Marc and I
take a taxi to Hebrew school every Tuesday and Thursday at 4:30. We're in different grades, but we both seem to know the same amount; in fourth grade everyone learns the alphabet and the sounds the letters make and the vowels--the vowels don't count as letters because they sit on the bottom of the line like sharks, and even though you never look

Hebrew School

that low, you can't forget they're there. By fifth grade, everyone is smart enough to know that grades in Hebrew school don't count for anything--everyone passes if their parents pay synagogue dues.So fifth and sixth graders never do homework. And if you do do homework, everyone makes fun of you.

We used to be in a car pool, but Mom can't drive in the car pool because she works, and the other moms didn't want to send their kids in a taxi on Mom's shift. Salvador is the man who drives us.

The best day of Hebrew school was the day I convinced Marc to ditch with me. Marc didn't want to do it, but I told him if a teacher caught us, I'd say I forced him.

"What about Salvador?" Marc asked.

"Salvador doesn't care."

"What if he tells Mom?"

"I'll take the blame," I say.

We waited until Salvador pulled away from the synagogue, and we hid in the bushes so no teachers would see.

When the coast was clear, I told Marc I had a surprise.

"What?" he asked.

"I brought money so we can go get ice cream."

"Oh my god. We're going to get caught. We're not doing that."

We ran a block to the ice cream store. Then we ran all the way back with our ice creams.

We sat in the dark cozy bushes, against the synagogue wall, eating our ice cream, reading Hebrew out loud to each other. And the only time I can remember loving the sound of the language was hearing it that day, in Marc's voice.

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