Wednesday, September 06, 2006
"Va'ad Bayit" - or Instant Insanity
When I lived in New York I lived in an apartment building - not large by New York standards - 96 flats - known as a co-op - which had a management company to take care of the building and the owners paid their monthly maintenance fees and went on about their lives. Yes - there was a Board of the Co-Operative - but in the main the running of the building was left to the management company.
Here, we do things a bit differently. As a rule we don't use a management company - we run the building ourselves. And what a headache that is. The building I live in here has 32 flats - 4 separate entrances - and a Va'ad. No one wants to serve on the Va'ad. Or to put it another way - no one wants to serve on the Va'ad - and everyone wants to have a say in what the Va'ad does. I served as Treasurer of the Va'ad years ago - which is a joke as I can barely balance my own checkbook. But I was very conscientious and everything balanced. As the Va'ad is not supposed to be a lifetime position, at the end of our term we stepped down and another Va'ad came into being. After their time was up I - in a moment of utter madness - agreed to be President of the new Va'ad. That was a mistake and a half. Sheer and utter craziness. The people who live in the building think of the Va'ad as their mommy. Whatever goes wrong they call on mommy. Doesn't matter what time of day or night. Doesn't matter what day it is - weekdays or Shabbat. I think that G-d meant for even a Va'ad to have a day of rest.
A waterpipe burst on the roof at 3:00AM? Call the President. What was I supposed to do? Am I a plumber? (Imagine, if you will, me in a nightie and robe with a frilly shower-cap on my head - I had just had my hair done (!) - wandering around on the roof with a flashlight looking for the cut-off valve.) It was to laugh. The inter-com doesn't work? Call the President. The garbage hasn't been picked up? Call the President. The boiler isn't working - there is no heat? Call the President.
And in this country people believe that paying the monthly Va'ad fees is an option - not a requirement. See how far that gets you in another country. There is even a flat in our building that was left to the city in a Will - the city doesn't want to pay.
Anyway - after three years I left the Va'ad. O Happiness. O Joy Supreme. What peace at last. And then there was a new Va'ad. And then that Va'ad felt overwhelmed and overworked and decided to resign. And then the building was left without direction. And then - idiot that I am - I agreed to "oversee" a management company which we would hire - because, of course, there are such things in this country even though almost no one uses them. And so now we are interviewing people - and tomorrow I have to interview two people - and I can assure you that that won't be fun. What did I tell you about everyone wanting to have a say? The old treasurer - who resigned in June - and in any case speakes neither Hebrew nor English - insists on coming to the interviews. Why? I have absolutely no idea. Or as we say in Hebrew - "Ain li musag" - said with a shrug.
So - this is where we stand at the moment - no Va'ad - no treasurer - no management company - and I'll let you know the rest of this saga as it unfolds. And you thought you had problems???
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