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Mrs. Hvaces42's Surprise London Birthday Adventure So I figure I’ll give this TR thing a whirl. First time TR so bear with the lack of proper captions and photo formatting issues. And away we go...

With my wife’s birthday fast approaching (and it being a very significant number, 21, of course) I was stumped as to what gift I could possibly get the woman who has everything. Jewelry, what woman needs more jewelry? Clothing, eh, a closet full of clothing is more than enough. Fancy restaurants and surprise parties, old hat. Hmmm…Dan’s Deals Twitter Notifications to the rescue!!!

BA’s Business Class Sale came at the perfect moment. My wife and I hadn’t been overseas in 5 years and the last time we were, we transited through LHR without exiting the airport. The initial sale notification didn’t really get my attention. Then the pay with Avios information started filtering in and this began to look like, and actually turned into, a steal.

I was sitting on a pile of Avios after having been F/R’d by Amex and having to choose wisely between the programs I would transfer my soon expiring MR. I chose to transfer a chunk to my already sizeable Avios account. So the 60k Avios were really a drop in the bucket compared with the $1,700+ in airfare that it saved me.

After signing up for AARP membership, I quickly booked the 2 seats on BA’s latest flight out on Motzei Shabbos, her actual birthday, returning Tuesday evening on the latest BA flight out of LHR. Only after I was booked and confirmed did I realize that I could have reserved on AA’s 77W and still made it on Motzei Shabbos or pushed the return to Wednesday, but I guess you live and learn.

Now came the planning stage. As this was to be a surprise birthday trip plus I needed to work out some kinks and a high level security clearance list of people who could help me pull this off. In addition, we needed hotel, food, work schedule adjustments and child care arrangements.

My schedule is flexible and not much of an issue. Mrs. Hvaces42 on the other hand works weekends and per diem so I needed to make sure both her employers could have coverage for the days she wouldn’t be here and that she wouldn’t be asked to come in per diem on the days we would be away. Took care of that with both her workplaces.

That being covered it was time to do some research. DDF Destination and Trip Planning Forum is an invaluable tool. Additionally, being that so many people had taken advantage of the BA sale, including Dan, it was great to see itineraries in progress.

Based on the recommendations I got, it was a choice between the Hyatt Regency Churchill and the Andaz. A quick check of the Regency website made the choice easy. They were under construction. Who wants to deal with that? So the Andaz it was. (I couldn’t be that far off because the Rebbe Reb Dan also considered the Andaz ) I tried to see if a DSU was available but there was none and I held no hope as it was a holiday week and the regular rooms were actually selling out fast.

Transferred 25k UR to Hyatt (I know, poor use of UR, but I don’t have any Hyatt points or Chase Hyatt) and booked a Points + Cash booking for a King room 12.5k per night plus £99. After booking the room rate dropped had some more buyers remorse for using the points, but what was done was done. Around Thanksgiving Hyatt had a 15% off sale on Certificates. I purchased a $300 certificate for $276 on my Capital One Venture card, hoping to use it to pay the cash portion. Used 27,600 Capital One points to erase that certificate purchase.

Contacted Hyatt Concierge through Twitter to see if we could get room upgrade in celebration of Mrs. Hvaces42’s birthday. Was not promised anything. Contacted the Andaz Concierge directly via email and gave them the rundown of what I wanted to do for the birthday including flowers and kosher cake. They suggested I order cake directly and have it delivered. They provided me with the option to purchase flowers for £25, which I found very reasonable so I ordered through them. Andaz Concierge was very responsive and helpful even though they screwed up after the fact.

Next it was figuring out what we must see and what we could get away without seeing. I modeled my itinerary on Dan’s with some modifications for the short nature of our trip versus his 5 days and kid-friendly itinerary.

This is what the final itinerary looked like. Of course it changed upon arrival but it gave us some guidance.

Sunday 12/27:
Arriving at LHR 9:30am Pickup from LHR
Private Driver to Windsor Castle.
Driver to take bags to Andaz Liverpool Street
Underground/Train to Golders Green
Dinner at Kaifeng 
Underground to Andaz.
Monday 12/28:
Tower of London  and Tower bridge.
Lunch 1701 at Selfridge’s
British Museum
Emirates Air Line Cable Car
Dinner LaFiesta.    

