The Black Sheep – Chapter 52

November 8, 2021

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 52 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. 

The small pupils shone as they gazed at Ariella, who smiled back. She put her finger into the tiny palm, waited for the fingers to close around it and sat still, just she and Kreindy.

Kreindy’s unbelievably calm nature was a bit of a problem sometimes. If not for the angelic sweetness that came along with being a baby, barely anyone would notice her. She hardly cried. Even when hungry, she would moan delicately, and after receiving a few ounces of her bottle, she smiled dreamily and fell asleep.

It was strange that a child of such an energetic mother, in such a busy household, could be the polar opposite of them all.

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The Black Sheep – Chapter 51

November 1, 2021

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 51 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. 

Acco, 2015

“I must say, your voice sounds excellent, Ariella,” Sarah Reiness said as she stood at the sink rinsing her brushes. It had been a while since she’d touched any of her painting supplies, and when she had wanted to today, she’d discovered that almost all of her paintbrushes were dry and hard. Apparently she hadn’t rinsed them well the last time she’d finished using them. “You’re not hoarse at all, and your words are flowing smoothly. It’s really amazing. What is it, the air in the yishuv?”

“You tell me—you’re the expert,” Ariella said with a laugh. “Can the change of air bring such an improvement?”

“Of course it can. And so can a change of atmosphere.”

“So then it’s good all around,” Ariella said.

“What’s been going on?”

“Normal, baruch Hashem. Working hard.” Ariella’s voice sounded vibrant.

“Are you talking about your work with Bassi’s children, tzaddeikes?”

“Yes, tzaddeikes yourself.”

“And what about in other areas?”

“Nothing at all.” Ariella paused for a minute. “Did Zahava send you to me?” she asked suddenly.

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The Black Sheep – Chapter 50

October 25, 2021

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 50 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. 

Bitton wiped his hands and walked to the door of the restaurant. Binyamin noticed Shikovitzer biting his bottom lip nervously. They heard a babble of voices from the door, and Binyamin glanced again in surprise at Zelig’s father. It did not sound like just two people were speaking; it sounded louder. The two Jews did not know that they were both thinking the identical thing, even if in different words: Was it an Arab mob bursting into the restaurant because they had discovered their presence?

As they both spun their heads around, it became clear that they were thinking along the same lines. “We can get out through the window,” Shikovitzer whispered hoarsely. “You certainly will be able to, and I’ll try.”

They stood up hastily, ready to escape if they discovered that it was necessary. But after listening for another moment, it seemed as if they would not have to put their plan into action. The voices did not sound bloodthirsty. There was a loud argument going on between Emmanuel Bitton and someone else, and they could hear a guttural voice chime in every minute or so. The tones were loud, but not more than that.

“I only invited you to the meeting,” they heard Emmanuel say coolly.

“It’s the business of our entire hamoula, not just him!” someone else said.

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The Black Sheep – Chapter 49

October 18, 2021

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 49 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. 

“Binyamin? Binyamin, do you get a mazel tov?” Shikovitzer pressed the telephone receiver to his ear. There was a lot of static on the line, and he could hardly recognize his young friend’s voice. “Binyamin?”

“Yes, it’s me. Hello, Mr. Shikovitzer.”

“Do you get a mazel tov, Binyamin?” Yitzchak repeated the question.

“Me? Not yet.”

His former neighbor was shocked. “But I met your father…”

“My younger brother got engaged,” Binyamin said lightly. “To a girl from a wonderful family, baruch Hashem.”

“Oh, so I guess I didn’t understand your father.” An awkward silence ensued on the Yerushalmi side of the line. “We met for a moment as I got onto the bus and he was getting off. He told me something about an engagement…I thought he was talking about you.”

B’ezras Hashem, b’ezras Hashem.”

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The Black Sheep – Chapter 48

October 11, 2021

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 48 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. 

“Hey, Butan!”

Emmanuel Bitton smiled at the man amiably. “Yes, Sa’id? Is everything alright?”

“Yeah, everything is fine. Can I have some more of your stuffed things?”

Bitton smiled and pointed to his “waiter,” a barefoot youth who was walking among the diners holding a huge elliptical-shaped bowl filled with mangrove leaves that were stuffed with rice and raisins. His mother’s recipe really used meat, but that was too complicated to obtain.

Someone walked in to the small restaurant with a heavy, slightly uneven gait. Bitton tensed— it was one of the prominent effendis of the Al Alami family, who had cast fear on the other Arabs of Acco. If they would begin with riots and ambushes against the Jews of the Galilee, of which Acco was a part, they would almost certainly draw the others to follow them.

“Hey, effendi!” Emmanuel called. “Salaam aleikum! Come, have a seat, here’s a clean table. Ahbed! Come and give the gentleman a large portion!” The boy came over with a smile and asked the effendi what he preferred. The guest sent him away with an impatient wave of the hand, and the boy scurried away, offended, to Emmanuel.

