The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 22

September 9, 2019

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 22 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. 

 

“Good morning, Saba.” Miri pushed the carriage into the small room and entered. The carpet swallowed her footsteps, but Saba raised his head at the sound of her voice and smiled.

“Oh, Miri, hi, good morning!” Tzippy chirped. “You haven’t seen my album yet. We just got it last night, and we took it over to show Ima. So, what do you say about the layout design?”

“Design?” Miri took a step closer, parking the carriage in the corner. Ohhh, it was a digitally enhanced album, not an album with clear pockets that you slide the pictures in one by one, like hers. The tome was elegantly bound, made of glossy, gold-edged pages, and each photo was cleverly designed with various techniques.

“Here, look, there you are.” Tzippy hastily turned back a few pages. “Here are all the family photos from the beginning. And look how cute Shmully came out. It’s a good thing you brought him for the pictures!”

“Right.” Miri couldn’t help but smile as she looked at her son’s large eyes sparkling at her from the pages of the album.

“What do you say, Saba? The photographer did a great job, didn’t he? Look, he took the curtain that was in the hall and turned it into a background on all these pages. Then, for the pictures at the seudah, he played the same game with the centerpieces. See how it looks like they’re actually behind the photos? And he also used this feature to make a shadow effect.”

Saba nodded solemnly.

“You think he’s really interested?” Miri muttered as she bent over from behind them to look at the album.

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The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 21

September 2, 2019

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 21 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. 

 

Senica, Czechoslovakia – 5708/1948

 

Ulush struggled with the window, but was unable to close it.

“It’s a little bit broken.” Her hostess’s pleasant voice came from behind. The young woman turned around, slightly embarrassed at the sight of the tray that had been placed on the round table.

“Just some coffee,” said Tessa Lieber as she poured milk into a cup of boiling water. “You haven’t eaten a thing since you got here.”

“Thank you,” Ulush said, and tried not to inhale the odor of the cows that wafted into the room together with the darkness and the cold. “But…I can’t really drink right now.”

“You have to,” Tessa insisted. “You don’t plan to fast, do you? You mustn’t!”

“I’m worried.” Ulush took the cup of coffee with trembling hands. “And you are so nice, welcoming in two people who just knocked at your door with no advance notice…”

“The pleasure is ours. We love having guests.” Tessa sat down on the edge of the bed in the small room. “And the fact that my husband knows your husband from before the war gives us a very good feeling. Drink, Ulush.”

“I’m so worried. And the smell of the cows bothers me. And I miss Edo…” And suddenly, Ulush burst out crying, and put the full cup back on the tray. A few drops splattered onto the floor.

“Who is Edo?” Tessa asked, rising to draw the curtain. If the window didn’t close, at least the curtain could filter out some of the smell that bothered her guest.

“It’s the child who was with us for four days. I helped smuggle him out of a gentile institution. He’s so small…and alone…and now, after Gustav suddenly disappeared on him, we also did!”

“I imagine that you had no choice,” Tessa said, trying to make sense of what Ulush was saying, despite not understanding much of it.

“It’s true. The risk was too big after Gustav disappeared.”

“And who is Gustav?”

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The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 20

August 26, 2019

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 20 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 does that mean, he disappeared?” Rabbi Walkin stopped abruptly en route to his chair.

“When my wife returned from a shopping trip, she found only Edo at home. He told her that Gustav told him that he had to go, and he just went. And he hasn’t come back.”

“How many hours have passed since then?”

“Now it’s already almost two o’clock, so it’s a bit more than four hours, I think. We looked for him in every possible place. I asked Rothstein to even sniff around in the municipal hospital, but we’ve turned up nothing.”

“Did he leave you a note? A message? Did he say something yesterday or this morning?”

“Nothing.”

“Do you think he was kidnapped?” The orphanage director pressed his hand to his forehead.

“No. I’m afraid that he went back there of his own accord.”

“Back? To that other place?”

“Yes.”

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The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 19

August 19, 2019

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 19 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. 

 

Bayla Stockhammer walked into Peretz’s empty room and opened the ironing board. How many shirts was she supposed to iron for him ahead of time? She’d be happy to iron all twelve of his new shirts, but in recent years, ironing had become increasingly difficult for her. She couldn’t do it sitting down, and when she stood to iron, it didn’t take long for her legs to begin protesting. If she could have spread the ironing over a few days, that would be one thing. But the wedding was in less than a week, and she had so many errands to do, and it was the aufruf this Shabbos… Maybe she would just give everything to a professional ironing lady.

She didn’t even plug in the iron. Instead, she went to find the most recent advertising circular that had arrived in her mail. If she wasn’t mistaken, there was an ad every week for just this type of thing.
The circular was waiting on the mail table in the hallway, and just as she found the ad and was about to make the call, the phone rang.

“Hello, is this Mrs. Stockhammer?”

“Yes, it is,” she replied, sinking into her favorite old armchair.

“This is Attorney Rosenblit. Your receipts have arrived, but we cannot file them because Peretz did not sign them.”

“What?”

“I called a day after our meeting to let you know that my client is requesting the signature of the chassan and kallah on each of the receipts.”