Tuesday 12/29:
Underground to Changing of the Guards tour
London Eye
Churchill War Rooms
London Dungeon
Underground/Train to LHR 7:30pm Departure

Finally, some loose ends needed to be tied up; cell phone, food recommendations and transportation.

I spoke with Sprint and they have a phenomenal plan which charges $0.20 per minute of talk and unlimited 2G data included in my plan. They offered me a plan with 500MB of 3G data for $50, but I declined. Andaz offers free wifi and leaving four kids at home we were able to Skype and Whatsapp call with them from the hotel and communicate regularly throughout the day using the phone when we needed to do so.

After some fits and starts regarding food recommendations and even a nice suggestion from some DDF users to cancel my trip because I was frustrated with Bevis Marks closing and other poor food reviews I just picked a few choices and figured I’d give the birthday girl her choices of where we would eat.

DDF user ZOW was kind enough to send me some Oyster Cards pre-loaded with a few pounds each which are required for entry (and exit) from the Underground. I did some research and couldn’t figure out how to load the cards online as it required activation by “tapping” in at an Underground station. I figured I had enough on each card to get me where I wanted to go. Then I learned that there is a maximum charge that you can be charged per person each day when using the Oyster card on the Underground. So I was basically good to go.

Lastly, I needed a driver to pick us up from LHR and take us to Windsor Castle, bring food, fetch the surprise birthday cake from Stamford Hill and drop the cake and our luggage at the hotel. Every one of my English friends had a driver for me, until I needed a phone number?!?!? I finally got one who wasn’t available on that day and he referred his friend who was very competent and helpful. He charged us £100 plus disbursements. I asked him to bring sandwiches as well as rolls. He only brought us rolls. Otherwise he was prompt and got the job done. A bit of a steep price, but a reliable, frum, driver to deliver my luggage, which I was not going to leave to an Uber driver.

We left JFK Terminal 7 on BA 0114 which is “Sleeper Service”. We checked in and were directed to the Lounge Dining Room where we were served pre-flight dinner. I think this was very smart as it maximized the amount of time we could get to sleep on board.

The meal was Borenstein standard business class food. Not too great. The appetizer was some kind of cold fish dish, which is not something I would eat anyway. My wife tasted it and it was dry and tasteless. The main dish was a very tasty chicken in a bbq type sauce. It was filling.

As it was Motzei Shabbos we left a bit later than we normally would have so we didn’t take in the full lounge experience including the free Elemis spa and showers, which we took at home.         

We flew on a 777-200 with a 2-4-2 configuration in J. We sat in seats E-F middle seats of the 4 seats. The seats did not have aisle access but one aisle seat was empty so it wasn’t too bad. The seats were comfortable and we were quickly asleep. I slept for most of the flight, my wife not that much.

Davened on the plane. Had a quick breakfast of fruit (nothing else offered). We were given landing cards and Fast Track Immigration entry. Had a quick immigration and customs experience and we were out in no time. Driver was waiting so we couldn’t use the arrivals lounge and wanted to get going.

We left for Windsor Castle right away. The weather was a bit drizzly, but not too cold. We arrived in Windsor in 20-25 minutes. The left side driving was a bit disconcerting to me.
IMG_1298 by hvaces42, on Flickr

IMG_1295 by hvaces42, on Flickr

IMG_1292 by hvaces42, on Flickr
St. George’s Chapel

IMG_1291 by hvaces42, on Flickr

IMG_1289 by hvaces42, on Flickr

IMG_1286 by hvaces42, on Flickr

IMG_1287 by hvaces42, on Flickr

IMG_1283 by hvaces42, on Flickr

At Windsor Castle we waited on line for tickets for about 10 minutes. The tickets were approximately £25 each adult. You can rent headsets for an audio self-tour. We didn’t but it definitely looked worthwhile. There is a full airport style security check after you buy tickets before you get in to the actual castle.

The Castle is one of the official residences of the Queen. It is actually used by the Queen regularly. The place is basically a museum that the royal family gets to live in. Artwork, china, room after room of unbelievable excess. As an American it was eye-popping. Everything is old and regal. Obviously there is much more but here is a taste.

