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gold21




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Jun 06 2010, 6:04 pm
Fox, the fact that your husband doesnt comprehend that a working woman has less time for housework than a stay at home woman should not tarnish your view of the stay at home mother. sorry. I work very hard as a stay at home mother, I spend my days working with my kids, and my husband is thrilled, as he sees how happy I am and how happy the children are with this arrangement BH, so yeah its certainly a family decision. ok, I guess you can now count 2 sahm's that you know that fit your criteria! oh also my best friend stays at home, as does a few of my other friends, and they all work quite hard. im sorry that you have such a poor view of stay at home mothering, but hey maybe I just mingle in more wholesome crowds.... I virtually never relax, my husband begs me to relax, dont fotget to eat today, etc.... yeah I come on imamother, you know when? When I am putting my son in for a nap and need to be pin-drop silent until he falls asleep , or at the kids' bedtime when I play on my cellfone outside their room while I murmur "Sshh, put your head down, yes youll get that toy in the morning...." Fox, come on, you are an awesome intelligent poster, how can you have such a negative view of what a stay at home mother is? Life is not a competition, its not important to me if you are more exhausted than I am at the end of the day. What is important is that I work hard with my kids, and yes that includes taking them out to go biking, and taking the younger one for walks while the older one is in nursery.

Last edited by gold21 on Sun, Jun 06 2010, 6:52 pm; edited 1 time in total
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gold21




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Jun 06 2010, 6:14 pm
and Fox, the bottom line is that we should not live our lives placing expectations on our spouses that are based off of what our parents did. My mother-in-law is a yekke and has a spotless home (yup even though she works full time) while my home is comfortably messy. Why would that bother my husband? I am not my mother-in-law. You should take issue with the fact that your mother-in-law didnt teach your husband that every woman is different and that he shouldnt place ridiculous expectations on you- dont vent your frustrations at stay at home mothers We work hard. We really reallyd do.
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gold21




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Jun 06 2010, 6:20 pm
My husband would be just as happy if I worked. He doesnt care if I stay at home or not. He cares that I am happy BH and he cares that our kids are happy BH... Look for a husband for each of your daughters who is kind and positive and who cares about the well-being of your child... it really doesnt matter if his mom stayed home and scrubbed the windows all day until he was 20 or if she worked full-time the day she came home from the hospital after delivering him....
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Tova




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Jun 06 2010, 6:20 pm
gold21 wrote:
comfortably messy.


I love this term. Can I borrow it? I am looking around...yeah, I think I can call my home now "comfortably messy." My grandmother likes to say - garbage and laundry is a sign of life (b"H). I'd like to add lego blocks to the list.
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gold21




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Jun 06 2010, 6:48 pm
LOL tova! by the way, thumbs up (not able to access emoticons with my fone) to your previous post on this thread (cant quote posts on my fone)! I agree with your statement that staying at home is a value and not a luxury... and I agree that messiness, within the realms of normalcy and hygiene, is often a positive thing!
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Fox




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Jun 06 2010, 8:59 pm
gold21 wrote:
I spend my days working with my kids


If you re-read the posts, you'll see that I'm not critical of SAHM whose children are small. That would seem to apply to you. However, I think the decision has to be re-visited when the kids are all in school until 5 p.m. or later.

gold21 wrote:
how can you have such a negative view of what a stay at home mother is?


Again, I'm not talking about SAHMs whose children are still young. I am talking about women my own age (approximately 50), who started out doing all the great things you describe with the full support, like you, of their husbands. Even their youngest children, though, are now in school from 8:30 a.m. until after 5 p.m. Now, it is true that I have one friend who now cares for her elderly mother and mother-in-law -- and I completely support that use of her time.

But transitioning from being a SAHM of young children to a somewhat different identity as your children age is not a simple thing. It takes a lot of planning and rigorous self-examination, and unfortunately, a lot of women do not adequately address these issues when the time comes. While such women may indeed fill their hours, they often do so in a somewhat unproductive manner. That's not such a huge problem if the family has significant financial resources, though it sometimes makes for obnoxious attitudes. But I think you're drastically underestimating the number of 50-year-old men who would prefer an additional paycheck and a little less potchkeing in the kitchen.

