The Great Kosher Restaurant Magazine Scavenger Hunt is On

By Bracha Komarov
     Whether you’re a kosher restaurant “foodie” or you just like to go out to eat once in a while, The Great Kosher Restaurant Magazine Scavenger hunt has fun for everyone. The magazine advertises over 200 top kosher restaurants worldwide, their menus and other pertinent information. Elan Kornblum, also known as “The Restaurant Guy,” first published the magazine in 2004. To celebrate its 10th anniversary, a scavenger hunt has been going on which gives teams of family and friends chances to try new dishes while advertising on Facebook about the great restaurants in the magazine. Now in its third and final week of the hunt, each week there are 30-40 “challenges” that teams must try to accomplish. Some of the challenges were as simple as taking a selfie in front of a GKRM restaurant, while others were taking a picture of video trying dishes in certain restaurants. Some challenges took lots of guts – singing menu items in opera voice, singing happy birthday with a store manager, and even asking a non-GKRM restaurant own why he isn’t in the magazine. With 30+ teams competing, there’s a lot of competition going on. You can check out the website to see what it’s all about and you can still join a team or create your own for the last few, fun days. Visit The Great Kosher Restaurants Scavenger Hunt  for more about the hunt and for more about the magazine and to order your must-have copy!

The Religious Fanatics of Cults and Propaganda (Or: How Judasim is being destroyed)

On Sunday March 9, a massive protest was held in the middle of Wall Street to protest the IDF (Army) draft taking place 5,000 miles away. Now, you might ask: Why is something that’s happening in another country that doesn’t affect us being protested here? I don’t know but it’s a waste of taxpayers money and a waste of time. Now, I myself am a Jew and I will say that I didn’t go nor was I endorsing this in any way, shape or form. In fact, this isn’t the first time the Ultra-Orthodox pulled this stunt. What you have to understand is this: When things don’t go their way they throw fits of tantrums. They think that because of who they  are they are above the law.

Now, as I said I am a Jew. A religious one and by no means am I perfect but I do know the difference between right and wrong. I went to college. I was raised to have an open mind and be mindful of others. I grew up where it is okay to speak up and have open discussions of important matters no matter the outcome and this my friends is where the problem lies among  my people..

The Ultra-Orthodox grew up in a very closed society. They know little to nothing of the secular world. They don’t go to college (they are encouraged not to go) and 90% do not work. In fact, all they do is sit in a Yeshiva learning all day and night. In Israel, they are supported by the Government however, that’s about to change as they have warned the Yeshiva students that if  they do not join the Army then they will cut off all support to their yeshivas. Obviously this didn’t sit well with the Haradiem who started going crazy on them. But here is a question I propose to you: One of the commandments that G-D gave was: “Thou Shall Not Steal” so if this is true, why are the Haradiem continuously stealing from the Government? By this I mean they keep mooching off of them. So I have to wonder why this is okay but when the Government asks for something in return they need to go all crazy on them saying that the Government is interfering with their way of life? Seriously? This is our way of life? I must be in a different religion.

People are really stupid at times. How ignorant are these leaders of ours that they make suggestions and ideas without knowing a damn thing. Don’t they know that without the IDF there would be no Yeshivas?  Without the IDF we’d all be dead. Without the IDF we’d have no State to call our own. Do they also not know that by joining the army you are saving lives?

So the Government came up with a compromise: Serve the army or go to school and study secular courses. Of course this too was rejected. So next came: Serve the army or go to jail (Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Collect $200). The response: “We will gladly go to jail and proudly.”.  Okay, fair enough. That just proves your stupidity.

This is the same group of people that throw rocks at people on the Sabbath and teach their kids that it is okay to do so. This is also the same group of people who held a rally in protest of the internet (which ironically was streamed on the internet). This is also the same group who believes it is okay to molest children, distribute child pornography and then cover it up. This is also the same group of people who refuse to give their wives a GET (Jewish Divorce). This is the same group who decided that women have no rights. I can go one and on but you get the gist of what I am saying.

