ISSUE 112 9 Nisan 5773/2013
r e h hig Pesach 5773
Cargo Spills FEATURE
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Blood Libels FEATURE
3/15/13 12:00 PM
Published by Ami Magazine Editor-in-Chief: Esty Weiss News Editor: Avrohom Yaakov Tarkieltaub Production Manager: Dina Hagar Photo Editor: Eli Koenig Executive Coordinator: Zack Blumenfeld Illustrator: T. Aramada Design: Rachel Adler Layout: Shana Baila Kohn Write to us at Ami Magazine, 1575 50th St., 3rd Floor, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11219 Call us at: 718-534-8800 Fax: 718-484-7731 Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
ISSUE 112 9 Nissan 5773/2013 play
bits & pieces
12 blood libels
38 crepe caper
can you see me?
40 welcome to the grand dump
inner view vanishing acts
photo pullout korbanos
12 things you may not know about mihagei pesach
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What does "
Ask any frum kid with a second grade education and he'll tell you the answer is easy—it's an acronym for the 10 makkos. Yaakov Frank, however, decided to claim that it stood for something else—with terrible results. You may not have heard of Yaakov Frank, but the Yidden in 18th century Europe certainly did. He had crowned himself Moshiach and duped thousands of Yidden, called Frankists, into following him. Eventually they all converted to Christianity. That's when they really began causing trouble for their brethren. The Frankists issued a letter claiming that stood for (We all require blood in the manner that was done to 'that man' by the Sages of Jerusalem.) Yes, they actually said that was a secret code and blood libels were true! The Christians were delighted with this information. In 1759 they decided to set up a debate with the Frankists versus frum Yidden. R' Chaim HaCohen Rapaport, the Rav of Lvov, was sent to the debate. It is said that R' Chaim was so sure he would not emerge alive that he wore tachrichim under his clothing. To everyone's surprise, he not only emerged alive, he left honorably. Among the Frankists ridiculous claims? We all know Yidden should have yayin adom (red wine) at the seder, but the Frankists claimed it was yayin Edom, wine made from Edom (Christians), in other words—blood! The Taz writes in his commentary on the Shulchan Aruch that one should not use red wine even though it is more mehudar because of the danger of blood libels. Yidden who could not because they feared for their lives—and don't miss our feature on blood libels. Chag Kosher V'Sameach!
Waiting to hear from you,
the magazine so much but I always get it because I am the oldest. Then I read it from cover to cover. I have a few requests:
1. Can you make the "Mexican Ransom" longer?! It always ends by the best part.
Can you do 12 things…
*Metal *Crumbs *Twins from France Thank you. Your best (and I mean BEST) reader and Your biggest (and I mean BIGGEST) fan,
These three words (and many more!) describe the Aim! magazine. All of us love it, even my mother, who cracks up from it. (So do the rest of us.) Can you please do 12 things about Sara Schenirer and sloths? Can you please tell Dina Neuman that she’s SUPER creative? Why is "Mexican Ransom" called by that name if no one is paying a ransom? Aim! magazine is truly superior. Keep it up!
P.S. Please please please feature my letter in Aim! as soon as possible!!
2 #1 Aim! Fans
P.P.S. Please can you interview the Twins from France? I am their biggest fan!
Your message has been passed along to Dina Neuman. As for the title of "Mexican Ransom," well, no questions can be answered until the story is through...Thanks for writing! Aim! fans are truly superior! —Esty
weensy bit good about it! Thanks for writing and for all your suggestions... —Esty
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s w ne ator navig
as a matter
By Chaim Boruch Tauber
vented something really cool and I’m going to make a stash of cash selling it. And once I become a trillionaire selling my new product I’ll be able to quit my
Aim! What? Come on, I can’t give out any details of my what if someone steals the idea for themselves? Nah… who am I kidding? Of course I’ll tell you what it is! My invention is an apple peeler that shines your shoes and also takes out the garbage for you. And that’s not all! It also comes with an alarm clock feature that has a built-in sensor; if you press the snooze button it will dump apples peels, shoe polish and garbage all over your bed. It’s brilliant, right?! What…? You don’t think it will sell? Hmm. Yeah, I guess I haven’t thought it completely through.
was held in 1905. While organizers do try having one 83rd show.
something and assume people will run to buy it. That’s why there are trade shows and expos where people peddle their wares while gauging what kind of interest the product generates. This holds true for apple-peeling, shoe-polishing, garbage-disposing alarm clocks and it also holds true for cars. While not a lot of people need a peeler-polisher-alarm clock (as of late) most (adult) peoThis year’s Geneva Motor Show gave us a unique view of what cars might look like in the future. Seven huge this Switzerland city, considered neutral territory because no auto company calls Switzerland home. Here are some cars that really stood out:
Of the hundreds of auto shows held around the world, the one in Geneva is consid-
The XL1, released by Volkswagen, will allegedly be able to go 250 miles on one gallon of gas.
The i-Road, released by Toyota, is a three-wheeled motorcycle with a roof and windows; it looks like a poor cross between a small car and motorcycle.
The Viziv, released by Subaru, is ideal for parking in tight spots; the doors open upwards.
Finally, there is the Lamborghini Veneno, which reaches a top speed of 220 mph (0-to-60 price tag of $3.9 million.
In any event, I’d have to sell a whole lot of apple peel-
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THE FROZEN NATION
bizarre news When people began referring to Australia as “Down Under,” they certainly knew what they were talking about. At least as far as Coober Pedy, Australia is concerned. Coober Pedy’s 4,000-plus inhabitants live entirely underground!
a backyard baseball game (there are no “backyards” either) and when an earthquake happens they’ll be the
Living underground is so much more
Every building has a number of airshafts to allow in oxygen. Because of the lack of underground sewage the
derground dwellings keep out the cold air, keep out the hot air (temperatures reach 125 F, a minor inconvenience), and, I’d also imagine, keep out the thieves. You don’t have to worry about a broken window due to
Each house is custom-built and if you ever decide to have guests you
not far from the main entrance. Living in Coober Pedy, Australia is not the end of the world…it’s living below the end of the world.
childhood it might interest you to know that Scandinavian mothers leave their babies out in the cold during nap time. Why? Because they believe that breathing in the cold air is healthy for babies and it helps kill many germs. And hey, it’s not like any of the babies have ever complained about it…. Do cold-aired babies really end up stronger and healthier than their cozier-climate brethren? Is this practice cultural or cruel? Are the results wives’ tales or tough love? Regardless of the truth, you know these kids will still complain about it when they’re teenagers….
KOSHER L’PRESIDENT The very moment President Obama announced his intentions to visit Israel, practically everyone in the Middle East announced their desire to have the American president speak at one of their events or establishments. But
has anyone stopped for a second to ask what Obama himself wants? I’m asking because according to a recent Haaretz report, Obama and his entourage will only be served kosher food while visiting the Holy Land. In fact, because the
visit is so close to Pesach the only food available will be kosher l’Pesach. Ha! And Obama thought the sequester was the worst thing to happen to him? Has he tasted walnut macaroons?
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THE UNWISE WHYS BY ELI KATZ
SCENE 1 (In a house.) R’ YEHOSHUA Oh, Eliyahu Hanavi, I sooooo want to accompany you on your travels. There’s so much I’d like to learn. Please? Please? ELIYAHU HANAVI Okay, you may come along. But there is one condition you must agree to—you can’t ask for an explanation about anything that you see. If you do, you’ll have to leave my side. Accept? R’ YEHOSHUA Sure! (To himself.) Wow, that’s a really easy condition. No questions allowed—no problem, I’ll keep my lips sealed. I can’t believe I’ll be able to accompany Eliyahu Hanavi! It’ll probably be soooo inspirational!
R’ YEHOSHUA (Vaguely) Oh, this, that and the other. YISHAI Mostly this? Or mostly that or the other? Well, well, your business is good for mine—the hachnasas orchim business. My wife and I adore hosting guests. Did I mention how happy we are to have you? As you can see, we’re not exactly wealthy people. But we do have a cow! We don’t have a cow that we’re not wealthy, we have a cow! What I mean is we have a cow. A real one. A black and white one that moos. (Gives a little giggle.) Cows tend to do that. Moo, I mean. you some warm milk? ELIYAHU HANAVI Yes, thank you. RIVKA The bedroom is right there in the back. If you need anything, let me know.
(Nighttime in a little hut.)
R’ YEHOSHUA sleep?
YISHAI have guests! We're more than
YISHAI There’s plenty of straw in the barn… R’ YEHOSHUA
We're—oh, you must be thirsty. Rivka, can you bring something to drink? So tell me, wanderers, what brings you to our village?
Where will you
ELIYAHU HANAVI (Motioning to R' Yehoshua.) Come along. Oh, Hashem, please make this couple's cow die!
R’ YEHOSHUA (To himself.) Are my ears lying to me? He’s davening that this nice couple’s cow should die?! Something’s being lost in translation here. I’d better ask— oops, wait a minute, no questions!
SCENE 3 (The next night, at a rich man’s house.) ELIYAHU HANAVI Could we possibly stay the night here? We’re so weary from our travels. TOVIA Oy vey, here we go again. More schnorrers! If I had a nickel for every schnorrer who thought the world owed him his bread I’d be a wealthy man. Not that I’m not wealthy now. I am. And you know why? Here’s a little secret: I work. And here’s a not-so-friendly little suggestion: GET A JOB! Then hardworking people like me wouldn’t have to be harassed by annoying people like you. ELIYAHU HANAVI Oh, please allow us to stay! TOVIA (Sighing.) My heart is made of butter. If I weren't such a nice guy I'd have you both thrown out pronto. you can stay in
continued on page 8
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Râ€™ Yehoshua ben Levi
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ion direct a
my barn. If the horses agree. My horses are snobs, they don’t go for schnorrers either. Beware of the tall chestnut-colored one, by the way. He kicks. R’ YEHOSHUA food? TOVIA
Can we have some
Typical. You can eat straw with the horses, if you want. I’m not running a hotel. Mattis, show these beggars where the barn is. And remind the wall we saw earlier. MATTIS Will do. Come along, beggars. But don’t stand too close. I don’t want the schnorrer smell rub-
classier that way— NACHUM (Snidely.) Wow, an interior designer you’ll never be. Classier? You gotta be kidding me! Gaudy? Yes. Classy? Nice try! I say, we encrust the silver chairs with precious stones and— BARUCH than you! NACHUM An ant could decorate his anthill better than you! ELIYAHU HANAVI Excuse me, is there any place we could stay the night? NACHUM gars.
ELIYAHU HANAVI Please, please, please. We’re so hungry and tired.
SCENE 5 (In a humble shul.) ELIYAHU HANAVI Is there anywhere here that we could stay? CHAIM Wheeeeeooooow! Guests! Hooray! Please, come to my house!
CHAIM have my supper. You can even have my breakfast and lunch. And wait till you try my cozy bed.
BARUCH So, I was thinking, we should really have the silver chairs replaced with gold—it’s so much
R’ YEHOSHUA Now I’m really confused! These awful people should be rewarded by becoming leaders?!
NACHUM they keep coming back! We should really invent a giant beggar swat-
R’ YEHOSHUA What?! You must be kidding me! This terrible person gets
(In a lavishly decorated shul.)
ELIYAHU HANAVI Oh Hashem, please make all the people of this congregation leaders.
If only beggars were like
and it comes right back.
SHOLOM Come to me! You can stay in my bedroom! I’ll prepare you dinner. Oh, there’s nothing like some guests to make a day complete.
ELIYAHU HANAVI Hashem, please repair the wall.
on?! I’d better ask—wait a minute, no questions allowed! (Sighs.) I’m so confused…
(Annoyed.) Scram, beg-
feeding-the-poor rule here, we don’t
we could get rid of those parasites. You’re in luck, beggar. There are some hard benches in the back room set aside for annoying people like you. You can sleep there, but be sure to be gone by sunrise. And no eating in the shul—not that we’re gonna give you food. We have a no-
SHOLOM Everyone here wants to host you! Please stay longer than one night! ELIYAHU HANAVI Oh, Hashem, please make only one person here be a leader. R’ YEHOSHUA
That’s it! I can’t take
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a parzszhle pu
“What a beautiful seder this was,” Mrs. Blau said sleepily as she smiled at her kids. “You all contributed so nicely with your divrei Torah and singing. But I’m afraid now comes the not-so-fun part, we have to clean up this place.”
“I’m bombed!” Gnendel said, “I think girls should be exempt from cleanup duty. After all, we’ve been cleaning for the last few weeks.”
ELIYAHU HANAVI You must go now, you have broken our agreement, But before you do, allow me to explain. house we visited was destined to die, I prayed her cow die instead. Beneath the rich man’s wall lay a treasure, I
As for the rest, a congregation in which all are leaders will eventually destroy itself from a congregation with one go home, R’ Yehoshua. R’ YEHOSHUA How little our minds understand! What looks like bad can be good and vice versa! I shall never question the ways of Hashem again.
“Kids!” Rabbi Blau said sharply, “I can’t believe what I’m hearing! Is this the way to end such a beautiful seder? We will all help and Mommy will go to sleep.”
hah c a l a h enge chall
“Why on Earth are the two of you wearing goggles?” Shoshana asked as she ogled her two brothers, Shulem and Shimmy. “Don’t tell me you boys are going swimming on Erev Pesach!”
“Of course we are,” Shulem replied with a straight face. “What else would we be doing on Erev Pesach?”
“Seriously,” Shoshana said. “What’s up with you guys? Yom Tov is in two hours.” “You never heard of the invention of MEP—marror eye protectors, invented by S and S?” Shulem asked in mock disbelief. “Oh, you boys are grating marror now? I’m getting out of here. Last year my eyes were tearing for hours.” “Well if that’s the case you better get
Issue 112.indd 9
“Me too,” Shua added. “I’ll start cleaning right away. Mommy dear, please go to sleep.” “Thanks,” Mrs. Blau said gratefully as she stood up from her chair. “I have the best children in the world!” “I’m glad you apologized,” said Mr. Blau. “Sorry again,” Shua said. “I really feel bad for knocking out your teeth.”
Why did Shua apologize for knocking out teeth?
out of here,” Shimmy warned. “This year it will be three times as strong.” “Well how do you plan on eating it?” Shoshana asked. “Last year you nearly choked on the marror.” “Did not,” Shimmy said. “But anyway this year the S and S inventors invented a new way of eating marror,” he added smugly. “I’m not sure we can tell it to you,” Shulem added. "It’s top secret.” “So don’t,” Shoshana replied. “Fine, we’ll tell you. We plan on swallowing it without doing any chewing, this way we won’t feel the sharpness.” “Well,” Shoshana said, “I’m glad you inventors told me your idea before you did it, because you can’t do that.”
