Tales of a Seasoned Broker

In 1990 my family spent Pesach at a hotel on the banks of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) and ever since, with only one exception, we continued year after year making our Pesach Seder at the same hotel. My mother in law, may she live and be well, turned 100 a few months ago and we felt a trip to Northern Israel would not be in her best interest.. In consultation with our children, the family decided we would make our own Pesach program and bring everyone to Teaneck for the holiday. All good things must come to an end, right?  I have never done this before and as with all great undertakings, this will require much preparation and planning to ensure success (I am not including the covid pandemic years when we were all forced to Seder in Place, as no one had guests and preparations were at a bare minimum)!

And so the Pesach transformation begins! But this is not a column focused on cooking so I won’t share with you my grandmother’s recipe for Charoset, nor are we in the weekly Torah portion section so I won’t be sharing the proper amounts of matzah one must eat.  In this column we are primarily concerned with real estate and it’s the “transformation” of our homes for the Passover holiday that we will focus on. 

All year long we abide by certain norms and standards. A dining room is a dining room and an office is an office. But not necessarily on Pesach. No other holiday, I believe, has the ability to change the way we view our homes as do these 7 (8) days. On Pesach the dining room is the staging area, the living room is the dining room and the office is a first floor guest bedroom for the guest of honor. Let me explain.

 The home I live in is a classic Teaneck colonial built some time in the 40’s.  The living room is  much larger and better fit for our family to host the Seder than the dining room.  After speaking to the “hotel operator” we  upgraded our private seder from the dining room to the much grander, more spacious living room with one caveat.  Management promised that the room itself would be updated. Why I thought this would be a good time to refinish my hardwood floors and paint the walls is beyond me. However, aside from the beautiful facelift, I have learned a valuable lesson about the versatility of my home and homes in general.  

How many times have I seen buyers prematurely dismiss a house because the “public” rooms were not large enough and though their  children were mere toddlers it was unclear where the future “L’Chaim” would be held (put up a tent!). The location of a home cannot be changed but with some imagination solutions for interior space can be modified.  We think we found the “transformation” that will work for our family and while we’re still a few weeks away from the opening of the Polak Pesach Program we’re confident that  our home will be used to its maximum potential.