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batmitzvah200Scarsdale10583 received the following letter from a distressed parent. As it was a question of etiquette, we sent it to our Etiquette Expert for her opinion. Read the letter and her response here and send in your comments below: Dear Scarsdale10583: We have a policy in place in the Scarsdale Middle School regarding Bar Mitzvah sweatshirts so that kids don’t feel badly if they are not invited to a party--maybe we should initiate a policy regarding disinviting. I don’t even need to consult an expert to explain what being “disinvited” can do to a fragile, teenage ego. I experienced it firsthand when I got the phone call letting me know that my son was “disinvited” from a Bat Mitzvah. He had already responded to the invitation and said he would be attending.

When my phone rang it displayed the name of a stationary store in Heathcote. My son’s Bar Mitzvah was two-weeks away so when they said there was a mistake made, I thought maybe it had something to do with that. The man on the phone apologized and told me that my son received an invitation he should not have received due to a mailing list error. In a state of disbelief I listened to the voice on the other side of the line that continued with “I am sorry but I need to disinvite your son from the bat mitzvah.” He told me that the family had not intended to invite him in the first place. I felt like I was on a radio show and was the recipient of a Z100 phone tap but the DJ never got on the line to tell me it was a joke. Just like that, my son was “disinvited.”

At my son’s request, the Bat Mitzvah invitation came down from the bulletin board and was placed in the trash. He felt like a loser. He didn’t want to discuss it ever again. I wanted to call her parents, but at his request, I let it die.

I toyed with the idea of calling her parents to “disinvite” her from my son’s Bar Mitzvah, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. As it turns out, the girl didn't show up to my son’s Bar Mitzvah.

So I am left with the question of, what type of people actually would “disinvite” a child instead of just placing an extra chair at a table?


Dear Dissed: There are two sides to every story, though I can’t imagine what the other side of this story could possibly be. There is a bad apple in every bunch, and, unfortunately, it ended up in your (your son’s) grocery cart.

The only ‘out’ that one could give the family of the Bat Mitzvah child is a possible financial issue, though this is very doubtful given the fact that invitations were purchased from the stationary store in Heathcote in lieu of creating lovely, but presumably lower cost, invitations on a home computer.

Without knowing ‘the other side of the story’, there seems to be a clear and complete lack of empathy on the part of the Bat Mitzvah girl’s family. One must wonder whether the parents thought about how the “disinvitation” would make your son feel,….or how their daughter would feel if she were “disinvited” to a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, the invitation displayed on a bulletin board in her home with eager anticipation of the event.

You are to be commended for not stooping to the level of the family who disinvited your son by continuing to include their daughter in your son’s Bar Mitzvah service and celebration. But as they say, “No good deed goes unpunished.” How could this family commit a second offense two weeks after the “disinvite”, i.e., the daughter’s acceptance of the invitation to your son’s Bar Mitzvah and having you, as the host, place a chair at the table and pay for the girl’s attendance at the celebration….only to have her be a ‘no show’?

It is truly difficult to imagine – in the absence of clarifying details – that anyone, especially adults, could be so hurtful. And what are the parents teaching their daughter? Certainly not the fine lessons that you are teaching your son – to be inclusive and considerate of other people’s feelings. Let’s hope that, in the case of the Bat Mitzvah girl, the apple does fall far from the tree.

Ms. ePost


giftboxDear Ms. ePost: Hanukah has always been a fun and joyous holiday for our family. We light the Menorah, sing songs, eat potato latkes and exchange gifts. When my sister’s children went off to college and could not be home to celebrate Hanukkah, my husband and I always gave gifts to all four of our nieces and nephews, whether or not they were able to attend the family Hanukkah celebration. Now that two of my three children are in college and must miss Hanukah at home, my sister and her family only give a gift to our youngest child who is still in high school and living at home.

While my children do not need gifts from my sister and her family, it seems odd that she would not give all of them a ‘little something’ for the holiday, especially when I have always given all of her children gifts – happily, I might add – and when it has been such a strong Hanukkah tradition for our family.

