The heartwarming house sale

Home alone

For Mama, everything changed dramatically [following Papa’s death]. Where would she live? What would she do with the rest of her life? Whom would she do it with? Clearly, she still had to sell her too large house, but then– what?

-Me, ‘When the rabbi’s wife died’, Nov. 27th, 2020

Following my Papa’s death ~2.5 years ago, Mama went through a long process of selling the house. She put it on the market; took it off the market; put it on; took it off… Finally, as of this week, the house has acquired new ownership.

Now, this would have been a relief under any circumstances for all of us. The house, after twenty-one years, had to go. It was entirely too big for one woman, and nearly every corner of it reminded her of Papa. From my perspective, it had become for her an enormous prison cell. The phrase that would constantly come to my mind was: Mom is rattling around inside that big house all by herself.

I remember Babushka (my mother’s mother) also worrying regularly about this after my Papa died. How can she live alone in that huge house? She would say. She simply cannot stay there by herself. Poor Svetachka. She tells me she’s okay… but I know my daughters.

Anyway, we all knew the house had to be sold, and we were all worried for Mama.

The lovely, lovely family

The new owners are a family of church-going, Zionistic Christians, originally from India, and they have simply exuded kindness towards Mama.

In one of their exchanges, they wrote to her the following [edited for grammar]:

… Yes, definitely, your beautiful home will be in good hands… [We’re from] a Christian home with values and ethics… from India… Almost everyone… [has] visited Israel from [our] family… so we do have tons of respect for Jewish families; and we are so glad that we are buying from you…

For Mama, who had found herself and her family free from the USSR in the mid-70’s to begin life anew in their Jewish State of Israel, this was profoundly moving. She mentioned that she would love to some day give this delightful Indian Christian family a personal tour of Jerusalem, where I live now.


Whenever you miss your home, please stop by. [We] completely understand it’s very emotional; plus you stayed for 21 years, so you are part of the house.

All of this was obviously far above and beyond what one might expect from the people who purchase one’s house, but what made us cry was the following: The new owners purchased Papa’s book and vowed to keep it forever in his office where he had written it.

Wow, right?

Moving [on]

Mama is now living in a lovely apartment in Princeton, NJ, which both of my parents had always loved visiting for its museums, theaters, parks, etc.

Of course, unpacking all of the many boxes is a tremendous project for her, but things are gradually coming together, and she seems to me genuinely happy in her new space.

When we ordered a bouquet of flowers for her, we did so, in part, as a gesture of support to help her through a challenging transitionary period, but it actually seems that she’s doing quite well, thank goodness!

From my perspective as a son, the sale of my younger brother’s childhood home could not possibly have gone any better. My mother and father had lived in that house for longer than they had ever lived anywhere else, but the time had definitely come to move on…

And my Mama is doing well, which was my only real concern.

P.S. America, or: Jerusalem

I wrote a poem shortly after completing this post. Click here to read it.

56 thoughts on “The heartwarming house sale”

  1. You, my dear son, my own King David, you make me one proud Mama. תודה רבה Love you very much!

  2. Hi David, it’s desparately sad when one partner suddenly finds themselves on their own after many years. I volunteer for a UK charity called Age UK (you can guess…) and I see it all the time.

    1. Pete,

      Yes, for sure‼️ But my Mama isn’t so old at all; she’s not even 65 – she has many years ahead of her. I think that’s partially why it’s so scary – what will she do with the rest of her life?


        1. My Mom is a very private individual – blogging like this would not be in her comfort zone. She used to write journals when she was a girl, but I don’t think she does that nowadays (as far as I know).


          1. Mine started off private, it was a journal of progress. But none of is was confidential… just would not have been interesting to anybody else. It is possible to post privately, though of course the fun of this is the community aspect.
            I saw a post this morning where somebody was talking about Hanukah still – it must be close to the finish by now so I hope it has been enjoyable.

          2. I don’t think my Mom or brother would ever start blogging, but who knows? 🙂

            Last night was the last night of Chanukah (spelling not important), which makes today (until sunset) the final day.

            I may yet write something about it next week, but I’m not sure yet 🙂

            Shabbat Shalom (which is the traditional Jewish greeting on Fridays and Saturdays) to you!


          3. Shabbat Shalom to you too. I type slowly because I do not want to misspell 🙂. Yes I have seen different people spell Chanukah differently, I assume both forms are common.

  3. It was really touching. In fact, I used to get emotional while leaving even a rented house. All the best wishes to your Mama!🙏

  4. Wow, a real mansion, -from my perspective. Where is the home Mama once shared with Papa and the two boys? It looks like a tiny school for little ones. I can imagine the to and fro before finding the right owners since it will be forever out of her hands and will for her sons. I can’t even imagine how she managed to live on such a massive property all by herself, all these years. But never undermine the warrior heart of a woman.🌹🌹
    Alls well that ends well, such a good feeling to hear that the elderly is well settled. 🕊🕊🕊🕊for real, the comfort, care and well-being of the elderly many parts of this one world we live in, certain frequencies take so lightly it is absolutely heartbreaking.

    1. Abi,

      I’m nearly 20 years older than my brother – so actually I didn’t grow up in this house – only my brother did 🙂

      And -yes- my mother alone in this house for two and a half years was… well, you can imagine.

      Thank you,

      1. Oh….so you have a baby baby brother?…..ń laat lammetjie?……that’s a huge age difference. I think i can well imagine although the house is so large i could never step into your mom’s shoes.

          1. Oh he is really a baby still….gosh at that age i was making plans to skip my country. I hope life is gentle with him. Sometimes you are 21 years old but actually 38 years old already by the events and happenings you need to handle at a young age. Yes, its true, age is just a number.

          2. Yes. It’s interesting – we didn’t grow up together at all because of the huge age difference, but we really are opposite sides of the same coin in some ways.

          3. Well parents are multi-faceted human beings, each one of us carry their stuff they made of differently on our DNA, living it out in our special ways. Same thread woven uniquely through us, with distinctively set apart features, tones and textures…..,what magic and wonder.

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