| Double Take |

Be My Guest

Would it be so bad to miss this? Shulamis Greenman had plenty of friends; this was probably one of those events where she’d invited me out of politeness

Rebbetzin Weinberg: I try my best, but the community’s expectations aren’t realistic.
Shulamis: Your presence would have added so much to our simchah. Couldn’t you have made it?



People take family for granted.

That’s the first thing I learned when I began planning our first major simchah in the family — my son’s bar mitzvah.

Heshy’s our only son, among five girls, and I was going all out — the next simchah in the family would probably be my daughter Chani’s chasunah, and she was only 16. I reserved the nicest hall in town, booked a well-known orchestra, and splurged on a new sheitel for myself. Yes, it was expensive, but baruch Hashem, Nachum’s business was doing well, and what was money for anyway if not to use for occasions like this?

When we got to the invitation lists, though, my excitement tapered off.

“My parents are going to come, of course, and your mother,” I told my husband, frowning over the lists. “But so far, none of our siblings has confirmed that they’ll make it.”

It was understandable — even if it hurt a little. Heshy’s birthday was between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, a hectic time. We lived pretty far from our families. Some of Nachum’s siblings lived in Israel, and my sister Etty was due right then, so all of those were out of the question.

“Dini and Menachem aren’t coming?” Nachum asked. His oldest sister and her husband rarely missed a family simchah.

“I’m not sure,” I told him. “They want to come, but I think she’s a little overwhelmed, she’s making a chasunah in Elul, remember? Could be Menachem will come alone.”

“I’m sure everyone is doing their best,” Nachum said.

“I know that. I’m not upset with them, it’s just — you know, the whole situation. It’s a shame not to have people there.”

“It’s not as if the hall will be empty, you know.” Nachum grinned. “I mean, you must have invited the entire community, plus everyone from work, plus your old seminary friends, and, oh, you didn’t forget your first grade morah, did you?”

“Ha, ha.” Despite myself, I smiled. “Yeah, it’s true, we did invite a lot of people. And it will be nice. I’m just—you know, family is family.”

Still, my spirits lifted a little after that conversation. While we’d been living far from family for all these years, we’d developed very close connections with many people in the community. I was close to my neighbors and had friends who were surrogate sisters. And surely there’d be a nice turnout on the other side of the mechitzah; Nachum had his business associates and he was very active in the shul, assisting with arranging shiurim and making generous yearly donations.

As replies trickled in, I was gratified to see that many of our friends and relatives planned to try to come, although it was still less than I’d imagined. Some of it had to do with the date — many of the community members would be going away already for Succos. Others just couldn’t make it for various reasons.

It is what it is, I told myself, and resolutely turned my attention to the million other details that needed to be taken care of before the big event.


ven with all my advance planning, the day of the bar mitzvah seemed to come in a hurry. I caught my breath as we left for the hall. Heshy looked so young and so mature all at once, in his brand-new suit and hat. The girls pranced around in their professional hairdos and makeup, and I was happy I’d invested in a new sheitel for the occasion. This was the simchah I’d been awaiting for so long, and having everything just perfect was a big deal to me.

We showed up at the hall early, and I felt my heart soar and sink simultaneously. The décor was magnificent, and everything looked even better than I’d thought it would. But the hall was huge, the tables were so spread out, and it looked kind of… empty.

“Don’t worry. Everyone will appreciate the space,” Nachum told me. But I was worried. I still wasn’t sure if some of my friends were going to make it, and I’d left a couple empty places at each table just to be on the safe side. It would look so pathetic if hardly anyone showed up.

I didn’t have much time to worry, though. Soon we were busy with pictures, then the guests started trickling in. I sat at the head table with my mother and mother-in-law, with one more seat reserved for the rebbetzin of our shul. Looking over toward the men’s head table, I noticed that the Rav was already there. Maybe the Rebbetzin would be coming a little later.

The waiters served the first course. The orchestra played beautifully, and I watched the tables with an anxious eye. They were half-full… some friends, some family, one of my sisters who’d made it for the evening. I hadn’t realized how many of our friends and acquaintances would just come, wish mazel tov, and leave again. I guess it really was a crazy time of year.

“Next time a friend makes a simchah,” I told my mother between speeches, “I’m really going to try and stay for the whole thing.”