So the Ultra-Orthodox single handily make us look bad. Because of them, people hate us. Many people have left the religion because of the many restrictions imposed on us and sadly, many people believe all this stuff and fall prey to it. Especially the people who go through the conversions to be a religious Jew.

How come they blame everything on the internet when there’s much bigger problems facing our communities? Child Molestation? Blame the Internet. Sexual Abuse? Blame The Internet. The marriage Crisis? Yup, the internet again. So basically, the internet is why our religion is so messed up. Got it.  Like I said, these so called leaders of ours have no freakin clue. They look only at the negatives. The internet can be used for good as well. In fact, they went far enough to tell people to filter everything related to the internet. Phones, computers, tablets. As the title above says this all nothing but Propaganda brainwashing bullshit. They even have Kosher phones that does nothing but make calls. I believe this is what a “dummy” phone has been doing for years.

Now, I know people will read this and call me names like “Jew Hater“, “Anti Jewish”, “Nazi Lover” and I am okay with that and you know why? Because the truth hurts and people can’t handle it which in itself is another problem. No one wants to talk about it for some reason. What are people afraid of? Open dialogue is good. Be open and honest and think for yourself. Call me names if you must but what will that accomplish? People who defend Rapists, molesters or others are no better then they are. People don’t come forward because they are afraid of the consequences or as the “rabbis” say: It’ll hurt your children’s chances for marriage.  Come on this is bull and you know it…

In Williamsburgh, Brooklyn, the Ultra Orthodox community there think that they are Judge, Jury and Executioner of all who live or pass by there.  Really? So this means you have a right to put up signs all over telling women how to dress(even if they aren’t Jewish) or where to walk and when asked to take it down you answer if you don’t like it leave? When Nechmeia Weberman went to trial (he was convicted) the community kept on defending him and even went far by throwing him a party (Disgusting) and saying how a girl who was little at the time is making it up to be famous. Then they send in hooligans to try to obstruct the case (they were found guilty). One person even went far by throwing bleach all over someone’s face (Also found guilty).

Point:  This is NOT how we as  Jewish people are supposed to act. We are supposed to set an example for others. This is NOT how we should be raising our children. Sometimes, I am ashamed to be a Jew. We are our own worst enemy. So much hatred among our people that it’s no wonder no one likes us.

Once I publish this, there’s no going back. I know that I will get lots of flack for this. In fact, people will perceive this OP-ED as nothing but “Lies” and “Hatred” among other things. So be it. But I cannot remain silent when these things keep happening. I’m embarrassed and ashamed but I know that there are those out there who are thinking the same things as I am but can’t or won’t speak about it for whatever reason. But I can be their voice. Their crusader because I believe that when one voice speaks out repeatedly, people take notice and listen and while it may take time, I know with all my heart that there are people out there who feel your pain and respect and look up to you for speaking your mind.

IDF uniform colors

IDF uniform colors (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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Reflections on 2013

As we come to the end of another year, it’s time to reflect on what it meant to us.  For me personally it meant something. There were many highs and lows, ups and downs, good and bad but in all that happened, I never once gave up. Well, I thought of it but that’s the easy way out and I’m no coward. I’m not going to go off on a rambling here and go into details (It’s gonna be to long of a post if I did that) instead, I will just reflect on a few things that meant something to me.

    Though reflecting on it can be hard as some can find it hard to recall what happened from January till December (A ball dropped somewhere in between right?)  No, it actually means something to people when the ball drops because people find it an excuse to propose to their loved ones. (Did she say yes?) Interestingly enough, I live in NYC and I’ve never ever stepped foot in Times SQ to see it drop. Nope I’m drinking booze (champagne… I’m probably hammered at that point to know the difference) and watching it on the wall (See, I told you I’m wasted) and that’s good enough for me. The funny thing is that Jan 1 and Dec 31 is full circle for me because I end the year with friends and begin anew with them as well.  I guess friends are really important in one’s life.

