to admit that their kid is a brat? No, my kid would never do that. You are right, that moron that I witnessed with my own two eyes karate-kicking another moron in the back was obviously not your kid, he just happened to look like your kid who also got into your car afterward, right?
8. No matter what’s happening in the world, everyone blames the Jews. It doesn’t even matter what it is, wars, recession, Charlie Sheen’s addiction, every single time its the Jews’ fault. (Read more about that later)
9. People that have to create something out of nothing! Drama junkies. Even if there is absolutely nothing, those people will find something to argue about.
10. And my favorite are the women that complain about their husbands losing jobs, yet they continue driving their luxury SUV’s, parading around with their Louis Vuitton bags, and refusing to get a job of their own.
February 22, 2011 | 12:23 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
In the last six years, I along with my husband and kids have lived in many different cities. In part its due to my husband’s profession; having been in the entertainment field for over 20 years, its just a way of life. Moving away from Orange County a few years ago was the hardest move since leaving Soviet Union back in 1989. Not only was I leaving my parents behind, but everything and everyone I had known for twenty years… There were positives however, I was looking forward to taking a break from the California “standard of living”, a.k.a the Botox-filled, silicone loving, Range Rover driving, so-called “mothers” and their staff.
I always told my husband that I would move anywhere in the United States, except for Alaska and Florida. So naturally, he came to me one day saying that he got an offer from EA Sports in Florida! I told him to have a safe trip, write every day and we would see him for Passover. As much as that sounded like an appealing offer, he wasn’t happy with it. After days of negotiations, I agreed to move to Orlando on the condition that we would move back if it wasn’t all that the company had promised. As I was being dragged into the airplane by him, I kept praying that they would find an unidentified object on the airplane and we’d have to postpone our flight. It didn’t happen, only because every time I started to scream out “there is a Bomb on this plane”, my husband for some reason would immediately lean in for a kiss. I didn’t quite get his sudden desire for public displays of affection, and frankly it pissed me off. By the time I realized that the plane was taking off, he had already strapped me in the seat. I am also a hundred percent sure he had slipped a Xanax in my drink, since I was feeling happy, relaxed and a little bit horny. Anyone else experienced that side effect of Xanax? No, its just me? Alright, stop judging.
My husband warned me that moving to Orlando, Florida would be a little like living in the southern states of the U.S. I thought I was prepared for it, but boy was I wrong. The first obstacle I encountered was having to drive along sides of all the Floridians, which was more than frustrating. I have never seen so many idiots driving so damn slow! And this wasn’t Boca Raton where the majority of the population are old, and retired Jews driving bigger-than-life Cadillac’s. Why the hell was everyone such slow drivers? My husband kept reminding me that this wasn’t California, no one was in a rush for anything and that I needed to be more patient. That never happened either.
I kept screaming and pointing to random drivers, weaving in and out of traffic and generally very annoyed every time I had to drive a car the whole year we lived there. I was very thankful that my young boys hadn’t caught on to the “finger” gesture that became my trademark. I was also very thankful, and surprised that I was never pulled over by the police the whole time we lived there, mainly because of my clearly stated “HUTZPAH” personalized California license plates! As much as I loved when my husband presented them to me as a gift a few years back, he very much regretted that same gift once we got to Florida. He tried long and hard to get me to replace them with the Florida license plates, but I held on to them for as long as I could. I knew it was time to let go of them when a bunch of Neo-Nazis parked next to me at the mall, eyeing the license plates when one of them asked if it was something written in “Jewish”. Yes, you ignorant, pathetic excuse for a human being, its written in Jewish. You know that language that only us “The Chosen Ones’ know how to read. You can imagine how thrilled my husband was when I re-told my exciting conversation with the skin heads over dinner…
The second obstacle I had to overcome was seeing the Confederate flag flying everywhere. At first I didn’t notice it much, only after my then first-grader pointed out that the American flag looks different here in Florida then it does back in California. Having come to the U.S. at thirteen, I missed quite a bit of American history, and had to look up the meaning of the Confederate flag, as well as delegate the duty of explaining its meaning to our son. After learning more about it, its original story and the meaning behind the Confederate states, I couldn’t help but be appalled and embarrassed to live in a state that didn’t outlaw the flag altogether. I do understand that originally, the Confederate flag did not symbolize hatred towards African-Americans and it has more of a “Southern pride” meaning to it. But how could anyone live next door to a house proudly waving the Confederate flag twelve months of the year? Especially if you are an African-American.
