Gitty and Esther Miriam eating a meal—tuna salad and toast—at Gitty’s mother’s house.
(Photo: Clémence de Limburg)
A more typical American scene would be hard to imagine: a young mother and her daughter in Wal-Mart. Yet as she pushed the shopping cart with the 4-year-old Esther Miriam sitting, princesslike, in the child’s seat, Sterna Gittel Grunwald (call her Gitty), her five-one frame nicely defined in snug black jeans and white cotton shirt, kept an eye out for spies.
The Satmar Hasidim from Kiryas Joel, the Catskill village where the now-23-year-old Gitty grew up, only came to Wal-Mart for the big sales. There was something about the store’s dizzying display of cheesy American choice that made the townspeople nervous, Gitty thought. But still, in KJ, you could never be too paranoid.
Once, when Esther Miriam was a baby, Gitty took her for a walk. “A guy looked into the carriage,” Gitty recalls. “He said how cute Esther Miriam was and went on his way.