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Inbox: Issue 857

"Instead of suggesting how to avoid getting thrown off planes, why not stress that flying is a great opportunity to follow the rules, be kind and courteous, and make a kiddush Hashem?"


Beating Heart [Inbox / Issue 856]

In a follow-up letter on the subject of supporting children in kollel, R.H. concedes that she has no experience with in-law relationships. Why, then, are her opinions worthy of discussion?

R.H. accuses the kollel couple in the Double Take story of “bad middos” and “a sense of entitlement” and posits that no couple should be in kollel if there is any disagreement between the two sets of in-laws.

A simple reading of the story shows that both sets of parents love exactly what they have — a son and daughter learning in kollel — and want exactly the same for all of their children. The kollel couple themselves are two great kids, working very hard under trying conditions with no claims against their parents at all.

There are many ways you can help your children even if you can’t help them financially in a big way. When your daughter gives birth, load her freezer with home-made dinners. When you are in her home, roll up your sleeves and help out. Buy clothing for her children. Cook, bake and buy the food and paper goods for every kiddush and bris. When they come to visit or go to a family simchah, slip them a $100 bill to cover their gas and tolls. More than the money, a kollel couple needs their parents’ moral support and encouragement.

The kollel is the beating heart of every Jewish community, in or out of town. If for no other reason, helping your own kollel couple is helping yourself; it’s your best insurance policy that your progeny will remain Torah-true.

Isn’t that what we all want?


Missed Opportunity [Airlines Unmasked / Issue 856]

Thank you for a very informative, entertaining, and thought-provoking magazine. In your recent article about frum Jews unfairly being harassed for violating airlines’ mask policies, a travel operator advises, “For those who feel they can’t wear a mask, he counsels to don it anyhow, at least until the plane is in the air. Once you’re in the air, the worst case is that you will be questioned by airline staff after you land... By that time you can already work it out...”

In other words, your interviewee is suggesting to wear a mask until takeoff to avoid the risk of being thrown off the plane. However, once the plane is in the air, you can remove the mask and deal with any consequences that may arise.

These sentiments are quite appalling. Every airline has made their mask policies abundantly clear. Masks are required during the entire duration of the flight (save for the few people who are exempt). This has become a clear requirement for airplane travel.

Even if you believe masks are uncomfortable, useless, detrimental, or a violation of personal autonomy, the airlines as private businesses have every right to demand their passengers wear masks for the duration of the flight. To suggest that you should remove the mask while in flight is wrong, irresponsible, and illegal.

Your article is about anti-Semitism on flights. Do you really want to be instructing your readers to remove their masks after takeoff? That will certainly lead to more anti-Semitism! Instead of suggesting how to avoid getting thrown off planes, why not stress that flying is a great opportunity to follow the rules, be kind and courteous, and make a kiddush Hashem?

S. B.

Ounce of Prevention [Airlines Unmasked / Issue 856]

As the mother of two adults with special needs, I was completely sympathetic to the Eisenbergs’ plight. The harassment they experienced from the crew was unacceptable and inhumane. I applaud Mr. Inzelbuch for taking matters into his own hands and letting the airline(s) know that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated.

Having said that, I do feel that the advice not to call the airline ahead of the flight is not a very practical one. My husband, myself, and our daughter with Down syndrome are planning a trip from our home in L.A. to the East Coast. We booked with American Airlines because this was our best choice. They offer a waiver for individuals who are not able to wear masks due to medical conditions.

Contrary to the advice given, I did call ahead of time and spoke to a customer service representative, and she clearly explained the airlines’ guidelines to me. Even though our daughter has had both doses of the Pfizer vaccine, we need to submit a letter from her doctor explaining why she is not able to wear a mask. The airline will review it and get back to us. Our daughter needs to obtain a negative COVID test up to 72 hours prior to each segment of the roundtrip flight. We will be required to sit in the last row and were advised to board early so as to not agitate the other passengers. People are very nervous about this pandemic and some could react negatively when noticing that there is a passenger on board without a mask.

I am davening extra hard that all should go well and that there should be no chillul Hashem. I did mention to the AA rep the incident that happened on Spirit airlines. In all honesty, she had no knowledge of the story. She was extremely courteous and told me that the airline will help us through the process.

I also spoke to a lawyer whose practice deals with advocating for people with special needs (who herself has a child with special needs). She did not think that the airlines’ guidelines were unreasonable or particularly discriminatory.

