Like batman I have two lives
Architect by day and
uhm... architect... again at night
I design additions
for yeshiva families
I'm not pulling in lots of cash
but I'm getting good practice
and twice the aggravation...

No music make nigel go sumthin' sumthin'

I've had a really bad day
which is fitting, as this is this is Tammuz
and there's no music
so my mind just dropping quarters into the jukebox...
unfortunately girly Bjork is the fave of the moment:

I miss you
But I haven't met you yet
So special
But it hasn't happened yet
You are gorgeous
But I haven't met you yet
I remember
But it hasn't happened yet

And if you believe in dreams
Or what is more important
That a dream can come true
I will meet you

Naftali, ruining shidduchim chances everyday with his blog

wake up

I'm working too much again
I'm trying to be a "good jew"
I'm trying to learn
and I'm trying to run a side business.
I'm waking up each morning
wishing I could sleep the day through

A polar bear in the desert

someone moved Washington DC to Africa
And I demand that we move back
My parents didn't brave
economy-class air travel
and a time in college
to live in the same climate
that they could have lived in for free!

Turn up the AC
ozone whole be damned!


I was asked to affirm
my belief in the
correctness of a tzadik

but the words choked in my throat
under layers of
slimy political correctness


are you dating yet

I have been asked rather often lately
"are you dating?"
I don't know what to respond
having basically neutered myself
while on this "quest"

most nights I just want to roll up
and watch old "Pete and Pete" episodes
but it would be nice to do that with company.


if I couldn't hear
the ticking of a melody's
mental clock
I'd be empty
I spend every moment
moving to the beat in my mind
springing each step
to the beat of a drum
I'd rather be blind


sudafed kills
don't lets them tell you different
then again, it might have been the
"abandon all consequence"
"must finish this book"
all night Potter-fest

Shabbos number two
as a Jew
I will rock this hardcore
or die trying.

the space between

so I woke up this morning
promptly went back to sleep
then woke up again
30mins before davening
mumbled my brachot
while whirling around the house
like a drunken robot
blindly following the furrow
dug by years of repetition

I got all of the way through the amidah
when someone said:
check your shel rosh
I left the batim on!
a quick halacha check with R. Bz.
and I reapplied my totafos
the mistakes of a newbie
or the errors of not having kavanah

on a positive note
got an aliyah this morning
still get so nervous
that I forget my name
but they had the brachot
so I didn't mess up


the birds outside my window
are doing it again
just thought i'd let you know


woke up sunday
woke up monday
woke up tuesday
sounds like progress

Haven't talked to my mother yet
over shabbos she met the Berners
quietest meal I've ever had there
My parents sat straight-backed
politely spooning food from their plates
betraying nothing behind their placid demeanors
maybe it's hard to have a son you no longer own
to feel that what you stand for,
no longer stands for you

Throw the Jews down the well

Ahh racism, I know you so well...
Sasha Cohen of Ali G fame goes to a country western bar in Tuscon as an Kazakhstani and sings about the problems in "his country"... And the crowd responds as only real Americans should.


I walked up to the bimah
heart pumping, almost audibly, in my chest
I put down my siddur
touched the place where we were to begin
gripped the handles and quivering slightly
chanted, "borchu es H" hamevorach"

Moments later, the reading was over,
I had said my first bracha l'vatela
and I was worrying about the d'var Torah
I was expected to give later that day

I'm not comfortable with emotional displays
so when faced with a situation that goes beyond
my ability to continue acting like I have myself under control
I can't handle it.
I wanted to crawl into a hole this shabbos
hide from the mazel tovs, the "honors"
and just start the busy work of keeping myself "right" with H"

But thanks be to k'lal Israel,
for you have treated me a like a king
and I will work at repaying you
with learning, chesed, and tzedakah

And that's the last thing I'll say about it
like I said:
I'm not comfortable with emotional displays

Kai (Chai)

in 6th grade I started buying GQ
no this is not a confession
of homosexual leanings,
although it was suspected at the time
I bought GQ because
i needed to know how to dress

a girl, a fantastically popular, beautiful girl
walked up to me in music class
and announced
Nigel Doesn't Match
I didn't know what she was talking about because
I didn't know what "matching" was

as a child I went through favorite color phases
a blue phase, red phase, and black phase, a mono-colored weirdo
my mother let me pick my clothes
and I exercised my choice with
what I thought was artistic flair
but all of that fell down one day
while playing the cymbals in music class


"You give a good dvar Torah"
said the rebbe's wife
I accepted her praise,
the knots inside slowly unraveling

wakey wakey

the morning after
reminds me of first time
I held amanda's hand
walking silently down
the halls of my middle school

During lunch we'd conveyed messages
through giggling girls
excited to the point of bursting by
the whispered phrases of
overcharged pubescent hormones.

