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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 11/27/09

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Dear Readers,

“What would you have said or done?” we asked in a recent column (see Chronicles 10-28-09), where 10 bucks short but played it safe… let us in on the Friday when she had absent-mindedly left her just purchased bunch of flowers at a city bus stop. By the time she became aware of her loss, the bus was already homeward bound. As she contemplated returning to retrieve the bundle, she spotted it being cradled in the lap of a burly stranger who had just taken a seat across from hers.

Not wishing to chance an unpleasant encounter, she said nothing and abandoned all hope of repossessing her lovely blooms.

Readers weighed in

Dear Rachel,

I can’t believe what I just read! This woman spends her hard-earned money on flowers for Shabbos (that she was so elated to find in the first place), and then submissively lets a stranger (who had obviously found them) keep them!

I can understand not wanting to make a scene, but she could have politely asked her fellow passenger whether he had picked up the flowers at the bus stop where she had just left them.

The decision to be a mensch would then have been up to the “finder.”

Just sign me

Not one to give up without trying

Dear Rachel,

I couldn’t believe the way you patted 10 bucks on the back for the way she handled the dilemma of her lost flowers. Leave it to a woman to summon the energy to shop like there’s no tomorrow yet wimp out when she is called on to assert herself.

Let’s just say that if it were my 10 bucks, I’d have spoken up pronto.

It takes a man, I guess

Dear Rachel,

Sometimes it is wise keep silent, but what had the woman to fear on a bus where she was not alone with the man who had obviously found her flowers?

The description “big, broad, and leave-the-rest-to-your-imagination” is sort of vague, but I still “imagine” that I would not have acquiesced so readily to give up on my find, especially one that was meant to beautify my Shabbos table.

No quitter

Dear Rachel,

Regarding the letter about the flowers, I don’t know what I would do, but I do know what my 6-year old Sabra granddaughter, Tali, would do.

A few weeks ago she and her family were guests at a Bar Mitzvah in a hotel in Jerusalem. Her brother, two years her senior, was not feeling well and their Dad bought him a helium balloon with an action figure on it to cheer him up.

While he was enjoying the balloon and walking around with it, Tali begged her brother for a turn to hold it. When he gave it to her, she soon let it go and it floated to the top of the hotel lobby.

Needless to say, everyone was upset with Tali, but what could be done….

The next morning Tali saw a woman pushing a baby carriage in the hotel lobby, with exactly the same balloon tied to the handle. The little girl walked right up to her and asked her if the balloon was hers. The woman said it was.

Tali, standing up as tall as a little 6-year old can, said, “Well my father bought that exact same balloon for my brother who was sick, and it floated up to the ceiling here, and you can see that it is no longer on the ceiling. Are you really sure the balloon is yours?”

The woman untied it and gave it to Tali, who promptly returned it to her brother.

Maybe it has something to do with being born in Israel . . . albeit to American parents.

A proud Grandma

Dear Grandma,

Leave it to a Sabra! The innocent naiveté of little children aside, it does sound less risky approaching one of our own in a Jerusalem hotel lobby than it does confronting a total stranger on a city bus. Hopefully your spunky granddaughter is being taught to “draw the line.”

To be fair, “10 bucks short ” was more descriptive of her “perfect stranger” in her original letter to this column, but in the interest of racial sensitivity, her characterization had to be altered in print. Suffice it to say that she chose not to take a chance on the possibility of being challenged by a defensive ” you meaning to imply that I stole your flowers, ma’am?”

Emotion must often surrender to good sense; this writer’s levelheadedness in the face of deep disappointment was refreshing.

It should also be said that holding one’s tongue is usually the better way to go.

The second letter elicited some downright indignation

Dear Rachel,

I disagree with your answer to “True friendships are hard to come by.” Should she ever divorce this jerk (excuse me: second husband), she’ll be left without a husband AND a friend.

She should keep her years-long friendship with her gal pal separate from her marriage and meet her without the husband’s involvement.

Also, I didn’t like your use of the word “demand” when referring to the husband’s insistence that she drop her friend. When a spouse makes demands, there is sure to be trouble ahead.

Thanks for allowing me to comment

Dear Thanks,

You are right-in that I should have been more discerning in my choice of words.

Nonetheless, spouses should feel free to voice their concerns to one another, especially regarding an issue that causes either one great discomfort.

The following letter elucidates the crux of the matter.

Dear Rachel,

You were not nearly forceful enough with the young lady who entertains a doubt as to whether her fiancé’s request (to drop her friendship with his ex-wife) was justified.

Maybe she’s been reading too many Hollywood gossip columns, which almost glorify the 10-minute marriage to a spouse’s best friend. In our world, no other relationship takes precedence over the sanctified marriage.

Her husband-to-be’s ex-wife simply does not belong in the picture, period.

She should ask herself how she would feel if her fiancé was buddy-buddy with her ex-husband? Uneasy, to say the least, as she would be left wondering about the content of their private conversations, let alone be constantly reminded of her past.

True friendships are hard to come by – the married kind, that is!

* * * * *

We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 338 Third Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215

About the Author: We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.


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