20151227_120200 by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_120135 by hvaces42, on Flickr

One of the highlights is Queen Mary’s Dollhouse. You are not officially allowed to photograph it so the pictures I have are all low light cell phone shots taken surreptitiously. The detail in the dollhouse was astounding. From the perfectly packed linen closet to the miniature Rolls Royce’s parked in the garage.

20151227_113310 by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_113309 by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_113149 by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_113120 by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_113105 by hvaces42, on Flickr

Seeing the Queens Guards standing guard was a welcome surprise. They look like dolls off in the distance until they started marching. It was really cool to watch them. The march every so often without the benefit of looking at their watch and no clocks in sight. St. George’s Chapel is one of the most magnificent buildings I’ve ever seen.

IMG_1304 by hvaces42, on Flickr

IMG_1303 by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_122458 by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_122238 by Hvaces42 hvaces42, on Flickr

We spent approximately 2 hours at Windsor Castle. We left the castle grounds and checked out the touristy shops right on Castle Hill. We actually bought some English wool scarves which were rather decently prices at 2 for £20. You can buy souvenirs in the many shops there. I found that the best souvenir shops were in Terminal 5 at LHR. 

At that point, my wife having basically missed a night of sleep I made an executive decision and changed the plan from taking train and bus to the Andaz to trying out Uber for the first time. I ordered an uberX which quoted at £41 - £55. The wait was about 9 minutes and the driver called us when he had an issue finding us. He showed up in an older Ford minivan but it was clean and the driver was friendly.

The trip back took us through central London past Parliament Square where I got my first look at Big Ben, the London Eye and Westminster Abbey. We arrived at the Andaz in a little over an hour. Total Uber charge £46.34 which translated to $69.26 (£1 = $1.4946) on my Capital One Quicksilver card. I always thought that the 20% off Uber on Quicksilver was for USD charges only. I was surprised to get a $13.85 credit. So that trip cost me $55.41, a bargain for that length of trip.

We got the Andaz and checked in. This began our birthday cake saga. The Andaz has this fluid check-in desk with computers on both sides of a conference table in the lobby and concierge associates milling about the lobby. Its very awkward as you dont know where to stand during the check-in process.

So the associate we got had no brains whatsoever. Chatty, flamboyant, flirtatious are a few of the choice adjectives I’ll use for this family friendly site. He’s just talking up a storm and casually tells my wife, “oh I see from the notes here that there was a cake delivered for you, Happy Birthday”. Surprise ruined!!! Oh well.

He did upgrade us to a “Large King” room which wasn’t too large but we didn’t need much of a large room anyway. Having ruined the surprise I asked him to send up the cake right away and the flowers I had ordered through the hotel. We went up to our room on the 5th floor which had views of a courtyard.

Andaz Lobby by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_140421 by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_141259 by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_141256 by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_171227 by hvaces42, on Flickr

IMG_1379 by hvaces42, on Flickr

We relaxed for 2 hours and then decided to go to Golders Green for dinner. Still no cake to be seen.

To be continued very soon…       

January 07, 2016, 11:25:00 PM
Re: Mrs. Hvaces42's Surprise London Birthday Adventure Next Installment

We left to Golders Green using the Underground (Moorgate Station, about a 10 minute walk from Andaz). You have to “tap in” and “tap out” of the Underground using the Oyster Card. Make sure you do because they have station monitors watching at each station and there is a fine if you don’t do it. Its also important because the is a maximum charge you can be assessed each day. So its almost a flat fee for unlimited usage of the Underground. I think it depends on what zones you go to. Most of the sites in central London that you will want to see are within the zones that will cost £6.80 – 9.60(I think) per day.

We arrived in Golders Green in approximately 25 minutes. It was one train direct to Golders Green Road Station. Golders Green Road was all lit up for the holidays so it was easy to identify the main street when we got out of the station.

We decided on eating Chinese. Our choices were between Kaifeng, which is a bit further in Hendon (really just a bit up the road) or Met Su Yan. On the walk from the Underground we passed by the other kosher restaurants including Isola Bella, Novellino, White House Express, Pizaza, a schwarma joint and some others that I cant recall off-hand. They were all packed at 5:30 in the evening, granted it was Sunday and a holiday weekend.

