Okay, I admit it.
For the first half-decade or so of my life I lived in Spring Valley
Since I left, Spring Valley has become swallowed up by Monsey, so all the Jews who live there just simply say they're from Monsey — similar to how many Jews in Sheepshead Bay, Midwood, and Marine Park associate themselves with Greater Jewish Flatbush. However, Spring Valley also seems to have some kind of ghetto
reputation. That's 'ghetto' as in gangsta rap, not ghetto as in golem of Prague. Which makes the Jews of Spring Valley even more averse to identifying themselves as Spring Valleyites. When I went downtown to catch the bus back to NYC, though, it didn't look like such a bad area. I don't know what they're so scared of.
Anyway, this past Shabbos I went back up to visit "My Progressively More Yeshivish Friend" (who needs a better pseudonym) at the Ohr Somayach
yeshiva in Greater Jewish
Monsey Spring Valley
I took the Monsey Bus
up on Thursday night, which was an... interesting... experience. It had a mehhitza
. A mehhitza!
On a bus
! The mehhitza was hung vertically down the aisle, which was somewhat annoying due to the way it got in the way when anyone was trying to walk up or down the aisle. I guess they knew better than to stick all the women in the back of the bus, since then Rosa Parks zç"l
would come back to kick all their butts. There were many people on the men's side, and very few people on the women's side. So I sat on the "wrong" side of the mehhitza
, in the back, and no one said a word.
Unfortunately, I got up there too late to attend RYG"B
's class, and so I just hung out in MPMYF— henceforth to be known as Ághám
's room, with him and his roommates, and then we found me a spare mattress. And I put up the previous
blog post. And I was Ághám's hhevruta
for some hhazara
review he had to do.
On Friday we made fun of each other's having flipped out
(he wears a jacket for davening and a velvet yarmulka, I wear a jacket and tie
for davening), went to mínyan
, ate breakfast, went to a class or two, argued about whether snow is good (me) or bad (him), ate lunch, and got ready for Shabbos. Me and one of the other yeshiva bochurs
I met there went on a search for galoshes at an evil Walmart (but aren't they all?), but couldn't find any. I did buy a new winter hat
Friday Night, Ághám, two other students, and I went to eat dinner by one of their teachers' house. The teacher who lives in my
old house! So I got to eat Shabbos dinner in my old house. Which was very surreal. The teacher/rabbi is a really nice guy, and his family are really cool, and the food was great, but it was so damn surreal to be getting random flashes of familiarity whenever I looked around. I remembered tracing the relief pattern on the walls with my fingers, climbing on the wrong side of the stairway banister, and sledding down the driveway. The layout of the rooms was familiar, the kitchen cabinets were familiar, and the snow-covered deck out back was familiar. And then I went to the bathroom, where I felt a strangely weak sense of familiarity. I looked down at the floor tiles, and the pattern looked familiar. But not familiar enough. And then I bent over to get a closer look, and the closer my view of the tiles became, the more they looked familiar
— since after all, when I lived there I was much shorter than I am today!
Saturday Day, me, Ághám, and another yeshiva bochur
went to RYG"B's(!) house for Shabbos lunch. His family is also really cool, and the food was also great, and it was also somewhat surreal. How so? Because even though I wasn't eating a Shabbos meal surrounded by random memories of my early life, I was still eating a Shabbos meal with a teacher at a friend's yeshiva who also just happens to be a fellow blogger! Among the topics discussed at the meal were the world of teaching and Jewish eduma
cation; the life of Orthodox Jews in 'Secular Colleges'; Yekkedom and the community of Frankfurt-de‘al-Hudson
; and of course (what Jewish blogger could resist?) Rav Slifkin
. We also sang a Shabbos zemira
written by RYG"B, and I did mayim ahharonim Torahumaddachic
-style. Which is a big deal since until recently I would categorically refuse to ever do it, thanks to a bad Chabad
experience in college.
Shabbos nap, Minhha
CoachUSA bus home (from the bus station in supposedly-sketchy downtown Spring Valley).
Once again, my Shabbos in Greater Jewish
Monsey Spring Valley
was an overall positive experience. But i still don't get the Yeshivish world. I just don't understand it. And I know that it's not for me.