The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Wamu, My Grandparents, Doctor Shimkin and My Father

1. Every Elul, I take my mom to the cemetery to visit the graves of her parents. The ritual of visiting my grandparents is kind of a "Groundhog Day" type of affair. My mom says almost the exact same things from year to year. We start at my grandparents' graves and move down the line where her three aunts, some uncles and some cousins are buried. I take comfort from the sameness of it every year.

2. On our way to the cemetery, I was listening to Bloomberg radio, trying to find out what was going on with the rescue plan. On came a commercial for WAMU, the bank that was seized by the regulators on Thursday and whose deposits and branches were sold to JP Morgan. You can't make this up.

3. As Providence would have it, buried one grave away from my grandmother are Doctor Harry Shimkin and his wife. (What the connection is is a mystery).

Dr. Shimkin crossed my path while I was in junior high school and high school at HILI. He was a retired dentist in his late 60s who, somehow, ended up as, for lack of a better description, chief operating officer and disciplinarian. He was uniquely unsuited for the second part of this job. He had never had kids of his own, and certainly had no idea how to deal with teenagers growing up in the
1960's and 70's. Our job, of course, was to torture him to the greatest extent possible, a job that we both relished and excelled at.

Part of me also felt bad for him, especially after the fact. At the end of the day, he meant well and worked very hard for the school.

So, each year, I suppose as a tikun for my actions, I stop by, place a rock on his grave, say some tehillim for him and his wife, and say a Kail Maleh. (He left no children so it is not clear that anyone else ever visits him). I hope he is resting in peace and that he is free from the kind of aggravation he got from us.

4. This year, we also went to visit my father, who is at a different cemetery not far away. Having davened at the 6:30 selichos minyan, and started out for the cemetery very early in the morning, we got to the second cemetery around 8:50 a.m. and were able to drive right up to my father's grave. All I could think of was how proud my father must be that I was able to visit two different cemeteries, be done by 9, and avoid any traffic at all. Yiddishe Nachas!

At this time of the year, I always remember my father's davening for the amud. His niggunim are nusach are inside of me and I will never forget them no matter how long I live.

In addition to watching over his family during these awesome days approaching the Yomim Noraim, my dad in Shamayim will undoubtedly have a keen interest in what happens this afternoon to his "farshtoonkiner Mets".

5. My best wishes for a gut g'benched year to all you silly people who read this nonsense. A sweet year full of health, happiness, Torah, and parnasah. I apologize to, and ask mechilah from, those who I have offended over the course of the year, in particular, a chashuvah Jew from Beitar whom I still owe some answers (and hope to respond to after the financial crisis calms down a little).

Chasivah V'chasimah Tova to all.



  • At 4:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The "Chashuva Jew" does not mind waiting until the financial crisis is over to get answers... Especially because it looks like in the meanwhile the financial crisis will keep certain bloggers too busy to cause much trouble...
    Kesiva VaChasima Tova

  • At 4:43 PM, Blogger MoChassid said…


  • At 10:09 PM, Blogger uberimma said…

    And the same to you. I also wish you a year in which you are zoche to make TT, whom I still think should graduate to being called TLG, a permanent part of the MOC household.

  • At 10:47 PM, Blogger Eliyahu said…

    a sweet year to you, as well. all the best to you and your family.

  • At 9:09 AM, Blogger MoChassid said…


  • At 11:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I work(ed) for WaMu and told my wife erev shabbos how I thought it was strange that they didn't pull the ads right away.


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