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e breaking for the summer?” Sitman asked it casually, and Kivi realized he’d been wondering the same thing.

“Yeah, probably,” Bauer said, sitting back on the gray velvet restaurant couch. “Everyone is all over the place for the next few weeks.”

“Ha.” Garfinkel flushed, proud of the joke he was about to say. “I davka think we need nights out much more during the summer. Too much family time causes stress, you know? Work, I can handle, but the trips, the Waze and long lines for tickets and stamps on my hand, that’s too much. Give me a good meal with friends then, I’m in. No kids, no sunscreen, no traffic.”

He wasn’t a natural joker, though, and it had taken him too long to make his point. The others smiled politely.

“Kivi, any vacation plans?”

“Actually”—Kivi hated himself for the way he’d jumped in, like an overeager know-it-all whom the rebbi finally called on—“we just booked tickets to Eretz Yisrael, we’re going to do my son’s upsheren in Meron.”

“Nice,” Sitman said, “can’t go wrong with Israel. We’re doing Cabos, in Mexico. There’s Chabad there, should be cool.” He winked and put on a fake radio announcer voice. “And by the way, I did it with no points, no promotions, and no free nights from Kars for Kids. Just money.”

This joke went over better. Bauer reached out and fist-bumped him from across the table.

“I have no koichois for vacation,” Bauer said. “It’s such a hassle. I convinced a few of my wife’s siblings to take a house with us in Florida, a huge place, private pool and all that, so this way, the kids are out of my hair. It’s much easier. My wife is happier too, she has her siblings. Now that’s a real vacation.”

Kivi knew that the family-is-such-a-hassle talk wasn’t real, that each of them around the table, in his own way, enjoyed spending time with his wife and children.

He took a deep breath. “Maybe I’m still the most Israeli here,” he said. “We just moved back five months ago. But I gotta say that it’s so special how they approach bein hazmanim. You see avreichim who struggle to make Shabbos every week somehow managing to go away with their families on these trips. Some of them just switch dirahs, you know — you take mine in Kiryat Sefer, I’ll take yours in Bnei Brak. That’s the whole adventure. I would watch them and think how amazing it is.”

It was quiet for a moment. “Maskim,” Karlinsky ruled, “for sure. It’s takeh beautiful. They do it like any other mitzvah.”

Kivi felt proud, then, like he’d accomplished something small.

He hoped the conversation would turn to business. He was under contract for a second property and was excited to talk about it — he’d figured out the financing himself, and had gone to see the property with Leizer.

Leizer — busy, busy Leizer — had agreed to take on the project, and said he could have it ready for fall, a similar layout to 66 Norton, but a bit bigger.

Kivi was excited to advertise it: From the people who brought you 66 Norton, a fresh new concept in office space.

He’d called Tatty to ask for the down payment, proud to say he’d figured out how to pay the mortgage using rent.

“You’re getting good at this,” Tatty had laughed, “it’s impressive, it hasn’t even been six months. I’ll tell Aryeh to wire over the money.” (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 730)