Photo Credit: Jewish Press

I have learned a lot from glass, perhaps more than from books. You see, my father is a glazer, a glassman. He has spent the last 40 years working all over Brooklyn, installing, fixing and repairing glass. All during that time, I have observed his character and his strong work ethic, his commitment to customer satisfaction and loyalty, his honesty, integrity, and above all his menshlichkeit.

My mother always jokes that my father is not a businessman. She says this because the concept of profit and loss is not what drives his business model. Above all, he wants to make his customers happy, even if it comes at his own expense. There have been numerous times he has driven miles and miles to fix an elderly lady’s window screen, resulting in him wasting far more money on gas than what he actually earned. There have been many times he has devoted hours to fixing a simple stubborn, rusty spring (while bruising his fingers and hands) instead of just advising the customer to replace the window, like so many others have.


He’s honest, calm, patient, levelheaded and straight, and that’s because just like the Hebrew National Hotdog’s slogan, he answers to a higher authority. Just like glass, my father has always been a transparent person. Sometimes one can learn more from a simple glassman than from the most esteemed Ivy league professors; I know I did.


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Ita Yankovich is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in various Jewish and secular publications. She also teaches English and Literature at Kingsborough College and Touro College. She can be reached at [email protected].