A NEW ?????/Debora Freund THE SCENT of petrol hit my nose on my first day of school in Israel in 1959. I was a ten year old used to the processed smells of an American schoolroom: the artificial sweet scents of chewing gum, cheap nail polish and hair spray, blended with those of dusty chalk and vinyl floors. The stench came from the back of the room, where a girl with shorn hair sat fingering her pencils, eyes lowered. "Kinim," a girl with long tresses announced loudly, pointing at her. I stared in horror mixed with fascination. The word kinim was fa- miliar to me from the Passover hagada. It was the plague of lice sent to the Egyptians. I wondered what was so unique about the girl, that God had bothered to send a plague just for her. Her name, I soon learned, was Hanna Shaloush. A thin girl with shoes curling at the toes, she was chosen to sit next to me when the lice were gone. Our classmates envied her her proximity to my sixty-four, triple-decker Crayola set and the privilege of using my pencil sharpener with the attached can. She was the only one
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Oct 5, 1997
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