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Turning Tides: Live-In Faith

As told to Leah Gebber

I had come buoyed by hope. But that was quickly dashed. The shadchanim I contacted didn’t mince their words: you're a baalas teshuvah. You're from a Sephardic background. You have no money or connections. I was, it seemed, bottom of the barrel.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

On the phone it seemed like a good arrangement. Mornings were my own; during that time I’d be attending college. In the afternoons I was to take care of the children. When I asked about evenings and Shabbos, Shaindy, my future employer, grew vague. In lieu of pay, I’d receive food and board. It sounded fair, but I was hopelessly na?ve. A baalas teshuvah, desperate to move away from the hick town where I’d grown up, to be part of a frum kehillah, I’d have taken anything. I got the fruits of my desperation. I had thought I’d make friends with three cute kids: Shaindy had only mentioned her three sons in our conversation. And in the evenings, after bedtime stories and a game of Go Fish, I’d be able to get out — to shiurim, to meet friends, to study… to go on dates. Because shidduchim was the real reason I wanted to move. I wanted to connect with shadchanim in the city, find my zivug, and build a home of my own. I was bone tired when I arrived at Shaindy’s home for the first time. I had traveled by bus for almost 12 hours. All I wanted was a bite to eat, a shower, and a bed. But first I had to endure the introductions. Shaindy introduced me to the kids. Well, she tried, but not one of them stayed still long enough for me to catch a glimpse of anything more than black yarmulkes, unkempt brown hair, and flashes of dark eyes. She reached out to grab one of the boys, but he ducked away and ran out of the room. It brought back childhood scenes of the von Trapp family hiding frogs in Maria’s bed, until she tamed them (the children, not the frogs). 

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