THE BALTIMORE JEWISH HOME FEBRUARY 22, 2018
Mrs. Greenstone?” Mrs. Greenstone sighed. “I just think it’s too good an opportunity to pass up. You inspire me, Avigail, and I want the school to gain from hearing you speak.” “You’re very kind, Mrs. Greenstone.” “So you won’t speak to them?” I hesitated, then said, “I’ll ask my husband what he thinks.” Mrs. Greenstone smiled. “That’s a half-yes.” To my dismay, when I asked Raphael what he thought he seemed to like the idea. “The other school never asked you to do that,” he commented as we sat down to eat dinner. “I think it was too close to the accident – they didn’t want to probe what could be a sensitive area.” “That makes sense.” Raphael generously doused hot sauce on his chicken. I pretended not to notice. I couldn’t stand the stuff. “What are you worried about, Avigail? If you freely admit to them that you aren’t perfect in this area, what’s the problem?” I speared a chicken chunk and moved it around my plate. “I’m not
a public speaker, Raphael.” “You’re a teacher. It’s practically the same thing.” I sighed. “Maybe I don’t like the idea of talking about it?” “You shared it quite freely with my grandmother.” “Oh, come on, Raphael. That’s completely different.” I tapped my fingers against my cup. “No one’s forcing you,” Raphael pointed out. “If you don’t want to, just say no.” I threw up my hands. “But then I’ll feel guilty!” Raphael gave me a look. “Avigail, the choice is up to you. If it goes badly, your students won’t think any less of you for it.” “Alright, fine! I’ll do it!” “Good. Now you can finally eat.” When I told Mrs. Greenstone, she was thrilled. “How about this Friday after davening? We’ll bring all the girls into the auditorium.” I felt a little sick at the thought. After all, teaching a class of twenty is a lot different than hundreds of girls. But Raphael was right. What could go wrong? That Thursday night Raizy came
B A LT I M O R E J E W I S H H O M E . C O M
“Alright, Avigail. We’re halfway through the school year. How’s it going for you?” I was in Mrs. Greenstone’s office, facing the principal’s straight gaze. She waited patiently for my answer, hands folded together on the desk. I fiddled with my rings. “Very well, Mrs. Greenstone. The girls are wonderful, and I’m enjoying working with the staff.” “Good. How’s it working out with Raizy Weiss?” “Baruch Hashem, she’s doing really well,” I said enthusiastically. “She’s such a smart girl, and now she’s finally showing it in her tests. She told me that she’s also doing better in her other subjects as well.” Mrs. Greenstone smiled. “That’s relieving to hear. Her sister’s wedding is soon, isn’t it?” “Yes, next week.” I’d heard all about the gown-drama and other wedding topics during our study sessions. After Raizy heard that her sister would be living a few blocks away, she’d felt a lot happier about the upcoming marriage.
“And handling three classes at once is working out?” “Yes. I believe I could take another one on in the future.” Mrs. Greenstone made a note on one of the many sticky notes scattered between papers and pamphlets. “That’s good to know.” She looked back up at me, a sheepish grin on her face. It surprised me. Mrs. Greenstone tended to be more direct than sheepish. “I don’t suppose you’ve reconsidered my suggestion I gave at your interview?” I coughed. “You mean the one where I tell all the girls what it means to have trust in Hashem because He does everything for the good?” I wanted to laugh at myself. It was something I’d been struggling with for so long. “Mrs. Greenstone, I don’t want to be hypocritical. I don’t feel comfortable talking to them about this.” Mrs. Greenstone nodded. “And if you simply shared the struggle with them? And let them come to their own conclusions?” I hesitated. “Is there a reason you want me to speak to them so badly,
Baltimore Jewish Home - 2-22-18