Divided Attention – Epilogue

January 28, 2011

Israel Book Shop presents the epilogue of a new online serial novel, Divided Attention, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every Thursday or Friday. Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © 2010 by Israel Bookshop Publications

If not for the rag that wiped the dust off each Thursday, the cover of the keyboard that Abba and Ima Cohen had bought Rafi for his eleventh birthday would have been completely gray with dust. No one had touched it for the past year.

A light evening breeze blew through the open window as Rafi entered the empty room, placing his suit and hat on the bed. This was the same bed that had warmly accepted him at age nine, and although more than seven years had passed, there was nothing that could compare to its comfort. Ima had been saying for years that they had to replace the bed, but Rafi thought it was needless. In the dorm rooms where he sometimes rested in the afternoon, there were much newer beds, but there was something about sleeping at home each night. He did not know how he would give it up next year, when he would be dorming in a different city.

Perhaps it was strange that a sixteen-year-old boy still needed the security and protection that only a home could provide, but that’s the way he was. Nava said that it was very normal, and that everyone finds it hard to get used to full-fledged dorm life at first. Ima said that it might be more pronounced with him because of what he had lacked in the past, and Abba said they would ask Reb Shlomo if he thought they should apply to a local yeshivah gedolah in Yerushalayim, or if he should go to a different city. Abba claimed that a dormitory was very good for the maturing process.

Did he still need to become more mature? Apparently. If he was able to miss the feeling of the keyboard keys under his dancing fingers, then he probably was still quite babyish.

True, it had been a whole year already—or a year and a day to be exact—since the last night that he had played. But it had been the year of mourning for his mother, not a voluntary abstention. Keep Reading…


January 26, 2011

One week. That’s all it took to become completely sold out. And, mind you, this wasn’t an ordinary week, either—it was the week of the mammoth blizzard in the New York area that had entire cities shut down! Yet that didn’t deter people from going out to buy their copy of The Rebbe. What is it about this book that has people devouring it by the stacks?

The Satmar Rebbe was a visionary; a founder. Throughout his leadership that spanned 73 pivotal years, the Satmar Rebbe changed the course of history for world Jewry. He was the father and mentor to thousands who sought his voice of truth and benevolent blessing. Fortified with kedushah, yiras Shamayim, and ahavas Yisrael, the Rebbe forged a trail for generations to follow.

In The Rebbe, Rabbi Dovid Meisels, author of the popular Secrets series and himself a relative of the Satmar Rebbe, has produced a magnificent portrayal of this great tzaddik. Read this book, and you will feel the inspiration uplifting you. Turn the pages (all 584 of them!), and you will see how the Rebbe’s tremendous influence and presence are still resonating worldwide in so many ways. You must read it yourself to see what we mean!

After the success of the first printing, the book went for a reprint, which is set to come in this week. Don’t lose your chance again! Ignore the wintry frost, and come buy yourself a copy of The Rebbe right away, while it’s still around! Although you may be shivering from the cold, reading this book will ignite a blazing and toasty fire within you that will warm your insides, guaranteed!

Click here to order your copy online.


Divided Attention – Chapter 34

January 21, 2011

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 34 of a new online serial novel, Divided Attention, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every Thursday or Friday. Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © 2010 by Israel Bookshop Publications

“Who’s this, Avi?” Rafi’s fingers tightened around the receiver. “This is Rafi Zimmer. Call Ronny, please.”

“Please, please,” Avi mimicked nasally. “What’s up, Rafi? How d’you like being in a class of religious kids?”

“Better than being in class with you,” Rafi said. “Tell Ronny I wanna talk to him.”

Manny and Mr. Cooperman, who were both sitting beside Rafi, exchanged a fleeting glance.

“Hi, Ronny,” Rafi said, his voice cracking for a minute. “It’s Rafi.”

“Why are you calling?”

“I…” Rafi looked at the large, clearly written words on the paper in front of him. He closed his eyes for a moment. “I wanted to apologize for not coming with you on Friday night and Motza’ei Shabbos. I didn’t want to go on your motorbike on Shabbos, and the next night, I couldn’t find the house key.”

“You got lots of excuses,” Ronny said coldly. “And I don’t got time to talk to you now. I’ll be seeing you.”

“I want to talk to you,” Rafi said quietly.

“’Bout what?”

“About … a few important things.” He glanced at the page again. “Remember once, at the beginning, you gave me money?” A murmur came through the line. “And you promised me your train. I want the train, and I want you to pay me again. I went with you tons of times since then, and it’s not fair that I should come for free.”

“Yeah, you should come over,” Ronny said. “We’ve got some things to tie up.”

“You mean the money?” Rafi glanced to the left. Manny smiled at him encouragingly.

“Maybe. You’d just better not bring the cops or anything like that, y’hear?”

“’Course not.” Rafi’s voice was steady as he looked at the three men surrounding him, listening closely to every word. “I know that you’ll get mad at me and I don’t want that. When can I come?” Keep Reading…

Divided Attention – Chapter 33

January 14, 2011

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 33 of a new online serial novel, Divided Attention, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every Thursday or Friday. Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © 2010 by Israel Bookshop Publications

It seemed as though everything that had to be said had been said; all the relevant questions had been asked and all the murky issues had been clarified beyond a shadow of a doubt. Yael was silent; so was Nava.

