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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A Big Red Paper Heart

I have fond memories of this particular date from my public elementary school days.  Being Jewish I obviously didn't assign any religious significance to the occasion.... it was a just a rare day on which we were allowed - even encouraged - to engage in some chaste flirtations. 

The best part was that since the whole class passed out valentines to one another, we all had built-in deniability regarding the slightly-more-earnest message we scrawled inside the valentine that was handed to that certain someone.

It was an innocent time when crushes were seldom, if ever, acted upon... all 'love' was unrequited... and tiny candy hearts (the ones with messages printed on them) served as deliberately ambiguous tokens of our crushes.

As an observant Jew I am fully aware that St. Valentine's Day has nothing to do with me or my culture, but that doesn't mean I can't look back fondly to a time when this day simply provided sanction for a little platonic flirting.

So, today I'm going to do a little virtual flirting of my own and draw your attention to three special 'girls' with whom I share this big classroom known as the blogosphere:

First is Andrea of Superhero Jewelry.  I've been following her journal for as long as I can remember, and am constantly blown away by her creativity... in her writing, her photography, and of course her beautiful jewelry design.  Her designs are like candy for the neck and ears... and truly look good enough to eat!  If you aren't yet a customer or a fan, go say hello.

Next is mademoiselle a., a frequent treppenwitz commenter and long-time friend.  Ironically, 'mlle a.' and I first 'met' via a comment I left on Andrea's journal.  Over the past couple of years she's given me frequent peeks at the treasures she's found at 'flea markets' and craft fairs she frequents in Europe (where she lives).  These boxes of antique buttons... rolls of elegant lace... bolts of vintage fabrics... and the dizzying array of old world sewing notions have now been combined to create some incredibly beautiful hand-made originals that are being featured in her brand new Etsy store.  If you've ever longed for clothing or accents from a bygone era (or wished you could give such an item as a gift), you must go pay 'mlle. a. a visit at 'thymbyl designs'.

My last flirtation for today is directed at another journaler who I've been following for ages; Mighty Girl ('Famous among dozens').  Maggie's journal is a delight to read and her photography is inspired, but I recently noticed that she's set up an incredible collection of just plain 'niftiness' called Mighty Goods.  Maggie scours the web for the neatest gadgets... the funkiest clothing (for both men and women)... the yummiest food... the most interesting novelties... and the best 'stuff' for kids, and puts it all in one convenient place... just for you.  It's like having your own personal shopper!

Anyway, since I don't 'observe' Valentine's day in anything but memory... I hope you don't mind that I've taken a page from my early flirtations and send a virtual craft-paper heart to three 'girls' whose creativity and entrepreneurial talents I've been admiring from afar.


Posted by David Bogner on February 14, 2006 | Permalink


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First, what a relief to find a Jewish blogger not on blogspot!! (which is having problems because of the service providers in Israel).

Second, nice post.

Third, are you waving a red (our should I say pink?) flag at President of Kipot Srugot for Kadima? Judging by the way he reacted to your last post I think this one will send him right over the edge...

Posted by: westbankmama | Feb 14, 2006 4:09:31 PM


I am not sure I understand why you think I would be upset about Treppenwitz's Valentine's Day post. Personally, I am an All Hallow's Eve/Halloween fan myself (mmmm, candy....), but to each his own, as my philosophy preaches.

I guess I should've begun yesterday's comment with a disclaimer. Something like "Not to be read by the sarcasm-challenged". Maybe Seattle can explain it to you.

Posted by: President, Kipot Srugot for Kadima | Feb 14, 2006 4:29:37 PM

Does anyone celebrate valentine's as a religious holiday? Even when I was in religious school, I don't remember anyone even trying to imply that it was anything other than a hallmark holiday.

Posted by: Tanya | Feb 14, 2006 5:09:23 PM

Westbanmama... Yeah, I missed out on most of my daily reads yesterday because of whatever is blocking Israeli netizens from viewing blogspot blogs. Anyway, as I'm sure you've noticed by now, 'President' was being entirely ironic in his adaptation of that email I quoted. :-)

President... Now, now... When a joke falls flat, some of the responsibility has to rest with the teller. :-)

Tanya... Not being a member of the tribe, you probably aren't aware of some of the internal squabbling and finger-pointing we Jews do about such things. Many observant Jews eschew non-Jewish holidays altogether... even the secualr ones. But as even 'modern' orthodoxy moves further to the right we are seeing things like Halloween being set out of bounds (because of it's religious/pagan roots). Valentine's Day does indeed have religious origins, even though nobody has really assigned any religious significance to its observance for hundreds of years. Personally, I am an unapologetic lover of Christmas songs, Halloween decorations and Valentine hearts. All of these cultural touchstones are part of who I am and I don't care who knows it.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Feb 14, 2006 5:26:51 PM

OOOOPS, forgot the ;)....

