Sunday, February 20, 2011

I Remember When...

I remember when...

There was a column on the back page of the Jewish Press titled "I remember when..."

The Jewish Press was the Orthodox Jewish newspaper of choice...
There was no Yated, Hamodiah, Ami, Mishpacha, Binah, etc.
Newspapers printed pictues of women.
The Jewish Observer still published.

There were no Jewish super-groceries.
Most candy was non-kosher.
There were no bar codes on products.
Storekeepers tallied up your purchases manually.
Milk was delivered by a milk-man - in glass bottles!
Soda came in 64 oz. bottles, not 2 liters.
There were no snack bags. No boxed drinks.
Thermoses were made of glass.
Shabbos "dips" were made in your own kitchen.
There was no velcro.
No Kosher Lamps.

Yeshivishe car meant an old decrepit station wagon.
There was no EZPass.
No GPS. Maps were used to figure out travel plans.
No remote gimmicks to open/start cars.
Tokens only for subways. No MetroCard.
Subway wheels made a racket!
Hotels, hospitals and stores did not have automatic doors.
Metal keys opened doors, not plastic security strips.
Vending machines took only coins.
Toilets were flushed using elbow grease.
Towel dispensers and faucets were operated manually.

No calculators.
Taxes were prepared with pencil and paper.
Watches had faces. No digital.
Phones were rotary. No answering machines.
Pay phones were 10 cents.
No call waiting. Remember busy signals?
No fax. Long distance was expensive.
Car phones followed by cell phones.

Phonograph, Cassette, Compact Disc.
VCR's, No online movie service.
No satellite, cable TV.
No YouTube.
Typewriters were the word processors.
White out was used for corrections.
No personal computers!!!
Librarians knew the answer - not Google.
No Ipads, Iphones, or Ipods.
No keyboards, only piano and accordian.
No online seforim databases.
No internet.

People read physical books. Not kindles.
Seforim were printed using rashi script.
No summer homes, only bungalows.
Entire bungalow colonies shared one public phone.
Strollers had small wheels.
Succahs were made out of old doors. No prefab.
Choirs sang. No choreography.
English Gemora meant Soncino.
Artscroll was not born yet.
Stamps were licked.

Mowers were manual.
No lawsuits if you tripped over your own feet.
Singers sang their own songs.
You needed to be crazy to see a psychologist.
There were no BANS!!!
There were no BLOGS!!!


  1. You must have grown up in the early 70s.
    Sigh. Life was so much simpler back then. The question is would we trade what we had then for now. Once you get used to the technlogy, there is no going back.

    Who today doesn't carry a cell phone?

    "You needed to be crazy to see a psychologist."
    So true. Funny also.

  2. There were no BANS!!!
    There were no BLOGS!!!

    Which came first, the ban or the blog?

  3. It's astounding to think of the myriad advances in technology in the last 40 years. This frenetic pace of the industrial/technological revolution could only portend the arrival of the Mashiach.

  4. imitating his beloved Zaidy my son recently said:

    "When I'm a Zaidy I'll tell my ainiklakh: 'Kids, when I was a boy lettuce, strawberries, water and fish were all kosher!' "

  5. It is so ironic. Years ago, the kosher traveller was able to feast on fish, water, fruits and vegetables. Oi, those were the days!

  6. earth shoes

    bell bottom and flair pants

    wire-rimmed glasses as grounds for expulsion from Mesivta

    Mesivtos with semi-serious secular studies departments.

    Potato kugel but no overnight kugel

    potato kugel but no sholom bayis kugel

    Lubavitch and Bobov cookbooks (pre-Suzy Fishbein)

    charcoal BBQs

    greeting incoming air-travel passengers at their arrival gates.

    having to go on a long bus ride to/from the terminal before boarding or deplaning El Al flights

    Peoples Express airlines by Freddy laker

    no SUVs or hybrid cars

    electronic calculators going for $99 instead of 99 cents

    buying suits at Moe Ginsburgs

    Buying suits at the Symas Bash without Filenes Basement.

    no two-way mirror mekhitzas

    a minority of Rebbeim and bochrim had peyos

    colored shirts did not render their wearers automatic bums

    there was only one Bobover, Klausenberger, Satmar, Modzitzer, Sqverer, Slonimer Rebbe. I'm not old enough to remember one Spinka or Vishnitzer Rebbe.

