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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Gefilte is Good

A few weeks ago, the Orthofamily packed up to spend Shabbos at the home of old friends who have settled in another neighborhood, let's call it neighborhood X. In many ways, the neighborhood was similar to mine: overpriced homes inhabited by hordes of young professionals and their children and a shul on every other block with masses of strollers parked out front. In other ways, it was very different: In my neighborhood, there is a dumpster in front of a house on almost every block - there were very few in neighborhood X. In my neighborhood, SUVs outnumber minivans as the car of choice among the well-heeled. In neighborhood X, almost every driveway held a minivan. In my neighborhood, the strollers parked out front olf the shuls are tricked-out luxury models, competing with the fully-loaded aforementioned SUVs. In neighborhood X, women came to shul dressed in Shabbos finery, but they as a whole did not look over the top. In my neighborhood, people-watching the getups at the shul kiddush rivals sitting front-row at Fashion Week.

And though I love my neighborhood, and would not give up the positives that I get from living here, part of me was wistful at the fact that neighborhood X was just so much more...low-key.

I would love, just once, to show up at a neighborhood friend's house, and be served simply, without all of the bells and whistles that lunch in the Five Towns has come to mean. I mean, who doesn't love a plate of salmon all gussied up with a puff-pastry shell, topped with mushroom-spinach sauce, and artistically laid out on a bed of (pre-checked) mixed greens? But I have to tell you, it was refreshing to have my neighborhood X friend's version of a fish appetizer - a slice of gefilte fish topped with a carrot and a side of horseradish.

38 Comments:

Blogger thekvetcher said...

who do you know in williamsburg?

when are you going to beat up on the meter masids in Cedarhurst?
Now they are fabricating false tickets.

9:45 PM  
Anonymous justajew said...

You would love West Hempstead. It's the anti-five towns. People live within their means, are genuinely friendly, and don't try to outdo each other at all.

9:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL. Truth is, I love the fancy food the 5 towners serve. I always liked rare steak thinly sliced more than overcooked brisket. and it tastes better when its eaten on fine china and not on a plastic tablecloth.

but hey, i just get to eat the gourmet stuff when i visit the 5T. and for all i know i live in neighborhood X. so i guess its all relative.

9:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sounds like Om spent shabbos in passaic.

9:49 PM  
Blogger Jewish Blogmeister said...

Do you know where gefilte fish comes from? :)

9:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Orthomom:

Go east to the other end of the 5T's and you'll see a different type of environment.

11:47 PM  
Blogger MUST Gum Addict said...

OM, you and your family are welcome to have a meal in our home anytime. The kids sit with us at the table, the kids get to review their sheets from school, and you'll get your slice of gefilte fish w/carrot and chrain.

While I agree that what you describe does exist here in the 5T, there are plenty who still live a "low key" lifestyle. Maybe you just need to align yourself with those who share your own lifestyle preferences?

And finally, there are two sides to the story. I know of some people who thoroughly enjoy the art of entertaining. They go all out to prepare exotic foods and set the table in the most beautiful of ways. It brings these people much joy and in my opinion, also introduces a different level of menuchas shabbos. While I agree that some might be looking to show off, others see it as a way to make the day special.

Put another way that I think you might appreciate, It's a wonderful opportunity to involve the kids in a productive activity that also teaches a wonderful lesson. All for the right reasons of course.

12:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OM, get over it (and yourself for that matter). I know a great moving company if you want the number.
Shabbos should be spent with YOUR family, as Must mentioned, not with your friends while your kids are running around. So before you stick your nose in everyone elses business, take care of your own. And after you do that, keep your nose out of other people's lives.
Stop bitching about the same stupid strollers (it is getting a bit old) and just move to a different neighborhood......I hear Otisville has a great community. I'm sure you can find a few issues to blog about there.

1:49 AM  
Blogger YMedad said...

Low-key but spiritually uplifiting?
More than adequate but not over-the-top? Etc., etc. Try Israel.

4:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hear Otisville has a great community. I'm sure you can find a few issues to blog about there

Npw many mosdoa have been supported by those who are in or have spent time in Otisville? Or by people who if they were caught and prosecuted would be spending time at Otisville? Or is all that counts-is hypothetical violations by this or that place selling under the Vaad-or Tfilah bzibbur. Does anyone care?

