Now then, let us not forget the wife of the rabbi, Raquel Goldschmidt.
Raquel was a very special kind of a person, who had an appetite for causing trouble. Forgive me. I shouldn’t say trouble! Let’s just say that she was ingeniously mischievous.
The cubicle for the Hebrew teachers was next to the cubicle for the English teachers, and the only division was glass windows. We all worked in a fish bowl and everybody could see everyone else. So Raquel set out to cause her mischief and advised others to be watching.
She came to the door of the English cubicle and with a very innocent look on her face asked me to help her open a small bottle of blue ink. I, of course, was very naïve, which is why I was the perfect target. I was wearing a specially white letter-sweater that day. I obliged, and as I was helping to open the bottle, Raquel gave the bottle an “accidental” jerk and a stream of blue ink splashed onto my bright white sweater.
I silently groaned: this had to be the rabbi’s wife!
But before I could say anything, the blue disappeared from my sweater. It was “ink” that soon became invisible. I groaned again: the rabbi’s wife! As you can imagine, everybody had a good laugh.
That was the first of several good tricks. Apparently there was a shop for tricksters just down the street from where Rabbi Goldschmidt lived on 94th Street, and Raquel spent more than a fair share of time browsing there.
The next trick was a lovely card for my birthday, which, when I opened it, a rubber-band powered paper butterfly burst up and out, giving me quite a shock. But it didn’t make me jump.
Watch him jump!
What made me jump was the day Raquel appeared in the door of the English cubicle to say hello, and then looked aghast pointing to the window behind me. I turned and that instant she tossed a slimy rubbery lizard onto the window which began to slither down the glass. Now THAT made me jump! And of course everybody had been told to be watching. They said that I jumped straight into the air.
I was not to be had. I got the address of the Trick Shop and stopped in myself to see was could be done. At that time Raquel was a smoker and I would begin a campaign to help her stop smoking, but not quite yet. I found a fake pack of cigarettes, with one standing out ready to be picked. A small cap was placed at the end which would explode once it was pulled out. I was sure Raquel would fall for this one. But a professional trickster is not easily tricked, and an innocent guy like me could not put on an innocent face, so she smelled something was afoot.
Moral of the story: never try to get revenge on the Rabbi’s wife, even if she made you a laughingstock. God is protecting her.
So, remember, if you can’t beat them, sing with them. My first duet with Raquel was for a celebration of Israel’s Independence Day: "Majar"!
Yeled is a boy! Bop du bop.
The next was for a Cabalat Shabat in elementary school. For a Rabbi’s wife who did not know English, and for an English teacher who was only beginning to learn Hebrew, we did the best Hebrish rendition of a song ever! Here is how it goes:
Yeled is a boy, bop du bop
And Yelda is a girl, bop du bop
Lejem is bread, and shuljan is a table; It’s a table.
A kise is a chair, bop du bop
And a dubi is a bear, bop du bop
And a jojom is a wise man like your papa.
Study your Hebrish; It’s an important thing to know, wo oh
People will admire you, everywhere you go, wo, oh.
Da, da da, da da, da da.... Etc. (You have to listen for yourself).
Thank you Raquel! Besides the fact that we had a great time, the school would not have been the same without you. And I wouldn’t have had so many good tales to tell!