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SisterSchmooze: Fifty, and Counting

The number of things we count is… countless. Sheep before going to sleep. Fingers and toes on a newborn. Seconds until blastoff. Years since graduating high school.


On a whim, we Sisters decided to count how many Schmoozes we’ve written. We discovered that we’d reached a very round number: 50!

This will be the fiftieth time we’re sharing our thoughts and dreams and fears, our frequent laughs and occasional tears, with de gantze mishpuchah of Mishpacha readers. So for this Schmooze we decided to take this “golden” 50th opportunity to share some numbers with you. A grade that mysteriously lost 20 points. An encounter with a 24-year-old self. And the number seven, so precious to every Jew.

There’s one more uncountable thing we try to count: our blessings. At this milestone Schmooze, we want to acknowledge the blessing of family and friends who are at the center of our lives and Schmoozes, the blessing of a caring editor and supportive staff, and of course the blessing of our faithful readers.

All the things that the SisterSchmoozers can always count on.

Emmy Leah chills out over…

The Snowflake Generation. It’s a not-very-flattering term for today’s college students who insist that, like a snowflake, each one is unique — and fragile. Snowflake describes a generation apt to melt away at the least suggestion of criticism.

Whether or not it’s a fair description of Millennials, I can’t help thinking about Snowflakes, their Self-Esteem, their Safe Spaces, their Trigger Warnings, as I remember an encounter I had as a graduate student. That incident also left me feeling like a Snowflake… one that had been knocked over by a powerful, oversized snowblower.

Seventy-two. I looked again, but there it was, in bold red ink: 72.

I had just received a grade of 72 on a paper about Jane Austen.

It must be a mistake. Perhaps it was 72 out of 80? No, that didn’t make sense.

The professor specialized in 18th-century literature. Had numbers somehow changed their values since then?

Hey, I wasn’t an economics major, but c’mon.

So maybe I wasn’t reading the number right. Might I have mistaken a 7 for a 9? Nice try, but no. Look at it any which way, it remained… 72.

Now, I generally got good grades on my graduate school papers, but it was certainly possible that I messed one up. Yet what baffled — and enraged — me as I looked at that 72 were the professor’s comments interspersed throughout the paper, and her final remarks at the end. Comments like, “insightful,” “well-written,” “a thoughtful and convincing analysis…”

Was this professor just lousy in math, or had she stumbled in her use of the English language? If the words said the paper was that good, why was the number grade so bad?

I met with the professor after class, and she explained it to me.

Commas. Several times I had placed commas before dependent clauses.

I’d lost 20 points on a graduate school paper, because of a consistent comma error.

Forgive the extra punctuation here, but had this professor lost her mind completely?????

(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 618)


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