Posted by: westbankmama | Feb 14, 2006 5:35:08 PM

i'm with Tanya.. I never saw it as a religious holiday, but more a kids holiday of the innocent 'flirting' Trep references. good times, good times!
And also a reminder that if you hadn't said "I love you" to your partner, spouse, significant other in a bit of time, this would be a good day to do it!

Posted by: Val | Feb 14, 2006 5:50:05 PM

David- thanks for all those wonderful links- I loved them all. Valentine's Day was never a big deal for me except to say it is my parents wedding anniversary- I always thought that was the most romantic thing to get married on Valentines Day...

Posted by: Regina Clare Jane | Feb 14, 2006 6:12:26 PM

Hear hear for all holidays, pagan festivals and secular celebrations that involve candy, pretty decorations, sparkly lights and other enjoyable encoutrements.

Posted by: Lisoosh | Feb 14, 2006 6:14:30 PM


Sorry, I keep forgetting how hard it is to convey sarcasm in writing. The too-cute :-)'s don't seem to cut it. (See http://www.slate.com/id/2111172/fr/ifr/ for a great idea how to correct that.)

Posted by: President, Kipot Srugot for Kadima | Feb 14, 2006 6:25:06 PM

I never liked this fake holiday. One day I am going to lead the million man march on Hallmark and we'll take care of this once and for all.

Posted by: Jack | Feb 14, 2006 9:40:58 PM

This year is really the first time we stopped celebrating it, mostly out of respect for our daughter, who attends a religous school, but I did almost give in to temptation and buy my honey a very creative, scumptious looking, goumet cookie basket but just as I was about to do it, I found out the cookies had almonds in it. Not a great way to spend a romantic evening in the emergency room with an asthmatic allergic reaction.

Btw, I second your opinion of Superhero Designs. Her writing and photography is so creative and beautiful, as well as her reader's comments. There is something very New Age about it, but I am just so drawn to it.

Posted by: Sweettooth | Feb 14, 2006 10:50:42 PM

Ah, please, Valentine's day isn't even a real holiday, so I don't consider it Christian.

Really nice things you pointed out, though!

It's just an occasion to say romantic nonsense and have a good (or miserable and lonely) time with your family and loved ones or friends.

Posted by: Irina | Feb 14, 2006 11:06:39 PM

Am I mortified!?

Posted by: Scott | Feb 15, 2006 1:36:58 AM

*shrugs* I've gotten my g/f annoyed with me/disappointed in that I absolutely refuse to do anything for Valentine's Day. But that's more a matter of principle than a matter of unromanticism. Heh, I get her roses and chocolates (and books, does that count?) *randomly*. Much better that way.

Posted by: matlabfreak | Feb 15, 2006 1:59:13 AM

President - you are right. I was "sarcasm challenged" yesterday. Funny I couldn't recognize it as often as I dish it out ;)

Posted by: Seattle | Feb 15, 2006 5:14:02 AM

Happy Valentines day to all! Or at least hope everyone had some good candies or got some flowers today. (There are still 3 minutes left of this day, here in Seattle) :)

Posted by: Seattle | Feb 15, 2006 9:57:47 AM

Val... And I never saw Halloween as a religious holiday. But because it wasn't one of our holidays our kids didn't encounter it in their Jewish day school and didn't participate in trick or treating.

Regina Clare Jane... I'm glad you enjoyed the links. These are three very special people.

Lisoosh... Nice to see that carbohydrates play such a central role in your theology. :-)

President... Great idea having an irony symbol, but if most people don't recognise what it is, then it won't help very much.

Jack... The proper response should be "Every day is Valentine's Day in my house!" :-)

Sweettooth... As the woman in the house you have the legal authority to cancel the observance of this holiday. Men have no such authority. :-)

Irina... I agree 100%. But a lot of people are making a lot of money off of this non-holiday. I'm just glad to see that a lot of them are Israelis!.

Scott... Don't tell me you forgot!? I wouldn't want to be in your shoes right now. :-)

Matlabfreak... I'm with you. I prefer to control when and where to be romantic.

Seattle... Hope you had a good one.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Feb 15, 2006 10:33:54 AM

"and send a virtual craft-paper heart to three 'girls' whose creativity and entrepreneurial talents I've been admiring from afar."

awww. :) well, at least from me you're receiving pink, blushy cheeks in return. that's something on v-day, isn't it.

Posted by: Account Deleted | Feb 15, 2006 4:15:04 PM

mademoiselle a. ... Glad you got the message. :-)

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