The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 42

February 24, 2020

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 42 of a new online serial novel, The Cuckoo Clock, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

“Excuse me, did the van from Atah Imadi pass by already?” The woman who turned to Elisheva was elderly and seemed to be somewhat blinded by the bright sunlight.

“I think it should be here any—” Elisheva, shading her eyes with her hand, didn’t have a chance to finish her sentence before the white van drove around the bend in the road. She climbed aboard and was on her way to spending another day at Tel Hashomer Hospital, with the hope that everything would go smoothly, and that her father would feel well and hopefully be released in a day or two.

That was life—strong, turbulent, often drowning out all your plans. She had planned and thought and ran around and hoped that by this week, they’d finish all the packing and would finally be able to move. But the infection that Abba had come down with had upended all her organized plans, and turned them into one big joke. For the past three days, since Rosh Chodesh Nissan, she and Eliyahu had been taking shifts at the hospital, in Internal Medicine C, while the children were doing the best they could on the home front.

Just then her cell phone rang. What was this long number?

“Ms. Elisheva?”

“Yes?” Her voice was laced with puzzlement.

“This is Mahmoud from Internal Medicine C.”

Her heart skipped a beat. “The hospital?”

“Yes. Your father wants to know when you are coming. He’s alone right now.”

Keep Reading…


The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 41

February 17, 2020

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 41 of a new online serial novel, The Cuckoo Clock, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

Purim was behind them, and Elisheva and her entire household of three small rooms flew into a frenzy of organizing and packing. The little ones kept competing as to who would get hold of the biggest boxes from the grocery or nearby supermarket. But Elisheva threw out at least a third of the cartons they brought home, because of all types of unidentifiable crumbs in them.

“Ima wants everything to be clean for Pesach, not just plain clean!” Rikki and Devorah tried to explain to the kids. But their explanations fell on deaf ears. It was a fun activity for the boys: to search for the boxes, ask permission from the proprietors to take them, and then drag them home—just to donate most of them to the storage room in Meir’s friend’s building. Meir’s friend Elchanan was organizing a huge bonfire for Lag B’Omer, and he’d already started collecting boxes and wooden boards for it.

Even Saba had already heard about the famous bonfire, and when Meir went to visit him, he rose slowly from his chair and, with the help of a broomstick, slowly nudged a large, folded cardboard box from under the bed.

“This was downstairs in the lobby,” he said to his grandson, who stared wide-eyed in delight. “I asked if I could keep it for you.”

“Thank you, Saba!” Meir hugged the carton as best he could; his arms hardly went around it. “Ima, can I go bring this over to Elchanan?”

“Wait, not this minute,” Elisheva said. She had just leaned back in her chair and was holding a steaming cup of tea, a bit of a break from the mess at home. It was just two days to Rosh Chodesh Nissan, and they hoped to move next week. Maybe it would have been better to wait until they could close off the unit for her father, instead of renovating while they lived there, but the temptation of moving before Pesach to a new, clean, very large home was overwhelming. And in any case, her father was not being very clear about his plans. It seemed like he would be happy to come live with them, but every time the subject came up, he kept saying, “We’ll see.”

Keep Reading…


The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 40

February 10, 2020

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 40 of a new online serial novel, The Cuckoo Clock, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

When Binyamin walked into the house with his bag of laundry on Motza’ei Shabbos, he was greeted with upbeat music.

“Sorry,” he said with a tired smile. “I thought this was my house.”

“It’s always happy here!” his sister Chani said, waiting ready with her camera.

“But there isn’t usually so much noise here. Can you lower the music a little?”

Mishenichnas Adar marbim b’simchah!” five-and-a-half-year-old Shloimy said knowingly. “And besides, don’t you know we’re moving? Right after Purim!”

“He knows,” Esty said.

“I know,” Binyamin said at the exact same time. He sat down on a chair. “Of course I know!”

“Oh, so Abba and Ima told you?” Four-year-old Bentzy nodded understandingly.

Binyamin laughed. “And if they wouldn’t have told me, my friends would have updated me. Almost all of Bnei Brak knows about it!”

“Yes, and it’s a little…uncomfortable to be the subject of people’s stories…” Devorah spoke up. “Do you feel that way, too?”

“There certainly is something to what you’re saying.” Binyamin rested a hand on his forehead and raised his eyes to his sister. “Can’t you lower that music? My head is really aching.”

Chani and Esty studied him.

Keep Reading…


The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 39

February 3, 2020

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 39 of a new online serial novel, The Cuckoo Clock, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

“What are you doing here, Miri?” The two sisters bumped into each other at the corner of Nechemia and Chazon Ish streets.
“I went with Abba and Ima to see their apartment, and then I used the chance to do a few errands in this area.”

“How nice!” Tzippy chirped. “Now you can come over to me!”

Miri didn’t object. She hadn’t visited her sister since the wedding.

“But I have nothing special to serve you, just a little bit of cake left over from Shabbos.”

“Please, I’m not coming to eat!” They walked into the building, and Miri took Shmully out of the carriage. “You don’t need to feel pressured because of me.”

“That’s what you say,” Tzippy said in a low voice, and started to climb the stairs. Miri stared at her for a long moment, and then followed her sister, with her baby in her arms.

“So, how’s their apartment?” Tzippy asked as she turned the key in the lock.

“It’s really nice. Huge.” Miri took a deep breath. “You can see that it was designed as a very fancy place: the paint job, the moldings, gorgeous light fixtures in the whole house—including a chandelier in the dining room and a really nice piece in the dinette—and marble or ceramic floors; I don’t know the difference. The whole house has a very modern, shiny look, if you know what I mean. I wonder how it will look like with Abba and Ima’s furniture. Actually, the dining room has a bookcase built in, made of plasterwork, I think, so they don’t need to bring their old one along.”

