Night Flower – Chapter 43

October 22, 2018

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 43 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. 

“Community and Culture Foundation. For the administration, please press one. For accounting, press two. For coordinators, press three. For the secretary, press zero or hold the line.”

Elka pressed three.

“For Yael, please press one. For Chanita, please press two.”

Hmmm… If there was any chance of extracting some information, it was only from Chanita. Elka pressed two and sat down on her rocking chair as she quickly reviewed in her mind what she planned to ask. She couldn’t reveal that Margalit had told her something regarding the expected grant, but on the other hand, she also couldn’t just start asking questions out of the blue.

“Good morning, Chanita speaking.”

“Hello, Chanita. This is Elka Cohen, from Yokne’am.”

“Oh, Elka, how are you? We received your most recent reports. Seems like you’re doing a very good job at your place.”

“You mean the reports from before Pesach?” Elka relaxed a bit. Chanita herself had opened up an avenue for her to ask questions.

“Yes. Your winter activities were quite impressive.”

Chanita, an older, traditional woman, admired and somewhat understood the Chareidi lifestyle, and had always been very friendly with Elka. Still, Elka had to be careful. “Yes, the winter was quite successful, baruch Hashem. Noa contributed a lot toward that.”

“Noa? Which Noa?” Keep Reading…


Night Flower – Chapter 42

October 15, 2018

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 42 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. 

The two sisters met at the vort of one of their nephews.

“Margalit! What’s doing? What’s with the grant? Have you heard anything?”

“Heard? Where should I have heard from?”

“From wherever you heard then.” Uh-oh, she was being evasive!

“You realize that I am not usually a partner to what is going on at the Culture and Community Foundation. Those were two one-time incidents. It’s true that the grants are entered into the list of figures that I receive, as their accountant, but first of all, I don’t always get the figures; sometimes another worker in the office does that work. And besides, it’s a report that is generated only once in several months. So I’m not constantly being updated. Tell me, does this cake look like it has peanut butter?”

Elka took a little coffee mousse cup off the sweet table, and then regretted it and put back in its place. “What did you hear?”

“About the kallah?”

“We’ll talk about the kallah another time. I’m sure she’s lovely and wonderful. Do you think Yaakov would do any other kind of shidduch for his Shloimy? I’m talking about the Foundation’s grant, and don’t change the subject.” Elka was usually pleasant and amicable. But there were times when she just couldn’t muster up much of that pleasant demeanor; it happened when something was bothering her very much and didn’t let her focus on anything else but that.

Margalit leaned against the wall. “The last time, the material did not go through me.”

“Margalit, would you stop playing games with me and tell me exactly what you know?” Keep Reading…


Night Flower – Chapter 41

September 30, 2018

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 41 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. 

Noa double locked the door and ran to the window. It was a large window with a brown translucent windowpane, which she pushed aside as she pulled the yellowing shutters downward. The street was silent, but her sharp eyes discerned a figure walking down the sidewalk, growing more distant by the moment. Perhaps it was even the same figure that had been walking near her when she had arrived. Noa’s anger at herself mounted. How had she not taken into account that her grandfather would send someone to see where she was going after leaving the Haifa apartment?

She returned to the sheet-covered sofa and sat down. She felt a pang of hunger; the cookies had hardly satiated her. And after all this, she still hadn’t had that drink she had wanted.

She got up again and walked to the kitchen, passing the door, the peephole, the picture, and the note. Who were the “strong flasks”? Which cult did Adi belong to? Too bad that Racheli, who had written that she was available twenty-four hours a day, hadn’t left a phone number. Adi must have it written down elsewhere, or she knew it by heart. Maybe it was possible to call this Racheli right now to ask her a few questions.

The thought suddenly flashed through Noa’s mind that perhaps the note hanging outside was not even meant for her; maybe it was for Adi. She looked around. Where had she put it? On the sofa? On the small table?

After a few minutes of searching, she found it on the floor near the large window. It must have fallen out of her hand when she’d run to see what was going on in the street. She picked it up and smoothed out the wrinkles that had formed when she had clutched it tightly a short time earlier.

You’re not a baby, so please, no games. Deal with it now and we’ll finish nicely.

There was no salutation or signature. Perhaps it was for Adi and not her at all. Keep Reading…


Night Flower – Chapter 40

September 23, 2018

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 40 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. 

The train car from Haifa to Tel Aviv was half empty, and Noa was able to place her many packages on the seat opposite her without anyone asking her to clear the space.

She leaned back and closed her eyes, ignoring the ringing phone a few inches from her left hand. She heard footsteps beside her; they paused and then continued. Someone must have been wondering why she wasn’t picking up her phone. Let them wonder as much as they wanted. She didn’t owe anyone in the world an explanation or anything.

