April 25, 2019

Marie Kondo for Orthodox Jews

“The lifestyle guru Marie Kondo has a show on Netflix with whizz ideas about how to tidy your home. I paid little attention to her until she had the chutzpah to suggest that a house should have no more than 30 books. THIRTY BOOKS. This provoked the journalist David Aaronovitch to tweet that one should have “a minimum of thirty books by your bed. Otherwise you can’t be certain of having something good to read.”

Kondo’s advice made me worry that many Orthodox Jews would take it on board, because as a community we’re never entirely happy with our homes. If we’re not paying a builder to do an extension, moving stuff around, renovating rooms or buying cupboards from Ikea, then at the very least we’re applying for planning permission, wondering if we need to get planning permission, or moaning about the fact that the Council never gave us planning permission.

I therefore feel duty bound to provide my own Konmari advice perfectly tailored to Orthodox Jews. Bear with me, it’s a random assortment of tips relating both to the home and how to have a perfect Shabbat.

Firstly the books: have as many as you want but pay attention to their arrangement. If the rabbi’s coming over and you want to be seen as that good Torah-loving Jew, make sure the sefarim you haven’t opened since your bar mitzvah are the first thing he sees. Push your Lolita, Anais Nins and Henry Millers to the other end, preferably behind other books. The Guide to Jewish Humour, Alan Dershowitz’s Chutzpah and Aerial Photos of Israel go somewhere in the middle.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"After five years of war with the Islamic State, the biggest problem for the winners is coping with the losers. The aftermath has produced one of the world’s most perplexing postwar challenges..."

"What do we mean when we say that the “soul of the city” is under threat? Often, it’s really about politics, nostalgia, and the fear of community change."

"...the pendulum of history never stops moving. Indeed, one of the few constants of history is unceasing change. While we seem to be heading in one direction, we must remember that there will surely be pauses, turns, and reversals."

""Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé," premiered early Wednesday and it was the fulfillment of all the ancestors' hopes and dreams. Beyoncé also dropped "Homecoming: The Live Album.""

"Seven in 10 adults ages 18 to 34 received financial support from their parents in the last year, including more than half of those in their early 30s. Almost three in five millennials said they couldn’t afford their lifestyles without the support."

"Social media influencers have helped turn public lands into tourist-infested swamps. And one cantankerous man is fighting back."

"One particular myth that attached itself to Ledger was that his death was somehow a result of immersing himself in the character of the Joker."

"In 2018, for the second year in a row, American publishers released fewer translated titles: 609 books were published, down from 650 in 2017 and the industry high in 2016 of 666."

"Egg freezing had become so routine among my single peers that when I hit 35, I never thought twice. Here’s what I wish I had known."

"When it comes to Passover cuisine, most home cooks know to avoid wheat, oats, rye, and other forbidden ingredients. But what consumers might not realize is just how much cotton they eat during the holiday."

"A masked figure looms over your recumbent body, wielding power tools and sharp metal instruments, doing things to your mouth you cannot see."

"Passover is a holiday that commemorates the Jewish people escaping slavery in Egypt. It is often referred to as the “festival of freedom.” My Passover in prison was at a place called the Wallkill Correctional Facility..."