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Saturday, May 21, 2005

More Neighborhood Politics

I'm sure you've all heard enough of the politics in my neighborhood. But I saw something this weekend that I just couldn't ignore.

The Village I live near has a local Country Club. All residents of the Village are entitled to become members of the club, and use the facilities. However, the growing Orthodox segment of the community was unable to use the catering hall for events because the exclusive caterer was not kosher. In order to use a kosher caterer, one had to first pay the exclusive caterer their fee, and then pay the kosher caterer for the event, in essence paying double. The Orthodox began a campaign to change that. They met upon a lot of resistance from the older, largely non-Jewish or non-Orthodox members of the Club. It took a very acrimonious, contested Village Trustee election to finally open the Country Club up to allowing a kosher caterer. This, in turn, opened up the Country Club to all sorts of events, such as Kiddushes, Bar Mitzvahs and the like.

Fast forward a few years. Today, we attended a Kiddush at the Club that some friends made in honor of their new baby girl. The scene was not to be believed. Thank God, the Orthodox community has been blessed with a tremendous amount of children. Now if only we could only get their parents to supervise them.

There were kids trampling the flower beds. There were kids throwing food into the pond. There were kids climbing onto the rocks in the rock garden. There were even kids running around on the green of the eighteenth hole. There were kids smearing chulent into the carpet of the main hall.

This begs the question, in my mind at least, was the "old guard" of the Club so wrong? At the time, of course, their resistance was chalked up to anti-Orthodox sentiment, and I think that was a large part of it. But have we brought that mindset upon ourselves? When we allow our children to run amok with no parental supervision and treat the facilities like a playground, can you blame the members of the club for ruing the day they allowed a kosher caterer?

In some ways this attitude makes me feel self-hating. But am I really so wrong? If we would like to be treated like "bessere mentschen"* as my grandfather would have put it, then let's act like "bessere mentschen".

*Better People (literally), higher class people.

35 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm. I was there today too. So that's where you live.

11:46 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

If it took you this long...

11:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You do sound self-hating. Dont you think goyishe kids misbehave also?

10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jewish kids are more loathesome than goyishe kids when they misbehave. In fact they're more loathesome even when they don't misbehave.

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it time to start censoring comments mom?

12:23 PM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

"You do sound self-hating. Dont you think goyishe kids misbehave also?"

Not like this. The non-Jewish kids, or non-religious kids parents' raise their kids to believe they're upper class AND to act in that manner in certain settings (i.e. the country club).

Orthodox Jews, at least the type migrating from Brooklyn, seem to lack this gene. That's why people who moved here forty years ago are realizing the 5towns is going to the birds and moving to Scarsdale and other FAR AWAY places that have yet to be discovered by the loutish contingent orthomom is describing.

Think I'm self-hating? Drive down Central Ave. any Friday afternoon. It's Ave. J all over again.

2:30 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

SW, I'm not sure I am as willing as you are to tar Orthodox kids. I DON'T necessarily feel that Non-Jewish or Non-Orthodox kids are better behaved in general, I just feel that they are better supervised by their parents in settings such as the Country Club. Part of this is the fact that there are more kids per family the in Orthodox world, and part of this stems from apathy on the parts of these Orthodox parents. Either way, I really wish these parents would wake up and realize what a chilul l'Hashem this behavior creates.

3:47 PM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

Chas v'Shalom. I wouldn't paint all Orthodox kids with such a broad brush. You can spot a frum kid whose parent are baalei middos, and were raised accordingly, a mile away.

I think you're being too generous to chalk it up to having many kids. When I visit frum communities in New Jersey (Monsey, too, back in the day), where many families also have more than average numbers of children, I'm not subjected to the chaos I experience in Brooklyn, and from the description in your post, at your neighborhood country club.

4:03 PM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

"Jewish kids are more loathesome than goyishe kids when they misbehave. In fact they're more loathesome even when they don't misbehave."

This person is WAY off mark and clearly motivated by some agenda. When Jewish kids misbehave, they're annoying and innapropriate. When non-Jewish kids misbehave, serious property damage occurs, people or animals get hurt, and everyone in the immediate vicinity suffers.

