The Black Sheep – Chapter 62

January 17, 2022

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 62 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. 

No one answered the phone at the Reiness residence, and Elazar Reiness’s phone went straight to the voicemail. Mattisyahu Kreisman bustled around the island in the kitchen, preparing an omelet for Osher on the ceramic stovetop. “Elazar,” he began to leave a message, “Osher is with me, don’t worry. Please get back to me to discuss the situation.”

Then he went back out to Osher, who was chewing on a piece of bread. He didn’t say a word to him.

Osher quickly and quietly ate the bread and eggs and a few cinnamon cookies for dessert. “Thanks,” he said finally.

“You had enough?”

“Yeah. I’ll bentch now.”

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The Black Sheep – Chapter 61

January 10, 2022

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 61 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 was awakened by a thump.

He opened his eyes and found himself on hard ground. He must have tried to turn over in his sleep and had fallen off the bench. He stood up, blinking at the slowly rising sun, and sat back down on the bench.

Oh, he was in Zichron Yaakov; he’d almost forgotten. His huge backpack was under the bench; no one had touched it. The paths of the Ramat Hanadiv gardens spread out before him, awakening to a new day.

***

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The Black Sheep – Chapter 60

January 3, 2022

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 60 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 was nearly ten o’clock when Rabbi Reiness dropped his wife and the Berg children off on the yishuv. Without even getting out of the car, he turned around and headed back to Acco. Sarah would stay with the Bergs until tomorrow morning, when Osher’s sister was supposed to return from Bnei Brak with one of the families of the yishuv that had gone away for Shabbos.

He called home from the road, activating the speakerphone. “Hello,” he said calmly. “Who is this, Shlomo?”

“Yes, Rebbi. Osher hasn’t come back. The bachurim haven’t found him.”

“I hear,” he said slowly. “Who went to the train station? Menashe and Chaim?”

“Yes.”

“And what did they say?”

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The Black Sheep – Chapter 59

December 27, 2021

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 59 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. 

Rabbi Reiness, his students, and his nephews sat around the large table in the carpentry shop, which, each Friday, was miraculously transformed into a beautifully set Shabbos table. Four-year-old Arik sat quietly, subdued even. His twin, Daniel, had fallen asleep at the table, and only Gadi was singing Yedid Nefesh with everyone else, though at the top of his lungs.

“That’s not my father’s tune,” he told Osher when the song wound down. He had stuck to Osher like glue the whole Shabbos, as if he was his nephew. “But did you hear how nicely I sing? It’s because I have a great musical talent, I think.”

“Your brother Arik also does,” Osher said. “He was singing before he fell asleep. I heard him.”

“Arik? He’s up. Daniel fell asleep.”

“So Daniel, whatever, it doesn’t matter. They look exactly the same.”

“Sure it matters. My mother always says that even though they are identical twins, we need to remember that they are not one person.”

“Fine.” Osher wasn’t interested in treading on complicated territory. “So it’s Daniel, not Arik, who sings really nicely.”

“Besides, they only look alike, but their hand movements and the way they speak are not alike at all. And you know what’s funny, now that I’m thinking about it?”

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The Black Sheep – Chapter 58

December 20, 2021

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 58 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. 

“Sarah?”

“Bassi, what’s doing? How is Yisrael Meir?”

Her younger sister sighed. “His fever is up again,” she said, and suddenly burst into tears. “This recovery process is so complicated! All he did was fall from a tree and break a leg in a few places… There are kids who came to the hospital after him, with worse injuries, and they’re progressing much faster than he is. It’s always another complication: pneumonia, his breathing difficulties…I feel like I’m going out of my mind, Sarah! If we would have known what was in store for us, we would have just rented a big apartment here in Haifa, like we did for Pesach, and switched the kids to schools here in the city.”

“You can still do it.” Sarah finished the last dish in the sink and untied her apron.

“Now?” Bassi shuddered at the thought. “Move them all now? Wouldn’t that be like a self-fulfilling prophecy that Yisrael Meir will still need months of rehabilitation and convalescence?”

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The Black Sheep – Chapter 57

December 13, 2021

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 57 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 was so strange to be standing at the doorway of the building on Rabi Akiva Street, as if it hadn’t been months since she was last here. Ariella took a deep breath and went inside, turning her round keychain in the lock. The last time she’d returned, after a relatively long absence, Osher had washed the floor for her, put a cheesecake down with a note—and then disappeared to Acco. Now, none of that was waiting for her, and probably nothing else either. No one knew that she was back. Or perhaps “back” was not the right way to put it.

Ariella opened the door of her little house and thought about her parents, who had been paying her rent these past two months without saying a word. Without noting that they had rented this place so that she could be close to them; without saying how much they missed her, and that this was not what they’d had in mind when they had sent her in pursuit of Osher.

She put her little pocketbook down on the floor of the hallway and glanced around. Someone had swept the floor in her absence; that much was obvious. Ima must have sent Shoshi or Laiky once every couple of weeks, or something like that. It was nice of them. She hoped that the pitifully few pictures in the camera they had bought her would not disappoint them too much; she hadn’t had much spare time to take photos.

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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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