Winner of our fiction contest, 8-12 age category!

My Friendship Diary

by Kira Gold, age 11, from NY
Illustrations by Leia Resnick, age 10, from MA

September 1, 2011

My name is Iris, and I love this new journal my BFF (Best Friend FOREVER!) gave me as a back to school present. I am looking forward to writing in it every day.  My BFF Vered is Jewish and I am Catholic, but we go to school together, and we are just starting MIDDLE SCHOOL.

Vered and I have been friends since before we were born – our moms were BFFs and were pregnant at the same time with us – so now we are also BFFs.  We hang out all the time and live in the same apartment building.  We have so much in common even though there are so many differences between us – like I have a dog named Biscuit and she has a cat named Katanah.  She LOVES cat stuff, and I love dog stuff – but we still like each other.

September 8, 2011

Middle School is awesome! We did not get the same home room, but we are in many of the same classes and still get to see each other a lot. I miss her when we are not together. I wonder if we will make other friends. I mean, we do have other friends, but we are BEST friends.

September 20, 2011

Vered and her family are preparing for Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish New Year. I think it is kind of cool that she gets to miss school for her religious holidays.  Our school is closed on holidays that my family celebrates – so I never get extra days off.  Vered and her family celebrate the Jewish holidays, but she has confided in me that they are not very observant.

October 3, 2011 

Vered came into school today all excited about the NEW year.  Every year I make new year resolutions with my family. I guess her family kind of did that this year, too. She says they are going to start observing the Sabbath. I thought they did that already. When I go to their house on Friday night they have candles, challah and wine on the table and they say blessings and stuff. So, I don’t get the difference?!

October 7, 2011

Vered was begging me to forgive her for anything she said or did to me in the past year. Wow – like we would ever hurt each other. It was kind of funny, but she took it so seriously, I had to forgive her after the third time she asked me.

October 15, 2011

I love the fall festival that Vered’s family celebrates.  They build a little hut in the courtyard every year. This year her entire family SLEPT in it – there is no roof or door on this thing and they slept on the ground in sleeping bags. WILD!  She said it was a special Mitzvah – good deed or commandment – from G-d to eat and sleep in the Sukkah. I remember a story about the festival of booths from Bible

study class, but we don’t live in them. Her family has so many traditions based on really cool Bible stories. I am learning a lot.

October 21, 2011

Vered was telling me all about a parade she participated in at her Temple.  They carry their Bible called the Torah around the building singing songs and reading special passages. I can not imagine being that excited over the Bible – seems pretty boring to me in church. Sure, some of the stories are interesting like Noah and Jonah, but most stories seem long and boring. I’m happy that she is happy.

October 28th, 2011

OMG! There is NO WAY! Now, Vered and her family have just gone too far.  She says they are totally “unplugging” for Shabbat. I have no idea what that means yet – but it sounds extreme.  She says she can not call me – but can walk over to see me. The family won’t drive, but will walk. They won’t even turn on the television, computer, cell phones or lights. SERIOUSLY?!

But wait, it gets worse. She WON’T be doing Halloween with me this year. They have decided they don’t believe in it. What is there NOT to believe in? Candy? Costumes? The greatest most fun part of being a kid is Halloween.  We wait for this every year, and she is not joining me?! I am not sure to laugh or cry over this!

I am going to have to work on seriously reforming this girl back into our old ways! She has got to get over this religious kick she is on with her family. This is tearing us apart!

October 29, 2011

I tried calling her all day today but there was no answer. I can not believe she is serious about not answering the phone on Saturday just because it is her Sabbath – the whole family is making this a “day of rest”! UGH!

There are MAJOR parties tonight and tomorrow for Halloween. The complex is having a party that we go to every year. I walked over to her apartment but she refused to go with me tonight.

I can not believe she won’t go with me. Is she avoiding me? Did she make new friends and is not telling me? Does she like someone else better than me? I just don’t understand why she won’t hang out with me anymore.

October 30, 2011

I brought over costumes to Vered to tempt her to change her mind.  She continues to refuse, although I think she feels a bit sad. I mean, she seemed to really regret not being able to go with me.  I called around to some of my new friends at school, and a few are going to the party tonight.  Still…Halloween!!! Our biggest, most fun day of the year is finally here and I am celebrating without my BFF?! No way! She is totally abandoning me.  I feel like never speaking to Vered again after this! I can not believe she totally stood me up. She ditched me after YEARS of being my BFF. This is SO UNFAIR!

October 31, 2011

HAH! I ignored Vered all day today – I avoided speaking with her and avoided making any eye contact. I just wanted to be mean to her and make her feel as bad as I felt last night. Maybe this religious thing is a passing phase, and she will come to her senses soon. I am going to make her realize that our friendship is more important than these silly rules and regulations she has to follow now.

November 3, 2011

Vered caught me by surprise today. She invited me over for a “Shabbaton”. She wants me join her family for Shabbat. Oh what fun – let’s see – no TV, no lights, no computer, no car… hmmmm… I know, I felt so bad for being mean to her, and she was smiling at me so brightly, I just could not say “no” even though that was what I meant to say! Really, “No!” was right there waiting to come out and instead I said “ummmmm, sounds like fun”. WHAT?! Where did that come from?! Well, my parents can always refuse to let me attend.

No such luck! My parents were actually excited that I got invited for an overnight sleepover at Vered’s. I think they caught on to how unhappy I am without her and think we can make up. I am NOT making up with her until she realizes the error of her ways.

November 6, 2011

I missed writing all weekend because they also don’t allow writing. Who knew?!  I have to say that the Shabbaton was pretty cool. I never realized all the things you can actually do when all of the electronics are unplugged. I thought it would be SO boring! I was sooooo wrong!

First, the table was beautiful, all dressed up in white linens. I mean seriously – the candlelight kind of made everything glow.  The flickering flames lit up the faces of those around the table.  Everyone there seemed to have a special glow – Vered said it was a special Sabbath glow.

Second, Vered said they spent the afternoon cooking and cleaning to prepare for the Sabbath because – get this! – they do not cook or clean on Saturday! Whoa! I like the sound of that! My parents make me spend a huge chunk of Saturday catching up on laundry and other chores. I could get used to this Sabbath idea.

Of course, Vered’s mother is an amazing cook, like my mom, and dinner was wonderful. I particularly like the home made Challah. Vered was very proud of herself as she has learned to make the special braided loaves of bread. I made sure to eat a lot of the challah to make her feel extra good about herself, as I was starting to feel guilty about being so mean to her this past week.

There was wine and grape juice served and lots of singing. Her parents said blessings over the kids which was kind of nice – I wish my parents would make me feel special like that. Vered said they do that EVERY week on Shabbat. WOW. My parents don’t have a special blessing for me that I know of, and I am going to ask for one!

Even though we did not stay up late to watch a movie, we did stay up late talking and catching up with each other.  I really missed her a lot during all these Jewish holidays – she missed a lot of school! I guess I did not realize how much we missed each other.

Saturday we walked to temple, and I got to attend services with her family. After lunch we played board games.  I was not bored at all! I think I will ask my mom & dad about “unplugging” for our Sabbath on Sunday. I think it would be fun to spend some real quiet time together with my parents. We have not played board games together in years! Maybe Vered’s family is really onto something cool after all…