| Teen Diary Serial |

Vered’s Story: Chapter 14   

“Well, Libby, how would you feel if your sister married a ger?”



ne sunny morning in 11th grade, we were sitting around during our lunch break talking about shidduchim. A whole bunch of us were participating in the discussion, which veered onto the topic of “the strange people girls sometimes date.”

Tehilla started by saying, “I know someone who went out with a guy who wore a bright orange tie.”

“How about my neighbor; her date ended up being shorter than she was by a good few inches, and she was hearing heels. How awkward!”

Libby giggled and said, “Well, my sister met someone who turned out to be a ger.”

I noticed another classmate, Devory, tense up. Not too many of the girls knew that Devory’s parents had converted before she was born. Devory turned to Libby and said, “Well, Libby, how would you feel if your sister married a ger?”

Libby looked distinctly uncomfortable as she shifted in her seat. “I don’t know,” she said. Most of my classmates didn’t know I was a convert, either. I realized that Devory was testing them to some extent, as I had done. What did these frum girls really feel about converts?

Great. So now I knew that it was some kind of horrible thing to date a ger. But at that very moment I decided that just like I no longer wore only black, or ironed my hair because that was what was “in,” I also didn’t have to worry about how others viewed me. I knew converts were beloved to Hashem. And I knew I was a great person myself, with a strong connection to Hashem. So you don’t want to date me? Alright, there’s clearly someone out there way better for me, someone with less prejudice.

Overall I was happy with myself. I was less self-conscious than I had been in middle school and the early years of high school. By the time 12th grade shabbaton rolled around, I was totally comfortable in my own skin.

In my school, senior year shabbaton was a really big deal. We went to a nice hotel and had a full weekend of activities, starting Thursday night. Everyone was having so much fun, spending time together, eating yummy foods and participating in awesome activities. There was also a strong undercurrent of nostalgia; this was our last shabbaton. By Motzaei Shabbos, I’d come to a decision. I’d been with my classmates for four years now. I trusted them, yet I’d hidden something significant about myself for all this time. Only a small handful of my friends knew, and now, at the end of our time together, I felt that I wanted to tell everyone. To be honest, I also felt curious about how everyone would react. How would they feel? What would they think?

Each grade had its own floor, and on Motzaei Shabbos, my classmates had crashed our floor’s lobby. We all sat around, not wanting to let it end. I decided to make my announcement. I got everyone’s attention and then took a deep breath. “So, there’s something I want to share about myself,” I told them, looking around at the girls with whom I’d spent the last four, very formative years of my life. “I want to share with you all that I am a giyores. I converted when I was little.”

I wasn’t as scared as I’d been other times I’d opened up. My self-confidence was intact. I was secure.

The reactions were mild. A few girls were surprised. Others were impressed. Several had questions. “That’s so cool,” someone said. Overall, they were accepting and positive, without that annoying, dramatic, “Oh my gosh you’re so special….”

It was a good way to end high school, feeling accepted by my classmates, even though they now knew that I, unlike them, had not been born a Jew.

to be continued…


(Originally featured in Teen Pages, Issue 947)

Oops! We could not locate your form.