Herschell Ostrepeller and The Tao of the Cow…

Alan J. Schwarz
9 min readAug 27, 2021

When Herschell Ostrepeller was growing up he never expected to be a Real Estate salesman. He was never interested in the industry and fell into it by accident. After University, his friend Walter Applebaum had suggested he take the Real Estate course with him and they could make some extra money. Herschell was reluctant, but for eight long and boring weeks he sat in a classroom and listened to different speakers give insights into the industry. When he graduated he and Walter joined ‘’Universal Unlimited Wide World Realtors.’’

As it turned out, the Real Estate market was sizzling, so getting listings and sales was not complicated. Herschell made big bucks for three years and decided that Real Estate wasn’t such a bad gig.

What Herschell didn’t realize was the competition that was coming. Other realtors were always trying to land listings and it became a very dog-eat-dog type of business. People selling their homes were always trying to get the lowest commission rates and it got tiring. Herschell often dreaded answering his phone or going into the office. He knew this wasn’t a good sign for his long-term career health.

One of Herschell’s friends knew a woman named Gladys Kravitz who was interested in selling her house and moving into a retirement home. Herschell went over to visit and was listening to Gladys tell stories about her late husband Morty when his phone rang. He excused himself to take the call and kept thinking he had been saved by the bell.

The voice on the other end of the line wasn’t familiar. ‘’Mr. Ostrepeller, this is Rabbi Menken from Boland. I have some bad news, your Uncle Max has passed. He told me that I should contact you if anything happened to him. Do you want to meet, so we can arrange the funeral and the shiva?’’ The shiva was seven days of mourning and Herschell wondered if anyone would show up to help make a minyan so he could say the memorial prayer or Kaddish for his Uncle. There weren’t many Jews in Boland, a rural community with a population of three hundred and fifty.

Uncle Max and Herschell’s Dad, Karl had always been close. They had lost most of the family in the Holocaust and had gone different routes in life. Uncle Max set up a Dairy farm and was milking two hundred head, and Karl had become a respected…

Alan J. Schwarz

Alan Schwarz loves life. He is the founder of JAMS Productions, a television production company based in Toronto . His passion is writing.