June 19, 2024
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June 19, 2024
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How Should I Know? Zooming Around Town

Welcome back to “How Should I Know?”—the advice column that is perfect for these uncertain times, as it itself is never really certain.

Dear Mordechai,

What am I supposed to do with my kids this summer? Is there a Zoom camp?


Dear Y.,

I think there are some, actually. Though I hope for their sake they actually thought things through. Eight weeks is a very long time in Zoom World. And sports will be difficult. As will swimming. I’m picturing a lot of counselor plays. And Chofetz Chaim Heritage videos.

You can have the learning in the morning, at least. And the rebbeim can do Chumash baseball, like Rabbi Akiva played with his talmidim, followed by Mishnayos kickball, Gemara punchball, Halacha soccer, and Mussar volleyball. But what about the afternoons?

I’m also picturing a lot of arts-and-crafts instruction using items you have around the house. Empty toilet paper rolls, mostly. Like maybe a speaker for their phone!

They could still have color war, to an extent. Mostly just the color-war chants, with your kids yelling into the phone as loud as they can. (“I can’t heeeeeeeeeeear yoooouuuuuuu!” “Well, turn the volume up on your phone!” “Oh, that’s better. Thank you, whoever said that!”) They can even pretend this was all one big color-war breakout.

They can also do races, on the honor system.

And of course they don’t have to leave out the part of the summer where they ask for tips.

Dear Mordechai,

Is there any way I can actually have people come to my daughter’s wedding? Her Zoom l’chaim was very nice for the guests, but to the people at the vort it was like lugging all the guests around in a pet carrier.


Dear J.,

Actually, there are other options. Just a couple of weeks ago, I went to something called a “Drive-by L’Chaim.” Which, frankly, sounds dangerous. Basically, the two families stand outside the kallah’s parents’ house, and cars drive by containing people they know, and also strangers wondering what the hold-up is. And the baalei simcha, in masks and gloves, toss a pekelah into each car. Drive-by l’chaims!

(This is also how I pick up school materials these days.)

That said, I say that every l’chaim should be a drive-by l’chaim. For one, it would get rid of the discussion of what to wear. It’s also easier in that you don’t have to play that game that people play at vorts called, “Which one is her chosson? Is that the chosson? Is that the chosson?”

No, the chosson is the one guy in the middle of the road who’s under 40.

In fact, I think we should bring this entire concept to weddings.

Can you have a drive-by chasunah? Not really. There’s a whole chuppah people need to be there for.

You can have a drive-in chasunah, though, like in a parking lot, where everyone’s in a car, sealed off, in rows, and the kallah’s parents drive her down the aisle to a stage, either in one car or in three, holding candles, and the kallah’s car gets a sun shield in the front window, of course. And then the kallah drives around the chosson seven times, and if she doesn’t run him over or get into an accident, they get married.

Though I just know that if I go to one of these, I’m going to end up sitting behind a 15-passenger van.

And of course before that there’s the backward dancing… and a badeken… and then the chosson backs his car over a glass… Instead of clapping while dancing, I guess everyone could keep honking their horn.

I think this is a great way to bring weddings back. We can have the seudah at a drive-thru, where all the cars line up and they give you food through a window—at first you pull up, and they ask, “Chicken or fish?” and you pull around…

I don’t really see any problem with this. Except that wedding photos will be ridiculous.

Dear Mordechai,

My teenagers are looking for a summer job this year. Any suggestions? They’re driving me crazy all day, and I need to work. Some of us have jobs.


Dear Y.,

I guess they can ask the Zoom camps if they’re hiring. Other than that, though, teenagers likely don’t have many opportunities for a summer job, unless they’re in the medical profession. No one’s looking to telecommute a teenager.

My teenagers are asking me that right now: “How are we gonna make money?” And I’m like, “Okay, this is what adults have been worried about for like four months now. Welcome to the world. You were all, ‘Yay! We get to stay home and have classes in bed!’ Now you’re all, ‘But what are we gonna do for money?’”

Teenagers: They eventually get there.

Though I suppose everyone who has older kids and younger kids can just kill all their birds with one stone by paying the older kids to be counselors for the younger kids. Basically, take your entire camp budget and give it to your teenagers and say, “I don’t want to see anyone from 9-4 every day.” Literally everyone wins. And teenagers can get very creative. Last week, my older kids occupied themselves by trying to get my youngest to climb onto the roof of the garage. And then they spent like an hour trying to coax him back down.

Point is, there’s no reason you can’t send your kids out to the privacy of your own backyard. Unless you’re worried about murder hornets.

Have a question for “How Should I Know?” I can’t actually take it from you. Give it to the teenager I hired to follow me around.

Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia and other magazines. He also has seven books out and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected].

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