June 16, 2024
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Preparing Emotionally for the New Year

For most of us, especially when our children are young, we are so busy preparing menus, buying clothes for our children, inviting guests, perhaps worrying about what to take when visiting family out of town, that our concentration on Rosh Hashanah and the solemn week that follows it is affected, giving us little time to think about what really lies ahead in the new year.

We all know that our fate is in the hands of Hashem, but that does not take away our responsibility to do all that we can to improve ourselves and concentrate on making ourselves better people.

As I look ahead to the coming year I realize how much we have to be grateful for. Loving and caring grandchildren and great grandchildren, with some in near proximity and others always keeping in touch by phone and WhatsApp. Imagine that I never saw my grandmother, who lived in Haifa, except the one time that she visited the States when I was 5. She died at the age of 98. Telephones in Israel were not easy to come by so we maintained correspondence through aerograms (which I still have). What a difference it would have made if we could have talked to and see each other! Interestingly it never entered my mind that we were not close because we just did what we had to do.

Needless to say, our amazing children who bend over backwards to do things for us have made the need for our move to New Jersey crystal clear. Had we been in Montreal during these past two years, I do not know what we would have done. When parents speak of the trophies that their children win at basketball, baseball and soccer games, I look at my trophies and they are in the form of our most amazing children.

In just two months we will have the zechut of attending Shira and Doni’s wedding. How constantly blessed are we?

At the same time I personally have to admit that in many ways the new year scares me. I am constantly worried about the progress of my beloved Mordechai’s vascular dementia. We have been very lucky that the progression of his memory loss has been relatively slow. A diagnosis eight years ago, which at the time I looked at as a death sentence, was exactly as the doctor had predicted. It would be slow, not at the fury of a person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. And so it has been. Yet it is obvious that it is progressing. Where we are headed I am afraid to consider because I do not know. Once again I put myself in the hands of Hashem. I believe in his ways although I have said many times that there are times when they are not meant for us to understand and I for sure do not.

Each day Mordechai tells me how lucky we are to have each other and how much he loves me. Not a day goes by that those words are not uttered several times. Two sentences later he might ask me the name of one of our grandchildren who is coming over, or to remind him what day it is, but there are also moments of total clarity when he is able to converse perfectly and in total tone with the conversation. I have given up trying to understand any of it.

He is grateful to the people in shul who always remind him of their names, and especially grateful to several people who make an effort to visit him. He may be grateful, but I am immensely indebted to them because one of the most unfortunate parts of his life at the moment is how boring it is for him. He reads voraciously and takes many books out of the library each week. We celebrated when the Bergenfield Public Library reopened and on-site visits were allowed again. There is no question that COVID set him back enormously and everything that his life was filled with was disrupted.

Thank God my husband does not need an aide. What he needs are friends, and because he really did not know many people when we moved here, he has not had the opportunity to meet many. Embarrassingly I am suggesting that if there are some gentlemen in the community who would like to indulge him in a conversation, go for lunch, take a slow walk and understand who he is and how he has spent his life helping others, I would request that they come forward. This is not easy for me. In fact it is extraordinarily difficult, but I am not sure what else to do. As we are approaching the yomim noraim, the time when we are pleading with Hashem to grant our families, our friends, the state of Israel an easier new year, I have decided that for Mordechai, and only because he is who he is, I must make this request.

Yes, the new year is approaching and we have much to look forward to, yet at the same time I personally am scared. I wish everyone who has been so kind to me in acknowledging my column in many different ways the very best for a peaceful, healthy new year. L’shana tova u’metukah.


Nina Glick lives in Bergenfield with her husband, Rabbi Mordechai Glick, after many years of service to the Montreal Jewish community. Nina coordinated all Yachad activities in Montreal and was a co/founder of Maison Shalom, a group home for special needs young adults. She can be reached at [email protected].

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