I strongly believe that an ounce of prevention goes a long way to avoid unnecessary hassles. I would not want to be at the mercy of a crew member who is uneducated, indifferent, anti-Semitic, or in a bad mood because he or she got up on the wrong side of the bed that morning.

Wishing all air travelers a safe and pleasant flight.

Raizy Brief, Los Angeles

Besmirching the Family Name [The Real Prince Philip / Issue 856]

I was dismayed to read how your magazine described Prince Philip’s sisters all being married to Nazis.

Philip’s four sisters were married to German princes in the final years of Weimar Germany. Princess Sophie married in 1930, while Princess Margarita, Princess Theodora, and Princess Cecilie all married in 1931. Adolf Hitler gained power in 1933.

Princess Margarita’s husband, Gottfried Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, was a commander in the German army. However, toward the end of World War II, his views began to change so much so that he became involved with a group that plotted to assassinate Hitler in 1944. Gottfried was eventually dismissed from the army for his role.

Theodora, born in 1906, tied the knot with her paternal second cousin, Berthold Margrave of Baden. Her husband was not affiliated with the Nazis at all.

Cecilie married Georg Donatus, hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse — her maternal first cousin once removed. In 1937 they both joined the Nazi Party, but several months later on their way to Georg Donatus’s brother, their plane crashed and they were killed along with three of their four children. In 1937, Philip’s sister and brother-in-law would have no idea what a monster Hitler would become and should not be judged. They perished before the Holocaust or even Kristallnacht took place.

Sophie, born in 1914, married Prince Christoph of Hesse, her second cousin once removed, in 1930 at the age of 16. She writes in her memoir that she initially was so impressed with Hitler that she actually named a son Karl Adolf after him. But she and her husband changed their political views fundamentally when they saw what he had become.

Prince Philip was an oheiv Yisrael and his mother was awarded by Yad Vashem for saving the Cohen family during the Holocaust. You should not have besmirched the family name with your description of Prince Philip’s brothers-in-law.

Pearl Herzog, Lakewood, NJ

Gedalia Guttentag responds:

I stand corrected about the political affiliations of Prince Philip’s various brothers-in-law, and as you note (as did the article), the Duke of Edinburgh’s own mother saved a Jewish family out of common humanity.

Interestingly enough, the pro-Nazi tendencies that Princess Margarita’s husband initially exhibited wouldn’t have been out of place in the upper reaches of British society in the 1930s. King Edward VIII, who later abdicated, was a well-known Nazi sympathizer, and had to be shipped out to the Bahamas by Churchill because of rumors that he’d leaked Allied war plans to the Germans.

A Different Focus [EndNote / Issue 856]

I remember when my sister called Avraham Rosenblum to play for my family when my husband z”l was in a stroke rehab over Chanukah. He readily agreed to spend time with our family, offering us a focus so different from the darkness of the situation. I watched my husband move to the music, and although he wasn’t able to use both hands to clap, he did the best he could and enjoyed every minute while the music carried him to better times.

Since Avraham Rosenblum was one of my husband’s favorite singers, our children knew the words to all of his songs, so whether he knew it or not, he had our full participation. For my husband and me, it took us to a wonderful time when we went to see him perform at the HASC concert a few years earlier.

It has been five years since my husband’s petirah, but when I hear the sound of the Diaspora Yeshiva Band playing in my car, I can hear my husband singing along beside me, and I am grateful to the singer who took the time to create a lichtige Chanukah for us that year.

Mr. Rosenblum, know that you made a difference.

A Family of Grateful Fans

Unbelievable Growth [Is Florida the Next New York? / Issue 855]

As an administrator at Yeshiva Toras Chaim Toras Emes of Miami, your article titled “Is Florida the Next Stop for New York’s Jews?” certainly caught my attention. YTCTE, now in its 38th year, has seen the South Florida Torah communities grow and expand, particularly in the past few years.

However, the growth we are now experiencing is unbelievable. This year, despite (or perhaps because of) the uncertainties of a pandemic, our enrollment has grown to 1,100 talmidim and talmidos in preschool through beis medrash. We currently have three parallel boys’ classes and three parallel girls’ classes throughout our elementary school division, kein ayin hara. And yet for next year we are projecting an enrollment of over 1,300 students and the creation of ten new classes!