    It really does wonders when you spend time alone though (Not a hermit) because it makes you think about certain things. No, wait. Actually being alone is healthy and sometimes is what is needed.  I know it helped me and we all have our own ways of doing what we need to do to “heal” ourselves and truthfully it’s all for naught if you don’t live by whatever mantra it is you decided to live by. I have and I’m the first to admit that I’m not perfect nor have I actually lived by my own mantra and that’s okay because it gives me  a chance to write posts like these. 🙂

 In all seriousness though, someone asked me 365 days ago what my New Years resolution was and I told her what’s the point? No one keeps them anyway and if you don’t believe me just ask around and you’ll be amazed at the answers. Well, I guess we keep them for maybe 48 hrs and then it’s like: Resolution/s? What resolution/s? But it’s all willpower. Is it hard? Yes but so is being alive each and every day which is a challenge in itself.

 And with challenges brings risks and if I didn’t take any I’d never have experienced or faced different things and in my opinion, risks are part of life’s lessons. It’s like an obstacle that has to be  completed. I did take some. Some I enjoyed taking and some I did not but the funny thing is that I learned more from the ones I didn’t enjoy taking then the ones I actually did enjoy. Ironic isn’t it… 

    I learned stuff about me that I didn’t even know. It’s a scary thought when that happens because sometimes you just don’t want to know about it. But it’s those moments when you are the most vulnerable that’s hard especially when it happens among a crowd or friends.  But I guess that’s something that maybe you need I don’t know.  It’s tough to reflect because I honestly either don’t remember it all or purposely blanked it out but the joke is on me because I’m reminded of them at various different points and probably for my own good.

    All in all, I can’t complain about 2013. I made some great new friends, experienced new things and places and no regrets.

In fact, I don’t believe in regrets. No. To me, there’s no such thing as regrets just mistakes. I’m asked that question all the time and honestly I say that no, I don’t.  Why? Because I can’t live a life based on regrets because it just doesn’t work like that. Not everything that happens is for me and not everything that goes on is for me but on the flip side if I do go it may not necessarily be something I should have been to in the first place but really that’s how we learn. We learn from what we experience and how we experience them so how can you regret? Mistake? Yes because if we go someplace and it’s not for us then it’s a mistake and I truly believe that making mistakes is part of life. it’s how we grow and learn. It’s one of those life lessons.

Having said that, I feel that I grew from my living 2013  and for that I have my close circle of friends because they saw things in me that I either didn’t see or was just afraid (scared?) to see for myself. They pushed me. Sometimes hard and the funny thing is they know me better then I do and know what’s best for me and that’s okay because I rely on them for support.

   So when I look back on the year, I am thankful. I’m happy. I’m proud. I’ve made many mistakes and with those mistakes I’ve sometimes paid the price and I am fine with that because I only have myself to blame for that but if not for those mistakes, I’d never have known who I really am as a person so as I look towards the next 365 days, I thank my friends for always being there  for me when I needed them the most because without you, I might have gotten lost along the way.



HERE’S TO 2014


Afraid Of The Truth.

For the last few weeks a few things have been going on that have been made public. I’ve been debating on whether or not I should keep quiet with how I really feel about this and while I have made my feelings known on Facebook, there have been things said to me privately which made my decision a lot quicker. Case in point: This morning I posted this: Rabbis Accused in Plot to Kidnap, Torture Husbands to Pressure Divorces. Then I tried to bring it up on the way to work where my co workers decided to gang up on me and tell me that i’m a “Self Hating Jew” and that I should watch what I say. Really? Why? What am I saying that’s wrong? Are you afraid of hearing the truth?    Now, on my wall, I got similar comments (which I deleted) ranging from it’s desecrating God’s name to “why make it public” to “you’re no better then them if you post it” and my favorite one: “Do you get pleasure in posting this? Actually, I don’t. Quite the opposite actually.  It makes me ashamed to be Jewish.

