Ask Wendy

Jewish World Review May 16, 2001 / 23 Iyar 5761

The gift was counterfeit; settling for the daughter; the lush and the ostrich

By Wendy Belzberg -- We received a beautiful mezuzah and scroll as a gift. Our sofer (scribe) pointed out that although written on kosher skin, some letters were written backwards, several words were in the incorrect order, and the hecsher on the plastic wrapping was counterfeit. We do not want to offend the gift giver but we feel obligated to alert her and the synagogue that sold it to her that the parchment is not kosher. What do you suggest?

Would you worry about telling someone their tires had been found to have a defect and were being recalled? I suggest you choose your words carefully and remember to express your appreciation. Beyond that, your friend and her synagogue store should be grateful for the information. Someone should be ashamed of him-or herself, and it isn't you.

My daughter was ten years old when I married for the second time. My new husband never wanted to fill the role of stepfather; in fact, he paid very little attention to my daughter. But now that we're divorced (after 17 years of marriage) he calls her frequently and lavishes gifts on her. Recently he bought her a car. What do you make of the alliance and what do you think I should do?

If he can't have you I guess he's decided to settle for your daughter. Metaphorically speaking, that is.

The good news is that you're divorced from him and no longer need to give a second thought to your ex husband's motives. Even if they are rather transparent. Your daughter is another matter. It isn't everyday that someone offers to buy you a new car. On the other hand, this may be your daughter's way of getting back at you while getting what she never got from your ex when he was her father. Without making a federal case of it, ask your daughter what is going through her head. Talk to her about your concerns -- are there strings attached here? -- but don't let the discussion turn into an argument. You are no longer married to this man. Don't let him come in between you and your daughter and, whatever you do, don't let your ex draw you back in. You divorced him for a reason, didn't you?

A close friend of my husband came to dinner with his wife. She proceeded to get falling-down drunk at the table. She literally fell of her chair. Her husband helped her up and dinner proceeded as if nothing had happened. My husband has yet to mention the incident to his friend, claiming he doesn't want to pry. I say he has a moral obligation to raise the matter.

May I remind you that your husband isn't the only one burying his head in the sand in this case? One might have expected his friend to call the next day to apologize, if not to explain. The fact that he did not leads me to believe that this is far from the first time his wife has lost her balance publicly. Which is all the more reason why your husband should be on the phone right now expressing his concern (read shock and disbelief). It may turn out to be the only conversation your husband and his friend have about the matter-it sounds as if they are both experts at denial-but at least your husband will have done his duty.

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05/02/01: 'Jew questions' and falsifying faith; magic marker mayhem; I want kids
04/25/01: Anti-Semites everywhere?; shilling for gifts; my kid is the 'weakest link'
04/05/01: Celebrating when Passover is inconvenient; What's wrong with the name 'Melvyn,'?; Difference dilemma: Husbands and wives and Passover observance levels
03/19/01: 7-4=insensitivity?; baby showers and tempting fate; Splitsville before or after marriage?
03/12/01: Passover party-pooper; slapped by a moral dilemma
02/14/01: Human 'mutts,' getting over it, same-sex kesubas
02/08/01: Bar/bat mitzvah blues, homework he-l, from potty to potty-mouth
01/24/01: Naughty neighbor, unprofessional colleague is dead, I'm a Jew, now what?
01/15/01: Rabbis who won't; when the rules of the 'game' change; ungracious grannies
01/08/01: My kid hates Hebrew school; Stay single or abandon heritage?
01/02/01: A Jewish Grinch? Baby bigots and when grandparents call it quits
12/18/00: Babes in Chanukah Land; my husband the kvetch; bad hair marriage?
12/04/00: My niece is a no-goodnik, when lifecycle events become dangerous, Orthodox v. Reform education
11/28/00: My ex is ruining my kids' souls; the mouth that won't stop
11/21/00: Battling brothers; how to keep a nanny
11/08/00: OY VEY! my son wants to become Orthodox; kiddies should avoid family therapy
11/08/00: Rabbi v. therapist, grandparents bearing gifts, I want my son's teacher for a sister-in-law
10/24/00: Let him enlist?, 'My son the actor'? Eating with the 'help'
10/10/00:Tipsy teens, protective spouses, kosher common-sense
10/03/00: I'm not Jewish --- not that there's anything wrong with it; mezuza machlokes; when granddad has cancer
09/25/00: I can't take Rosh Hashanah! Something for nothing? My husband needs a dinner mate
09/18/00: 'My kids' Jewish education stinks', boyfriend bandit, and single mother not by choice
09/11/00: Bris brouhaha breaks my heart, LET ME SLEEP! --- and Why can't I hold a job?
09/05/00: Righteous anger, 'dissed' daughter --- and how not to make a match
08/21/00: When one spouse becomes more religious than the other; "But the cleaning lady is part of the family!"; Why He invented 9-month gestation periods
08/21/00: 'Fessing up to granny about abandoning one's people, non-kosher sis-in-law, and 'my niece is marrying a loser'
08/14/00: Marrying 'in' for questionable motivations; Should a do-gooder be reimbursed?
08/07/00: Communing with the clouds, betrothal, and banishing bosses
07/28/00: Small-city guys, self-centered siblings
07/21/00: When a child takes religion seriously, marriage obsession, and guests who just don't get it
07/14/00: Divorcing brother-in-law, uncampy kids, and a dot.comer who makes it big time
07/07/00: Hypocrites, reality checks, and the 'real estate challenged'


© 2001, Wendy Belzberg