April 23, 2024
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April 23, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

We remember so well the day that our eldest daughter, Malkie, left for what is known as her gap year in Israel. At that time there was no gap, it was a continuation of her years of learning Torah following high school. We all went to the airport and tears flowed, especially from her youngest sister Dena, who was inconsolable that her oldest sister was leaving us for a year. As we parted we said to Malkie that we would speak with her in three weeks. We assumed that by then she would be settled into her new life at Michlalah and would know the number of the pay phone closest to her apartment on the campus.

It was considerably less expensive for us to call her than for her to call us, therefore the agreement was that after the first time that she called us we would have the number and would call her at a specific time every three weeks. This system worked well for us, and we were not the only ones who spoke to their children the same way. Obviously, the world is extraordinarily different today and the idea of speaking with one’s child with weeks in between of no communication is almost unheard of. We always feel the need to remind everyone that we were loving, caring and devoted parents–those who find it difficult today to understand how one could let their children go so far away without being in constant communication is forgetting what the world was like only 20-25 years ago.

When it became the norm for “everyone” to carry a cell phone, we were far behind in jumping on the band wagon. It was when Nina had an accident on the Thruway in one of her many jaunts driving between Rochester, New York and Montreal that the family decided that it was time. The phone was purchased and Nina placed it in her purse. She remembers the day she was walking around in a store when a woman approached her and tapped her on the shoulder. “Miss,” she said, “I think that your phone is ringing.” Nina was totally oblivious that she had it and never thought that the ring could be for her.

Like everything else times change and the need for a cell phone has changed radically. When we made the move to Bergen County and visited Verizon, our daughter Chavie said to Nina, “Ma, it is time for you to get a smart phone; you will love it.”

Lo and behold she was right. Once she learned the intricacies of how to go about using some of its many features she was hooked. Her husband not so–he is happy with his little old-fashioned phone. Imagine the delight while walking in Costco and we are Skyped by our daughter Naama in Montreal. The delight is slightly questionable because once Naama learned how to Skype on her own–which is a big accomplishment for someone with her disabilities–she was Skyping all of us constantly! How sad when at times we pretended that we did not see the Skype. Naama, please forgive us! It is not so easy to be walking among the onions and the melons while maneuvering a phone in front of your face so that the caller can see you.

Lo and behold, this past week a big green blob appeared on Nina’s prized phone! Nothing that she could do would remove it. It didn’t go off and it didn’t go on, it just stayed on the phone staring at her. We took the battery out and tried reinserting it. We even charged it with a different charger and all we saw was this humungous green blob! HELP! Off we drove to the Verizon store the next morning and they agreed the green blob was not a good thing! They would have to order a new telephone for Nina. Did we want overnight service? A mere cost of $14.99 for that or did we want free delivery, in which case it could take up to five days. We realized that Verizon had to do it this way because they did not make enough money with all of their other charges. We opted for five days and received the phone three days later. During the period of not having a phone, we realized how much we relied on it.

Every time Nina went out she felt unreachable and uncomfortable. It is not even as if pay phones are available anymore. It amazed us how times have changed. We never were concerned about these things in the past. We went out for dinner with young children at home with a babysitter and didn’t call home nor did they have a direct way of calling us. Our children went on trips and tiyulim and Shabbatons and never did we think about how the fact that they were not able to reach us with a personal phone. When Nina’s father traveled for business he would call collect each night for the family to have contact with him. Now when one of us drives without a phone the female partner in this marriage in particular is concerned at their unreachable status. What if this or what if that? Relax. For many, many years we all managed.

Hopefully, we will never see that green blob again!

By Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick

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