The men’s side definitely fared better overall, and Heshy looked overjoyed, but it was hard for me to watch as friend after friend bentshed after the first course and made their way over to say mazel tov and apologize that they had to leave already. Not to mention that most of my friends had large extended families attending their simchahs, while we had grandparents, one aunt, and a couple of uncles.

I’d been planning this event for months, looking forward to finally hosting a simchah of our own, but sitting now at the head table, I felt strangely empty.


hulamis, who is this seat for?” my mother-in-law asked, leaning over toward me and indicating the empty spot beside her.

“It’s for the rebbetzin of our shul,” I said. “She should be coming. I don’t know where she is.”

I frowned briefly. I didn’t have much of a personal connection to Rebbetzin Weinberg, but we were very committed members of the shul, and my husband was close with the Rav. The Rebbetzin attended all the community simchahs — it was strange that she hadn’t arrived yet.

But the evening drew to a close, and her place was still empty.

“I guess she had some sort of emergency,” I said.

There was a bitter taste in my mouth. So many empty places, so many wasted portions. I’d worked so hard to create a memorable event, and so few people had been there to appreciate it.

“Ma, wasn’t it amazing?” Heshy bounded over, glowing with excitement. “I got so many presents! And—”

“You spoke beautifully, Heshy,” my mother said, unwittingly saving me from having to respond.

I was happy that Heshy was happy — of course I was — but for me, it hadn’t been amazing at all.


uch later that night, when the kids were finally sleeping, Nachum and I sat down to exchange impressions.

“You enjoyed?” he asked me.

“It was nice, I guess,” I said noncommittally. I couldn’t muster up another smile.

He frowned. “What happened?”

“There wasn’t such a great turnout on the women’s side. And Rebbetzin Weinberg didn’t show up. Isn’t that strange?”

“I don’t know. She RSVP’d that she was coming?”

“No, but it’s obvious, the Rav and Rebbetzin come to every community simchah. Don’t they?”

Nachum thought for a moment. “I guess so. I mean, the Rav does, but I don’t know about the Rebbetzin.”

I took a sip of raspberry tea. Too hot. I put the mug down. “It was just… embarrassing. The tables were so empty, and then there was the Rebbetzin’s empty seat as well… and we’re committed members of the shul. I don’t understand why she didn’t come.”

I thought of the time when the shul was struggling to finance unexpected building repairs, and Nachum had stepped in to fundraise, donating a nice amount to the fund himself. I thought of how Nachum schlepped out after a long day to attend the Rav’s weekly shiur, “because he’s the rav of our shul.” I thought of how I made an effort to help out with Neshei events and join community chesed initiatives. We gave so much to the shul. Now when we were finally making a special simchah, couldn’t the Rav and Rebbetzin participate?


habbos morning, I walked with my daughters to shul. My mother came along — Nachum’s mother had gone for the beginning of davening already. On my way inside, I stopped at the social hall to check on the kiddush — the party planner had done a fabulous job, everything looked beautiful. But somehow, the excitement had fizzled away already.

Heshy leined loudly and clearly, and the Rebbetzin came over to wish me a warm mazel tov. I tried to smile back.

At the kiddush, I began to feel better. There was a nice turnout, more than I’d expected for a Shabbos morning. Some of my friends, who weren’t members of the shul, stopped in as well.

“I’m so sorry I couldn’t come to the seudah,” my friend Susie apologized. “It was my niece’s vort, you heard that she got engaged? Riva?”

“Yes, I heard, it’s so nice, no?” Riva Rosen’s parents, Susie’s brother and his wife, were members of our shul. “Of course you had to go there. Family comes first.”

“Yes. I guess a lot of shul members were doubling up, going to both simchahs. I saw your rebbetzin there. We chatted for a few minutes… she’s so sweet.”

Rebbetzin Weinberg had gone to the Rosen vort? So there wasn’t a big emergency then. Why hadn’t she been able to join our simchah, too?

A sach nachas, Shulamis, what a special simchah,” the Rebbetzin herself said at that moment, pressing my hand as she came forward. I waited for her to say something else… apologize for missing the seudah? Explain? But she just smiled again, said a hearty Good Shabbos, and turned to someone else in the crowd.

“It’s amazing, she really makes herself a part of every simchah,” Susie said.

A few of the women around nodded. “When I made a bris, she was there, never mind that it was early in the morning on a school day,” Chava Muller shared.