We arrived at Met Su Yan and asked to be seated. Met Su Yan is a nice, newer restaurant, seats approximately 70 people. The waitress asked if we had reservations and of course we didn’t. The place was deserted except for two couples sitting in the back. They said they would see if they could seat us. After a minute or so they said we could have a table for two if we promised to leave by 8:00pm. We agreed and were seated smack in the center of the place. A shame I didn’t take pictures of the seating. They were a bit rude to a party of 5 that arrived towards the end of our meal too, moving them from table to table because of later reservations.

They offer a prix fixe menu, three courses (Appetizer or soup, Main, Side dish and Dessert) for £27.50 per person or four courses (additional Second Course or Sushi) for £32.50. We went for the three course meal.

20151227_183032 by We ate some of the nuts before I took pic…tasty salad
, on Flickr

For the appetizer I ordered the Deep Fried Wontons and my DW ordered the Chicken and Shitake Mushroom Dim Sum. Wontons were not real wontons, they were chicken wrapped in spring roll skin, not wonton  wrappers, served with sweet sauce. Dim Sum was four pieces served with ginger based sauce. A bit doughy but tasty.     

20151227_183657 by Wontons
, on Flickr

20151227_184033 by Dim Sum
, on Flickr

For the main dish we shared the Sweet and Sour Chicken and Szechuan Chicken. Portion were tiny. Sweet and Sour very good dish, crispy and properly spiced. Szechuan chicken was tasteless boiled pieces of chicken in jalapeno based pepper and onion mix. Sides were Fried Rice with eggs.

 20151227_184758 by Sweet and Sour Chicken hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_184754 by Szechuan Chicken hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_184800 by Fried Rice with Eggs hvaces42, on Flickr

For dessert we had the hot chocolate cake with ice cream (sorry for the half eaten pics) and the Toffee Apples, which were apple slices deep-fried in a batter with hard glaze served boiling hot!!! Cake and ice cream were phenomenal. Apples started off very bland but by the time I got to piece number four it was quite tasty and I was overdosing on the sugar.

20151227_190700 by Chocolate cake and Ice Cream hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_190705 by Toffee Apples
, on Flickr

All in all ambiance was ok. We got out in time. Felt a bit pressured, but my fault for not making reservations. Food portions were small and we left a bit hungry. Some dishes hit the mark others did not. Pricey by any standards, especially us being from New York and knowing the Chinese food is not that expensive or unique.

I get the sense when we spoke to other local people that they know this restaurant is over-priced and doesn’t serve decent portions. Final bill was $99.13 (don’t recall how many pounds), including 12.5% tip already on the receipt with no place to add or subtract on final receipt, as chip and signature payment doesn’t allow for final receipts to be signed manually.

We made our way back to the Andaz via Moorgate Station. Got absolutely lost on the 8 minute walk back to Andaz it took us 40 minutes. Google Maps was no help due to the 2G service and lag in time it took to get our location. It was downright scary to walk that area on deserted streets (it is the financial district and very quiet at night and on the weekends). Learned our lesson for the next two days taking Underground, with switching trains once (or twice) to Liverpool Station was a much better and safer alternative.       

January 08, 2016, 11:34:14 AM
Re: undo a membership rewards transfer to delta Beg, plead...and dont waste your time. Miniscule chance you get it reversed.
August 30, 2016, 12:22:34 AM
Re: Vote: Keep Or Ditch Likes?

September 05, 2016, 03:40:59 PM
Re: JetBlue 2 day sale
New sale posted, with fares from LGA to BOS at 38.10 nonstop each way.

Travel Oct. 31 - Dec. 15, 2016.
Travel on Mon., Tues., Wed., Thurs., and Sat.
Blackout dates of Nov. 10 - Nov. 14, 2016, and Nov. 18 - Nov. 29, 2016 apply.
Getting to LGA will cost you way too much (physically and emotionally) to make flying out of there worth it. 

September 07, 2016, 07:25:30 AM
Re: Comments That Leave Me Speechless...
I can take that to mean Jews say one thing but do another that does not follow the laws/rules of Judaism. Care to clarify for me?  :P
Individual Jews may not follow the rules. That does not mean Judaism is flawed. That means individuals may be flawed but they do not speak for the entirety of judaism. 

September 07, 2016, 10:20:36 AM
Re: Budapest Master Thread
that depends on what you want to see, but I would vote for Prague
Prague is the nicest, vienna probably the most expensive and Budapest the cheapest. Food choices are pretty similar.