What is proper gift giving etiquette in this situation?

The Sister of Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Dear Sister of Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Be your own person and do what is right for you, i.e. continue to give all of your sister’s children Hanukkah gifts. And wouldn’t it be a better world if everyone took the high road? Besides, you seem to derive great joy from giving gifts to your nieces and nephews.

However, I do understand your frustration, but did you ever consider that it could be a financial issue for your sister? Short of that, it is a bit odd. But as they say, “The joy is in the giving.”

Happy holidays to all!

Ms. ePost



Crane’s Pond in Edgemont is covered in an iridescent green slick. The algae has formed a solid film on the water and ducks are having difficulty finding a place to swim. Since the pond is not fed by a spring, the water is stagnant unless it is refreshed by a rainfall.  According to one resident, “this is the worst it has ever been in my 24 years here. Normally we will see weed growth within the pond. But it has never been like this. But then again, we have had a long hot and dry summer.”

What can be done? Mike Nestler the Superintendant of the Parks Department is exploring the possibility of asking the Greenville Fire District to force the algae out of the pond by spraying it with hoses. This was done several years ago when there was a similar algae problem, although by all accounts this year is worse than ever. However, hosing down the pond with water from the hydrants would affect the water pressure, so Nestler needs permission from the Department of Public Works.

In the meantime, go check out the neon pond on Edgemont Road.


Given this holiday infused season and the potential for squabbles over Thanksgiving turkey, Hanukah latkes or Christmas ham, as well as the advent of the awkward office holiday party (is Michael Scott your boss?), it is an ideal time to introduce a new etiquette column. We invite you to e-mail etiquette questions to, and we will post suggested solutions to your disquieting queries regarding proper (or improper) decorum.

Dear Ms. ePost: My husband and I are both very allergic to dogs. Whenever there is a family gathering at the grandparents’ house, my sister-in-law and brother-in-law bring their dog, in spite of the fact that we have told them numerous times – between sneezes with our itchy eyes watering - that we are allergic. What constitutes correct ‘petiquette’ in this case?
Gone to the Dogs (at Grandma’s house)

Dear Gone to the Dogs: If you haven’t done so already, you could try asking sis- and bro-in-law directly to please leave the dog at home. If they refuse, you have a choice: stay home, or arm yourselves with antihistamines and mountains of tissue. Kibble for thought: perhaps the in-laws value the dog’s company more than that of you and your husband.
Yours truly,
Ms. ePost


Coleus is a versatile foliage plant that is always at your service, With no special requirements other than water and a little pinching as the season progresses, it thrives in partial shade. What's not to love?

Coleus is an exuberant houseplant, a summertime dazzler and a fabulous filler plant suitable for any and all applications. It looks especially wonderful in pots. Place several varieties together or plant them in a low, wide mouth planter with ferns. Try them in a shady plant bed alongside perennial Ladies Mantle or beneath larger plants such as the weeping blue atlas cedar.

Coleus sports a wide range of leaf types, colors, and color patterns. Some of my favorites are purple Coleus 'Kiwi Fern' and a pink coleus called Pink Chaos. This 18 inch high plant has long weeping leaves of iridescent pink, mint green and cream. It can tolerate some sun although a location with morning sun and afternoon shade is best. Here it is, planted it in a flowerbed along with double impatiens, angelonia, euphorbia 'Diamond Frost” and it also looks great in pots with grasses and flowers. There are so many types of coleus that you can plant a vibrant coleus garden in a rainbow of colors in a shady corner of your garden. See more photos of coleus varieties at HMAplants.

This post is taken from Landscaper Jan Johnsen’s garden blog, Serenity in the Garden, which is devoted to creating harmony, simplicity and peace in the landscape.


Jan Johnsen
Johnsen Landscapes and Pools
PO Box 1011
Mt Kisco, NY 10549
914 - 666-4190

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