If speaking the truth makes me a “Self Hating Jew” then so be it but I will NOT back down no matter how many people tell me to take down anything I post.  They are scared and afraid of hearing the truth? Why that is I have no idea but they do get people talking. I’m also a believer in the mantra of: “One person can make a difference”. Even as I write this, I’m getting comments on my wall that calls me a “Jew Hater”  and one who’s adding “fuel to the fire”. It’s funny how people refuse to see things that happen right in their own backyard. I was raised and taught to be open minded and speak the truth and stand up for what I believe in and that is what I am doing.

It is sad that at least there’s one story every week coming out of the Jewish community that looks at us in a negative light. It makes me be ashamed of being Jewish sometimes.  Someone didn’t like what I did and felt I was wrong so he called me a “Nazi Jew Hater” which should offend me but he’s one of those people who grew up close minded and away from the secular world.

A few months ago, I started small by posting about a certain place to which the owner didn’t like and responded in kind (see an earlier post). He tried bullying me to take it down and I refused. Then other things started happening to which I posted onto my wall which pissed off many people to the point where they went and blocked me and started spreading rumors about me which were not true. At first, it bothered me but I have learned to be more strong and confident in my life and not worry about what others think. Truthfully, if this was years ago, I’d be to chicken shit to even speak up about anything.  But now, I’ve found a close circle of friends that really help me be a better person and advise me on certain things I otherwise wouldn’t have thought off.  It’s also somewhat of a learning experience because it allows me to find out about myself and what I am capable of doing.

Today I’ve been called many offensive and insulting names but I’m not concerned because I will stand up for what I believe in. I am not afraid of speaking the truth. It’s time someone did and called others out. I mean if we are supposed to look up to certain people and/or give them the honor they are supposed to get well, that all goes out the window. These so called “Rabbis” think that they are above the law. Okay, they can think that and to the crime and then tell the Judge whatever they want. At the end of the day you’ll end up behind bars so what’s the point?

There is a reason why so many people leave their communities and no longer want to be religious and I had the opportunity a few days ago to question two of them about it not because I wanted to grill them but because I wanted to learn more about it and gain an understanding into this world and I did and I felt a little sorry for them. I mean how can you not? In some of these communities no one does anything and I mean ANYTHING without seeking out their leader first and whatever he says they do regardless if it’s right or wrong. They are so close minded and insulated that it’s not even funny.

The thing is that many of these Rabbis are so behind the times. They grew up during Pre War Europe before the age of social media and the internet. They grew up in a world where they only now one thing and that is spending the days learning in Yeshiva but the times have changed now where we live in a secular world where technology is around us and no matter how much they try to keep us away from it it is almost impossible to do so. Why these rabbis can’t get with the times is beyond me and I think that ultimately this will be their downfall.

As I write this, I look at everything being written on my Facebook posts and it’s clear to me that I have my supporters that are glad I posted it but then there are others who think that I’m the one who’s committing the crime by posting it. It’s so nice to see people who are ignorant and foolish and when you ask them questions they can’t back it up so they continue blaming it on you.  People’s minds are warped for sure. These are people who are so close minded that no matter what you say, you will always come out looking like the bad guy and that’s okay because Freedom of Speech is a wonderful thing and as long as it’s used wisely then you will be okay.

I’m not a politician. Not on the city council but I don’t regret what I did and I would do it again in a heartbeat. The people who called me names for that I’m okay with because it shows me their true colors for who they really are and it shows me that they are just like these low lifes and everyone will eventually get what they deserve.

You want to hate me because I’m standing up for my fellow Jews and friends fine but don’t go insulting them to prove a point.  I will defend myself and my friends .  All you need is one person to stand up and speak out. When one person stands up and makes that difference, others will no longer be afraid to join in and speak up and as long as you have people on your side you can be confident that you will be successful. People can make a difference. Baby steps.