But somehow I'd convinced this
brown eyed slender girl
that holding my hand was a good thing
that it was worth the effort
And I reveled in the prize.

walking down that hall
next to the lines of
half-empty yellow lockers
I was crushed by the possibilities
without a clue what to say, or do

but that's the best moment
all unrealized potential, expectation
exaultation not chained by
mistakes, omissions, and errors to come
lifted by the afterglow of achievement

Amanda and I "broke up" a few weeks later
I don't remember why,
but it doesn't really matter
we weren't married forever
but I am now

No you don't have to call me that

But my name is Naftali Tzvi Yehuda ben Avraham, don't forget it! Two points for the first to figure out who I named myself after.

1. Flustered Nigel != Man that can answer halachik questions
2. Does this mean I have to register on Frumster?
3. Not to dwell on the subject, but I don't have many surface veins "there" so I got the special treatment, so it's like I DID have a bris again.
4. People look at you funny if you're skipping up the street to shul singing, "I'm Jewish"
5. I'm going to be in Kemp Mill this Shabbos and next Shabbos I'm going to sponsor kiddush at Woodside (B"N), if anyone wants to have yeshivish fun this shabbos, gimee a call.
6. I'm Jewish!
7. Who wants to have me over for the next couple days for dinner, I ain't got no pots pans and the rest.
8. I'll return the blog to the regular format after this
9. Jewish factoid of the day: Pastrami is Romainian yiddish for "preserved" other words sharing the root are "pasturize" and the Greek Island Pastra so called because the weather beaten old people who live there look like they've been pasteurized... and the fact that pasteurization was made up there during an accident with a sock, two cows, and a barrel of black pepper. I made that up.
10. I'm JEWISH!!!!!!11111one one :)

Judaism, keeping it kosher since 4000BC (circa)

Sung to "Who Knows One"

Who's a Jew
I'm a Jew

Third was the "dipping"
Second was the "pricking"
First were the questions that the rabbis asked.

And one is Hashem,
One is Hashem,
One is Hashem,
Now my name is Naftali

Ooh Ah
Ah Ah

Ooh Ah
Ah Ah

6 Sivan 5765

trembling before g-d

ugh, I hate this title
it sounds like some stupid movie
oh yeah, it is a stupid movie

I'm a ball of nerves
a pendulum swinging between
manic and distracted

Good things:
I can cook for people
I LOVE cooking for people
till now it's just been for Jen,
and since I got all shomer 'this and that'
she hasn't been there
All it's been is uncomfortable relatives
Pyramid scheme sellers
and some overheated mormons
but now...
Things will be mostly the same,
but hopefully I can add 'hungry Jew' to that list.

mood: full panic mode
listening: NPR
thinking: everything all at once

moshe cohen

moshe asks me every day
"so you have a date yet?"
and I say
"It's not up to me!"
and he says
"you have to talk to him"
and I say
"yeah I know I know"

But now I say

moved a few days
but whatever
I'm still happy
life is good

I will

I will get up each day before 7:00am
I will daven with a minyan twice each day (until the summer ends)
I will continue to ride to and from work on a bicycle
(except when it rains)
I will exercise every day
I will call my parents at least twice a week
I will do something fun at least twice a week
I will 'learn' (hate calling it bible study) at least 5 hours a week
Last but not least:
I will dance dance dance

It's independance day
I am supposed to be giving thanks
that my forefathers had the wisdom
of representative government
and liberalized trade...
but I just want to sleep half the day and see fire works
I'm gonna do the latter


R. says "two weeks from monday"
I jumped up and down like a kid...
hopefully not on the outside

*smiling on the outside as I write this*

I have at least one reader

Which is funny
only because my interior
"comment whore"
turned on and made me wish
"love me"


watched Spanglish
I am a single latino
mother's worst nightmare
completely assimilated
into another culture by choice
when asked
who do you want to be?
I pointed the other direction


I broke up with Jen yesterday

it was a little wierd,
how do you break up
with someone you weren't dating

girl+boy is hard
for the orthodox
can't be alone
and it's looked down upon
and talked about
despite lashon hora

so there are barriers to friendship
making meetings stilted and difficult
filled with a heretofor non-existant tension

but I don't look upon
our evolution
as an evil
as an ending
by making friendship
less about physical presence
more about cerebral connection
"philia" distilled to its basic component
In a way I'm excited