Although the new shopping carts in town don’t have a cupholder in which to place a cup of coffee made at the lavish coffee bar that also does not yet exist, shopping around here has become a much more pleasant and quick experience.  You just have to know what you’re doing.  Which I clearly do.  Follow me.

I am the family historian.  Since very little information was shared with my generation about our family history prior to the family’s arrival in New York, I seek out information from anywhere I can find it.  Every tiny piece of information I find is a treasured piece of the puzzle of my family history.

Some people are just not like others.  When faced with adversity, they appear to acquire superhuman powers.  When I heard about the passing of Esther Pollard, the remarkable woman who devotedly rallied for the sake of her husband for nearly thirty years, I thought about the incredible emunah and strength she exhibited throughout her ordeal.  It also brought to mind others who throughout their own trying circumstances did the same.  These are people who set a goal and will do absolutely whatever it takes in order to achieve that goal.  They will travel as far from their comfort zones as is imaginable and then travel even further out, and they persevere despite the many roadblocks placed in their paths leading to one setback after another. 

I would like to begin my column this week with an addendum to last week’s article about Beit El. A reader reached out to me expressing surprise that in my article there was no mention of the many supporters of Beit El from Queens, especially Eugen and Jean Gluck of Forest Hills. The response to my article motivated me to explore the Queens connection. It is clear that Eugen and Jean Gluck z”l were the life force behind the growth of Beit El institutions.

As I my husband and I drive into Beit El, through the traffic circles which display large models of a pomegranate, fig, and grape of the shiv’at haminim (seven species that Eretz Yisrael is blessed with), we feel like we were entering another world. Beit El has a very different feel from Beit Shemesh.

Once upon a time, my pocketbook was a functional yet personal item.  I’m not the type who needs a chic and trendy accessory to match my wardrobe. I do need something big enough to carry the contents of my house, and then some.   I’m often the target of teasing from the peanut gallery, aka my family, when I reach deep into my bag, Mary Poppins-style, and pull out whatever anyone needs.  They think my bag is bottomless and make requests: “Can you please hold my wallet?” “My keys?” “My bicycle?”