By Phyllis J. Lubin
The year was 1962: John F. Kennedy was president, the Yankees won the World Series, West Side Story won the Academy Award for the best movie, John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth, Johnny Carson became the host of the Tonight Show, and Elvis was still the king.
At a July Fourth Zionist of America get-together, my parents met. Six months later, on December 23, 1962, they became husband and wife. Their Hebrew anniversary took place on 26 Kislev—the second day of Chanukah. With the light of Chanukah, Hashem also blessed us with a wonderful couple—my Mom and Dad!
When you look up “jubilee” in the dictionary you find: “A specially celebrated anniversary, especially a 50th anniversary, or a season or an occasion of joyful celebration.” My parents’ jubilee year brings much joy and celebration to our family.
We have been planning this special gathering to honor my folks for a few months. The fact that everything, b’H, went off without a hitch is not taken for granted. With my niece’s bat mitzvah taking place on December 16 (Mazel tov, Hallel!), it would have been very difficult for my brother Jacob to plan a trip from Israel just one week later.
So we decided to make the date December 30, in the hopes that his travel plans would work out better. Somehow, when we were thinking of Jacob coming in, I didn’t even take into account possible weather problems until that Wednesday, when we had terrible rain, some power outages, and an anticipated snowstorm for Shabbos into Sunday. I prayed that Hashem would spare us too much bad weather—at least until after Sunday.
Besides the Israel traveler, we had relatives and friends coming from as far away as Albany and Connecticut. Snow couldn’t ruin their arrival! Plus, I feared that if it snowed too much, my folks wouldn’t want to come outside. After all, they just thought they were coming to our house for a usual small family gathering. Little did they know that Jacob was flying in, and extended family and some friends were planning on surprising them for lunch at Traditions.
I woke up early Sunday morning (very early, since Jacob’s plane was due in at about 5:30) and peered out the window—no snow or rain! Although Jacob assured me that I didn’t need to be at the airport until 7, I was there bright and early by 5:40. If I couldn’t sleep, I might as well be at the airport early! The customs line was very long that morning, and despite the fact that Jacob was traveling sans checked luggage, he didn’t make it to the car until about 6:50. No worries—the sun was shining and everything was working out.
It was a little before 8 and the troops were feasting on the bagels Jacob and I picked up from Bagel Delight on our way home from the airport. Naftali and Nina were on duty to pick up my folks at about 12:15 to take them to their mystery anniversary lunch, Yussie was neatly dressed in his suit, and the girls, as usual, looked lovely. Everything was working out perfectly.
Somehow I thought Jacob had a microphone. I thought wrong. We had a few short hours to find one, otherwise all our words of wisdom might not be heard at the party. For those searching for a microphone, don’t go to Radio Shack or K Mart—they don’t have one that will work without a whole sound system. At the last minute, I thought to ask Rabbi Geisinsky if he might have one to spare. Fortunately Rabbi Meir had one, and he met me at Chabad at 11 and showed Jacob how it worked. Thank-you again to the Chabad of the Five Towns and Rabbi Meir for saving the day. Although we have loud voices, it just wouldn’t have been the same without the convenience of a microphone.
A couple of minutes later, I received a call from Naftali that his car did not start. AAA was called but they were nowhere in sight, and who knew if the car would start even with their assistance? Not to worry—Nina’s folks to the rescue! Naftali and Nina were able to borrow their spare car and make it to my folks by 12. Another hurdle overcome!
The next glitch came when the laptop computer that had worked perfectly at home somehow wasn’t displaying anything on the big screen (supplied by Jeremy at Traditions). No problem—with a few minutes to spare before the guests were due to arrive, my husband rushed home to collect another laptop (thank-you to Bubby Bernice and Zayde Ike for the continued use of their laptop). With the laptop functioning properly, we were all set. The show would be able to go on!
The relatives and friends were all gathered when my folks arrived on the scene. The joy (and shock) on their faces made our hearts shine. We ate, bonded, listened to some speeches, and truly enjoyed the afternoon. Thank-you, Mom and Dad, for giving us all so much joy. You are wonderful parents and grandparents. May we always share happy occasions for many years to come! v
Phyllis Joy Lubin is an attorney with Maidenbaum & Sternberg, LLP, who resides in Cedarhurst with her husband, Leonard. They have six children: Naftali, Shoshana, Rivka, Rochel, Yosef, and Lea and a daughter-in-law, Nina. The author welcomes your questions and comments at MothersMusings@gmail.com.