Monday, September 15, 2008

All work and no play makes Baila a dull girl...

I've been working. It's been about 18 months since I last worked such a full schedule, although I am working less than I did in the states. I feel much more organized when I work. I tend not to procrastinate on things, because I know there is no time to do them the next day. I don't have as much time for blogging, and it really is hard to squeeze it all in, but so far its been okay.

I work in a special education school in Kiryat Sefer, a chareidi city not to far from Modi'in. The ultra-orthodox are referred to, and refer to themselves as "chareidim". I grew up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and we called the place a "chassidish [pronounced by all good chasidim as "chaseedish"] neighborhood. In Israel it would be called chareidi.

Anyhow the facility is run by chareidim and a high percentage of the students (ages 2to 9, with a variety of handicapping conditions, from very mild to severely multiply handicapped) are from the neighborhood. The staff is mostly chareidi, but there are a number of regular Jews like me and some secular Jews as well.

My last job in the states was working for the New York City Public School system (I loved that job. Really.)

When I came in yesterday to my office, I noticed my office mate had left her bag on her desk. When I asked her if that was wise, she told me that in ten years of working at this facility, there had never been an kleptomaniac incident in the school.

Much as I loved the public school I worked in, the first thing I did upon arrival was put my bag away and bolt the locker closed with 16 different locks and keys. I installed a security system with a private code to ensure noone would get to the $3.00 or so that I usually had in my bag. This was, I assure you, a necessary precaution.

The other thing I noticed was amusing to me. I found a stack of pictures used to encourage description and answer questions in one of the speech offices. I had had a similar set in the states. Only in this set, everytime there was a boy or man in the set, someone had colored in a black kippah and a beard. Some of these pictures had boys and girls together in them, but I guess they had no way to get around that.

I remember growing up in Williamsburg, there were coloring books that featured Moshe Rabbenu always dressed in a shtreimel and bekeshe (the traditional hasidic garb consisting of fur hat and long black coat). The women in those pictures were always wearing wigs and Shabbos robes. That just cracks me up. As a kid, I thought, don't these people know anything?

Moshe Rabbenu looks like this and not like a chasid!


Leora said...

Me oh my Baila you've gone Cuckoo with that photo.

I thought haredim were also misnagdim who reject the State of Israel and not necessarily hassidic.

Thanks for checking in with us bloggers with an update post.

SuperRaizy said...

You scared the hell out of me with that picture!
I also work for "chaseedish" people, even though I'm just a "regular Jew" like you.
Anyway-about Moshe Rabbenu wearing a shtreimel- they're right about that one, as evidenced by this video (originally found via the Brooklyn Wolf)-

mother in israel said...

In Williamsburg, the "charedim" are all chassidic. In Kiryat Sefer, some are chassidic and some are misnagdish (Litvak). Quiz tomorrow.

I found it fascinating that you could leave something in the library, say, and it would still be there several days later.

Anonymous said...

Baila, that picture, you are not looking well, maybe you should give up the chumus and borekas for a while. Or maybe its the kids, I know, school has started, I am ready to send them all to boarding schoolor to Carol since she has 2 empty bedrooms.

Baila said...


Not ALL chasidim reject the state of Israel. I believe the Klausenberger chasidim are okay with the state's existence.


I love just being a "regular Jew", don't you.


And I think that some chareidim are also not anti-state. I could be wrong about that.

The picture is Jack Nicholson in the movie The Shining. In it, his character spends months writing a novel. His wife, suspecting something is up with him, sneaks a peak at what he is writing and she sees hundreds of pages with the lines, "All work and no play make Jack a dull boy". (Get it-the title of this post!) That was one of many scary moments in the movie, when she realizes her husband is nuts.

That picture is Ja

Anonymous said...

The point of dressing Moshe Rabbeinu in a shtreimel is that clothing conveys a message; the message conveyed depends on the cultural context. Whatever Moshe wore conveyed, in his time, the same concept a shtreimel projects now-- an insistance on maintaining one's unique cultural identity and personal dignity. The message his antique clothing would send now would be that he some kind of Arab. I can't put my hands on my Tolkein, but he makes precisely this point in the notes at the end of the Lord of the Rings-- that a meticulously accurate portrayal is, ultimately, deceptive.