“Do you know what time it is?” Manny asked, keeping his voice in a whisper. “It’s already one-thirty. We’ve been talking for more than two hours, and I don’t think we’ll be doing anyone a favor, least of all ourselves, if we continue talking now. Nava, please go to sleep.”

Nava rose, and for the first time in her life, she understood the expression “weak-kneed.” He knees simply refused to straighten and carry her to her room.

“Just a minute, Nava; one more question,” her father said in a low, restrained tone.

Nava stopped warily in her tracks. She’d received enough rebuke this evening, and rightfully so, although the admonishment had been much gentler than she had feared. Her parents had listened to her in silence, then asked many questions, trying to understand, to sort things out in their minds, and to think about what to do next. And yes, they also wanted to know her motivations for remaining quiet.

“How could you keep such a thing to yourself?” her father had asked severely. “How come it wasn’t your first thought to come to us?”

She had tried to explain, to make it clear that it had been Rafi’s condition, and that she had promised him. She tried to tell them that she had also been in the dark until a mere five days earlier. Her parents did not understand, and it was no wonder. Morah Ayala hadn’t understood either.

“I was afraid, Abba,” she had said finally, tears glistening in her eyes. One lone tear dripped onto the collar of her Shabbos suit. “I was afraid you wouldn’t want Rafi anymore, and I want him to stay here.”

“That we wouldn’t want Rafi anymore?” Manny had repeated, taken aback. He fell silent as his eyes followed the path of Nava’s tear and then settled on the small stain on her suit. “Enough, Nava, don’t cry. You made a mistake. It’s fine. We all have to think about where we went wrong here, but now is not the time to talk about it.”

And then the conversation had turned to Rafi’s mysterious friends and the various options of how to handle the problem. It was as though her father had locked her issue in a box and decided not to open and discuss it.

Nava had told her parents that involving the police was not really an option. “Rafi is terrified at the thought of it,” she said. “They can always get to him.”

“We have to talk to him about everything,” Manny had replied, blinking rapidly. “After we hear more details from him, it will be easier to find a way to handle the problem. Right now, we’re really just stabbing in the dark. There’s too much we don’t know.”

And now, after that whole conversation, once she had already stood up to go to sleep—though she knew that sleep was one thing that would undoubtedly elude her that night—Abba wanted to ask another question.

Manny looked at his daughter carefully. “Are you sure, Nava, that they are not supposed to come tonight?”

“I don’t think so. They made up with him that they would tie a bag to the tree downstairs on the days that they would come. I haven’t seen one the past few days, and he hasn’t told me anything, either.”

“And are you sure that he would tell you about any plans?”

Nava wanted to say that she was sure about that, but suddenly, she wasn’t so confident anymore. “I really don’t know, Abba,” she whispered.

“Okay, so I’m going to hide the key in the right-hand drawer in the kitchen. I’m not taking any chances.” Keep Reading…

Divided Attention – Chapter 32

January 7, 2011

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 32 of a new online serial novel, Divided Attention, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every Thursday or Friday. Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © 2010 by Israel Bookshop Publications

Chapter Thirty Two

Manny entered the Rav’s room.

“How are you, Reb Manny?” the Rav asked with a warm smile. “How’s Rafi?”

Baruch Hashem, he’s progressed very nicely,” Mr. Cohen replied. “We are very satisfied with him, but my wife says she thinks something has been bothering him lately. She tried to ask him if everything is alright, and he said it is, but she claims that she has the distinct feeling that he is very worried about something.”

The Rav’s forehead creased in concentration. “Do you also see it?”

“I’m not home most of the day,” Manny said, almost apologetically. “I try to speak to Rafi as much as I can when I do come home, though, and I didn’t notice anything unusual.”

“What do you talk about with him?”

Manny paused. “I ask him how his day went and tell him about interesting things that happened to me,” he said thoughtfully. “Sometimes we have deeper conversations, as deep as you can get with a child his age. Emunah, hashkafah, things like that.”

The Rav nodded. “Has your wife tried to ask him again about this?”

“No. She’s not the type to pressure. She says that she doesn’t want to forcibly extract anything from him, and if he wants to tell her, he’ll find the opportunity to do so.”

“And can you ask him?”

Manny fixed his gaze on the lace tablecloth that covered the wooden table.

“I’m not sure,” he said finally. “We have a good relationship, but if he didn’t answer my wife, I doubt he’ll prefer to tell me.”

“It’s not good for a child to keep such burdensome secrets,” the Rav said. Then he added, “And it’s not good that he doesn’t trust you enough, Reb Manny.”

“I know,” Mr. Cohen replied. “I’m not happy about it either.”

“In order for a child to trust his parents, he has to feel secure in their love,” the Rav said solemnly, “and unfortunately, in this generation, so many of our biological children have a problem with this, so how much more so with an adopted child, like your own. Does Rafi know that you love him?”

“I think so.” Manny raised his gaze. “Even if I don’t always find the way to express it, my wife and daughter tell it to him a lot.”

“Try to tell him this yourself, as well,” the Rav said, nodding slowly. “It’s very important. He’s adopted, right? Is it final?” Keep Reading…