The ripple effect
Kelly Hartog writes:
Taking A Bite Out Of Kelly Hartog
I consider myself a carefree happy guy who skips through life singing Air Supply songs and dodging rain drops.
Every morning (and afternoon and evening, even though it isn't required), I thank G-d I was not born a woman.
You see, I'm glad I'm rational and capable of great scientific and artistic achievement. I'm not bothered by the monthly curse. I am a model of calm and mental health.
I'm blessed to do work that puts me in constant contact with beautiful and vulnerable young women.
You see, I'm working on a book about sex abuse in the Orthodox rabbinate. Now, you can say many things about rabbis, but 'stupid choices in chicks' is not one of them. When a holy rabbi decides to throw away his wife and family and career and reputation, he usually undergoes Talmudic calculations before he selects his prey.
Then I come along months or years later and pick up the pieces, wipe the tears away, and carry the girl away on my white horse.
Benny the Rabbinic Shark has nothing on me.
It doesn't pay so good but the benefits of my work are great. I know deep in my soul that I am doing valuable work and touching lives.
Then along comes Friday, and amidst my joyous and detailed preparations for the Sabbath (making sure I have enough raisin-cinammon bagels on hand and peanut butter), I pick up the Jewish Journal. The catchy cover always drags me in and soon I'm absorbed by the high quality of the writing and, more importantly, by its inspiring moral tone.
Then, just when I'm experiencing the peak of this spiritual high, I crash. Why? Why do I get depressed even though my life is so wonderful? Because I see all the problems confronting my community.
This week's cover of the Journal cries: "The L.A. Lonely Hearts Club: Why Being Jewish and Single is a Community Wide Problem."
And then it all comes to me in a rush, all the community-wide problems demanding a Jewish response according to my paper. Last week it was France. Was it hopeless? Before that: "Encino Boy ODs In Israeli Yeshiva His death highlights drug problems in schools for Americans." Before that it was the Asian tsunami.
Then there was crime in the inner city (goyim killing goyim accidentally kill a yid) and an LAX security study fails to fly...
All these things demanding a community-response exhausts me.
I know I'm single. I know that this is not what the Torah wants for my life. But while I have a lack of quality in this department, I assure you that quantity I taste has a quality all of its own. And if it is intellectual companionship I want, I can call Cathy Seipp or just dream about Heather Mac Donald.
Now, thanks to Kelly Hartog's new article (she's the Journal's new religion reporter, replacing a marrying Gaby Wenig and a refreshed Julie Fax who's switched to education), I see my bachelorhood as not just my problem, but an act of selfishness which is denying happiness and fulfillment to some desperate Jewish woman in my city who might be driven otherwise to adopting 15 cats or dating a schvartze, and thereby destroying our community.
I'm so depressed by all this that I am going to completely change my story.
Thursday evening when I sat down to my evening repast of a Fuji apple, I picked up the Journal and took a big juicy bite out of the peach of a cover story...and I was swept away by yearning. Here was a single female Jewish journalist I haven't interviewed yet about the pressing problems confronting our community. Allahu Akbar!
I dig her concluding paragraph: