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Dads Hold the Fort While Wives in New York

by Menachem Posner – Chabad.org

Growing up as the child of Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries to Skokie, Ill., I remember the weekend in the winter when my mother would go to New York for the annual International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Women Emissaries (Kinus Hashluchos). For her, it was a time to catch up with her siblings and parents, trade tips on education and camp administration, and most importantly, to bask in the presence of the Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of righteous memory.

But for us kids, it meant one thing: eggs.

My father is not much of a chef, but he sure can scramble up some mean eggs. Sometimes, the eggs had bits of lox in them, and other times they had salami, but they were always great.

With that memory in mind, I set out to find out how a new generation of male emissaries measures up. With their wives off to New York this week for the conference, which takes place Feb. 16-19, the men might be roughing it. How will they cope? Check out these responses.

Crisis. What Crisis?

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The Zalmanov family in Indiana. Rabbi Eliezer Zalmanov: “I’ll have a lot more things to do than normal this weekend, but it’s not as if our household goes into crisis mode for 96 hours.”

The truth is that most guys I know, myself included, are pretty adept in the kitchen and very involved parents year-round, so it’s not like they need to have their hands held. We are equal partners with our wives in the parenting department—just as we co-direct our Chabad Houses as a team. My wife and I both cook, both discipline, both care for our kids. Sure, I’ll have a lot more things to do than normal this weekend, but it’s not as if our household goes into crisis mode for 96 hours. The only major disruption that I can recall is the one year I had to leave synagogue services to change a dirty diaper.

Rabbi Eliezer Zalmanov (Munster, Ind.)

It’s in the Freezer!

The Shemtov children in Chicago. Rabbi Benzion Shemtov: “We will have a Shabbat program with a full house of students coming over for meals as usual.”
The Shemtov children in Chicago. Rabbi Benzion Shemtov: “We will have a Shabbat program with a full house of students coming over for meals as usual.”

My very organized and thoughtful wife cooked and stored enough food last Thursday to last us for this past Shabbat and this coming Shabbat, so we will have a Shabbat program with a full house of students coming over for meals as usual.

Rabbi Benzion Shemtov (Chabad at University of Illinois at Chicago)

Joining Forces

Rabbi Berry Nash of Montana: “We’re still deciding on some of the activities, but if the wintry weather keeps up, we may go outside for some snow-tubing.”
Rabbi Berry Nash of Montana: “We’re still deciding on some of the activities, but if the wintry weather keeps up, we may go outside for some snow-tubing.”

The kids and I will be joining together with Rabbi Yisroel Hahn and his family in Spokane, Wash., about 200 miles away from our home in Missoula, Mont. Between the two of us, we will be caring for five children ranging in age from 2 to 8 (some of the girls will be going to New York with their mothers). Our kids know each other, and two are always better than one. We’re still deciding on some of the activities, but if the wintry weather keeps up, we may go outside for some snow-tubing.

Rabbi Berry Nash (Missoula, Mont.)

A Week Can Be a Long Time

Rabbi Menachem Lipskier of Melbourne, Australia: “My wife will be gone for more than a week. It’s times like these when husbands realize how much our wives do every day for our families.” Here while mom was away father and children prepared for a special meal celebrated each year in honor of their ancestor, 'The Shpole Zaide."
Rabbi Menachem Lipskier of Melbourne, Australia: “My wife will be gone for more than a week. It’s times like these when husbands realize how much our wives do every day for our families.” Here while mom was away father and children prepared for a special meal celebrated each year in honor of their ancestor, ‘The Shpole Zaide.”

Given the distance from Australia to New York, my wife will be gone for more than a week—from Wednesday to Thursday. I’m staying home with our four kids, ages 1, 3, 6, and 8. My wife froze most of our meals (I’m going to be preparing the side dishes), and we have an emergency stash of pizza in the freezer, so we should be fine, food-wise.

The biggest challenge is going to be Shabbat. Since the baby cannot leave home, I have someone coming over on Shabbat morning so that I can get out to run the youth services.

In the afternoon, when I normally oversee programs for children, I’m just going to rely on our group leaders to do an amazing job without me.

It’s times like these when husbands realize how much our wives do every day for our families—all besides their own communal work.

Rabbi Menachem Lipskier (Melbourne, Australia)

One Comment

  • 1. Andrea Schonberger wrote:

    With my father instead of eggs it was pancakes and oatmeal three times a day LOL! This might not be funny but in his case it was–when he was drafted into the army during World War II he was first assigned to the mess hall cooking for hundreds of soldiers and bragged about the great meals he and the other mess guys cooked and it wasn’t pancakes and oatmeal.

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