G-d willing, we'll all live to 120, and we'll have many different roles during our lives. There's no such thing (or shouldn't be!) as a woman who plops herself down and says, "I'm a SAHM" or a woman who asserts, "I'm an employed-outside-the-home mother." There may be times when a woman finds it possible and preferable to be a SAHM, and there may be times when the same woman finds it necessary or preferable to work outside the home. These are not identities -- they are simply facts of life at specific points in time. The key is making sure that we don't simply get lazy about making necessary changes in our lifestyles when circumstances warrant.
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Tova




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Jun 06 2010, 9:28 pm
Fox, what you are saying is not consistent with the husband's Torah obligation to support his wife (obviously she can choose to work so that he can learn, etc.). No where is that obligation absolved if all the kids are school age. Yes, a woman can want/expect to be supported from the day she gets married until the day the marriage is no longer valid ch"v because of death or divorce.

OBVIOUSLY the exact details are for each couple/family to work out on their own. If she isn't needed at home, she can go out to work to help the family's finances and/or enable her husband to cut down to part-time, retire early, make more time for learning, etc. Everyone needs to be fiscally responsible and live within their means.

It seems like you are taking the practical reality of today's time (that frum life is expensive and often we need 2 incomes to survive) and turning it around to say that it is a luxury for a woman NOT to work. Instead of acknowledging the obligation of a husband to support his wife/ the value of her being a full-time akeres habayis and saying that we choose not to live that ideal. [Again - I am not the pot calling the kettle black - I also work!]
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SV




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Jun 07 2010, 6:50 am
I don't want to speak for Fox, but it seemed to me from her post that she was talking not so much about the financial aspect of a SAHM when the kids are older, but more about the fact that women should be productive. When all the kids are out of the house the majority of the day, the "SAHM" loses the "M" and becomes a homemaker (is that a word?) busy making 3-course dinners etc. One may argue that is still more productive than going out to work (even PT), but certainly all the arguments gold21 brought about focusing on the children don't apply any more.

Just a disclaimer - I work FT and my dh is in kollel FT, BH. So while I value being home with children our family made a decision that a different set up is what works best for us...
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Fox




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Jun 07 2010, 9:36 am
SV wrote:
women should be productive. When all the kids are out of the house the majority of the day, the "SAHM" loses the "M" and becomes a homemaker (is that a word?) busy making 3-course dinners etc. One may argue that is still more productive than going out to work (even PT), but certainly all the arguments gold21 brought about focusing on the children don't apply any more.

Just a disclaimer - I work FT and my dh is in kollel FT, BH. So while I value being home with children our family made a decision that a different set up is what works best for us...


Thumbs Up Thanks! Sometimes I'm so verbose I lose track of my main point!

Tova wrote:
Fox, what you are saying is not consistent with the husband's Torah obligation to support his wife (obviously she can choose to work so that he can learn, etc.). No where is that obligation absolved if all the kids are school age. Yes, a woman can want/expect to be supported from the day she gets married until the day the marriage is no longer valid ch"v because of death or divorce.


Tova wrote:
It seems like you are taking the practical reality of today's time (that frum life is expensive and often we need 2 incomes to survive) and turning it around to say that it is a luxury for a woman NOT to work. Instead of acknowledging the obligation of a husband to support his wife/ the value of her being a full-time akeres habayis and saying that we choose not to live that ideal.


You are 100 percent correct. The Torah requires a husband to support his wife. But nowhere in the Torah does it say she should be a jerk about it. Throughout Jewish history, women have helped their husbands provide for the family. We speak at length about the "Eishet Chayil" who is not simply waiting to let the cleaning woman in!

Let me try to frame my concern in the kind of story I hear regularly:

Chaya Maidel leaves her job to be a SAHM when her kids are little. Finances are tight, but she and her DH agree that this is best for their family. So far, so good.

After 15-20 years, Chaya Maidel's youngest child is in yeshiva or high school. He/she is gone from early in the morning until almost 6 p.m. every night. Chaya Maidel finds she has more and more free time.

Chaya Maidel becomes interested in taxidermy. She spends a lot of time and money on this hobby, but fortunately her DH can support them. Meanwhile, expenses involved in marrying off children are looming.

Chaya Maidel thinks about returning to work to help with wedding and advanced educational expenses, but she realizes she has no real skills after 20 years out of the job market. She doesn't want to take a menial or entry-level job where she'll be treated like a 20-year-old, so she throws more and more energy into her taxidermy. She sells a few pieces here and there, and she talks about making a real business out of it, but she no longer has the discipline to put in long days at work, and frankly, the market for taxidermy isn't that great in the frum community.

Meanwhile, Chaya Maidel's DH is feeling more and more stressed about their financial situation. He was looking forward to the point when day school tuitions would be a thing of the past, but now he realizes that even a modest wedding is a huge financial hit, and he wants to help his kids get whatever degrees or training they need to become self-supporting. He is also stressed because he and Chaya Maidel haven't saved much for retirement. His pension plan will keep them from starving, but it won't allow them that trip to Israel they envisioned or travel to see grandchildren in other cities.