September 08, 2016, 03:57:50 PM
Re: Comments That Leave Me Speechless...
The reply was great though

September 08, 2016, 05:57:50 PM
PRICE MISTAKE! Curved 27 inch LED Monitor for only $39.20 reg $255.00!
September 11, 2016, 10:49:43 PM
Re: Dispute Credit pull?
Sure, but after two months, no one has been able to cite a single statute that backs up their assumption.

(I agree that it's not worth losing sleep over.)
Maybe off topic...what year of law school are you currently in?
Your hangup with citing chapter and verse is very interesting.

November 27, 2016, 10:16:01 PM
Re: Dispute Credit pull?
It's not a "hang up." You can't sue a bank without citing a law that was violated.
Really? There is a whole body of common law that is not codified which allow you to sue in equity rather than in law. You dont always need a statute.

November 27, 2016, 10:23:28 PM
Re: Interesting Articles...
Even if they were sold as eved ivris for generations they wouldn't be able to pay up... The numbers are huuge
So you hang them instead? Or send them away to rot?

Wouldnt it be better to see Madoff working the Times Square Alliance with a garbage pail and broom, living in an SRO, eating at a soup kitchen with his check garnished every week, then hidden away in some anonymous concrete building in Butner NC?

January 01, 2017, 10:16:47 PM
Re: Guess The City!
013 by Dawie Van De Merwe, on Flickr
That looks like Ocean Parkway but I'll go with Brussels

January 05, 2017, 04:46:24 PM
Re: Jewish Websites Allowing Ads For The Binary Options Scam
I personally contacted two Heimish websites that run these ads,  and have not received any response.

If everyone here emails the websites and demands they be removed by lunchtime today I'm sure they'd all be down.
They dont care. It keeps the lights on at sites like COL and VosIzNeias. Why would they give up the only advertising revenue that they have on a consistent basis? They keep responding "Oh, we didnt know, we dont control the content of the ads on your computer" and statements like that.

The only way to get people to realize that this is worse than casino gambling, which at least in most countries is regulated, is to scream at the top of your lungs. Dan, this is DDMS worthy. At least it should be pinned at the top like the "Dont Swipe for Others" thread. People are losing money and getting "had" every day. This is not an investment product. Its casino gambling with the veneer of legitimacy peppered onto it using buzzwords like FOREX and investment.

Lo sa'amod al dam reyecha.

GEt the message out.

February 20, 2017, 07:43:45 AM
Re: 5,000 Point Sign-Up and Fly Bonus For New JetBlue TrueBlue Members Meh, when they offer 75k again for taking a paid flight maybe we will pay attention  ;D ;D
February 28, 2017, 07:20:02 AM
Re: Budapest Master Thread
not unless i dump him in poland/slovakia and switch drivers  ;D
Then I would fly. But The purpose is to visit kevarim
Someones moral compass needs a little adjustment.

Dumping a driver doesnt absolve you from paying him for the trip. Doubt the tzadikim would really approve too.

Youre better off skipping the kevarim.

March 03, 2017, 01:03:16 PM
Re: NY Post Article On Satmar Couple's Open Marriage (Interesting Articles Split)
Thats covered in greed. And that doesn't cause people to go OTD. How many instances of chillul shabbos do you know that are done jist to have people who grew up frum and made a conscious decision to leave frum life because of the money. A handful at most.

March 15, 2017, 04:30:34 PM
Re: NY Post Article On Satmar Couple's Open Marriage (Interesting Articles Split)
That depends on the time periods you are looking at.
Present day orthodoxy. What other time period did you take my statement and Dan's statement to be talking about?

March 15, 2017, 05:25:33 PM
Re: PAID UPGRADE ON FLIGHT For $300 they will let you sit in the bathroom. Really opening a can of worms with the Polish jokes.
March 23, 2017, 04:09:25 PM
Re: Lowest Ever On Amazon (LEOA) MASTER THREAD Master threads are not eligible for HT per forum rules.  ;D
March 24, 2017, 06:45:27 PM
Re: Ecco shoes $63 Shipped & Sold by Amazon! Great deal. I bought the Moc Loafer for $71 also very good price. Thanks OP
March 28, 2017, 07:24:54 AM
Re: Misc Credit Card Questions
So how exactly does this 8 days work? Does it go by the hour of previous application?
On the 8th day G-d created trolls

March 28, 2017, 10:32:57 PM
Re: Pesach Program in Greece Cancelled Just Now!
These programs are evil IMO.
Not necessarily evil but definitely not in the spirit of Pesach. We were always taught, pesach you stay home, sukkos you leave your house. These days its the opposite, pesach you leave home and built-in sukkos have brought that yom tov into the house.

