Stand-Up Guy’s Colorful Plea (Chronicles Feb. 11) Evokes Reader Sentiment
Dear Stand-Up Guy,
Thanks to the tremendous wealth of Jewish literature available today, I rarely find myself reading The Jewish Press over Shabbos. On occasion, however, I skim through the Family Issues section looking for something of interest, and boy, did I find something. Never have I been one to voice my opinions to the editor, but seeing your letter inspired me to crawl out of my shell of anonymity and tell the world what I think.
In most mainstream yeshivos and Bais Yaakovs great importance is placed on uniformity. The Bais Yaakov school I went to aimed to diminish any shred of self-expression or individuality by implementing a strict uniform code; girls who deviated even slightly saw swift consequences. The imposed uniformity did not sit too well with a girl like me whose nature is open-minded, spirited and inquisitive.
My parents gave me great experiences growing up — museums, traveling, introducing me to the arts; therefore, I learned to love creative expression through art and writing. My school seemed bothered that I was not “the same” as others in my grade. I was not the same white shirt, cookie-cutter kind of girl who had no passion, no opinions, without a sense of individuality. They wanted girls to not only look the same, but also BE the same. But who’s to say that someone who expresses himself or herself differently is a lesser person? Choice of dress has no bearing on one’s observance of Torah and mitzvos. The most ehrliche and G-d fearing bochur in yeshiva may very well be the guy in the pink, purple or even the polka dot shirt.
Since when does one’s choice of creative expression tarnish his soul? Being frum doesn’t mean looking like everyone else. Being frum means being sincere. I became extensively involved with kiruv rechokim to try and reverse the negative assumptions that nonaffiliated Jews have about yiddishkeit and religious people. I have a Masters in education so that I could be at the forefront of Jewish chinuch. So that I could teach Yiddishe kinderlach that whatever shirt they have on, the most important thing is to be kind, honest, generous people, to love Hashem and to love everyone.
The menahel recently called to offer me a teaching position in the same school which tried to stop me from being the person I wanted to be. Whatever your convictions, they make you who you are. Hang on to them; don’t let go. Being the better person doesn’t mean always fitting in.
I’ll go out on a limb here, Stand-Up Guy: Your letter affected me. I appreciate what you wrote and I thank you for taking the time to read my words. I would be so honored to go on a date with you. Things come together in mysterious ways, and trust me, Hashem looks out for even those of us wearing pink shirts.
Dear Stand-Up Girl,
We are honored to have provided the impetus for your motivation to come out of your shell and give voice to your strong conviction. And we can hardly argue that being a mensch comes before anything else.
Hopefully, Stand-Up Guy is reading this and will be in touch, for as you say, things come together in mysterious ways.
Today I read your column about clothes and I thought I would write to you about my problem.
I have a 26-year old son named David. David is very smart. He went to Brooklyn Tech and then on to Carnegie Mellon, one of the top Engineering Schools in the US. At Carnegie Mellon he became religious and when he graduated IBM recruited him.
He now works for IBM in Haifa and is looking for a wife. David was raised in a secular home and since he came from the US wants a wife to whom he can speak English because that is his primary language. He has a good job, just purchased an apartment that he will move into in July/August and he has his own car.
He is also in the IDF Navy until July/August – so he does not have much free time until then.
I wonder if you know any religious young lady here in the USA who would not mind moving to Haifa to meet, marry and raise a family with my son.
With the miracle of computers, I can send you a photo of him. When I visit him in Israel he is the ONLY person in his shul who does not wear a black hat. He has a brown one.
And if you know someone in Israel who is willing to move to Haifa, that would be okay too.
I will gladly pay the matchmaker fee or make a donation to help agunot. Thanks!
Though you refer to your issue as a problem, there doesn’t seem to be any. Your son is 26-years young and all indications are that he has a bright future ahead of him.
Your request is an uncommon one for this column, but the sincerity of a father’s heart has moved us to post your message.
Should anyone be interested in finding out more about David – we even have a photo of a handsome young man to pass along – please write to this column at Rachel@JewishPress.com. (Serious inquiries only!)
May you realize your longing and may your noble quest lead to loads of Yiddish nachas.
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We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.