We only met for 5 minutes tonight, but I feel as though I've known you forever. You are every girl I've seen in this little corner called Crack Square for the past four years. You were singing loudly and pretending to fall off the sidewalk, but I'm pretty sure you weren't as drunk as you seemed. Maybe the boys thought it was cute, or maybe this was your first time really drinking and you weren't sure how to act. You stumbled over to me and asked for the time. All I said was 12:15, but there was so much more I wanted to tell you.
I wanted to tell you that the six guys surrounding you do not have your best interests in mind. I want to tell you that just because you can drink alcohol in this country doesn't mean its safe. I want you to know that this night will not be as fun as you imagined it to be, that the 60 people you met today will mean nothing to you tomorrow.
I want you to remember that you are a princess, one of the lucky ones.
I want you to know that you have just one chance to make this year really special. You should know what an incredible opportunity you have - an entire year in Israel. All you have to do is travel, learn, and figure out who you want to be. I want to tell you the stories of hundreds of people would have done anything to be where you are right now.
I want you to know that when you get on the bus home tonight, and you're finally alone, you're going to sober up in seconds. You'll call your sister, your best friend, even your mother- because you want to hear a voice that will remind you of who you really are. Because we both know, you and me, that this is not who you really are. I can tell by the way you're unconsciously pulling down your skirt and the self-conscious way you stand when one of the guys gets a little too close.
I want to tell you all this and more, but I remember me when I used to be you, and I would not have listened.
So I tell you the time. I ask you what seminary you're in, give you my number and invite you for Shabbat. I fight the urge to buy you a bottle of water, to warn you that these boys are not staring at your eyes or your smile as you walk toward me, to explain that I'm only a few years older than you and I understand.
I watch you walk away and I wonder if I should have told you all the things I wanted to say.