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Adherence to Appearance

Gila Arnold

“Hello, Mom, how nice to hear from you. Tzachi’s not home right now … Oh, you wanted to speak to me? ... You’re coming to Israel? … Next week?! My, that’s pretty sudden — I mean, how lovely! The kids will be so excited to see you …” Tzirel hung up the phone as calmly as possible, and immediately dialed her husband’s cell. “Tzach — we have a major problem. Your mother just called. They’re planning a trip to Israel. Next week …”

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Tzirel didn’t feel much calmer after she hung up. Her husband was the laid-back type, something she’d admired when they were going out, as a charming counterpoint to her own super-on-top-of-things personality. However, at times like these, his unflappable demeanor could be just plain irritating. It seemed the management of her in-laws’ visit was going to fall into her lap.

“The issue is this,” Tzirel explained later that night, on the phone with Shaindy, her good friend from the building next door. “We’re living here for four years, and they’ve never wanted to visit. I mean, my mother-in-law thinks there’s a terrorist lurking on every corner in Israel! They are not exactly thrilled we’re living here. But the real kicker is the fact that Tzachi is learning in kollel. In their world, that’s just not done. They say he’s just loafing around, shirking his responsibilities, that it was bad enough when he was single to choose to be in yeshivah instead of getting a real education, but with a family to support, it’s just plain irresponsible. They’re worried that we’re raising their grandchildren at poverty level.”


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