Has ANYONE ever heard of a Jewish kid, forget about religious, set a homeless person on fire? Or start fights with strangers. Or wantonly destroy personal property. Need I go on?

4:07 PM  
Blogger DovBear said...

"You do sound self-hating. Dont you think goyishe kids misbehave also?"

Not in a countyry club they don't, unless they're the sort of low trash hicks who don't belong ina country club in the firts place, which, I suppose was OM's point.

4:18 PM  
Blogger DovBear said...

Oh, (and I say this only because you're such a cop about my non-traditional spelling) your use of the phrase "begging the question" was incorrect.

4:19 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Actually, DB, the usage that is in my post has become the accepted modern meaning of the phrase, though it was originally different. New Oxford Dictionary of English, for example, says it is “widely accepted in modern standard English” to use the phrase "begs the question" to mean "raises the question".
DovBear, did you really think I was gonna let you win?

4:39 PM  
Anonymous mycroft said...

A fair issue to be discussed with the Yeshiva/Day Schools emphasis on davening and the church aspects of yahadus-the ben adam ladam aspects are neglected. Or maybe worse there is an arrogance taught by Yeshiva/DAy Schools that lets kids think as long as you daven and stand for the Rabbe it is OK to be obnoxious.
Query; Two people -one eats treif-one steals-which if any would be pasuled from receiving Maftir Yonah?

6:05 PM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

" Or maybe worse there is an arrogance taught by Yeshiva/DAy Schools that lets kids think as long as you daven and stand for the Rabbe it is OK to be obnoxious."

Not true. The yeshivas don't teach that it's OK. They just forget to teach that it's NOT ok. Certainly a failing in their priorities, but it's not fair to paint them as malicious.

6:16 PM  
Blogger DovBear said...

Actually, DB, the usage that is in my post has become the accepted modern meaning of the phrase,

Rediculous. Only among the ignorami.

http://www.answers.com/begging%20the%20question

6:42 PM  
Blogger DovBear said...

(And yes I know: The correct plural form is ignoramuses. Since ignoramus in Latin is a verb, not a noun, there is no justification for a plural form ending in -i.)

6:44 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Just start spelling 'ridiculous' correctly, and I'll stop being the spelling police. And then you won't have to go to such great lenghths to try to prove, in vain, that I am an ignoramous. Thanks pal.

6:56 PM  
Blogger DovBear said...

Great, you can spell. I'd be more impressed if you could use worlds and phrases correctly, phrases like "begging the question."

Spelling is easy. Writing is hard. You value the wrong thing. Pal.

6:59 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

SW, I agree with you. Mycroft, the Yeshivas are not teaching our children that this is acceptable behavior, they are just not stressing how unacceptable it is. Yes, that is problematic, but not to the extent you suggest, that they are being TAUGHT to be "obnoxious".

7:00 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I could fill the page with links showing you that "begging the question" has become accepted usage for "raising the question". But you can Google too.

7:01 PM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

yeah, mycroft...I. Told. You. So.

nya nya nya

7:02 PM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

(i'm just kidding. they didn't teach me to act like that in yeshiva)

7:02 PM  
Anonymous sam said...

Oog. Dov bear, you're quite the stickler. I am laughing out loud remembering the (apocryphal) story of the fellow who visits Harvard and asks the first elbow-patch wearing gentleman he sees - "excuse me sir, can you possibly tell me where the library's at?" The tweed-wearer replies "in hahvahd, we neveh end a sentence with a preposition." The visiting wag retorts - "ok then, can you please tell me where the library's at, asshole?"
Yes, to a logician, begging the question means something very specific. However, language is not the domain of logicians, nor, thankfully, of pipe-smoking pedants. Wide usage effectively determines correctness - that's why the split infinitive patrols in contemporary comp classes have been retired to pasture.
An excellent example is the word "nauseous" - which has ovetaken the more proper usage of "nauseated." No harm, no foul, and the english language is better for the broadening.
If language weren't dynamic, we'd still be speaking beowulf-style.
Spelling can be equally dynamic, but spelling changes must be widespread and not merely a localized symptom of apathy or ignorance for them to become acceptable.
So before you take issue with the mote in orthomom's eye, I'd suggest you address the "beem" in your own. Otherwise you run the risk of making people nauseous.

