Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

26 Iyar 5766 - May 24, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

by Gita Gordon

Serializing a new novel.

Chapter 21: Belem—New York City, November 2001 — Part 3

Fay and Eli are back in New York City, after months and months in the Amazon jungle. As Pedro had written on his farewell note, "You have enemies in America." They narrowly escaped a murder attempt as they were about to enter their apartment, and managed to hide in a staff closet of their apartment building.


Fay and Eli began to get used to the dim lighting. They saw the uniforms of the cleaners hanging on hooks in the cupboard. Some time later, when silence reigned in the corridor, they went down by the service elevator.

Two men sitting in a car and watching, took little notice of a woman in an old housecoat, her face hidden as she munched a large chunk of bread, while a man next to her, wearing stained blue overalls, walked beside her with a cardboard box tied with string on his shoulders. The couple made for the subway across the street and then disappeared down the steps.

"Seen anything?" came the voice on the cell phone.

"Nope, not a thing," was the confident reply.

Eli and Fay found they had just enough loose change to buy subway tickets. Some time later they were walking through an area familiar to them.

"Why are we going to the shul?" said Fay.

"Well, I think it would be a good idea to bench gomel," said Eli. "Also I think I could have the solution to where we can stay, where no one will think of looking for us. Maurice said that the rent is still being paid by Dean on my parent's old apartment. I didn't tell you at the time, but do you remember that day I went with Dean to get rid of the furniture and hand back the keys?

"Remember? That was the day I brought home my father's siddur and tefillin and you took them from me. I just couldn't get rid of everything and give up the apartment. Instead I went with Dean to the real estate offices and paid the rent for the following year. Then I called my friend David who looks after the shul and said they could use it for anyone who was in need of housing for a short time. I hope that it is free at the moment."

The neighbors were used to people moving into number 18 at odd times. They took no notice of a middle-aged couple carrying only a small suitcase who moved into the apartment late one afternoon accompanied by David from the little shul down the road. David often brought people to the apartment. They stayed for a period of time and then left.

Fay looked around as they entered. "Nothing has changed," she said.

"We changed," Eli said.

"We were happy here with so little," Fay responded. "After our time in the jungle this is luxurious, don't you think?"

However she was remembering their companionship in those early days of marriage, the way they had worked together and planned together. She was thinking of the happy times when they had sat together at the Seder table, when she had listened to her husband making Kiddush when he returned from shul and Havdalah to mark the end of Shabbos. It seemed to her that in those days their life had a richness that the later days of plenty took away, with little except expensive furnishings and clothes to replace it.

In the jungle Eli had begin to regret the absence of wine and tefillin and candles for Havdalah. Now that all this was available, would he make use of it?

David watched as they spoke. He had watched years ago as his friends had worked long hours in the small grocery shop. He had watched as they made money and moved away from the old neighborhood and changed their appearance and their way of life.

Now he saw that they had changed once again. Their appearance was close to that of the old days. In the jungle they had both lost weight. Eli had a black kippah on his head. Fay was dressed in a simple modest dress and her hair was covered with a kerchief.

Little did any of them in the room realize that this changed appearance had meant their safe passage from the airport. Two men with guns and silencers had been waiting for them. They had disabled the lawyer's car. They had a false taxicab waiting. All they had to do was identify the couple on the photo.

They were looking out for two well-endowed people. They were seeking a fashionably dressed couple. They had ignored the man with a beard and a hat covering his head walking next to a woman with a simple modest dress and covered hair.

The bomb at the apartment had been part of a plan put into action as a backup in case the first hit failed.

Eli and Fay spoke immediately to David of what was in the forefront of their thoughts. David knew of their son's disappearance. "Maurice told me," he said. "He knew he could trust me."

Fay said, "We must find Danny," using his childhood name, rather than the name "Dean" that Eli had insisted on at the time of his birth. "I would be more than satisfied to live my whole life in this apartment, if we can only find Danny. What could have happened to make him leave Harvard? Where can he be?"


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