May 21, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

100. That number is a very big accomplishment. Living to 100, doing 100 jumping jacks, running 100 marathons, eating 100 pints of ice cream or 100 pieces of shredded radish for the healthy set; whatever it is, it is a big deal. I remember when my kids were in elementary school (as I write this from my assisted-living facility, sitting in my rocking chair, watching my chin hairs grow because I have no daughters to pluck them for me) and they would celebrate the 100th day of school. Apparently, it is a really big deal in school to commemorate this milestone. This would be brought to my attention hours before the big day and we had to come up with 100 items that were nut-free, dairy-free, easy to transport…can you say 100 toothpicks?

In any event, this week’s issue of The Link is the 100th issue that has been published for your reading enjoyment. I have had the pleasure and the privilege of being a part of that process, since its inception, as this is my 100th column. For me, since it is all about me, it has been particularly gratifying because I am not so great with the “follow-through,” and the fact that I have written 100 columns is a really big deal to me. I took years of ballet, never made it professionally (for too many reasons, many of them, however, quite obvious). Tennis lessons—no Wimbledon for me! Played piano, flute and violin and never was invited to be a member of the philharmonic, so sticking with one thing is quite the accomplishment. What motivates me? So glad you asked. You, the readers. You are my motivation to keep on coming up with whatever is it that I keep coming up with. My loyal fans—the people who give me feedback, both positive and negative. The people who make snide comments when they see me walking with helpful “suggestions” for my next column. The people who tell me that they read my column at 4:30 in the morning and don’t really remember what it is about, but they thought it was clever. The people who tell me they started reading it, but then they got distracted by the advertisement for the cemetery which is on the same page. The people who tell me to be nicer to husband #1 (try living with him). The people who tell me that I made them laugh. Ah, those are my favorite people. When I decided to do this that is all I wanted to do—to make you laugh—with me, not at me—and not to make you want to run me over with your car (unless you were not doing that intentionally).

Wait a second, who do I think I am? David Letterman? Why am I patting myself on the back? To be perfectly honest, when people tell me that they like my column or even read it, I am totally surprised. The deep-rooted middle-child syndrome is not just a figment of my imagination. When you are raised in a home with a perfect older sister and then your mom gives birth to the king of England, self-esteem is not part of the process. I take all comments to heart. I listen to your suggestions and then I try to implement them to the best of my ability. This does not always translate well, but I try. And in that respect, and because The Link is celebrating this huge milestone, this will be my first column where I will take all of the material that I gathered over Rosh Hashanah and I will share it with you in a manner that will try to be as positive and respectful to the topics to be discussed. Fortunately, I only have about 200 words left, so we will see how little damage I can actually do.

On the second day of Rosh Hashanah, our esteemed assistant to the rabbi spoke about being positive. About getting rid of the cynicism and the negativity and only concentrating on the good. He was speaking in terms of our relationships with our friends, parents, spouses etc. Now, I know that he wasn’t just talking to me. But it didn’t help that when services were over, all three of my boys came running up to me saying, “Hey mom, all those people in shul today and the rabbi was only talking to you!” Nice, right? But what the rabbi did say, and I really and truly wish I could incorporate this into my repertoire, is that for every one negative thing I say to, for example, husband #1, I should then come up with five positive things. I turned to the unlucky soul sitting next to me and said, “Oy, how am I ever going to do that?” So, I practice. “Honey, why did you get honey all over the table and not clean it up—why after 20 years of marriage haven’t you learned to use the stuff in the blue bottle and wipe it up with a paper towel?” Okay, one negative thing. And now for the five positives…drumroll please….Sweetie, you are such a good dad, you are so nice to the people you take in carpool (as they have started calling themselves “Team Ari”), you make a really nice Kiddush on Shabbos (the actual Kiddush, not a Kiddush with food…sorry…veering off to the negative again), you set the table Friday night which is super helpful, AND it makes me so happy when you take out the garbage. Okay, there we go, five positive things. That was exhausting. I think I will just stick to not saying anything at all.

But on a positive note—happy 100th edition to The Jewish Link! May we celebrate many, many more together!

Banji Ganchrow hopes to live to 100, but only if God grants her the ability to walk around votee and make it home without getting lost. Oh, and if it isn’t too much trouble, she would really like to see her boys get married and become great dads…

By Banji Latkin Ganchrow

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