Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

8 Kislev 5760 - November 17, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Home and Family
Home and Hearth
by Rivka Tal

"Home is the place where one can find some of the greatest satisfactions in life. It is the place where we eat and sleep, work and play, struggle with the problems of the present and plan with hope for the future. Truly, it is the very foundation of our existence.

"The satisfactions of successful and pleasant home living are based on many things: the physical comfort of soft beds, good meals and warm rooms... an attractive dinner table... and the joy of agreeable companionship with family and friends. This idea of home life is within reach of all who are willing to work at the all-important job of homemaking. In our... way of life, it is possible for everyone who strives intelligently and persistently to attain this idea. A home should be more than a place to hang your hat, it is a place to live!

"What study could be more important than that of learning how to make a good home? Wherever you live and whatever you do with your life, homemaking is always your job, and the better you do it, the happier you will be. Your home may be a tiny cottage in the mountains, a big house by the seashore, a one- room apartment in a hotel or a penthouse atop a skyscraper, but the kind of life within it will depend on the people who live there. It is they who create that intangible quality called `the atmosphere of the home.'

"You will want to establish the kind of home that pays the biggest dividends in happy living. This will require work and study but surely is no less worthwile than other kinds of training. If we study to learn how to earn a living, should we not also study to learn how to live? Many thoughtful people feel that the study of homemaking is the finest and most important kind of education in the world."

With a few important additions into pertinent passages, like mentioning the name of Hashem, strengthening Torah learning and values etc., doesn't this sound like a sales pitch for the role of the Jewish homemaker? But, no. This is not take from Hannah's Heimish Homemaking Hints. Instead, it is from the introduction to a seventh grade Home Economics (cooking) Class text book, widely used through the U.S. in the 'fifties. It answers the question, "Why study foods and homemaking?"

Back then, when girls `took' cooking and sewing and boys learned `shop' (and no one questioned it), these roles were recognized as the American ideal.

Today, when statistics reveal that almost one third of all American meals are eaten at fast food `joints' or restaurants, the Jewish homemaker, preparing and servings meals, day-in and day-out, Shabbos and yom tov, too, stands out. And the above excerpt, published only fifty years ago, is an unfortunate commentary on modern society.


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