The yeshivah is in the midst of a capital project to build an additional 80,000 square feet, as we are already maxing out of our current buildings. In addition, YTCTE has been actively looking for new, well-qualified moros and teachers who are looking to move down to South Florida and join our growing family.

Your well-written article provides valuable information for those considering making the move down South and even those just beginning to explore the possibility. True, Florida is not New York, but that may be precisely why people are considering relocating here. For many, South Florida can be that vibrant out-of-town community they are looking for, just a short plane ride away from the Tristate area. And for those who do end up moving here, Yeshiva Toras Chaim Toras Emes, along with our beautiful frum community, looks forward to welcoming you with open arms! (And if you are a morah or teacher, please send us your résumé too!)

May Klal Yisrael continue to experience tremendous Torah growth.

Rabbi Harayl Askotzky, Chief Administrative Officer

Rabbi Nosson Yishaya Schwartz, Director of Institutional Advancement

Southern Attractions [Is Florida the Next New York? / Issue 855]

Since I have lived and experienced life in many different and diverse kehillos during my married years, all I can say is “there’s greatness and goodness in each one.”

Yes, South Florida is divided into three counties, yet Boca Raton is far from solely a retirement enclave. There are several day schools, three high schools/yeshivos, a large kollel, plus over a half dozen packed shuls and kiruv centers. There’s kosher food galore and many, many restaurants, pizza shops, cafes, and catering options.

My marrieds have lived there for over ten years and the influx of new families increases yearly from Lakewood, Five Towns, New York, Israel, and everywhere in between. There are new students in every grade and expanding classes in the yeshivos. Rabbanim and roshei yeshivos come as scholars in residence and to give shiurim often. This same growth can be seen in Hollywood and the North Miami Beach areas, too.

The attractions for many are the weather, larger and less pricey homes, safety for children, and no double or triple tax load as in New York. There have been added special ed resources and some therapies are covered by medical insurance. The voucher program has given more needed money to the mosdos.

Job opportunities in the medical industry, therapies, IT fields, management and real estate are numerous. Businesses have been opened by Northerners, and blue collar service workers are overloaded with job requests. Construction, catering, food industry, and transportation services are looking for workers. So if you’re willing to work, there are job options.

Happy house hunting.

Mrs. Caren May

Before You Come [Is Florida the Next New York? / Issue 855]

I’d like to respectfully reply to the question you posed, “Is Florida the Next New York?”

For many of us, Florida means a slower pace, a more laidback lifestyle, a smaller and more intimate school for our children, and the ability to get away from the Joneses’ influence. Our simchahs are beautifully not overdone, and many of us live in simple homes. We like our kiddush the way it is and we don’t need to add carving stations or sushi to make it “better.”

Most of us shop in Target here and most of the kids don’t even know what Venettini is, anyway. No one is cookie cutter here, and we enjoy Torah communities where there is room for everyone to grow and be involved. Our children are inclusive of one another, and no one is in competition here. Here, we have achdus, respect, and patience.

Please make sure you’re coming here for the right reasons. Understandably, the political climate has caused many New Yorkers to seek relocations. We just ask that you are mindful of the culture of the place you are coming to.

Don’t honk in the parking lot. Wait your turn in line. Don’t steal the cleaning help and the babysitters out from under your neighbor’s feet. Be kind to teachers. Be friendly to the non-Jews on your block. Try not to stand out or cause a chillul Hashem.

Here, we get along with our non-Jewish neighbors. We are respected here. Here, we help each other. In our smaller communities, friends become family.

We want to welcome you, but we also like it the way it is. All we ask is this one thing: Please... don’t New York our Florida. And please don’t turn our beautiful red state blue.


Enjoying the Sunshine

Florida Directory [Is Florida the Next New York? / Issue 855]

Thank you for your informative interview about New Yorkers (and Jews from other areas) coming down to Florida. For those who do decide to come down, for those visiting, and even for locals, we have created a website called discoverjewishflorida.com. The website is a directory with some helpful descriptions of shuls, mikvehs, restaurants, lodging, and activities. We also hope in the future to be a resource for Yidden moving down. For any questions feel free to contact us via our website.

The Discover Jewish Florida Team

Complex Relationship [Money Talks / Double Take — Issue 854]

As an avid Mishpacha reader, I would like to thank Mishpacha for an amazing publication that keeps my whole family connected, and sparks heated debates and discussions at our Shabbos tables. I especially enjoy the Double Take write-ups. However, after reading the Double Take in the Pesach edition, I couldn’t find any way to relate or comprehend the behavior of the boys’ parents.

