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Just One

Gila Arnold

“I’ve always said you have the mind of a psychologist. I still don’t understand why—” “Mommy.” Bracha gave her the look she used whenever Leah acted like a particularly clueless baalas teshuvah. “I’ve told you a hundred times, frum girls don’t go into psychology. They go into special ed.” Just as Leah was about to retort something self-righteous, Bracha cut her with a withering, “and frum mothers don’t paint. They bake rugelach for tzedakah teas.” This was getting serious. Leah pulled up a chair.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Bracha shrugged. She bit her lip and drummed her fingers on the table, a sure sign that she was about to tell all. Leah waited.

“Oh, Shani Weissman was going on about her meeting with this shadchan, like the top shadchan, who only deals with the best girls. She said the lady practically guaranteed she’d be engaged next week.”

Leah raised her eyebrows.

“Well, maybe two. But with her grandfather a rosh yeshivah and her father a rosh kollel and her yichus going back all the way to who knows who, I’m sure the shadchan was falling over her feet to set Shani up. And then later, on the drive home, all the girls in the car were talking about it, of course, and Raizy said her uncle’s a maggid shiur in Lakewood, and Hindy’s grandmother is best friends with some famous rebbetzin, and Miriam’s brother-in-law gives a chaburah to American bochurim in the Mir, and, well, everyone has some great shidduch connection somewhere.”

Bracha looked up at her mother. “And I had nothing to say.”

Leah felt the sting of the quiet accusation. “Well, we have great connections, too, if you’re not picky about what religion. Uncle Kenny’s wife has a brother who’s a Catholic priest.”

Bracha glared. “And,” she added slowly, and from the way she stared determinedly down at the table, Leah braced herself for what was coming, “it doesn’t help matters that you’re — you know — divorced.”

The smile fell from Leah’s face with a thud. Now the accusation was personal.


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