We all have moments in our lives that we will never forget. Through the passage of time there are so many occurrences that are memorable and often fade into the hollows of our mind’s inner sanctum until something occurs that might jolt them back into our consciousness. Some are more significant than others and there were those that are happy memories and others that might be painful or sad.
Certainly in most people’s minds, the day that they marry, the birth of children, the passing of those that they love dearly, are examples of what we might recall.
There are disasters in one’s life that we try to bury away until we hear or see a similar occurrence at which time the old feelings and thoughts come back to haunt us.
The magic that transpired this past Shabbat is so great that it will take us a long time (we hope) to come down from the enormous high it put us on. It is a memory that will forever put a huge smile on our faces.
Several months ago we were told by our children that we should reserve the Shabbat of May 16 to celebrate our 50th anniversary. We were not told what would be happening at all. On the Monday preceding last Shabbat, we were told that we would be going to an estate in Morristown, New Jersey, and two days before the event we were given the directions and told to be there at four in the afternoon. Probably for the first time, Nina in particular was not involved in the planning or instigating of a family event. It was a weird feeling for both of us.
We drove up a gravel road to this magnificent estate, surrounded by at least 21 acres of land, and there were golden balloons shining in the sunlight with the number 50 on them and a big sign wishing us mazel tov. We alighted from our car and a voice came out of nowhere and told us to come into the house. Inside this humongous foyer with at least 50-foot ceilings was standing our entire family of children and grandchildren including our daughter Naama from Montreal. On the walls were pictures of the two of us and on a round table in the center of this foyer were many, many framed pictures of us at various stages in our life. Seeing Naama there was totally overwhelming for us. Understand it is no small feat to bring her anywhere but especially long distance. The time and effort that it took for this to happen had to have been enormous and we understand that Chezky Ort, a local caring young man who is involved with Chai Lifeline, worked vigorously in helping to make this happen. We both always say that in order for our family to be complete, Naama has to be present.
There is nothing in the entire world that makes us feel better than to see all of our children together. Our grandchildren playing with each other in a closeness that warms our hearts, now being “big” cousins to their little cousins who are a result of our married grandchildren. From Rochester, Baltimore, Montreal, Queens and Teaneck, all of us—no small feat for such a large family in one home—together in our honor. Can one ask for more than that?
Our daughters had planned everything from the hors d’oeuvres they served when we came in, to the smallest intricacies. In each bedroom were little baskets of candies and bottles of water that said “Mazel Tov 50th” on them. Even the little coke bottles that were presented to us at the first Shabbat seudah had our names on them. It was beyond perfect. We benched licht, the men davened and some of the ladies sat outside admiring the acres and acres of land surrounding us. Goats were walking further down on the property. At each meal there were divrei Torah, poems, songs, all geared to our life and the impact that we had on the lives of our children and grandchildren. Particularly moving was a poem read by our three granddaughters-in-law who, having only entered this family maximum four years ago, wanted to express their feelings towards us. We kvelled and had to pinch ourselves that it was really happening.
The entire Shabbat—the food prepared by our daughters, the snacks, the baking they did—there was nothing they forgot. All for us. It was a constant emotional high.
Following Shabbat, the Melave Malka consisted of a hysterical skit that our daughter Malkie and her husband must have been rehearsing for the past year. They know that Nina loves Broadway-show tunes so they did a song and parody routine on the song “You Gotta Have Heart” from the play Damn Yankees. Malkie synced all of the words as Baruch sang loud and clear. The baseball shirts that they wore said “Glick 50th” on their backs which we only saw once they turned around. Some of the song’s words were changed to better describe our life but one of the most significant meanings of this song to us is that when Baruch suffered sudden cardiac death nine years ago, after his miraculous recovery began I remember reminding him of the words of this song. “When the odds are saying you’ll never win, that’s when the grin should start.”
There is no way that we can ever thank our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren for the gift they gave us this past Shabbat. It was beyond the scope of a gift that we ever would have dreamt of. Who could ask for anything more in life than to realize that your children collectively worked passionately to make this experience one that we will never, ever forget. The kavod we were shown and the love that was displayed over this weekend will last in our minds as long as we live.
By Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick