I look down at my watch, realizing that there’s barely 15 minutes to the end of the lesson and I haven’t yet written a full sentence in my floral notebook. That’s because Miss Greenbaum hasn’t yet uttered a single explicit sentence this lesson. Shifra and her friends seem to be enjoying themselves immensely by singing through Avraham Fried’s latest album on volume level 100. What do they think they come to school for, to practice using their voices?

Finally, Miss Greenbaum’s voice is heard over the tumult. “Class dismissed.” She exits the classroom with a Chumash that hadn’t had the chance to be opened yet.

Shifra sprints out of her seat, flicking her blonde, waist-length ponytail out of her sight, and sticks her tongue out at the now empty doorway. Everyone bursts into gales of laughter. I try to keep a straight face as I pass out the homework sheets we were given. (Nobody bothered to take it themselves.)

A song is still on their lips as we head out to the lunchroom and then their voices get lost into the throngs of girls heading in the same direction. Does a thought of Miss Greenbaum even cross their minds?

I scan the lunchroom for Shifra. I have to speak to her. At last, I spot the famous ponytail being tossed with a casual flick.

The table is in the midst of a fierce debate about whether our math teacher is leaving or not. I feel somewhat shy interrupting but I approach her anyway and look her in the eye.

“Shifra, can I ask you something?” She raises her pencil thin eyebrows and gives me a reluctant nod. My confidence plummets yet I continue. “Does this like, um... does this give you any sense of satisfaction?”

She looks at me blankly, then she twitches her mouth and cares to ask, “What?”

“You know the singing and everything...” I persist, my voice sounding lame to my own ears.

She looks at me as if she’s ready to burst. “How can I manage to sit still in such a boring lesson?” She rolls her eyes in an over-exaggerated manner. “And anyhow, a teacher that can’t control a class has a problem.” And with that, she resumes the heated discussion I had interrupted.



It seems I’m running a race with the bus. But it arrives and pulls away before I even get to the bus stop. I guess I’ll have to use my feet this time.

Even though there is no appointed time for me to volunteer at the nursing home, I like to catch the residents before supper because otherwise they get too tired. I love seeing their faces light up as I arrive holding my wooden chess game.

I push open the heavy glass doors and inhale the lavender scent that wafts through the air. I walk down the carpeted hallway and enter the dining room.

Mrs. Gelb spots me first and waves wildly in my direction. I meander my way across the room and on my way Mrs. Roth pecks me on my cheek and I cringe (a little). Lady B., as she likes to be called, is seated at her usual spot at the window waiting for someone. She always is, or so it seems. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 697)