Answer: One must chew the marror. (Mishna Berurah 475:30)
BASED ON TALES FROM OUR GEDOLIM
“I’m sorry,” Gnendel apologized. “That wasn’t very nice of me.” She quickly got up and began clearing the dishes from the table.
Answer: When someone angers somebody it’s as if he’s knocking out his teeth. (Rashi, Haggadah: Rasha mah hu omer)
it anymore! Why do you keep praying that evil people be rewarded and the
“Excuse me!” Shua retorted. “Boys should be exempt. After all we’ve been...um…helping by staying out of the way the past few weeks.”
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& s t bi es
If you eat as many potato chips as I do on Pesach you can make countless key chains!
c e pi r i Unge By Niss
You might only be allowed to eat potato chips these days, but look at the bright side: You could create fun key chains with those bags!
YOU’LL NEED: An empty, snack-size potato chips bag Keychain Microwave Adult supervision Punch a hole in the left-hand corner of the bag, place it in the microwave and nuke it
onds only!) You will see some sparks and hear noise coming from the bag. Your bag is now a mini version of the original! Wait at least another 30 seconds before you take it out—it’ll be very hot. Add your key chain and hang it on your briefcase.
WHY DOES IT WORK? Who said you need fancy wine decanters to spruce up a Yom Tov table? This geode cork craft takes only a matter of minutes—and they’re as beautiful as expensive corks sold in gift shops.
YOU’LL NEED: (A geode is a rock with a crystal center. You can buy the crystal pieces in any craft store.) Cork bottle stoppers Craft glue Cover the top of the cork with a large amount of glue. Place the geode on the glue and hold it down for several seconds. Let stand until it dries.
Yes, it’s all science. The bag is made up of polymers, long chains of molecules. Polymers in their natural state are like a knotted up string. When a potato chips bag is made, the polymers are heated When the bag is exposed to heat again, the polymers are released from their stretched state and return to their natural, bunched-up state. Why do the shrinking polymers still stay in the shape of the bag? Because they are coated with aluminum, paint and other materials that bind them together.
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why in the
world WHY DO WE USE ROMAINE LETTUCE FOR MARROR? IT
you’ve been eating those leaves too early. The Gemara says it is preferable to use chazeres, which is chasa—romaine lettuce—for marror. The longer the romaine lettuce is allowed to grow, the more bitter it becomes. That’s why farmers make sure to harvest it before it gets too big. In Eastern Europe, where romaine lettuce was unavailable because it only grows in hot climates, horseradish was used. Today many use both. (Some Sephardim use green onions or parsley.) There are those who are machmir and eat only bitter romaine lettuce.
The Nile River is about 4,132 miles long. It is the longest river in the world.
Some dispute this, claiming that the Amazon River is actually longer.
Think the Nile is only in Egypt? It actually runs through Kenya, Eritrea, Congo, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. Only 22% of the Nile River runs through Egypt.
It was only in 2004 that the White Nile Expelength of the Nile River. The journey took four months and two weeks to complete.
sometimes they go for animals as well. They will also attack and eat humans—about 200 a year!
Most of Egypt’s settlements lie along the banks of the Nile.
The Nile has two major tributaries, or branches the Blue Nile. The Blue Nile originates in Ethiopia.
what in the
The White Nile is called so because of the presence of silt, a buildup of white sediments which makes it look white. It is believed to originate in Lake Victoria in Africa.
The Ancient Egyptians so depended on the Nile that their calendar was divided into three
WHAT ARE ARTIFICIAL WHY ARE THEY USED? IT’S PESACH AND YOU’RE REALLY
growing season and the third was drought, or harvesting.
10 they’d like to copy out of the natural food it is in. This vaporize to get an even more concentrated version. They will then look at it through a chromatograph, an instrument that enables the separation of complicated mixtures to see how the molecules are arranged. Finally, they reproduce the molecules in their labora-
Anyone doing laundry at the Nile River could have ended up in a crocodile’s jaw. Nile croco-
Egyptians were at complete mercy of the Nile until the Aswan Dam was built in the 1970s to help control ing.
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chess challenge deluxe edition
1 White’s turn, checkmate in two mov A
2 White’s turn, checkmate in two moves. A
3 White’s turn, checkmate in three moves. 4 White’s turn, checkmate in four moves. A
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13 Pot OOOOOOOO
1. (1) Queen on d5 to h1, if black moves his Knight
(1) ...black moves his g pawn then Queen to a1 Checkmate!
JUS 144 TICE
2. (1) Queen on f3 to e2, King to d5 (2) Knight on
d pawn then Queen to c2 Checkmate! and if black 3. (1) Rook on e1 to d1, King takes Rook (2) King on e1 Checkmate! and if (1) ...King moves to b2 then (2) Rook on e3 takes pawn on c3, King goes to a2 (3) Rook from c3 to c2 Checkmate!
WHAT DO THESE SENTENCES REPRESENT? ...King takes pawn then (3) Queen to e3 Checkmate!
chess answers 1. I understand you undertake to undermine my undertaking. 2. Gross injustice 3. Potatoes (Pot
teaser answers Like Sudoku? Try Jigsaw Sudoku! Rules: You must place the numbers 1-9 once in each colored jigsaw region, as well as in each of the rows and columns.
ct e j o r p rsuit pu
glitter glasses Supplies:
GLITTER SPONGE BRUSH MOD PODGE WINE GLASSES BLUE PAINTER'S TAPE OR MASKING TAPE
1 2 3 4 5
Cut a piece of painter's around the rim of the cup. Place the tape on the cup so it will cover the area you do not want to glue. With the sponge brush, brush Mod Podge all over the glass. Sprinkle with glitter so all the Mod Podge is covered. Allow to dry. Remove the tape slowly and tap the glass slightly to get rid of the excess glitter. Put another coat of Mod Podge on the glitter to seal it in. Let dry and remove tape.
glasses Transform cheap wine glasses into stylish glasses thatâ€™ll transBY RUCHY WEBER
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beaded glasses Supplies:
GLASS CUPS RHINESTONES WITH FLAT BACKS MOD PODGE TOOTHPICKS
1 2 3 4
With a toothpick, apply Mod Podge to the back of each rhinestone. Paste the rhinestones to the base of the cup, forming a rim. Decorate the middle of the base with more rhinestones, either randomly or in a pattern. Let dry. Coat the rhinestones with another thin layer of Mod Podge. Let the glass dry overnight before handling it.
doily glasses Supplies:
GLASSES GOLD PAPER DOILIES MOD PODGE SPONGE BRUSH PEN SCISSORS
GOLD PAINT MARKER
1 2 3 4 5
Trace the outline of the bottom of the glass onto a gold doily. Cut out the circle you traced. Turn the glass upside down and use the sponge brush to cover the bottom of the glass with a thin layer of Mod Podge. Lay the cut-out piece of doily gold side down on top of the glue. Gently press the doily down onto the cup and smooth to get rid of air bubbles. Allow to dry. Apply Mod Podge to the outer part of the doily, making sure to cover the entire area well. Let dry overnight. Draw a gold rim at the top of the glass with a gold paint marker
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AS TOLD TO LEAH FRANKEL
I’m glad my mother is with me. The woman who opens the door extends her hand. “Hi, my name is Dr. Helen Smith.”
I give her a once-over. She is a middleaged woman, expensively dressed in muted colors. A shawl is draped elegantly around her neck.
As far as I can tell we are the only ones hallway with two doors. I shift awkwardly, feeling the plush carpet give beneath my shoes.
land back home. Last year I put my foot down. “Mommy, I can’t do this anymore;’’ I said. “The trip sucks all the energy out of me, it’s simply not worth it. I’m not going this year.” To my surprise, my parents didn’t force the issue. I spent a boring Pesach with my maternal grandparents in Lakewood, while thinking of all the fun I was missing. Of course, once my family was home safe and sound I kicked myself for being such a coward. Smith’s voice is honeyed.
“Follow me,” Dr. Smith beckons. We are led into one of the rooms. The oversized, comfy chairs. She shows
it a bit of a thrill, but four years ago, when I was 12, everything changed.” “What happened then?”
My mother also takes a seat. Dr. Smith sits in a chair facing me and crosses her ankles. I cross my own.
I lean back in my chair and close my eyes.
"So, what brings you here?’’ she asks. Her voice is soft and soothing.
the plane bounced around for about an hour.” I shudder. “It was awful! Now all I have to do is step onto a plane and I’m overcome with the same feeling I
I look to my mother for help. My mother motions to me to talk. whisper. Dr. Smith leans back in her chair. “That’s very common,’’ she nods. “I’ve seen other people with this exact isthey were healed from their phobia.” me, but this is my last resort.
prods. “Totally panicked. I—I—thought my life was over." I swallow hard. "You would’ve thought people would be screaming, but it was actually awfully quiet. A woman near me was sobbing. I was shaking and nauseous and hot and cold at the same time.” “So you’ve been through a traumatic experience.”
who live in Hendon. Each year the panic sets in around Purim time. The and our stay there isn't much better;
I nod. “And now you want to overcome this fear.”
because of my fear, but I don’t feel like I can be helped.” “You can be helped,” says Dr. Smith emphatically. “With the power of hypnosis, which, of course, is what you came here for. What kind of scenery do you I shrug. “Um... I do like the ocean.”
I close my eyelids gently, feeling foolish. “Relax your right hand,” she begins in a soothing voice. “Your right hand is now completely relaxed.” Not really, I think. “Now relaaaaxxx your left hand, your left hand is soooooooo relaaaaaaaaaaaxxxxxxeed....your right foot....your left foot......your eyes….
Dr. Smith strokes my arm. It irritates me. I’m impatient to open my eyes. Finally the permission is granted. back.....You can open your eyes now.” I breathe a sigh of relief as I open my eyes and sit back up. “How did that feel?” Dr. Smith is smil-
I nod again. "I don’t want to miss out
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REALLIFE real tweens
“Uh, it was nice," I lie. “But how is this going to help?” “I’m going to practice this with you several times. Instead of getting on the plane and doing the only thing you’ve conditioned yourself to do—panic— you will learn how to take yourself to any beautiful place you wish. Did you notice that I was stroking your hand while you were at the beach?” Instead I nod. “OH.” Her face falls slightly. “Then you’re not the easily hypnotizable type.”
WE FLEW INTO A
On the way out Dr. Smith hands me a CD titled “Float.” “It’s for practice,” she explains. I try not
corridor of the building. “That was very helpful!” my mother beams. I turn to her in shock. “Uh, you mean that….sarcastically?” "No, she gave you great advice. Didn’t you think so?” I sigh, "See, I knew nobody understands me!” I moan. “It’s no use.” Now my mother sighs. “You’re right. It is no use...not until you are truly willing to try to help yourself.” “What do you mean?! I wish I could help myself!” “Lovely,” I mutter. I knew it would be no use.
“Is that why you refuse to take a sleeping pill on the plane?”
“But no worries,” Dr. Smith quickly adds. “You’ll get better with practice.”
to a plane in crisis, so I don’t want to sleep.”
She sends my mother out of the room.
“You refuse to read a book, play a game or even eat.” my mother points out
she practices the technique several more times with me. This is boring. I can’t wait to tell my mother that, as expected, it’s no use. Finally the session is over. Dr Smith door open for me. “That’ll be 500 dollars,” she coos. I gasp. What a con artist! We’d totally this Park Avenue address.
“Well I can’t keep an eye on the plane while I’m doing something else!” “So you want to be in control.” I nod. “But you’re not. You’re only in control of your thoughts.” We walk the rest of the way to the car in silence. “I don’t like to be in midair!” I say as I strap myself in."I like to keep my feet on solid ground!”
turned into a phobia for you. You need help, but nobody can help you unless you let yourself be helped. Please do it for me. Please practice the relaxation techniques Dr. Smith gave you. You may be surprised, and it will turn out to be helpful. And if you don’t want choice is yours. You can stay home.” My head hurts. I want to protest that practicing the techniques is a waste of time because the woman is a con, but I keep my mouth shut. We don’t talk about the upcoming mother buys me self-help and fear-ofdesk. I practice Dr. Smith's exercise almost every night. After all, I promised my mother I would. ***
tery as ever, and I haven’t eaten all day. So why have I decided to go through with this “torture”?
But I do know one thing—I can’t let my phobia get in the way of living my life. out. I might sit, white-faced and clutching my chair, prepared for disasto an ocean where I’ll relax watching the waves. There is one thing I do know: I’m getting on that plane.
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IU NG ER BY NIS S
YOU THOUGHT YOU HAD CLUTTER TO CLEAN FOR PESACH? YOUR WRECK OF A PLAYROOM IS NOTHING COMPARED TO THESE COLOSSAL MESSES! READ THIS AND BE GLAD YOU ONLY HAD YOUR HOUSE TO CLEAN.
THOUSANDS OF MACKEREL
JANUARY 27, 2012
What a strange sight—never mind the smell… That’s what happened to Gordon Flinn when a truck, full of mackerel, turned over and
es! Mr. Flinn got a call from the police saying that there had been an accident and his property
Louise Flinn, Mr. Flinn’s daughter, doesn’t like it in stride and they were trying to poke some
She also mentioned she was glad the driver wasn’t badly injured. He cut through about 20-30 yards of their fence before he fell
thing—but there was a 20-ton silver sea of sands of the things all over my land. It was a bit of a shock to say the least. It took police and those who were cleaning it up about sev-
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DONUTS & BRATWURST
NOVEMBER 2, 2012
OCTOBER 17, 2011
My father once drove over a turtle in the Catskill Mountains and my mother couldn’t sleep for weeks afterwards; she felt awful about the accident. It’s good she wasn’t anywhere near the Indian town of Anakapalle this past November when a van smuggling them out on the highway. Besides for the obvious problem of having 400 turtles on the highway, the owners of the van had an additional problem— these turtles are illegal to transport and are protected under the Indian Wild Life Protection Act. The turtle ter; they are served as a delicacy in parts of India. The turtles had been packed in 39 burlap sacks called gunny bags and van overturned while trying to round containing the turtles fell out. The
sent them to a zoo. Luckily, all the turtles survived; at last report the zoo management was waiting for a court order to be able to release them back into their natural habitat.
What a waste of delicious goodies! At 4:20 a.m., on an Illinois interstate highway, a truck driver lost control and collided with another truck, spilling all its contents. Twenty tons of food, including chocolate cake, doughnuts, cinnamon rolls and bratwurst (a type of sausage), were strewn all over the highway. Authorities were forced to close the road for seven and a half hours while crews cleaned up the gooey mess. “It’s very slippery out here because of the sugar, the sweets and the fats from the meats,” Trooper Dominic Visione with the Illinois State Police reported. A cleanup crew power washed the road and Dunbar Transfer, the company responsible for hauling all the food to a
77,000 POUNDS OF BUDWEISER BEER
JULY 26, 2012
It was 4 a.m. when an 18-wheeler tried to avoid large debris on Interstate 270 and rolled over. Cases of beer poured out of the truck. ? Not so fast. The road was closed, so no one actually got to sip all that Budweiser. It took six hours for the spill to be cleaned up and for the road to be reopened.
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40,000 POUNDS OF ICE CREAM
FORT WAYNE, INDIANA
DECEMBER 24, 2011
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Too bad drivers could only look and not take..Vanilla and caramel praline crunch were all over Interstate 69, as the truck that was carrying the delicious load tried to enter the highway from a ramp and tipped. According to the Journal Gazette crash itself did not cause ice cream to spill onto the interstate. But when two large tow trucks used cables to drag the rig closer to tainers—the kind you’d see in a grocery store—came out of the top of the trailer, And since most of the containers were intact and the temperature was close to freezing, it looked like much of the ice cream was salvageable! It was loaded onto another truck. It wouldn’t have been a very pretty sight if it were 100 degrees t ha t day.
2 MILLION EUROS IN COINS
FOGGIA, SOUTHERN ITALY
JULY 7, 2010
In Italy, cash-hungry motorists didn’t mind being caught in traf-
THOUSANDS OF PAIRS OF SHOES
JANUARY 2, 2009
Mysteriously, no one knows how the shoes got there. But on January 2, 2009, shortly before 8:00 a.m. on a Friday, thousands of shoes mysteriously appeared on a Miami highway. It certainly slowed morning rush-hour trafers on the Palmetto Expressway. There was no sign of a crash and no one ever claimed them. Interestingly, the spill included a full gamut of shoes. There were work boots, slippers, sneakers, sandals and even rollerblades. A private contractor was hired to pick up the
distributed shoes to poor people, was expected to pick them up and distribute them, probably in Haiti.
cars and began digging in! Those quick enough to dig into the loot before the police got there stole a total of 10,000 Euros. The truck was carrying money from the Italian mint and was headed for local banks. The driver ended up in the hospital all the way to the bank.
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29,000 RUBBER DUCKIES
THE PACIFIC OCEAN
JANUARY 10, 1992
They were made in China for the US company The First Years Inc., and were headed for a simple life in your ed halfway around the world! The yellow army of 29,000 plastic yellow ducks, blue turtles and green frogs broke free from a cargo ship in 1992. Since then they have traveled 17,000 Titanic sank, landing in Hawaii, and even spending years frozen in an Arctic ice pack. They managed to survive icebergs and strong sun, although they did fade. These ducks were actually examined by scientists and beachcombers— even NASA caught on to examine our These ducks were able to help scientists understand water currents and where tides actually take things better than ever before. Because of the publicity these ducks got, people were bound to report any sightings,
aiding researchers. Many of the ducks have washed ashore, faded and white. Some took as long as 15 years to reach land, and some are still at sea being tracked by expert beachcombers, scientists and even environmentalists who want to prove ocean is—especially plastic, because it holds up for years without disintegrating. Although we don’t often hear about containers being lost and cargo spilled at sea, it is not a rare occurrence. Anywhere between 2,000 and 10,000 containers get lost each year. Shipping companies don’t like to talk about it because they don’t want to be held liable for these events; they often conceal their records from the public. In the case of the ducks, oceanographer and beachcomber Curtis Ebbes-
meyer convinced the company to help him in the name of science so he could study the ocean currents and ronment. Slowly, he established trust and got them to tell him everything from where the cargo spill occurred, to the number of ducks and the reason for the spill. He has since gotten the shipping companies for Nike and LEGO to talk about similar spills. This story, so widely reported, also inspired writers. Yes, I guess when scientists made great oceanic discoveries thanks to these ducks, writers wanted a piece of the pie too. Famous children’s author, Eric Carle wrote a children’s book Ducks inspired by the Floatees. His book includes the process of the ducks being made at a factory and then being lost at sea. Eve Bunting wrote a book called Ducky that actually describes a duck falling out of a container and being frightened and alone at sea.
THE RUBBER DUCKS' TRAVELS AROUND THE WORLD
In 2011 Donovan Hohn published Moby-Duck: The True
mentalists, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them. He describes in detail how he followed the ducks' trail and all that he learned ney.
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"They were making matzos with human blood." "...They kneaded the matzos with (the) blood..." "...A 'Hasidic sect,' (whose) members kill children before Passover to collec t their blood..." Can you guess when these statements were made? No, it wasn' t during the Dark Ages. They were said in 2012 (statement by Saudi Cleric Salman Al-Odeh), 2010 (Amer ican Muslim "scholar" Salah Eldeen Sultan) and 2007 (Russian Nationalist M. Nazarov), respectively. And they're
hardly the only ones to gleefully accuse Yidden of this ridiculous idea.
get out of paying rent that month to their Jewish landlords. Some times a child would be deliberately killed by Christ ians in order to fabricate a libel against the Jews (and then get a little share of “paradise” for their “noble deed” of putting a Jew to death). And other times the “dead” child was not even dead; or had never actually existed outside the twisted mind of a deranged anti-Semite. There are more than 150 recorded examples of blood libels over
While there have been instances of Jews being blamed for the deaths of gentile children since practically forever it wasn’t until the Crusades that blood libels became fashionable. The insane notion that Jews have been killing Christ ian children in order to use their blood for matzos began to gain traction back in the 12th century. Some libels took shape when a dead body was discovered and the real murderer was not found. Other libels were created few.
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Trent ofItaly Simon o, Trent r Sometimes it’s bette cer for ors fav not to do n tai cer for t no tain people; especially fore Pesach, fanatical Catholics be place. When k too the time this story n of Trent tow the three Jews from of two dy bo d dea came across the banks of a year-old Simon at the
Jews being burned.
William of Norwich Norwich, England
The people of Norwich
m, a 12-yearlifeless body of Willia s discovered old Christ ian child, wa ach time. As in the woods around Pes s still "some technology in 1144 wa and because what" underdeveloped
Hugh LittlLinecolSn, ir England When the body of Hugh nine-year-old suspicion imwas found in a well, well’s owner, mediately fell on the ppin. It was a Jew by the name of Ko
minutes for local bishop. It took a few ld even call the detec tives (if one cou t blaming it them that) to agree tha st option and on the Jews was the be rk early that they all got to leave wo re promptly day. The three Jews we murder. arrested on suspicion of p then orThe discontented bisho zens of other dered the arrest s of do re tor tured Jews, many of whom we so bad that and/or killed. Things got ced to interthe pope himself was for Jews. But the vene on behalf of the . “Nah, what locals weren’t impressed y shrug ged, does the pope know,” the ir tor tures the as they carried on with pope did the as usual. Eventually bloodthe to manage to put an end be into s Jew the shed and declared ained rem it w ho nocent. And that’s a diftil un rs, yea for a number of vious pre the sed mis ferent pope dis nce oce inn of on ati pope’s pronunci
child drown the boy’s death (like a und a deep ing while playing in or aro alas, the year well, for example). But it was easier was 1255, a time when t of someou to force a confession the townst) tha do to s n it was ule ed tha e sch busy one by applying tor tur an alterna h wit up e in was com pp to Ko ic. had folk to actually follow log rs took a turn tte Ma urch, ty. Ch par the lty of gui e tiv arrested by members d that William ere cov until dis s him wa e it tur en tor wh who proceeded to h some of the wit ess And r. sin bu rde ne mu do the had he “confessed” to , William, who s in wa ” on ssi nfe town’s Jews. Of course “co then, once the for his boss, ng alo red rde mu s delivered animal hides wa place, Koppin with anyone s. actually did business with 18 other Jew story got d not intereste As the days went by the the townspeople were body the and rt ed fac ts. A sho slightly exaggerat in being confused by the fan at gre h wit ed on s later (a of Hugh was burie while and a fal se witnes r ove all m fro e led cas par ticular fare. People travel eyed maid, who in this to ” cts pe res ir the the y of sed par t the area to “pa claimed to have witnes ggerate the nit y mu com ish Jew Lit tle Sir Hugh and to exa the "ritual") and the local int po e som At story fur ther. was brought to trial. t the more Church itself realized tha surdid y nit mu com ish ggerated the While the Jew the story was being exa ely tim the to nks tha eal wing up…and vive the ord more people were sho even fur ther. exaggerat ing the story move (a en ph Ste g Kin d’s siness opporand Englan Realizing a lucrat ive bu popuun hly hig g Kin the de e the Church which ma tunity when they saw on Norwich of m llia Wi of ry that Lit tle sto lar) the even went on to claim future ny ma for y wa the e iracles.” Sto would pav Hugh had performed “m proclaimed s wa m llia Wi . els re sung, and lib blood ries were told, songs we le created eop nsp tow the Christ ians and " ing a "saint the idea of Jews kill acles the mir ut abo s rie ut Medisto e gho rat ou elabo started to spread thr despite one is, (Th . ed rm rfo pe had boy eval Europe. en his family theory that he'd died wh .) beat him for misbehav ing
t time blood once again, and by tha ng on . libels were really catchi
Simon of Trent
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Christopher de La Guardia Toledo, Spain
teenth century was not a great place for Jews, to put it mildly. And had practically no evidence to suggest that the Jews had anything to do with Christopher’s disappearance that didn’t stop them from pretending they did. Many Jews (some who had already converted to Christianity) were arrested, and because people who are being tortured will usually say whatever it is they think their torturer wants to hear, the confessions all contradicted one another and no useful
The Bazin Libel Bazin, Hungary
Over two dozen Jews were executed on grounds that they killed a nine-year-old boy and drained his blood to be used for matzos.
alive, in the city of Vienna. The boy had been kidnapped by Count Francis Wolf of Bazin, who thought he had discovered a foolproof way to get out of paying the loans he owed to many members of the Jewish community.
story itself made no sense. No one knew
Pesach Sed er, painted by Moritz Daniel Oppen heim (1800 -1882).
ed during the trials for lack of anything else); no one knew the age of the child; no family had ever reported that particu-
the child had been kidnapped from; and a body had never been found. The story made no sense—all in a day’s
Medieval priests arguing with a Jew.
short while after this libel that the Jews were expelled from Spain.
The Beggar Child Posen, Germany
Zhukhovski’s Book Sandomir, Poland
When a Christian mother killed her own son in anger she knew that all she needed to do was dump the lifeless body in a rabbi’s backyard. Zhukovski, a fanatical priest from the area, saw this as an opportunity to become famous and went on to publish a pamphlet
were full of contradictions and didn’t really make any sense, but that didn't stop other anti-Semites of that generation from believing it. Eventually, like in other European villages, the A picture warning people to take care lest entire Jewish community was their children be snatched by the "kindleexpelled. in fresser," the child-eating Jews.
Throughout Europe, for many centuries, no one in a position of power cared about the lower class. In some places it was a bigger crime to steal a potato from a rich man than it was to murder a poor man. But when the death of a poor man’s child could be blamed on Jews, all of a sudden, everybody cared!
The dead body of a poor child was discovered one day and authorities promptly arrested a woman (perhaps the child’s mother) who child to a group of Jews. It took four years for the courts to establish that the Jews were in fact innocent, but by that time many had been killed or had died in prisons.
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The Rhodes Libel and the Damascus Affair Ottoman Empire The 19th century saw perhaps more libels than any of the previous centuries. Or, perhaps the libels of the 19th century were
the blood libels in Rhodes and ences (in Rhodes it was a boy who had gone missing, while in Damascus it was an old monk), they were alleged to have happened around the same time
and in predominately Muslim areas, too. Muslims, thinking of themselves as superior to Christians, felt it was beneath their dignity to stoop so low as to concoct or even give credence to a blood libel. (In fact, Ottoman had even debunked blood libels way back in the 16th century, something that had been pretty well accepted throughout the world of Islam.) As charges were brought up
against the Jewish communities of Rhodes and Damascus, Jews from all over the word came to show support for their brethren. The Jews were found to be innocent and the anti-Semites promptly went home to plot their next scheme. Following these incidents it was decided that never again would a Jewish community face a blood libel alone and that when charges are brought up against one community the rest of the Jewish world will be there to show support.
egation to try and prove the Jews' innocence.
Jews of that era living in Ottoman controlled Yerushalayim.
A Greek Jew.
The Hilsner Case
The prosecutors in Tiszaeszlar were nervous. It had been weeks since they sought to establish that the Jewish community was behind the disappearance of the peasant girl Eszter Solymosi. The only problem? They never found her dead body.
And then, one day, the body “turned up.” It didn’t matter that the body they found was that of an older woman and did not resemble the 14-year-old girl; the prosecution had themselves a case! Utilizing the testimony of two children (ages 5 and 13) they spun a tale of how Jews lured the deceased girl into one of their homes. The courts later threw out the case when the prosecutors’ claims had been debunked by medical tests.
along, prosecutors decided to blame him for another murder that had been committed in the same woods a year earlier. While Leopold was sentenced to death, at the last minute his sentence was commuted to life in prison. While he was eventually released from prison 17 years later, he emerged a broken man and did not live much longer. To this day no one else has been charged with those murders and it’s commonly believed that Leopold had in fact been innocent.
Tiszaeszlar, Hungary Leopold Hilsner was a hapless beggar who made a living knocking on people’s doors asking for scraps. Because beggars were always viewed upon with suspicion Leopold was arrested for the murder of a teenaged girl, found dead in the woods outside of town. Although Leopold claimed to have been out of town at the time
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Mendel Beilis Kiev, Ukraine
The trail of Mendel Beilis is perhaps the most famous of all the blood libel stories. This case pinned the biggest anti-Semites of the region (including the Czar himself) against Jews from around the world.
By the time 12-year-old Andrei Yuschinsky’s body was found in a cave most of the world understood that blood libels were ridiculous. But Czarist Russia, which apparently never got the memo, was eager to show the
are. There is plenty of evidence that the Russian government was personally involved in fabricating the case against Mendel Beilis, a humble factory worker who lived not far from the scene of the crime.
After a long, drawn-out trial that involved some of the best lawyers from all over the world, Beilis’s innocence was proven to ated Russian government. It was discovered that Andrei had been murdered by his friend’s mother, out about some of the criminal activities she had been involved in (hey, with friends like that…).
