| Dream On |

Dream On: Chapter 49 

 “Gitty’s your sister. And I’m your mother. And I’m telling you to make sure to be there”


“Here it is,” ZeeZee said, ushering Chana Malka into Rikki Klein’s building. She saw her niece look up and down the block before walking in; she would have been amused were she not still furious with her.

“Checking to see whether any big, bad Yad b’Yad girls are gonna jump up behind you?” she asked.

Chana Malka blushed, and ZeeZee said, “Don’t worry, they don’t hang out on the sidewalk.” She snickered at the look of relief on Chana Malka’s face and patted her arm. “It’s Rikki’s apartment. That’s their big hangout.”

Chana Malka’s eyes widened. “ZeeZee, you told me there’d be no one…”

“You, my dear niece, need to learn. How. To. Chill.”

Chana Malka’s brow was furrowed anxiously, as if trying to figure out what ZeeZee meant by that, and ZeeZee laughed. “Fourth floor,” she said, gesturing to the stairs. “Start walking.”

She still couldn’t believe she was bringing Chana Malka here. She also couldn’t believe she was actually wasting her time attending her nephew’s upsheren party on Zoom. But her mother had been ridiculously insistent.

“The whole family will be there,” she’d said. “Gitty’s first boy, you know how long she’s been waiting to make an upsheren. How could you not come?”

“I’m surprised you’re not flying us in,” ZeeZee had muttered. She wasn’t feeling particularly Gitty-friendly at the moment.

“Very funny,” her mother had replied. “It’s this Sunday, 8 p.m. Israel time. Make sure to be there.”

“But I have class then! Are you telling me Chana Malka’s going to miss class for this?”

“For her brother? Of course!”

“Well, he’s not my brother.”

That’s when her mother had lost her patience. “Gitty’s your sister. And I’m your mother. And I’m telling you to make sure to be there.”

So here she was, ushering Chana Malka into the Klein house, prepared to spend a scintillating evening smiling and waving to the camera each time someone snipped a hair off Binny’s head. At least they were using Zoom here, and not at Chana Malka’s chesed family. That would’ve been the ultimate in torture, having to listen to how wonderful Chana Malka was in between snips.

But of course, Chana Malka’s chesed family didn’t have Internet; her niece had been horrified by the suggestion.

“No problem,” ZeeZee had said cheerfully. “I’ll ask Rikki Klein. You know, the Yad b’Yad therapist. She’ll be happy to have us.”

Chana Malka’s gurgles of discomfort as she’d tried to ask without asking whether there was any possibility of her encountering off-the-derech girls at the Klein home was the only bright spot in the entire irritating event.

“Thanks again for letting us come,” ZeeZee said as Rikki welcomed them in. “My mother would’ve killed me if I missed this. Oh, this is my niece, Chana Malka.”

“Nice to meet you.” Rikki smiled.

Chana Malka simpered back. “Thanks so much for having us, Mrs. Klein. I really didn’t want to miss my brother’s upsheren. He’s the first boy in my family, and we’re all so excited. Baruch Hashem, my school gave me permission to come tonight,” she added, clearly eager to let Rikki know that she’d never have left without permission.

Rikki caught ZeeZee rolling her eyes, and she winked at her. “And I assume your school gave you permission, huh?”

Reminded once more why she loved Rikki, ZeeZee laughed and gave her a high-five.

Chana Malka was looking at the big picture window in the living room. “Wow, what a gorgeous view!”

ZeeZee walked over to her. “Wanna see Yad b’Yad?” she asked. “It’s right over there.” She pointed to the lighted windows on the next block, all she could see of the center at night, and smirked as she watched Chana Malka strain her neck to try to peer inside those windows. “We could go check it out up close after the upsheren, if you want.”

Chana Malka quickly pulled her head back. “I thought you don’t go there anymore! That’s what my mother said!”

ZeeZee gritted her teeth. Sure, Gitty the snitch would know. “Don’t worry, I’m a good girl,” she said evasively.

