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Center Stage: Chapter 40

Gila Arnold

Rina had emphatically put her foot down at Gabriella’s attempt to change some of the plot. “No way,” she’d said clearly. And, for what had to be the hundredth time, she’d added with a hiss, “Remember, this is mine”

Wednesday, January 09, 2019





ou’ll never believe this!”

Four heads looked up as Dini Stein, a.k.a. Shevy, walked into the room.

“Guess who’s on the phone?” She waved her phone excitedly in the air. “Mashi, our division head! She heard about our Girls Unite project and she wants to help! Here, listen!”

From the other side of the room, Dassi from Rina’s acting troupe, held a phone to her ear.

“Hi, girls!” she trilled. “So much fun to speak from outside camp! Shevy told me about your idea to have an international achdus shabbaton, as a zechus for Tzippy’s refuah sheleimah. I love it!”

Malka spoke up. “So you don’t think it’s crazy that we want to do it in Europe? ’Cuz Chaykie Weiss — you know, the girl in Bunk Yud-Aleph from Antwerp — said her grandparents own a hotel in Bulgaria, and they’re willing to let us use it for free. But our parents think it’s insane.”

“Yeah, everyone’s telling us we’re crazy, that this plan will never work,” said Leah.

“What is the plan?” asked Dassi.

Dini answered in her self-assured way. “We want to get frum teenage girls from all over the world to spend a Shabbos together. Like, we’re talking hundreds, maybe thousands of girls! And we’ll have speakers and activities and things all about achdus. It’ll be awesome!”

“But the problem is money,” said Aliza. “Even if the hotel’s free, the airfare will be really expensive.”

“And how many parents will let?” added Huvy. “This just seems impossible. It’ll never happen.”

“Don’t say that!” Dassi rallied her. “I love the fact that you girls are dreaming big! Nothing’s impossible if you believe in it! But first, you have to believe in yourself.”

The girls all looked at each other and smiled. “Yeah!” shouted Dini, pumping her fist into the air. All the others imitated her.

“Beautiful!” shouted Rina, from her director’s chair in her basement studio where they were practicing. “Perfect!”

Gabriella, sitting cross-legged on the couch behind her, turned her head away so no one would see her wince. She’d already tried to suggest that the reaction was a bit much, and that the shift from doubting to believing in themselves should be slower and subtler. But, as Gabriella had learned too well, any attempt to place subtlety in this film was a nonstarter. The fist-pumping had been Dini’s inspiration, and she was particularly proud of it. And Rina just loved the dramatic moment.

Gabriella looked down at her script and sighed. There was so much she would have changed here. She’d even devoted several crazy hours, in between cooking and helping her kids decorate the succah, to edit the scenes for the upcoming filming.

She’d managed to squeeze through a few of the minor dialogue changes. But Rina had emphatically put her foot down at Gabriella’s attempt to change some of the plot.

“No way,” she’d said clearly. And, for what had to be the hundredth time, she’d added with a hiss, “Remember, this is mine.”

(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 625)

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