The Massena Blood Libel Massena, New York Less than a century ago there was a blood libel in New York. Yes, that New York; the one in America.
wandered away from home and did not return everyone feared for the worst. The entire town, led by the mayor himself, went out in search of the toddler, but had no luck. People started whispering, rumors began to develop, and in a very short time the Jewish commuof questions about nonexistent “Jewish blood rituals.” In the end the little girl was found a day later, lost in the woods. It turns out she went for a walk, lost her way, and spent the night sleeping in the forest. Barbara, who is still alive, said in a recent interview that the only part she remembers about that incident was the night she slept in the forest. While the Jewish community was lucky to emerge from the story unharmed this story demonstrated how quickly the old “blood libel” charges can surface, even in 20th century New York.
A card depicting the trial.
The Kielce Pogrom Kielce, Poland
It’s impossible to compare
one is sadder. That a blood libel can be alleged against a handful of Polish Jews who had barely survived the Holocaust is especially heartbreaking. When nine-year-old Henryk Blaszczyk left town without permission he knew he was headed for big trouble. In order to avoid punishment, when he returned home two days later, the boy invented a tall tale of how he had been kidnapped by a group of Jewish people and held captive in their basement. The quicklyconcocted story had no basis (for example, the building in which he claimed to have been kidnapped didn’t even have a basement), but the Polish anti-Semites had no time for “facts.” An angry group of armed police, soldiers and regular Poles marched to the Jewish part of town and unleashed a wave of violence against the Jews. At least 42 Jews were reported killed. The Polish government, ger anti-Semitic, sent in the military to restore order and hastily executed nine Poles they held responsible for the pogrom. Still, most Jews knew better and 75,000 Holocaust survivors took the
A monument for the the Kielce pogrom.
Aftermath Are there still blood libels today? Um… Are there anti-Semites around today…? Of course the answer to both questions (as we go to print) is still yes. These days, the ludicrous accusations of Jews using gentile blood as a primary ingredient in matzos (and even in hamantaschen, as ridiculous as that may sound) have been relegated to a handful of anti-Semitic newspapers, mostly in the Middle East. And some people still view it as “fact.” Next year in Jerusalem? Yeah, I hope so too….
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I have a problem. My sister is in shidduchim and my parents are always busy with her. I feel neglected. Please help me. Thank you! P.S. Are you related to Ralph Lauren?
DEAR That would be nice, to be related to Ralph Lauren—maybe he’d give me some elegant skirts for Shabbos!!
once. You might have to ask them a few times before they realize that you need some time. Just realize that they’re trying to do what’s best for your sister, and it takes a lot of work. They’re not trying, on purpose, to exclude you from their lives. Make sure to ask respectfully. Like: “Mommy, Totty, can I please have some special time with you today? I would love to take a walk, or talk for ten minutes, or read a book together, or anything else you suggest. I miss you a little bit; you’re so busy with my sister.”
I’m sorry you feel neglected. I know how that feels, too. If you remember from some of my other columns, I have a very handicapped sister. She’s four years younger than I am, and when I was a kid, my parents were extremely busy with her. She can’t walk, talk, or see, so she has to be carried everywhere, she has to be fed, she has to be clothed…. I remember watching my parents getting her ready for bed when I was about eight years old. I remember sitting alone in a room, watching them brush her
If they’re busy more often than you’d like, and they don’t spend the amount things that you like to do on your own.
mas…. I get you. A few suggestions: after that memory of me sitting in the room alone, watching my parents prepare my sister for bed, I don’t have any more memories of sitting on the outside, looking in. I think that after that time, I included myself in the care of my sister, with my parents. If they were brushing her teeth, then I was singing to her while they did it. If they were cutting her food, then I was telling her, “Rachiebaby, we’re getting your dinner ready! One dinner, comin’ up!” If they were carrying her up the stairs, then I was behind them, asking, “Do you need any help?” Sit with your parents while they discuss the shidduch issues about your sister. If they’re having a private con-
alone because my parents were preoccupied with my sister. I love listening to music, taking walks, reading, calling friends, having friends over, drawing, sewing, doing crafts, dancing in my room…. You can ask your parents to spend time with you, and
them because you love them. If they say, “Later, honey,” then ask them, “When can we spend some time together later? Can we spend a few and I’m sure they’ll give you what you ask for. You might have to ask them more than
look in the mirror, and there you are! I’ve had some excellent conversations And, of course, remember that Hashem is always with you.
Jersey, and she lectures extensively across the United States on numerous topics. She can be contacted through Aim! Magazine.
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CALF MALE 1ST YEAR
2ND & 3RD YEAR
2ND & 3RD YEAR
CALF FEMALE 1ST YEAR
MATURE TURTLE DOVES
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ever been counted in a census? At the time of the second Beis Hamikdash, there was a census taken using kidneys! King Agrippa once wished to know how many Yidden there were—so a kidney was taken from each korban Pesach and counted— it equaled a whopping 1,200,000! It excluded those who were tamei or lived too far to be oleh regel—plus there was only one kidney per chaburah (group; the korban Pesach was eaten with a group) with each one consisting of at least 10 people. It
Imagine the street leading to the Beis Hamikdash about three and a half hours before nightfall on Erev Pesach. Millions excitedly walked with their keves or se'ir izim; they split into three groups to go into the azarah most also brought the optional chagigas yuddaled to be eaten at the seder so that the actual korban Pesach was eaten when already full.) How was there enough room in the azarah? How was there enough time for all to bring their korbanos? It was a neis (miracle)!
The millions of men were required to bring three korbanos on Yom Tov: The olas re'iyah (choice of
all male animals or any of the two birds), shalmei chagigah, and shalmei simchah (all animals except birds). With each came a minchas nisachim (wheat nisuch hayayin (wine poured into a bucket on top of the mizbayach). Milrequired—plus salt to sprinkle on all korbanos and minachos Hamoed the minchas haomer with oil and sprinkled with levonah) was brought, it allowed the eating of the new grain. In addition, a keves for an oleh was brought—plus, of course, the daily tamidim and of Pesach (with their nisachim). L’shana Haba B'Yerushalayim!
GOAT MALE 2ND YEAR
GOAT FEMALE 2ND YEAR
Se'ir Izim KID MALE 1ST YEAR
EWE FEMALE 2ND YEAR
RAM MALE 31ST DAY INTO THE 2ND YEAR
LAMB FEMALE 1ST YEAR
LAMB MALE 1ST YEAR
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tion a n i t s de gue
Heres a challenge: Try to find the grey wolf in this picture. Take your time, Im waiting... Aim!
Vanishi By Nissi Unger
© Art Wolfe
I read your book Vanishing Act with its extraordinary pictures of animals and their natural camouflage and it took my breath away. Are animals always the subjects of your photo shoots?
There really are no subjects that I won’t photograph (except for weddings and birthday parties!). I am perhaps best known for my wildlife and landscape photography which was my main focus in the early years of my career. I’d travel all over the world, photographing wild animals, paying particular attention to endangered species as I wanted to show the world how beautiful these animals are and how they need our protection. As I traveled to the remote corners of the world, I came across tribal cultures and people living in the bush (rural, underdeveloped areas) as they had for countless generations—and my camera turned to photographing them as
where you go in the world. Where you have no walls upon which to hang art, you turn to rock walls and caves. By now I have 1 million images in my archives. If it comes from the natural world, wild animals, landscapes or traditional cultures in the remote corners of the world, there’s a good chance I have something to represent it in my archives!
Wow! When did you begin shooting nature photos? I grew up in West Seattle less than a mile from where my home is today. I was, and still am, surrounded by nature. The wooded ravines were my playevery species of bird, plant and reptile living in those woods, and I saw it as my personal mission to protect them, regardless of who “owned them”—after all, no one really owns the otters, owls and salamanders who called those woods their home!
So you began to photograph them?
an old Brownie camera (a cheap camera made by Kodak); I can remember clearly seeing a large bull moose while at a summer camp during my elementary school years. I was going to get a photo of that moose, while water was dripping from its long nose as it fed in the swampy waters. It was a thrilling moment for me, though I had no idea what I would ever do with the pictures.
When did photography become a career? I was invited on the 1984 American Everest expedition, which was a group of people that would be climbing Mt. Everest but were led through Tibet. Photographing those landscapes, and the magical city of Lhasa, I was able to nature photographer.
I am particularly intrigued by your camouflage art. And are you constantly looking for such shots? I learned everything I could about the
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© Art Wolfe
: Photography at its Best
I live, as well as those in the regions where I would travel. Through books
tory patterns, feeding patterns, where they tended to build their nests and dens, etc. Armed with this knowledge ing animals in the wild to photograph ing along a trail. My early images were what I would call “trophy shots,” tightly-framed head shots of the animal where you can see the eyes in sharp detail and every whisker and hair on its face. Then I began to pull back and include more and more of the animal's surroundings. It gave the animal and the photograph a greater sense of place. As I did this I had to compete with their ability to blend in and disappear while still creating a pleasing image. Then it hit me: Why not exploit their natural ability to hide and make that the image? I began
play with the scale of the photograph using a wide angle lens to emphasize
the rocks in the foreground, even photographing animals in shadow. In these photos, quite suddenly, a 400-pound black bear can disappear in its surroundings.
American Black Bear.
© Art Wolfe
Disappear they do! Its quite a challenge to find them. In your book, Rhythms of the Wild, they do take center stage again. For that book I was focusing on the motion and power in an animal running. You’ll see lions running across the savannah, zebras in a herd their motion with fast shutter speeds, I deliberately chose longer shutter they moved through their landscape, giving both a sense of place as well movement. So, for a time, I was on the lookout for these opportunities, even
pre-planning for such shots, but really I’m always on the lookout for a good photo, and always open to new ideas, experiments and improvement.
I read that you travel nine out of 12 months a year. Where to? Where do you live during the three months that you dont travel? I was born less than a mile from my home in West Seattle which is the
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© Art Wolfe
© Art Wolfe
away from the big trunk on the right.
Elephant in motion. © Art Wolfe
home I return to in between trips to relax and unwind, for a day at most, and then it’s back to work again. I have the world gathered during my travels. I love being surrounded by beauty and art. In addition to my own work, I have sculptures, Native American baskets and carvings and indigenous art from Australia and Africa, some precious and some picked up at craft markets for a few dollars. Outside my home, over the past 30 years, I have transformed what was a yard taken over by ivy, into a beautiful Japanese garden inspired by the otherworldly landscapes of the Huang Shan Mountains in China. Now, that said, I am only “home” for about 3 months out of 12 in a given year. I have been working all week for as long as I can remember, without a break or vacation. Photographing the remote corners of the world requires a lot of travel. Even as I conduct this interview with you I am on a six-week adventure starting in India (I was photographing wild tigers from the back of by Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia and Australia. Later this year, I’ll be headed back to Africa again to lead a tour photographing big cats and elephants, as well as heading to Patagonia at the southern tip of South America. I don’t always travel overseas. Some of my favorite destinations are only a
The leopard is next to the tree trunk on the right side. The head is right above the weeds.
drive away from home, such as Mount Rainier and Olympic National Park in Washington State. In the past year, I’ve led shorter workshops in the US to Alaska (to photograph bears), the Red Rocks regions around Moab, the Eastern Sierras in California, the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, plantations and the coast of South Carolina...
Do you encounter a lot of danger in your travels? All those big animals so close by sounds very dangerous. It is rare that I am truly in danger when I am traveling, though, yes, it does happen. I am very careful when it comes to traveling with clients, and I will not take unnecessary risks or put them in harm’s way to get a photograph. When I was younger and traveling more on my
own I may have pushed the boundaries a bit more, though even then it was a rare moment when my life was truly in danger. When you’ve traveled around the world to the remote corners and have, the odds will eventually catch up with you and you are bound to run into some sticky situations. While I wasn’t seriously hurt, an example of “being in danger” occurred when I was photographing mountain gorillas in the wilds of Rwanda. I was led in by local guides. The gorillas have seen people many times in the past and genalways very conscious of their space, keeping our distance and our voices down, not making any threatening dis-
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plays and just being very respect-
to remind us just whose jungle this
During this time we lost track of the male silverback and continued to follow the rest of the group as they slowly moved through the forest, foraging and interacting with each other as they went. Well, as you would guess, losing track of the big male is a big mistake. Perhaps 30 minutes later he made his presence known charging at our group from the cover of the jungle, and though my assistant was pulled back by an alert guide, I was right in his path.
giving me a “little nudge” with his shoulder—though a “little nudge” from a male gorilla was more than
heels into the bush. When I was younger it was not unusual to spend a month in the mountains living out of a backpack, sleeping in a tent, hiding in camou-
Tell us about two or three of your favorite photos.
One of my favorite prints I call “Eagle Hunters.” I traveled to the and landscapes. On some occaremote reaches of Western Monsions, such as photographing tigers golia where I had read that Kazakh in the wild in India, you will travel
© Art Wolfe
© Art Wolfe
© Art Wolfe
on an elephant's back to make your way into the jungle. This is the traditional mode of travel for the local guides, and the tigers won’t usually mess with the elephants or the people on their backs. To get down on the ground could be a deadly mistake as it would be unusual and could spook the tigers into action.
A silverback Gorilla.
Mother bear and cubs.
hunters continue to take hatchling golden eagles as they have for hundreds of years, raise them and train them to respond to voice commands and hunt barren slopes of Mongolia. These eagles are massive birds and while they will typically go after a fox or rabbits and wild species of cats, they are capable of and will take down full grown wolves, landing on their necks and using their sharp talons and beaks to subdue and kill a wolf. The prey provides not only food for these people, but as you look at the photo you can see they use the fur to make their clothing, allowing them to endure the harsh Mongolian winters. I love when I am able to capture
scenes such as this. This scene could have taken place thousands of years ago and you would be hard-pressed men in this photograph today and their ancestors before them. Another favorite scene came when I was photographing bears in Alaska, when a young female (sow) wandered through the area with triplet bear cubs trailing behind her. The young cubs were very cute and curious, but never strayed far from the comfort of mom. While we were photographing the three young bears, it was clear that the mom was a little nervous, on alert. Well, a pair of otters came scurrying through the grasses headed for the water
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and mom wasn’t quite sure what to make of them. Looking out for her cubs, she gave a quick grunt and the three little bears all ran as fast as they could to her side and one at a time stood up beside her at attention, awaiting orders, with their little paws bent in front of them. I just love their little expressions, and it was a very quick moment in time lasting less than a second, but I got it! Lastly there is the “Mosaic of Children” where I have combined numerous prints of children taken all over the world. I love children, interacting with them and teasing them. There is rarely a language barrier when you are meeting children around the world. Laughter and smiles have no borders and need no translation. I was, however, once snapped into great respect for some young children in a remote jungle. I thought it was so cute that they played with a little toy bow and arrow that looked just like the grown-up versions used for hunting. I reasoned that by growing up with these toys they would learn to emulate their elders and eventually hunt alongside them. The one boy I was focused on couldn’t have been much more than 5 or 6 years old. He smiled at me and then with little forethought he turned, drew his bow and shot a tiny humming-
© Art Wolfe
bird out of a tree some 30 feet away! Wow. This was no toy and I did not tease him any more after that.
