RECENT RELEASE: Metamorphosis

March 26, 2019

About fifteen years ago, I attended a most unusual wedding. The chassan and kallah were both Lubavitch, as were the kallah’s parents and extended family, but almost all of the chassan’s extended family were Bobover chassidim. I’m not sure exactly which family members had “defected” to the other chassidus and when, but what I do know is that the wedding was a truly joyous and memorable event, with both Lubavitcher and Bobover chassidim dancing merrily together. White socks mingled with black socks, shtreimlach with bent-down hats, and, in the ladies’ section, regular sheitels were interspersed with shpitzlach and covered sheitlach.

And I remember thinking: What gadlus that Klal Yisrael has the capacity to do this! What inner strength these people must have, to look past their family members who turned their back on their chassidus and chose another one instead, and nevertheless join them in dancing together and being mesamei’ach chassan v’kallah!

Metamorphosis, by Dr. Zev Zalenko, reminded me of that wedding.

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Night Flower – Chapter 63

March 11, 2019

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 63 of a new online serial novel, Night Flower, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

“Today we went swimming in camp, and the house is all decorated! Did you see the massive sign hanging on the door outside?” Naomi swung her legs, looking around wide-eyed. “All these good things, happening at the same time! Oh, I can’t wait to have a piece of that cake!”

“You’re so funny,” Dovi said. He waved a rattle in front of Yisrael Meir’s face. “The main thing is not that the house is all decorated, or that so many people brought over fancy cakes. The main thing is that Abba is coming home!”

“You’re funny yourself. He’s not even coming home.” Naomi continued to look hungrily at the cake, adorned with blue and pink flowers, courtesy of Yehudis Pesserman’s baking. “He’s coming on a plane, and he’s going straight to prison, without even coming home. So what’s it worth anyway?”

“Of course it’s worth it; you don’t even understand!” Dovi said scornfully. “Didn’t you hear Ima say that he will be able to come home sometimes for Shabbos? And besides, it doesn’t matter—we’re going to see him today!”

“I think you two should stop arguing like this. And besides,” Chaiky abandoned the refrigerator, where she was trying to organize all the boxes and containers of food so they could fit inside, and lifted her scowling daughter’s chin, “it’s only for three months that he’ll be in prison here. Three months is not a long time.”

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Night Flower – Chapter 62

March 4, 2019

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 62 of a new online serial novel, Night Flower, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

“Chaiky? Anna called me. Noa.” Mira’s voice sounded a bit strange, and Chaiky, who could not see her face through the phone, couldn’t quite place what she was hearing. Was it excitement? A complaint? Sometimes the two of those could sound quite similar.

“She called? What for?”

“To tell me that she’s living in Basel, Switzerland. She found a good job and is renting an apartment. She just wanted me to tell you again that she is very sorry and hopes everything works out.”

“Nice that she hopes that. I also hope the same thing.”

Mira smiled. “I almost said something similar myself, but in the end I just kept quiet. She said that she has neighbors across the hall from her who are frum, and they have told her she’s invited to them for all Shabbos meals. There’s a beautiful kehillah of ba’alei chessed in Basel; I’ve heard about it.”

“Maybe we should warn them,” Chaiky muttered.

“I’m not sure about that,” Mira replied quietly.

“Why? Would you be ready to invite her to be your regular Shabbos guest at this point?”

“Me?” Mira smiled and sighed at the same time. “I’ll have to deal with my past issues with her somehow; we’ll find a way b’ezras Hashem. But Noa sounds very sincere. She told me that she totally cut off ties with her grandfather, and paid a heavy price for it, and that she wants to start a new life now.”


They emerged from the assistant principal’s office just as the bell rang. Doors opened, and girls began to stream out. Chaiky glanced at Rachel, wearing a light blue shirt and navy skirt, even though she was not yet officially accepted as a student, and thought about how she looked just like one of the girls.

They made their way to the entrance of the building in silence, clearly aware of the girls observing them with curiosity. Some girls nodded politely at them.

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