Saturday, March 25, 2023

My granddaughter attended her first summer at sleepaway camp this year. She is 9 and going into fourth grade. When my son told me the news, my whole body flooded with memories of my summers as a young child. My father, from the time I was 9 years old, organized trips to Israel during July and August. He was a lifelong educator and part of his mission was to bring as many American Jewish principals and teachers to the Holy Land as possible, enabling them to teach their students Hebrew and Judaic studies, having actually visited the land that represents the source of that rich curriculum.

But when I was the tender age of 9 my parents didn’t see me fitting into this educator’s trip. Thus began my lifelong love affair with sleepaway camps. I first attended the “girls only” Camp Naarah and when describing the program to my granddaughter she immediately asked me to speak with my son and make sure he would enroll her in this camp. I had to inform her that it no longer existed and she would have to imagine herself there based solely on my memories of lunch plus ice cream served poolside and late night TV in the lobby in our PJs.

I surely took many trips to Israel but not until I reached the “age of understanding,” 18. My husband and I first took our whole family on a trip to Israel in the 80s. I remember some of my friends asking me why we would spend so much time and money on a trip that my kids would probably be too young to remember but looking back now that question doesn’t seem very relevant. My granddaughter, who is only 9, has been there every year of her life and some years even twice.

When asked once by a customer who was moving here from Florida what distinguished Teaneck from the many other communities available in the Tristate area, without thinking about it too much I blurted out that the soul of Teaneck flows through Israel. It was unnerving during the last two years when travel from the US to Israel, which had become so prevalent and relatively easy, suddenly became so difficult and oftentimes impossible. Some of my former clients who live in Teaneck but have children in Israel completed the aliyah process so that they would never be told again they are not allowed to enter the country in which their grandchildren reside.

All of this comes to mind as so many buyers, lawyers, mortgage brokers and other real estate agents have not been around this week, and, more than any other year I can remember, the reason has been, “I’m with my family in Israel—oh and do you know a good real estate agent who can help me look for a place of my own here?”

I look forward to everyone coming back and things in the brokerage world getting back to normal, but it is nice to know that all those trips my father led back in the 50s and 60s made their impact in ways he could have only dreamed of.

Nechama Polak is the broker of record and owner of V and N Group LLC located at 1401 Palisade Ave in Teaneck. [email protected] 201 826 8809.

Sign up now!