But when he tries to bring up the idea of paid employment to Chaya Maidel, she becomes defensive (albeit, largely because she's afraid!). She responds that she thought "we agreed that it was important for me to be in the home!" Her DH, cognizant of his responsibility to support her, decides to let it drop. But the next time he runs into his friend's wife, Fox, he tells her how much it would ease his mind if Chaya Maidel would get even a part-time job. Can Fox perhaps give his wife some ideas for employment that would suit her? Fox sighs, knowing that this will lead nowhere. However, she tells the man to have his wife call her. Chaya Maidel will not make this call.

Now, is Chaya Maidel "entitled" to be supported under these circumstances? Sure. It says so in her kesuba. But please don't ask me to admire her for her attitude or accord much respect for her "choice."
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jflower




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Jun 07 2010, 10:04 am
[I have absolutely no quarrel with any SAHP who genuinely works at the job. But there have to be two conditions in my mind: (1) Everyone has to understand that this is a choice being made with regard to resource allocation, not simply a given; and (2) The SAHP has to take his/her role seriously and not slack off.

Personally, I can count one single SAHM who meets both those conditions.]

Fox, you can really say that you only know one SAHM who takes her job seriously and doesn't slack off? I know loads who work very hard at what they do yet do have time to take their kids to the park. Is that called slacking off?

BTW, when I used to take my son to the park, I observed the babysitters' interaction with the kids they were watching vs the moms' interaction. There was definitely a difference in the quality of care. What I could see was benchloads of babysitters shmoozing with each other and the kids running around hefker. Yes, the moms chatted too. But they also kept a better eye on their kids. This was my observation time and time again.

As far as slacking off, how much time is spent at work surfing the internet, shmoozing with coworkers or taking personal calls? Everyone needs to catch their breath sometimes. Not every worker takes her work so seriously and never take a break. Plenty of working women spend too much time on the phone taking personal calls. A perfect example is my dentist's receptionist who keeps on yakking about recipes while I'm standing there waiting to make an appointment!
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Ruchel




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Jun 07 2010, 10:31 am
small bean wrote:
saw50st8 wrote:
Merrymom wrote:
saw50st8 wrote:
louche wrote:
saw50st8 wrote:
Tuition is a luxury that you need to decide if you can afford.


I disagree. giving one's children a religious education is a basic responsibility of every jewish parent. unless you can give your kids a Jewish education equivalent to what they get in Hebrew day school--which mothers can do for their sons only if they've learned Talmud--then homeschooling for religious studies is not an option.

I know very few people who consider a jewish education to be a luxury--and those who do tend to be, on average, more affluent and less observant.


Hiring a tutor for a few hours a day is MUCH cheaper than sending your kid to a private school.

Yes, tuition is a luxury. A Jewish education is not. You could argue that perhaps for a BT family that isn't well versed in halacha Day school is NOT a luxury. But for your average orthodox family it is.

We get these things confused a lot.


Would you rely on just one person to convey everything that you believe in? The Torah is so complex I would very much hesitate to leave it all up to one person's hashkafos and intelligence.


So change tutors every so often.

But that's not really the point. The point is that its a LUXURY to send your kid to private school. No matter how much anyone cries otherwise.
saw50st8

I agree with you.

most things are luxuries.

all of you who say private schooling is not a luxury - I think you just mean it's something that you don't want to give up. for example - I do not want to give up my car no matter what - I'd rather work 3 jobs (if I had to) that doesn't make my car not a luxury.

sending your kid to private school is a luxury that most of us want to do.


Yup. POlitically incorrect in some circles but true.
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Ruchel




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Jun 07 2010, 10:33 am
Merrymom wrote:
your average BY girl is much more educated and idealistic than her great-grandparents were.


Educated as a whole, yes. The world has changed. Educated proportionally? I wouldn't know.
As for idealistic, I would not have the chutzpa to judge the previous generations, especially with yeridas hadoros.
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Ruchel




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Jun 07 2010, 10:36 am
Most of my friends had two parents working full time and cleaning help was really, really rare. Somehow it happened. There are even single parents (men too) who make it work. Nowadays many (if they work) can afford some cleaning help due to government money for "isolated parent" (and if the child is under three or there are 2+ kids under 18), but once upon a time, you made it work.

I don't think it's bad to be a sahp and slack off, if you can afford it or the people supporting you know and agree/accept.

Value of staying home for the kids: some kids need to be out of the house very young for stimulation, others are very very shy and really suffer if sent out too young, most are in between.