There were many times when I tried ripping my neighbors’ flags off their house in broad daylight, or decals off their trucks sitting next to me in parking lots, but each time my husband ended up dragging me back home before I could get a good grip on them. I don’t know what his problem is… The whole year and three months that we lived in Florida, he woke up every morning asking if I planned on getting myself sent to jail that day, so he could plan his meetings accordingly. It’s hard to get into too much trouble when you have a first-grader and a 9-month-old baby hanging on you at all times, but I still found ways to make our little gated, golf-course community despise me.
I believe I was known as: “The one with the sensible husband, the one that likes to cause trouble, the one that insists on educating her children, the one that brakes all the rules of Magnolia Plantation gated community, the one that had to be escorted out of the Club House because the waiter refused to give her a regular iced tea instead of the red neck iced tea, the one that doesn’t let her children near the alligators that come up on shore “, and my favorite: “the one that refuses to spread gossip around when we all gather at the bus stop every single day because we have nothing better to do!”
I really thought I was leaving Orange County, and all the fakeness that California is known for behind. But apparently, in the middle of poverty, hickness, red-neckiness, (yes, I know those are not real words) swamp land and Disney World, there lie many abundant and beautiful Golf courses that are supposed to shelter you from all the harm, ignorance and stupidity of living in Orlando. All you have to do is marry rich, hope he doesn’t get bored with you and move on to a younger version after a few years, make him buy you an over-priced house in a gated community, have an affair with either your gynecologist, your next door neighbor, or join a swingers club, and never leave the inside of the gates! Sounds like a wonderful life, I wonder why we couldn’t make a great life in Orlando?
February 19, 2011 | 1:31 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
Is it just me or is the show, ‘The View’ going down the hill? The last couple of years it seems that the show has gotten a lot more hostile than in the past… They have great guests on the show, and their topics are pretty relevant but its the hosts that bug me the most. Not all of them, mainly the blond, bitter, and very angry 70-year-old woman trapped in the body of Elizabeth Hasselbeck.
How could a 33-year old person be filled with so much anger, resentment and bitterness? Every time, I tune in to the show and listen to her speak I can’t help but want to scream at her: “Chill out, loosen up, take a breath, relax woman.” She is constantly arguing, yelling and trying to prove her point. Granted there are three or four other women to compete for air time with, but come on! Every single conversation, every topic becomes a yelling match with her. It’s like she is trying to over-compensate for her young age or something.
Hasselbeck has to always be right, with every single topic. Does she ever listen? Sure, she seems to sit there and pretend to listen while the others are speaking but the whole time you hear her trying to get a word in. How can a young person be so radically Republican and a conservative? Aren’t most young people just want peace, love and equality? How badly was she damaged during her childhood that she has to turn so conservative? I really would love to try and have a conversation with her, I doubt it would be anything more than a monologue though… Who hired her to be on the View anyway?
She really needs to pull that stick out of her butt, take a Xanax and try having sex once in a while. It will do her body good, not to mention put that anger into a coma for a little while. Again, just my opinion…
February 16, 2011 | 9:39 am
Posted by Julia Bendis
-While my husband, growing up in Ohio got to go on potato chip factory field trips, my brother and I got to go on Concentration Camp field trips. Look up Salaspils in Latvia.
-When most kids got to play with Barbies, toy trucks and teddy bears, I got to play with syringes, which my brother and I used to prick my doll with, in the behind. My Mother worked in a hospital laboratory, and occasionally brought home Medical paraphernalia. See picture.
-We were so proud of not only having a push button TV, instead of a dial, but also a whole of three channels. One was a 24-hour Communist brainwashing news channel, the other an all-Latvian language channel (which only my father spoke fluently), and third which only had cartoons on Saturday mornings for an hour, the rest of the time it showed Red Square parades, and other Communist propaganda.
-When we first came to the States, we moved in with relatives who were kind enough to house a family of four in their home. My Uncle invited us to go to Denny’s one day. Having never heard of Denny’s or knowing what it was, we all ran to our rooms and came out with our finest apparel we owned. As my Uncle stood in his t-shirt and shorts waiting for us, we paraded out of the house looking as if we were going to a Royal Ball. People in Russia dressed up for every occasion. It didn’t matter if they were taking a quick trip to the supermarket, a Doctor’s appointment or a meeting with friends.