Two hours later, the party had ended, and Chana Malka was busy giving very long brachos to every member of her family. ZeeZee wandered into the kitchen, where Rikki was washing dishes. She picked up a towel and began to dry the dishes on the rack.

“Phew, that’s over.”

Rikki threw her a glance. “It’s such a punishment to Zoom into a family party?”

“No, it’s a punishment to spend an evening with Chana Malka. You met her now, you see what I mean.”

Rikki grinned. “I see that you guys are very different. But she’s probably not as bad as you make her seem.” Her eyes twinkled mischievously. “How about I invite her for a Shabbos with you, and then I can give you my professional opinion about your relationship?”

ZeeZee swatted her hand with the dishtowel. “How about you find a new babysitter? You know I’d totally never speak to you again if you did that.”

Rikki laughed, and ZeeZee added, “We spent a Shabbos together at Mrs. Edelman at the beginning of the year, and it was a total disaster.” She shook her head as she remembered sitting at her teacher’s Shabbos table, watching Mrs. Edelman fawn over Chana Malka and go on about how much she’d loved Gitty.

Suddenly, she frowned. That Shabbos… there was something about that Shabbos tickling the edge of her memory.

They washed and dried dishes in silence for a few moments, as ZeeZee tried to remember what it was.

“ZeeZee,” Rikki said slowly. “What did Chana Malka mean when she said she thought you don’t go to Yad b’Yad anymore?”

ZeeZee squeezed the towel in her fist. Thanks, Chana Malka, for messing me up once again. She’d been careful not to let anyone at Yad b’Yad know about her official ban. And apparently, she realized now gratefully, Mrs. Hurwitz hadn’t said anything, either.

“It’s nothing. My seminary’s being stupid,” she muttered. She put the dry plate on the counter. “They hear a label ‘at risk’ and right away say no way, these girls are bad influences. You know how amazing the girls are. I mean, look at Dafna! At Ilana! How she’s working so hard now at this new job, she’s so responsible…”

ZeeZee stopped abruptly, as the memory suddenly clicked. She gasped aloud.

“Devoiry! Ilana’s boss! I know who she is!” She waved the towel in the air, her heart thumping. “She’s Mrs. Edelman’s daughter! She ate a meal with us when we spent Shabbos there!”

Rikki was looking at her oddly, but ZeeZee was too anxious to care. She remembered Devoiry’s panicked reaction to the phone call. Did Mrs. Edelman realize her daughter was getting threatening calls?

She dropped the towel. “I’m sorry, but I need to leave right now. I need to speak to someone urgently.”


Tammy wasn’t surprised to see ZeeZee racing into the dorm a few minutes after curfew, but she was taken aback by her alarmed expression as she ran over to her.

“Mrs. H.,” she said breathlessly. “I need to speak to you. It’s urgent.”

Tammy instantly brought her into a side room and closed the door. “What happened?”

ZeeZee leaned forward. “You know that story I told you, about Ilana’s boss and the phone call? Well, I just figured out that her boss is Mrs. Edelman’s daughter!”

Startled, Tammy spoke without thinking. “Yes, I know.”

ZeeZee’s eyes widened. “You know? How do you know?”

Berating herself, Tammy admitted, “She’s a friend of mine. I’m the one who set Ilana up at her job.”

ZeeZee let out a breath. “So, then, do you know what’s going on? Was the call for real?”

Tammy looked at her. Ever since her conversation with Devoiry, she’d been thinking furiously about what she could do to help. And now she had ZeeZee sitting in front of her, who’d figured out the connection and was anxious to help. Not only that, her family had money. Lots of it.

Tammy traced a circle on the table with her finger. Devoiry clearly wanted to keep this secret; she hadn’t even told her parents. On the other hand, she needed help, badly.

She looked up. “Yes, it was,” she said quietly. “And maybe you’re the right person to help her, so I’m going to tell you what’s going on. But…” She paused. “This has to stay between the two of us.”

to be continued…


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 767)

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