Working men being unable to help? I have never heard of that. They're not there in the day, but they can still wake the kids up, get them dressed, take the trash out, drive them to school, (maybe) help for the homework, (maybe) do the bath, (maybe) do the bedtime... they'll do all the (very needed) rest if need be (wife sick, c'v).
You have to want to help, and you have to have a wife who wants it.
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Fox




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Jun 07 2010, 1:14 pm
jflower wrote:
Fox, you can really say that you only know one SAHM who takes her job seriously and doesn't slack off? I know loads who work very hard at what they do yet do have time to take their kids to the park. Is that called slacking off?


Actually, I know only a very small number of women who are able to be SAHM. Most of the young mothers I know are employed at least part-time. Some have created in-home businesses, do babysitting, etc., and I don't count them as "SAHMs" -- they are "WAHMs". Perhaps this is because I don't live in a particularly wealthy community -- unless there is support from a particularly wealthy family, most young people have to work.

jflower wrote:
As far as slacking off, how much time is spent at work surfing the internet, shmoozing with coworkers or taking personal calls? Everyone needs to catch their breath sometimes. Not every worker takes her work so seriously and never take a break. Plenty of working women spend too much time on the phone taking personal calls. A perfect example is my dentist's receptionist who keeps on yakking about recipes while I'm standing there waiting to make an appointment!


Here's the difference: that receptionist can be fired if her behavior makes her employer too unhappy. But who's going to fire a SAHM?

Again, I feel you perhaps just skimmed some of my earlier posts: in general, I think it's fine for a woman with young children to be a SAHM. There are plenty of good reasons, some of which you've described. I'm sure the SAHM of young children definitely are productive! So, great! We're agreed. That doesn't begin to address my real objection: women whose children are older and who are filling their days with unproductive activities. Let me reiterate: it is obviously their right to fill their days with whatever they wish, but it is not required that I respect them for it.
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ora_43




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Jun 07 2010, 1:30 pm
Fox wrote:
Because I think it's a real, serious danger. It is dangerous because the people often lose sight of how most people have to live; they become self-absorbed and insensitive to the fact that the vast majority of people in the world have to work in order to eat. They insulate themselves from all the unpleasant parts of the work environment.
...

Truthfully, if I didn't need the money, I would force myself to work part-time for the express purpose of keeping my perspective. I would either work for an organization for a minimal salary and/or donate my salary to chesed. Frankly, there are plenty of Jewish causes that would benefit more from receiving that money than from my half-hearted attempts to "do" myself. And would I really make chesed a full-time job? No. I'd probably do about the same amount of chesed I do now. I'd just do it with a cleaner house.

I don't think that taking a job you don't need just to "maintain perspective" is showing sensitivity to people who need to work, at least not in this economy. Especially not if you work for a minimal salary.

Personally, I've found that the only coworkers as tough to work with as 19-year-old interns whose enthusiasm-to-ability ratio is about 20:1 are women who stick around because they like to feel productive even though they don't need the money at all. Especially if they're past retirement age.

Then you end up with people who will never be fired, because they're willing to work for ridiculously low salaries (demanding so little money that young people with families to support can't possibly compete - what a great way to show understanding of the difficulties facing working parents!), but who almost never put in enough effort to turn out really good work, because they aren't nearly as motivated as they think they are (or in some cases, aren't nearly as qualified as they think they are, which goes back to the "ridiculously low salaries" thing).

Umm... not that I'm bitter or anything.

Anyway, it's probably like you and stay-at-home-moms, I just happen to have not had an opportunity to meet the really great and enthusiastic and productive working-because-I-prefer-it-to-knitting women out there.
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ora_43




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Jun 07 2010, 1:35 pm
I'll admit that I've never been a SAHM to older kids, but it seems like it'd be easy enough to fill a school day with productive stuff. Just cleaning, cooking, and all that fun stuff can take 3 hours a day, maybe more if you do it properly (I've never tried Very Happy ).

Then again, school gets out a lot earlier here from what I hear. So maybe that explains part of the difference in thinking?
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Fox




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Jun 07 2010, 1:51 pm
ora_43 wrote:
Personally, I've found that the only coworkers as tough to work with as 19-year-old interns whose enthusiasm-to-ability ratio is about 20:1 are women who stick around because they like to feel productive even though they don't need the money at all. Especially if they're past retirement age.

Then you end up with people who will never be fired, because they're willing to work for ridiculously low salaries (demanding so little money that young people with families to support can't possibly compete - what a great way to show understanding of the difficulties facing working parents!), but who almost never put in enough effort to turn out really good work, because they aren't nearly as motivated as they think they are (or in some cases, aren't nearly as qualified as they think they are, which goes back to the "ridiculously low salaries" thing).


