For those who were the pioneers, moving to the Teaneck area 30 and some years ago, we assume that they never would have dreamed that this community would become what it is today. Stories are told to us, as relative newcomers, explaining how the Judaica House on Cedar Lane was one of the first bastions of Jewish life here. Bnai Yeshurun, on West Englewood Avenue, was the hub, with a small group of “immigrants” to the community. From as far away as Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens and even Boston and Pittsburgh, families made the decision to settle here. We are assuming that at that time housing was much more reasonably priced and those who made the ascent on this community were probably ridiculed for moving so far into the “desert.”
Who could ever have predicted the explosion that occurred in this area with regard to Yiddishkeit? The poor person driving by a group of shul goers on Shabbos is relegated to driving 5 miles an hour to avoid hitting the throngs of people walking everywhere.
Similar changes are taking place in other cities. Harlem, an area that was once considered by many to be a dangerous place to visit, has now become totally gentrified. Prices of homes have become out of reach, and apartments as well are being sold well into the six digits.
Much closer to our hearts are the amazing changes that have taken place in our own Yerushalayim. Purchasing an apartment is only available to upper income families, and the amount of building and construction is only palpable for those who have major sources of income. The light rail train has opened easier opportunities for residents and visitors to get around, and for the original Yerushalmis, they find themselves walking in wonder at the changes in their beloved home.
Perhaps more evident today to each of us are the changes that have taken place within ourselves. We can only base our evaluation on our own relationship. Certainly we are not the same two people who married years ago. We realize in retrospect how little we really knew each other before that big day. (We knew each other for four years.)
Like all young couples getting married today, the assumption is that there is nothing about the other person that is not blatantly obvious to us. He or she is so amazingly perfect and then, slowly, changes begin. Talk of intentions of aliyah become lost dreams; hopes of having a large family dwindle down to three being the maximum; intentions of spending time in sharing childcare responsibilities become unrealistic; changes in attitudes toward parents become more strained; and the obvious changes in looks and perceptions were never something that were ever considered possible.
We look at change as something beautiful. It is a fresh start, a rebirth. For a community, it is the ability to continue with the growth and changes and relish each and every one of them.
For a couple, it is the opportunity to hop on the growth spurt in the same way that we watch our children each time they visit the doctor for their physical checkups. We wait with bated breath to see how much they have grown and where they stand on the charts. We as couples should also have a chart. We should be able to check off our growth and our goals and realize that changes are a necessary and vital part of a caring and loving relationship.