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

It looks as though next week will be a great time to go out to a restaurant and have some peace and quiet. Although the restaurants in Teaneck are abundant, it is difficult to find one that isn’t noisy. Do we all speak loudly all of the time, or is it just when we get into a setting where we are sitting at a table facing each other that we find the need to shout? It probably has something to do with the music, which in many places is blasting so loudly that even if it were not super noisy you would not be able to hear the person or people you are out with because of the loud drones emanating from the speakers. From all of the chatter we have heard around us there will be few people left in this area next week. Everyone seems to be going someplace, even if it is just for two to three days. Some conversation seems to go to the absurd, where parents are excusing their travels on the proposition that it would be unfair to their children to stay at home. After all, as it is often said, our kids would feel left out with the knowledge that all of their friends are going away. Or, we have heard, “What would they do here anyway?”

It is really our intention to concentrate more on the noise issue. We noticed a posting on Teaneck Shuls recently that there is a new gemach available to the community in which protectors are available for infants and young children to wear on their ears when they are taken to a simcha. We immediately forwarded this announcement to one of our grandchildren who recently attended a wedding with a young baby. Her response was two words—“Ha ha.” We guess that she thought it was a big joke. I mentioned that at smachot, together with place cards they should be distributing ear plugs for adults. We have rarely in the past few years attended a wedding, bar mitzvah or any type of party with music that in the hall outside of where the party is taking place you see myriads of people gathering, all complaining about the volume of the music. At a beautiful catered banquet in which all details are looked after, from the tablecloths to the flowers to the type of chair covers, no one seems to be concerned with the effect of the loud noises on the eardrums. Instead, in many cases, the tables begin to empty as people mill around the lobby.

We spoke to a band leader who we know well in Montreal who is an accomplished musician and teaches music at McGill University. He told us that if he even suggests to families interested in hiring him that the music be toned down, they will not consider his band for their simcha. “Loud is what they want and what they are paying for.” In speaking to the baalei simcha, who in many cases are also wearing ear plugs, you will hear the constant refrain that this is what the young people want. Has no one considered the repercussions on their ear drums? We are paying so much money for what so many can’t stand.

There has to be a better way. Perhaps there should be two halls—one for the friends of the chattan and kallah who think that this noise is necessary in order to make a party successful, and another hall for the “old fogeys” like us who would prefer a more quiet, pleasant experience. We think it would amaze people, if they had a preference, how many would choose to go into the more sedate room. It has to be great for the acoustical business. Perhaps one day there will be a study done comparing those who attend smachot on a regular basis and stay in the room with the drowned out sound, and people who are not of the same culture and enjoy soft music with their dinner. Chances are, those who are walking around complaining about the noise at a simcha (and there are many) will prove to have a far greater chance of having hearing loss. We see the band members all wearing ear plugs as they beat away at the rhythm. They obviously have more “seichel” than those who hire them.

By Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick

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