June 13, 2024
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June 13, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

We both recall the days when a family va­cation meant getting into the car and driving somewhere. Nina’s family during the summer months often ac­companied her father on his many business trips visiting libraries and universities through­out the Eastern seaboard. He sold art books and rare books to them. The family played 20 Questions, sang songs, and looked out the windows. Every time they saw a cow, everyone screeched, “Mooooo.”

Mordechai’s family also took trips by car and his fondest memory is when they went to Yosemite National Park (by car from Bos­ton). He remembers being in a parking lot of the National Park sitting in the back seat of the car (not a van) with his sister and his parents in the front. Suddenly a bear put his paws into the window of the driver’s side. His father tried to roll up the window, but became too frightened and jumped onto his mother’s lap! Fortunately others in the parking area saw what had hap­pened and began throwing food at the bear so that he jumped off the car—a story which will resonate throughout many generations of our family.

Our family vacations generally were geared to leave Montreal to visit either grandparents in Malden, MA or grandparents in Jericho, Long Island. We played games and Mordechai was famous for asking age-appropriate “skill testing” questions. I can remember him say­ing, “Okay, Dena, if two and two are four, how much is two and two plus seven?” Moments of silence and then the answer would be shout­ed. We looked for what the most popular color car on the road was, kept lists of all of the var­ious state license plates we passed, and wiled away the time, many times hearing the chil­dren whine, “Are we there yet?”

As much of a schlep as these trips were, they were exciting for everyone. When we think about it today we wonder how it was possible to travel without a DVD player in the car. Some families today apparently travel with more than one, so there can be a variety of movies shown. Believe it or not there was a time when there were no CD players; we relied on each other for entertainment. We did sing a lot. A hundred bottles of beer kept us going at least for a short time. Keep in mind cell phones didn’t exist; hand-held devices to play games also were not yet in our lives. Still we arrived to see welcoming signs and balloons hanging on the door every time we arrived in Jericho.

Today, in most cases, a car ride longer than an hour is regarded at a schlep. Children are more accustomed to getting on a plane and switching on earbuds attached to their iP­ods—alone in their own world. Conversation is limited because it might interrupt whatev­er one is listening to. Parents can relax and sit back unless their children are very young and in many cases are listening to their own elec­tronic device.

We know that the world is advanced in such a way that we feel we can never catch up. We observe the advancements: lack of conver­sation because we are too busy listening, elim­ination of writing letters because now every­thing is in a text message or email form. Even writing either of those choices involves finding a shorter way 2 go about doing it. We r so be­hind – r u???

Nina cherishes the letters she has from her grandmother written from Haifa so many years ago. They always began, “My beloved child.” We are more than fortunate that we are blessed with grandchildren who sit down and write us handwritten letters after every visit they have with us. However, one of our grandsons told us that we shouldn’t write him letters while he is in camp because it is much quicker to just send him emails. When we asked if it wasn’t more ex­citing to get real letters, he acknowledged that it was but the process takes so long. What’s the rush????

After such a brutal winter we waited for the summer anxiously, and look where we are at this moment—already beginning August. Eve­rything is flying by and we have no way to halt the passage of time, but we do have the ability to slow ourselves down in the process. Perhaps we could begin by turning off some of our technical support. It is indeed scary, though. What would we talk to each other about?

ByRabbiMordechai and Nina Glick

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