Art Wolfe's Book
Could you give us a message in closing? As I said, I grew up in nature, exploring the woods and ravines near my childhood home. I also grew up drawing and painting with all pastels and pencils, and ultimately I found I enjoyed painting with watercolors the most. I was in grade school when some of the teachers began to take notice of my paintings. They liked them—and they weren’t even the art teachers of my school. They were math, science and English purchased a number of my paintings for 30 to 50 dollars each. Back in the 1950s and 1960s that was a tremendous amount of money for a kid. Candy bars were only 10 or 15 cents, after all; a gallon of gas was maybe a quarter. That was a very powerful event which set the course of my life from that point forward. I knew then that I could and would make money from my art work.
That is the most empowering feeling in the worldto have someone or a
few someones believe in you! or maybe some other form of art, but I never looked back and never once pursued any career or passion outside of the arts. Ultimately, I went to the University of Washington where I earned a to be a teacher and selling my paintings on the side. Eventually, it would be my passion for photography that translated into a full-time income, though it is to my roots as a painter that I attribute my success as a photographer. I still see the world as a painter, and have paintings of landscapes and animals in my mind as I create the compositions through the camera. Basically, you are never too young to following that passion and it may lead you on some incredible adventures in your lifetime! Thank you to William Edwards for his con-
© Art Wolfe
Art Wolfe with some monkeys.
tribution towards this interview.
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Kids in my class constantly make fun of “the Mexicans.” It really bothers me, but I don’t know what to do. I feel so bad about it, but I feel powerless. Any advice?
PREJUDICE The tension between deciding what to think for ourselves and when to listen to others comprises the beautiful cognitive process of “Being a Human Being.” What I mean is this: we are fully and completely human and alive by virtue of the fact that we are constantly engaged in this process of balancing our own thoughts, opinions, beliefs, and preferences with the thoughts, opinions, beliefs, and preferences of other people.
First of all, I have a question that I know you’ll agree with me on: when did “Mexico” come to mean ALL the countries of South America?! When I hear people talking about “the Mexicans,” I whisper to myself, “People of Hispanic origin. People of Hispanic origin.” And I think that’s the point: “the Mexicans” (whom we should all refer to properly as “people of Hispanic origin”) are PEOPLE. People who happen area than we do. I can tell you what our Torah says about how to treat a group that hails than we do. It directs us to treat the stranger kindly, “for remember that you were once strangers in a strange land.” People who are not part of the mainstream population, who are not part of “the establishment,” deserve kindness and regard. As y’all know from my previous columns, I’m from good ole’ Maimphis (that’s Memphis, Tennessee, for those of you without a Southern twang!).
This past Shabbos, my husband started singing zemiros at the seudah—with a like everyone down in Memphis does! I was in seventh heaven! He knows I love my “country” of origin, down South, so he used the accent everyone around me used when I was growing up. It made me feel so at home, so happy, so at peace, to hear that Southern drawl. Now let me ask you a question: does the fact that I’m from Tennessee, and you’re from New York, or Zurich, or Yerushalayim or Moscow make one of us lesser than rah’s viewpoint. As Rav Dessler says in Strive for Truth: “We are obligated to respect every person simply because he or she is a person.”
ty tone: “Don’t wrinkle your nose. You can shake your head, but don’t wrinkle your nose at me.” Do you want to know what I did with that man’s misbehavior? Did I snap back at him, creating more negativity and criticism and bad energy? No. I simply purposefully was kind to 10 other people today. That’s the way I ure I’m one person with one seed. The only way to grow a forest is to make 10 positive turns for every one negative turn I receive. “All that is necessary for the forces of evil to triumph in this world is for enough good people to do nothing,” said Edmund Burke. You are not powerless. You are powerful beyond your wildest imagination. You can speak your mind to the kids who put down other people. You can tell them, “Come on, guys, let’s not talk that way;
are. What’s the big deal?” Then quick-
Let’s talk about your feelings of powThe trees—and any disenfranchised group—when I remind you that it only takes one seed, and one person who cares, to replant an entire forest. You, my good, caring person, can turn the tide. Let me give you an example. Today, I had someone working in my house. tions regarding the work I had hired him to do. At one option, I shook my head and, apparently, wrinkled my nose. His response was, in a very nas-
about what you’ve said. And if you do say something, then at least you know that you tried to stop the hate. At least you planted your seed. Whether it grows or not is not always up to you. You can bring more light into the world when other people spew darkness. You, one person, with one seed.
Jersey, and she lectures extensively across the United States on numerous topics. She can be contacted through Aim! Magazine.
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Episode 112 by dassy isaacson
The Afikomen “So, Shimmy, what are you asking for ?” asked Eli. Shimmy looked up from his coloring book, confused. “What’s “Oh my! Shimmy doesn’t know what is,” squealed Dina. “Didn’t your morah teach you about Pesach?” “Shimmy knows Pesach,” Shimmy said proudly. “Mah Nishtanah—“ been singing 'Mah Nishtanah' all week. But what about ?” Shimmy shrugged. “I can’t believe your morah left this out!” cried Dina. “You know, at the seder you can ask for anything! Like a toy! Or game!” Shimmy’s eyes widened. “Shimmy ask toy?” “Yes, yes!” said Dina. “Wow, Eli, Shimmy’s morah must’ve forgotten about men. Strange.” “Well,” said Eli to Shimmy. “First you have to take Totty’s and hide it. We’ll help you with that. Then, when Totty asks for it back you ask for a present in exchange.” Shimmy
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believe his ears. For the rest of the day he pestered Eli and Dina for details about the . “Shimmy can ask truck?” he asked for the umpteenth time at supper. “Shimmy can ask paint?” he asked at bathtime. “Shimmy can ask ice cream?” he asked at bedtime. Soon, Dina and Eli were wishing they’d saved the lesson for Erev Pesach. * * * “Shimmy, it’s time!” Dina whispered to her little brother. “Go get it!” Grinning
snatched the matzah bag from where Mr.
“You know, at the seder you can ask for anything! Like a toy! Or game!” Shimmy grew impatient. “Shimmy get prize now?” “No,” said Dina. “We haven’t even started maggid yet. You have to wait.” “Now?” asked Shimmy a minute later. “No.” “Now?” asked Shimmy after "Mah Nishtanah." “No.” Shimmy howled in impatience. then complained some more. “Oh, go to sleep,” said Dina. “You're spoiling the seder!” “The whole point of is so the kids shouldn’t fall asleep,” pointed out Eli. But when Shimmy yanked the tablecloth and
Hoffman had hidden it behind his pillow. Mr. “Where Shimmy hide?” Shimmy asked his father. “No, no,” laughed Dina. “Totty can’t know where you’re hiding it! I’ll help you.” Dina helped Shimmy hide the bag under the tablecloth. Five minutes later,
She strapped Shimmy, clutching the matzah bag for dear life, into his carriage. He was asleep in minutes. Finally, the time for arrived. Dina tried to pry the bag gers but he woke up immediately. “Now?” he asked. “YES!” Shimmy sat up. “Shimmy wants
helicopter with buttons.” give me the bag.” “Shimmy needs helicopter,” the little boy repeated. agree.” Shimmy looked confused. “Give me!” “Oh, Shimmy,” laughed Dina. “You don’t get it now.” “Dina said Shimmy gets!” Shimmy protested. Dina and Eli looked at each other. “Uh-oh,” said Dina. “Shimmy WILL get. But not now,” explained Eli. Shimmy began to cry. “Shimmy, please give me the bag,” “No!” Shimmy yelled. “Helicopter!” Dina gave the bag a yank. Shimmy screamed and the bag fell stomped on it. “What did you do?” Dina cried. “He’s exhausted and irrational. Take the bag, I’m taking him up to bed.” Dina handed the father.
“It’s mostly crumbs,” she said. “Maybe Shimmy’s morah does know what she’s doing after all,” Dina whispered to Eli as she sat back down. To be continued...
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time Yael walked
her heart swelled with pride and happiness. This was HER agency, her work, Reed PI (Reed Private Investigators). She After all, she was still a young woman, barely turned 19, only two years out of Ner Miriam. No one had ever thought she could have started her own business straightaway. had been the standard piece of advice she had been given. Given over and over and over again. But Yael Reed knew what she wanted to do, and working for others wasn’t it. She had spent her life under the thumb of others; in foster care, in boarding school. She was the ultimate free spirit and as such, she soared above the North West London park near her tiny apartment. She lived there alone, but never felt lonely. She had the park to look out on, and life was constantly changing there. In the mornings before she left for work, she could see the nannies and au pairs with their toddlers and preschool charges going to the playground, sitting and chatting while the kids played safely in in the day, if she happened to be home, she saw groups of older schoolchildren from the local Bais Yaakov, brought there by their frazzled teachers to exercise and play team sports. The local Jewish schools didn’t have much in the sports.
She would often go for a walk around the park herself at the crack of dawn when it was quiet there, iPod in her ears, letting the music make
she was hanging on to it for dear life. The rent was steep, and she knew if she ever defaulted on her payments
The air at that hour was fresh and damp and cool, oxygenated by the massive old trees that grew there and kept the
her waiting in the wings to move right in as she moved out. So it was, to her, imperative that Reed PI paid for itself, and paid for her apartment.
Then it would be back home to change, daven, and eat breakfast whilst shufto see what work awaited her at the agency. She lived alone but she had neighbors. The building she lived in, the one overlooking the park, was a building full of young single frum women. The building was owned by a Jewish real estate corporation and the Big Boss had dedicated that building for young single women only. Some of the women lived in pairs or groups of three, some, like Yael Reed, lived alone, either through choice
when she closed her own front door behind her, but she liked the company available as soon as she opened it and stepped into the communal areas. Mr. Big Boss had set up a communal lounge, kitchen and dining area so the young meals together, especially on Shabbos and Yomim Tovim. The idea of the meal sharing was so that the young women were not constantly dependent on families inviting them for Shabbos. It was a masterly idea and the apartments were always oversubscribed. Yael had been
* * * Yael Reed mulled over the phone call as
to close up for the night and go home. The woman who called could barely hold it together as she stumbled over the words. “My daughter is missing,” the woman had choked out the words like they were stopping her from breathing. “She’s been missing for 24 hours now. She’s in 12th grade.” “You suspect kidnapping?” Yael had asked at once, reaching for her iPad to take notes on. Hers was a largely paper“No..at least everyone is telling me not to suspect a kidnapping… that she left home willingly,” the mother said desperately. “That’s why the police won’t do anything. They say girls her
muscles, testing their wings. But we’re talking about a frum family, Miss Reed. So why would she? She’s only 17.” “Rebellious type? Gone OTD, maybe?” Yael asked without preamble, tapping
with a view straight over the park, and
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CHAPTER 1 "They say she’s just a teenager off on a jaunt. But Malky isn’t like that.” “NO. Not at all! Malky is a good girl! But why would she leave home all of a sudden?” “That’s what I’d like to know from you, actually,” Yael said. She wondered why this mother was asking her questions that only she herself could possibly know the answers to. She presumed it was the panic talking. She was seeking reassurance; that Reed PI would have all the answers, even though it was impossible that she would. “You know her, I don’t. Tell me about her.” “She’s quiet, bookish, studious,” the mother was calming down as she described Malky. “She doesn’t have many friends; she prefers to read quietly in a corner rather than socialize in cliques.
“Oh!” the mother said, and Yael could almost hear her blush. “Yes, I are all boys. She’s my only daughter. She goes to Bais Banos.” Yael knew the school by reputation rather than personal experience. It was a large and busy frum girls' high school and fairly newly established. “The police say in 90% of these cases the girls come home within 48 hours,” the woman was snivelling now, “so they won’t do anything. They say she’s isn’t like that.” “Did she leave any kind of note?” Yael asked. People leaving home voluntarily often did. To her surprise her mother said: “She sent me a letter saying not to look for her. It was only a short note.”
“It was her handwriting.” and shriek a lot.” Yael thought to herself that a bookish girl like that might have another whole life that her mother knows nothing about, but at this point she didn’t say anything. Sometimes the noisy socialites were easier to read; what you saw was what you got with them. The quiet ones…they were the epitome of still waters running deep. You never knew what was beneath the surface. “Siblings?” Yael asked, tapping away on her iPad. “She’s my eldest,” the woman said, and Yael could hear she was starting to lose
“Well that sounds like she did leave of her own accord,” Yael surmised. “Except it’s not like her. Why would she do that?” the woman asked again. Yael hmm’d but didn’t answer this. There was no answer she could give. “I have to ask you this,” Yael said after a few moments tapping on her iPad, “and I apologize in advance if it’s insensitive.” “Go on,” said the mother, “you can ask me anything.” “Do you have a husband? You haven’t mentioned him at all since we’ve been talking.”
He’s an international businessman. I do pretty much all the parenting. In reality my children barely know him. Sometimes I wonder if they’d recognize him ent circumstances.” She paused. “I’m so worried about Malky.” “When is he due home next?” Yael asked, glancing at the calendar on her iPad. She heard the woman’s bitterness ties there, that was easy to see. It was a Tuesday. This could be a long week for this woman, but on the other hand, having him away and oblivious could be the best thing under the circumstances. “Not till Friday lunchtime,” the woman said, and Yael could hear the unsaid words “so we have until “Hmm,” Yael said noncommittally. “You say she doesn’t have many friends. She must have some, though.” “Yes, one or two,” her mother said quickly, obviously not wanting to give the impression that her daughter was a social pariah. “I’ll need their names,” Yael said, “and contact details.” “Thing is,” the woman said, after having given Yael those details. “It’s happened before at that school. Twelfth graders going missing. No one talks about it, but I heard on the grapevine. I think it's been covered up. It’s happened before.” To be continued...
