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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

Back to the Challah Board

Today I am making challah with wheat flour instead of white flour. I think I lost count around 5 cups of flour and put in an extra 1/2 cup just to make sure. The recipe is for 7 cups and the consistency was so different, that I might have used 7 1/2 to 8 1/2 cups instead. Oops. As always, it felt good to slow down and knead the dough. Even if the challah isn’t great in the end, baking it is.

Now the dough is rising and I am thinking about yesterday. I have been wearing my star of david every day since it arrived earlier this week. Yesterday was the first day I wore it with a v-neck shirt and suddenly everyone’s a jew. Where did they all come from. Instead of goodbyes, I’m getting shaloms. I’m getting, “You’re jewish? I had no idea. I’m jewish too.” And from a couple wearing three inch crucifixes I felt that I had to be extra customer service oriented–otherwise they’d think I was being a nasty jew because they were christian. It was an odd feeling and the first time I’ve felt it. A need to please someone extra, because they might be anti-semites.

I met up with the boy for a late dinner at Uncommon Ground and we made a midnight run to Blockbuster and picked up Mean Girls. What a good movie, seriously, that IS what high school is like–without the fairytale ending. The girl shit, as my mom calls it, that happens in every group of girlfriends and every clique. Girl shit doesn’t stop after you leave high school, but hopefully people get better at dealing with it.

Girl shit was a defining thing for me in high school. My best girlfriend stole my twin sister’s boyfriend, who had previously been my best guy friend. In the end, I had no friends at the start of my junior year of high school. It happened again in college, transitioning from freshman to sophomore year. It happened when I was in Argentina–I came back to college and didn’t have my job and the social circle that went with it.

The first time I remember getting in trouble for girl shit was in fifth grade. Crystal wore a wig made of shells and Camille said it looked stupid. I said that Camille was a dork for saying Crystal looked stupid. I got a talking to in the hallway from Ms. Lindsey about that one. Later that same year, a girl used the very terrible “C” word, but I was probably 16 or 17 before I even figured out that word was cunt. I spent nights wondering what word started with C that was so terrible. Cookie. Cut. Cutter. Catastrophe. Cook. Can’t. I had no idea and just gave up.

I hope that I have extricated myself from girl shit now that I am nearly 28. I am known among my friends for being incredibly honest when things happen. Instead of bitching behind someone’s back, I tell them the problem I’m having. It probably helps that I have few girlfriends that are in the same social circle. I have one from this job, one from that class, one from college, one from that job. Very few are in the same circle now that I don’t work at IES anymore.

And full circle–now that I’m converting, it turns out that gossip is one of the big sins against other men. The story goes something like this. A man comes to beg forgiveness of a rabbi. The man had been gossiping about the rabbi and wanted to take it back. “Okay,” said the rabbi, “but first I have a task for you. Take these two feather pillows. Walk from here to the plaza and back, leaving a trail of feathers where you walk.” The man did as the rabbi ask and returned with two empty pillow shells. “I have done what you asked, do I have your forgiveness?” “Now I want you to collect every feather you dropped.” “But rabbi, that will be impossible! The wind has blown them all over the city.”

“Yes, it is impossible. As it is impossible for you to take back all of the gossip you’ve spread about me.”

Lesson Learned.

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