April 04, 2017, 08:34:16 AM
Re: Pesach Program in Greece Cancelled Just Now! Just curious...How does one who attends a program truly fulfill bedukas chametz/ biur chametz? Do they have a ceremonial biur chametz event erev pesach at the hotel?

Doesnt it cross anyones mind that kids can grow up and never know you make a bracha for bedikas chametz? Or kids not knowing how to put up a sukkah for those that go away for sukkos?

What about teaching kids that you have to work to put together a yom tov and not just write a check. What of the enjoyment of sitting down to a seder knowing that your efforts were appreciated. There are so many interpersonal, marital, religious and other experiences that can be taken from a seder that cannot be replicated at a program.

April 04, 2017, 04:53:10 PM
Re: Pesach Program in Greece Cancelled Just Now!
There are 2 things to look at

1- Kashrus, which is a much bigger challenge on Pesach. In hotels in particular for varied reasons, the size, the menu needed, the staff, and the usually nonkosher establishment. On Pesach, small mistakes can pose a much bigger problem halachically.

2- Minhug, of not eating out on Pesach. Though its originates to eliminate the kashrus issue, it is still a minuhg.
Kashrus is a huge issue. I would venture a guess that most programs, even the best hechsheirim, end up having at least one major issue over yom tov. I've spoken to many head mashgichim about this.

April 04, 2017, 04:59:21 PM
Re: Pesach Program in Greece Cancelled Just Now!
I'll just assume this post was completely facetious and be done. To say that those of us who oppose the hotels, sound jealous... It sounds like you don't understand life because money pays for anything that comes up. Your kids understand preparing for YT because they hear about it from their friends?! Wow.

It was nebech not facetious. Money pays for everything. Of course I'm jealous that i cant lay back and let someone else do the hard work. But I'm also grateful that I can and do contribute. Not only my wife works hard I do too. And when you sit down to the seder with a feeling of accomplishment, there is nothing like it. I cannot imagine what it would be like sitting down after having written that check or swiped that card and not having lifted a finger in preparation for yom tov. I would probably be sick to my stomach. Thats subjective. 

April 04, 2017, 05:43:01 PM
Re: Host A DansDeals Seminar?
isn't there being one on pessach?
There isnt "being" anything ever. I know its the wrong thread but every Brooklyn bais yaakov girl or boro park chusid that says that something is "being" instead of "going to be" needs to be taken out back and beaten until they get it out of their vernacular.

April 05, 2017, 11:07:01 PM
Re: Is this a true fact about the schlissle (key) challah? Funny how that same story is in the Golem book with different facts.
April 22, 2017, 09:33:58 PM
Re: Went through the process of house hunting/buying
meh... why should the borrower assume that.  you both need to do the same amount of paperwork to get the loan. how can you expect someone to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars more because you decided your rate is fare and the other guys is improperly undercutting.
So you milk the first one for all the info, the hand holding, the million and one questions and have a ready package for the second one. Sounds like typical frum business. Like every tradesman that I know (plumber, electrician, carpenter etc.) 6 months after training his worker the guy is undercutting his old boss on pricing and taking jobs away. Whatever happened to loyalty? Trust? Even if it costs you over time. Small price to pay for a good moral compass. But thats a discussion for the ethics thread. 

April 24, 2017, 10:25:36 PM
Re: Budapest Master Thread
By cash you mean USD?
Terrible exchange.  You're better off paying in Euro if you're not paying in HUF

May 10, 2017, 09:42:10 PM
Re: Need help finding a ticket? Post here! Award ticket edition (Master thread) Is it me, or is this thread sometimes a hiding place for laziness?
May 11, 2017, 07:11:18 AM
Re: What Walmart Items came / What did you pick up already? 6 $15 chairs
1 10x10 tent

Walmart Valley Stream

No one on line it took them an hour to get it right.

