Jun 28, 2010

Falling in Love, With Teaneck, New Jersey.

I. Love. Teaneck!

Okay, let me start over. I know, we're new and it's that honeymoon period of newness and awesomeness, and technically we haven't even moved in yet, but we spent last Shabbos in Teaneck and, frankly, I'm in love. The community is young, vibrant, impassioned, and ALIVE. Alive. Yes, I felt alive and active and excited the entire time I was around the other individuals and couples in the apartment community. I mean, we were only there for one Shabbos, and I already feel like I have a new community-family, because they opened us with welcome arms (EDIT: of course I meant "welcomed us with open arms, but I spoonerized that, and it's so funny, I'm leaving it there!), put a roof over our heads, fed and fed and fed us, and took part in conversation and Jewish geography with us. What's more to ask for?

The amazing thing about the community is that the welcoming wagon is a serious one. We're moving in on Thursday/Friday and folks are willing to host us for meals, cook for us for the first week, help us literally move the boxes and furniture, and to help unpack. I mean, wow. I'm not saying other communities aren't so gracious, but it's the proactivity of these folks that astounds and elates me.

I didn't spot a single doily over the weekend, but I did spot some strange and interesting styles of covering ye olde locks, which I may or may not write about depending on how I think the community would react. The interesting thing about moving to Teaneck is that I'm starting to feel an underlying sense of self-censorship, but not actual self-censorship. Like, I shouldn't blog about certain things for fear of people reading them and/or getting their panties in a bunch about my most-of-the-time benign comments, but at the same time knowing that I can't help but blog about them.

So, just to test the waters (like a 3-year-old with a crayon and nice, clean white wall), I have to mention this interesting hair-covering style. I think I'll call it the "Captain Jack Sparrow." It's where you take a scarf and sort of tie it back, pirate-style, but with all your locks still dangling out freely. Like the un-tichel, tichel. What I don't get is how it fits into the whole tefach of hair thing. It's sort of like edging on not covering, while still covering. I did see one woman at a kosher restaurant elsewhere in Jersey recently sporting such a scarf, but she definitely had a fall on underneath. I give mad props to the women who choose to cover like this, I just don't know how the greater Orthodox (modern and otherwise) community approaches that kind of style.

Speaking of, I'd really like to get some knowledgeable source in the arena of the halakot and community standards of hair covering to guest post something for me as far as what is hardcore, what is lenient, and what is necessary and what is not. I want to be a whole heckuva lot more informed than I am right now.

I also am seriously pondering the sheitel or fall, now. I don't know why. I'm very not down with the sheitel, but I'm not sure WHY I am. Some look so chic. But is that the point? I'm also struggling with what to do with my hair -- cut it? Let it grow? It's at this uncomfortable impasse where I can't really leave the back out but it really doesn't want to stay up despite the amount of clippy and rubber things I attempt to keep it in with. It's Hair Wars 2010. Suggestions? I haven't had it long since 2001, so it might be fun to grow it. I wonder how Tuvia feels?

I have a bucketload of posts I'd like to write, many of them based on experiences (all good, by the way) in my new Teaneck community. I got the impression that most of my new friends don't read or keep up with blogs (although they seem to be obsessed with Friends and Seinfeld, so I'm planning on watching EVERY season/episode from start to finish on BOTH of those), so I might just be in the clear. I pride myself on a positive dialogue about any and all of my queries and curiosities when it comes to halakot and community standards, and I don't see that changing. Any baggage brought to this blog by individuals I can't freak out about. After all, it's baggage.

Stay tuned for more exciting and intriguing adventures in the life of Chaviva G. Hrm ... maybe someday kids will call me "Mrs. G." Which, of course, reminds me of one of the greatest shows of all time: The Facts of Life!


Laura Shaposhnikova said...

Hehehe you meant they welcomed you with open arms, not they opened you with welcome arms. But I am very happy for you!

ByTheBay said...

I think there are opinions some hold by that only the area of the head itself must be covered, or the majority of hair. Not sure what the halachic basis is exactly.

BTW, headband falls and hat falls are two things I only really got acquainted with after moving to NJ. With or without a fall, the "Jack Sparrow" (love it! perfect way to describe this style!) is a pretty common M.O. method of covering as far as I can tell.

Oh, so I just googled and I can't find what I'm looking for but I did find this article that describes the partial versus full covering this way:

"With regard to the question of complete coverage, there are two basic approaches. One interprets the term literally and concludes that a married woman cannot have more than a tefah (handsbreadth, approximately 3-4 inches) of her hair exposed in public at any time.

The other approach posits that "completeness" with reference to hair covering should be no different than "completeness" in other areas of Jewish law. Generally speaking, we have a principle in halacha that rubo k'chulo, the majority of something is legally equivalent to its entirety. Based upon this concept, some hold that as long as a woman has the majority of her hair covered, we treat it as if she had all of her hair covered."


I have heard this from other sources and heard women say this is the concept they hold by in showing more than a tefach but I can't remember where and am not sure how I personally feel about it.

Suburban Sweetheart said...

I'd like to just call you Tootie, please, not because you have much in common with Tootie as far as I can tell, but because WHAT AN AMAZING NICKNAME.

I'm still not sure of the differences in all the hair coverings, but I like most things pirate-related... also, spoonerisms. This post is A-OK with me!

Glad you love your soon-to-be home. <3

Chaviva Gordon-Bennett said...

@BytheBay I just think it's weird that a woman would have a good 8 inches of hair out under her Jack Sparrow and not feel like there's something ... uncomfortable ... about it?

Teaneck dude said...

I. Love. Teaneck!

I can't stifle myself anymore. I wonder if you will love it as much when you have a few kids (IY"H) and are paying gargantuan amounts of tuition and get trapped in a certain kind of lifestyle that is very difficult to change? Not being negative, just being realistic.

Chaviva Gordon-Bennett said...

@TeaneckDude To be honest, I don't think we'll live in Teaneck forever. Definitely for the next three years, in which we don't plan to have kids. My job goals might help us in the education department (I want to be a Hebrew educator) but, perhaps, g-d willing, we'll be in Israel by then :)

Teaneck dude said...

A Hebrew educator is great ... but as a career in Israel is not very likely (too much competition from native speakers)! I have a few relatives that are Rabbis (teachers in day schools) and whose wives are also in chinuch that desperately want to make aliyah but simply cannot because they will have almost no way of making a living there.

But you will definitely will have the capability to teach your own kids.

Chaviva Gordon-Bennett said...

I think I'd have the benefit of having an English/editing background when it comes to gigs in Israel. I'd like to find a job correcting the horrible English misspellings countrywide :)

But seriously, serving as a Hebrew educator for olim or working in that capacity as someone who is bilingual with REALLY good English (not all Israelis have good English) might help.

I wear a lot of hats, which helps.

Jordan said...

Uh, Chaviva, I am new to your blog. But not to Teaneck.
Feel free to email me with any questions about stuff here in ton. I will also volunteer my wife to talk to you about the hair stuff if you want. She has given it a lot of thought.
Anyway, welcome, and I do hope you will venture out of the apartments for a shabbat meal with us one of these days. (We lived in the apts for 9 years.) I will email you off blog.

Chaviva Gordon-Bennett said...

@Jordan Thanks for the comment. I'd love to hear about your experiences in Teaneck, and I'd love to hear from your wife about head-coverings, too! Got your email ... will respond shortly!

Post a Comment

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes Powered by Blogger | DSW printable coupons