    Everyone conceded that the Lubavitcher Rebbe was alive and that the Breslover Rebbe was dead.

    There was only one Roshashiva in Lakewood

    Chasidim only wore gartelin during davening.

    During an emergency one called 911 not Hatzalah.

    Chinese Checkers were in, Chinese Auctions ...not yet invented.

    OTD was under-reported or hardly existed.

    No student had yet been diagnosed with ADD.

    The Divorce pandemic was a mere epidemic.

    An Agunah meant someone who's husband had disappeared.

    The popular Seminaries were Breuers, Bais Yaakov Intensive, Gateshead and Yavneh in Cleaveland. A miniscule amount of girls went to Seminary in Israel.

    A minority of boys went to learn in Israel and among those who did, ITRI was nearly as popular a destination as Brisk and Mir.

    Among talmidim of the official Lakewood branches (Philly, Long Beach, Scranton, Denver) it was the norm to go directly from 4th year BM to BMG with no stopover in Eretz Yisroel.

    A clear majority of the talmidim of the Brooklyn Yeshivas were also attending school at night after 1-2 years of 3 sedorim a day in BM.

    You needed asimonim to make a phone call and a call overseas necessitated a time consuming trip to the post office.

    The popular wedding halls were the Aperion, Terrace on the Park, Cottilion Terrace, Terrace under the tracks (I forgot it's real name but it used to be a bowling alley), the Statler Hilton, The Americana Hotel, Marina del Ray, The Continental and Astorian Manor, not Ateres________ (fill in the Yiddish name of a pious deceased woman)

    there were maybe two kosher hotel pesach programs

  7. Fantastic Bray. Keep 'em coming. You can guest post here anytime!

  8. I remember when...

    ...I had no blog of my own but retained a shred of personal dignity.

    ...Whichever enemies I had kept their venom and contempt to themselves or at least, when they were malshin about me, did so to others but not to my face.

    These last two represent relative short term memory in my case.

    These memories make me reluctant to guest post or even to fully vent my memories.

  9. station wagons

    lots of kosher hotels in Miami

    One Agudah. No Degel HaTorah and no Shas (the party, not the Talmud)

    The JDL and the SSSJ

    Straw hats and light weight/ colored suits in the summer(on the non-beheimas).

    Shmelkas nigun, ubiquitous at every wedding.

    Woodbourne as THE den of iniquity (pre-Internet)

    45 cent a slice kosher Pizza.

    polyester double-knit clothing.

    non-chasidim living ion Boro Park

    non-Yeshivisha living in Flatbush

    Irish and Italian neighborhoods abutting Jewish ones in Brooklyn instead of Pakistani and Korean ones.

    Pallers, Pinters and Telshe Cleavland being popular well attended Yeshivas.

    Riverdale was in Westwood and Peakskill in New Rochelle

  10. paraphrasing from a line I once saw in the JO...

    "I remember the day when the CIRCUS was kosher and the COTTON CANDY was treif."

  11. I remember when ...

    Gil was Simcha

    Godol Hador, Koton Hador, Canonist, JWB, Zooshoteh and others roamed the J-blogo-sphere.

  12. I remember when...

    People listened to the Gedolim.

    I am wondering, if the Gedolim of the 70's and 80's had issued bans...would the veldt not have listened to them either?

  13. plenty listen today as well. you just won't find them posting here because, well, they listened.

  14. I remember many, but not all, of those things. I had a funny realization when I realized that my childhood and younger years is in most respects probably a lot closer to my father'sthan my children are to mine, and his childhood was pre 60s upheaval and mine definitely post.

    Re Making of a Godol, I can't say you left "One People, Two Worlds" out if it didn't make an impact on your consciousness, but it did for me, and that was prior to MOAG.

  15. Fred... still waiting on חובת התלמידים

  16. S.

    I think that OPTW's did not make the grade because R' Reinman willingly backed out of the book tour. I don't recall any pashkevils banning the book.

  17. kofin oso ahdf sheomer rotzeh ahnee

  18. I remember...


    How about an "I remember when" meme?

