Real Music & Real Estate . . .

Yiddishe Cup’s bandleader, Bert Stratton, is Klezmer Guy.

He knows about the band biz and – check this out – the real estate biz, too.

You may not care about the real estate biz. Hey, you may not care about the band biz. (See you.)

This is a blog with a gamy twist. It features tenants with snakes and skunks, and musicians with smoked fish in their pockets.

Stratton has written op-eds for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.



My 32nd wedding anniversary was no milestone.

But it was, sort of, because I got my wife, Alice, to go to synagogue — a major accomplishment.  I used the come-on of a free bottle of wine.

My temple passes out Israeli wine to all the anniversary couples.  For example, every married couple with an October anniversary gets a bottle of vino on the first shabbat in October.   Alice and I took our places on the bima (altar), next to eight other couples, while the congregation sang and clapped along to “Simon Tov,” a song of congratulations.  Thirty-two years of marriage was worth something — a bottle of wine.   The “winning couple,” as the rabbi put it, was celebrating 55 years of marriage.

It was like a Reverend Moon ceremony. The congregants read aloud: “These couples have come to the synagogue to give thanks for the institution of marriage and for their mutual love and devotion.”

No preening bat mitzvah girls on the bima. No nervous bar mitzvah boys.  Just married couples:  old guys with gray ponytails, younger guys in bankers’ suits.

The Bible reading that week was from the Creation Story. The rabbi mentioned that ever since Adam and Eve fouled up, we are all going to die, which makes life interesting. Because if we lived forever, we wouldn’t do anything.  For instance, “Why diet if you can put it off for 500 years?” the rabbi said.  “Things get more interesting when there are time constraints.”

What did Adam and Eve do when they became empty-nesters?   They had no peers.  Who did they hang out with?

After temple, Alice and I walked to everywhere we have lived together.  Luckily, “everywhere” was within 2 1/2 miles of the synagogue.

We went to the Oak Road duplex we had rented as newlyweds.  The owner of the duplex wouldn’t let us in.

Bert and Alice. (Polaroid by Herb Ascherman Jr.)

We went to our starter house, where our three kids were born.  We got in. The bungalow looked better than when we had lived there. The kitchen had been gutted and remodeled.

We went home –- to our present house, where we bounce off the walls nightly, waiting for grandchildren to appear.

One in four divorces is by 50-and-overs.  About half my friends are divorced and/or remarried. I look for reinforcements for long-term marriage wherever I can.  I need an ally.

I found one.  No, two:  the synagogue and a bottle of wine.

This happened in 2010.  Been back for more wine since.

I wrote a quasi-review (more of a rant) about Harvey Pekar’s latest — and probably last — comic book.   The review is at today’s

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1 Irwin Weinberger { 10.17.12 at 9:18 am }

Mazel Tov Bert! You and Alice are a fantastic couple and I applaud you both, for the family you created and the love you share with each other. Lechayim-To Life!!

2 Mark Schilling { 10.17.12 at 10:19 am }

I was the best man at that shindig — and still have the t-shirt to prove it. How in the heck did we ever get from then to today? Mazel Tov and Omedeto!

3 Bert Stratton { 10.17.12 at 10:37 am }

To Mark Schilling:

What T-shirt?

4 Kenny G { 10.17.12 at 11:47 am }

Yes, when I see Alice there I think: “Anniversary.” They can’t be expected to do much for the event on the tennis court.

5 Bert Stratton { 10.17.12 at 12:32 pm }

To Kenny G:

I didn’t follow your comment: “They can’t be expected to do much for the event on the tennis court.”

Guess: Can’t expect much celebration of marriage on the tennis-court battlefield?

I do beat my wife regularly (at tennis).

6 Marc { 10.17.12 at 4:47 pm }

Mazel Tov. My wife and I hit 38 years in September.
You should come to my shul. We serve whisky every Saturday Shabbos kiddush.

7 Garry Kanter { 10.18.12 at 12:11 am }

[Re: Pekar book review]

Believe me, I’m no student of world history.

Did we have a success with the creation of the nation-state of Israel, and then not know how to respond to such a thing? We [the Jews] only knew how to be oppressed, and weren’t prepared for something else?

I don’t mean to offend anyone with these questions. I’m quite illiterate in this subject matter. Thanks for understanding.

8 Mark Schilling { 10.18.12 at 9:36 am }

Bert, The tee says “Mark Best Man” on the front and “A&B’s wedding Oct 22, 78′ on the back. How soon you forget!

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