As an aside, A friend of mine who does business with that store tells me that it is the busiest store in the world. Rumored to do $240MM a year. 28 registers open from 8am to midnight.

May 18, 2017, 11:27:31 AM
Re: Singapore Airlines Come on...poking fun at the way he wrote the question is not fair. The substance is way more open to ridicule. How, prey tell, will the "taxes" be any different if you book them 8 weeks out vs. Booking them for 2 weeks out? אלה מאי your חקירה is פשוט coming from a place ofשתות
May 22, 2017, 08:43:30 AM
Re: Recieved a $115 pot in the mail, from an unknown sender?! I'll start the bidding at $20
May 23, 2017, 10:36:32 PM
Re: Brooklyn Restaurants
You can't look at prices when going to high end restaurants. It's always a rip off. Just judge the food.
When youre high end you should serve high end food to at least justify some of the pricing. Not second rate overcooked, poorly presented, excuse for high end food. Im no foodie, but i know my steak.

June 04, 2017, 08:42:48 PM
Re: Silent Killer
Aren't police also suspecting that Aron in BP was also a case?
Yeah, the theory is he popped pills rolled himself in the blanket, duct taped himself rolled down the stairs into the basement closet.

June 05, 2017, 06:55:59 PM
Re: Get $125 worth of groceries from Fresh Direct for $56.99 after shipping
Use code RMN50 for $50 off $125. (New accounts only)
Use Amex offer $25 off $75.
That order is just double what it would be if you buy it locally. What difference does it make how many discounts you can apply? Its still more expensive than if you buy it in a regular supermarket.

June 07, 2017, 08:47:05 AM
Re: The funny/strange/interesting/random pictures thread
great name
Charpa and Busha (Beesha) are her siblings

June 26, 2017, 09:03:11 AM
Re: FBI Raids Orthodox Homes and Businesses in Monsey and KJ No need to post article. For those that needed details Google is available.
June 26, 2017, 10:30:42 AM
Re: FBI Raids Orthodox Homes and Businesses in Monsey and KJ
Not sure what you are saying... are you saying you don't think this is happening? The stats in the App article are evidence that this is happening. The median income in lakewood is 1/3rd that of a neighboring town with similar property values. Which means they are reporting much less income than the neighboring town while living in the same kinds of houses. It is pretty clear that this is happening on a large scale. No other way to explain it. Folks living in houses valued over 500k and are signed up for benefits designed for the destitute. I just thought they were acting legally (not addressing whether or not it is morally reprehensible). I guess we'll find out how they fare in court but seems like no.
Did you ever take into consideration that none of the people living in those houses, or a very small percentage, actually own the houses in their own names and ot could be parents or siblings who own them. So they may actually be destitute and qualify for benefits while living in the same houses as the neighboring town.

June 28, 2017, 10:34:43 AM
Re: DDF Trivia
What day of the week was DDF created on? (And can you find a mistake on the forums about this?)
Friday Bein Hashmoshos. Come on that was easy.

July 05, 2017, 09:22:20 AM
Re: Silent Killer
What do you see that is Christian in that list?

If you want to understand the 12 steps from a Jewish perspective, here is a great book.

In it he quotes Bill W (one of the founders of AA) who rejected the idea that the 12 steps are connected to any religion, but explained that every person can understand amd apply them in the context of their beliefs.
Addictive Thinking: Understanding Self-Deception

This too.

July 05, 2017, 07:30:49 PM
Re: Silent Killer
I don't know how to remove my signature only for this thread.

My point is this: 

The 12 step program is a Christian program, and the meetings are typically in a church.  I do concede that the steps themselves reference G-d rather than Jesus or Christ. I do not know whether the concepts are Jewish (e.g. asking G-d to remove your imperfections), but are probably not themselves avoda zara.

In that context, I think I would ask a shaila.  That's why I queried if there are any published teshuvos on the topic.
By "Christian" do you mean it was founded by Christians? Because, as you pointed out there are no references to Jesus or Christ.

