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F Is for Friendship: Hard and Fast Freindship

Ruchama Schnaidman

“We have 15 for sures, ten maybes, and three who want to think about it and will let us know tonight”

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

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I guess as fasters go, I’m a pretty good one. Not that I enjoy fasting — I don’t, does anyone? But I can manage pretty well without eating and drinking for a day, and that’s a lot more than most of my friends can say.

So when Penina called me two weeks before Tisha B’Av and said, “I have a great idea, let’s make a Tisha B’Av day camp together,” I agreed.

“Sounds good,” I said.

“Awesome,” Penina said. “My mother said we can use our basement and I already have like 20 kids from my neighborhood signed up.”

“Already signed up?” I asked. “And you’re only asking me about this now?”

Penina laughed. “Yeah, I know,” she said. “But mothers have been asking me to run a day camp for days already and I knew you were going to say yes.”

I shook my head, letting the idea settle in. Everything sounded good so far. “Okay,” I said. “I’ll double check with my mother, but count me in.”

“Great!” Penina said, and I thought I heard a sigh of relief over the phone line. I guess she really didn’t want to have to tell 20 mothers that she was backing out.

The next day, in camp, Penina bounced over to me as soon as I walked into the bunk room.

“Okay,” she said, plopping into the chair next to mine. “We have 15 for sures, ten maybes, and three who want to think about it and will let us know tonight.”

“Huh?” I asked, wiping sleep from my bleary eyes.

“For our camp,” Penina said. She jabbed my hand. “Come on, where’s your enthusiasm?” she asked. “Once I made it official, my phone has not stopped ringing.”

I blinked, letting her words settle in. “Fifteen for sures, ten maybes and three who will let us know?” I asked. “Wow, that sounds like a lot of kids.”

“Yeah,” Penina said and I watched her eyes shine like flashlights. “And we’ve only just gotten started.”


By the next morning there were more for sures and too many maybes to keep track of. A niggling feeling of… should I call it discomfort? began worming its way through me.

“Uh, Penina,” I said, as she rattled off more names and ages during line-up. “Don’t you think we’re biting off more than we can chew?”

“More than we can chew?” Penina asked.

I sighed. She had never been good with expressions. “I mean, aren’t we accepting too many kids?” I asked. “It is going to be Tisha B’Av after all, and your basement isn’t Madison Square Garden.”

Penina took a step back, then leaned forward and examined my face. “You’re serious,” she said as I stared back at her. “I thought you were joking, but you’re serious.”

I snorted. “Of course I’m serious,” I said.

She wrinkled her brows then threw her head back and laughed. “Let me teach you a little business trick,” she said. “There is never a thing called too many when it comes to accepting kids for your camp.”

Well, really! (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 670)

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