We need to step up and say no more to our “leaders” They need to lead by example and if they feel they can do it by breaking the law or by saying that only Jewish law applies to them then they are Not fit to lead. We are Jews. We are people who for thousands of years were persecuted for the simple reason that we were Jews and we are our own worst enemies and as long as people continue to sweep it under the rug and protect those who wronged well then may G-D have mercy on your soul.

We will not be bullied, coerced or threatned. We will punish those that wronged us and if that gets us kicked out of a community or looked down upon that’s okay because we know that in our hearts we did the right thing and one less person to worry about.

Good Bye: Part Two

So yesterday I wrote one of the most personal and emotional pieces I have ever written and the reaction was to say overwhelming but in a good way. Many didn’t know how good of a writer I really was. Though, at the same time, it brought people to tears which was not my intention but I guess when you write from the heart it brings out emotions you never knew you had. It was hard for me to write as well. I think at one point it started to hit me as well but I had to finish writing it and there was so much more that had to be said which is why I am writing this part two or as I like to think of it an addendum.

Last time around, I was asking myself questions that may never have answers but aside from that, it turns out that my sister, who for years, wanted to make the move began having doubts as it got closer to the “big day” which is normal. But after writing my previous post, I started to wonder if she really was doing this for her or for the children. Like me, she lived in Israel but she stayed an extra year because she loved it so much which makes me wonder why she never stayed there for good. It’s not for everyone true but I sensed her love was there which showed from an early  age. Honestly, her husband is Israeli so it would have been easier if they just moved there after they married (of course they both had jobs at the time.. Somewhat) but I do believe that it may have been better off if her kids were born there.

I say this because her son was scared of moving there and I felt bad for him. He’s 7 and he kept saying “Mommy I don’t want to go because the Arabs will hurt me”. Going to Israel is a new world for him. How do you explain to him the situation? How do you explain why Mommy and Daddy are moving away? How would a 7 year old react to a place where soldiers are always walking around with guns?  Then my Niece who is 4. How will she react? How will she handle it? In a way, I feel sorry for them.. No, maybe that’s not the right word… I feel bad for them.. It’s hard when you are at that age and you have to leave the friends you have to go to a place you’ve never been to with a language you don’t know. Finally, the newborn niece that’s only a few weeks old. This one hits me the most because I will never see her grow. I will never get to know her. She will never know who I am and that hurts me the most. My other question is: Will the other 2 forget me? I won’t be around to see them grow up. No more birthdays. I won’t even be there for his Bar Mitzva or her Bat Mitzvah (unless by some miracle I happen to be there). I have to be man enough here to admit that I’m not sure I can deal with this or even if I know how or if I even want to. My sister is scared. She regrets it but sadly, they need to stay for 3 years before returning or the money they got will be forfeited.

Because I have lived there, I am able to write about all this. I can also say that I know what she’s going through which I guess makes me understand certain things better. Although my going was more forced and not a choice. I ask myself what would have been if I had the choice instead? Would I have gone? I don’t think I can answer that because it no longer matters.  What does matter though is that she’s been there before so she knows what to expect although since we’ve both been there things changed.  Though, I think it’s gotten worse.

There’s nothing more for me to say. I think I’ve said all I can about this so I will end with this. I hope her decision turns out to be the right one. I hope I am wrong. I hope my Nieces and Nephew  grow up being happy instead of being miserable and I hope that one day I will be able to be there for their wedding. For now I wish you the best of luck and may G-D watch over you all. Be safe. I love and miss you all.


 It’s always hard to say goodbye. Sometimes the best way of saying goodbye is to not say it at all. Case in point: My sister and her family decided that they wanted to make the move to Israel something she’s wanted to do for years but I never thought she’d actually do. Now, years later, with 3 kids (1 newborn), a dog, cat and a husband, she’s currently (at time of this writing) flying to her new home.  I may not know with certainty what’s going through her mind but I can relate to a certain extent.