Together with the 12 Steps there are 12 Traditions which clearly set forth that there is no connection between AA and outside enterprises, including any organized religion.
1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon AA unity.
2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority - a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience.
3. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
4. The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.
5. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or AA as a whole.
6 Each group has but one primary purpose-to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
7. An AA group ought never endorse, finance or lend the AA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
8. Every AA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
9. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
10. AA, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve
11. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the AA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of  press, radio and films.
12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

Going into a church santuary for Pikuach nefesh does not need a psak. I distinctly recall a reform temple in Manhattan that was renting space in a church meeting hall for High Holiday services and there was a Hatzolah call during Kol Nidre at "St. Paul's Church". Heard it with my own ears.  As Rabbi Dr. Twersky properly pointed out and I have stated up above, the dearth of Jewish facilities that are willing to host "Anonymous" meetings does not inherently mean that AA is Christian.

By church do you mean sanctuary or meeting hall?

Also, if you're familiar, are R' Yisrael Salanter's 13 Middos Jewish concepts? I mean, they were only misappropriated from a yiddish translation of Benjamin Franklin's writings. But heck its held out as Kodesh Kodoshim in the yeshiva world.

What is it that you are really questioning here?

July 06, 2017, 10:47:54 AM
Re: Silent Killer
I do think that is a fair question and the idea of getting spiritual guidance from a CHristian in a church does seem strange. In that setting one can easily imagine some deviating from the exact script and focusing on Christian spirituality. On the other hand, these are cases where we should be looking very hard for leniencies. I can see Rabbonim preferring other rehab routes, but sometimes these types of programs have the easiest availability and, other than these issues, the lowest barriers to participation. It ends up becoming a complex shaila. I think I have some maare mekomos that I remember and will try to share if I find them.

The best way to deal with these questions will be to deal with them directly. They are legitimate questions even assuming that they do have answers. To ridicule people asking questions like thisis the real disservice and will lead some to believe that maybe there isn't a real answer but only sarcasm and ridicule.

ETA: the later answers are dealing with this much better and more substantive.
Spiritual guidance offered at 12 step meetings are supposed to be devoid of religious affiliation. "The word spiritual can be said to describe those characteristics of the human mind that represent the highest and finest qualities such as kindness, generosity, honesty and humility." GA Combo Book

As far as rehab is concerned, I am not a believer that Rehab is the only solution. It is great to get someone into rehab which is a good jumpstart as it can offer an opportunity to detox/clean break and isolates them from everyday distractions that can lead them back to the addiction. However, in practicality, without continued treatment, whether it be 12 step programs, out-patient or in-patient mental health care, private psychotherapy and the like, the likelihood of recidivism/relapse is extremely high. 

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the failure to realize that this is Pikuach Nefesh. Chillul Shabbos D'Oraisa, as in any other Pikuach nefesh situation is warranted. How can you differentiate this from Hatzolah? I dont think there is a single rav who would tell you that going into a church for Pikuach nefesh is not allowed because Christianity is Yehoraig V'al Ya'avor. There is no requirement in any "A" program to believe in Christianity, even if its spoken of and takes place in a church. More so, when that in fact is not the case.

So again, I ask what is the issue?

Anyone that says that 12 step programs are the only solution is wrong. 12 step programs are the maintenance program that, coupled with therapy and other work that is required, will keep one abstinent and recovered.

July 06, 2017, 11:32:31 AM
Re: Silent Killer
Stigma of course! but did that stop my parents and the many other parents from satmer bobov belz etc. that my mother was in touch with getting the help those boys needed absolutely not!
Good fo them!!! Kol hakavod!!!

July 06, 2017, 03:41:57 PM
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July 10, 2017, 11:48:12 PM
Re: Interesting Articles...
I was taken by the sincere אהבת ישראל in this article. Anyone else?

July 12, 2017, 02:15:26 PM
Re: HOT!! 36 boxes of Kleenex for $12.06
Did anyone email Walmart CEO?
Do you think he cares. They lost the war with Amazon based on this one mess up.

July 16, 2017, 10:25:40 AM
Re: Tips and tricks for stopovers in Russia You can pack some bullets in your suitcase and they will arrange your stay without a visa.
July 16, 2017, 12:10:42 PM
Re: Silent Killer
Any update on this?
Have not as of yet. I'm willing to personally take anyones gehinnom if they go to a meeting in a church until i can produce a psak. Rav Elya Brudny is said to have a psak in hand. I'm waiting to get that one as well.

July 16, 2017, 12:22:09 PM