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August 30, 2014 / 4 Elul, 5774
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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

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Summertime Fun: The Pause That Refreshes Or Youthful Energy Wasted

 

Dear Rachel,

It’s graduation time and children of all ages can be seen smiling from ear to ear as the current school year lets out. Not that there is anything wrong with feeling relief that summer break is finally here, but for the most part kids seem too focused on “fun time” to be bothered with serious contemplation of their future.

It wasn’t that long ago when children as young as twelve looked for summer jobs. Instead of turning to Mom or Dad to fund our carefree days of summer, they would seek out ways to earn a wage (however small), whether by working as a mother’s helper in the city or asking to be hired as an extra hand in the camp’s kitchen or canteen.

Today’s kids take it for granted that they will be fully supported, regardless of their ambitions (or lack thereof). Moreover, an ever increasing amount of older singles – well into their twenties and thirties – live at home with their parents, who pick up all of their grown children’s living expenses.

When I shared these thoughts with a relative who accompanied me to a graduation ceremony the other day, she told me to quit being a fuddy-duddy and to lighten up and be happy for the graduates who had worked hard and deserved to “hang loose” for a bit.

Maybe I’m just old fashioned…

 

Dear Old Fashioned,

Maybe your set of values trumps that of many of our young and you simply cannot fathom wasting time on frivolities. That said, every hard working individual deserves a break, and a vacation can do wonders in restoring the vigor of young and old alike.

Have things changed over the years? Plenty. But let’s not generalize. Mature and responsible young adults still walk among us in great numbers… as the following letter bears out.

 

Dear Rachel,

We just returned from Eretz Yisrael, having gone there to celebrate the wedding of our first grandson – a truly wonderful young man who married a delightful young lady.

Our grandson is 21 and has spent the last three years learning in a yeshiva in Chevron, while also managing to take the Israeli equivalent of the SAT. He scored one of the highest marks possible and was offered a place at Haifa Technion in Civil Engineering. He is presently in the process of negotiating with the IDF, hoping they will pay for his education if he stays in the army for however many more years.

Unlike so many of the young men who come to our shuls in North America begging for “hachnosas kallah,” he has been working since about the age of 12. Before Pesach he organized groups of yeshiva bachurim to clean people’s houses, and in the past he set up groups to build sukkot.

Years ago he ran summer camps for five-year olds when school finished and parents were still working. My grandson also tutored 9th and 10th graders in math. A younger grandson of ours, together with two other boys his age, organized a whole program for four- and five-year olds during the extended time off from school before Pesach.

So I am sure you are not surprised to find me lacking sympathy for those who come collecting, who have made zero effort to provide for themselves before undertaking the responsibilities of marriage.

Of course this is just my expressing our great pride in our grandson. I could also say a lot of very nice things about his kallah, but I’ve raved enough for the moment.

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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