June 7, 2020 –
Today marks the 56th wedding anniversary of my sister Rochelle and her husband Jack!
At 18-years-old, I was the head Usher at their wedding!
Together they have raised four wonderful and highly successful daughters who blessed them with wonderful husbands and seven bright and beautiful grandchildren.
Their home in Old Bridge, New Jersey, was for many years the headquarters for countless joyful family occasions and several sad ones as well. Now they kvell, as the family celebrates happy times and mourns our losses in their daughters’ homes.
When we were growing up, I made it difficult for ‘Chelle to be a loving big sister by making a pest of myself whenever her friends would come over. Looking back it is easy for me to see why a 12- year-old girl would not want her 8-year-old brother hanging around when she was in her room with her friends.
But if I made it hard for Rochelle to love me she did anyway.
When I was 7 and in the hospital for my hernia operation (a six-day hospital stay back then), my sister walked 4 miles home from her swimming lesson instead of taking the bus so she could use the money to buy me a present.
When she celebrated her Bat Mitzvah, she used some of her gift money to buy me the coolest present my nine-year-old mind could imagine: a gun with rubber darts that shot ducks off a stand that went round and round.
Speaking of Rochelle’s Bat Mitzvah, it was a pivotal event in my life as well as hers. She became only the second Bat Mitzvah in the 80-year history of Temple Sharey Tefilo in East Orange, NJ. My Dad was against it saying, ”It’s not necessary for a girl,” but Rochelle in alliance with our mother, stood her ground.
I absorbed the message.
If Judaism was important enough for her to stand up to my Dad for the privilege of reading from the Torah, then maybe I needed to look deeper into my religion to find “what’s in it for me?”
When ‘Chelle met Jack, I immediately sensed something different about her. I liked him right away too. He was so cool.
I loved listening to his stories about working at Robert Hall Clothes and selling Good Humor Ice Cream on the beach in Far Rockaway. He drove me to and sat through the band concert of a girl I liked in a different town because I didn’t have a license.
Looking back, they were so young, 21 and 20, when they married, but they seemed so ready and so sure and so wise beyond their years.
One of the worst days in my life was when Mom called me when I was studying in Israel (If you got a call from the states in Israel in 1971, you knew it was either a very special occasion or something was very wrong) to tell me that Dad had died. The flight home was beyond painful, but as soon as I saw Jackie, who picked me up at the airport, I began to feel a little better.
Before my wedding, Jack gave me lessons in how to break the glass, so I would do it just right.
And now the years have run by, 56 of them.
They have seen all four daughters graduate college and shared the joy of each of their seven grandchildren’s B’nai Mitzvah. This fall, a fourth grandchild begins her college journey
All through those years they have worked side by side as Rochelle played an integral role in Jack’s thriving solo CPA practice. All through those years they have nurtured in their children and grandchildren the same love for Judaism Rochelle nurtured in me long ago.
Happy anniversary, ‘Chelle and Jack! I love you both!