Thumbs Up
Yup! I can't argue with that! I've also seen that problem a lot. It's really a problem of management . . . but that's a vent for another thread!

ora_43 wrote:
Then again, school gets out a lot earlier here from what I hear. So maybe that explains part of the difference in thinking?


I think life in EY is lot more demanding for many people, too. Fewer people have cars, so it takes more logistical energy for grocery shopping, etc. I also think it's different if extended family lives close by and the homemaker in question is babysitting for grandchildren, helping elderly parents, etc. Again, more common in EY than in the U.S.
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Tova




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Jun 07 2010, 3:42 pm
[Fox, I hope you can see that I enjoy "arguing" with you and it's coming from a place of gaining/giving a broader perspective, not to pick on you, ch"v!] but-

Although I do work to support my husband in kollel, one thing that was super super important to me is to be there at home when my children get out of school. My oldest is not yet school age yet, but b"H I was able to arrange a flexible schedule where I work 9-1:00/2:00 and then at home in the evenings 7-10:00/11:00. But let's say I didn't have to work for money but had these older school-age kids in the house.

Being that they would come home at 3:00/4:00 and would need an attentive mommy, snacks, homework help, etc. etc. I could definately see having the first part of the day available for cleaning, cooking, shopping, errands, (and yes, plenty of relaxation and perhaps a nap!) to be a wonderful way to structure time. I guess I really don't see where these spoiled-attitude women come into play. Where they always this way or just became that way?

I don't know any mother in my area with a mid-to-large sized family (oh - and I forgot - here you have to do CARPOOLS!) who could not be kept busy just tending to the needs of such family. Or just taking a slower pace in life! I have b"H taken 12 week maternity leaves after having my kids and felt pretty good after birth, definately by 4 to 6 weeks was normal, and besides for of course taking care of a newborn (which I don't find difficult at all after recovering from birth) really spent the last 6 weeks just taking it easy, slower pace, window shopping, reading, doing crafts, baking, getting together with family, etc. - "chilling" - and don't think it made me spoiled in any way. It was wonderfully nice! OK - maybe you'll say that I was justified in taking it easy because I knew I was going back to work on such and such date, but I don't find that to be the case. If I could have financially afforded to take off more time I would have. I don't think it's spoiled to want to relax and take things easy. I guess that last sentence is the point I want to make.
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Tablepoetry




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Jun 07 2010, 11:34 pm
I agree with Fox that some 50 yr old men would probably rather see their wives work than stay home. BUT, unlike Fox, I totally and absolutely respect those women who choose to stay home, assuming they can afford it.

A 50 yr old women who has stayed home for the past two decades has very little to offer the work force. She's probably going to be working minimum wage in a difficult job. She's spent the last 20yrs dedicated to her family 24/7. At age 50, she should be relaxing a bit, tasting the fruit of her labour, gearing for retirement - not thrust into the very bottom rung of the rat race (unless there is no choice).

Don't forget that a 50 yr old woman has far less energy than a young woman.

Furthermore, most 50 yr old women with more than 2 children are still pretty busy. And your average frum woman probably still has a couple of children living at home when she's 50. In Israel, elementary school is out by 1 or 2, and high schools by 2 or 3. Dati high schools might end at 3 or 4; yeshivot, it's true, end later. In the states, most kids I know are home by 4. So a 50 yr old woman has at most till 4 to take care of domestic duties, cleaning, cooking, errands - she'll have enough time to do this at a sane pace, and maybe develop a hobby, but she certainly won't be spending all day knitting.

Just because women who work full time have condensed homemaking into one hr a day doesn't mean it's supposed to be like that. And don't forget that the family counts on the full time homemaker to be available in the afternoon/evening. So a 50 yr old frum woman will probably still be very busy in the evenings with all the myriad activities required to raise kids.

Yes, she gets my respect, if she manages to run her household in a normal, peaceful manner. No, I would not respect her anymore if she took a job as a cashier from 9-3 every day and returned home harried, without enough energy to take care of family matters.


Last edited by Tablepoetry on Mon, Jun 07 2010, 11:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Tablepoetry




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Jun 07 2010, 11:37 pm
Fox wrote:
I also think it's different if extended family lives close by and the homemaker in question is babysitting for grandchildren, helping elderly parents, etc. Again, more common in EY than in the U.S.


This is true. I know of quite a few women who went for early retirement (in their mid fifties) and they keep themselves very busy with their extended family. They host the married kids, pick up grandkids everyday from gan, take their aged parents to doctors, etc.
And if you ask me, I think the job they do is crucial. It's the glue of the extended family.
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