This story comes to us from the writer of FrumGirlMusings blog.
It was my first year of high school, and I was miserable. The school I was in was totally not my type, all the girls there were from a different part of town, different minhagim, and different standards. I was quickly thrown in as an outcast.
It was midyear and we were in middle of a chumash lesson and my phone started vibrating in my bag on my floor. Girls began to cover for me — you know making noise and starting a discussion. I put my foot on my bag muffling the vibrating a bit, and somehow I managed to get my phone off of silent mode. Now it it was ringing loudly.
There wasn’t much anyone could do to block it out, but my teacher was sweet and ignored it. But after the anonymous caller had called 3 times, she had enough.
“Leah, please give me your phone.”
I did as she asked and waited nervously for after class, when I would get my sentence. My school was pretty lax about phone usage — were allowed to have phones – but in class they had to be off. I hoped I wouldn’t get in trouble because I left it on.
After class I went up to my teacher, Mrs. Kinesburg. I noticed she had been looking through my phone, which is typical of high school teachers although it’s a bit annoying. Most girls I knew whose phones were caught were able to slip out their sim card before they handed it in, or had a passcode. I had neither. I was okay with that since I knew I had nothing to hide-or at least I thought I did.
“Leah, is everything alright?” she asked.
“Yeah, everything is good, great, dandy…ummmm am I in trouble? I honestly just forgot to turn it off,” I asked a bit nervous.
“That’s fine, everyone forgets sometimes. But I’m just wondering if there’s anything you want to talk about. If there’s anything going on you can always confide in me.”
Now I was really confused. I don’t have text messaging, and I don’t know any boys….so what was on my phone that was making her talk like this?
“I’m perfectly fine. Nothing is going on.”
“Well, I mean…this guy called you like seven times. I want you to know I won’t share it with anyone, but if you are talking to guys…” she trailed off.
“But I’m not!” I said. “I don’t talk to boys!” I glanced down at my phone that was on her desk under her hand, which its contacts and layout was in my more native language — Hebrew — and saw the name of my caller — my best friend Hallel.
Now for those who don’t live in Israel, there aren’t really nekudos on anything and Hallel is a very rare name, very few people have even heard of such a name. But there’s a popular boys name that uses the same letters in Hebrew — Hillel.
I was staring at my phone until I realized what Mrs Kinesburg was thinking.
“OMG, Mrs. Kinesburg, honestly it’s not a guy. It’s my best friend. Her name is Hallel, it’s a real name, I know you probably haven’t heard of it, but it’s a real name. She’s not in this school cause we went to different high schools but she’s a real girl, cause she has a real girl name…a rare name.” I was stuttering.
Mrs. Kinesburg didn’t look like she believed me in the slightest. I began to sweat. “You have a friend…and her name is Hallel…and this is a girl name you say?”
“I promise! You can call my mom! There’s a real girl named Hallel and I’ve known her forever, she’s a girl, a real girl, and she’s my friend, and she is not a guy, I don’t have guy friends, why would I have guy friends? I have my friend Hallel and she’s my friend and a girl and she has a real girl name,” I stammered.
“Ok I believe you, I would never call your mom to ask,” (Her face didn’t look like she believed me at all) “But if there is any problems, or anything you wish to talk to me about, I am always here for you.”
I nodded my head, took my phone, and got out of there as fast as I could.
I switched out of that school a month later, but I now I look back to this and laugh. The Bais Yaakov system is crazy, tough, depressing, and annoying. But it can be freaking hilarious sometimes.