Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

6 Kislev 5766 - December 7, 2005 | 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 6 — Part 2

New York (July, 2000)

Dean has returned to his parents apartment to overhear Fred Smith and others plotting to murder him. Dressed in a suit, he has escaped by joining a group of yeshiva boys. However he does not have a kippah. His parents are missing.


"Here, take mine. I always carry a spare. Can't have you meeting the Rov like that, can we?"

Dean smiled, muttered his thanks, and placed the small black round cap on his head. Now he would have to talk and his cover would be blown. However, the boy pulled out a small book and bent his head over it and was soon lost in concentration.

Dean wondered where the bus was going, but wherever it went would suit his purpose. He needed to think. What connection did so notorious a man have with a valued and trusted, long- time employee in his father's firm? What did he mean when he spoke of arranging for a couple to disappear? Surely he wasn't speaking of his parents! Yet who else could he mean?

What did the two gunmen he had seen rushing out of the apartment have to do with him?

The answers were becoming clear but unpleasant. All around him boys talked or read steadily from books, or sang songs. Dean sat among them, and tried to look unconcerned, as if he fitted in with their merry crowd. But his heart was pounding as he tried to work out what he should do next.

It felt to him as if his world had suddenly turned upside down. A man who he had trusted all his life appeared to be implicated in his parent's disappearance. Not only that but he was apparently willing to arrange for Dean to be harmed.

Should he go to the police? But everyone said that the police looked the other way, that money lined their pockets and bought their silence. Was it true? Dean had no wish to be the one to find out that interesting fact.

Could he quietly go back to Harvard? No. Surely, if they wanted him out of the way, then he would be easy enough to find there.

When the bus arrived at its destination, Kennedy Airport, he had conceived of no plan. They piled out of the bus and made for the arrivals area and Dean went with them.

"The El AL plane has arrived" he heard someone say.

"Look, they must be the first passengers off the plane."

A family group was walking together. The man was wearing a long dark coat and a black hat. The woman was wearing a dark print dress, and the sleeves came to her wrist and the collar up to her neck. A dark scarf covered her hair. The girls wore similar dresses, but paler in color and with patterns of flowers. The boys wore dark trousers, white shirts, and black caps, all except for the oldest boy, who was dressed like his father.

As they passed, something fell from the father's pocket. He appeared not to see it and went striding on. No one around Dean seemed to notice. The youths were straining forward, waiting to see the emerging passengers.

Dean moved to the edge of the crowd and beyond. Lying on the floor was a passport. Dean bent to pick it up. Opening it he saw that it belonged to the oldest boy in the family. He was staring at the camera and squinting. A skullcap covered his head — not the hat he had been wearing.

The words of his bar mitzvah parsha suddenly came to him. They were the words that were heard before the Israelites crossed over into the land promised to them, "He will give your rest from your enemies all around and you will dwell securely." Dean felt he too wanted security, that he too wanted rest from enemies.

A plan began to form in Dean's mind. He walked to a mirror and looked into it. He looked down at the passport. The poor quality of the photograph meant that it could be any young man. It could possibly be Dean. Could he use it to go through passport control?

For a few moments he stood, thinking about this new idea. It had good points to it. No one would think of looking for him in Israel, especially if he went out of the country on someone else's passport. America would be where they looked for him.

The next thing would be the necessity of buying a ticket. He had with him the credit cards. No, that was foolish. That would be used to trace him. Then he remembered the dollars. Would they cover the cost of the journey?

The pile of dollars was considerably reduced, but the ticket was bought. The next test was to see if passport control would accept his documentation. There were a few awkward moments. "Why do you want to catch this flight? You only just got here?"

Dean did some quick thinking. He replied, "Something happened. When I was met, they told me. I have to go back right away."

What would he say if they asked more questions? What could he say had happened? However, the man looked at the shocked, strained face of the young man and he realized that whatever it was that had occurred that day, it was not something pleasant. Dean saw a sympathetic look flash over the official's face. "Listen sonny, whatever your problem I hope everything is soon hunky-dory."

Then the passport was stamped and he was through.

The day had begun in a strange unreal way, and now it ended in a similar fashion. Dean sat in his seat. He saw food was being served. When it came to his turn the hostess said, "Oh, you'll be wanting a glatt kosher meal, and there doesn't seem to be one ordered for you. Just a moment, let me see what I can do."

She came back some moments later and slid a sealed meal onto his tray. She pointed to a family seated on the opposite aisle. "They are sharing one meal between the two youngest children. They say the little ones can't eat all the food in any event. Betayavon."

Dean felt far from hungry. However, not to eat would look odd. He smiled his thanks and slowly began to force the food down. Soon the everyday act of eating calmed him slightly. He had left Harvard before dawn after a sleepless night. He had made his way to the apartment in a state of tension and worry. The events of the last few hours had added to his problems. Now exhaustion was overtaking him. He handed the now empty tray to the airhostess and soon he was deeply asleep.


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