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September 22, 2014 / 27 Elul, 5774
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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

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Readers’ Views

Dear Readers,

Pesach has come and gone and is quickly becoming a distant memory for many of us. In the March 15 column a woman wrote about her past experience being in a luxury hotel over Pesach where she had encountered some individuals with insatiable appetites and/or unrefined behavior. Since columns are planned well in advance around Yom Tov time, the responses to that particular column had to be placed on hold but nevertheless deserve exposure, even at this late date.

So whether you reveled in a hotel getaway or enjoyed the comforts of home sweet home, there are always lessons to take away from our experiences — and sometimes it takes another’s perspective to open our eyes…

Dear Rachel,

Although I am not a letter writer in general and certainly not to a newspaper, I feel I must respond to the article by Luxury doesn’t call for gluttony. While I agree entirely with all of the points Luxury voiced, (gluttony, baal tashchis, taking china and silverware out of the dining rooms, which is a breach of the kashrus standards), I would like to state a possible scenario for the people who take sealed bottles of wine back to their rooms. I know people who bring their own wine with them to the hotels. Let’s be dan l’chaf zchus — maybe the people you saw are taking their own wine back to the rooms with them.

Let’s not be quick to judge

Dear Rachel,

The person who wrote about her distaste for Pesach vacations spent in hotels sounds like she can use a vacation herself. Staying home or going away each has its pros and cons. People who stay home for Pesach often do so because they want to be with family and want their children to truly understand the significance of Pesach and not to think it is about hotels. On the other hand, the cons of staying home are the endless cleaning, shopping and cooking. It is very difficult to feel rested for the first Seder because of the enormity of work.

Conversely, the pros of going away, if one can afford to do so, are no waiting in endless lines while shopping, not having to spend outrageous prices for food, not having to clean and then change dishes, kasher kitchens and cook nonstop. The cons are spending Pesach with one thousand or more people, having to get dressed up for most meals, and of course the packing, especially trying in the tri-state area where we do not know what the weather will be.

However, as someone who has been fortunate enough to go away, I can say that in no way do I find the writer’s depiction to be accurate. Yes, there is an abundance of food. But it is so arranged that people do not have to push and shove to get to the food because there are stations set up all around the dining rooms. I have found that by the third or fourth day, people gauge themselves and do not indulge the way the writer describes. There are also many, many healthy food choices, and just as someone would say “no,” to dessert at home, so too can one say “no” in the hotel.

There are many stimulating lectures, wonderful children’s programs and activities, and in general a heimish atmosphere prevails. The particular hotel that we go to cordons off areas in their three dining rooms so that no more than three families are in a section, and sedarim are more private and quiet. Other people rent private rooms for their families.

The bottom line is that going away for Pesach is like anything else: It is what you make of it. For us it is a way to be together without anyone having the burden of preparing Pesach. However, the writer does not have to bash this form of celebrating Pesach; she just doesn’t have to do it. As the saying goes, “different strokes for different folks.”

Beg to differ

Dear Beg,

The writer merely presented her point of view, literally. She personally witnessed the behavior she spoke of and did not apply it to the guests en masse but to a few individuals.

The setups among the several hotels around the globe that offer Pesach getaways vary, as do cost and level of extravagance. Happy to hear of your positive experiences and appreciate your taking the time to comment.

Dear Rachel,

Yomim Tovim are a great way to spend quality time with family and observe personal interactions close up. I feel the urge to bring up a subject seldom talked about: the role of older siblings in the large household.

As an example, take the family with seven children, bli ayin hora, all under the age of ten or twelve. The oldest is merely a child yet is made to watch over the younger ones, fetch things for busy mommy, take Junior to the potty, or even diaper the baby.

Some may call this good training and valuable experience, and maybe rightly so. However, all of this serious responsibility may be overwhelming for some of these children who are being deprived of their childhood.

A Bystander

Dear Bystander,

There is wisdom in your words and parents must be vigilant in this regard. Even while the older child is subservient, an inner resentment may build and explode later on, leaving parents to wonder what happened and where they went wrong.

While teaching children responsibility at a young age is a good thing, parents ought to keep in mind that ten or twelve-year olds are children too and in desperate need of individualized love and attention to boot. And if they can’t act their age now, when then?

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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