Recap: The KKK men take Hope to an abandoned house. She’s rescued there by the FBI. Diana had followed the car, and when she lost track of it, a girl with blonde hair pointed the FBI agents in the right direction. Hope thinks it was her sister Alyson who did that. Hope comes back to the Jacobsons, and Rebbetzin Jacobson tells her that they spoke to the Beth Jacob School, and she can apply to go there if her parents agree. Hope worries that her parents won’t let her go.


Rebbetzin Jacobson wrote to my parents forwarded to Mrs. Sarah. A letter came back a week later.

“Thank you so much, Rebbetzin. We can’t thank you enough. We will trust your judgment in terms of the right school, though we are not Orthodox and do not plan to become that way. We hope this will be temporary, until we can come for Hope. We need to make sure that it is totally safe for us to leave, and then we will come.

With deepest respect,

Mrs. Charlene Henner


“Your parents said it’s okay, Tikvah.”

“Baruch Hashem!” I leaped into the air.

The next few weeks were a blur of tutoring with Rebbetzin Jacobson and Rivkah telling me what to expect at the Beth Jacob School.

On the first day of class, I slipped on a uniform button-down blouse and a navy pleated skirt. My hair had grown back down to my shoulders. I’d pushed back all the curls with a black velvet headband.

“You look awesome,” Rivkah said.

I twirled around and did some pirouettes. “I’m nervous,” I said.

“You’re you. You’re smart and a good friend and you have a real feeling for Torah and mitzvos. Everyone will love you.”

“But I’m so different.”


Rivkah understood a lot of things, but I couldn’t get her to fully understand what this was like for me. She grew up this way. For me, it was like entering a foreign country. I didn’t know the language or the customs very well.

And my parents had been exiled, so here I was on my own. If anyone asked about my family, it would be uncomfortable. I had a mystery about my older sister and parents who were hiding in Maine. I was definitely different.

We headed into the warm September day. Sunlight sparkled on lavender, orange, and yellow mums, and a soft breeze rifled through leaves on the branches of maples and oaks that bordered the street. After a 15-minute walk, Rivkah pointed to a medium-sized brick building. “There’s our school.” A big sign on top said Beth Jacob School for Girls. There were a lot of girls in uniforms filing in the front door.

“Hi, Rivka, who’s your friend?” a girl with a blonde ponytail and large dark eyes asked.

“This is Tikvah Henner, a good friend who is living with us.”

“Welcome to our school, Tikvah. I’m Esti Morgenstern.”

A few other girls joined our little group. “I’m Tamar Braunstein.”

Each girl introduced herself and smiled at me. Esti laughed. “Now, can you remember all of our names?”

I shook my head.

Rivkah led me to the principal’s office to register. I felt so much better already. The girls here seemed so friendly.

Mrs. Mandy, the principal, smiled at me and handed me a schedule. “You’ll have mechinah classes in the morning to help you catch up, and then regular classes in the afternoon. There are two other new students who will be with you in the mechinah classes.”

Rivkah walked me to my class. “You’ll be fine,” she said.

“Thanks!” I stepped inside. “Are you Rivkah?” A girl with a tawny colored ponytail and glasses greeted me. “I’m Tzippy Frank. We moved here in the beginning of the summer. My family just started keeping Shabbos. We’re connected to Chabad.”

The other classmate was a chubby girl with short dark hair. “I’m Dina Rosen. We also just started keeping Shabbos. Our mothers are friends. They both go to Rabbi Wallach’s class.”

Tzippy glanced towards me. “What about you? Do your parents go to Chabad?”

“Uh, not exactly.”

Just then, the teacher stepped into the room and told us to be seated. I was so relieved. I didn’t want to get into anything about my family right now. Mrs. Berger wore a short blonde sheitel and she carried a shiny briefcase. She clicked it open, and for the next three hours I was transported into a whole new world. She taught us Chumash with Rashi. Then she taught us Navi. We were learning Shmuel Beis. I wrote down every word.

At lunchtime, I found Rivkah and introduced her to Tzippy and Dina. We sat with Rivkah and all her friends.

“I’m so glad we have Mrs. Hartman this year. She makes the lessons so relevant,” Tamar said.

A few of the girls had washed and they said HaMotzi out loud. The other girls said, “Amein.”

I tried to keep up and do what the others did. When I took out my sandwich, I glanced towards Rivkah. She led me to the sink for washing. “I don’t want to recite the brachah out loud in front of everyone. It’s too hard for me.”

“I’ll do it for both of us. Don’t worry.”

Everyone was eating and chatting.

There was a lull in the conversation and then Esti said, “Do you want to know what the production will be this year?”

Rivkah took a sip of water. “Your mom told you?”

“Helps to have your mom as principal,” Tamar said.

“I’m so excited. They’re planning to do a take-off on The Sound of Music,” Esti said.

“I want to try out for drama this year,” Rivkah said.

“We’re going to need a lot of dances for this one. My mom was talking to Mrs. Korngold about it.”

Rivkah looked towards me, but I looked away. Don’t say anything. I willed her not to mention my ballet.

Rivkah kept staring towards me.

 To be continued…

Susie Garber is the author of the newly released historical fiction novel, Flight of the Doves (Menucha Publishers, 2023), Please Be Polite (Menucha Publishers, 2022), A Bridge in Time (Menucha Publishers, 2021), Secrets in Disguise (Menucha Publishers, 2020), Denver Dreams, a novel (Jerusalem Publications, 2009), Memorable Characters…Magnificent Stories (Scholastic, 2002), Befriend (Menucha Publishers, 2013), The Road Less Traveled (Feldheim, 2015), fiction serials and features in Binah Magazine and Binyan Magazine, and “Moon Song” in Binyan (2021-2022).