N ow I’d like to talk about your families,” said Faigy. She already had about ten legal-size pages of notes from her meetings with Miriam and me. I explained to her that talking about my family was like touching an open, oozing wound.

“You’re not in contact with them?” she asked, insisting on poking her finger right into the ooze, but I forgave her because she’s a journalist and that’s her job.

“I’m in contact with them,” I said. “I—” I thought for a second, then shut my mouth.

“When there’s a family simchah, do you go?” she asked.

“It depends. They’re not so happy to have me come. It’s embarrassing for them, and I don’t want to do that to them. So I come for a few minutes, and then I leave.”

“You couldn’t come without your long shal, or without the redid? Just so they’ll be more comfortable?”

Now I got mad at Faigy. “Would you suggest to a baalas teshuvah that she come to a family wedding in a sleeveless dress so her parents won’t be embarrassed?” I almost yelled. “Don’t you understand that if this is what my Father in Heaven wants from me, His Will is more important than what my father here on earth wants? And besides, at a simchah, a woman should cover up even more than usual, not less, because more temptations can come up in a situation like that.”

“I’d like to talk with your parents,” Faigy said.

“It’s an open wound for them, too,” I warned her.

But she had an answer for that, too. Often people like to talk about their open wounds, she claimed, because it allows them to get the pain off their chest. I gave her Mommy and Tatty’s phone number, and I made her promise that she wouldn’t tell them she got it from me, and that if she interviewed them, she would show me every word she wrote before it was printed. And of course, she had to change any identifying details.

“Agreed,” she said. “The first article is going to print tomorrow. The second article, about your families, isn’t going for another two weeks. We have time.”

The first article appeared two days later. Faigy brought me a copy, but I told her I didn’t bring that type of publication into my house, not even a section of it, and she should just photocopy the article itself. She said I was being a nudnik, but she’d do it, and a few hours later she sent her daughter over with six photocopied pages. I read the article and thought it was very nice. And then Faigy told me that people were calling up the newspaper office to yell at them for giving legitimacy to crazy women like us.

“But we explained our customs so nicely!” I protested. “Those people must have called without even reading it. If they’d read it, they would understand that we’re not crazy. They would realize that they’re the ones who are crazy. We gave a logical explanation for everything we do! Why are you smiling?”

Faigy wouldn’t tell me why she was smiling or what was funny about what I’d just said.

“Tell me,” I said. “What did your bosses at the newspaper say? They weren’t upset with you for causing them trouble?”

She laughed and said that the management loves it when an article causes a stir like that. When they get a lot of responses to an article, it shows that they’re getting through to people. (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 673)