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Normal: Chapter 37      

Had Kayla been expecting to tag along with her today? But… she always spends Purim with her friends



lla’s mishloach manos are packed in Lucite boxes with four custom cupcakes in each, a glass Coke bottle tied with a swath of fabric ribbon. Tzippy’s is an all-green concoction — “everything green I could find in the candy aisle,” in her own words. Shoshana hands out gift bags, every item inside labeled with a little poem to fit her theme. Cool.

Other years, Mimi’s baked something for her friends’ mishloach manos, but life is so busy these days. She’d found a set of mugs with friendship quotes, though, and filled them with chocolate and marshmallows. Comfort food for comfortable friendships, nice, easy, done.

When they finish inspecting each other’s masterpieces, oohing and aahing and thanks soooo much, Mimi and her friends amble over to Tzippy’s place. It’s always busy there, and on Purim, it’s a veritable action station: siblings and cousins and nieces and nephews; Tzippy’s mother’s students and the families belonging to her father’s kollel; music and nosh and friends and neighbors and a wide-open door.

From the kitchen, where they’re helping Tzippy’s mother prepare the seudah, Mimi watches the crowds come and go.

“Now this is Purim,” Ella says.

Mimi thinks of Ella’s house. It had been quiet when they’d met up there, save for the sounds of Juanita vacuuming the upstairs carpets. Ella’s mother was in the kitchen, rearranging a lavish mishloach manos display, and her father, who had spent the night seeing an endless stream of meshulachim and shpielers, hadn’t been around.

Her own house is a happy medium, Ma dispatching kids and deliveries and answering the door, Ta driving carefully planned routes to drop off the many mishloach manos Ma has prepared. And Kayla…

What’s Kayla doing?

Mimi slides the neatly chopped pieces of cucumber into a large salad bowl. Had Kayla been expecting to tag along with her today? But… she always spends Purim with her friends, trading mishloach manos and enjoying the atmosphere.

The doorbell peals.

“Come iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin,” calls Tzippy’s mother, but her voice is lost in the din.

“I’ll get it,” Tzippy says. “But the door’s open, why don’t they just…” Her voice trails off, and faintly, over the music, Mimi hears her say, “Oh! Hi! How are you, Kayla? So sweet of you to come…”

A moment later, Tzippy’s back. Kayla follows, clutching a plastic shopping bag in one hand, and a cellophane-wrapped plate in the other. She looks slightly confused to see the others.

“I didn’t know you’d be here,” she tells Mimi. “Or you, Ella, and you, Shoshana.” She nods at each of them in turn. “But since you are, you’ve saved me time…” she puts Tzippy’s mishloach manos down, and sticks her hand into the plastic bag, pulling out two more, slightly lopsided, arrangements. “I have both of yours here. And Mimi, yours is at home.”

Mimi blinks. “Mine?”

Kayla places her mishloach manos on the table, crushes the empty bag, and pockets it. “Yes. I prepared one for you, but you weren’t home, so I left it on your bed.”

“Oh. Wow. That’s… so sweet of you.” Mimi resists the urge to look closer at what Kayla’s put inside her arrangements. Is that… sunflower seeds? She’s done a health theme? Or is this just Kayla’s idea of nosh?

“Thanks so much, Kayla, so excited to open it,” Ella says sweetly.

“Yeah, they look so nice,” adds Tzippy.

Shoshana smiles and reaches for hers. “Thanks a mill, Kayla.”

Kayla is shifting from foot to foot, as if unsure whether the conversation is over. “Um, so I’ll go home now,” she says, finally.

Tzippy darts a glance at Mimi. “You can stay if you want,” she offers. “We’re just preparing for the seudah…”

Kayla shakes her head. “I told Ma that I would come back to help her when I’m done delivering,” she says.

Mimi feels a tinge of guilt. She should probably offer to help out, too.

“Tell Ma I’m coming soon, okay?” she says.

When Kayla’s gone, the four of them look at each other. Kayla’s offerings sit between them on the table.

“We should’ve given her something back, no?” Tzippy says.

“Yeah. I feel bad.”

“We still can,” Shoshana says practically.

Ella fingers the curling end of a ribbon. “I don’t have any left. I ordered the exact amount.”

Tzippy runs upstairs and comes back down with a motley collection of green Laffy Taffies and other nosh.

“Kayla won’t touch any of that,” Mimi informs her.

“I can add a green apple, maybe.”

“Hey,” Ella says. “Maybe we should just make one big mishloach manos, from the four of us? I’m sure there’s spare stuff somewhere in my house. We can make it big and nice.”

“Oooh, smart.”

“Great idea.”

Mimi and the others abandon the salad, wish Tzippy’s mother a freilichen Purim, and head over to Ella’s. Tzippy insists on bringing along her bag of green nosh, and Ella finds a nice plastic tray to use as a base.

“I’ll put in health bars, she’ll like that, no?” she asks Mimi.


The four of them troop over to Mimi’s, an oversized arrangement in Ella’s hands.

“Kayla will love it,” Tzippy says. “Right?”

“For sure,” Shoshana agrees. “What’s not to love?”

“Laffy Taffies,” Ella says from behind the giant bow.

Everyone laughs.

Mimi opens the door. “Hi Ma, I’m here with my friends. Is Kayla around?”

Ma steps out of the kitchen, Kayla just behind her.

“Hi, girls — wow, what’s that?” she says, looking from Mimi to her friends.

Ella holds it out. “For Kayla. From all of us.”

Ma’s eyes widen. Kayla looks dazed.

“That’s — for me?” She steps forward, fingers the cellophane. “It’s so big.”

“For a big simchas Purim,” Tzippy says cheerfully. “And thanks for being such a good friend.”

The silence in the hallway is both awkward and beautiful.

Kayla breaks out into the hugest smile.

“You’re good friends, too,” she says.

Kayla Weiss, mishloach manos inventory

03/17/2022, 8:12pm


  • Chana Pearlman (for GO event). Used “art” theme with paintbrushes in a bag together with nosh.
  • Mimi, Tzippy, Shoshana, and Ella. Prepared plates of nosh. Ma suggested wrapping in cellophane and offered to do this for me.
  • Raizy and Mali, since Mrs. Klar said that mishloach manos should not be only given to friends, but to those with whom one has disagreements. Prepared plates as above, but with less food because of budgetary constraints.


  • Malky Rand, tenth grade, at GO event. She made a giant study timetable and nosh stuck inside every square. I told her that the idea was appropriate but I do not eat overly sugary foods.
  • Mimi and her friends delivered a large mishloach manos together. I don’t know why they didn’t give it to me when I came to Tzippy’s house. (Maybe they wanted to keep it a surprise?)


(Originally featured in Teen Pages, Issue 926)

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