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August 28, 2014 / 2 Elul, 5774
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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

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Sweet Things: The Bad And The Good…

Dear Rachel,

I don’t usually write letters to columnists, but I’m fuming and feel the need to unload. With the coming of Pesach, we were relieved to clear out all the junk with the chometz. I refer to all the undesirable edibles that came wrapped up as mishoach manos.

Yesterday my five-year old came home from school with a massive pekeleh distributed by a birthday boy in his class. “Duvie” gushed about the large football cake they all got a nice slice of and made sure to tell me that when they offered seconds he was one of the takers.

Birthday cake on occasion I can handle. But what really got to me was his green-colored mouth and purple tongue. A peek into the baggie told me more than I cared to know. There was enough junk in that bag to make five children ill. What was that birthday boy’s mother thinking?! Can she really be shepping nachas as she watches her own children gorging on all that horrible stuff disguised as goodies?

My son also brought pekelach to school on his birthday. And, no, I didn’t pack them with carrot and celery sticks. Each pekeleh had a bag of chips, a lollipop, a fruit drink and a party favor/tchachke. And I can tell you that every child was thrilled and didn’t miss the “football cake” (the latest rage) an iota.

After dinner that night, my son asked if he could have a treat from the baggie he had brought home. I offered him a piece of chocolate instead. He took it happily, and I not so happily tossed his still-full pekeleh in the trash (after he’d gone to bed).

What a sorry waste of money! You’d think grown-ups would have enough sense not to load kids up with all that junk.

            This takes the cake!

 

Dear This,

A young mother I was speaking with recently was looking forward to her own son’s upcoming upsherin (hair cutting) and decided to consult her almost 3-year old about what to fill his birthday pekelach with.

The child thoughtfully and very innocently offered: “A chip, a lolli, a candy… (pause) …and a junk.” So there you have it. To young children, candy is great tasting food, and maybe some of it – like the sticky taffy Mommy seems to have a particular aversion to – can be considered junk.

Unfortunately, it takes just one kid boasting a filled-to-the-hilt pekeleh to make others nag their own mothers into providing the same for them. Absolutely and outrageously senseless, I agree. Parents ought to know better.

 

Re: A Put-Down Worth Putting Up With
(Chronicles, April 4)

Dear Rachel,

The story by Rattled in Rockland County – the woman whose father-in-law let loose with a tirade when he thought his grandchildren were being deprived by their father of eating as much as they craved at the Shabbos table – came as a very good lesson on how to behave, and just in time for Yom Tov when families move in together and are bound to get on each other’s nerves. To my mind, everybody in the story reacted wisely and avoided what could have turned into a very tense situation.

A long-time reader

Dear Rachel,

Grandparents are for spoiling and parents are for disciplining. Moreover, the Zeidy who couldn’t take seeing his grandchildren denied the food they were intent on eating is most likely old school. Parents once upon a time would push their kids to eat, eat and eat, fearful that if their plates weren’t wiped clean, their children would suffer from malnutrition. As a result, many of these kids grew into obese adults with lifelong weight issue struggles.

I would know…  

Re: Siblings: An Unbreakable Bond
(Chronicles, March 21)

Dear Rachel,

A few weeks ago you featured an excerpt of an article written by Dr. Charles Krauthammer some time ago, in tribute to his older brother who had tragically passed away. The poignant piece spoke about their closeness and special bond since their childhood years.

As I was reading, I couldn’t help but think that this type of relationship between siblings ought to be the rule rather than the exception. So what makes this particular one come across as so unique?

Just thinking out loud

Dear Just,

Basically, most of us who may indeed have special relationships with our sibs simply lack Dr. Krauthammer’s intellectual wit and writing genius. We may be “feeling it” but could never convey our emotions via the written word in such extraordinary style.

Furthermore, times have changed drastically. Can you picture two brothers (or sisters) on a summer getaway today being totally immersed in the moment, in one another, in the exhilarating environment of sun and blue skies and in the freedom from stress of work, school or what have you?

I can’t. Unless they’ve left their laptops, iPhones and iPads behind. And the chances of that are…? Unfortunately, no matter how loving sisters, brothers or couples are to one another, they are more apt to be drawn in by the lure of their electronic devices than by the magic of a golden sunset enjoyed in the company of their loved ones on an intoxicating summer vacation day.

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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