Sue Spitulnik

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts



Planning Ahead

The sale of life insurance in the U.S. began in the late 1760s. On May 2, 1759, the charter was recorded for the Corporation for Relief of Poor and Distressed Widows and Children of Presbyterian Ministers. Episcopalian priests created a comparable relief fund in 1769. Between 1787 and 1837 more than two dozen life insurance companies were started, but fewer than half a dozen survived.

Life insurance can do some pretty amazing things for people. It can buy loved ones time to grieve. It can pay off debts and loans, providing surviving family members with the chance to move on with a clean slate. It can keep families in their homes and pre-fund a child’s college education. It can keep a family business in the family. It can provide a stream of income for a family to live on for a period of time. [courtesy National Day of Calendar]

I am in that age group where my friends are starting to lose their spouses, and some are just dealing with losing their parents. Life insurance is mentioned often with the main question being, “Do you have any?” Too often, I hear, “Well, we bought some years ago, but couldn’t continue to keep paying for it.” From my friends that are already widows and widowers who didn’t have an active life insurance policy, let me tell you, that is the wrong answer.

The younger you are when you take out life insurance, not expensive term life, but whole life, the less your payments will be. I suggest you look at that payment as important as the electric bill. In the future, you will be glad you did. Even a small insurance policy is better than none. With funerals now costing over $5000.00 in the U. S. just that bill could be enough to stagger the finances and cause a person to stumble into the “new normal”.

My friends who have become single because of a death who have been able to stay in their homes without financial worries are happier than those who found themselves suddenly in an apartment. Of course I realize age and health of the surviving spouse (or children) also plays a role in where they live.

Please be kind to yourself and plan ahead for financial freedom for your surviving family members by buying life insurance early.




Not an Ordained Rabbi

Temple Beth-El in Hornell, NY, had a celebration to recognize its inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places on Sunday, October 9, 2016.  The building itself  is not impressive to look at.  It is “Minimal Tradition” in style, and small compared to what the mind thinks of when it hears the word temple, or synagogue.  As we learned in the dedication yesterday, it’s not what the building looks like, it’s the people who make its heart beat that are important.

There were thirteen of my husband’s family there  because their grandfather was instrumental in making the congregation a thriving entity back in the ’40s when there was a large contingency of Jewish people living in Hornell.  Today, that is not the case.  The Temple is only open for the fall High Days, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

Since the year 2000, the services have been led by a teacher from a Jewish school in Washington, D.C.  We call him our visiting Rabbi, but he will tell you, “I’m not ordained.”  We still call him Rabbi out of respect and love.  My husband and I had the privilege of having him stay in our home Saturday night and taking him to the event on Sunday.  We do not keep a kosher home and I was concerned about what to feed him.  Somewhere in the conversation we remembered from sharing other meals with him, that he doesn’t eat meat, and he loves fruit.  I relaxed a little.

The  question in our modern world of travel is always, will the plane be on time.  He was supposed to arrive at 11:30pm Saturday evening.  Well, that turned into 3:00am Sunday morning.  When we got back to the house, Paul had a meal of fresh fruit, cheese, hard-boiled eggs, peanuts and three peanut butter cookies.  He did join us for a cheese omelet late Sunday morning.

The celebration was a HUGE success.  The Temple was full to almost overflowing.  A sight to behold when you know what it looks like on a high day.  A few people did a lot of work to make the registration happen.  We are proud to be a part of the heart beat.  So what’s the point of all this?  Our cousin took our “Rabbi” back to D.C after the service. Before they left, he whispered to me, “What do I feed him?  Can I stop at a restaurant?”  I laughed, relieved to know I wasn’t the only one with that question.  I had packed them a bag with fruit, hard-boiled eggs, and cookies, but I meant it as a snack.  I’ll have to find out if they stopped someplace.

We appreciate that Paul leads our services every fall.  You ought to hear how fast he can speak Hebrew!  [Note; he looks nothing like the above picture and doesn’t wear a collar.]


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