We are also supporting our children and not asking the other side to chip in. The reason for this is that the highest priority of my husband and myself with our mechutanim is shalom!

When you make a shidduch, your mechutanim become your family. The relationship between two sets of in-laws can be very complicated. But as adults, there is a responsibility to make it work out, even if you have differences — for the benefit of your shared children and grandchildren, who are of the utmost importance.

Just to put things into perspective: Imagine if the dear daughter-in-law in this story found out that her in-laws were refusing to redt a shidduch for her struggling 29-year-old sister based on a fabricated opinion that their mechutanim weren’t giving enough support. Without a doubt, this would cause tremendous machlokes between this young couple and their relationship with the boy’s parents.

The real hero in the story is the young couple. Baruch Hashem, the terrible sense of entitlement wasn’t passed down. As far as we can tell, the couple does not seem to have any issue in living simply and supplementing their income when both sides aren’t partnering to support. They also understand the reality of responsibility and achrayus. Kol hakovod to them!

Name Withheld to Keep Shalom

Musical Memories [Standing Ovation / Issue 855]

“Ding” asked Mishpacha’s readers to write you about their memories of kids’ tapes. So here goes:

I am 82 years young, living in an assisted living facility in Yerushalayim. I remember Rivka Newman, of 613 Torah Avenue fame, as Regina Hollander. When she was a (singing?) counselor in Bais Yaakov camp, she wrote a parody of “Belz, my shtetele Belz,” which began “Telz, mein yeshivale Telz…. Bobba Metzia gelernt.” Today, whenever I hear the klezmer song, my mind automatically sings “Telz”!

Rabbi Alter is the occasional guest chazzan at Ramat Tamir, where I live. Without fail, I always request that he sing “Pharaoh b’Pajama” at the Oneg Shabbat.

And how can I forget Morah Blanka from the time that I was living in Monsey in the ’60s. I still sing to myself the zoo song: “I’m happy Hashem made me what I am and not a giraffe in the zoo…” A message for life!

When my friend Nechoma (Mendlowitz) Weldler got a call from Yisroel Lamm (he knew the Mendlowitz family from Williamsburg) asking if she knew any youngsters with good voices, she didn’t bat an eyelash and replied, “Yes, my boys.” And that’s how the young Weldlers became the singers for the first Morah Blanka record.

Thank you for this — and all your other — great articles.

Laya Zryl

Honorable Mention [Standing Ovation / Issue 855]

What a fantastic and fun article from Ding highlighting old children tapes! Coming from a family who takes this seriously, even having a record player and listening to the oldies while cleaning for Pesach, he brought back some really good memories.

I just wanted to give an honorable mention to “Professor Green and the Simcha Machine” (also put out by Ding). Other favorites, although produced a little later, include Baruch Levine’s “Lost in Leizer Land” with Mordy Morchips singing “Friends will be there through the good times and bad” and Abie’s “The Golden Crown” with amazing songs, including “Torah Tziva Lanu Moshe.”

Thank you for Endnote, which is our first read weekly.

Z. Gold

Not Ideal, Not Impossible [Still a Doctor in the House? / Issue 841]

I am a frum first-year Family Medicine resident in Michigan. Yes, there are times when I need to work on Shabbos or Yom Tov, as my residency program is small so it’s not always possible to switch shifts with other residents. I have asked and continue to ask sh’eilos from my rav as how to proceed in these situations. Is it ideal? No. But is it possible to navigate? Yes!

Going into medicine is a big commitment, and it takes a lot of personal sacrifice. This includes missing simchahs, spending Yom Tov and Shabbosim away from family, and not always being available for dating (although with Zoom, this has become more accessible — special shout out to AdoptAShadchan, Lisa Elefant and Ilana Brown).

My main point is that people who are considering pursuing the field of medicine should not be discouraged from doing so. While it is important that they be aware of the many challenges that can arise, it is also equally important that they know that there are other frum people just like them who are successfully navigating through their medical training and careers while following daas Torah.

It can be done, and if you really want it, it can happen.

Ezra Fox, DO


Notes: Due to a print error, last week’s episode of “Light Years Away” was missing the final scene. It is included in this week’s edition.

Due to an oversight, last week’s magazine [Issue 856] included sheimos on page 94. Please dispose of it properly. We regret the error.

(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 857)

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