I have never felt completely comfortable in our synagogue. We fall within the norm for age and religious level, and even our large family is not unusual. But we are the only native English speakers, and most families send to a different elementary school. Sometimes I speak to a few of the women after shul, but I have virtually nothing to do with them otherwise.
There is one group of women who attend shul regularly and have children close in age to my younger ones. One or two are friendly to me, another one or two acknowledge my existence, but there is one who ignores me. If I catch her eye after shul, she averts her eyes. Sometimes, to make a point, I “get in her face” and wish her Shabbat Shalom. She replies and even smiles a bit. But she never greets me first.
I’m convinced that she holds no grudge against me, nor is she a snob. I am just not on her radar screen. She has her own friends, and I don’t fit into her picture of her social circle. If she ever thought about me, which I doubt, she would figure I had my own friends to greet. Why would I need her?
One year we had children in the same gan. When I saw her, she treated me the same way she did in shul. Then one day we both arrived a few minutes early. Several of her friends from shul had children in the same gan, but they weren’t there that day. She came over, sat down next to me, and struck up a conversation.
This year she again has a child in gan with mine, but her friends’ children have all graduated. I wonder what will happen.