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A36 semgirl3

Sami didn’t send me a message until that evening.  After lunch I was able to shake off the distraction that had been blanketing all of my thoughts, forcing concentration in the Talmud class I had until mid afternoon.  Rabbi Hoffman guided twelve of us through the strangely graceful Aramaic, and I kept my mind reined in, genuinely surprised when my phone vibrated in my pocket just after dinner.  The message, in English, asked if I was available the following night.  I was not.  For the next hour we traded messages about our schedules, and his command of spelling and grammar in what must have been his third language impressed me.  By 8:30 we had agreed to meet up on Saturday night.

For most of Shabbat I was able to push away thoughts of Sami, and the plans we’d made.  Yona and I stayed with a young couple in Bayit v’Gan, a neighborhood slowly being taken over by swarms of religious immigrants.  Walking to synagogue late on Saturday morning we veered around strollers pushed by petite women in snoods.  Yona stopped to coo at an olive-skinned baby, and I felt the story of how I met Sami forming in my mouth, but I forced my lips closed, exhaling through my nose.

After havdalah, Yona took a cab back to seminary, and I walked the half-mile to my uncle David’s apartment, where Sami and I had arranged to meet.  While I waited for my cell phone to pulsate with a message of Sami’s imminent arrival, I paced through the large, quiet rooms, sitting in a leather chair, getting up to trace a window frame with my index finger, and then sponging off already clean counters.  Uncle David had left the apartment pristine.  Only his office looked at all lived-in.  When he bought the place, a decade earlier, my mother had hoped out loud that it was a sign of her brother’s interest in finally beginning a family.  But no wife or children had ever appeared, and so I stood in the doorway of the office, a new computer blinking at me through the darkness.  Down the hall was a library with rows of sturdy bookshelves and several large plants, and at the end of the corridor the door to my uncle’s bedroom hung open.

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Author of Jewrotica's Double Mitzvah column, Tamar Fox is a writer and editor in Philadelphia. She will try anything once, including open relationships, dating someone who is chalav yisrael, and going to Suriname.
  • This IS a longer piece but it’s riveting. The characters are so… real and the story captivates. In addition to the relationship between Sami and Yael, I enjoyed the Jerusalem area descriptions and the light-hearted poking at seminary culture, as both are quite familiar to me and near to my heart (perhaps in a distant sort of way.)

    Keep on writing, Tamar!

  • Brutal read. I felt like I was an intruder. Quality writing though, that’s for sure.

  • That was a brutal read. I felt like I was an intruder, looking into someone’s private life, trying hard not to be judgmental but incapable of ignoring the queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach.

    • Anonymous Internet Commenter

      Hm. Why queasy/judgmental? Cause the guy was an Arab?

      I thought this story was gorgeously written. Good job, Tamar.

  • Banana

    I love how the story was written. It was lengthy but worthwhile. What made me annoyed is how easy it was the the main character to use her religion to shield herself away from the guy after she used him. It’s not a negative statement about writing.. in fact it’s admiration that the author was able to pick up on something so culturally prevalent. Its fascinating to me because I feel it happens so often.. religious men and women want what they can’t have, they desire sexuality more so when paid attention to than when not and they okay themselves to lose control with someone that they darn well know they will never.. ever end up with. (I don’t mean to sound all inclusive.. obviously there are exceptions… )

  • OnTimeJew

    Damn, that was hot. I love how the story built up and the characters came alive before the sexual tension (and release) happened. And a great end to the story!

  • Adalia

    Wow, thank you for sharing this. It was INTENSE and it brought back sooooo many memories of being new in Israel and Naive. And of the endless heartbreaking stories I listened to as girls came home to our seminary dorms in the early morning hours, many times in tears and with shame.

  • Karalyn Dane

    reminds me of the first time I was with a guy who wasn’t circumcised…there’s nothing sweeter than what’s forbidden…

  • Reading this story gave me chills – literally.

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