-To live in Soviet Union one had to master the art of bribery. Not only master it, but study it, learn it, and live it. My grandmother was best at it. At all times she carried a couple bars of chocolate with her, and large bills just in case you needed to bribe someone with it. It isn’t that chocolate was hard to find in Russia, but it was more of a symbol of gratitude. She would start bribing with chocolate, but if that didn’t work she would pull out the big bucks. Doctors, supermarket employees, teachers, summer camp counselors, you name it she bribed them! Her motto was: “Why take a chance that the Doctor will screw up when I can pay him to drink Vodka AFTER the surgery is done!” We always got special treatment everywhere we went, but at a young age you don’t know why you are getting it… We just assumed that my grandparents were famous people, what a shock to your system only to find out that it isn’t the case. Later, I started to notice why we’d be seated at most popular restaurants way ahead of people that have been there before us, as I watched my grandmother slip something into the Manager’s pocket. My grandfather was always ashamed of it, and stayed as far away as he could during those moments. It was always my 4-foot-nothing-90-pound grandmother hard at work.
-To read more funnies: www.easternblocklox.wordpress.com
February 14, 2011 | 6:14 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
I really don’t like Valentine’s Day! I hate everything about it, the stupid, corny Hallmark cards, the over-priced flowers, the overcrowded restaurants, the need to out-do each other with pricey gifts, etc… I am not saying that we shouldn’t show our love for the people in our lives, but why do we have to do it on February 14th, and spend a fortune while we are at it? Shouldn’t we be doing it every day of the year? Why do Americans become like herds of cattle on Valentine’s Day, all going in the same direction, to the same stores, buying the same flowers and jewelry?
See all of this presents a small problem for the man married to me. He actually likes Valentine’s Day! I know, very strange. My husband can be very romantic and creative when he wants to be, and since every year I beg him not to spend any money on this ridiculous holiday, he decided to go a little crazy this year. We haven’t done anything much the last few years, so I was in for a big surprise. All I knew was that we were going overnight somewhere, the kids were going to Grandma’s and I was to pack a nice dress and a swimsuit. No, wait he said a bikini. I think the man forgets I haven’t owned a bikini in about ten years. On top of it, its February, who in their right mind is going swimming? But, I promised that I was going to go along with it, and started packing.
He took me to the beautiful Laguna Cliffs Resort and Spa in Dana Point, CA. I’ve been to Dana Point many times, but have no clue how I’ve never seen this Resort before, I didn’t even know it existed! Not only was this place beautiful, but the service was even better. What I found out later was that my husband got there the day before, had brought over roses, champagne, my favorite See’s chocolates and a necklace for the hotel to lay out in the room. The Manager was so touched by his thoughtfulness, she threw in complimentary breakfast and use of their Spa. Everything was going great, I was overjoyed by my husbands’ creativity, and he was very pleased with himself for pulling it off. We were both taking pleasure in the peace and quiet that comes with not having children around, especially during our romantic dinner and breakfast over looking the Harbor.
Feeling a bit guilty that we couldn’t share this beautiful resort with our kids, and wanting to take full advantage of the price tag that came with this gorgeous hotel, we decided to have my parents bring the kids over the next day. As the kids splashed around in the heated pool, I sat on my behind and did nothing. That’s a new activity for me: doing absolutely nothing. And of course, having a bladder the size of a peanut, I ventured out to find the closest restroom. All three of my boys get extremely annoyed whenever we have to stop our activities to find me a restroom. I tried to explain to them that when you carry a giant baby for nine months in your belly, then have to push that giant baby out of your stomach, it leaves you with an invalid for a bladder. For some reason that explanation did not make them feel sorry for me, but thank their lucky stars that they are not girls.
Here is where this story gets interesting. They had one of those “family” restrooms next to the pool. As I closed the door, I realized that there was no way to lock it. It was missing a lock. Having no modesty, I didn’t really care about someone walking in on me. So, I wasn’t at all surprised when someone was fumbling with the doorknob trying to open it. I told them to hold their horses, as I was almost done, thinking they will wait. Nope, he didn’t wait. I know he heard me, yet there he was standing in the door frozen in time staring at me. It was a good 30 seconds before he finally snapped out of it, said ‘sorry’ and left. But not before taking a good look.
