Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Penitent One

Years ago when I started my blog in 2004, I referred to this youngest daughter of mine as "the Criminal" one. Why? She was always getting herself into some kind of trouble. It started in elementary school when she didn't feel like sitting in class and would wander around the hallways just chatting up everyone from teachers to students on their way to class, to the bathroom, to the office, etc. Then she acted out inappropriately during a memorial day service assembly, laughing and jumping around with her friends. The summer she barely graduated elementary school she stole money from the charity boxes at the pizza shop, went to a dormitory school in the Fall and hitchhiked all over the country at 13.

One day her friend's mother accused her of stealing 500 shekels from their house. My daughter denied it and then threatened in Hebrew,

"I know people from the Olam Hatachton (the underworld)."

The woman responded, "I also know people from Olam Hatachton."

Now listening to this conversation, the only Olam Hatachton I knew about was the lingerie store in the local mall called Olam Hatachton, and I wondered why are they bragging that they know people from the lingerie store, until it dawned on me hours later that it was the real Underworld, the Israeli Mafia, from where both bragged they knew people.

Then there was the time the daughter tried to get into Teddy Stadium to watch a football match. She had a penknife on her because she had hitchhiked into Jerusalem, but they caught her at the entrance with the weapon and opened up a serious police file on her. Not to mention the joint she gave her friend over a year and a half ago, which brought on yet another police file.

So, I really should have been relieved when she told me a few weeks ago that she was "learning" every night in the Bukharian Quarter with a woman called Vered, who teaches other young girls like her about Judaism. Religious Judaism. Ultra-Orthodox Judaism. These past few weeks, I would see her reading Psalms and reciting Grace After Meals and blessings before food.

This weekend she was spending, not at her boyfriend's place as she had always done, but at a girls' seminary in the Ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Har Nof in Jerusalem.

"Where and what is this place?" I asked her, a bit concerned. She seems to be delving into religion at 300 miles per hour. She told me where it was, and I googled it, only to find nice things said about the place by girls who had been there. I was looking to see whether it was attached to any scandalous religous cults like the Jewish Taliban women, or the Megirot lady who spiritually unclutters everyone's life - but some weird stuff was written about her, and I didn't want her associated with any of these people.

And she's into Breslov Chassidim too - the crazy ones who dance around downtown to holy reggae music in their white caps, who are always happy no matter what.

So - where we used to always admonish her for all the infractions she had acquired, I wonder whether she'll be admonishing Hubby and I pretty soon for all the infractions we are doing in living our semi-secular lifestyle.


Anonymous said...

that will be interesting :>)but to keep her in line, you can softly remind her: what about respect for your parents?


Gesunde Ernährung said...

Wheww. I thought your child is still acting like what she was before. At least for now, she is changing, and I hope its for the better. It's really not easy to understand her attitude. Growing up, has its ups and downs and I know you will always be there for her, guiding her to the correct path. I salute your for your understanding.

rabbi lars shalom said...

thats sweet!! will she keep to religion and get out of the army, or do both?

jerusalemgypsy said...

Actually Rabbi Lars, the army doesn't want her. So she chose God instead....

Rabbi Lars Shalom said...

this is interesting conspiracy stoof;

Anonymous said...

oh beautiful beautiful penitent!!

Anna said...

"She seems to be delving into religion at 300 miles per hour"

oyvavoy, this sounds worrying