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.”

Read the rest of this entry »


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.

Read the rest of this entry »


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…”

Read the rest of this entry »