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The Black Sheep – Chapter 47

October 4, 2021

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 47 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. 

Acco, 1947

“I spoke to them, Mr. Shikovitzer,” Emmanuel Bitton said as he sat down on the wooden chair. His eyes scanned the small, sad apartment. “It was just an exploratory conversation, to start with.”

Nu, what did Mahmoud say?”

“He actually looks to me like someone who can be easily persuaded. He is very aware that the land is yours and not his. But on the other hand, he has friends and family, and they won’t let him give in so fast.” Bitton raised his eyes. “Besides, I didn’t quite understand. What will you do with the lot now? You don’t intend to live there, right?”

“Not to live.” Zelig’s father closer his eyes and then opened them. “It’s a hekdesh lot.”

Hekdesh?”

“Since I bought it when I came to Eretz Yisrael, I dreamed of building a shul on it. I even saved up some money to do that. But I waited for more Jews to come to Acco, you know, and while I was waiting, I used the lot for my business… Only when I was hiding from the rioters in 1929 did I decide that if I would be saved, and I would get the lot back, I would not continue to use it for horses and buggies; I’d build a shul on the property.” He smiled morosely. “For now, I daven here every day, at the Kosel, the holiest site we have. Still, I cannot stop thinking about that place. I invested all my money there, and my dreams…”

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The Black Sheep – Chapter 46

September 20, 2021

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 46 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. 

Acco, 1947

“Hey, Mahmoud!” Issam Abu Rafij sat down on the edge of the bench on the lot in Acco. Mahmoud, the owner, was already sitting there, leaning back and tanning in the sun. “What’s with that wheel I bought you? You didn’t fix it yet? What’s going on? You had too much work this morning?”

Mahmoud ignored the snide remark and sufficed with waving a tool that Issam could not identify. “Your wheel will be fine in half an hour,” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me it’s urgent?”

“It wasn’t urgent for a day, or two, but now it is. What do you do all day, Mahmoud, besides smoking your nargilah?”

Mahmoud just shrugged. Then he sighed. “You know, one day Yischak will come back, and he’ll be angry that everything is such a mess.”

“Yischak will not come back,” Issam corrected him. “What’s with you? The Yahud ran away, and they’re not coming back to our Acco.”

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The Black Sheep – Chapter 45

September 13, 2021

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 45 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. 

“This Dr. Kreisman is an interesting guy,” Osher remarked as he clicked the seatbelt closed.

“Is he?” Rabbi Reiness smiled broadly. “What did you see that makes you say that?”

“First he looked like a really simple type, you know…” He searched for an example. “I don’t know, like someone who works at a different kind of job. But then, the minute he started with his questions and papers, he became so professional. Like, all the way.”

“He is a very unique person.”

“He’s a childhood friend of yours?”

“No.”

“Oh, right, I forgot that he told me that you know each other through his son. I thought for a minute that he was in the same class as you, like Yosef.”

“Yosef? Which Yosef?”

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The Black Sheep – Chapter 44

September 6, 2021

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 44 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. 

“Are you going home, Ima?”

Bassi raised her eyes from her pocketbook to her sleepy son. “Yes, Yisrael Meir. Aunt Sarah should be here any minute, and she’ll spend the night with you.”

“How will you and Abba get home?” He seemed to be struggling to formulate coherent thoughts despite his veil of grogginess. “There’s no bus…” He sighed. “From Haifa to there.”

“We’re staying in Haifa, sweetie—it’s fine. We are staying in this cute little apartment, and Abba is learning in a kollel here in the city, for now.” She put the pocketbook down and leaned toward him.

“But I heard you saying on the phone that you don’t really like the apartment they gave you here.”

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The Black Sheep – Chapter 43

August 30, 2021

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 43 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. 

The lavender scent suddenly weakened, and Rabbi Reiness took a deep breath. “You are one hundred percent right, Reb Yigal,” he said. “It really doesn’t make sense, in a way, and it is exclusively my fault. Throughout the beginning of this process, I thought that Osher was in touch with you. Our approach is to rely on the boys’ responsibility and maturity, because after all, they are not twelve-year-olds.”

“In a certain sense, Osher is still a lot like a twelve-year-old,” Mr. Erenbaum snapped as he slid his pen holder from side to side on his desk.

“And I was wrong,” Rabbi Reiness continued, ignoring the comment. “I should have made sure that he was coming to us with your support and approval. When I saw Osher the first time, I got the impression that he had one foot in the street already, so pulling him out of there and bringing him to Acco seemed of vital importance to me. The question of whether he had told his parents or not was secondary.” He leaned back in the chair. “Don’t get me wrong. That same evening that I took him to Acco, while he was in my car, I asked him what his parents had to say about it.”

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