The Black Sheep – Chapter 56

December 6, 2021

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 56 of a new online serial novel, The Black Sheep, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

“It’s amazing!” Doron Nachman gripped the finished broom in two hands. “And there’s a certain style here…you didn’t just make lines with that tool, whatever you call it.”

“What did you think?”

“I don’t know; I didn’t realize how talented you are. How long have you been working on this? Since you bought it at the market?”

“Yeah. It’s been almost a week.” Osher took the broom and put it under the bed. One day he would meet up with Ariella and he’d give her the gift.

“I saw you working on pictures also. They are really, really nice.”

Osher muttered something, a bit impatiently.

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The Black Sheep – Chapter 55

November 29, 2021

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 55 of a new online serial novel, The Black Sheep, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

“Osher! Osher!”

Doron Nachman hurried along the promenade in pursuit of the boy’s retreating back. “Osher, wait up a minute!”

The youth stopped next to an old, partially demolished structure made of light-colored bricks, and gazed at it as though there was nothing in the world that was more interesting.

“Where are you going, Osher?”

“Nowhere.”

“Can you take me with you?”

Osher turned his head and looked at him. A hint of a smile made his lips curve for a moment, but he forced them to revert to their previous scowl. “It’s not worth it for you.”

“I actually think it’s very worth it for me. I just got up from a long, deep nap, and I think that a little walk will get my blood moving again. I don’t like to be sleepy.”

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The Black Sheep – Chapter 54

November 22, 2021

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 54 of a new online serial novel, The Black Sheep, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

Elazar Reiness walked on the side of the road. When he reached the edge of the sandy lot, he raised his eyes. In his mind’s eye, he saw the stables on the verge of collapsing, the neglect that was evident on the fences, and the work hut that his father had described. There was nothing left of it all; only a small structure stood in the middle of the lot, from more recent years, and it gave the impression of being abandoned. There were also a few rotting remnants of the wooden fence at the far end. And that was it.

At the time, his father had wanted to help, but the seventy-year barrier had prevented him from realizing that dream. Elazar, his only son, born after many long years, had been the only one he had told about the lot and what was behind it. Little Elazar grew up with the stories of the stable that, in time, would be cleared for a shul that would be filled with tefillos.

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The Black Sheep – Chapter 53

November 15, 2021

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 53 of a new online serial novel, The Black Sheep, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

“‘In general, Osher gave a calm, satisfied impression, and it is evident that he is comfortable in his current environment. Even before the information that was given over by the teacher—that is his Rabbi Reiness, I assume?—it appears that he became a bit more socially integrated, and was less drawn into confrontations; he was more open to listening to others and accepting what they said.’ Very nice. It’s good to read that he’s happy and he’s beginning to get a hold of himself.”

Yigal flipped forward two pages. “‘Osher displayed good analogical thinking…he overcame his initial impulses and the difficulty handling a large number of simultaneous stimuli…’” He raised his eyes from page number three. The house was quiet. The girls had gone to school, and he had come home from his morning shiur to read through these papers with his wife. Last night they’d been too tired to delve into the small lettering on the stack of papers the fax machine had spit out. But it was important for him to read it, even if now he would be late to work because of it. He hadn’t let on to anyone how anxiously he’d been awaiting the results of this evaluation. Rabbi Reiness had spoken very highly of the evaluator from Zichron Yaakov; he’d referred to him as “a person who knows how to put his finger on the right spot.” So, if they could find exactly the point that made it so hard for Osher to manage his life, there would be no one more thrilled than his father.

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The Black Sheep – Chapter 52

November 8, 2021

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 52 of a new online serial novel, The Black Sheep, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

The small pupils shone as they gazed at Ariella, who smiled back. She put her finger into the tiny palm, waited for the fingers to close around it and sat still, just she and Kreindy.

Kreindy’s unbelievably calm nature was a bit of a problem sometimes. If not for the angelic sweetness that came along with being a baby, barely anyone would notice her. She hardly cried. Even when hungry, she would moan delicately, and after receiving a few ounces of her bottle, she smiled dreamily and fell asleep.

It was strange that a child of such an energetic mother, in such a busy household, could be the polar opposite of them all.

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The Black Sheep – Chapter 51

November 1, 2021

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 51 of a new online serial novel, The Black Sheep, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

Acco, 2015

“I must say, your voice sounds excellent, Ariella,” Sarah Reiness said as she stood at the sink rinsing her brushes. It had been a while since she’d touched any of her painting supplies, and when she had wanted to today, she’d discovered that almost all of her paintbrushes were dry and hard. Apparently she hadn’t rinsed them well the last time she’d finished using them. “You’re not hoarse at all, and your words are flowing smoothly. It’s really amazing. What is it, the air in the yishuv?”

“You tell me—you’re the expert,” Ariella said with a laugh. “Can the change of air bring such an improvement?”

“Of course it can. And so can a change of atmosphere.”

“So then it’s good all around,” Ariella said.

“What’s been going on?”

