June 11, 2024
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June 11, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Just four years ago our grandson Eyal Kinderlehrer celebrated his bar mitzvah with a minyan of 11 men in the family’s backyard. I don’t think there were more than six women. We celebrated the “man of the hour,” shepped nachas from him and sat down to a lovely luncheon outside under the shade of a large tree. On the Friday afternoon prior to Shabbat, Eyal stood outside of his home and watched his friends drive by to say “mazel tov,” and each one received a package of doughnuts glazed with his picture on them. What a great celebration.

Several months later, our grandson Ezra Hagler married Shoshana Tuchman, with the maximum number of people being 100 at the time. We danced with Hula Hoops between us, wore masks, and they got married with joy and happiness and are now the parents of two beautiful daughters. While these celebrations were taking place comment after comment was made about how a lesson should be learned for the future about how it was possible to make smachot without going bankrupt and how it was possible to have the same, if not more, enjoyment from the small selected group invited to each simcha. It could honestly be said that each person attending the simcha was well known to the baal simcha and felt a deep connection to the happiness in the air.

Fast forward to today, where large, expensive simchas have returned, putting some families into financial distress. How many times have I heard that we cannot disappoint our children or insult the many guests who our children do not know but sit within six rows of the host in shul?

As I thought about how out of control our spending has become and the challenges that it presents to those not able to afford the things which so many in our community take for granted, I recalled the life I had growing up as a child, never feeling as though I was missing out on anything. For the first 12 years of my life we lived in a two bedroom apartment. Chas v chalila, my brother and I shared a bedroom and the entire family shared one bathroom. Nowadays, two bathrooms in a home is considered totally inadequate. Every child must have their own bedroom the kitchen must have two of everything, everyone needs their own desk to do their schoolwork and the necessity of having someone to organize the closets, the shelves and the pots and pans has become more and more de rigeur. What is especially amusing to me is that those who came from similar backgrounds to mine, having lived very comfortable, satisfied lives, can no longer envision their children having to do such a thing. What couple starting out needs to have two bathrooms? Apparently, many. What couple starting out needs to have a sous vide, a bread machine, an Instapot, a Vitamax and all of the other small appliances they soon realize take up space and they never use?

Is it necessary to have seats directly behind the dugout, or even better, in the Legend Suites? There are still those who buy tickets just for the essence of the bleachers! How many cars are in your family? Bingo, the minute a teenager gets his license thoughts begin to erupt about the necessity of a third or fourth car. Yes, there is public transportation that is available to us. It is certainly not as convenient as jumping into our own cars, but for kids?!

Many talk about the complications of life today. I find that years ago things really were much less complicated. We didn’t feel the need to be like everyone else. I never remember our children being jealous of what other kids had (some are local—you can ask them). We spent much quality family time together without many of the “necessities” families require today.

Did covid teach us anything about economics or the pure enjoyment of spending time together much more frequently? I wonder.


Nina Glick can be reached at [email protected].

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