The funny thing is that I don’t even care about some stranger seeing me half naked. All I care about is WHY he wouldn’t stop staring, and what’s with that look on his face? Did my huge c-section scar scare him off? I can’t tell you how great it was to go back to the pool, and having to sit across from that guy for an hour. What a wonderful Valentine’s weekend it was. Oh well, at least we got free breakfast and a great view from our room…
February 10, 2011 | 11:45 am
Posted by Julia Bendis
Does having a decal of children, dogs and your entire family on your car make you a better Mom? And more importantly, does NOT having one make me a bad Mom?
I was pondering that question as I sat in traffic on the 405 freeway the other day. As usual, I was stuck behind a Minivan with one of those stickers on the back window. You know which ones I am talking about! There is a stick figure of a man, a stick figure of a woman in a skirt, a smaller girl/child stick figure, a boy stick figure, a baby stick figure, a couple of dog stick figures and of course a cat. Those are usually on the left side of the back window. On the right side of the window, there is typically some kind of a decal/sticker for whatever sports league, or high school team the kid is playing on. We are all so happy for you and your kid!
I am still waiting to see if I can find a Minivan with the Two-Mother decal on the back window, next to the children, or Two-Fathers. I’d be happy with either one to tell the truth. I hardly doubt that I will ever see that in Orange County. I asked my husband if I could get one of those Two-Mother decals on my anti-Minivan. His response wasn’t what I had hoped: “Don’t you think our neighbors, friends, and teachers already think we are weird enough? I am pretty sure the home-made ‘No on Prop 8’ signs were enough of a clue that we are a bunch of Liberals. ” Good point babe!
But seriously, does the fact that I don’t want any of that crap on my car make me a bad parent? I don’t want to display my entire family in cartoon stick figures on the back of my window! If anything, I would get the Two-Mother decal just to see the reaction on people’s faces when they drive past me. It doesn’t mean that I don’t love my kids or my dog or my husband. I guess I just don’t understand the point of publicly displaying a known fact that MOST Mothers love their kids…
Although, I do have one sticker on the back of my car. Its my Latvia decal. I only put it there to watch as the drivers behind me pulling their necks out, trying to figure out what the hell Latvia is and what it means. A few years ago, I actually had a Mother come up to me in a parking lot asking what Soccer league that was and where she could find it!?!? Moron.
Here is my point: we all know you got kids, we all know you love your kids, but not all of us want to graffiti our cars with decals of our kids, dogs, cats and other animals. Just my opinion…
February 8, 2011 | 12:42 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
As we all sat around watching Super Bowl last Sunday, and I watched the commercials, I couldn’t help but cringe every time an inappropriate commercial came on. I wouldn’t even care so much if the kids around the country weren’t watching it, including my 5 and 11-year-olds. The occasional skin-clad twenty-year-old models, and sexual references are nothing new to advertising, and as the parents we expect it by now, and try to shield our children as best as we can. But when you are raising boys who want to watch the Super Bowl with their Dad, how do you protect them from watching other things that are projected on the screen?
I am not even talking about the commercials, since we are all used to the negative images in them. I’m sure I am not the only parent that have had to explain to my 5-year-old what an Erectile Dysfunction is, and why its so bad if you have an Erection that lasts for more than 4 hours. (He knows that he needs to call 911 or get to a hospital immediately). But what do I tell both of my kids when the announcer on Fox Sports starts talking about Ben Roethlisberger raping a girl last summer? Why do they need to talk about that during the game? And what do I tell my boys?
“Kids, see that giant, steroid-driven, scary-looking number 7 Quarterback? Well, what the announcer was trying to say is that he “ALLEGEDLY” raped a girl in a bar. Oh, you don’t know what rape means, or the word ‘allegedly’? I am so glad that Troy Aikman decided to bring that up during the Super Bowl game when kids are watching it too! Let’s thank Mr. Aikman, kids. Rape means that a person is forcing you to have sex with them. Oh, that’s right you are just starting to learn about sex. Are you confused? Don’t get upset because you don’t understand why a person would force a woman to have sex with them. I know its hard to enjoy the game now, and you keep thinking about that poor woman. But, she is alright now, she is very rich after the incident.”
I would personally like to thank Troy Aikman and Joe Buck for not only educating my kids about the immoral football players, as well as opening a can of worms that I was hoping not to have to deal with until my boys were mentally capable of dealing with it when they were much older, but also teaching my kids a very valuable lesson:
All you have to do is throw money at it, and your wrongs become rights!