“Normal, baruch Hashem. Working hard.” Ariella’s voice sounded vibrant.

“Are you talking about your work with Bassi’s children, tzaddeikes?”

“Yes, tzaddeikes yourself.”

“And what about in other areas?”

“Nothing at all.” Ariella paused for a minute. “Did Zahava send you to me?” she asked suddenly.

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The Black Sheep – Chapter 50

October 25, 2021

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 50 of a new online serial novel, The Black Sheep, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

Bitton wiped his hands and walked to the door of the restaurant. Binyamin noticed Shikovitzer biting his bottom lip nervously. They heard a babble of voices from the door, and Binyamin glanced again in surprise at Zelig’s father. It did not sound like just two people were speaking; it sounded louder. The two Jews did not know that they were both thinking the identical thing, even if in different words: Was it an Arab mob bursting into the restaurant because they had discovered their presence?

As they both spun their heads around, it became clear that they were thinking along the same lines. “We can get out through the window,” Shikovitzer whispered hoarsely. “You certainly will be able to, and I’ll try.”

They stood up hastily, ready to escape if they discovered that it was necessary. But after listening for another moment, it seemed as if they would not have to put their plan into action. The voices did not sound bloodthirsty. There was a loud argument going on between Emmanuel Bitton and someone else, and they could hear a guttural voice chime in every minute or so. The tones were loud, but not more than that.

“I only invited you to the meeting,” they heard Emmanuel say coolly.

“It’s the business of our entire hamoula, not just him!” someone else said.

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The Black Sheep – Chapter 49

October 18, 2021

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 49 of a new online serial novel, The Black Sheep, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

“Binyamin? Binyamin, do you get a mazel tov?” Shikovitzer pressed the telephone receiver to his ear. There was a lot of static on the line, and he could hardly recognize his young friend’s voice. “Binyamin?”

“Yes, it’s me. Hello, Mr. Shikovitzer.”

“Do you get a mazel tov, Binyamin?” Yitzchak repeated the question.

“Me? Not yet.”

His former neighbor was shocked. “But I met your father…”

“My younger brother got engaged,” Binyamin said lightly. “To a girl from a wonderful family, baruch Hashem.”

“Oh, so I guess I didn’t understand your father.” An awkward silence ensued on the Yerushalmi side of the line. “We met for a moment as I got onto the bus and he was getting off. He told me something about an engagement…I thought he was talking about you.”

B’ezras Hashem, b’ezras Hashem.”

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The Black Sheep – Chapter 48

October 11, 2021

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 48 of a new online serial novel, The Black Sheep, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

“Hey, Butan!”

Emmanuel Bitton smiled at the man amiably. “Yes, Sa’id? Is everything alright?”

“Yeah, everything is fine. Can I have some more of your stuffed things?”

Bitton smiled and pointed to his “waiter,” a barefoot youth who was walking among the diners holding a huge elliptical-shaped bowl filled with mangrove leaves that were stuffed with rice and raisins. His mother’s recipe really used meat, but that was too complicated to obtain.

Someone walked in to the small restaurant with a heavy, slightly uneven gait. Bitton tensed— it was one of the prominent effendis of the Al Alami family, who had cast fear on the other Arabs of Acco. If they would begin with riots and ambushes against the Jews of the Galilee, of which Acco was a part, they would almost certainly draw the others to follow them.

“Hey, effendi!” Emmanuel called. “Salaam aleikum! Come, have a seat, here’s a clean table. Ahbed! Come and give the gentleman a large portion!” The boy came over with a smile and asked the effendi what he preferred. The guest sent him away with an impatient wave of the hand, and the boy scurried away, offended, to Emmanuel.

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The Black Sheep – Chapter 47

October 4, 2021

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 47 of a new online serial novel, The Black Sheep, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

Acco, 1947

“I spoke to them, Mr. Shikovitzer,” Emmanuel Bitton said as he sat down on the wooden chair. His eyes scanned the small, sad apartment. “It was just an exploratory conversation, to start with.”

Nu, what did Mahmoud say?”

“He actually looks to me like someone who can be easily persuaded. He is very aware that the land is yours and not his. But on the other hand, he has friends and family, and they won’t let him give in so fast.” Bitton raised his eyes. “Besides, I didn’t quite understand. What will you do with the lot now? You don’t intend to live there, right?”

“Not to live.” Zelig’s father closer his eyes and then opened them. “It’s a hekdesh lot.”

Hekdesh?”

“Since I bought it when I came to Eretz Yisrael, I dreamed of building a shul on it. I even saved up some money to do that. But I waited for more Jews to come to Acco, you know, and while I was waiting, I used the lot for my business… Only when I was hiding from the rioters in 1929 did I decide that if I would be saved, and I would get the lot back, I would not continue to use it for horses and buggies; I’d build a shul on the property.” He smiled morosely. “For now, I daven here every day, at the Kosel, the holiest site we have. Still, I cannot stop thinking about that place. I invested all my money there, and my dreams…”

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