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Sunday, December 12, 2004

Attention Milwaukeeans:

It has come to my attention that there are several members of my community who read this blog. Welcome. I hope you find some entertainment, maybe some insight here. You may seem surprised to read that someone who is usually pretty quiet and well-mannered in Shul has such strong opinions about certain things.

I should clear up a few things. It's true; at times I may come across as overly critical of the community and right-wing Orthodoxy in general. But I'd like to go on the record and state that despite the occasional oddities, I think that the West Side Milwaukee community is one of the most UNIQUE and AMAZING Orthodox communities in the world. It is this combination of the close-knit, small size of the community, coupled with a surprising amount of diversity, all rolled into one Shul, led by a charismatic Rebbe, that makes it work.

It is one of the few places where the Chassidim speak English, the Black Hatters are polite, and the Modern Orthodox daven Nusach Sfard. And despite the fact that a certain amount of conformity and antisecularism is stressed as the ideal, there is still room for people like me, even if we do live mostly in the closet. It makes me think that maybe there is a chance that the Jewish people can live together in unity.

So if you're a neighbor, and you enjoy this blog, I thank you. But please keep a few things in mind:

1. I will continue to use this blog as a forum to call attention to the interesting things that go on around me, be they at work, home or Shul. If this entertains you, great. Drop me a note and let me know what you enjoyed.

2. I will often use this as place to vent frustration with things that I observe or am subjected to. I find it cathartic and therapeutic.

3. I never mention names here, so any similarity between a person or event that you notice is purely coincidental, and therefore completely accurate. Please don't tell people that I'm dissing them. That's not the intent of this blog. If you find what I say offensive, please accept my apologies and find your entertainment elsewhere.

4. Please don't publicize this blog to other members of the community. Again, this is something that is fun and therapeutic for me, and I hope people around the world may find something in here that they identify with and which makes them feel a little less alone. However, people who don't normally read blogs will not take what I write in its proper context and may take offense, so please don't direct them here.

Finally, feel free to comment. Blogging can be great. It's put me in touch with Jews around the world. Maybe they can learn something from our community. And maybe there are things we can learn from them.


Cholent said...

What about the East Side Milwaukee community? Or is there no such thing? Just wondering.

Safranit said...

As a former "East Side Community" member, I'd like to say it really isn't a community anymore (I'm not sure it ever was.) From the standpoint of having people to connect with, the West Side is the place. The East Side is the place where you have to constantly say...hmmm...so can I eat at their home, or not?

I loved living on the East Side, but without an eruv, you have a lack of committed people.....

PsychoToddler said...

I don't know Safranit, I always thought some of those east siders ought to be committed...

My comments are primarily about the West side, because that's where I live. But I've found that some of the things I write tend to resonate with people who've never heard of Milwaukee, so as they say in the Kollel, Lav Davka.

The West side is a pretty unique place though. The Milwaukee Orthodox community is fairly small, and for a community of its size, it is unfortunately splintered into West, East, North and a few other sites. And for the most part, those sites don't interact much. Which leads to squabbling over resources, money, tuition, etc. We're basically supporting 4 individual infrastructures when we can barely support one. That's why there's no Kosher Pizza place.

Cholent said...

yeah, I was just wondering cuz I know some people in Milwaukee and was trying to figure out which side they live on.

tuesdaywishes said...

None of my business but... don't you get tired of living in the closet? Modern Orthodoxy is a legitimate, Halachic lifestyle. I think I'd get very tired of constantly apologizing for myself.

PsychoToddler said...


Chana said...

Is it uncommon for a MO shul to daven Sefard? Oh, that's right, our shul started out Hungarian, but that was 100 years ago. LOL.

Chana, also in the Midwest somewhere

DAG said...

I will say, Milwaukee is an interesting place to live. On the West Side they live in Compton but think they are living in the Hamptons.