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Chapter 10 By Miriam Gitlin
ova’s heart began to pound as she started to sit down. But when she looked up at Mommy’s face, something in her smile and her eyes told her that it was okay, and she began to relax. the sides of her mug and tapped the tips of her nails against the ceramic. “It’s been pretty rough for you lately, hasn’t it?” Tova nodded. She hadn’t expected this, hadn’t really known what to expect at all, but she was so glad to hear those words come out of her mother’s mouth. Some of the steam from Mommy’s tea curled towards her, pushing little waves of warmth onto her face “I’m sorry about how crazy it’s been. I’ve thought a lot about our talk on Shabbos. I told you we’d pick it up again, and I think it’s very important and we should continue our conversation as soon as possible, but….” you know what it’s been like. And I realized that between your schedule— school and production practice and studying—and everything that’s going
Recap Tova becomes more entangled in lies when Aliza presses her for details about her home life. “Good. I thought you didn’t. So tomorday.’ Instead of getting up at the crack of dawn, you can sleep in. And then we’ll go out to a restaurant for brunch. We’ll talk there, do some shopping— whatever you want. I’ll turn my cell and me—no interruptions allowed. What do you say?” “Wow.” Tova was smiling, the corners of her mouth stretched as far as they could go. “It sounds amazing. Thank you so much!” “You’re welcome.” Mommy’s eyes scanned her face, and Tova thought she could see relief in them. She does want to be there for me, and for me to be happy. She’s never done anything like this before, but she saw that I needed it. This is what I’ve been looking for. And it’s really happening…. * * *
Disappointment pressed down on Tova’s heart. And I thought— “But I think that’s the way it is with a lot of important things in life. You can’t
have to make the time.” Relief knocked away the disappointment, and Tova felt herself ease up. Mommy smiled at her again. “So that’s what we’ll do. You don’t have any tests tomorrow, right?” Tova shook her head.
tips as the waitress laid out a plate of blintzes before her. She took a deep breath before picking up her fork. She felt so peaceful here in the restaurant,
the only sound she heard beyond their table. At a quarter to eleven, there were not many diners here; only two other tables besides theirs were occupied, and at opposite corners of the room, and she felt ensconced in a bubble of safe privacy, despite the public setting.
“So,” Mommy said, once they’d each taken a few bites. “Let’s go back to that conversation from Shabbos afternoon.” Tova felt anxiety start to bubble in her stomach. It must have shown on her face, because Mommy reached out “It’s okay,” she said. “It’s good and it’s important and that’s one of the reasons we’re here. We’re going to work till the end of the day when maybe we won’t have enough time to really do it Tova nodded. She was still anxious, but mentally told her stomach to calm down. “So,” Mommy continued, “when the you felt like it happened a lot that other people were deemed more important than you. You started to tell me about when the shadchan called the the police started. Do you want to pick up from there?” “I guess.” Tova squirmed in her seat. “I had said that nobody was relying on me, and you asked me what I meant. I said the shadchan was on the phone, and then….” She was uncertain about Mommy sighed and nodded. “And then right?” “Right,” Tova whispered.
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across her plate with the tines of her fork, still nodding. She sighed again, then looked up at Tova. “It’s hard to think of the right thing to say,” she said slowly. “Because you’re right. I did run to answer the phone, right while you were in the middle of telling me something. And I understand how it could seem to you that you’re not really as important to me as other people.” She smiled a little and tilted her head to tell you that I love you very, very much and that you are incredibly important to me—even if it doesn’t always seem that way?” words she hadn’t said, but I need to see it, too, hung in the air, and she could tell that Mommy heard them. “I’m glad.” Mommy’s words were quiet, a hopeful caress. “I know it’s not enough, and I’m going to make sure that I’m there for you the way you need me to be.” She sighed again. “I’ve sort of found myself in a new stage—having adult children brings new responsibilities, and Michoel have their new needs,and you and the other kids still need me the same way that they did when they were your age. I’m not telling you this to make light of your feelings, but I want you to understand that it’s not because I don’t love you or care about you.” She caught Tova’s eye and smiled. “But I’m going to do everything I can to keep it all balanced.” “Thanks.” I feel so strange, Tova thought. I mean, this is exactly what I’ve been wanting
thought so before, too. “What’s wrong?”
“Does it make a diFFerence if I teLL you that I love you very, very much and that you are incredibly important to me—even if it doesn’t always sEEm that way?”
thing you said on Shabbos, and then the whole dry cleaning thing… I don’t know….” She looked away from Mommy’s eyes. “I forgot—not because you’re not imown anxiety over Michoel’s date. I can’t promise I’m going to do everything perfectly from now on. But I’m going to try as hard as I can to keep my focus on all of my children, even when one of them has a particularly strong need. And that means thinking about your needs, too. Because even though your needs don’t scream as loudly as shidduchim uring out motherhood do, they’re real and I care about them.” Tova took a deep breath and nodded. “And if you feel overlooked, instead of feeling unloved, I want you to tell me. what we discussed in the restaurant?’ and I’ll stop and take a breather and try to make sure that I’m being there for you as you need me. Because you are very important to me—no less than Henny or Michoel or Meir or any of the other kids. And I want to make sure you feel it.” “Thanks,” Tova said again. But this time the peace that glowed inside her seemed more real, more reliable. “So,” Mommy said. “Why don’t you tell me what you were trying to say when that shadchan called?” * * * They sang along with the music all the
way home. Tova watched the houses
where she would be able to speak to Mommy, to tell her when she needed something, to clear up frustrations and misunderstandings and hurts before they dug their roots deep into her heart and sprouted into giant, poisonous mushrooms. When they passed the school, she remembered all the things she’d told Aliza, and felt a brief stab of guilt. But that was behind her now. She didn’t need Aliza the way she had then, and she’d sort it out, tell Aliza it had gotten better, or maybe even that they had gone out today and her mother wasn’t going to do those things anymore. It the past, but no harm done. And when they turned onto the next block Mommy pointed out a funny lawn ornament and they both started laughing, pushing all thoughts of Aliza and distorted lies out of Tova’s mind. they drove down their block. Tova turned towards her mother, felt her breath catch as she saw the frozen look on Mommy’s face, and then turned ahead to see what Mommy was staring at. Parked in front of their house was a police car. And on their front porch, standing beside a woman she didn’t their bell.
To be continued...
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e p e r C e Th
on some farm somewhere in the South, there are a whole bunch of lonely chickens wondering
fooled by the illustration on the box of eggs—those chickens are not grinning delightedly as Mr. Farmer Guy in his 10gallon hat slips those eggs out from underneath them. Nope, they’re probably clucking like maniacs as those potential chickies are—
Oh. detail that I am naïve. The chickens aren’t sitting in a sunny red-painted barn, they’re “cooped” up in factories, squashed in wire cages as a special battery-operated system rolls the eggs out from underneath them and— Okay, I understand. You’re going to be eating a lot of eggs this Pesach and you prefer not to hear the details of how they’re collected. You also prefer
e p a C
he t s E By
er v a r rB
not to acknowledge the fact that eggs come from chickens at all. I hear you. We’re kindred spirits. Personally, I’ve been a vegetarian once in my life and while it was satisfying to tell people that I was a vegetarian, it was not satisfying to eat tofu mush while my family ate burgers. (Some rationalization later, I decided I would allow certain things into my vegan diet—like eggs and cream cheese. But once the ban against animal-derived food was breached I somehow found myself one day with a half-eaten burger in hand and I was a vegetarian no more. )
“It wasn’t one day that you found yourself with a half-eaten burger in hand,” says Gila. “It was the very same day you embarked upon 'lifelong vegetarianism.'” She’s breathing down my neck here because as a vital character of the story I'm about to relate, she wants to make sure I get the facts down accurately. Anyway, so it’s a good thing I’m not a its way. For some, like my good friend
Henny, this means a menu consisting primarily of schmaltz. Yes, everything they eat is fried in chicken fat. Including eggs. In my household it means one thing: Lukshen. Lukshen, lukshen and more lukshen. For the clueless out there, lukshen is pasta. But as Aim! readers know, pasta is made simply from wheat and water. Pesach luksen, on the other hand, is made from eggs, potato starch, water and my sweat and blood. It’s a curious thing how this recipe evolved—the part with my sweat and blood, I mean. The rest of the recipe is practically as old as Pesach itself. Except for the potato starch part, teacher is to be believed there were no potatoes until Columbus discovered America. But I digress. Here’s how I became the lukshen master: One day I was an innocent kid, begging my mother to allow me to assist her in lukshen-making, the next
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r e p
Sizzle, pour, flip, repeat. Sizzle, pour, flip, repeat.
thing I knew I was a slave chained to the stove, churning out batch after batch of crepes, to be rolled up and cut into lukshen strips. For you see, I proved so adept at the task my moth-
Be careful what you beg for. Incidentally, I once also begged to be allowed to wash dishes. What is wrong with me?! And you know how every year you’re like—wow, it’s Pesach already? It was last month? Well, aproned and frying those egg/potato starch/water leaves, I feel like I’ve never left. Like my life has been one endless stream of lukshen-making. That all my life has ever consisted of
me back to Earth. It is kind of hypnotic… Anyway, I have to say that despite the drudgery of the task, to outsiders it must seem that there is some glory reason Gila absolutely begged to be this year.
never stops talking about it. Case in point: August 1. In our bungalow colony. A not-very-rapt audience. Rina: So, there I was frying batch after batch of lukshen, but I’m not getting anywhere. Then I see why: My starv-
ing else in the house to eat! Unrapt listener: (Yawning.) You don’t say... September 27. School lunchroom. A not very rapt audience. Rina: You would think the school would at least serve fresh pasta. All they have to do is boil it! It’s not like they have to stand at the stove, frying batch after batch, like I do each year— Unrapt listener: (Clunk is heard as unrapt listener falls asleep in bowl of stale pasta. ) Zzzz. So you can now understand why I felt it was necessary to perform a duty for society and take over the lukshenmaking this year. It would be an act of kindness from which many ears en-making sure beats vacuuming the
Okay, it’s Gila here. For the sake
insert myself in my older-but-not-wiser sister’s tale. You see, Rina left out a crucial detail. The reason why she feels like her life has been one long luksen-making fest is because she
who’d always described the task in melodramatic terms (which may have sometimes even included shocking terminology like gulag) was suddenly reluctant to relinquish it!
You know, contrary to what some would think, lukshen-making is actually an art. The sizzle, pour, it isn’t. With all those years of experimost sense that I keep to the task. But my mother actually thought it would be a great idea if Gila “assisted.” (Read: Get in the way.) I did not like the idea AT ALL until my mother painttrain her in,” said my mother. One day you’ll get married and the lukshenmaking mantle will be passed to her.
(She didn’t use exactly those words, but that was the gist of it and it did make sense.) So there I was, ready to share all the secrets of the art with my sister when she leaves the house. She then returns a half-hour later with two crepe makers! I was scandalized. Good lukshen is made the old-fashioned way. With a frying pan. Besides, the little greenhorn thought she was going to be teaching me! Heated words were exchanged. The next thing I know, I am at the stove and Gila is at the table. We are competing for the lukshen master title.
Gila here. So I decided to surprise
my sister with a tool to make her task easier and quicker. Not only did she not appreciate the gesture, she actu-
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The lukshen specialist will not be bested by her renegade apprentice. ally marched me to the door to return the crepe makers! At that point I very rationally suggested she try the crepe me not to mess with success, I told her I was pretty sure I could beat her success anytime, she kind of got a wild look in her eyes, I may have gotten a wild look too but I can’t be sure, and the next thing I knew somebody had suggested we both do the lukshenmaking separately and let the crepes speak for themselves. That somebody may have been me.
9:00 (p.m.) Gila: Rina got a bit of a headstart
with her batter because I had to read the crepe maker instructions. This put me into a bit of a frenzy. Luckily, we only have one hand blender, so Rina had to wait while I mixed my batter because I’d had enough sense to take
start at the word go.
9:15 GO! Rina: There’s
nothing like experience. I hesitated for but a second before oiling that pan and setting
expected, my sister, poor thing, was struggling.
This crepe maker was more complicated to use than I thought. I were sticking. Also, the guy who wrote the instructions was obviously an outsourced shnook from a third
world country who evidentially never used a crepe maker in his life. Nor did he ever see one in his village of donkey taxis and log homes. You can’t dip it in the batter, Mr. Manual Writer, you have to pour the batter over it! So it took some time, but soon I was churning out those crepes like a maven. In the meantime, my poor sister was at a huge disadvantage.
9:45 Rina: So my pile was getting taller
and taller but I’m starting to feel a bit tired. Then I realize—while I’m standing at the stove, my sister is sitting like a queen at the table! I try sitting on the counter but that turns out to be a really bad idea that wastes several precious seconds. Finally, inspiration strikes. I run to the garage and get a little stepladder. Now I’m sitting pretty too.
10: 15 Gila: My
father walks in. Unfortunately, the table is closest to the
pile and EATS THEM. These leaves are not made for eating, they’re for building my tower! From the stove, Rina smirks. I get a box and place my pile inside. The purpose of this is twofold. One: to protect it from hungry family members. Two: In order for this to be a real competition there needs to be an element of mystery. Rina can’t pace herself based on the state of my pile.
12:00 Rina: I’m up to batch three when my
mother walks in. (My tower is also hid-
den under an overturned box.) “Great call it a night?” Whew! Finally! I wasn’t going to be the er suggested it…who am I to disagree with my elders? To my horror, Gila smiled sweetly and said, “This crepe maker is such a cinch to use, I think way we won’t need to make any more lukshen on chol hamoed. You can go Did I want? I started mixing another batch immediately. The lukshen specialist would not be bested by her renegade apprentice.
Gila: I’m starting to understand why Rina found this such a task. It can be hard on the wrist, all this pouring and
over if I want them to get ready faster, even though it is nowhere in the useless instructions.) But I will win this competition or die trying.
1:00 Rina: Horror suddenly sets in. Just You see, crepe makers make thinner crepes and thus more per batch. It number of leaves alone!
Gila: Obviously, the only fair way to of leaves! That’s the time-consuming part and the more leaves the better.
Rina: That argument is faulty. The
frying pan yields thicker blintzes. Which means, when you cut them up
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you have more lukshen!
Gila: But thickness isn’t what takes time!
Rina: Hello, I have to make more batches!
1:30 Gila: A compromise is reached. We complicated mathematical formula involving number of leaves divided by batches times the eggs used etc etc. Neither of us is happy, a sign that we have the perfect compromise.
2:00 Gila: I am more than ready to call it a
night. I am drooping. But I’ve come so far, I’m not giving up now!
Rina: peat. If there is anything more to life, I don’t know it.
4:00 Rina: How perfectly illogical. Gila: Does anyone actually like eat- 5:05 ing lukshen? Suddenly, I’m doubtful. The idea of eating another one makes Gila: So my mother looks around me gag.
Rina: 4:30 Gila:
batch when—YIPPEE! There are no more eggs! I want to break out in a dance but I am too tired to move. Then my blood freezes as Rina suggests we GO BUY SOME MORE!
the kitchen kind of wide-eyed. She lifts up the overturned boxes (There are quite a few by now) and stares at the piles and piles and piles of lukshen.
