Dance of the Puppet – Chapter 7

July 26, 2013

purple bookIsrael Book Shop presents Chapter 7 of a new online serial novel, Dance of the Puppet, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week. Click here for previous chapters. 

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

The next morning, Yaffa went to the high school. Elchanan was happy to hear about the temporary job her sister had found for her, and left for Dvir’s store, as he had been doing each of the past few days. Bentzy went to the babysitter upstairs, clean, calm, and with his hair freshly combed.

Even after she left the house, waited at the bus stop, and boarded the bus, Yaffa didn’t allow herself to think too much into what lay ahead.. As it was, with every step she took toward the school, she felt an urge to turn around and go home, to Bentzy, to her familiar housework.

What was she thinking, accepting a job in a school office that was totally unfamiliar to her? Not that she was any more inclined to work in her alma mater’s office; she was hardly interested in meeting her old teachers and the sisters of her friends and neighbors who would begin asking questions. But there, at least, she wouldn’t have a problem with the actual walls. They wouldn’t be foreign to her. Nor would eyebrows be raised. Now, however she looked at it, she was going into a strange, unfamiliar building, and she didn’t even know where the office was! She would have to find it on her own and introduce herself to the principal, reminding her that she was Mrs. Schuck’s sister who was reporting to work today for the first time.

Ugh. Too bad it was the end of the month, and Chaya was too busy at work to be able to accompany her for even half an hour. Keep Reading…


Dance of the Puppet – Chapter 6

July 19, 2013

purple bookIsrael Book Shop presents Chapter 6 of a new online serial novel, Dance of the Puppet, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week. Click here for previous chapters. 

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

The person who opened the door was taller than her and her light hair was gathered into a high bun on the top of her head. Once she invited Yaffa inside, Yaffa was able to take a closer look at her employer, only to discover that she was really just a big girl.

“Welcome,” the girl said briskly. “You’re the cleaning lady, right? You can put your bag here, in the bathroom, and get yourself ready. When you come out, I’ll tell you exactly what I want today.”

Yaffa found herself in the middle of a marble bathroom. She wasn’t sure she understood exactly what was going on in the place, but she decided to do first what the girl had told her to do: to get ready. The wall tiles were a pinky brown, and there wasn’t a single fingerprint to be found anywhere. A pleasant scent hung in the little room, and two folded pink towels were stacked on the edge of the bathtub.

Yaffa took a deep breath. Everything was so clean-clean-clean, much cleaner than she ever dared dream she could achieve. She stuck her clothes into her bag, creased into a messy pile, and looked around for a spot to put her sheitel. Hesitantly, she hung it on a gleaming nickel hook that protruded from one of the walls. Then she opened the door and stepped out.

The girl was waiting for her, leaning against the wall. “Very good,” she said. “We have an hour and a half until my brothers come home, and I want you to start in the kitchen.” She straightened up and walked rapidly toward the kitchen, with Yaffa close on her heels.

Yaffa felt a strange sensation, as though she’d been plopped into the pages of a fantasy book, and if she wouldn’t follow the girl, she would never be able to get back to the real world. They passed a large dining room, and Yaffa was able to catch a glimpse of two low, leather armchairs next to a small, glass, square table, and a large window whose shutter was totally drawn, blocking out even the slightest crack of light.

The kitchen was a different story. The two sinks were piled high with dirty dishes. On the right side of the counter was a pile of crumpled papers that had overflowed onto the gas range. The large floor tiles featured a huge red stain, and the same red substance was splattered on the bottom cabinets of the kitchen, too.

“Those are my brothers for you,” the girl said. “They threw a bottle of ketchup on the floor, and no one volunteered to clean up the mess. If you have any questions, I’m in my room.” Keep Reading…


Dance of the Puppet – Chapter 5

July 17, 2013

purple bookIsrael Book Shop presents Chapter 5 of a new online serial novel, Dance of the Puppet, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week. Click here for previous chapters. 

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

“One minute, girls, quiet!” Malka sighed, trying to forge a path between the hordes of girls that were crowding near the office.

“Next week it will be quiet here,” one curly-haired girl remarked. Such a comment could only be made to Morah Mann in the pre-Overnight atmosphere that prevailed. Malka smiled forgivingly and walked into the principal’s office.

“Didn’t we have that end-of-the-year teacher’s meeting last week?” she asked, dropping into a chair. “So why doesn’t it seem like the year is over?”

“You’re tired, Malky,” her mother said as she raised her eyes from the sheaf of papers she was working on. “Go take a drink. And check if the teachers’ room is available. That woman from the accountant’s office is supposed to be meeting you in about half an hour, right?”

“I hope so,” Malka began to say, when the door opened slightly behind her back.

“Good morning, Mrs. Kotzker,” Yael greeted the principal, sounding energetic and friendly as though she had slept many more hours the night before than the mere four she’d actually gotten.

“Good morning, Yael.” Adina Kotzker’s voice suddenly became crisp and alert. “Your program sounds excellent, but there are a few points I’d like to go over with you. Sit down; why are you still standing?” Keep Reading…


Dance of the Puppet – Chapter 4

July 12, 2013

purple bookIsrael Book Shop presents Chapter 4 of a new online serial novel, Dance of the Puppet, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week. Click here for previous chapters. 

