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Showdown: 9 True Stories of Conflict and Courage

An elderly Kohein Gadol faces the world conqueror Greek culture vs. Jewish values A mother and her seven pure sons refuse to bow before the evil king A mother’s love vs. the reason for living A tiny band of Jews engage the powerful Greek army Might vs. faith

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I raced Shayna to the bus stop,running away from my PS144 diploma into my new role as a mother of a Bais Yaakov maidel. It was a sweet autumn morning and I had arrived. My niece Blimie waited calmly — why should she or Malky, my sister-in-law, be nervous? This was the sixth Hirsch girl going to Bais Miriam. As I neared the stop, I tugged down my more-than-modest skirt and made sure the top button of my collar was still closed. “Good morning, Rebbetzin Golding,” I said to one of the women gathered at the corner. Batya Golding had called me the previous evening. “Be at the southwest corner and not the northeast one. Every year the bus driver has an address for the stop on his paper, but that just doesn’t work for most of us so we just tell him where to go.” The northeast corner worked better for me, but I wasn’t going to make waves on my daughter’s first day of school. Shayna whined as I smoothed the navy ribbons of her perfectly corkscrewed pony. If it weren’t so un-yeshivish, I might have brought my iPhone to snap a picture. Making it to the bus on time was not the only reason my steps were quick this first morning. Apparently, Rebbetzin Golding, there with her first grader and eight-year-old twins, had the inside scoop on class placements. I had some scoop of my own. Because of Shayna’s slight anxiety problem, the powers that be at Bais Miriam had given us a heads-up on who her teacher would be so I could prepare her. Besides, as a mathematics teacher in the junior high, I had a little pull. I didn’t need to ask the administration about her chevreh. I figured they’d put her in the class with the neighbors to make the transition smoother, but I wondered who else would be with them. I crouched down to eye level. “Shayna, don’t forget, you have Morah Flaum and you are in 1F. Don’t tell the other girls you know yet, because they’ll be told when you all get to school.” I took a step backward and landed right in the middle of Rebbetzin Golding’s diatribe.  

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