Rina: She can’t talk. She tries to, but all that emerges is kind of a gurgle.
used up all of them? There were supposed to be cakes. And kugels. And—“
Rina: The grocery is open 24 hours. Rina:
) There are more
There are cases of eggs outside. The grocery is down the block. It is perfectly logical that we get some more. We must continue our important work. Nothing else matters.
Gila: My mother and father sit down
Gila: Too many eggs has given my
my lip. They begin to laugh. And laugh.
eggs in the grocery down the block. I can go get you some.
AT MY PILE and eat a blintz each. I bite
3:00 Gila: Ow.
sister bird brain. There is no way in the world my mother would allow us out at this hour.
And laugh. Then they sober up and
We argue. Loudly.
my teeth, but awaken when I swallow
My wrists. My legs. My arms. I’ve taken to fortifying myself with a blintz here and there. This is dangerous, as every blintz I eat sets me back. Luckily, I’ve noticed that Rina sneaks one every time I do. I consider fake-eating several but decide against it. I will win through honest means!
5:00 Gila: It’s settled. We’re not going to
shiny frying pan with its golden circle of egg batter!
My father descends from upstairs holding a baseball bat. My mother stands behind him, armed with a vase. to save their innocent children (us) asleep in bed.
my mother sternly orders us upstairs to change. I fall asleep while brushing a mouthful of gross mint toothpaste. I rouse Rina who seems to be in some kind of trance, one hand in and one hand out of her robe. We make our way downstairs.
Rina: My mother’s been busy in our absence. The blintzes have all been cut into strips and packed away. We’ll never know who the winner was.
the grocery now.
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By Chaya Silber
“It’s hard to
believe you’re only 15. You’re so—how should I put it? Wise.” I looked down modestly
at the green shag carpeting and tried
wise-yet-humble expression—which was completely ruined when I noticed the frayed wool was alive with ants. Ilana followed my gaze. “Eew.” Eew was right. The whole place was eew. As was Ilana’s story. And the way we’d landed up here had elements of eew too. Let me explain. My
because I’m not the type of girl who library in town is functioning, I’m happy, content with my hand-medown uniform, two Sunday sweaters, and cozy attic bedroom. But when mashgiach in early December, well, comfortable and lacking basics. And when your father has deep bags under his eyes and he appears to age
overnight—that’s hard for any girl to take. Finally, on Shushan Purim, my father came home with a spring in his step. “I
asked. is very decent,” Totty said. “I’m going to be a mashgiach at a senior citizen’s program, in the Continental Pesach hotel.” “Where’s that?” I asked. “Somewhere in New Jersey. We’ll get to go a few days before Pesach—I have to make sure the kitchen is kashered, so that the chef can work. And we’ll stay for the entire Yom Tov.” My father’s eyes sparkled.
that the Continental Hotel was going to host a convention shortly before Pesach. At the convention—for clothespin manufacturers, yawn—a whole bunch of people were going to get sick, prompting the Board of Health to close the place down. We spent the next few days in limbo, not sure whether or not we should pack. Finally, three days before Pesach, we got the good news. Another hotel had been located. It wasn’t as luxurious as the Continental, but in mostly senior-citizen clientele was Thankfully, my father’s salary wasn’t cut. mused on the way to the hotel.
“Hurray!” my sister Sari shrieked. “A Pesach hotel! Just like in the magazine ads!”
“Don’t bet on it,” I told him. “Unless you want to play hide and seek with an 80year-old man in a wheelchair.”
the idea of Pesach in a hotel was enough to make me squeal in delight. And squeal I did.
quite match our expectations was the boarded up welcome sign. “Welcome to the Grand Palace,” it had once read; someone had crossed out the word
We spent the next two weeks doing basic cleaning, creating a master packing list, and dreaming about how glorious our Pesach would be. “The “You’ll be wined and dined.” Yeah, right. What Totty couldn’t have guessed was
“Welcome to the Grand Dump,” Shimmy drawled as we pulled up. “Sha!” I said. “Let’s not make a bad impression.” My parents went ahead to introduce themselves to Mr. Cohen, the manager, leaving the four of us— Leiby, Shimmy, Sari and myself,
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to bring the suitcases in. “Come on, kids!” I grabbed an oversized suitcase and gestured for them to do the same. Then we trooped into the carpeted lobby, which had a strong musty smell. It was empty, as none of the guests had arrived yet.
might have been used on one occasion with debris and muddy water. “Kids! Don’t touch!” Totty had come back into the lobby, his face set in a grim smile. In his hand he held a set of spare keys. We went up to our rooms on the fourth
one for my parents, one for the boys and one for the girls. There were holes in the walls and the mattresses creaked. In the bathrooms, the shower curtains were covered with mildew; Sari found a mousetrap in one of the closets. There was a dead spider on the creaky dresser. I gingerly unpacked my suitcase and tiptoed around, afraid to sit down on the bed. Who knew when the linens had been changed last? “I’m not sleeping here,” Leiby declared, giving voice to our thoughts. “Take me home.” “Children, that is not an option,” my father said. “We’re staying here for Pesach and we’re going to make the best of it.” *** I noticed her before she noticed me. Even in this weird, faded-out place, where everyone looked like they didn’t belong, the girl clearly stood out. She looked about my age, or maybe a year or two older, she was wearing an oversized sweatshirt and a plaid skirt—c’mon, who wears plaid skirts?—and she clutched a lone suitcase. “Hi,” I said shyly. “Nice to see someone below the age of retirement here.” “Uh, hi,” she replied in a chirpy
“Do you need help?” voice. “I’m Ilana. I’m a waitress here. I’m looking for the kitchen.” “You look like you’re still in school,” Sari said bluntly. “Maybe I am, maybe I’m not,” said Ilana mysteriously. “Shhh…” I put my hand on Sari’s mouth. “Come. I’ll take you there.” I led Ilana across the dining area, a huge, airless room without any windows, and into the bowels of the kitchen. My father stood over the stove, was arguing with the chef—something to do with the temperature and if the stove needed to be rekashered. “Hi, Ta,” I said. “This is Ilana. I think she’s working in the kitchen.”
My father barely glanced at us. “Take her to Mo,” he said. Mo was the head waiter, an ill-tempered man who could explode at the drop of a hat. I didn’t see much of Ilana that day, nor the next. There were about a hundred guests in the hotel, and most of them were quite demanding. Old Mr. Schron was on a liquid diet, while Mrs. Mandel demanded more applesauce with every meal. Ilana in action was during the seder night. Which was, how shall I describe it? Really weird. Totty was busy in the kitchen, so Mommy led the seder. We were all relieved when we got to shulchan orech. The Pesach food was delicious. Our chef really knew how to cook! I hesitated for only a moment, blocked the dinky kitchen out of mind, and and potato kugelettes . Ilana was assigned to our table. She looked slightly older in her waitress uniform, her hair tied back in a pony. “Hi,” I waved shyly, as she brought our portions. She smiled back at me as she balanced our plates on her tray.
“Uh no, s'okay. Thanks anyway, though. I’m good.” I watched her go to the next table, where someone had requested a diabetic menu. slowly. There was simply no one to talk to. Totty spent his days and nights in the kitchen, Ma had her hands full keeping us in line, and the boys had each other. Sari amused herself by smiling at all the little old ladies. chol hamoed, things started to get interesting. Most of the guests were in the game room, being entertained by some DJ who’d been brought in to make things lively. I peeked into the small, crowded room. It didn’t look like too many seniors were having a good time. Mrs. Friedrich was squabbling with her aide, Frannie Meiselman was reading a large-print book, and Mr. Schron of the liquid diet was fast asleep. I sighed as I wandered around the lobby. Outside was windy and drab; Pesach had come early, and spring was still very far away. The indoor all boarded up, and the library had only a handful of torn books. Ma had gone to lie down, and the boys were playing one of their stupid hideand-seek games, Sari trailing along. “Bored?” came a voice at my elbow. I It was Ilana, still wearing her waitress until dinner,” she said. “Want to come to the exercise room?” “There’s an exercise room?” I cried. I wanted to hug her. “Yeah. It’s near what people used to call the pool. Let’s check it out.” We went there together, Ilana and I, using our hotel keys to open the door. The exercise room was cramped and moldy, but it had two useable treadmills, an elliptical machine, and a couple of weights. machine. Ilana got onto the
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second, and soon we were By the time Ilana’s shift started an hour later, we had each burned over 580 calories, were wet with perspiration, and we’d become sort of friends.
father after her parents divorced, because her mother had some mental issues.“Nothing I feel comfortable speaking about,” she whispered. And then her father got married.
I spent that night schmoozing with Ilana in the lobby, as the rest of the hotel slept. We spoke about the usual
family and go to school in the city,” she continued, bristling with indignation. a home. I stayed there for a while, but
teachers, and my friendship with Faigy, which had fallen apart over a misunderstanding.
left.” I exhaled in wonder and suspense. “When did this happen?” “Just a week or two ago. I packed up my
seemed kind of spaced out. I wondered what was bugging her. We didn’t see each other until the following night, after the concert. Again, my mother went upstairs to put my sister to bed, my father was in the kitchen, and I wandered through the lobby until I bumped into Ilana. We went together to the game room, where we played ping-pong on a broken table. Ilana won. She was an excellent sport. “You’re probably the best player in your class,” I commented. I’m in school?” “Well, you don’t look old enough to have graduated high school.” “Actually, I’m in the tenth grade,” Ilana
back to my Dad. Instead, I lived on a park bench. I heard that this Pesach
I’m here.” “Where does he think you are?”
“I packed up my stuff and told the family I was going back to my Dad. instead, I lived on a park bench.”
“With the family he’s paying a lot of money to keep me,” Ilana said bitterly. “They were getting free babysitting and kitchen duty, plus the dough. Sick!” “Did you call him at least?” I was appalled. married. He’s too busy to care about me.” “And your mother?” I was almost afraid of the answer. “She’s in a group home.” Ilana continued talking in a whisper, about how she was planning to go to Europe and work as an au pair, as soon as she made some money. I was too dazed to say much, though I kept nodding and patting her arm. Ilana was surprised at how well I took her story. “It’s hard to believe you’re only 15. You’re so—how should I put it? Wise.” I didn’t feel so wise that night as I tossed and turned until dawn, trying to imagine myself in poor Ilana’s shoes. me, and she’d been through so much. The next evening I was groggy and crabby. When Ilana wanted to talk again, I hurried to the game room. She had something important to tell me. “My father left
a message on my cell phone. He said the Kleins, that’s
at all this year.” “Why not?” “Long story. Nothing interest you.”
“C’mon, tell me!” Ilana’s dark eyes regarded me seriously. “You promise not to tell?” “Promise!” We sat together, tucking our toes under our long black skirts, shivering in the April chill. It was nearly midnight when Ilana shared her background. She’d been living with her
“I heard that th hotel was short is pesach called to apply -staffed, so I father has no fidor a job. My ea I’m here.”
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the family where I was staying, called to ask how I was doing. He had no idea I wasn’t there, and is trying desperately to get in touch with me. He said if he doesn’t reach me by this afternoon he’s gonna call the police.” “Why don’t you call him back?” Ilana shrugged. “It’s too complicated. You’d never understand. Whatever.” “But I do understand! Tell me.” With a faltering voice, Ilana told me about the pain of feeling unwanted. I tried to convince her to call her father, but Ilana stood her ground. “If you say one word to anyone—anyone—I’ll run away from here, too,” she warned. “You might wake up in the morning and
I stared at her in horror. Ilana abruptly stood up. “Night,” she said. “Night,” I replied. My heart felt leaden. I tiptoed up to my room, hoping I wouldn’t wake anyone. My parents and siblings were sleeping soundly, but I was too wound up to fall asleep. Her father was probably frantic by now. Soon, the police would be looking for her all over the place. But she’d be
repeat myself twice until the operator understood me. “You’re saying there’s a runaway girl in your hotel? And the police are looking for her?” “That’s right.” away, honey. Thank you for calling.”
slamming the door behind me. My parents and siblings woke up from the commotion, and found me eyes out. A few minutes later, the two sense of my story. They’d checked out
Everything was a blur after that. Mr. Cohen, the hotel manager, stumbled into the lobby, followed by some of the guests.
“But she told me this horrible story about her life,” I protested. “I was
“So we’re looking for an underage waitress who’s really a runaway. Her saying. “Ilana? But she’s my niece,” the manager stammered. “She’s not a runaway.” the cops said. “Bring her down.” Mr. Cohen picked up the phone and spoke to his wife. “Wake up Ilana and get her downstairs. Now.” “I don’t understand,” he repeated. “Who called you?” “A young girl in this hotel. She said the
Could I live with myself if something happened to Ilana?
Mr. Cohen glared at me. “Was that you?” “Y…yes…I…I was so scared,” I said, between sobs. “Ilana said…she said her father doesn’t know where she is. And that she plans to disappear and no
But most of all, she’d be safe.
Ilana came down, half-asleep in her robe and PJs. “What’s going on, Uncle Yoss?”
I lightly touched the numbers. 9-1-1. Then I visualized Ilana’s furious face, and her father’s worried one.
“What’s going on is that the police are looking for you. They think you’re a runaway.”
I pressed Send.
Ilana glared at me. “Whose sick idea of
The phone rang four times. “9-1-1, how can I help you?”
I blurted out the story. I had to
I turned and ran up the stairs, to the
I put the phone down and kept vigil at the window. Sure enough, 10 minutes later a squad car pulled up at the hotel, siren blaring. I was out of the room and down the stairs before anyone else.
And I was the only one who could do anything about it.
I tiptoed into my parents’ room and grabbed my mother’s cell phone. All it would take was three numbers: 9-11, and the police would come. Ilana would be reunited with her father, and hopefully get the help she needed.
I’d heard enough. I was going to be sick.
she was legit. Her parents had allowed her to help her uncle Yossi Cohen with his Pesach program.
For some reason, the cops believed me. “You did the right thing, sweetheart,” the policewoman, who was tall and dark, said. Her badge read “Imelda.” “When in doubt, it’s always best to notify the police.” “Why did she make up such a horrible story?” I bawled. “Maybe she was bored, hon. Or maybe she wanted to see how gullible you were. It happens sometimes. You wouldn’t believe the stories we’ve heard.” I apologized for wasting their time, and the cops reassured me that it was okay. Then they left, and I faced my parents. “I feel like such an idiot,” I whimpered. “You did the right thing, mammele,” my mother said. “Only next time, talk to We talked a little more, and I used up half a box of tissues. “You know something,” said my father. “It could’ve been true. And if it were, well, you were tested and you passed. I’m proud of you.” The foolish feeling ebbed as I looked into my parents faces. They meant it. I felt a rush of gratitude that I had a mother and father to be there for me— and suddenly I was glad Ilana's story had been made up and she had parents too.