  19. >I think that OPTW's did not make the grade because R' Reinman willingly backed out of the book tour. I don't recall any pashkevils banning the book.

    It made the grade for me, because he did it with Daas Torah's approval in the first place, and what Anonymous said, although of course the beauty of it is that you can't prove it and no doubt Avner Gold himself would deny it a thousand times over.

  20. I remember when Pirchei used those blue soft cover books for the group leaders, filled with stories and divrei Torah (I guess).

    Small hat brims.

    A slice of pizza cost $1.

    Scharansky was the subject of protest songs.

    Everyone was scandalized/ thrilled that MBD was singing Yidden to a "German rock song."

    You could wear shorts to yeshiva in the warm months until 4th grade.

    Lawrence Keleman's "Permission To" books had all the answers.

  21. Am Echad OPTW resource


    Someone posted the above link but it got lost.

    In my opinion, sometimes a local godol might offer his advice, but that advice might not pass muster of the entire Moetzes if they deem it negative to the Klal. IIRC, the issue for RYM was that he was an eloquent and articulate voice for Orthodox Jewry, but the negative was that some would view this as giving legitimacy to Refom by debating them.

    Hat brims is a good one.

    My gosh. You are young if you recall 1.00 pizza. Bray remembers 45 cents.

    See my Safam post for the Mother Russia song in honor of Anatoly. safam link

    Question is: Did MBD know the origins of his song? And if he did know, he probably figured no one else would. Most singers, as I noted above do not write their own music anymore.

  22. S.

    Sometimes a ruling issued by a local posek is overruled if it affects others outside his jurisdiction. In this case, I think the benefits of the dialogue were outweighed by the negativity assumed of granting the Reform legitimacy by virtue of debate.


    Anatoly post

    As for MBD, I am not sure he was aware of the song's origins; and even if he was, he assumed that his listeners weren't. As mentioned above, songwriters and singers used to be the same person, but that is no longer the case.

  23. Neither assumption of MBD was particularly safe, and if he had a problem with it he could have dramatically stopped singing it. Word was already out in the '80s, it wasn't as if it took the Interwebs for it to become known. If anything the real story is more innocent than the somewhat sinister 1980s rumor mill ever could have been.

  24. It's interesting that MBD's taking secular music is bothersome to you. If you look at his wiki, it lists several other "stolen" songs.

    I once read an interesting psak re: using secular music for Tefillah. Basically, if one doesn't recognize the origin of the song, it is OK. If you go into Meah Shearim and use Simon and Garfunkle for Lecha Dodi, they'll probably think that it was composed by a Lamed-Vavnik. And it would be OK. But using that same melody in a Yeshiva minyan would cause snickers and would not be appropriate. We all know that since the time of the Leviim, there really hasn't been any real Jewish music. Every generation has borrowed from it's culture. I've heard Avrohom Rosenblum of Diaspora Yeshiva Band defend his use of modern music in a similar fashion.

    As for "Yidden", I remember the Roshei Yeshiva dancing non-stop; until several years later I witnessed the same RY demand that the band stop playing it. The only obvious difference being the knowledge of it's source.

    But we're getting sidetracked here. This post is about memories.

  25. It's not bothersome. It was bothersome to me when I was a kid! That's why I wrote the memory as I did, "everyone was scandalized/ thrilled."

    Interestingly there is a teshuva from R. Menachem di Lonzano, of the 16th century, which is okay with church music hamechunah secular music, but is very, very against Hebrew poetry which puns on non-Hebrew words words. The example he gives is "shem nora," which can be "Senora" blaaz.

    Back to memories...

  26. NO fruma Yidden carrying in Boro Park or Williamsburg on Shabbos

    People wore rain hats, winter coats, rain coats or Razhvulkas. No Shiancoats with hoods that give their wearers the appearance of aliens.

    Butchers wrapping meat in wax paper instead of saran wrap

    No pre-marinated meat @ the kosher butcher

    No kosher meat or fish departments in major supermarket chains

    two fare zones and the neighborhoods that they destroyed

    New York Mayors HAD to be Democrats

    Squeegee men, massive graffitti and terrifying subways pre-Giuliani.

