The Black Sheep – Chapter 66

February 14, 2022

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 66 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. 

“Bassi!” A pale-faced Ariella opened her eyes wide when she saw who was at the door. “Kids, come see who’s here!”

“It’s Ima,” Gadi said quietly, as he came to the door to confirm it. “Ima, did you come to say Tehillim with us?”

“Yes.” Bassi smiled at her children and then turned to Ariella. “Go to Acco, Ariella. I think your brother needs you there.”

“What will be with Yisrael Meir?”

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The Black Sheep – Chapter 65

February 7, 2022

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 65 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. 

When the phone call came, Osher was in the yard, walking from one side of the fence to the other, just trying to dodge everyone’s gazes. He could not bring himself to take part in saying Tehillim inside with the others. Doron Nachman, who was sitting at the table, picked up. “Hello?” he said, his voice laced with a combination of hope and anxiety.

“Hello, this is Officer Peduel from the Acco Police Department.”

“Yes, what’s going on?” Doron Nachman took a deep breath.

“The search is continuing, and we hope that we have an important lead. I wanted to ask, what is with Rabbi Reiness’s sons?”

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The Black Sheep – Chapter 64

January 31, 2022

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 64 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. 

Walls of solid stone rising as high as the eye could see. Somewhere above them, the sky stretched in every direction. The ravine was completely dry; the remnants of spring were beginning to recede in the face of the warmer summer’s giant strides.

Reb Elazar sat on a large rock, bent over. There didn’t seem to be a living soul around besides him. His right hand supported his forehead, shading his eyes. Here, he was no one’s rav, no one’s father. He was not a son fulfilling a promise to anyone. He was alone, flesh, bones, and a soul, and only the third Partner Who had granted it all to him was here with him.

He had no idea where he was and in which direction he should proceed. So for the past few hours, he had simply walked along a narrow path that he had spotted, hoping it would lead him to some civilization, and that it wasn’t just a path that donkeys had created with their hoof-prints eighty years earlier, and which ended at some abandoned shack or ruin.

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The Black Sheep – Chapter 63

January 24, 2022

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 63 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

I never realized how much noise my shoes made. But when I walked into the courtyard of the carpentry shop with Dr. Kreisman, and I saw everyone—except Reb Elazar—standing and looking at me, I felt like my footsteps were a thunderous racket. Dr. Kreisman put his hand on my shoulder, a little like Reb Elazar, but different.

In the carpentry shop, I found two policemen sitting with Doron Nachman and Yehuda Matari. Nechemia, Reb Elazar’s son, was also there, as was another one of the Rav’s sons who once came to visit on Chol Hamoed Pesach. There was another man there, too, whom I didn’t know; perhaps he was a plainclothes officer.

They began to ask me a ton of questions. At first I sealed my lips, but then I realized that this was what could help Reb Elazar right now, even if I felt under interrogation. With that in mind, I tried to answer them as best I could. But their questions had no connection to Reb Elazar. They only asked when I went, and how I went, and with whom I spoke, and if I had planned it ahead of time.

I had planned it, sure. The same way Gadi Berg had planned with Ariella to annoy me during shalosh seudos.

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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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