9:23 PM  
Blogger Air Time said...

When did this blog become the back page of the Atlantic?

And why are you all blogging on a Sunday? Are you at work?

10:43 PM  
Blogger DovBear said...

Yes, to a logician, begging the question means something very specific. However, language is not the domain of logicians, nor, thankfully, of pipe-smoking pedants. Wide usage effectively determines correctness - that's why the split infinitive patrols in contemporary comp classes have been retired to pasture.


It's not so simple. The language prescriptivists have a case, too. It hasn't been a rout for the descriptisivists.

Your claim, (Wide usage effectively determines correctness ) looks prima facie OK — but in fact it is vague and muddled: Wide? What is wide? Usage? Who's usage? Urban Latinos? Boston Brahmins? Rural Midwesterners? Appalachian Neogaelics? Hasidic New Yorkers?

In general, I do side with the descriptivists: I agree that simply appealing to precedent or tradition won't work, because what's considered correct usage changes over time. However, again, which usage? Among which people?

Among the intelligent, ie: people who know better, the meaning of "begging the question" hasn't yet been expanded. To missuse that phrase, is still a sign of ignorance.

11:20 AM  
Blogger DovBear said...

To put it more simply, OM's use of BTQ might not be "wrong" from the perspective of a radical descriptionaist, but it *still* announces her membership in the society of people who either (1) fdon't care about langauge or (2) don't know any better.

11:23 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

"...So before you take issue with the mote in orthomom's eye, I'd suggest you address the "beem" in your own. "

---- er, the correct spelling is "beam", and, BTW, it is a parable of Jesus, Matthew 7:3-5.

11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my mother always taught me, and I try to follow through, that you should not bring your kids to shul or any other event "kiddush" "wedding" unless a) they are perfect angels
b)you are totally in charge
c) bring your own nanny

I don't blame the old guard... O kind of agree with them

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys are boring the piss out of me.
Love,
William Safire

11:49 AM  
Anonymous sam said...

Paul...I'm pretty sure I know how to spell "beam". I wasn't aware that I needed to close caption for the humor impaired, but here goes: since the discussion was about spelling vs. usage, I chose to close my argument with a jab at db's free attitude to spelling - with a deliberately misspelled word thrown into a biblical parable. Apparently more clever than funny, I guess.
I've also read the New Testament, thank you very much. I'm not that afraid of adapting the gospel writers to my own ends - buber did it all the time.

12:23 PM  
Anonymous sam said...

Also, DB: I read a suggestion somewhere that the only people still using BTQ in the original sense are logicians and pedantic people who are trying very hard to make the point of how smart they are by using it that way. I find that argument entirely convincing. Which begs the question: why are we still debating this - this isn't the MLA forum...more matter less art, please (Paul, I know, that's shakespeare)

12:28 PM  
Blogger DovBear said...

Which begs the question: why are we still debating this

We're debating this because YOU took issue when I corrected the blogosphere pre-eminent spelling cop. (Are you OrthoDad?)

I read a suggestion somewhere that the only people still using BTQ in the original sense are logicians and pedantic people who are trying very hard to make the point of how smart they are by using it that way.

You made it yourself! As I said above, using BTQ correctly is still done by people who care about language. You don't (care about language) and that's fine.

You're not wrong; just indifferent.

12:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in this community.I amm not from the old guard.I must say that the Brooklyn lack of common decency has arrived here full blast.during the weekday davening the cell phones ring constantly."bochurim"with widebrimmed black hats throw their dirty tissues on the tables.They park themselves on the rabbi"s shtender.They stand at the entrance to the shul smoking their menuvildig cigarettes,forcing anybody entering the shul to breathe in their garbage.Double parking and blocking driveways along with hornblowing has become the in thing.
It's really no wonder that the non-frum hate us so much.

6:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

now their ruinging the high class places we once had to relax and enjoy along with business meetings. what else will they take over next? first cedarhurst, lawrence, penninsula blvd, and now our country clubs? maybe we should turn them into churches now

10:59 PM  
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2:47 AM  

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