Terrible side effects of the bungalow colony movement

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    I know this topic was briefly discussed in the “Walmart” column, but I deem it serious enough to dedicate a forum entirely to this issue. Forty or fifty years ago when the bungalow “movement” was just beginning, there were few options for how to entertain our kids in the summer months while school was out. Sleepaway camps were not as abundant as they are today. Day camps, likewise, were not so popular. Parents wanted to give there children a nice place to frolick and play, let off some energy. it was nice to get away from the hot city streets. Baruch Hashem today, we have many camps and day camps to keep our kids busy. And yes, it is nice for parents to spend several weeks in an open air environment where it is easier to appreciate Hashem’s beautiful world. The problem is that most husbands have jobs in the city that they cannot just abandon. They spend the whole week in the city by themselves. What are they doing in the evenings when they finish work? One thing is for sure-most are not learning in the bais medrash. Men are getting together with each other-enjoying the freedom. This probably starts out innocently enough. But when this happens on a regular basis, it often leads to kalus rosh and frivolty. It’s possibly worse, however, when the men are home alone. Many are “getting into trouble”-watching things they shouldn’t be and going places they shouldn,t. After all, who will find out? When the cat’s away, the mice come out and play.

    What about the women? Everyone knows about the notorious lawn chair “circles” where the women get together for hours and talk all kinds of lashon hara and rechilus. What about the women who are “bored” and find themselves going out shopping or to all the various eateries? I understand that the women need a break and vacation, but at what cost? Nebach, the poor husbands who are falling prey to aveiros because their wives need a break! The older kids are in camp. The younger kids could go to day camp in the city. The family could go away for weekends, if necessary.

    There is a shul in flatbush that has a summer night kollel program where they serve supper for a nominal fee. There are then shiurim and chavrusa learning. If all the shuls had this, then I would keep my mouth shut.

    I am not sure how to solve the womens’ lashon hara problem. Any ideas are welcomed.

    But in any event, I am just writing this to open the eyes of our choshuve kehilla. Perhaps we should take a step back and rethink our own individual situations. Each family is different. Some husband have the luxury of staying up in the colony all week. Your ideas and criticsms are encouraged! Thank you.

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