S

o, this is my idea.” Rina looked across at Penny, who was sitting on Rina’s couch, legs curled under her, gazing at Rina intently.

After her disastrous café meeting with Gabriella, Rina had decided to conduct work interviews in her living room, her own home turf, where the balance of power would be clear. But she hadn’t anticipated someone like Penny, who apparently had no qualms about kicking off her shoes on a professional interview or putting her feet on someone else’s couch.

Rina tried to keep her eyes focused on Penny’s face. “I worked really hard on coming up with this storyline, and I’m very excited about it.” She really had. After she’d left Penny in Central Park, she’d spent two hours sitting by the lake with a notebook and pen, letting the ideas flow — once the pipes of inspiration had opened, it was one heady gush. Then that night, at home, she’d crystallized it into a solid, cohesive plot. It was, in her humble opinion, a real winner.

Take that, Gabriella.

Rina leaned forward. “So here’s the story. We have a group of high-school-aged girls at camp. You know, the type who’ve been camp friends for ages. Really close. They find out that one of their friends is sick, and they’re all desperate to do something in her zechus.”

She raised a fist, as if she were one of those desperate girls. “It’s the Three Weeks, and they’re all learning about how sinas chinam caused the Churban. So they decide they’re going to work at creating achdus — not just among their small circle, but among Jewish girls around the world.”

Rina’s eyes shone. “Girl power! Frum teenage girls are going to unite to bring the Geulah! Can you imagine the impact of such a message?”

Penny nodded. “Quite a message,” she agreed.

Rina continued. “They have a dream — they’re going to make an international Jewish girls’ convention. They’ll gather hundreds of frum girls from around the world for one powerful Shabbos. One of the girls in this chevreh comes from Bulgaria, and her family owns a hotel there, so she offers her parents’ hotel for this shabbaton, free of charge.”

Penny lifted her head. “Bulgaria?”

Rina waved her hand. “I wanted someplace exotic. You know, so we can show footage and scenery that will be really exciting for the audience. Face it, would anyone be excited to watch a movie set in the streets of Flatbush?”

Penny raised an eyebrow. “Are there even any Jews in Bulgaria?”

“Absolutely. I checked on Wikipedia; there are about 2,000 Jews living there — or, at least, there were in 2010.”

 “And, among those 2,000,” said Penny casually, “you think there’d realistically be a family who sends their daughter to a Bais Yaakov summer camp in the States?”

Rina paused, and frowned at Penny. “What are you trying to say?”

Penny scratched her chin. “Only that you might want to consider placing this girl and her family in a more Jewish European city. They can still own a hotel in Bulgaria if you’re set on that country.”

Rina slowly nodded. “Okay, that makes sense.” She took a breath. It was fine for someone to criticize her idea; that’s what she was hiring this lady for. It didn’t mean the whole idea was worthless. “Fine, so the girl’s family lives in — I don’t know, Antwerp. Is Antwerp near Bulgaria?” (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 600)