Another guest post by Mindy.
Although I got along pretty well with my high school teachers, there was one teacher who rubbed me the wrong way senior year. She was formal, stood stiffly, spoke in a stilted and elegant diction, and wore top of the line classy outfits. Back then I interpreted that to mean “snobby,” and I hated snobs. The entire year I sulked in her class and gave her attitude. The poor teacher was not quite sure what she had done wrong to deserve my scorn.
On Yom Ha’atzmaut, she walked into the classroom, and instead of giving her usual Ivrit class, proceeded to give a Perfidy-like lecture on the travesties of the nascent state of Israel. It may have involved the Altalena incident and the Yemenite transition camps. She may have thrown in some “secular government” shtick while she was at it too. At the time, I was very emotional, and also very pro-Israel. I was up to date on all the news, handed out candy with little notes to ask people to say Tehillem for people wounded in terror attacks, hung up flyers on Ocean Parkway and in Boro Park enjoining people to say Tehilem for the kidnapped Gilad Shalit… What can I say, I got it from my Israeli mother.
The hour long rant combined with my sensitive heart made me dissolve into tears, very much against my will, as I was -a- in the front of the class, and -b- I wanted to show a tough front to this teacher. I didn’t believe in hiding my feelings either, so I stayed in my front seat with tears sliding down my sniffling face. After class, the teacher (who was Israeli herself), called me out to the hallway, truly baffled. With concern on her face, she asked me, “Why are you crying?”
Holocaust!… closed borders… nowhere to go!” I stammered out between sobs, waving my arms emphatically. Still not understanding, she launched into diatribe #2, which very much modelled diatribe #1. “But all the p-p-people! After what they’d been through!” I abandoned all attempts at holding myself together and my teacher abandoned all attempts at understanding her tough and antagonistic student reduced to a snivelling mess.
Although our meetings of minds could not be described as very productive in terms of sharing of ideas, it did soften my view of this teacher when I realized she actually cared about me and tried to be nice, in her formal, reserved, and classy way. I may have been easier on her after that.