Sunday, July 3, 2011

Solomon Serves Sumptuous Smells

Way back in the days when kosher food was scarcely available outside the home, I went to the circus. I remember the excitement, the fun, the flying trapeze, the lions and tigers and the elephants, but what is most memorable is the smell of all the non-kosher food. The cotton-candy, the buttered popcorn, the snow-cones and the hot-dogs.

Years later I went with day camp to the Orange County Fair. The smashing car derby, the rides, the animals, the races - all remain seared in my memory. But perhaps the most powerful memory that lingers is the smell of the shish-ke-bob as it barbecued on the grill.

Fast forward to this past week, and those aromas were once again filling my nostrils. I had taken the opportunity of the mini-vacation that avails itself during when school ends and camp begins. Central Park was the destination, and those olfactory senses were reawakened as I passed the Victorian Gardens amusement park, which doubles as the Wollman Skating Rink during the winter.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the entire park had been rented out by some Chai Lifeline philanthropists to mark the Yahrtzeit of one of their donors, Shlomo (Solomon) Obstfeld ZTL.

Instead of tragically marking the year since his passing in a doleful way, the family and business of Shlomo paid for the entire park to be reserved for families of sick children. All the rides were free, snow cones were distributed, cotton candy was available, an entire array of barbecued food was provided, a Dee-Jay played all the current Jewish tunes, drinks flowed freely, popcorn popped, street vendor salted pretzels were available with all the amenities and hundreds of children forgot for a day that they were sick.

As I viewed this spectacle from a distance, I couldn't help but think Mi KiAmcha Yisrael! - How great are the People of Israel!


  1. It's a new generation. We grew up where all candy was traif, now all candy is kosher and the water is treif! I enjoyed thinking about those beautiful childhood memories of my parents taking me to the circus.

  2. This is an exception that proves the rule, to wit that for the most part kosher travel is still cumbersome for kashrus observers especially for those who trust only heimisha Hasgokhos whereas
    די גויים לעבען א חזירישע'ן טאג

    Will have our real tasty aromatic circus in the next world...not in this one

  3. and hundreds of children forgot for a day that they were sick.

    While given the current state of affairs it was indeed a massive and innovative khesed at the risk of being a party pooper I'd like to pose the following question: Why are we always looking for ever more elaborate and materialistic surrogates for the true sweetness of life? What happened to the Jewish yearning of v'haarev nuh, through Torah Study?

    Are we sending subliminal messages to a new generation of young Jews that $30 a lb filet mignon and $75 a bottle cabernets, the coolest music and the newest e-gadgets are where it's at while Limud HaTorah is dull onerous and boring kholila????

  4. Good question, although you might want to ask the question regarding adults and Chinese Auctions. I would venture to say that these children are probably not capable of the intense type of learning that brings Geshmack. And probably half of them innately are not required to learn due to their gender.


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