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Yardsticks: Chapter 2

Esty Heller

“They’re not being fair. I work for Yocheved, I can’t do anything that will hurt her business”

Wednesday, June 12, 2019


ubinstein was hocking when I brought a tray of rugelach into the living room. “And we haven’t even gotten to the vort, which costs, what, five, ten thousand?”

Schwartz thumbed the air, cackling. “That’s the whole chochmah. It’s only when they realize how much they’ve spent on the vort that they rethink their spending on the wedding. We shouldn’t touch the vort.”

Hersko nodded and gestured to his paper. “Yeah, we’ve got enough to handle here. The Anchorage plan doesn’t include vorts.”

Rubinstein pounded on the table. “We’re not Anchorage and just the opposite. If we show them they can have a vort at home for $500, they’ll be hooked. And it’s possible. How much do a few fruit platters and paper goods cost?

And a photographer and flowers and hair stylists and makeup artists and clothing for the entire family? But I kept my thoughts to myself and slipped out of the room. Who was I to question this holy wedding takanos plan?

When I returned with seltzer and cups, Hersko was addressing the crowd.

“But what about all the other stuff?”

Rubinstein looked miffed. “Huh?”

“You know, the stuff we’re not selling at the Wedding Center. Like invitations and, I don’t know, hostess packages. Are these included in the 40K budget?”

If I needed another reason to get Shevy engaged, it was this Wedding Center. Forget takanos, it would be nice to get a new linen set for my guest room at wholesale price. But hey, my husband was on the committee. Maybe I could get protektziya to shop there.

Hersko was nodding his head vigorously. “Included. Definitely.”

“And clothing?” asked Schwartz. “And hello — gowns.”

Every pair of eyes turned to look at Shlomo.

I slunk out of the living room.

After the meeting, Shlomo joined me in the kitchen. “How much does Yocheved charge for a gown?”

“Too much.”

“Tell me.”

“About 70% more than you’d imagine. It’s highway robbery, her prices.”

Shlomo frowned. “The guys expect me to handle this one. My wife’s in gowns, you know, I should be familiar with the industry.”

“Your wife’s sister is in gowns. I only work for her.”

“Whatever, you know what I mean.”

I lowered the flame under the soup. “They’re not being fair. I work for Yocheved, I can’t do anything that will hurt her business.”

“I’m only asking if you have ideas. We’re being extra careful that kallahs shouldn’t feel deprived with this plan, it shouldn’t become a stigma thing. You wouldn’t believe the pressure people are under to marry off on a high standard when they really can’t afford it.”

I wouldn’t believe? I saw it every day. But then I remembered the Glucks. And the Segals. And the Feuersteins. “Not all people shoot above their range. Some people really can afford this lifestyle.”

(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 646)

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