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Long-Distance Love

Michal Eisikowitz

Twenty-first-century technology has shrunken the global village, and today it’s easier than ever to stay connected. The experts – Jewish daughters, mothers, and grandmothers – share the many options available.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Communication

It's that time of year again.

Suitcases are stuffed to capacity, gas tanks are filled, and boarding passes are dutifully printed out. Slews of silver and gold minivans prepare for an onslaught of boisterous passengers. Flurries of tearful hugs ensue, along with frazzled shouts of things forgotten or misplaced, and Bubby's persistent protests that travelers must take food for the trip. Thank-you's abound as einiklach are smothered with kisses; Zaidy finds a lump in his throat that won't go away.

It's been a wonderful (though exhausting), nachas-filled two weeks, and the moment of truth has now arrived: Bubby and Zaidy must say goodbye.

Is Bubby relieved that her house has been restored to a livable state? That it no longer resembles the aftermath of torrential Hurricane Shimmi, Aliza, Gershon, and others too numerous to mention? Absolutely.

But beneath the superficial layers of emotions like relief and freedom is the dull ache of longing, of losing the day-to-day love and togetherness that family visits inevitably bring about. Grandchildren grow up quickly, and Bubby won't always be there when this one takes his first step and that one has a solo at her siddur party.

Then how to keep it going? How to maintain the closeness that Yom Tov visits hopefully engender, the familiarity and affection that make us look forward to these occasions all year?

Thankfully, the options are many. Twenty-first-century technology has shrunken the global village and today it's easier than ever to stay connected. This is good news for the Jews; for us, keeping the closeness is often not just a feel-good nicety – it's a way of fulfilling the mitzvah of honoring our parents. 

 

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