If I ever write a book, maybe I’ll call it, “The Crazy BT’s Guide to the REST of Your Jewish Life.”
Because even if you get the Jewish stuff, the core Yiddishkeit, there is just some of it that you never quite pick up.
- Why is parent-teacher night called PTA? What is the A?
- Why are there only Mothers’ Associations? (even boys’ schools don’t seem to have Fathers’ Associations)
- And why is the grade after kindergarten and before Grade 1 called Pre-1A? (I think it’s a New York thing…)
- What is this thing we Jews have for Chinese auctions? Is there some secret Asian element in these ticket-bidding wars that I’m missing? Are the tickets maybe printed in China??
There are so many things you’d have to throw in there.
Like, “what is Bnos and how do you find it?” (or, for boys, “what is Pirchei and how do you find it?”) (“and once you have, how do you stop the kleine zisse yingelech from tossing your tiny, innocent son face-down in the snowbanks?”)
(answer: pull him out of Pirchei)
Oh, and Oorah. Oorah sends the coolest auction brochures – and they actually dropped the Chinese part of their name; yay, Oorah! Plus, Cucumber = Oorah. That’s a New York thing, too.
There will be a big chapter for parents of older kids entitled, “How the heck should I know what yeshiva/seminary in Israel he/she will be going to…?” They all just have some generic Bais Machon Shayna Babushka Chaya Liba Teacher’s Seminary name. Unless they are SUPER-cool, in which case they’re just known by the esteemed menahel’s name: “Oh, definitely Katz’s.”
Maybe I’ll throw in a humour section on all the ways that your house is 100% kosher but nobody can eat there because they only eat (check one) cholov Yisrael, yashan, cholov Yisrael (makpid on keilim), chassidishe shchita… or won’t eat anything that touched a broccoli.
(maybe they just can’t get to your house because they don’t hold by the eiruv)
There is just so much you need to know, every single day, to function as a frum person. You could be ticking along perfectly well for dozens of years and then one day an FFB friend will be in your kitchen and see you sticking a cut half-onion in the fridge and tell you demons will possess it unless you dip it in oil first.
I’m not knocking it; I just wish they’d tell you about the demons right up front. And how to tie your shoes; how to cut your finger and toenails (careful; you’re not pregnant, are you?).
Even my FFB kids know this stuff. How? Certainly not from me… I guess I’ve left them to pick it up on the streets, in the gutters, wherever the heck they pick up their Yiddishkeit. I stuck in an Oorah CD and Elisheva right away started singing along to the Camp BoyZone theme song. YM was just impressed that the CD had Lipa Schmeltzer.
If you’d have told me, thirty years ago, that my 15-year-old son would get excited about a singer named Lipa – no, no: a singer named Schmeltzer, well. Well.
I guess I’d do it all the same.
But somebody sure ought to write that book.