July 25, 2024
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July 25, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Everyone knows that when moving into a new apartment or home usually the first task one faces is to run and buy rudimentary items. Immediately one needs new light bulbs for fixtures, toilet paper for the bathroom, cleaning supplies and myriads of other items that one does not usually move with.

We remember so well moving to Montreal and Nina driving to a mall on a Monday night after putting our children  to sleep to  buy exactly the above type of items. She went to a store which was called Miracle Mart—something very equivalent to what is today Target or Walmart. It did not even enter her mind when she parked in the parking lot of the mall that there were very few cars around.  She scurried into the mall, went up to the doors of Miracle Mart and suddenly realized that they were closed.  She looked around behind her and was startled to realize that there were no other people in the mall. In actual fact all the stores were closed. Quickly we learned that in Montreal the only extended hours for shopping were Friday night and Saturday.  On Saturday the stores closed at 5 p.m..Wow what a shock for a young American couple who were accustomed to going shopping whenever they wanted to.  In fact we remember while living in Washington Heights that the outdoor fruit stores on St. Nicholas Avenue were open 24 hours.  We used to pass there at 11 p.m. and watch the lone grocer freezing behind his stand.We wondered who would come to buy an onion at 2 in the morning.

Over many years the laws in Quebec slowly changed. The most radical change was the opening of stores on Sundays. There was such an outcry by storekeepers. It was said that no one would shop on a Sunday. When the law came into effect,  stores were not allowed to have more than two cashiers open at a time and the hours of operation were very limited. Imagine going into ShopRite and finding only two lanes open to check out.  The rational was that no one would be shopping anyway. We remember going to our local IGA and people were standing out the door waiting to get in because there was such congestion around the cash lanes. Wow, people did want to shop on Sundays!  It was an awakening for the Quebec government. Laws were quickly modified to accommodate the shopper and of course the province benefited greatly by the increased taxes they received. (Taxes in Quebec are the highest in North America.)

It was a “perk” for us upon returning to the USA that now living in  Bergenfield we would be able to choose to shop whenever we wanted to and wherever we wanted to. Stores and malls are certainly not something we have a shortage of. For many years most of our shopping took place while visiting our children locally and groceries were always purchased as much as possible here. Prices are so much less!

Surprisingly such is not the case here on Sundays. Bergen County does not allow us the freedom of choosing. We are back to the antiquated thinking of Quebecers.  That in today’s day and age a local government can enforce on us when we are allowed to shop is just mind boggling. Even more shocking are the members of the Jewish community of Paramus who are advocating for the stores to stay closed on Sunday. It just makes no sense. We watch our children desperately try to find enough hours in the day after both mother and father return from work to take their children shopping for shoes, clothing, school supplies, birthday presents for friends, etc.,etc., etc.  Especially in the winter the days are so short and the pressure of dealing with homework, family time and then to have to add on the ridiculousness of shopping within restricted hours makes no sense whatsoever to us. Let the stores in Paramus stay closed on Saturday if everyone needs a break from traffic. Those in the Shomer Shabbat community say they suffer terribly from the traffic congestion.Wouldn’t they prefer to have it on Sunday and let their day of rest be a true day of rest? Who are we really kowtowing to?

About the Glicks – Rabbi Mordechai Glick enjoyed a long career in the rabbinate and academia – serving as the rabbi of a number of shuls in the Montreal area and teaching psychology full-time at Champlain College. Nina Glick led Yachad in Montreal for over 10 years and was closely involved in the Special Needs Community.  The Glicks have three children in the NYC area daughters and sons-in law  living in the Teaneck, Bergenfield area together with nine grandchildren.  They have participated frequently in the OU Marriage Retreat

By Mordechai and Nina Glick

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