Monday, May 20, 2019

We know it is Israeli and we know it is amazing. Who doesn’t drive with Waze these days? Every time we look at that map on our phone as we are driving we shep nachat from where the system came from, and we now consider Susan (our chosen voice) a good family friend. However, she recently let us down for the second time. The first time we definitely forgave her. We were driving in Newport, Rhode Island, when we realized that if we made the left turn that “Susan” was suggesting we would soon be swimming in Narragansett Bay. That trip was several years ago and we gave her the benefit of the doubt.

Our experience this past Sunday once again brought to mind that we have given up the ability to think and research things for ourselves. On our way to an address in Fort Lee we put all of our trust in her to get us there ASAP. Guess what? The address or the location was nowhere to be found. Waze, how can you let us down like this? It must be our fault. So we circled around and started from square one. Again, we can’t find it, although Susan sent us to exactly the same place. Lesson slightly learned.

We use Waze frequently to inform us where there are traffic tie-ups. In the beginning after our move, we literally needed it to get anywhere in this neighborhood or surroundings.

Nina remembers how her father, who drove throughout the North and Southeast for business, prepared his route and his maps before leaving on a trip, and there on the front window of his car, similar to the spot where many of us have our E-ZPass, was his trusted compass attached to the window. He followed the direction in which he was going intensely. We are not sure if kids today would even know what a compass looks like. The world of technology has taken over so much of our lives that there are many things that are no longer learned. Everything that we do is with the intent of receiving instant gratification.

Who would think, these days, of looking something up in the Encyclopedia? Roget’s Thesaurus, what’s that? Often we see postings on TeaneckShuls of people giving away entire sets of books that used to be the norm to use for research. One search on Google, and everything we need to know is right in front of us. Wikipedia is the new Britannica, and brains no longer have to struggle over getting information. It would be interesting to see how many families considering a road trip would give their children the opportunity to plan the route for the trip. Yes, they would have to use maps, but then again, they probably would not even need the actual physical copy. The computer will tell it all to anyone. Are these new, or relatively newer, innovations helping us use proper investigative skills to learn and teach? iPads, iPods and various devices have taken over the job of teaching young children. Mom and Dad do not even have to sit with them. Just hand the child the device and off goes the parent to use their cell phone to text, tweet, FaceTime (for the older crowd), Instagram or whatever else they desire to do. We are not only hands-free while riding a bike, we are hands-free while talking on the phone, when driving, if we have a Tesla, and unfortunately, we are becoming hands-free in raising our children.

People laugh at the good old days. We remember them fondly. Were they really so bad? Every day many families sat down together for breakfast. Having supper together was commonplace and parents knew what was going on in their children’s lives because they were able to discuss daily activities with them. Today the idea is to catch up on Shabbat, but half of our children are off to a friend’s house or we have families visiting, giving us less of an opportunity to hear what is actually going in their lives. Recently, at a YU-sponsored conference for rabbis’ wives that took place at Keter Torah, Rabbi Yakov Horowitz spoke about the decision that he and his wife had made about no longer inviting Shabbat company. They felt as though they did not have the time to concentrate on their children when entertaining others. What we really wonder is what the future holds for all of us. We need to take control of our own lives and bring back some of the simplicity of the past.

By Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick

Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick are living in Bergenfield after many years of service to the Montreal Jewish community. Rabbi Glick was the rav of Congregation Ahavat Yisroel as well as a practicing clinical psychologist in private practice. He also taught at Champlain Regional College. The Glicks were frequent speakers at the OU marriage retreats. Nina coordinated all Yachad activities in Montreal and was a co/founder of Maison Shalom, a group home for young adults with special needs. They can be reached at [email protected]