True, her grandfather would be angry, but he would learn a lesson. He would be on edge, he would turn over the world looking for her, and then she would demand that he promise to leave her alone because they just could not work together. Then she would finally take care of what he was asking her to do, and she could disappear to the other end of the world. Maybe to America, where she’d begin the next chapter in her life.

And maybe it would be more successful than the previous ones.

But until she got there, it was a good thing there were friends in the world.

When her phone finally fell silent, she picked it up and dialed a number, not bothering to check who had just called her. “Adi?”

“Noa? Is that you?” Keep Reading…


Night Flower – Chapter 39

September 17, 2018

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 39 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. 

Dina Struk tiptoed into the children’s room. She opened the upper cabinet silently to take out a new notebook for Yaakov. A rustle from behind made her spin around.

“Naomi? You aren’t sleeping?”

The girl rubbed her eyes. “I don’t think so.”

“You don’t think so?”

“Maybe I slept a little earlier; now I’m not sleeping.”

“So first of all, don’t rub your eyes. If you slept, you need to wash your hands, so you shouldn’t touch your eyes with your fingers before you wash negel vasser, because they are tamei.” She approached the bed and sat down. “What’s the matter, sweetie?”

“Dunno.” Naomi looked at the notebook in her grandmother’s hand. “Is that notebook for me?”

“No, it’s for Yaakov. He just remembered that he needs a new notebook for tomorrow. Do you need one also?”

“No. We don’t even have notebooks in my class. We have a loose-leaf,” Naomi said, and then she closed her eyes.

“Do you miss them?” Dina asked carefully.

The girl’s eyes opened in a flash. “Who?”

“Maybe Ima?”

“What’s there to miss?” Naomi hurried to deny. “I know she went away for a few days and then she’ll be back. You don’t need to miss someone who goes away for a short time.”

“And what about someone who goes away for a long time?”

“You mean like Abba?”

Dina nodded. Keep Reading…


Night Flower – Chapter 38

September 12, 2018

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 38 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. 

Chapter Thirty Eight

Wearing dark slacks and a black wool sweater because of his court appearance made Shlomo look much better than he did in the green prison uniform. Chaiky looked at him as he took Yisrael Meir out of the carriage and hugged him, but she did not allow herself to cry. It was enough for her to see his lips trembling for her to know that she mustn’t break down now; she couldn’t show even the slightest crack in her veneer of strength. The ten days that she was here was supposed to help Shlomo be strong, not the opposite. “He’s cute, isn’t he?” she asked.

“What’s the question!”

“Look how he’s staring at you!”

Shlomo smiled at his son. Yisrael Meir gazed at his father for a long moment with a solemn face, and then returned a small, tremulous smile. Chaiky lowered her eyes for a moment and then raised them. Here was her husband, looking almost like he usually did. He wasn’t shackled, there were no jailers in sight, and he was cuddling his son. Shlomo gently laid the baby back in the carriage. What would happen if they’d try to just walk out now? Yes, they’d just walk down the corridor, go down the stairs—Shlomo would pick the carriage up and carry it down—and they would get to the first floor. Then they could just stroll to the door and exit the building… Keep Reading…


Night Flower – Chapter 37

September 3, 2018

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 37 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. 

“It’s fine, don’t worry about it. It’s our pleasure, really!” Riva Margulies firmly rejected all of Chaiky’s attempts to thank her. Chaiky was sitting in the back seat of their car, holding Yisrael Meir in her arms. Riva’s husband had put Chaiky’s beige suitcase into the trunk and closed it, and now they were ready to head for the Margulies family’s home.

“One second,” Chaiky said suddenly, her eyes glued to the window pane. “How do you open this window, Riva?”

“With the button on the left.”

Chaiky quickly pressed the button and the window slid down elegantly. She took another look. Yes. What she had seen through the clear plastic was exactly what she was seeing now, through the open window. Could that girl walking on the other end of the parking lot really be her?

She squinted. Before the figure turned away and moved on, Chaiky managed to get a pretty close-up look. Those were definitely Noa’s features, and that was Noa’s way of walking… The person really did look just like Noa!

But on the other hand, it wasn’t possible. Noa, despite her strange background, still dressed like a proper frum girl. There was very little similarity between the figure growing more distant by the minute and the girl who had taken over the community center in Yokne’am even before Chaiky had gone on maternity leave.

“Hey, that’s Noa,” Riva said, following Chaiky’s gaze. “If we understood correctly, you gave her the phone number of our organization, right?”

“Right. Did she contact you?”

“She did, and the office gave her our address. She and her friend were with us for the first days of Pesach.”

“And how was it?” Keep Reading…