web analytics
March 5, 2015 / 14 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth

Living With Dorothy

            Suffice it to say that when I moved in with Dorothy, my friends were in shock.  Most of them were planning to live in the more popular Washington Heights, whereas I had decided to remain in midtown Manhattan.  Mostly, however, most of their astonishment was because I was 22, and Dorothy, or Mrs. Hilf, as I call her, was 95. 


 

Let me explain.  I met Mrs. Hilf through my good friend and college roommate Melissa.  Mrs. Hilf and Melissa were learning partners at Congregation Adereth El (in midtown Manhattan, near Stern), and Melissa thought I would enjoy meeting her.  She was right.  We hit it off right away, and I began visiting her weekly.  We usually planned to do some religious learning at our meetings, perhaps review the siddur or study the parshat hashavua, the weekly Torah portion, but more often than not, we just schmoozed. 

 

            After graduating from Stern College and receiving an invitation from Mrs. Hilf to share her one-bedroom apartment, I’ll admit I was hesitant to accept.  My mother urged me to say yes, while my good friends could not even imagine why I would consider the very generous offer.  (I did share the rent, but then again, we were rent controlled.) 

 

While I would be at a distance from my friends, there were significant advantages to the proposal, and I eventually decided to move in.  My boyfriend Moshe (now my husband) worked a block away, the commute to my graduate school was convenient, and I absolutely loved the bustle and convenience of New York City.

 

Mrs. Hilf and I talked about politics, literature, and life.  I confided in her about my personal life, and she, in turn, offered me sage advice.  After one particularly upsetting incident with Moshe, I recall coming home in a rage, ready to have it out with him and give him a piece of my mind.  Mrs. Hilf talked with me, calmed me down and told me, in a very matter-of-fact way, to get over it.  I have a hunch that if not for Mrs. Hilf soothing me, my relationship with Moshe would not be where it is today.

 

 


Dorothy Hilf and Little Leeba

 

 

Mrs. Hilf tells it like it is.  When I ask for her opinion, I know that I’ll get the unadulterated truth.  And I love that.  In a world where everyone is concerned with being politically correct, Mrs. Hilf prizes honesty and sincerity. 

 

But more than that, Mrs. Hilf taught me that age doesn’t matter.  She showed me that a positive attitude and a deep thankfulness for all we have are most important.  She is a paragon of what it means to be self-sufficient.  Now 102, may she live and be well, she lives alone, does her own marketing, emails her friends, and volunteers weekly at a soup kitchen.  She even hosts Sabbath meals in her apartment from time to time.  She appreciates when I stock her up on groceries and when Melissa delivers home-cooked meals, but she is always surprised.

 

Since getting married, I’ve made some new friends; they are not quite like Mrs. Hilf – they’re only in their eighties.  Before we moved to our current location, we lived down the hall from Mollie and Leah.  For five years we shared in each other’s joys and bonded over tragedies.  I borrowed onions and delivered chicken soup, and they played with my three-year-old daughter Leba and introduced her to the piano. 


 


My mother taught me that we can learn much from our seniors.  My mother visited the nursing home and made time to call on relatives and older friends who were ill.  For years, my mother had a study partner who was in his eighties.  To this day, she reads aloud her notes from those sessions and reminisces with fondness over the erudition he displayed and the thoughts he shared with her. 

 

I suppose growing up in a home with grandparents helped establish my love and respect for the older generation.  I miss them terribly now that they have passed on, and am sorry that I didn’t appreciate their presence even more.  They cared for me with so much love and, like Mrs. Hilf, never asked for anything in return. 

 

I continue to visit Mrs. Hilf most weeks, and try to bring Leba along with me when I can.  If I can instill within my daughter a respect and admiration for our elders, perhaps she too will look to those before us for guidance and love.  And when I see her greeting Mrs. Hilf with a hug and a kiss, I know we’re on the right track.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Living With Dorothy”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Megillat Esther
The Origins of Purim
Latest Indepth Stories
Ron Prosor

Values at the very heart of the UN are threatened by extremist ideologies targeting our way of life

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Anti-Semitism today focuses on Israel and the quest to delegitimize it.

Ballots for elections "made in Samaria."

Any Jew who ties his fate to Israel should be able to vote in Israel’s elections-even before aliyah

A young Moshe Meir Weiss introduces his mother, Mrs. Agnes Weiss Goldman, to Rav Moshe in 1979.

There were no airs about him. Rav Moshe was affectionately known as the Gaon of Normalcy.

Israel’s full sovereignty over a united Jerusalem is the only path for true peace in the region.

Just like Moses and Aaron, Mordechai decides to ruin the party…

The president has made clear – I can’t state this more firmly – the policy is Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.

Obama has an apparent inability to understand Islam in particular and Mid-East culture in general

Pesach is a Torah-based holiday whose fundamental observances are rooted in Torah law; Purim is a rabbinic holiday whose laws and customs are grounded in the rabbinic tradition.

In honor of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s successful speech before Congress.

Mr. Spock conveys a message with painfully stark relevance to our world today, especially in the context of PM Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.

Obama created the “partisan politics” by asking Dem. party members to avoid Bibi and his address

Enough is enough. The Jewish community has a big tent, but the NIF should have no place in it.

I vote for the right and get left-wing policy. Every. Frigging. Time.

More Articles from Chana Mayefsky
Mayefsky-030813

As new tech gadgets evolve and old ones slowly fade away, good manners never go out of style.

Mr. Stein (not his real name) saw his career hit a dead end three years ago when the market went sour. As a commercial real estate broker, he and his wife, Devora, then a student studying toward her degree in social work, knew something had to change quickly if they were to survive financially. Friends and family members had suggested they open their own business, but the Steins had no money to invest in the project. They had no credit and the money they borrowed from relatives went directly to day-to-day living.

That’s when they contacted the Emergency Parnossa Initiative (EPI) and the OU Job Board and began the process of transforming their lives.

Suffice it to say that when I moved in with Dorothy, my friends were in shock. Most of them were planning to live in the more popular Washington Heights, whereas I had decided to remain in midtown Manhattan. Mostly, however, most of their astonishment was because I was 22, and Dorothy, or Mrs. Hilf, as I call her, was 95.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/living-with-dorothy/2009/07/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: