From The Other Side Of The Bench

By David J. Seidemann, Esq.

This summer, people were just not where they should have been, could have been, or wanted to be. It seemed to be a hectic, helter-skelter summer, where people just ended up in surprising places.

My children not only went to new camps, different from previous years, but two went to one camp, a third to another camp, and my fourth to yet another camp. This necessitated numerous visiting-day excursions, creating havoc for a man like me who can get lost driving to Woodmere.

With all of the encampments (I believe in excess of 40) that the Children of Israel went to in the desert, I don’t recall any “visiting days.” Someone really is going to have to muster up the courage to enact legislation abolishing visiting day. I love my children, but if they can’t survive four weeks without me handing them money, there is a problem.

Confusion also reigned on my social calendar. As of May 20, I counted no fewer than ten weddings my wife and I assumed or were informed that we would be invited to. Well in advance of the wedding dates, we were told by at least one of the celebrants that they look forward to seeing us at their child’s wedding.

Call me crazy, but I have a custom of not attending weddings which I am not invited to or which do not take place. By June 12, we received word that three of the weddings we were invited to had been canceled. Better before than after.

My calendar still showed seven weddings on the schedule, and invitations for five of them had arrived. Two down and three to go in that category.

That leaves two weddings unaccounted for. My neighbors all received an invite to a particular wedding, but our family did not. I admit to being a bit surprised, as we were invited to the weddings of their other children. I thought perhaps it got lost in the mail or, worse, maybe I had done something to upset the celebrants since the last wedding they made. Nothing came to mind, but I assumed the best.

My children were quick to point out that perhaps Mommy and I were just not as popular amongst the crowd as we thought we were. Making matters a bit more uncomfortable were all the calls I received asking me for a ride to the wedding.

About two weeks ago, I returned from work and in the mail found the invitation. Well, almost.

The envelope with all of its fancy calligraphy was there, and with great anticipation we turned the envelope over to open it. To my chagrin, the envelope was empty. No invitation, no return card, not even a little insert with driving instructions. I figured a compromise had been arrived at where one side wanted to invite me and the other side did not. The middle ground was to send me an envelope without an invitation.

A few days later, a hand-delivered invitation arrived with deep apologies for its not having been included with the envelope. In a few weeks, I will be where I am supposed to be.

The other invitation I thought I would receive but never did was a bit more perplexing. I know both sides well, all of our mutual friends were invited, and I could not think of anything I did to offend either side. Once again my children were there to point out that perhaps it wasn’t an oversight and maybe Mommy and I just don’t have the cadre of friends we thought we had. (It’s time for them to go back to camp.)

That situation also had a happy ending, as the other day I received a phone call from the bride’s father, full of apologies. As I am close to both parties, each one thought the other side was inviting me. I choose to believe him. My kids aren’t so sure. In a few hours, I will attend that wedding, and tomorrow morning I will pile the family into the minivan and drive to Baltimore for my niece’s wedding. You will find me where I am supposed to be. My presence there will not raise any eyebrows. I will fit in.

Last Tuesday, however, while I fit in with the crowd of lawyers, judges, and litigants in the courtroom, there were a host of others that seemingly did not fit in, whose presence raised of lot of eyebrows, because of their sidecurls. They were where they were supposed to be but not where you would have ever expected them to be.

The divorce case had dragged on for years, as my client patiently awaited the day when the craziness would end and she would receive her get. Without going into any details, the husband finally agreed to give his wife her get on a condition that could only be fulfilled in a courthouse.

The judge was incredibly accommodating, as was the court staff, and they watched something they had never witnessed before. There, before their very eyes, the scribe, a world-renowned rav, and two witnesses he brought with him officiated at the writing and delivery of a get to a woman who had waited in pain for almost four years for a day she thought would never come.

It was a confusing summer, a summer where we were all over the place. A summer that will conclude with weddings for some and the ability of one young woman to finally entertain and have the ability to remarry should she so desire. v

David Seidemann is a partner with the law firm of Seidemann and Mermelstein and serves as a professor of business law at Touro College. He can be reached at 718-692-1013 or


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