A few years ago, I was in Israel. Lived there for almost 2 years. It wasn’t my first time there though. The first time I went it was a 10 day journey. There’s a big difference between going for 10 days and 2 years. It’s kinda surreal actually not to mention scary.  Here I was 5,000 miles away from home. Alone and unsure what to do. Sure I’ve gone away before but this was different not to mention that it was a whole different world.  At the time, I spoke little to no Hebrew so I wondered how I was going to communicate? I also wasn’t used to the economy and how it works which I guess is important if I’m to be living there. They try to take advantage of tourists when it comes to this and honestly, I’d look silly if every time I had to figure out what the amount is in American currency.  

    So going to Israel for that year and a half wasn’t really my idea. In fact, it caught me off guard when I was told I was going. I have nothing against going but it was something I wasn’t really prepared for. I mean how does one prepare? So many questions suddenly arose. What if I couldn’t handle it? What if I got homesick? So many “what ifs” arose that I possibly couldn’t answer them all.

   My sister made the choice long before she was married. It was something that I know she really wanted but once she started a family, it became harder and harder for her dream to become a reality. But only a few months ago her and her husband officially made the decision that would seal their fate. In a way it’s good that they did it now instead of later while the kids are still young. Ironically though, my sister, only a few days ago, realized that it had started to sink in and it seemed like she had doubts. But I guess that is expected.

     Every so often, I’m asked if I want to move to Israel on a permanent basis. The answer I give is: “If the right girl comes along and wants to” but the truth is I don’t know if I ever can. It scares the hell out of me. I have family that lives there but you essentially take you’re entire life and move it and start a new (which is what marriage is).  Honestly though I think that my living there for over a year taught me a few things. One thing was that it’s harder there then it is here in America.  The way of life is harder there then here. I’ve thought about this time and time again and I’m not so sure it’s for me. It’s not for everyone. In fact, I commend anyone that DOES do it as it’s not an easy decision to make and that includes my sister. I’m not sure but I think I have more respect for her now then I ever did. Should I be jealous?

      Yesterday, I had a phone conversation with my mom who was very emotional about the whole thing which I guess is normal. She knew this day was coming and we all knew that she would have a tough time dealing with it and she is and probably will be for quite some time.She was upset at me that I wasn’t showing any emotion about it. Women get more emotional about these things then men I guess but I’m not a parent so maybe I can’t feel it the same way she does, Maybe I’m dealing with it in my own way. ironically, as I write this I do feel somewhat emotional.   In truth, my sister and I never really had the best relationship and we hardly ever spoke  but now… I’m sad. I think I will miss her,

  I think I am more sad that I’ll never see my nieces and nephews grow up especially the newborn who will never know me (maybe). I wonder now if they will forget me. Will I ever see them again? What of the newborn? She will essentially be growing up there not knowing about us back home.. I’ll never see her grow up. I’ll never get the pleasure of being an Uncle to her. This makes me sad. It makes me want to cry. But I know I have to be strong. Being sad is one thing but crying over this won’t really help bring them back. 

    They did what they felt they had to do and in their minds it’s the right time for them to start a new chapter in their lives. The question I ask is this: Are they making a big mistake? Will they end up regretting it? Most important: Will the kids be happy? Like I said, better to do it when they are young because it might be even harder the longer they wait. In my heart I know they had to do this but deep down I worry and I wonder if I should. I also feel like a part of me died.

 One last thing: There’s a part of me that wonders if they are running away from something or someone.. For some reason, it bothers me that… I don’t know I get the feeling that they are abandoning us. Like we’re no good for them anymore, I know it’s silly to think that but I dunno. I think I blame myself.. I know I shouldn’t but there’s something bothering me about this whole thing and I can’t figure out what it is. Sure there’s Skype and Facebook and other forms of communication but it’s not the same. Is it better then nothing? Yes.

  All I can do now is hope they are safe and say that they are “home” and hope that one day we will all be reunited in some form or another. Now I can only pray to G-D to watch over them  and say that I miss and love them.