“Right. And she has bar mitzvahs and weddings almost every night.”

“I guess it’s part of her job,” someone else said. “But she does it with such enthusiasm, you’d think each simchah was the only one.”

Bitterness rose in my throat. Not every single simchah, I wanted to say. She didn’t attend mine.


hen I was still harping on it two weeks later, Nachum offered to say something.

“I’ll speak to the Rav. There must be an explanation, something. You can’t go on like this, feeling so hurt. At least she should apologize or explain.”

“Are you kidding? I’m so embarrassed.” I protested. “Don’t say anything. What’s happened, happened.” I tried and failed to sound like I was really over the hurt.

“But you’re still upset,” Nachum persisted.

“I’ll get over it.”

I meant it. I wanted to. But somehow, even as time went on, I couldn’t look at the Rebbetzin in the same way anymore.

If I could tell Rebbetzin Weinberg one thing, it would be: The community is our family, and our bar mitzvah was a once-in-a-lifetime event for us. Couldn’t you have made the effort to attend, like you attend all the other community simchahs?



Rebbetzin Weinberg

There are so many things I love about being the rebbetzin of a shul. The community. The opportunity to get to know so many people, the opportunity to help others in so many ways. And of course, it means so much to me to support my husband’s dream of becoming a shul rav.

If there was one thing that I wish I could change about the position, though, it would be the expectations.

Here’s what people don’t seem to understand about being a rebbetzin: It’s not a job. It’s simply the title I received when the shul hired my husband as rav. I’m not employed by the shul; I don’t have a job description or list of duties. And yet, somehow there are so many unspoken expectations of what I’m supposed to do and be.

Like attending shul on Shabbos morning, like giving the opening speech at each Neshei event, and like attending every community simchah.

Let me make it clear: There’s nothing that I mind about any of those things. It’s beautiful to go to shul, and I enjoy hearing my husband speak. I don’t mind standing up and sharing a few words of inspiration at events. And attending simchahs is a wonderful thing.

It’s the pressure, the expectations, that kill the experience.


here’s no such thing as just staying home on Shabbos morning because we have a lot of guests, or because I have a big meal coming up, or (gasp!) I just want to relax at home after a long week. And there’s no such thing as attending an event as a spectator, on the sidelines, free to come a little late or choose a seat at the back to stay unobtrusive. Nope, I’ve got to get up there with my notes, looking perky and fresh no matter how hectic the house was today (and how many children are still running around awake at home), deliver my speech, and then stay to schmooze with everyone. I love the women of the community and enjoy socializing as much as anyone, but it’s not so simple when you’re the rebbetzin: There’s the pressure of everyone watching you, and you have to make sure not to inadvertently offend anyone by not greeting them…

And then there’s showing up at simchahs. A parshah all its own.

I’m all for attending simchahs. It’s a chance to be mesameiach the baalei simchah and catch up with so many people, all at the same time. But attending simchahs also means hectic evenings, late nights, and being out of the house for many hours at a time while my kids fend for themselves.

For most people, I guess, simchahs are an occasional thing, so they can work their schedule around them. But for a shul rav — and by extension, rebbetzin — they can be a nightly event. And then there are the nights with two or three or even four different simchahs, functions, and events. At different locations, with different crowds.

It’s a juggling act. And as much as I enjoy being there for the community, it can be hard to look at the calendar and realize that every single night of the week is going to be one of those hectic greet-kids-feed-kids-get-dressed-makeup-dash-out marathons. Then I arrive home late at night, exhausted, collapse into bed while ignoring the dishes in the sink and the mess on the floor — and then do the whole thing all over again the next night, and the next.


hat makes matters worse is that sometimes, I’m not even certain the baalas hasimchah noticed or cared that I came.

I’ve attended chasunahs where my place card was just not there. Or gone over to the baalas hasimchah to wish mazel tov only to receive a distracted air kiss, as she reached out to hug the person behind me. Times like those leave me wondering whether they even meant to invite me at all, or if the “and Rebbetzin” was just a polite addendum on my husband’s invitation.

Like the time that I left my house in shambles and my teens moaning how I’m never home in the evenings, to attend a shul member’s seudas hoda’ah. I’d arrived to find the entire event set up for men only, with a small, intimate table for the women of the immediate family only, behind a small mechitzah. There were exactly five chairs, and five women. They clearly hadn’t been expecting me at all.

