Tales of a Seasoned Broker 

“But where will we put the couch?  Will the headboard fit over there in that corner?” After showing an untold number of homes to potential  buyers, it never fails to amaze me that a buyer’s perception of where one lives  is not just determined by their singular vision of what “home” should look like, but is rather  perceived  through the lens of their furniture.  If a treasured breakfront must be included in the move, then every dining room we walk into will be viewed with a bias towards where the breakfront will fit. 

I have been privileged to be part of  a unique community where many buyers have specific  religious requirements which greatly impact their decision making process.  

Surely the most popular concern arises as the customer opens  the sliding glass doors to  the deck or patio.  I wait with bated breath to hear the familiar question “but where will we put the Sukkah?”  The imperative that the Sukkah have clear skies above with no tree cover is legendary. 

In deference to our treasured holiday of Chanukah I must share a conversation between my buyer and his  mother in law who expressed concern with respect to another Jewish tradition. “But where will you light the Chanukah candles?” she asks. “The largest window is facing the side of the house and no one will see it?”  

It is considered of paramount importance that the menorah be visible in order to best publicize the miracle of Chanukah. It hasn’t  always been safe for Jews to “publicly” announce their religious observance. Over  the course of  thousands of years  the placement for lighting  candles, during certain periods,  moved further and deeper into the house away from view.  In the past few generations, however,  this began to change. In Israel, the custom to light  the menorah  outside the entrance of one’s home has become prevalent. 

As I drive through Teaneck today,  the sight of Israeli flags and lawn signs pledging support for Israel become more and more abundant.  I suspect  the ideal performance of the mitzvah to light at the entranceway will resonate more strongly this year. 

Flash back, for a moment,  to  the mother in law who commented that the side window  wouldn’t work for Chanukah lighting. The son in law suggested that he would begin lighting outside the front door and “voila”  problem solved! The suggestion was met with deafening silence and after a moment they both moved on to the next room. 

With our new found courage inspiring us to more proudly display our allegiance to both Israel and Am Yisrael,  the only thing standing between us and putting our menorahs outdoors would be a different issue they don’t  face in Israel, namely below freezing temperatures and a forecast of freezing rain.

Special thank you: To my family who generously share their Insights and often remind me of the poignant as well as crazy moments I have experienced over the years. 


Nechama Polak is the Broker of Record and Owner of  V&N Group LLC located at 1401 Palisade Avenue in Teaneck, New Jersey. Send your thoughts and comments to nechamapolak@gmail.com or call 201 826 8809