My Forbidden Orthodox Love by Moshe Schulman

http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-life-and-religion/105321/my-forbidden-orthodox-love

I couldn’t take my eyes off of the girl in the FBI shirt, while she ate her pizza. I wondered why she was wearing a shirt that said FBI. But I hoped that her secular clothes meant that she had left the fold, too. She had crystal-blue eyes and a beautiful smile. I wondered if this was love. I had learned the word “love” six years earlier, when my grandmother yelled at me for signing a letter I wrote to her, “Sincerely, Moshe.” I didn’t understand why that upset her. Growing up, my parents and seven siblings didn’t hug me or use the word “love.” Instead, they yelled and hit. To feel warmth, I wore layers upon layers of clothing or lay down on the carpet where the sun was shining.

The next night, as I was closing the restaurant, the phone rang.

“My friend who was there last night likes you,” a girl told me.

“Really?” I answered skeptically.

“The one wearing the FBI shirt.”

“OK, put her on,” I said calmly, but my heart was pounding.

This took place not too far from where I grew up in New York.  It makes me want to visit the actual pizzeria where this all took place.  I have a soft spot for stories about young people at odds with old traditions.  Schulman brings us a short, bittersweet story about two kids caught in-between two worlds.  A must read for all you unabashed romantics out there.

 

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