Of course, someone ran to get a chair, and they squeezed me in, but I spent the whole evening feeling so awkward. I stayed for an hour, unable to leave such a small gathering unobtrusively, feeling embarrassed and frustrated that I’d left my kids for an event where I wasn’t needed at all. But of course, I kept my turmoil firmly contained inside, plastering a smile on my face and pretending I was enjoying every minute.

Of course, at other events I see just how much my presence matters to people. Some people view it as a status symbol to have the Rebbetzin take the time to attend their simchahs. What I wish they would understand is that I’m just one person. One person who gets invited to every single school, shul, fundraiser event that ever happens in the community. And it’s simply impossible to do everything.

And then there are the sadder responsibilities like attending levayahs and making shivah calls, which are intense and draining. As the shul rebbetzin, I can’t possibly not be there for a shul member who is sitting shivah. But like many people, I find shivah visits hard, and being the rav’s wife doesn’t make it any easier.

I don’t want to complain, though; this is part and parcel of the life that we chose. I just want to give some background to the Greenman story.


hulamis Greenman was making a bar mitzvah at one of the busiest times of year: right between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Elul had been a marathon: kids starting school, getting ready for Yom Tov in the shul and at home, and many, many simchahs in the community. When I received the Greenman invitation, I immediately marked it down on the calendar and highlighted it in orange — that was code for “community simchah, important.” (Family was in pink, friends/acquaintances in yellow. On nights when I couldn’t possibly do everything, at least I could see clearly where to prioritize. Family always came first, community next, and my own friends and acquaintances already knew that most of the time, I couldn’t make it to their simchahs…)

There was another orange-highlighted note in the same calendar square. Gluck bas mitzvah — challah bake. Oh, wow, I’d agreed to speak there. Okay, Gluck first, Greenman second, I could handle this. Even on a Thursday night, right in the middle of Yom Tov season.

Wednesday evening I gave a shiur for the Neshei, and Thursday would be busy too. I worked mornings, so that left me only the afternoon to try do everything that I could to prepare for Shabbos already, being that the evening would be a marathon of attending two simchahs at two different ends of town. And the next morning was my last chance to be menachem avel Mrs. Wasserheim, who had lost her husband. I’d attended the levayah, of course, but I knew I had to go sit with her, pay my respects in person. And I also knew that Mrs. Wasserheim would want to talk — for a while. I’d have to set aside an hour for the shivah call, plus the ten-minute drive each way — wait, twenty if there was traffic, and of course there would be traffic in that area on a Friday morning.

I got home from work Thursday thinking of the busy Erev Shabbos ahead minus close to two hours for the shivah visit, factoring in some residual tiredness from the late night out at simchahs — I was feeling exhausted already.

But Shabbos had to be made.


was putting up a challah dough when my phone rang. I ignored it — my hands were covered in dough, and I still wanted to get the chicken and kugels done before the kids came home. It stopped ringing, and immediately started up again.

Rosen, Riva.


I washed my hands, and dashed to answer. Riva Rosen was a lovely girl, always in shul, always with a smile. She’d been in shidduchim for several years, and recently I’d been involved in something on her behalf, trying to help push a promising suggestion forward. Could this be…?

“Rebbetzin Weinberg, I’m engaged!” Riva sounded like she was laughing and crying all at once. “I can’t believe it. It happened so fast. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your help!”

“It’s my pleasure, Riva, it was really nothing. Yeshuas Hashem k’heref ayin! I’m so, so excited for you,” I told her warmly.

“We’re making the l’chayim and vort together, at my parents’ house, tonight at eight,” Riva babbled on, delirious with joy. “I just can’t believe it’s really happening. I know it’s a Thursday night, but I wanted to invite you to the simchah, if you could make it…”

“Of course I’ll be there,” I assured Riva. Besides for the fact that it was a community simchah, I had a close kesher with Riva and with her parents. No question that I would be attending the vort.

…In between the Gluck bas mitzvah and the Greenman bar mitzvah, I supposed.

I hung up the phone and massaged my forehead. When, where, how was I supposed to do it all?

“Okay, let’s do this,” I said aloud. “Chicken, kugel, braid the challahs. Kids, supper, homework. Get dressed up, go to the Glucks at 8, then to the vort at 8:45 or 9, then to the bar mitzvah seudah after that…”

Just the thought of all that driving and rushing around, and the inevitable late night, was giving me a pounding headache.


called Avraham. He was in the shul, between meetings.

