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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘sweet’

Home Sweet Home?

Friday, August 5th, 2016

Baby-boomers who were fortunate to know their grandparents were likely regaled with stories of life in the shtetl and early 1900s New York. One common denominator between our Old World and New World ancestors was the crowded living conditions, with families often consisting of six or more children sharing a dwelling space of one or maybe two bedrooms. In fact, some kids shared beds with several siblings at a time – and even a bathroom with other large families on the same floor.  Somehow they managed to thrive in these crowded conditions but the dream was to earn enough money to own a home with lots of rooms to accommodate children and guests – often relatives brought over from Europe.  It was not unusual for elderly grandparents to live with a married daughter and her family or her to take in unmarried siblings for extended periods of time.

Many families did eventually achieve this goal, even if it took a generation or two to do so.  So successful were a significant number of individuals that the term “monster home” was created to describe the huge houses that sprung up like weeds, replacing the smaller but decent-sized ranch houses and bungalows that were purchased.  Some were remodeled with additions, but many were demolished and replaced by multi-leveled houses with four bedrooms and an equal number of bathrooms. Some homes were even built with a self-contained Pesach kitchen, swimming pool, den, family room, “granny suites” and guest rooms.

But I believe that the up-and-coming generations will not live in the grand single-family homes many of them grew up in. That’s because housing in cities and towns in the New York area, in Toronto and other urban areas is becoming a luxury, and fewer and fewer middle to upper-middle income families can afford to buy homes in what we would term geographically-desirable frum communities in North America.

In Toronto, for example, blessed with a large and rapidly growing Orthodox community, the average home is well over $1,000,000. Even fixer-upper homes that are falling apart, but that are located in heavily populated frum neighborhoods, sell for that much. The cheapest homes in the not-as-popular Jewish areas are still an out-of-reach $700,000-800,000. I imagine that in Brooklyn, Queens, the Five Towns and Los Angeles the real estate has also skyrocketed to out-of-reach levels even for “comfortable” families.

A generation or two ago, young married couples would rent an apartment for several years and with money saved, and perhaps some financial help from their parents, they would buy a starter house. Gradually as their family grew, and they became more established in their businesses and professions, they moved into a bigger home.

Those days are over.  For those families who may earn an impressive $120,000 a year, home ownership is out of reach even with the current very low borrowing rates.  Even if there is money for a down payment, 10% of  $1,000,000 is still a formidable $100,000. With tuition for two kids running somewhere around $25,000, how can they afford the monthly mortgage payments which are thousands of dollars a month as well? And then there are the high expenditures of being Orthodox: kosher food, sheitels, Yom Tov clothing, shul membership, as well as real estate taxes, car payments and upkeep, income taxes, etc.

Some couples may have wealthy parents, but if they have three or four siblings who also need or will need houses one day for their own growing families – well several million dollars doesn’t go that far anymore.

What I already see happening is that young families are staying in rental apartments and some are buying two or three-bedroom condos or co-ops. They will either have to limit the size of their family to live comfortably in their small living space – or live as their great, great-grandparents did once upon a time, with wall-to-wall humanity if they opt to have large families.

Cheryl Kupfer

Israelis to Munch 15,000 Tons of Apples this Rosh Hashanah Season

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

The apple and honey tradition on Rosh Hashanah has Israelis consuming 15,000 tons of apples during the month of September, an increase of almost 50 percent  from average consumption during the rest of the year.

Israel’s crop of apples is of a particularly high quality this year, according to Amos Levin, general manager of the Galilee Development Corporation and chairman of the apple division of Israel’s Plants Production and Marketing Board.

“This summer’s relative cooler temperatures, especially at night, helped produce a higher quality of crop,” he said. Levin noted that this year’s crop, harvested from August through November, is excellent for size, color and taste.

Nearly all of Israel’s apples are grown in the hills of the Galilee and the Golan Heights because apples require cold winters and cooler summer nights to grow best.

The northern apple orchards are located on hills that are more than 2,000 feet higher and cover approximately 10,500 acres.

More than 100,000 tons of apples are sold in Israel each year, with the apple market valued at more than $200 million, serving as the core for the local economy in the Golan Heights. Another 7,000 tons of apples are imported into Israel from the United States and Europe.

While Israel exports little of its apples abroad, this year, the country exported 18,000 tons of apples grown by Druze farmers living in the Golan to Syria, in coordination with the Plants Production and Marketing Board, the IDF and the Red Cross. The Druze apple growers of the Golan have been selling to Syria has for the past eight year, but the apple exports were stopped in 2012 when the war situation became too volatile.

This year the apple industry also drew a number of university students from across Israel interested in learning more about agriculture and helping out Golan apple growers.

Sapir college student, Yotam Eyal told Tazpit News Agency that he and his friends have been picking apples for the past month.

“We are college students from all over Israel – from the Negev, Jerusalem, and the north, who are interested in learning more about agriculture and connecting to the land,” Eyal explained. “There are projects that have been initiated in the past year which get students involved in these areas.”

“It’s good to see where a fruit like an apple that you buy in the supermarket comes from,” commented Eyal. “Picking apples all day in the orchard is hard work. But it has made us appreciate dipping the apple in honey that much more this Rosh HaShanah.”

Anav Silverman, Tazpit News Agency

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israelis-to-munch-15000-tons-of-apples-this-rosh-hashanah-season/2013/09/03/

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