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Against All Odds

Sarah Einhorn

Against all odds, the Macabbim were victorious with Hashem’s help. Meet four exceptional individuals who battle against all odds, yet know they will prevail... with Hashem’s help

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

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Making the Grade

Bassy Goldhirsch

Dear Mindy,

I just hung up with you. We were discussing Mrs. Glauber’s science assignment, Miri’s new hairstyle, and the fact that we only had ten minutes of recess today. But then you wanted to talk about one of the most important thing in a ninth grader’s life. Sleepaway camp. I quickly told you that I had an incoming call and forcefully pressed the end button. I threw the phone down on the sofa and hastily dried the tears that had escaped from my eyes.

Want to know why I was crying? Well, it’s a good question. Let me try to explain.

You’re right. Summer camp is my life; new friendships, bonfires, swimming, play, color war, and DMCs. I’ve been yearning for sleepaway camp since August 31 of last year. Camp is my first, middle, and last name. It’s where my personality explodes in a kaleidoscope of laughter and freedom. But this year, camp will be a nonexistent chapter in my life. Instead I’ll be subjected to the very same thing you’ll be getting a break from.

Yes. The decision is mine. To go to camp and enjoy myself, or stay in the city, in the sweltering heat, studying with a tutor. A decision that isn’t really a choice. A decision that will result in the success of my next few school years. Oh, I’ve seen it coming. The signs were there all along. There were whispered telephone conversations, pitying glances from teachers, and finally, a meeting with my parents and Mrs. Gruen.

So, what if I’m not the 100% student? Who cares if I got a 65 on most of my tests? Definitely not my classmates. But Mrs. Gruen, our principal, is concerned. She’s taking a personal interest so that I can improve. Isn’t that considerate? Remember how we always joked that she knows anything and everything? That her large, wired-framed spectacles are like laser beams that shine through each and every one of us? Well, now it’s my turn. There’s no way out.

She wants to see a boost in my grades, to see me reach my full potential. My potential? That happens in camp — during sports, hiking, and cheering during color war. It doesn’t happen in a classroom. But if I want to enter tenth grade, I’d better shape up.

 

I’m grappling with an internal struggle I know every teen is familiar with. The questions what will everyone think, what will everyone say swirl around in my head like a merry-go-round. Peer pressure is real. I want to belong. But this time it’s not about the latest styles and gadgets. So, you see, I can’t tell you why I’m not going to camp.

My mother and I worked out a schedule. There’s a spreadsheet hanging above my bed. Every day of the week is highlighted with a different color marker, each subject circled with a different color gel pen; it looks like an ad for a carnival. Oh, of course, we also added a trip to the ice cream store twice a week. I’ll even be able to choose my favorite flavor. Isn’t that exciting? I’m going to have a super summer. Don’t you wish you could stay in the city too? (Excerpted from Teen Pages, Issue 689)

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