4:47 AM  
Blogger MDmom said...

as someone who grew up in a 5T neighborhood and thought even back then it was over the top, it came as quite a shock when as a newlywed we moved to another suburban community which seemed similar but was actually quite different. the difference? where i grew up, and attended high school the university did not matter so much as the amount of money you were potentially going to make... where we settled as newlyweds, most of the kids went to ivy leagues and money was never discussed. quite a refreshing change. it set the precedent for us for the other chutz l'aretz community we wound up living in and eventually, our aliya (though ironically, some would say my community now is an israeli version of the 5T, but it's still israel). there is another world outside of the five towns.

6:39 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...



OM, get over it (and yourself for that matter). I know a great moving company if you want the number.
Shabbos should be spent with YOUR family, as Must mentioned, not with your friends while your kids are running around.


What in the world are you talking about?? My kids were there right next to me all Shabbos. Actually, in Neighborhood X, the kids sit at the adult table. Never in the kitchen as I have seen all too often in the 5T. Must, a longtime commenter, knows that's a pet peeve. That's what he's referring to.

Maybe you should get over your knee-jerk response anytime someone criticizes your precious neighborhood. Guess what? I can live here AND I can complain about it. Thank God for America.

7:18 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...


And finally, there are two sides to the story. I know of some people who thoroughly enjoy the art of entertaining. They go all out to prepare exotic foods and set the table in the most beautiful of ways. It brings these people much joy and in my opinion, also introduces a different level of menuchas shabbos. While I agree that some might be looking to show off, others see it as a way to make the day special.


Of course there's nothing wrong with serving gourmet food. I have been known to do so myself. It's just nice to visit a community where there are no expectations whatsoever to up the ante. As I mentiones, it isn;t enough to get me to move from my neighborhood - but it's certainly refreshing to see.

7:20 AM  
Blogger MoChassid said...

Mom

Gefilte fish rocks. In our house, salmon on Shabbos is assur.

8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In our house the china and silver is Costcos finest

9:41 AM  
Blogger flatbushrenegade said...

Om, you missed out on one of the biggest differences between the two neighborhoods. I bet in neighborhood x, the husbands came home for lunch sober. My experiences in the 5t, as well as what I see all too much of in my own neighborhood, is that after davening on shabbos more and more men consider it a requirement to drink to excess. Now I enjoy a shot of single malt as much as the next guy, but these guys are taking pride in getting plastered and stumbling home hours after davening is over. What the hell is happening to our communities? When the Monsey meat scandal broke out, one Rav in our community decided to prohibit any meat from being served in the shul (the caterer even makes a pretty good parve cholent). I wonder who is going to be the first rav to ban liquor at shul kiddeishim. (although I do know of one Rav that has banned liquor on simchas torah).

9:54 AM  
Anonymous farrockgrandma said...

Amen, sister.
I do enjoy attending as a guest, but I take more pleasure in being able to reciprocate. My table is just not up to these standards.

10:12 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Om, you missed out on one of the biggest differences between the two neighborhoods. I bet in neighborhood x, the husbands came home for lunch sober. My experiences in the 5t, as well as what I see all too much of in my own neighborhood, is that after davening on shabbos more and more men consider it a requirement to drink to excess.

Well, I don't know about your neighborhood, but I think saying that it is a common occurrence in the 5T is an overstatement. I can't argue with the experience that you had when you visited the 5T, and I will admit seeing the overindulgence in alcohol you refer to on rare occasion, it's far from universal practice out here. I can safely say that the vast majority of men in our shul return home sober.

Also, there are at least two 5T Rabbis that I know of that have banned hard alcohol at kiddushim.

10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a reason people dont live above their means in West Hempstead - because they have no means!! Come on, you know people on live in WH bc they cant afford the 5T's.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

"When the Monsey meat scandal broke out, one Rav in our community decided to prohibit any meat from being served in the shul"

What an idiot!! No different than, "When a coat was taken in my shul, the rabbi banned coats."

10:50 AM  
Blogger Mordy Golding said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think people forget that not all of the 5 towms are the same. I live in Woodmere and I admit that I hate some aspects of it. However, i think I live in a more down-to-earth part. Women wear a sweater and skirt to shul. The kids clothes run the gamut from Versace to Target...with no judgement. I personally am more of a heimish cook that gourmet, but I have never had anyone leave my shabbos table hungry. There are very high maintenance areas, but you can really get around them.