  27. Uncle Leibush and Dov (Shurin) on the Khakal Tapukhin Hour. Sometimes the Hailigeh Zaideh would gust start with an interview or IIRC a taped Pirkei Avos Shiur

    The (wild and crazy) Stanley Miller Band

    Fish having to be baked, boiled , pickled or broiled before consumption

    Johnny Walker Black, Pinch and Chivas being considered superior scotch/ whiskeys

    Jack Daniels and Wild Turkey being considered superior bourbons

  28. Gone Fishin beat me to my third item by one minute. I guess great itztumkhas emit gastric juices alike. BTW full disclosure I am fond of imitation crab bikhlal and California rolls bifraht.

  29. Shuls full of Holocaust survivors and other Greeneh Yidden

    Lot's of same becoming self-made millionaires

    Out of Town Jewish communities without community Kollelim

    The AFL

    The ABA with their red, white and blue basketballs

    BMG having 900 talmidim instead of 7000

  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

  31. enthralling shiurim from RYBS @ the 92nd street Y

    Marathon Farbrengens @ 770 with a pre-stroke rebbe

    Hadlokas Neros on Chanuka @ the Satmar Beis Medrash in Williamsburg

    The Bobover Rebbes "Electric" Tish Bekishas

    The Skolya Rebbe taking a bunch of kashas and making tisch Torah out of them almost instantaneously. Also his all white with sporadically interspersed blue flower Tish bekisha

    "The Bik Click" when you started chewing Rav Biks ear too much

    Rav Chaim Shmulevitz turning down his hearing aid when you started chewing his ear too much

    SRO crowds @ Rav Hutners Maamorim

    Rav Shmuel Brudney, Rav Kulefsky and Rav Nochum "Trokir" being the worlds most popular maggidei Shiur

    Rav Rivkin giving the smicha Shiur

    Rav Shapiro and his "Prince Albert"

    A nearly immobile Stechiner Rebbe dancing up a storm on Simchas Torah

    Rav Dovid Lipschutz weeping and waving a tear soaked hanky at hespedim

    Rav Ahron Kreiser throwing Gemaras at guest Magidei Shiur @ the Boro Park Mirrer Minyan

    When Puppa(????) was Young Israel of Brooklyn and Neitra was the Stoliner Kloiz. A bunch of huge Public Schools before they became Satmar Yeshivas. Ditto for the Sokhnut Building in Jerusalem

  32. 1. Wlliamsburg had YI, Agudah, YMHA &YMWA
    2. Rich Jews drove Caddies if they were show offs
    3. Shaving, trmmed beards, and moustaches only were the norm outside of chasidish circles
    4. The world of fashion was not black and white. Even the more traditional types accepted, blues and greys. Others did brown and green.
    5. Lakewood and Monsey were in the country

  33. No "Kook" books.
    Yeshivas were housed in dilapidated quarters.
    Bernsteins, Louie G. Siegal, La Differance.
    Consumers, Martin Paint, Waldbaums in the heart of Flatbush.
    No Amazing Savings.
    Dime Savings Bank.
    No B11 bus from Flatbush to Boro Park.
    Lower East Side was the place to go for Esrogim.

  34. Thanks to all the contributors. Reminiscing is one of my favorite endeavors.

    Bray, you've really outdone yourself. Perhaps you should open your own blog? :-)

    S., I'd love to continue the conversation, but perhaps it should be on the prior post. Of course it won't be easy on a non LH blog.

    Yerachmiel, I'm glad that you were able to join the conversation and forget about your other topic for a while.

  35. I remember when Joe Amar and Shlomo Carlebach were the only popular Jewish Singers.

    I remember when you gave wedding gifts from the freebie gifts you got when starting a new bank account at Dime of Brooklyn.

    I remember Bais Yakov girls wearing saddle shoes.

    I remember dancing/singing for simchah after the 6 day war in Israel (1967).

    I remember receiving Hershey Bars at Pirkei and Bnos groups.

  36. Bray, you've really outdone yourself. Perhaps you should open your own blog? :-)

    not that you've gotten a post with 35+ comments maybe you should close yours. This will be a tough act to follow! (jus' kiddin)

  37. No Tzedakah fliers in every publication


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