“Everything okay?” he asked, concerned. I rarely disturbed him in the afternoons.

“Yeah… I’m just a little… overwhelmed.” I told him about the Rosen simchah, and the busy evening ahead of us. He had it easier — no bas mitzvah to attend. He could go to the vort, and straight onto the bar mitzvah.

“I just don’t know how I’m going to do it. On a Thursday night!” I sighed. “There’s just so much to do…” I looked around the kitchen. I had barely made a dent in the Shabbos cooking and cleanup; forget about getting started with Succos.

“Do you really have to go to all three simchahs?” Avraham asked, practically.

“The vort — for sure. Riva called me up herself, and she deserves to have a well-attended simchah, after waiting all this time. And I agreed to speak at the bas mitzvah. Greenman bar mitzvah… I’m not sure.”

Shulamis Greenman was a sweet woman who came to shul on occasion. I’d never spoken to her much, but she was active in the Neshei, and her husband had a close connection with mine.

“I’ll be at the Greenman bar mitzvah. Do you think that’s enough?”

I wondered whether Shulamis Greenman would even notice if I was there or not.

“Maybe,” I said. “I guess I’ll see how the evening is going.”

I didn’t like skipping anyone’s simchah — it went against the policy I’d made for myself to try be there for every community member — but maybe just this once I’d have to break the rule. Unless, somehow, the Shabbos food prepared itself, the other two events were quick and easy, and I’d be able to get to the bar mitzvah without feeling like my head was going to split apart.

With that decision made, I went back to the Shabbos cooking. I was sliding the last tray of challahs into the oven just as my youngest daughter walked in.


i, sweetie, how was your day?”

Rusi pouted. “Horrible. I got the worst grade ever. No one ever helps me with my homework and it’s not my fault that I get such bad marks!” She tossed her bag on the floor and made a beeline for the cookie jar.

I waited until she’d had a bite to eat, and then gently reminded her to put her bag away. “And I’m sorry you had a hard time with your homework, sweetie. Which teacher was this for?”

“Mrs. Weiss. Her homework is always impossible! And we have more to do tonight, for next week. Can you help me with it?”

“Tonight?” Oh, no. “Tonight, I need to go out, sweetie. But you know what? Maybe Tatty will have some time tomorrow afternoon to go through it with you. Should I ask him?”

Her lip quivered. “You’re always out in the evening! And Tatty never has time. I’m gonna get a terrible mark again. I knew it!”

“Sweetie…” I reached out to give her a hug. “Listen, tonight it’s extra busy, but you said the homework is for next week, right? So bli neder, if Tatty can’t help you tonight, I’ll do it with you on Motzaei Shabbos, okay?”

She looked somewhat mollified. I sent up a silent tefillah that Avraham would have the time to help her on Friday — because I definitely wouldn’t. And Motzaei Shabbos was always so hectic.


he evening, for all my worries, started off pretty smoothly. I got to the bas mitzvah on time, my speech was only 20 minutes later than planned, and I was able to gracefully wish mazel tov and leave right afterwards. Back in the car, I made the 15-minute drive to the Rosens’ and headed inside to wish Riva and her parents mazel tov.

It was packed in there. Friends of Riva, of her parents, of the chassan; family from both sides, community members, Riva’s father’s business associates… the place was stuffed to the gills, and it took a few minutes before I even got into the room where the kallah and her mother were greeting people.

“Rebbetzin Weinberg, it’s good to see you here!” Susie Felder greeted me.

I nodded and schmoozed for a few minutes — she wasn’t a member of the shul but I’d gotten to know her and I didn’t want to hurt her feelings.

“Rebbetzin, it’s such Hashgachah I bumped into you. I’ve been meaning to ask you…”

Someone else tapped me on the shoulder. Uh-oh. I knew that tone.

“Chava, it’s great to see you. How about you give me a call on my cell and we can talk properly?” I motioned to the crowds.

“Oh, but this will literally only take a minute,” Chava said, looking crestfallen. “It’s just about an idea that I had, for the Neshei winter program…”

Winter program? Couldn’t we make it through Yom Tov first? Better yet, couldn’t we make it through tonight?