11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think people forget that not all of the 5 towms are the same. I live in Woodmere and I admit that I hate some aspects of it. However, i think I live in a more down-to-earth part. Women wear a sweater and skirt to shul. The kids clothes run the gamut from Versace to Target...with no judgement. I personally am more of a heimish cook that gourmet, but I have never had anyone leave my shabbos table hungry. There are very high maintenance areas, but you can really get around them.

11:17 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Anonymous said...

I think people forget that not all of the 5 towms are the same. I live in Woodmere and I admit that I hate some aspects of it. However, i think I live in a more down-to-earth part. Women wear a sweater and skirt to shul. The kids clothes run the gamut from Versace to Target...with no judgement. I personally am more of a heimish cook that gourmet, but I have never had anyone leave my shabbos table hungry. There are very high maintenance areas, but you can really get around them.

11:15 AM


I don't forget, but I guess I just live in one of the more high maintenance areas. Point taken, however. It isn't the whole 5T, just my neighborhood (and others). Let's call where I live neighborhood Y, for clarity's sake.

11:20 AM  
Anonymous A. Nony. Mouse said...

Since I absolutely *hate* clothes shopping, my preferred clothing style is Land's End knit cotton skirts and cardigans with cotton-poly blouses. I wouldn't last for two minutes in your neighborhood.

I have often, when visiting synagogues outside of my current unpretentious (read: not even upper middle class, much less wealthy) neighborhood, experienced the dubious privilege of being the most underdressed woman at Shabbat morning services. The feeling of not belonging is not one that I wish to repeat too often.

11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can safely say that the vast majority of men in our shul return home sober


OM, how about the women in your shul?

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Flatbush: Actually, I live in the 5 Townss and every shul in walking distance is completely 'dry'.

12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 12:04

Which 5 towns do you live in? Somewhere in outer space?

12:10 PM  
Anonymous mochassid said...

YIW and Aish Kodesh, for two, are dry

12:34 PM  
Blogger Honestly Frum said...

I am glad to hear you enjoyed your stay in Teaneck!!!!

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Definitely Teaneck... This is what I love about living here!

1:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OM,
While reading your post I was inclined to say "If you HATE it here so much, if we all make you s nervous, if you can't stand this lifestyle - JUST LEAVE!"
Of course you covered yourself by saying - "... I love my neighborhood, and would not give up the positives that I get from living here".
Since all we get are the negatives of living here, would you be so kind as to expound on some of the positives you get from living here?

Oh, and "Great material to blog about" does not count as a positive.
It's just so annoying when people like you bash and bash and bash. If you hate it here so much just leave.

6:38 PM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

Wow - horseradish on each plate? We're not even *that* fancy. We just put out a small bowl for everyone to take from... :)

10:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

: Actually, I live in the 5 Townss and every shul in walking distance is completely 'dry'.

12:04 PM


Anonymous said...
Anon 12:04

Which 5 towns do you live in? Somewhere in outer space?

12:10 PM


mochassid said...
YIW and Aish Kodesh, for two, are dry


Although not as large as YIW-Anshei Chesed -Rabbi Lefkowitz's schul is dry too. Thus, the schuls in that section of Woodmere Hewlett are all dry.

7:35 PM  
Anonymous kollelmama said...

heh, and we just put out the container!

4:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand why a house having a dumpster out front would be a good thing, befitting a fancy neighborhood. If anything, it sounds very unfancy. Could you please explain that part?

9:17 AM  
Blogger mama o' the matrices said...

Anytime you are in the Boston area...I can't remember the last time I wore panty hose. Oh, wait - I might have been visiting the family in NYC at the time..

Some communities really do have a bigger quotient of keeping up with the Cohens than others. I also like to get a read on the atmosphere by counting the number of Bugaboo Frogs outside the shul. And (absolutely true) on my last trip to NYC for shabbat, a young mother asked me about my battered old stroller. I was sad to disappoint her - my old pusher is not, in fact, a rare Peg Perego issue. (???) Why this mattered, I'm not sure, but it was clear that she was trying to strike up a coversation.

Each community has it's unspoken standards, and some are more comfortable with variety than others. And after decades in NY, I'm staying in Boston.

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could you please explain that part?


FYI, it is a temporary sign of ongoing construction and conspicious consumptiuon

5:21 PM  

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