June 18, 2024
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June 18, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Pesach Program Par Excellence

No, I was not in Cancun, nor was I in Orlando, Fort Lauderdale or Georgia. My program took place in Rochester, New York, on the banks of Lake Ontario and in the city that used to be the third largest in New York state until Yonkers took over that esteemed role.

There was only one program director who was also the chef and general go-to for everyone. That person was my daughter Malkie. She did have an able assistant in her husband, Baruch, who was in charge of dining-room logistics. It is not an easy job to arrange and rearrange the tables in what used to be the living room turned into the dining room for meals that never had fewer than 25 and often had quite a few more. With her own crowd she didn’t hesitate to invite those who did not have families of their own to share their seudah with.

Basically it was an organized mob scene, considering there were 15 children present with the eldest being 10.

Rochester does not have the reputation of being sunny and warm until the actual summer, if one is lucky. Each day, activities were planned by the program director to allow the group to leave the house and go somewhere (anywhere). The time it took to get everyone ready to get out of the house was definitely challenging. Older cousins took care of younger ones, babies every once in a while shared bottles without their parents’ knowledge, toys were strewn all over the floors of the two designated rooms, which in hotel terms could be called the rec room, yarmulkas were switched (11 boys and four girls), sore throats were shared and everyone had a blast.

I have never ordered from Instacart but I did learn so much about these home delivery services.

Need another pair of socks? Missing Motrin? Target delivers within one hour and Instacart visited the Eisenberg’s home three times in one particular day.

My deluxe room was big enough for three of us to share comfortably. My bed was more than luxurious and on the floor in the middle of the room slept my great grandson Ezra, who is 4. On another bed in the room slept Meira, his older sister who is 5 ½. They scurried out of the room when they awoke in the morning, making every effort not to bother me, and ran to meet up with their cousins who were already busy playing on the first floor. They didn’t need organized activities. Within their own little group they had a ball. It was hysterically cute that Malkie bought each one of them matching pajamas.

Each family made due with the accommodations that were assigned to them, with as much comfort as possible going into the planning. Not once did I hear anyone complain about anything.

I observed this group over six days and it brought back many memories of when everyone gathered in Montreal in very much the same way. It was our glory to see our children and grandchildren blend together over the chag.

I was asked by someone whether or not my children fight with each other. I can honestly say that I have never ever seen that happen. Watching brothers and sisters so happy to spend time together is always a beautiful thing. Our grandchildren’s spouses have become a sisterhood (mainly women). It is so beautiful to see them shmoozing and sharing ideas, funny stories and sad moments, and totally caring about each other’s well-being.

It is our custom that at Havdalah following the end of Pesach we sit around the table, and generally in the past I would begin and reflect on the holiness of the week that we had spent together. It is my daughter Malkie who now continued that custom following Havdalah. She asked me to follow her and I reflected on what my Mordechai and I had created and the beauty of being a partial observer in my new role. To see our progeny continue in our footsteps is indeed heartwarming.

The next speech was by one of the newer members of the family. Dovid Axelrod, who married our granddaughter Esther last year, spoke of the fact that he is an only son and has six sisters. As he mentioned, one never knows about the family they are entering into upon marriage, but he said that he is fortunate to feel that he now has six brothers.

Another grandson by marriage also spoke of the attention given to every little detail by Malkie and Baruch, and finally Adina mentioned through tears how special it is for her to be together with everyone since she lives in Chicago and will be there for the next five years, as her husband has committed to a five-year residency program in radiation oncology. She emphasized how her mother (Malkie), who is known to be the most neat and careful person when it comes to keeping her house and everything in it in their proper places, agonizingly closes her eyes to what goes on in her house during this week of mayhem. At one point Malkie did say to me that she needed to take a quick walk around the block.

Malkie and Baruch should be able to continue to do this for many years to come. An extension to their house might not be a bad idea, and for that reason I just purchased a lottery ticket.

Being in Rochester and watching the cohesiveness of the group, the helpful daughters who participated in everything they possibly could, the camaraderie of the brothers, the divrei Torah with at least one given at every meal (not breakfast), not one loud word unless someone was trying to speak above the noise from the little ones, made me feel as though my Mordechai and I did do something very right. This Pesach program surpassed everyone’s expectations. What a Kiddush Hashem to have such a family.

Nina Glick can be reached at [email protected].

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