July 20, 2024
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July 20, 2024
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A Busy Week of Conventions

Most of us share the frustration of receiving two invitations to simchas taking place on the same day after having a lull of many months without receiving an invitation to anything. Obviously no fault is aimed at the baalei smachot, but when that happens there are painful choices to be made. As my mother always used to say, “One cannot tantz at alleh simchas.”

Last week I was invited to partake in the YU Yarchei Kallah for rebbetzins, which took place at Roemer. Kosherfest 2018 happened to overlap with the rebbetzins’ meeting on one of the days. Which should I attend? In actual fact I very much wanted to attend both. I made a decision to first attend the conference and then visit Kosherfest the following day.

As the Yarchei Kallah has already been discussed in this issue of The Jewish Link, I will concentrate on one of the speakers, as well as my impression of the “young” rebbetzins in attendance. As I walked into the room, my first thought was how different the world is today. When we were first married I was one of the few rebbetzins who covered her hair. Many Modern Orthodox rabbis’ wives either chose not to cover their hair or wore small hats. Wow, what a change! The room was an array of (mostly) long and different length sheitels, one more beautiful than the next.

Another difference from years past concerns rebbetzins’ changing responsibilities. Today, as opposed to years ago, many women are juggling their own careers as well as their roles as mothers, wives and rebbetzins. Some are perhaps concerned about which profession is actually the most important.

One speaker that most impressed me was Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, founding dean of Yeshiva Darchei Noam in Monsey and director of the Center for Jewish Family Life. He shared many anecdotes about his family and the importance of spending family time together, no matter what. He makes it a point that his family has dinner together every evening. If and when he cannot be there, he will sit down with his family for at least 20 minutes. Additionally, no one is allowed to look at a phone or any device during the time they spend together. If need be, they charge their phones during dinner time on another floor of the house. He noted that he sees now in his married children that they have adopted the identical rules in their own homes. How many rabbis and their families are able to adhere to the above rule? They likely would if they could, but most feel there is no way it can be done.

The next day I was off to the Meadowlands to attend Kosherfest. Anyone who has attended this massive food orgy will know what I am talking about. Manufacturers, importers and exporters from every part of the world are there representing various kosher foods. Every year that I am in attendance at this grand event I think about the fact that there has to be a better way to plan how to attack all of the aisles of goodies waiting to be tasted.

As I entered the massive hall (Convention Center), the first table directly on my left was a tasting table of vodka. “Nina, really, is this how you want to begin your day?” Just the day before, the morning began with reciting Tehillim at the rebbetzins’ conference. Please do not tell my children, who have assured me that they rarely read this column, but, yes, I did opt to begin the day with some vodka. It warmed my enthusiasm for the rest of the feast awaiting me. There had to be a system: deli, fleishig treats, one after the other, and just down the next aisle samples of cheeses from everywhere in the world. I had to choose. For those who are herring mavens (not me), your cravings would be easily sated. Pasta with sauces from Thailand. Soda dispensers filled with wine for the vintners attending. Needed a sweet treat? Candy was flowing everywhere, outstanding chocolate varieties, ice cream and pop sticks, many especially healthy of course, Moroccan pastry made in Teaneck, baked treats for Pesach that one would never know emanated from a potato, bagels, pretzel challahs, every type of gluten-free product, and more. I noted that Gus’ Pickles is making a comeback as well.

I suggested that there should be a scale placed at the front hall of the exhibition for people to weigh in upon entrance. I doubt anyone would want to step onto it upon departure.

With all of the kosher supervisors present from everywhere in the world, this festival is, in fact, a big kiddush Hashem. It is obvious that the kosher consumers are thriving and want to expand their menu items from what were primarily chicken soup, kishke and sweetbreads in the past to whatever the rest of the world is eating. This exhibit proves it can certainly
be done.

Yes, I did have a tough choice when I realized that in the same week there were two very different experiences available to me, but I am not at all sorry that I made my choice to attend both on two different days. I realize it is not as easy when two invitations to a simcha coincide with each other. Although the invitations are a privilege, hopefully it will not happen that often.

By Nina Glick

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