"Go back to where you came from," the woman yells.

I am at Wal-Mart, trying to put orange juice into my cart. She comes closer; her finger is waving inches from my face. "I can tell," she rants, "from your hair covering and your necklace [a Star of David], that you're not an American." (I am.) "Go back to your own country." I am in such shock; I stammer a reply only somewhat coherent.

Her finger is waving inches from my face "I should hit you for being here," she screams, her face in mine, and I think: "Please, please hit me." It's not that I can handle her, although I can. It's that I want nothing at this instant—not a winning lottery ticket, not to be skinny, not world peace—more than to have her arrested. And when I play this over and over in my mind hours, days later—through dinner, during the kids' baths—I wonder if I could have enticed her to actually hit me. In my mind, I scream "assault" as dozens of police place their hands on her head and lower her into a patrol car. I see her in jail begging for mercy.

Instead, I finish my shopping in a world much blacker than the one I woke up in this morning. Suddenly, every person I see is telling me: "Go back to where you came from."

In a few hours I will return home, but it will take some time to catch my breath. To make sense of it, I will tell every friend I see. Everyone will be shocked, but no one will have a solution. Days later, when I have replayed it over and over so many times it is now a familiar movie, my hand will nonchalantly touch my head covering, similar to the beautiful sequined scarf that the lady also mocked that day.

Ironically, I have only recently started covering my hair. It is the one step I swore, years earlier, I would never take. It is another step in a long journey I have completely loved. On Shabbat and during the winter months I wear a gorgeous sheitel (wig) that I named Lola. It always makes me feel just a little bit better. But Texas summers are brutal; kids here break eggs on the blacktop just to watch them sizzle.I am proud of that difference The air does not move but the heat wraps itself around you and squeezes. For these months I have a collection of scarves lighter, easier than Lola when the humidity chokes and the trees won't move.

I look in the mirror. Today my scarf is bright pink with little flowers, and I feel a sense of pride.

Pride because we are different. Because I am proud of that difference. Because I am proud that in the face of bigotry, we are who we are. I am Jewish. I have been for thousands of years. And when we "look Jewish" because of a long skirt, or funny nose or sideburns hanging under a black hat, more power to us. No one has to like it, and no one gets a vote.

I call my Rebbitzen and set up a weekly study session. It is my own private slap-in-the-face to this lady.