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Distress Signals

Sarah Porgesz

Thinking back to my first year of marriage, I vaguely remember juggling suppers, laundry, and teaching, all the while getting to know my new husband. But mostly I remember Eli Friedman.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

A few weeks after sheva brachos, I nervously prepared for my new job as an eleventh-grade teacher in a local girls’ high school. Taking attendance that first day, I remember pausing when I came to Leah Friedman.* Something set her apart, a certain flair, a real charisma. I took hold of myself. I was not going to let myself be intimidated by an eleventh-grader.

About five weeks later, Leah approached me at the end of class. She asked if I had some time to talk to her. I arranged to meet her in the library during my free period that day.

As I sat down with her, I made small talk just to break the ice. What could she want to talk to me about, I wondered.

After a few minutes she finally asked, “Mrs. Porgesz, do you know my family?”

“Actually, I got married in the summer and just moved here. I’ve heard about your mother — she’s a party planner, right? And I think I was in camp with your sister Baila?”

Leah was quiet for a minute, then she said, “So I guess from the outside my family looks picture perfect. Right?”


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