“Ah, yes, now I remember,” she murmured. “I didn’t really like that directive, which is probably why I didn’t remember it.”

“Could be.” He was very courteous, but remained firm. “I’m sending them back to you with a courier so Peretz can sign them immediately, and the courier will bring them back to me. Alright?”

“Fine…oh, but one minute. Peretz is only coming home the day after tomorrow, on Friday. He’s in yeshivah now.”

“So be in touch with me when he comes home, and we’ll set up a time for him to sign everything.”

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The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 18

August 12, 2019

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 18 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. 

 

“Shaina?” It was Nechama Kagan, Shaina’s cousin from Petach Tikvah. As principal of Bais Yaakov Zichron Elchanan, Shaina Rosen was a busy woman, and her cousin had caught her just as she was about to leave her office.

“Hi, Nechama, how are you?”

Baruch Hashem, nothing special here. Tell me, we got a very strange invitation today from friends on the block… What’s the story with Stockhammer and Potolsky? Bais Yaakov Zichron Elchanan is your school, isn’t it? Since when do people make weddings in your gym?”

“It’s really just a one-time thing.”

“Is it true that Stockhammer’s son, the chassan, is sick? And he’s supposed to have surgery in another month, so they’re making the wedding early?”

Shaina switched off the light in the office. “I haven’t heard of such a thing,” she said cautiously.

“So what did they tell you?”

“That they got money from a special fund if they would make the wedding on Rosh Chodesh Teves, and being that all the regular halls were already taken, they were looking for an alternative that could work.”

“Strange. Maybe this money is just an excuse to cover up the truth… I heard that they asked a rav, and he told them not to drop the shidduch. A school gym as a wedding hall…? Who called you about it?”

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The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 17

August 5, 2019

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 17 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. 

“In the gym of Bais Yaakov Zichron Elchanan…?” Avigail Auerbach raised her eyes from the invitation she was holding. “What’s the story with Tzippy?”

She went back to reading, and then: “What?!

Her little shriek did the trick, and her mother came rushing into the room. “What happened?” she asked her daughter, who was also a kallah, in alarm.

“Look!” Avigail said. “It’s Tzippy’s chasunah invitation… She’s getting married next week!”

“So, what are you so shocked about?”

“She told me that the wedding is in the middle of Shevat! Why did they suddenly make it six weeks earlier?”

“Oh, you’re talking about Tzippy Potolsky?”

“Yes. And not only that. Look where the wedding will be held!” Avigail handed her mother the cream-colored invitation.

“Strange…” Mrs. Auerbach murmured. “I hope everyone’s okay there. What was so urgent all of a sudden? And to make a wedding in such a place? What is going on?” She and her daughter exchanged anxious glances.

“She was supposed to get married six weeks after that. You remember we met her doing errands?”

“Yes, sure.”

Avigail sat down near her desk, playing with the cap-less pen that she found there. “But they both looked perfectly fine. What was strange was the standard of things they were buying, remember?”

“Yes, but I think this conversation is getting a bit gossipy.” Her mother handed her back the invitation. “I will tell this to Abba, though. He needs to know any unusual information regarding people who take loans from the gemach. It’s other people’s money, you know.”

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The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 16

July 29, 2019

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 16 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. 

“I’ve never heard of a wedding held in a school gym.” Miri was standing in the middle of the gleaming kitchen, studying the central island that she was leaning on. She swiped a finger over the countertop. “Everything is full of dust,” she said with disgust. “It’s only from far that it looks so shiny. And look at that filthy floor there, in the space where the refrigerator goes.” She looked at the stained patch. It was a pretty big area. It didn’t look to her like the size of a regular fridge, but rather a double-sized one. Is that what they had bought for Tzippy? She didn’t really want to ask. It was enough that at first they hadn’t even told her about this huge grant, for fear that she’d be jealous.

“Peretz’s mother said yesterday that we’ll bring a cleaning company to tackle the kitchen before the appliances arrive.” Tzippy washed her hands, and then pulled out the faucet and used the spray setting to squirt the countertop, enjoying the novelty of the fancy faucet. “But I cleaned the bedroom with Ima yesterday, because we knew that the furniture was supposed to arrive this morning.”

“Let’s start putting your stuff on the shelves. That’s what we came for,” Miri said, trying to get a hold of herself. “So, what were we talking about?”

“The wedding,” Tzippy said lightly. “Of course people will raise an eyebrow, but I trust my mother-in-law to make sure the wedding will be elegant.”

“It’s true that even the shabbiest hall can be dressed up into something nice,” Miri agreed. “But it’s still strange to get married there. His mother couldn’t find any other place?”

“Everything else was booked. At first we thought we could make the wedding in a shul hall, but none of those ended up being available for the date we needed. The other option my mother-in-law suggested was some country club type of place near Rechovot, but Abba and Ima didn’t want that, and neither did I. How would my friends get there?” She paused at the door to the bedroom. “And Peretz didn’t want it either. We’re not looking to be the topic of discussion.”

“I hear,” Miri murmured. “So did you order invitations yet?”

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