“There are already light fixtures and a bookcase installed?”

“I don’t know if it’s actually a bookcase, but what else do you call a piece of furniture in the dining room that has lots of shelves?” Miri tittered. “I think we automatically assume it’s for sefarim; I don’t know what the original plan for it was. Maybe it’s just meant for knickknacks.”

Keep Reading…


The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 38

January 27, 2020

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 38 of a new online serial novel, The Cuckoo Clock, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

“You look very cheerful today, Reb Yisrael! What happened? Did your granddaughter come visit with her baby again?”

Elisheva’s father smiled and shook his head. No.

“So, what is it?” Reb Zundel Kravin hung his cane on the back of his chair and sat down at the table. “They’ve given us these heavy pitchers again. I’m telling you, it’s like a hotel here, but if I can’t serve myself and lift this heavy glass pitcher, why do I need all this elegance?”

“I’ll pour for you, Reb Zundel.” Emmanuel suddenly appeared behind them. “Juice or seltzer?”

“A little bit of juice and seltzer. Thank you, Emmanuel.”

The employee filled the cup while Reb Zundel turned to his tablemate again. “Nu, Reb Yisrael,” he prodded fondly. “Won’t you tell me what is making you so happy? Did you finish a masechta?”

“He’s about to finish one,” Emmanuel said as he set down the cup. “Right, Mr. Yisrael? He has only three daf to go.”

“Four,” Elisheva’s father corrected him, and tasted a bit of the mashed potatoes with the edge of his fork.

“Oh, baruch Hashem, baruch Hashem, you are so fortunate to be doing that! May you merit to begin and finish many more masechtos!” the elderly man wished his friend warmly. “So is that why you’ve been smiling since the minute you came into the dining room?”

Keep Reading…


The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 37

January 13, 2020

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 37 of a new online serial novel, The Cuckoo Clock, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

“Have you gone to see the apartment yet, Elisheva?” Yocheved, Eliyahu’s oldest sister, began the call without any small talk or niceties. “I didn’t know you’re the type, you know, who buys raffle tickets.”

“I didn’t buy them,” Elisheva said. Her pre-lunch nap had now been disturbed for the fifth time by an excited phone call. Her head had ached terribly this morning after a night of talking and efforts to digest this news—efforts that were not crowned with much success. So this morning she’d sent Tzippy to work at the day care center instead of her.

“What? You didn’t buy any tickets for this raffle?”

“Nope. My father did.”

“Your father? Wow!”

“Yes. He bought three tickets—for us, for Miri, and for Tzippy…and our ticket won.” For the fourth time, at least, she listened to herself objectively, as though she was just an observer, with interest. Our ticket won….our ticket. It was one thing when people who purchased raffle tickets dream about the fraction of a chance they have of winning. But she? Them—Eliyahu and Elisheva Potolsky? Was it really them who had received that phone call last night?”

“For Tzippy? Why did he buy a ticket for Tzippy?”

“I don’t know, Yocheved.”

“She has a beautiful apartment already, doesn’t she?”

“Yes. But my father didn’t consult me.”

“So let’s hear! Where is your new apartment?”

“In the new buildings at the end of Chazon Ish.”

“I don’t know Bnei Brak very well, but I take it that the location works for you. And what does ‘furnished’ mean? What does it have?”

“I don’t know.”

“Is it just standing and waiting for you with furniture? Or will they give you a credit and let you choose the furniture you want to buy for it?”

“I think we get to go buy it.”

“And they didn’t tell you exactly how much they’re giving you?”

“No, not yet.”

“How big is it exactly?”

“If I understood correctly, it’s eight rooms, plus it has a large porch.” She looked at the half-empty laundry basket. What had she done with all the clothes that were in it? Had she folded them? No, they were here in a big pile to her left. “I hope that my father will agree to come live with us there. I told him that I’m planning to make him an apartment together with us.”

“He kept refusing to come live with you until now, right?”

“Right, and I understand him. Until now I wouldn’t have been able to give him his own space, with the quiet and relaxation that he needs.” She glanced at her tiny, overcrowded home. The home that, when all was said and done, she loved very much.

“Elisheva, it sounds absolutely amazing.”

Keep Reading…


The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 36

January 13, 2020

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 36 of a new online serial novel, The Cuckoo Clock, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

Motza’ei Shabbos. Tzippy packed up their things while Peretz’s mother busied herself in the kitchen filling containers for them. “I don’t have you over every Shabbos,” she’d said after Havdalah. “So when you do come, I’d like to give you the leftover food.”

Out of the corner of her eye, Tzippy saw her placing chicken, meat, soup, and fish into containers. She didn’t especially like any one of these foods. She wasn’t used to the sharp taste of the Hungarian type of soup, and certainly not to the fish that was generously spiced with black and white pepper. The chicken and meat were decent, although nothing more than that. But who cared? They had enough food here for a whole week!

Peretz came to help her pack up. After all, he was an expert at packing, what with all of his years away in yeshivah. “My mother gave me 100 shekel just now,” he reported. “So tell her thank you when we leave, okay?”

“Sure,” she replied. Interestingly, her mother had given them 200 shekel two weeks ago, and told them that they couldn’t always help out, but when they could, they were so happy to, especially because she was still in school and couldn’t look for a serious job just yet.

Tzippy wasn’t going to start comparing, and they certainly had no right to complain, but when she looked at the two families and saw the differences in their means, the standards of their daily fare, she did feel some resentment. Couldn’t Peretz’s mother spare them a bit more than 100 shekel? She hadn’t spent anything on the wedding. And they knew how to spend; that had been evident throughout the wedding preparations. What had happened? Peretz’s mother was generous only when it was on Korman’s account, but not when it came to her personal wallet?

Keep Reading…