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

Today there was actually no traffic on the way, and the bus came on time. Elchanan walked down the street, skirting two stones that lay on the edge of the sidewalk, and wondered apprehensively what was waiting for him at home. Yaffa had been miserable when he’d left in the morning, and all the way to the store he wondered what more he could do that he hadn’t already done. But when he arrived at the store and the pressures at work began, all matters relating to home flew out of his mind. Only when he left, after parting from Dvir with a, “Take care, see you later” did Yaffa’s face rise in his mind’s eye again.

He sighed. He really felt for her, a young, slightly naïve girl, who had woven a nice dream for herself that was suddenly beginning to crack before her eyes. But what could he do? He was ready to try and fulfill her other dreams, to do a lot to make her happy, but without the gasoline called money—nothing was possible, even if Yaffa thought it was. He was not built for the belt-tightening and frugality they had been forced to live with these past few months, to reckon every container of cheese or each chocolate bar that he wanted to buy. It was just not for him. When he’d told his mother on the phone how much he was sweating, she simply did not understand.

“Sweating? Don’t you have air conditioning in the apartment?”

Go explain to her that the last electric bill had been so huge that if he’d receive another one of similar proportions, he’d have to take a loan from a friend to cover it.

Perhaps it had been a mistake to learn half a day in a kollel that paid so little, but that kollel was where he had enjoyed the learning. Should he have looked for a kollel based on how much they paid? Something about that idea sounded uglier than going to work for Dvir; he didn’t know why, but that was the way it was. Perhaps Yaffa would have preferred that he do that, but that wasn’t what he was interested in doing. Torah is Torah, work is work—and he didn’t want to mix up the two.

As he walked up to his apartment, his compassion and apprehension were suddenly replaced with resentment. He had no strength to come home and find a tearful wife, a messy house, and a screaming baby. He didn’t deserve it. He had worked hard today, and a lot of it was for them, not only for himself. Yaffa couldn’t expect him to do things that he was not capable of doing, just like he did not expect her to do things that she was unable to do.

The door was locked, as always. He knocked, and she opened it, with her regular smile and “hello.” He entered, murmuring his own greeting, and turned to the small dining room to put down his jacket and hat.

She followed him. “How was it?” she inquired. Keep Reading…


NEW RELEASE! Heroes of Faith

July 9, 2013

Heroes of FaithFor the many, many readers whose Three Weeks—and the rest of the year—have been uplifted by Rabbi Dovid Hoffman’s popular Heroes of Spirit, here’s a second helping of a great thing: Heroes of Faith, a brand new book offering another 100 inspirational stories that took place during the Holocaust and under Russian rule. In this stirring volume, you will meet many great Jews—both famous rabbinic figures and so-called “pashute” Yidden—whose faith during these black eras of our history carried them and our Nation above the unspeakable tragedies they endured.

For all those looking for a dose of chizuk during the Bein Hametzarim or any time!

Click here to purchase online.

Keep reading for an incredible story from this volume:

Arugas Habosem: A Grandfather’s Promise Keep Reading…


NEW RELEASE! Those Who Never Yielded

July 9, 2013

Those Who Never YieldedHis name was Matisyahu Gelmann, and he was a young hero in our history, tragically cut down in his prime.

Have you never heard of this great person, the leader of Matisyahu’s Men, who bravely stood up to the Nazis and refused to bend an iota to them? Then you must read this book, a classic that has finally been republished after years of being out of print.

This legendary book that tells the true tale of a small band of Chassidishe bachurim who kept firm in their commitment to keep every aspect of their mesorah, even in the face of the wicked Nazi soldiers, has moved countless readers to tears. It will inspire you to no end, and will give you much food for thought this Bein Hametzarim.

Click here to purchase online.

Keep reading below for a sneak preview and an incredible story:

Yankel Geffen

Yankel Geffen, too, wears the halo of legend. At the side of Mattisyahu the Penitent, the major hero of the chassidic rebel movement, Yankel Geffen stands out as one of those who guided all the underground activities. Yankel had been an introverted student, modest and retiring, supported by his father-in-law and happily circumscribed by the walls of the shtiebel–until the winds of war came along and swept him out onto the battlefield to confront Satan. These very storm winds lifted him up to the lofty peaks of leadership. Keep Reading…


Dance of the Puppet – Chapter 3

July 9, 2013

purple bookIsrael Book Shop presents Chapter 3 of a new online serial novel, Dance of the Puppet, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week. Click here for previous chapters. 

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

The moon had already sunk behind the buildings, and faint rays of light began to glow on the horizon. Bentzy had been screaming for more than an hour, and Yaffa really had nothing left to do but cry with him. She sat on a kitchen chair so that Elchanan wouldn’t wake up, and hugged Bentzy. The windows were closed; the neighbors weren’t to blame for the fact that her baby had decided to give a concert tonight. He’d drank his bottle, had been changed from head to toe because she thought perhaps he was hot, and then had been changed again ten minutes later because she worried that maybe he was cold. They’d paced up and down the kitchen floor, the porch—where there was almost no room to move, the short hallway, and even the bathroom. She’d almost decided to give him a bath, but trembled in fear at the thought of doing it without Chaya or Elchanan. In the end, both she and the baby fell asleep on the chair in the kitchen.

“Yaffa?” Elchanan was standing in the doorway, squinting his eyes. “He’s going to fall in a second. You should put him into bed.”

“What?” She opened her eyes in alarm when she saw the pale light coming through the window, and immediately realized that Bentzy was sleeping on her lap. “Oy!” she cried, grabbing him tightly. “Oh my goodness!”

“Did he cry a lot last night?” Elchanan asked, entering the kitchen. “Why didn’t you wake me up?” Keep Reading…