When I didn’t answer immediately, Chava launched into a long explanation of her idea — something about a rotation of women, a chaburah in someone’s house, everyone getting a chance to prepare and speak. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the people around Riva’s mother shifting, leaving me a clear path to the hostess.

“Chava, it sounds wonderful, let’s speak about it in more detail after Yom Tov, okay?” I said hurriedly.

“Okay, sure. Really, really nice to see you, Rebbetzin.” She squeezed my hand. I nodded, smiled, and tried to step away, but it was too late — another group of women pressed forward in front of me. Great.

I got to wish mazel tov to Riva and her mother — eventually. By the time I extricated myself once again from the crowds, it was after 9:30 p.m. Seeing Riva’s shining face had been worth it, of course, but now…


he Greenman bar mitzvah wasn’t close by. It was at the other end of town, in some fancy hall that had far too little parking. I’d get there after 10, and once I arrived, I’d have to stay a while — it would look rude to come in and go again. And I wasn’t finished cooking, and I needed to finish up tonight if I’d be dashing out tomorrow to visit Mrs. Wasserheim…

I sighed. Would it be so bad to miss this? Shulamis Greenman had plenty of friends; this was probably one of those events where she’d invited me out of politeness. I didn’t have any energy to go and smile and schmooze with the great-aunts who I’d never met.

Besides, Avraham was going. They’d have the Rav there, and they’d be making a kiddush in shul on Shabbos as well. I’d be there, of course.

I checked my phone, and saw that my kids had been calling. This wasn’t fair to them either. I thought of Rusi’s sad face as she told me about the homework assignment she’d failed. If I drove home right now, maybe I could get enough done that I’d have time to help her with it tomorrow, even if Avraham couldn’t.

Home was five minutes away. The bar mitzvah was a half-hour drive, plus the time I’d have to spend there, plus the drive home. I shook my head. I would have loved to attend, to be there like I try to be there for every community member when they make a simchah, but tonight, the choice was obvious.


didn’t think about the Greenman bar mitzvah again until Avraham brought up the subject, a full three weeks later. Yom Tov was over, I was starting to breathe a little easier, and the only thing on my to-do list that evening was to return Chava Berger’s calls about the Neshei programming. Wow.

“I wanted to ask you, Bluma,” Avraham said, between spoonfuls of soup. “That bar mitzvah before Yom Kippur, Greenmans’? You didn’t end up going, right?”

The Greenman bar mitzvah, that was a vague memory by now. “No, I think it was the same night as the Rosen vort? And something else. Right, the bas mitzvah. I remember, I got out of the vort so late, it just wasn’t worth the drive all the way…”

“Ahh.” Avraham cleared his throat. “I thought it was something like that.”

I frowned. “Why? Did someone say something to you?” It was almost a month ago, why was he bringing it up now?

Avraham sighed. “Sort of. I mean, yes, technically, he did. Nachum Greenman… he spoke to me today, said his wife had been hurt. Apparently, they didn’t have so many people at the bar mitzvah and she’d been expecting you to come…”

Oh, no. “I feel terrible,” I said. “Especially because she’s still thinking about it now… I wish I could just explain that it simply wasn’t possible.”

“Did you think it would mean so much to her, having you there? Is she that type, you know, to notice these things?”

I thought about Shulamis Greenman. She was popular, had lots of friends, never really initiated conversations with me. She wasn’t one of those calling for chinuch advice or approaching me after a Neshei event.

“No,” I said. “Honestly, I didn’t think she’d notice whether I was there or not. I thought it was a politeness invite, you know? Still, I would have gone — it just ended up getting so, so late…”

I remembered that evening, how overwhelmed I’d felt with all the social obligations that kind of fell on me due to my husband’s position. I wished that Shulamis would have said something directly, that I could explain myself. This was so… awkward.

“What did you tell him?” I asked Avraham.

“Well, I suggested that his wife speak to you directly. I even asked if it’s better if you call her, but he was adamant that it shouldn’t get back to her that he mentioned it,” Avraham said, spreading out his hands. “I think he just wanted to make a point. Like, that we should know that people notice and care whether you come or not…”

Some people notice and care,” I said, shaking my head. “And some people don’t. And that’s why I try to attend everything. But sometimes, it simply isn’t possible.”

If I could tell Shulamis one thing, it would be: I try my best to attend every simchah, but I have human limitations — and the expectations of my unofficial role in the community are simply too high. 


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 933)

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