May 26, 2024
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May 26, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Mitch Albom is a best-selling author, jour­nalist, and broadcaster. His books have sold 30 million copies worldwide. His breakthrough book, Tuesdays with Morrie, propelled him into stardom, remaining on the New York Times Bestseller List for 205 weeks, and selling 14 mil­lion copies.

Albom had heard about an interview with a sociology professor named Morrie Schwartz that had aired on The Today Show, in which Morrie spoke about living with ALS, a termi­nal disease he knew was killing him. Albom had been a student of Morrie during his years at Brandeis University and had been close with him. When Albom heard about the in­terview and about Morrie’s situation, he felt guilty for not having stayed in touch. He de­cided to rekindle their connection, and he be­gan to visit Morrie every Tuesday. In 1997, Al­bom published Tuesdays with Morrie in which he documented many of the poignant conver­sations they had about life and death.

Almost any adult will agree that life seems to pass so quickly. Parents will agree even more. “It seems like it was just yester­day that…” is a common refrain. But our daily schedules are so demanding and tir­ing that we just don’t know how to slow down the whirring daily merry-go-round.

I once asked Rabbi Mordechai Finkelman how he has time for his own family. Rabbi Finkel­man, whom I consider one of my foremost rab­beim and mentors in life, is not only the Mashgi­ach of Ohr HaChaim in Queens, but his sagacious advice is sought out constantly by myriads of people. He is invited to the weddings and sim­chas of students and friends on a nightly basis, and also gives many different lectures through­out the week.

Rabbi Finkelman replied that when it comes to one’s children, quality is more impor­tant than quantity. He said that he makes sure to set aside a certain chunk of time with each of his children periodically. During that time, there is nothing else except for the child with him. Many parents spend much more physical time with their children but, because their attention is so divid­ed, the child hardly gains from the expe­rience.

During the last few months in our family we have established “Tuesday’s with Abba.” Each Tuesday, I have break­fast with one of our children. During that time, it’s just me and the child. S/he chooses the menu, we eat and schmooze, and then I drive them to school. It’s been a wonderful experience, and something each of them look forward to. For ex­ample, when I went to eat with Avi, our 4-year-old, the first time, and I asked him about school, he shrugged, gave me a sly smile and said, “I’m not telling,” and continued to eat in silence. I felt a bit funny, but he was very happy with that.

We can’t slow life down, but we can do our best to create memories and enjoy the expe­rience. Of course there is also the benefit that I have learned many important things about my children and about what’s going on in their lives. Most importantly, I learned that Shalom absolutely abhors when they put vegetables on his Hobo!

By R’ Dani Staum

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