Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Learning Curve: Chapter 17

Gila Arnold

Suri debates whether to confront Zevi or Aviva with Zevi’s insurance mess-up. She chooses Aviva, who decides to spare Zevi and takes the blame herself

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Yael stood outside Rina’s Racks, her sister-in-law’s clothing store that she had somehow never mustered up the guts to step foot into. Until today.

The craziest part was, she was entering these hallowed precincts of the uber-sophisticated by actual invitation. It had happened just after the Senator Pearl event. The entire Jeren clan had shown up — she assumed by her father-in-law’s orders. Still, she’d been touched by the unexpected show of support.

When the big miracle had happened (no, not miracle, she reminded herself, because Ephraim hated when she put herself down; the anticipated outcome of an insane amount of practice) and she’d actually done a decent job welcoming the senator, her sisters-in-law had approached her one by one and warmly congratulated her. It was the first time Yael had felt accepted.

It was in the context of this sisterly spirit that Rina had looked her outfit up and down — and Yael had dressed with as much care as she possibly could on that day — and kindly offered to take Yael shopping at her boutique.

This was exactly the sort of offer that would’ve sent her scampering back home a year earlier — or even a day earlier. But somehow, flying high on her success, she decided to fling self-dignity to the wind and say, “Sure, thanks!”

And thus she found herself inside the chicly decorated boutique, arriving at the moment of truth. Looking around, she saw a few ladies she vaguely recognized from her in-laws’ social circles. Women her own age were browsing through racks while chatting, and Yael couldn’t help but feel that they were staring at her, wondering how an imposter like her had dared to enter their upper-crust store. Stop it! she told herself firmly. Of course you belong here! You’re a Jeren! The argument wasn’t such a good one, because she felt like an imposter Jeren as well. But now, after her success, after her father-in-law’s beaming congratulations and — especially — after Ephraim’s glowing look of pride, today she finally felt capable of assuming the Jeren badge. She stared back calmly at the women, and couldn’t help but gloat at their expressions as Rina spotted her and came running forward. “Yael! So lovely you came!” She gave her a hug (Rina did hugs?), loudly declaring to the women near her, “My sister-in-law. This is my brother’s wife, Yael.” She grabbed Yael’s arm, as if taking ownership, and steered her over to a rack of clothes on the side of the store.

“My newest collection, just arrived, I thought of you immediately.” She was still talking in her gushy showman’s tone, and for the first time Yael was struck by how similar Rina was to her father; they both seemed to come alive with their work.

Over the next hour, between helping clients, Rina selected and measured and rejected outfit after outfit, until, at the end, Yael found herself with a whole new wardrobe. It was clear that Rina had decided to take Yael on as a project.

“Now you’re not just a success,” Rina said with passion, “you’re dressed for it as well!”

Related Stories

Circles of Love

Shifra Leah Kahn

I was a child who never fit into a society where the normal family was one father, one mother, two c...

Whispers: Chapter 12

Shana Reicher

It didn’t seem doable. It cost a fortune. And there were no guarantees… I cried daily over the seemi...

Back Home

Shana Reicher

I wept. In a strange shul, with an unfamiliar crowd, I was uninhibited, free to access my emotions a...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

What’s in a Name?
Shoshana Friedman “What does Writer X have to say this week?”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals
Four Walls Coming Full Circle
Eytan Kobre All the while, there’s been a relationship in the offing...
And Yet We Smile
Yisroel Besser We are the nation that toils to be happy at all costs
Out of This World
Rabbi Henoch Plotnick Dirshu Hashem b’himatzo — we are in Hashem’s company now...
Steven and Jonathan Litton
Rachel Bachrach The co-owners of Litton Sukkah, based in Lawrence, NY
Tali Messing
Moe Mernick Tali Messing, engineering manager at Facebook Tel Aviv
Sick Note
Jacob L. Freedman “Of course, Dr. Freedman. Machul, machul, machul”
Avoiding Health Columns Can Be Good for You
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only one reliable guide for good health: our Torah
Endnote: Side Notes
Riki Goldstein Most Jewish music industry entertainers have side profes...
Me, Myself, and Why
Faigy Peritzman Where there’s no heart and no love, there’s no point
Can’t Do It Without You
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When you step up to the plate, you build your home team
Eternal Joy
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz The joy of Succos is the fruit of spiritual victory
The Appraiser: Part III
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Make sure your child knows his strengths
Hidden Special Needs
Rena Shechter You won’t see his special needs, but don’t deny them
Dear Wealthy Friend
Anonymous There’s no need for guilt. I am truly happy for you