t was almost an ache, Kivi thought, this need to share what was inside of him with Wagner. It perturbed him, because he’d never been one of those need-to-talk-everything-out guys, like Berman in his yeshivah dirah who would analyze his relationship with his parents every day during lunch. (“According to my mother, my father really wants me to come home for Pesach, but he never said it to me. Maybe he never said it?” Berman would speculate as he slathered peanut butter on Angel’s bread. “Maybe she’s pretending? But if she wants him to say it, why wouldn’t she tell him that and let him tell me?”)

But this was different. This was a new game, with new rules, and there weren’t too many people he could ask.

He’d made friends in Summit, and they were playing the same game — but they were fully engaged and interested in winning, while he wasn’t sure what he wanted. He thought about the conversation the night before at the little post-Maariv circle.

It was the usual topics of conversation. First, business: crazy that Frankel was 31 and already doing an IPO; if you could pick three people to go into a deal with, who would they be and why; and was it weird to partner with a sheikh, like Brenner had done, he was buying farms in Delaware and developing them with a bunch of Saudis. Takke weird, Sitman ruled on that one.

Then there was some culture: Had the Catskills peaked? Was it over? Bauer was convinced it was done. The Poconos were closer, nicer, and there was land to develop there.

“Who wants to come on a road trip with me?” he’d asked. “It’s stunning out there, we can build colonies, camps, whatever you need. It’s a matter of time. People are done with the traffic in the Catskills. My brother-in-law just told me he hired some fancy photographer to do a photo shoot of his family last summer, his wife dressed them all up, they found some out-of-the-way waterfall, a real nice place. They drive out there, the kids are standing on the rocks and all that, and suddenly, a school bus pulls up and 70 kids come pouring out laughing and pointing. It was a disaster.”

The other men nodded grimly. A disaster.

Karlinsky didn’t agree. “Nah, people want food. They don’t care about nature and that stuff, and they won’t go to a place where they have to grill hot dogs every night.”

“So we’ll build a kosher supermarket, too, no big deal.” Bauer wasn’t backing down.

“Hey, we can do a Summit bungalow colony in the Poconos, that would be cool,” Garfinkel laughed.

Kivi, who was allowed to join these conversations because of the automatic status bestowed upon him by being a Halb, stayed quiet, but he didn’t think Bauer was right. He thought people liked the Catskills, with the traffic and congestion, and they liked the complaining, too. It was what they were used to. Malky had also made it clear that one doesn’t buy a summer home until he owns a real home. A bungalow was way off in the distance. There was plenty of room at her parents’ place. (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 718)