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BECAUSE CLOTHING DOESN’T MAKE ANY SATISFYING CLANKING OR SLAMMING SOUNDS AS THEY ARE BEING TOSSED ANGRILY INTO A SUITCASE, YOSSI PUNCTUATED EACH THROWN GARMENT WITH ANGRY WORDS INSTEAD. “SEE HOW THEY FEEL WHEN THEY FIND ME GONE.” Shirt, sweater, pair of socks. “Never get anything sweatshirt. Done. Yossi reached for the zipper and gave a little mewl of annoyance when he found it stuck. He yanked harder, bracing his feet, and was completely unsurprised
the zipper unattached from the suitcase and in his hands. “Because it’s exactly that kind of day. Week. Month,” he explained with some ferocity to the zipper before tossing it across the room at the garbage can. He missed. Of course.
and he quickly tried to duck into a doorway, but it was too late. Elimelech was waving at him wildly from across the street. Yossi groaned and tried to pretend that he hadn’t heard or seen him, but Elimelech was already crossing and walking towards him purposefully. “So, are you gonna get it? Did you talk to your father? Are you going to get the Game Boy GBA SP for your
HIS ANGER HAD LED HIM AWAY. BUT NOW WHAT?
Outside his room, he heard the sounds of his family being, well, his family. Mommy had roped everyone into cleaning, and while they were phone, loudly, something about earrings. Shulamis was laughing, Dovid was singing on top of his lungs, and from the playroom he heard Menucha, Esther and Yitzchak either tell which. It’s the week before Pesach and they think that it’ll be like any other year; cleaning, cooking, whatever. They have no idea. He upended his school books all over his bed and then transferred everything from the broken suitcase to the backpack. Soon they’ll see. Soon they’ll be sorry. Slipping out the door was easy. Everyone was scrubbing their corner of the house and everyone was completely involved in what they were doing, too involved to notice or care about Yossi. As usual. He slammed the door behind him and walked forward blindly, not stopping until he reached a Don’t
Walk sign. His pulse was pounding ing and unclenching, waiting for the light to change so that he could go. Go where? His anger had led him away. But now what? Yossi marched forward. He had his life savings—$103—in his pocket. Where would that get him? Something would occur to him. Until then, “Hey,
present?” Elimelech was breathless with excitement at the possibility. Was he going to get a Game Boy for his present? “No,” Yossi said shortly. He wasn’t. He had wanted a Game Boy for a long time, now. That’s what he was saving his money up for, in fact, the money that would now be used for a trip to somewhere far, far away. India? Arkansas?
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It had been Elimelech’s idea to shortcut the whole saving money thing, which was really tedious and long (Yossi had been saving his money for weeks already) by asking for the Game Boy as an present. Yossi has been so excited about the idea that he didn’t want to wait for Pesach—he wanted to conHe had found Tatty bringing boxes of Pesach dishes down from the attic. Yossi had grabbed a couple of boxes as well and then posed the question casually as they started back up the stairs for more. “Ta, if I get the
saved up a bunch of money, so if it’s
Elimelech, who never really got the concept of a strong hint, continued along with him. “So where you going?” Elimelech panted. He was skipping to keep up with Yossi’s longer-legged strides. Go away, Yossi thought. “China,” Yossi said. “Cool!” said Elimelech. “F’real? Why? When?” “Right now,” said Yossi. “So I have to go. And you have to stay,” he added, as Elimelech continued to skip alongside him. “Right!” Elimelech said. He stopped walking and stood stock-still. “Have a good time!”
before, and Yossi had never packed was what Tatty had said. “Aren’t you getting a little too big to steal the Because right before Tatty had said that, Mommy had asked him to clean the car. Yossi had run to get the vacuum. It was kind of an exciting job to clean the car, as far as cleaning jobs went. He swung the car keys in one hand, self-importantly, and had made it as far as the front hallway before Mommy called him back. “You know what, I’d rather one of the big kids did
Yossi felt a mixture of guilt and relief as Elimelech waved goodbye.
BY DINA NEUMAN
TATTY SAID HE WAS A BIG KID. MOMMY SAID HE WAS A LITTLE KID. WAS HE A BIG KID OR A LITTLE KID? THE TRUTH IS, HE WAS NEITHER.
puzzled look on Tatty’s face. Tatty shook his head and laughed a little. “Aren’t you getting a little too big to steal the handed Yossi a box, which he took mechanically. “Not getting a Game Boy,” Yossi repeated now. “Why not?” Elimelech protested. Yossi shrugged and continued walking at a fast clip down the street.
The two next-door neighbors had been best friends since before they could talk, but sometimes, especially lately, he wanted to shake him. The world is not a happy bouncy place where things turn out all right all the time! he wanted to tell him. So wipe He never said that, though. It would be like kicking a puppy. His thoughts turned back to the incident on the attic steps. It wasn’t Tatty’s nixing the Game Boy that had made him see red; Tatty had said no
Tatty called him the monkey in the middle and smiled as if that were a good thing. Mommy would say it is a good thing; that being the middle is great, because this way he could relate to everyone! But Yossi knew the truth; being the middle child meant that he was too big for the little kids and too little for the big kids. Being a middle child meant that when the younger kids got to play while the older kids did chores he was one of the older kids, and when the older kids got a privilege that the younger ones didn’t he was
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suddenly one of the younger kids. Being the middle child meant that he was no one, no one at all. So no one grabbed a suitcase from the attic and dragged it downstairs. No one stomped to his room with it and packed. No one slipped out of the house in his winter coat and backpack. No one walked in a straight line, fueled by indignation, until stopped
They were traveling for around 10 minutes when Yossi came out of his own thoughts enough to become aware of a ticking sound. He looked around the backseat. What would be ticking? A clock? A bomb? An involuntary shiver of fear went down Yossi’s spine. “Excuse me?” Yossi cleared his throat, and the driver raised his eyebrows at him in the rearview mirror. “Um, I was wondering what that ticking sound was?”
China. Sounded as a good a place as any to make a new life for himself. Yossi had a
“Meter,” the driver grunted.
He cracked a small, grim smile. “Forgot a shovel,” he said out loud. Anyway, due to a greater knowledge of How Things Work, the airport was a better bet.
ing numbers on it. He caught sight of Yossi’s face in the mirror and explained further. “Zow I know how much ta charge ya. Ya see? Longer we stay on the road, da more it goes up.”
Yossi recounted the money in his pocket. It was barely enough to get to Chinatown, never mind China. A sudden memory of his mother taking the car keys out of his hands made his lips tightfrom there. He’d stow away or something if he had to. An idling taxi caught his eye and Yossi in turn caught the eye of the driver, who out the window and into the gutter. “Yeah?” “The airport, please,” said Yossi. The driver nodded curtly and Yossi’s heart pitter-pattered wildly as he climbed into the backseat and they pulled away from the curb. The cab smelled like cigarettes and some other faint but unpleasant odor that he could not quite mustard. But who cared? He was doing it! He was on his way! China. Actually, once he got past the money issue, it was a good choice of destination. He was pretty sure that China was where all Game Boys came from, and they would probably be dirt cheap there. Maybe he
around his heart, propelled him now. They thought he was a nothing, a stupid monkey in the middle, not good enough. He’d show them.
“I’m sorry, can you repeat—“
Yossi said thank you, his voice a squeak. Well, of course he knew that the taxi would cost money. But not…not quite that much. His eyes were glued to the changing numbers, and each click was like a knife stab as he watched his money for a new life in China shrink away. Ten dollars became 15, and 15 became 20, and 20 became—“Stop!” The taxi screeched to a halt, and the driver turned around, his face white. “Wazzamatter?” out of here.” The driver glared at him and put his hand on his heart. “Almost gave me a heart attack, kid! Doncha know not ta yell stop in a movin’ in a crowded room!” Yossi said sorry in a tiny voice, and the driver’s voice softened. “You meetin’ someone in the airport? If yer short on cash, I can wait while ya run in.” Yossi shook his head no.
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he didn’t care. His anger evaporated and left him a weak-kneed mess. He couldn’t do anything right. He couldn’t even run away from home right. Did he have a giant “kick me” sign on his back? A big invisible sign that let the Would he always be a middle child, never belonging anywhere, never getting a break no matter how far away from his family he went? What was the point of running away followed him anyway? It was like a puppy running in circles, trying to get away from his own tail.
“You goin’ alone?” “To China,” Yossi said, and suddenly the word sounded utterly ridiculous. I’m going to China with $103. Minus Yossi didn’t say anything, but he felt the color rise in his face. “I ran away once,” the driver said. He scratched meditatively at the stubble
THE TAXI DRIVER SIGHED. “CHINA, HUH. YER RUNNIN’ AWAY.” HE PHRASED THE QUESTION AS A STATEMENT. on his cheeks. “Came back when I ran out of cash.” He held his hand out, and Yossi quickly handed him the money due. He watched the cab pull away and then looked around, trying to orient himself. After a few minutes spent squinting at street signs, he admitted it: He hadn’t the foggiest notion where he was. Yossi dropped his backpack down on the sidewalk and sat down hard on top of it. He felt something inside the bag give and heard a slight crack, but
Yossi liked that image and even smiled a little, until the thought of puppies made him feel kind of bad for leaving Elimech like that. A family passed by, and the younger kids stared. They brought Menucha, Esther and Yitzchak to mind. At bedtime, Yossi was the one who would tell them a story. Would they miss him and lie awake all night in their beds, waiting for a story that would never ever be told?
rette out the window. “That’s a terrible habit and also it’s littering,” Yossi couldn't help but say as he sat down in the backseat. “We all got what we needa improve on,” the driver shrugged. Yossi wondered at the scene that would greet him when he walked through the door. Would they be angry? Scared? Would Mommy be crying? Would she hug him and promise to treat him like a grown-up from now on? Wait, but except when he wanted to . So not always an adult, then. Maybe sometimes adult, and sometimes kid, and— Oh. Well, that sounded sort of familiar. He braced himself as he walked through the door, but no one really
Even the older ones weren’t so bad sometimes. Dovid had this weird thing that he didn’t like candy or cake, and he would always give his dessert or Purim candy or whatever to Yossi.
ing on the phone, loudly, something about bracelets. Shulamis was laughing, Dovid was singing at the top of his lungs, and was it the same song from when he had left?
taller than her now, but in a way that was kind of nice. And Shulamis…well,
From the playroom, he heard Menucha, Esther and Yitzchak either playing or
noying. Yossi wondered if they missed him, if Tatty had realized that he was no longer helping with the boxes, if Mommy realized that he was not cleaning the cabinets. He sighed. Then he picked up his backpack and slung it on one shoulder. He walked as he looked for a cab before he realized that there was one right behind him, trailing him slowly, oblivious to the honking of the other cars behind it. Yossi turned and then smiled—a full real smile—when a familiar cabdriver waved him in. “I wasn’t waitin’ for you on nothin.’ Didn’t get another fare yet is all,” the
go in there and intercede. Tell them a story about kids who fought. Throw in some monsters to make it exciting. Maybe he could convince whichever kid took the to ask for a Game Boy, and he would go in 50-50. Yeah, that would work, especially if it was Yitzchak, because he listened to every word that Yossi said. It was a good thing that he hadn’t gone to China. Because if he had gone, he wouldn’t be able to tell the kids a story tonight, and if he did say so himself, he had a pretty awesome one to tell.
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Libya: “Thief, thief!” That’s what a Libyan family would shout during Yachatz as someone—usually a child—took the bag of men and left the room. When he returned, his father would ask him, “Where were you?” “Mitzrayim!” was his answer. “And to where are you going?” “Yerushalayim!” Then the family would chant three times, “Next year in Yerushalayim!” before beginning to recite the Haggadah.
I also have different matzos each day. The first day I eat LOTS of matzos and then each day I eat less and less!
Iraq (Bavel): Like your matzos thick or thin? In Iraq, the matzos by the day! Ordinary matzos were called, “jradik,” meaning “thin.” On Erev Pesach, thick matzos called “sidarim” were baked especially for
Germany (Ashkenaz): What’s a picture of a rabbit hunt doing in a Haggadah on the page of Kiddush?! If you see this illustration, you’ll know you’re looking at an old German Haggadah. The acronym for the order of the brochos in Kiddush Pesach is Motzei Shabbos, is Yaknehaz, which stands for Yayin (wine), Kiddush, Ner (candle), Havdalah, Z’man (time). The rabbit hunt is a play on words for this mnemonic, because it sounds like the German phrase “jag den Has” (hunt the hare).
Morocco: Like pancakes? Just wait for that yummy food. On Isru Chag in Morocco there is a special celebration known as Mimouna. Some believe the source of the name is the yahrtzeit of Rabbi Maimon, the father of the Rambam. Special songs are sung and delicious foods are eaten—most notably the , a special pancake. Moroccans even go to each other’s houses to taste their !
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ly whip your little sib! At the beginning of “Dayenu” everyone grabs a green onion from the table, each time “dayenu” is said you whip your neighbor with it.
Kurdistan (South-East Turkey/Northern Iraq/Western Iran): It’s a good thing their matzos were soft—because they made a line on the matzos to mark which one was which. One line stood for Kohen, two for Levi, and three for Yisrael.
Tunisia: Don’t put away that nitilas yadayim cup just yet! When the father says " "דם ואש ותימרון עשןand the 10 makos, he drips a bit of wine into the bucket into which he washes his hands for nitilas yadayim. At the same time, the person holding the bucket drips water inside that bucket. Everybody else says “Hashem tatzelanu”—Hashem save us. No one may look at the wine or water until it is poured out in a makom tamei (impure place).
Yemen: Do you think a hard-boiled egg is a treat? Yemenite children do; after asking the "Mah Nishtanah" (in Arabic) they received an egg as a reward.
Djerba (today part of Tunisia): I guess this minhag looks a bit like kapparos! The "Ha Lachma Anya" is said while someone turns the kaarah above the bent heads of the rest of the seder participants. He does so even for the little children sleeping in the next room! It’s a zecher for the Annanei Hakovod that Hashem surrounded us with when we left Mitzrayim.
Cochin (South-West India): Pharoah got his own kos! Here, when you pour the second kos (cup) of wine you pour another kos called the “Kos shel Paroh.” Later, when you recite the 10 makkos you pour out the wine from that kos into a bucket.
Yerushalayim: Over a hundred years ago, thousands of Yidden used to go from the Old City to the Kosel on Erev Pesach to recite the pesukim of the korban Pesach. They would weep loudly in longing for what used to happen that day.
Bukhara (Uzbekistan): The marror was not only bitter, it was also eaten in a scary way. With each bite they would take the marror from above their heads and cry out “We ate!” as if they were eating it under great duress, to show how life was lived under constant threat.
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