Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 29 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.
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“Good morning, Mr. Shikovitzer.” Binyamin put his tefillin bag down on the small table at the entrance, and grasped the nearest bench. “How are you?”
“Hashem will have mercy,” Zelig’s father replied, and his lips pressed together firmly. He continued sweeping the entryway of the shul without saying another word. Binyamin’s eyes darted around in an effort to catch sight of Zelig, but his friend wasn’t there.
“Come here, Binyamin!” Shikovitzer shouted suddenly. “The bench doesn’t have to be like that. Did you forget where it belongs? Really now!”
Binyamin glanced up. Zelig’s father had never spoken to him in such a tone. He surely had a good reason for doing so.
“Here,” Yitzchak Shikovitzer said. “Let’s lift this bench together and push it against this wall.” As they lifted the wide, heavy bench, he muttered, “A friend of Zelig’s came to me in the middle of the night and brought me a note from him. But keep quiet—they are hanging around the windows.”